Language, Learning & Knowing
Dr Shirley O'Neill
Title: Using assessment to feedback into improving ESL students' persuasive writing. Honing in the hotspots.
The ability to write persuasively is highly pertinent to students' school and academic studies, their ongoing learning and lifelong literacy needs. It also underpins the composition of texts that discuss and compare, as well as the genre of editorial and complaint. Part of the challenge of writing persuasively requires students to bring both topic knowledge and knowledge of specific linguistic devices to the writing situation. This presentation examines sample texts in relation to NAPLAN"s (2011) marking guide and the implications for students' learning and explicit teaching. Responding to "Learning a language is better than learning a sport" students' scripts showed a range of performance but overall strong evidence of understanding the persuasive genre and the ability to apply persuasive devices. These devices included use of personal opinion, appeals to reader's logic or values, conditional and emphatic statements, and ability to temper or modify their argument.
Affiliation: University of Queensland, Faculty of Education
Biography: Shirley O'Neill is Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at the University of Southern Queensland and Associate Director, Literacy Pedagogies and Learning in the International Leadership Research (LRI). Her course teaching includes postgraduate applied linguistics/language testing and indergraduate pre-service teachers' foundations of literacy and language, English as a second language and vocational and workplace literacy. Her research focuses on improving literacy learning, fostering positive cross-cultural attitudes, teacher professional development and service learning, with focus on developing cyber communities for web-based synchronous English language learning and teacher/student/community support.
Mrs May Kwan
Ms Cynthia Dodd
Title: Building Intercultural Literacy: language meets culture in multi-modal texts
Authentic, culturally-rich multi-media:
- how do we use it generatively?
- how do we measure students' understanding of it?
Languages teachers need a new global competence, a new set of standards that go beyond language proficiency and include the ability to teach students about the structure and unique characteristics of the target language, and its relationship to other world languages. They also need to be able to mine the riches of culture embedded in the language through exploration of contemporary trends in the target culture and society, of the regional and cultural diversity of the country, and of the target country's cultural history.
This snapshot aims to demonstrate how beginner learners of a language can achieve early success and linguistic and intercultural growth through the use of appropriate multi-model texts and considered pedagogy.
The snapshot will be conducted mainly in Japanese. However, those with no Japanese language are encouraged to attend.
Affiliation: ERAI Consulting - private consultant in Languages and multi-literacies, specialising in the promotion of intercultural literacy through the application of pedagogical expertise. www.erai.com.au
Biography: With an employment background covering work for a major Japanese steel company, to investment analysis for an international mining house, thence to tourism design for Japanese visitors to Australia, thence to teaching Japanese in schools, and educating pre-service Languages teachers, I elected to establish ERAI Consulting to capitalise on my unusual combination of experiences. Extensive work as both writer and trainer for the Intercultural Languages Teaching and Learning in Practice Project (iltlp.unisa.edu.au) and AFMLTA Professional Standards Project: Languages, and as President of the Modern Language Teachers' Association Queensland (MLTAQ) Inc illustrate my particular interest in supporting professional aspiration.
Mr Jonathan Green
Title: A Bridge too far? The relationship between students' perceptions of transfer of learning and instructional strategies in an academic literacy program in Thailand
Transfer of learning has long been the foremost goal of education; this goal is explicit in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and academic literacy courses that, by their nature, aim to support learning by providing students with language and literacy skills and knowledge that may be transferred to the disciplines. Perceivably, the sought-after transfer of learning often fails to occur; cognitive-based theorists believe that this is because educators frequently neglect to attend explicitly to metacognative strategies and methods that promote transfer, expecting it, rather, to occur spontaneously. Amongst prominent advocates of explicit strategies to address transfer of learning, Perkins and Salomon (1989) promote "hugging" and 'bridging" strategies to address, respectively, "low-road" and "high-road" transfer, with the practical implementation of these strategies having been articulated by Fogarty, Perkins and Barell (1992) and customised to English Language Teaching (ELT) and, by implication, to EAP, by James (2006).
