Past Seminars


Dr. Elvis Wagner (Temple University, U.S.A.)

Developing and Promoting Learners' Ability to Understand Real-world Spoken English

Listening is a vital component of L2 proficiency and communicative competence. An incredible amount of research has examined the L2 listening process in recent decades, and real improvements have been made in how we understand the L2 listening process, and in how we teach L2 listening. In addition, technology now allows L2 listeners to have virtually unlimited access to target language spoken texts. And yet listening is still the skill many L2 learners feel that they are most deficient in, and listening is also the skill that many L2 teachers feel the least prepared to teach. A fundamental shortcoming in how we teach L2 listening is that the types of spoken materials we use in the L2 classroom are very different from the type of spoken input that learners experience in real-world language settings.

This seminar will explore the L2 listening process, focusing primarily on the components of spoken language that can affect comprehension. The first (public) session will provide an overview of the L2 listening process, and examine the linguistic, organizational, lexico-grammatical, and articulatory characteristics of both scripted and unscripted and spontaneous spoken texts, and how L2 teachers can find, choose, adapt, and create spoken texts for L2 listening teaching and testing. Subsequent sessions in the seminar will examine these themes in greater depth, and will also involve students analyzing spoken texts used for pedagogical purposes. The course project will involve students choosing/creating spoken texts for a series of L2 listening lessons.

Dr. Thomas Farrell (Brock University, Canada)

Reflective Practice for Language Teachers

Reflective practice generally means conscious thinking about what we are doing and why we are doing it and is now used in many different professions such as the legal profession, nursing, and education. Within the field of education reflective practice has had a major impact on virtually all areas of a teacher's life from teacher education programs for novice teachers to professional development programs for experienced teachers. Reflective practice has also impacted the field of second language education and especially the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).This course introduces the principles and practices associated with Reflective Practice for Language Teachers.

Specifically during the course participants will be taken through a framework for reflecting on practice. The framework outlines five-stage/level of reflections that start at level 1: Philosophy: level 2: Principles; level 3: Theory-of-practice; level 4: Practice; level 5 Beyond Practice. The framework for reflecting on practice can be used by all second language teachers from pre-service, novice teachers to the most experienced teachers. The seminar emphasizes that reflective practice is central to a language teacher's development (both novice and experienced) because it helps them to analyze and evaluate what is happening both inside and outside their classes so that they can not only improve the quality of their teaching, but also provide better opportunities for their students to learn.

Required Textbook:

  • Farrell, T. S. C.(2015). Promoting Teacher Reflection in Second Language Education: A Framework for TESOL Professionals (ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series). New York, NY: Routledge. (Buy on

Dr. Laurence Anthony (Waseda University, Japan)

Applications of Corpus Linguistics in Language Materials Design and In-Class Teaching and Learning

This course introduces the principles of corpus linguistics and explains how corpus approaches can be applied in the design of language materials and the development of innovative language teaching and learning approaches.

The first session of the course will begin with a brief history of corpus linguistics, explaining the close link between corpora (language data sets) and the software tools used to analyze them. Next, there will be an explanation of how corpora can be designed and constructed so that they are representative of the target language. Then, the session will shift to a review of common corpus linguistics techniques used by researchers and teachers, which will be illustrated using publicly available corpora and popular web-based tools and freeware desktop tools. The second session will be a hands-on session that will provide opportunities to design and/or construct corpora for particular research questions or target classroom audiences and then develop practical experience of using corpus tools to investigate these corpora using the techniques introduced in session one. The third session will focus on using corpus approaches to assess existing materials and/or develop new materials for language courses. Various corpus tools and methods will be introduced including those that enable teachers to automatically find prototypical examples of target speech, writing, or reading, estimate the difficulty level of those materials, and then semi-automatically simplify those materials if and where necessary.

The final session will focus on introducing corpus approaches to learners in the classroom through Data-Driven Learning (DDL). The advantages of DDL will be explained, the challenges of integrating DDL into a traditional curriculum will be discussed, and strategies for successfully implementing DDL classroom methods will be explained.

The course will be run through a combination of lecturer-focused explanations and hands-on practical sessions. All materials, demo corpora, and software tools will be provided.

Dr. Zoltan Dörnyei (University of Nottingham, U.K.)

Computer-assisted Language Learning

Motivation is widely seen both by practitioners and researchers as one of the key factors that determine the success of the acquisition of a foreign/second (L2) language, and therefore L2 motivation research has a rich history of over fifty years within the study of second language acquisition. This seminar will offer an overview of the development of this research tradition while also focusing on how the various emerging phases of L2 motivation research have been linked to specific educational concerns and research methodologies.

The opening lecture will offer an outline of motivational evolution from the initial social psychological perspective of the 1960-80s, through the educational approaches of the 1990s, to the current self-based and dynamic system approaches. Besides explaining the key underlying assumptions and principles, special emphasis will be placed on discussing the practical implications of the various motivational paradigms. The rest of the seminar will explore the contemporary directions in detail and will also offer an in-depth analysis of critical measurement issues. Key topics will include the "L2 motivational Self System", "motivation as vision", "motivational dynamics" and "directed motivational currents". In terms of assessment, first we shall summarise the use of questionnaire surveys and then we shall discuss the challenges of conducting motivation research in a dynamic systems vein.

