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CoReFo 2018

 Blog post written by members of the CA2LI research team

On November 16th 2018, the CA2LI research team of the Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Langage hosted a study day entitled ‘Lier recherche et formation professionnelle : des corpus à l'interface’ (Corpora at the interface between research and vocational training) at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Université Clermont Auvergne (France).

The idea for a study day started from the initial observation that although research on/ with corpora is well established, corpora for the training of practitioners and professionals in the fields of education, language sciences, and healthcare is still not well documented. Indeed, too often the link between research and vocational training is reduced to the simple idea of knowledge transmission and is not considered in terms of appropriation of these research “products’ (corpora) by professionals.

Held in French, the study day included presentations by six researchers and two doctoral students and was attended by 24 researchers and trainers from the fields of language sciences, education, and healthcare and 25 Language Sciences graduates from a research Master’s in Applied Linguistics and a professional Master’s in Teaching French-as-a-foreign language.  Although eleven nationalities were represented (including German, British, Polish, Algerian, Chinese, Palestinian), these attendees were all working and living in France.

Anne-Laure Foucher and Damien Chabanal opened the study day by giving an overview of the uses of corpora for vocational training in two applied fields: child language acquisition and language teacher training. Their presentation focused on four overarching questions which structured the discussions throughout the day and were used by Véronique Quanquin and Christine Blanchard-Rodrigues to guide the closing remarks:

  • Corpora - for researchers and/or for trainers?
  • How can trainers explore corpora? What interfaces are available to them?
  • How can we transform corpora into training objects?
  • What training activities can be created using corpora?

The study day focused on the presentation and discussion of six different approaches to linking research corpora and vocational training:

  • Lidia Lebas-Fraczak (Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Langage, Université Clermont Auvergne): A corpus analysis of what is not necessarily perceived by primary school children and facilitators when participating in philosophical discussions. This paper underlined that the recording of class sequences and the constitution of a research corpus allows micro-events in the philosophical discussion to become observable. The analysis presented showed how the corpus could be used, for training purposes, to make primary school teachers aware of the underlying intellectual operations employed by the children partaking in such discussions.

  • Lionel Roche (Laboratoire Activité, Connaissance, Transmission, Education, Université Clermont Auvergne): The analysis of PE teachers’ activity as a starting point for the design of a multimodal teacher-training module.This paper presentation focused on the transformation of a research corpus, comprising video recordings of class sequences taught by trainee-teachers in Physical Education that have been transcribed, analysed, and organised into a pedagogical scenario in order to create online teacher-training modules.

  • Michel Jacobson (Huma-num, Clarin): Présentation de l’Infrastructure Européenne de Recherche CLARIN.This presentation focused on introducing Clarin to participants and particularly the tools made available to the community via the Language Resource Switchboard to explore and analyse language data and the corpora Despositing Services to help researchers make data openly available to the international community.
  • Mylène Blasco, Océane Advocat & Aline Delsart (Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Langage, Université Clermont Auvergne): An oral corpus of medical interviews: from corpus construction to the implications of linguistic analysis in professional training. The authors presented the study of a corpus comprising of medical interviews to identify how such interviews are structured and what questions are resolved or not in the patient-caregiver interactions. The presentation underlined the necessity of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of corpora (linguistics, healthcare) in order to identify best practices that can form the basis for initial or in-service training of healthcare professionals.
  • Eva Schaeffer-Lacroix (Centre de Linguistique en Sorbonne, Université Paris Sorbonne): Using learner and expert corpora in foreign language training. This paper presentation illustrated how foreign language learners can revise their own written productions by consulting a corpora comprised of native-speaker productions in order to track, observe, and compare language phenomena. The pedagogical scenario was used with trainee teachers of German-as-a-foreign language to make them aware of how such approaches could then be transposed into their own secondary school classrooms.
  • Christophe dos Santos (Inserm U1253 « Imagerie et Cerveau » (iBrain), Équipe Psychiatrie Neurofonctionnelle, Université de Tours): Teaching speech-therapy students to create and use language corpora: sharing an educational experience.This presentation reported on two different corpus approaches in an undergraduate speech therapy course. The author presented two different pedagogical scenarios to train future speech therapists in using existing corpora (like Childes) and analysis tools for patient diagnosis.

Full summaries of each presentation can be found on the event website at this link. Video-recordings of the presentations will soon be made available via Université Clermont Auvergne’s WebTV site and the CLARIN website.

The CoReFo study day was structured around a certain number of questions including the question of the possible links between research and vocational training (which training objects to build from the corpora and how to go about this?) and  the question of the technicality of the tools (how can they be appropriated by trainers, learners, etc.? using which interfaces?). The exchanges during the day have shown, on the one hand, the relevance and transversal nature of these questions and, on the other hand, the effectiveness of the use of corpora in certain areas of vocational training (speech therapy, foreign languages). However, in certain fields, the needs for training corpora are not always clearly identified. Better knowledge of these needs, stemming from the end users, would make it possible to guide the collection, processing, and transformation of research corpora into training objects accompanied by guided pedagogical scenarios.

The interdisciplinary nature of the study day made it possible, on the one hand, to envisage future collaborations between researchers for the development of training corpora guided by best practices seen and discussed during the presentations. On the other hand, the Master's students who participated became aware of the interactions between research and training and of the possible contributions of interdisciplinary approaches while acquiring knowledge to complement their current training.

Follow-up plans to the study day include a special edition of the Recherche et Formation journal that is currently being proposed to the editorial committee by Véronique Quanquin and Christine Rodrigues Blanchard. A second study day, focussing on determining training needs and creating training objects is also planned for Winter 2019.

Speakers and participants in the study day appreciated the fact that the presentations were not too numerous, leaving considerable time both for discussions during the formal questions and answers and for informal exchanges on the different topics. Indeed, the coffee breaks and lunch contributed to the convivial atmosphere and to potential spin-off collaborations between those present. The use of French as a working language also allowed colleagues who may not be fully at ease attending events in English to fully partake in the exchanges.