Abstracts of the Featured Speakers
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.
Department of Linguistics
and Modern Language Studies
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.
University of Lancaster/St Mary’s University College
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
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.
Creating a Locally-Developed and Locally-Normed English Reading Assessment for Secondary-Level ESL Students
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 www.eslassess.ca). 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.”
Innovative and Efficient Construction Grammar
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.
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
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
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.
Educational Testing Service
Weighing the Value of English As the World’s Common Language
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.
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.