On 26 August 2021, Dr Habil Madalina Chitez gave a symposium talk, as a guest in the CorpusCALL symposium Professional cooperation for DDL and corpus-informed teaching, organized in the frame of the International Conference EUROCALL 2021 – International Conference of the European Association of Computer Assisted Language Learning (Paris, France, virtual). The symposium was hosted by Prof. Reka R. Jablonkai (University of Bath) chair, and Prof. Luciana Forti (University for Foreigners of Perugia) secretary.
Professional cooperation across disciplines has always been at the heart of work in both data-driven learning and corpus-informed teaching. Disciplinary corpora have been compiled with the help of professionals of specific fields (e.g. Crosthwaite & Cheung; Jablonkai, 2020) and computer scientists and language technologists worked together with applied linguists to develop tools (e.g. Pérez-Paredes, P. et al., 2019) and online platforms for pedagogical purposes (e.g. Sketch Engine, SKELL, Lextutor). Work with corpora have informed teaching languages for various professions especially in the field of languages for specific and academic purposes (e.g. Chitez & Bercuci, 2019). Finally, corpora and DDL are increasingly becoming an essential part of professional development in some professions, for example, for translators and teachers (e.g. Frankenberg-Garcia, 2015). In line with this year’s conference theme of “CALL and professionalization” our symposium showcases such professional cooperation for DDL and corpus-informed teaching. At the same time, it aims to be a platform to initiate discussion around the skills and competences needed for successful application of DDL and corpora in various professional settings.
The first paper, by Madalina Chitez (West University of Timisoara), examines how bilingual written corpora (native language versus foreign language) can be used in research-supported pedagogical practice to provide disciplinary and professional writing support. The presentation includes the findings from a range of corpus-based contrastive studies based on two large corpora: ROGER corpus (Corpus of Romanian Academic Genres), representing novice writing, and EXPRES corpus (Corpus of Expert Writing in Romanian and English), which represents expert writing. Both corpora include disciplinary sub-sets of data which opens up the possibility of simultaneously contrasting discipline-specific writing on different competence levels.
The second paper by Pascual Perez-Paredes (Universidad de Murcia and Cambridge Language Sciences) discusses how the collaboration between corpus linguists, language teachers, learners and computer engineers allowed to develop a proof of concept that tested the limits and the affordances of the use of corpus-informed pedagogies in MALL as the use of DDL and, more generally, the adoption of corpus-informed pedagogies in mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) is in its infancy (Pérez-Paredes et al., 2019). Despite the impact of MALL in language learning, very few efforts have tried to understand how DDL and corpora can benefit from the spread of mobile uses for self-access (Zhang & Pérez-Paredes, 2019) and instructed education (Chwo et al., 2018).
The third paper, by Peter Crosthwaite (University of Queensland), describes his experiences conducting teacher professional development workshops in corpus literacy for Australian secondary school subject teachers under COVID-19 conditions. He describes subject teachers’ perceptions of corpus applications following training, and the process of working with subject teachers across a range of secondary school subject areas in order to explore their particular needs, hopes and aims for corpus and data-driven learning opportunities. He outlines three ongoing projects arising from these workshops, including a suite of corpus activities and training for science teachers working with Year 9-10 students taking physical science electives, and developing training and support for teachers working with English as an additional language across a range of mainstream subject courses.
The fourth paper, by Ana Frankenberg-Garcia (University of Surrey), reports on her experience of delivering continuing professional development (CPD) workshops on the use of corpora in everyday translation practice for professional organizations such as the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, the EU Commission DG-Translation, and the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Many of today’s practicing translators have heard of corpora, and some may have even attended introductory lectures in corpus linguistics. However, few have had actual hands-on training on how to use corpora to enhance the quality of translations, extract terminology and familiarize themselves with specialized languages.
The topic of the Dr Chitez` talk was Contrasting novice and professional writing in academic disciplines: corpus-based lessons for teaching English with insights from L1 writing models.