This study adopts the hugging-bridging framework in an effort to understand the relationship between instructors' classroom methods and the transfer of learning from an EAP-based academic literacy course to the disciplines in an international undergraduate program in a university in Thailand.
Affiliation: Mahidol University International College, Thailand
Biography: Jonathan Green is a lecturer in, and the director of English Studies Program at Mahidol University International College in Thailand. He has been involved in various aspects of education and training for the last 15 years, the last 8 at his present institution. He is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern Queensland. His professional and academic interests include education management and education psychology, with his current focus being on both institutional and pedagogical means of achieving transfer of learning.
Mr Bassim Almansouri and Dr Henriette van Rensburg
Ms Ha Thi Thu Nguyen
Title: Teaching aesthetic texts aesthetically in a foreign language context
Literature in second/foreign language education has been an area of continuing interest among theorists, researchers and practitioners in language teaching. Literature has potential for communicative competence, personal enjoyment, critical awareness, specific skills training, and a whole person development. The unique contribution of literature to language education relies on the aesthetic "transaction" between the reader and the text, whereby one helps create the other. In a traditional efferent approach, students are given a "standard" analysis or interpretation of a literary text. Despite, and perhaps because of, the safety of this approach, it spares little room for students' exploration of the text itself and therefore limits the possibilities for meaningful interaction with the language. Aesthetic approaches, by contrast, focus on the lived-through experience of the text for enjoyment, appreciation and response.
This presentation reports on some creative activities which have effectively elicited students' aesthetic response to literature in English in a Vietnamese tertiary context. These activities include role play, the use of multimedia, and creative writing. The operation and success of these activities are demonstrated by the results of class observation, analysis of students' writings and students' evaluative response.
Affiliation: University of Melbourne
Biography: Ha Thi Thu Nguyen is a PhD candidate in Language and Literacy Education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. She has also been a teacher of English Literature at the University of Languages and International Studies - Vietnam National University, Hanoi. Her research interests include English literature and language pedagogy, and the appropriation of reader response theory in English as a foreign language contexts.
Linda A Fitzgibbon
Title: The 'Ideal Life' presented in Top Notch and English language textbook: a Critical Discourse Analysis
English as a foreign language (EFL) is taught as a compulsory school subject in South Korea, along with most parts of Asia, from the first year of formal schooling until the last year of formal schooling; then again at university, students take further compulsory English classes.
In this project I used critical* discourse analysis as practised by Bloor and Bloor (2005), Fairclough (2001) Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) to provide systematic techniques for describing and later, interpreting the images and topics within one global commercial, Top Notch.
My preliminary findings suggest that this book shows the 'ideal life' to be a privileged life of travel, fine dining, visiting museums: an elite life, where people are slim, attractive, young, well-dressed, healthy, wealthy and happy. They are always smiling!
Based on my twelve-year sojourn in South Korea, and supported by abundant research emanating from Hofstede's ground-breaking work, (1984), these results imply that what is routine and ideal in the textbook may not be routine and ideal in South Korea. One educational implication is that when students 'see' themselves within learning materials they are more likely to engage with the content.
*Critical means the interpretation of the role and use of language, which reveals how language operates in society, for example, for the advantage of some and for the disadvantage of others.
Affiliation: Linda is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at the University of Queensland. She also teaches Korean cultural studies with Korean language program.
Biography: Linda A Fitzgibbon began her career as a primary school teacher. After completing a Grad Diploma in Applied Linguistics LOTE, she taught both Indonesian and Spanish in all primary grades. After completing a MA TESOL, Linda taught ESL to international students at a TAFE college. Following the financial crisis in the late 1990's, Linda went to teach in South Korea for a year, but stayed for eleven more. Linda is now working towards a PhD which looks at the dominant ideologies in global commercial English language textbooks that are commonly used in compulsory English classes in universities in South Korea.
