Video Motivates

Susan Steinbach, University of California, Davis

I look forward to participation in the JALT conference in Maebashi, October
1999! It will be my first JALT conference, thanks to the gracious sponsorship
by the very active Video Special Interest Group (SIG) in your organization,
headed by Daniel Walsh, and the CUE SIG. I come to Gunma with fresh eyes,
curious to explore the facets of Japanese culture that I have experienced
only from afar, working with Japanese students for more than two decades
in an IEP setting at the University of California at Davis. I look forward
to meeting many of you.

I have seen Japan through the eyes of students from Sanno, Osaka Jogakuin,
Sugiyama University, ALC, Tokiwakai, Johbu, International Christian University,
Tokyo University, and the Japanese policemen and women of the National Police
Academy. I have taught ronin and star students, salarymen and housewives,
shinjinrui and the older generation. I have watched from afar as Japan went
through its bubble economy and now its recession. Japan has been my teacher
for many years.

I will be presenting a pre-conference workshop at JALT entitled Culturally
Speaking: Bowling, Basketball and Rugby. This workshop uses a discourse
analysis approach to intercultural communication. Video is the perfect medium
to capture variances in verbal and non-verbal communication across cultures.
I hit upon the idea of using sports analogies to illustrate the distinct
features of different communication styles when reading Nancy Sakamoto's
and Reiko Naotsuka's (1982) groundbreaking work Polite Fictions: Why Japanese
and Americans Seem Rude. Over the years, other analogies have been put forth,
but a comprehensive framework looking at the major characteristics of communication
style on a global scale did not exist. In this workshop, I will use the
bowling analogy to capture the main features of the Asian pattern of communication,
basketball to capture the major features of the American English pattern
of communication, and rugby to capture the Arab, Russian, African and Latin
style of communication.

Sociolinguist Deborah Tannen (1984, 1994) implies that we imagine ourselves
to behave a certain way when we talk, but filming or recording actual conversations
may reveal that we talk or interact in ways we did not realize. In an effort
to increase my students' awareness of how they speak, I have developed an
assessment tool to evaluate their conversational styles and compare their
"scores" with others. I will demonstrate the use of this instrument
in the workshop. In my search to create a mechanism that produces a paradigm
shift for students in their understanding of the subtleties of communication
style, I combine the power of self-awareness with the power of video and
the power of analogies. If you are interested in video, sociolinguistics,
or teaching techniques for conversational fluency, this workshop is for

As Chair of the Video Interest Section of TESOL, I bring you greetings
from our membership. In March 1999, we celebrated our 10th anniversary at
New York TESOL. I look forward to networking with members of the JALT Video
SIG, the CUE SIG, and others who share a love of video and multimedia in
the classroom. Please visit our web site at
to learn more about us

My own interest in video has expanded to the level of creating and producing
five videos for the intercultural-ELT classroom, including the Fluent
American English series
(Steinbach, 1996a, 1996b) which serves as the
foundation material for my pre-conference institute. Two other videos premiered
at TESOL New York: Body Language: An International View (Steinbach,
1999a) and Voices of Experience: Cross Cultural Adjustment (Steinbach,

We can look forward to a bright future in video as the technology continues
to develop and expand options for the educational environment. I use video
in the classroom because it engages students emotionally and activates multiple
learning channels for optimal language acquisition. In my role as Multimedia
Lab Director at the University of California at Davis, Extension, I constantly
survey the market for videos and films appropriate for language learners.
At the beginning of each quarter, I notice that students choose computer
software programs to start with. As the quarter goes on, these same students
turn to videos during their independent language learning class time. Why
the switch? I believe it is because videos engage them both intellectually
and emotionally and because videos allow them to relax from the stress of
ongoing language input in an intensive format. Students come to class early
in order to be able to select a video and gain access to a closed captioned
monitor before the machines are snapped up by other students. Video motivates.
Its value as an educational tool is both irrefutable and irresistible.


Sakamoto, N., & Naotsuka, R. (1982). Polite fictions: Why Japanese
and Americans seem rude to each other
. Tokyo: Kinseido Ltd.

Steinbach, S. (1996a). Fluent American English, part one: Conversational
styles around the globe
[Film]. (Available from The Seabright Group,
Instructional Media, 216 F Street, Suite 25, Davis, CA 95616, USA)

Steinbach, S. (1996b). Fluent American English, part two: Conversational
style in the USA
[Film]. (Available from The Seabright Group, Instructional
Media, 216 F Street, Suite 25, Davis, CA 95616, USA)

Steinbach, S. (1999a). Voices of experience: Cross cultural adjustment
[Film]. (Available from The Seabright Group, Instructional Media. 216 F
Street, Suite 25, Davis, CA 956l6, USA)

Steinbach, S. (1999b). Body language: An international view [Film].
(Available from The Seabright Group, Instructional Media, 216 F Street,
Suite 25, Davis, CA 95616, USA)

Tannen, D. (1984). Conversational style: Analyzing talk among friends.
Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Tannen, D. (1994). Gender and discourse. New York: Oxford University