Abstracts of the Featured Speakers

Stephen Bax                                                                                                                                                    Invited Paper
University of Bedfordshire, UK

Cognitive processing of candidates during reading tests:summary evidence from two eye-tracking projects

     The two research projects summarised in this article investigated test-takers’ cognitive processing while completing onscreen reading test items. The article reports in outline on two large research studies, focusing on differences in reading behaviours of successful and unsuccessful candidates while completing IELTS test items. Two groups of undergraduates / pre-university students (n=71 and n=41) took an onscreen test consisting of two IELTS reading passages with 11 test items. Eye movements of random samples of these participants were tracked. Stimulated recall interview data was collected to assist in interpretation of the eye-tracking data. The first of these studies is more fully reported in Bax 2012a and the second in Bax 2012b.

Findings in both research projects demonstrated significant differences between successful and unsuccessful test-takers on a number of dimensions, including their ability to read expeditiously (Khalifa and Weir 2009), and their focus on particular aspects of the test items and texts, while no observable difference was noted in other items.

The two studies reported here can potentially offers new insights into the cognitive processes of candidates during reading tests. Findings will be of value to examination boards preparing reading tests, to teachers and learners, and also to researchers interested in the cognitive processes of readers.

Philip Benson
                                                                                                                                                   Invited Paper

Department of Linguistics and Modern Language Studies
The Hong Kong Institute of Education

Autonomy in Language Teaching and Learning: How to do it ‘here’


     Global interest in autonomy in language learning is growing year by year. At the same time, many teachers believe that autonomy may work ‘elsewhere’, but that it will never work ‘here’ – the place where they live and work. In this presentation, I will argue that there is, in fact, no ideal ‘elsewhere’ for autonomy. After revisiting the meanings of learner autonomy and teacher autonomy – and what might be considered as universal within them – I will argue that fostering autonomy is essentially a matter of critical engagement with situated constraints on learner control over learning. I will conclude by suggesting a number of strategies that teachers can use to work within and around these constraints.

Martin Bygate
                                                                                                                                                Invited Paper

University of Lancaster/St Mary’s University College


     As teaching materials and research publications show, over the past 30 years, task-based language teaching has increasingly attracted interest. There are good reasons for this: it can offer important distinctive learning opportunities for the student, as well as providing a potentially rich pedagogical resource for the teacher. But just what do students do on language learning tasks, and how can teachers use tasks? Surprisingly perhaps, most publications on TBLT have concentrated rather narrowly on just a few broad aspects of tasks, and ignored many of the interesting ways in which the use of tasks can both affect how learners learn and widen the range of ways in which teachers teach. In this presentation I will first consider, through examples, what language learning tasks are like and some ways in which they can differ. Next I will discuss some of the kinds of learning experience that tasks can offer, focusing particularly on the content of tasks and on the potential impact of task repetition. Finally I will explore some of the challenges and opportunities that tasks present to

Tim Collins
                                                                                                                                                      Invited Paper

National Louis University at Chicago, USA


What’s Wrong with ebooks? What’s the Ideal ebook for Language Learning?


     Education, and language learning in particular, has always incorporated technological innovation, whether it is the photocopier, CD player, or the personal computer. Yet acceptance of ebooks in educational settings, even in higher education, has been very slow. Industry statistics show that while ebook sales continue to grow in almost every sector, epublications have a very low acceptance rate among students. This presentation will examine the kinds of technological innovations available for online publications, consider reasons why students and teachers continue to express disinterest in epublications, and examine cultural and economic factors that result in the acceptance of new technologies.

        Then the session will turn to the future, and consider a number of factors that may increase the acceptance of epublications, but transform the publications so that they are no longer books with flat, static content, but dynamic, multimedia learning tools. Among the factors that will affect the future of epublications for language learning include:

·      Convergence of multimedia in epublications

·      Impact of online, mobile, and contextual learning on epublications

·      The changing role of homework, and flipped classrooms (where students access lectures at home and do homework in class)

·      Using user data to create custom learning experiences tailored to individual learning needs

·      The epublication as a patient language tutor

·      Social learning and epublications

 Expect to leave this session inspired and excited as you consider the enhanced learning that epublications can bring.


Ebooks for Your Students: Resources for Creating Custom ePublications Workshop


     In this hands-on, interactive workshop, participants will work together in teams to create the design of a custom epublication for their students. First, participants will examine a number of new and emergent technologies for epublishing and elearning. Then the participants will use these emerging technologies to design specific lessons and learning aids for their students. Participants will leave with new ideas on using technology with their students, as well as new understandings of the epublications of the future.