Dr Berrington Xolani Siphosakhe Ntombela
Title: The theory and practice of the six-step method in EFL and its transferability to engineering programs.
This paper outlines the theory of the six-step method developed by personnel in the Language and Learning department at Caledonian College of Engineering, Oman. The paper further illustrates the application of this method in teaching Project, Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking & Deabate at Foundation level. This assumption in applying the six-step method at Foundation level is that, after repeated exposure, learners should be able to apply it in their engineering studies. The paper therefore discusses the transferability of this method both as teaching and as a learning approach. Findings indicate that the six-step method in EFL context expects more from learners whose linguistic level is lower than it should be due to insufficient exposure to the target language.That is, the method works much better on the application level, where learners are expected to work independently (with the teacher taking a backseat) to accomplish a given task. Notwithstanding, the method encourages and fosters independent learning and the acquisition of soft skills. Furthermore, findings reveal that the transferability of the method to engineering programs as a learning approach leans heavily on its application as a teaching approach.
Affiliation: Caledonian College of Engineering, Sultanate of Oman. The College is affiliated to Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, and is in academic collaboration with Vellore Institute of Technology University, India
Biography: I am currently as Senior Lecturer in the department of Language and Learning at Caledonian College of Engineering, Oman. I hold an MA (Sociolinguistics) degree and D.Phil (Communicative Competence) degree from University of Zululand, Republic of South Africa. My specialisation is in the area of English Language & Linguistics. My research interests are in English Language Learning and Teaching (ELT), Pedagogies and Language Learning, Qualitative Research Methodologies, and Literary Theory and Criticism.
Title: The impact of the context of culture on the teaching of English in Saudi Arabia
Although the educational system in Saudi Arabia has gone through remarkable developments, the context of teaching English in the region still seems to undergo many dilemmas. Previous studies tried to provide remedies for many issues facing language teachers, such as: traditional methods of teachings, the lack of emphasis on communicative language, reliance on rote learning.
This study theories that many of these studies seem to lack a wider understanding of the context of teaching language in this specific region. The aim of this paper is to review major factors influencing English pedagogy that are commonly overlooked in these studies. The first factor is the predominant theories and practice related to teaching native Arabic language, and how it affects the methods of teaching English. The second factor is the ideologies underpinning the implementation of English language in Saudi education. The study presents several examples of how ideology interferes with the planning and teaching of English in a Saudi school. It also presents a short discussion of the new curriculum being trialed, and the possible indications of a possible shift from a decontextualised to a socialised theory of language teaching.
Dr Obaidul Hamid and Ms Ngoc T.H. Hoang
Title: Impacts of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System): voices of the test-takers
IELTS is a globally popular test nowadays and a requirement for education and professional registrations in Australia and the UK to non-native English speaking candidates. It is considered powerful in determining people's life and its extensive impacts add a reason for the increasing criticism of international high-stakes English proficiency tests. Our study in progress investigates the extent of the IELTS' power from the perspectives of the test-takers. This group of stakeholders is most affected by the test, thus understanding their views and attitudes is essential in designing a better, more democratic assessment. Using open-ended questionnaires as data collection instruments, we have conducted nine individual in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion with 14 test-takers who are currently residing in Brisbane. We found that the participants believe an English proficiency test is not necessary. However, most of them are not happy with the IELTS' overwhelming impacts in social, economic, cultural and political terms on global, local, institutional and particularly individual levels. Some participants indicated the test's reproduction of social inequality and the English-speaking countries' dominance. Moreover, they wish to see some change to its structure, conducting manner and authorities' (ab)uses of the test result. This paper draws relevant recommendations based on these findings.
Affiliation: School of Education, the University of Queensland
Biography: Obaidul Hamid is a lecturer in ESL at the University of Queensland, Australia. Previously, he taught at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is interested in English as a second/foreign language, English-in-education policy in the context of national development, social perspectives on second language acquisition and sociology of English learning.