Lee Gunderson                                                                                                                                                Invited Paper
University of British Columbia


Creating a Locally-Developed and Locally-Normed English Reading Assessment for Secondary-Level ESL Students


     According to Statistics Canada, by 2031, one in four Canadians will have been born in another country. One consequence is that the number of students who speak a language other than English at home (ESL) will continue to increase. One of the foundations of good instruction is having valid and reliable assessment measures. In 2008 representatives of 12 school districts established the British Columbia ESL Assessment Consortium. Consortium activities include the development of assessment instruments, cross-district cooperation in the development of ESL support levels, and the implementation of assessment research(see Members created the Lower Mainland English Reading Assessment (LOMERA) for secondary students (grades 8 to 12) that includes writing used in the approved curriculum. LOMERA will be described and the results of a norming study of 4,800 students will be presented that reveals its validity and reliability. The session will also include descriptions of three alternate forms of LOMERA, a web-based version, and the development of a web-based intermediate-level assessment. These assessments are being used in British Columbia to establish instructional levels for ESL students. They have the advantage of being locally developed and normed on ESL students. “What Next for the Future of English Language Teaching?” Consortium members believe one answer is “locally developed large-scale valid and reliable assessment measures.”

Eli Hinkel
                                                                                                                                                        Invited Paper
Seattle University


Innovative and Efficient Construction Grammar


     However unique the architecture, no modern structure is ever built completely from scratch. Incorporation of some prefabricated pieces enables builders and other manufacturers to quickly and efficiently create effective structures or products. Much recent research on formulaic expressions and collocations has shown that academic discourse and text can be successfully built with a broad range of pre-fab sentence chunks and commonly-occurring expressions. Construction grammar in language teaching and learning presents a whole unit approach to conventionalized form-meaning pairing. This presentation suggests a number of practical applications of current research to make the teaching of academic language more efficient and effective. An easy technique that language teachers and researchers can rely on with great effect is to have students build up a range of stock expressions to be used in context, as needed. A range of common active and passive phrases, sentence chunks, or collocational expressions can be combined with other pre-fab constructions to use both in speaking or writing: e.g. in combinations with modal verbs or infinitives such as can/may be made/used/done, is considered to be/shown to be/known to be.
Angel Lin
                                                                                                                                                        Invited Paper

The University of Hong Kong


Popular Culture, New Literacies, and English Language Education:Paradigmatic Change in Educational Design in the Era of Web 2.0 and Beyond


     Popular culture can be an important resource in the English as foreign language (EFL) classroom. However, what is popular culture? How can teachers capitalize on it in creative and useful ways to encourage both critical and affective engagement with popular culture in an English language curriculum? Closely related to this topic is the rising importance of new literacies in the age of new media. In this paper I shall present and discuss the theories and praxis of how to capitalize on popular culture and new literacies in the EFL classroom. I shall first present some key cultural theories on popular culture and then I shall discuss new literacies and some of the ways in which the EFL teacher can draw on popular culture and new literacies in creative ways.


Lockett, Michael                                                                                                                              Featured Presentation


“STORYTELLING – A Tool for Learning and Teaching English”

Award-Winning storyteller and author of numerous children’s books Dr. Mike Lockett will demonstrate how telling stories can improve listening, speaking and reading comprehension of English as a foreign language.  In this workshop

Participants will learn many new stories they can easily tell on their own.

Hints will be given to make learning stories easier.

Participants will be taught techniques that work for telling stories in ANY language.

            Easy-to-learn ideas by Dr. Lockett will make your stories better.

Participants will be taught how to make and use vocal sounds in stories.

            Dr. Lockett is known for his vocal sound effects.  He will share secrets about how to add sounds to stories.

Participants will receive resources they can take home to continue learning when the workshop is over.

           Ideas for practicing stories on your own after this workshop will be shared.

Participants will learn how to actively involve the audience in stories.

           Dr. Lockett will tell a number of stories that focus on audience involvement and teach how to tell the stories.

Participants will improve their vocabulary, comprehension of English, fluency in speaking and ability to better understand spoken English during this session.

           Stories cause individuals to focus on the heart and enjoyment of learning in an atmosphere that is free from risk or fear.

The workshop will be filled with laughter and fun while focusing on the serious topic of English Language Learning.

Michael T. Nettles
                                                                                                                                         Invited Paper

Educational Testing Service


Weighing the Value of English As the World’s Common Language


     More people in the world today speak English as their second language than those who speak it as their first. It is not a close race: Some 600 million people speak English as a second language, versus 400 million for whom it is their native tongue. English is not even among the three most-spoken languages in the world. And yet, English continues to consolidate its position as the common global language. Multinational corporations have made it their official language of business. Governments around the world are requiring students to learn English at ever-younger ages. And multinational trading blocs such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) will rely on English. Is the spread of English as the world’s common language inexorable? Does a dominant common language create the specter of a linguistic monolith that threatens diversity? If not English, then what? Given the rising demand for English skills, is the supply of educators sufficient? This paper will explore these and other questions regarding the role of English as the global common language of trade, education and diplomacy.

Yukio Tono
                                                                                                                                                      Invited Paper
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies


The CEFR and Corpus-Based Research in ELT: New Directions


     This paper introduces the influence of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in English language teaching and learning with a special emphasis on research into “criterial features” that determine CEFR levels. The related studies in L2 learner profiling research will be reviewed and methodological issues will be discussed. As examples of corpus-based methods for extracting criterial features, two approaches, variability-based neighbor clustering and random forest, will be introduced and case studies using Japanese EFL learner corpora will be presented.



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