Ngoc T.H. Hoang is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Queensland, Australia. Her doctoral research is on language testing as experiences. She used to be a lecturer at Vietnam National University. Her research interests include critical language testing, critical pedagogy and teacher professional development.
Miss Mahtab Janfada
Title: Scaffolding medical students' academic English through a "Dialogic Approach' to ESP pedagogy in Iran
The challenges associated with gaining mastery in academic English are highlighted in particular disciplines in non-native contexts. In Iran, this is evident in medicine and the current pedagogy adopted by medical faculties which involves a non-dialogic delivery of knowledge. Students are not given opportunities to internalise, contextualise and conceptualise academic and professional medical knowledge in English. Importantly, they remain voiceless outsiders, who are neither sufficiently competent nor confident to operate in the global medical community.
This paper reports on an innovative pedagogical approach to medical English, informed by socio-cultural theories of learning and language (Vygotsky, 1986; Bakhtin, 1981). A multi-layered 'dialogic approach' to English language learning was designed to integrate and balance critical and pragmatic literacy (Harwood and Hadley, 2004) and academic and professional medical discourses, and to address the various 'needs and rights' (Benesch, 1999) of a small group of Iranian medical students.
This paper discusses the meditational tools (Wertsch, 1991) such as role-plays, clinical scenarios, narrative and evidence-based medical texts, and doctors' circle sessions used to introduce students to the concepts of developing an academic voice and sense of professional identity through English. The efficacy of these tools for this purpose will be evaluated and discussed.
Affiliation: The University of Melbourne
Biography: Mahtab Janfada is a PhD candidate in Language and Literacy Education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. She has been teaching and researching on Medical English at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran. Her research interests include critical literacy, transformative pedagogy, appropriation and dialogism in ESP pedagogy and critical material development in Academic English pedagogy.
Ms Alison Willis
Title: A cross-cultural methodology for educational projects that accommodates cultural differences between Western consultants and non-Western participants
This paper proposes an efficacious methodology for cross-cultural studies. The particular study that investigated these cross cultural dynamics adopted a phenomenographic research paradigm, which successfully managed cultural differences between a Western consultant and non-Western participants through the study of experience. It was found that by seeking to understand the pragmatic, everyday stories of the local people the study of lived experience has the capacity to connect the psychological and sociological factors of learning. Research of this kind is foundational as it has the potential to map the context for the future research or practice. The methods used in this study have resulted in the development of a research model that accommodates the cultural differences between consultants and participants.
Affiliation: University of the Sunshine Coast
Biography: Alison Willis works with the International Projects Group and in the post-graduate programs in the School of Science, Education and Engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Having worked with Indonesian and Ugandan teachers in professional development endeavours, Alison has a keen interest in productive methodologies for cross-cultural research and developing education projects. Also working as a secondary school teacher, Alison's theoretical perspective is strongly grounded in practical pedagogical applications.
Professor Sun-Young Lee
Title: Elicited imitation task as an assessment tool for acquisition of numeral classifiers in SLA
This study investigates the validity of elicited imitation task as an experimental technique to assess L2 learners' acquisition of numeral classifiers. A numeral classifier is needed when counting an object in languages like Korean. Different from previous studies most of which employed picture-cued elicited production task, this study uses elicited imitation task in order to test its validity as a tool to assess L2 learners' acquisition of numeral classifies. In this task, each participant heard a single sentence at a time and simply repeated each sentence verbatim. The particular structure used was Subject - Adverb - Locative - (Object - Number - Classifier) - Adverb - Verb - Verb. My brother - yesterday - in the kitchen - on the table - (apple-one-KAY) - fast - pick - eat. "My brother picked up an apple on the table in the kitchen yesterday". The results of the experiment with a total of 52 learners and 14 native controls showed (i) high internal reliability with Cronbach alpha coefficients of .79 and (ii) statistically significant correlations between individual accuracy scores and proficiency levels (r=.52). In conclusion, elicited imitation task as an experimental technique to assess L2 learners' acquisition of numeral classifiers seems to be sound.