Required textbook:

  • Dörnyei, Z. & Ushioda, E. (2011). Teaching and Researching Motivation (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Longman. (Buy on

Recommended Textbook:

  • Dörnyei. Z., & Kubanyiova, M. (2014). Motivating Learners, Motivating Teachers: Building Vision in the Language Classroom . Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. (Buy on
  • Dörnyei. Z., MacIntyre, P., & Henry, A. (Eds.) (2015). Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. (Buy on
  • Dörnyei, Z. with Taguchi, T. (2010). Questionnaires in Second Language Research: Construction, Administration, and Processing (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. (Buy on

Dr. Anna Siyanova (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Computer-assisted Language Learning

Recent years have seen a growing interest in the research looking at the acquisition, processing and use of multi-word expressions (MWEs), also known as formulaic sequences. Broadly speaking, MWEs are familiar phrases that exhibit a certain degree of fixedness and are recognized as conventional by a native speaker. They can be of many different kinds, such as, collocations (do homework), binomials (time and money), multi-word verbs (sort out), idioms (tie the knot), speech formulae (what's up?), lexical bundles (as well as), and so on. MWEs are important because they constitute a large proportion of authentic spoken and written discourse. According to some estimates, up to half of the language we encounter on a daily basis is formulaic. Such pervasiveness of MWEs makes them an essential component of mature linguistic performance.

This seminar will focus on a range of MWEs and the important role they play in language acquisition, on-line processing and use. Specifically, we will examine some of the evidence from second language learning, learner corpus research, as well as the studies on the processing of MWEs in native and non-native speakers. Within each of these areas, we will look at the approaches and methods that can be adopted in MWE investigation. The seminar aims to be interdisciplinary and will be of interest to students and researchers working in the area of vocabulary and second language acquisition, corpus linguistics, and psycholinguistics.

Dr. Fred Davidson (University of Illinois, U.S.A.)

Language Assessment: a Specification-Driven Approach

A test specification is a blueprint-like document from which many equivalent test tasks can be produced. It links test items (i.e., questions), prompts, and rating systems to theory, to curricula, and to inevitable practical constraints.

In the opening lecture, we explore the central role of test specifications ('specs'), including their conceptual history and position in the philosophy of educational and psychological measurement. This includes critical analysis of some example specs. In the balance of the course, we create and revise test specs in much greater detail. Credit students will then complete a final project in which they design and critique a test spec on their own. One goal is to exit the course with a packet of test blueprints in an early version, awaiting further trialing and refinement. A more important goal is to exit with critical skills to write test specs in students' own language education settings and thus improve the validity arguments of their assessments.

For example, if the scoring descriptors for a writing exam mention "plausible" supports for a thesis statement, it is common to critically reflect on what "plausible" means. However, it is much better if a consensus definition can be recorded for the creation of future prompts, for teachers who prepare students for the test, for students who take it, and for other stakeholders. That is what specs do, and in so doing, it is how they contribute to meaningful score inferences and help build stronger validity arguments.

Dr. Irina Elgort (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Computer-assisted Language Learning

Digital technology and the Internet are becoming embedded in all aspects of our life, creating new opportunities for both instructed and independent language learning. This also creates the need for new kinds of knowledge and skill sets, such as digital literacy and ability to use digital tools in a pedagogically sound way.

This seminar engages participants in a critical examination of theoretical and practical issues in computer-assisted language learning (CALL), in a broad sense. Participants will develop an understanding about using, evaluating and designing digital materials and tools for language learning and teaching.

First, an overview of current CALL practices and trends will be provided. Then we will take a closer look at different types of CALL (computer-mediated communication; analysis and reference tools; multimedia; learning environments). We will consider the use of technology in the light of second language acquisition and general teaching and learning frameworks. Participants will learn about principled approaches to choosing digital tools, by aligning their properties with learning activities. Finally, CALL research will be reviewed, and opportunities for language teachers to initiate and conduct CALL research will be discussed.

Dr. Scott Jarvis (Ohio University, U.S.A.)

Crosslinguistic Influence

Crosslinguistic Influence (CLI) - or transfer- involves the way a person's knowledge of one language affects the person's production, comprehension, and processing of another language. CLI has been found to occur in multiple directions (e.g., L1 to L2, L2 to L3, L2 to L1) and in all subsystems of language (e.g., phonology, lexis, morphology, syntax, semantics), though to varying degrees and subject to differing constraints. CLI has also been found to be linked to areas of cognition associated with attention, perception, and memory.

This course will be organized as follows:

Part I: Overview

  • a brief history of the field
  • current objectives of CLI research
  • primary areas of empirical discovery and theory development
  • methodological tools and argumentation heuristics

Part II: Argumentation Heuristics

  • types of evidence necessary to confirm CLI
  • studies that have used these heuristics

Part III: New Tools and Empirical Discoveries

  • new empirical methods and tools adopted by CLI researchers
  • methods and findings of studies that have used these new tools

Part IV: Theoretical Advances

  • hypotheses and theoretical models (e.g., conceptual transfer) that have been proposed to account for when (e.g., at which stage of language development and under which conditions), where (in which mode and subsystem of language), and how (through which processes and mechanisms) CLI occurs
  • important research driven by these new theoretical perspectives

Texts (Required)

Dr. Eli Hinkel (Seattle Pacific University, U.S.A.)

Research-based Curriculum and Pedagogy in Second Language Writing

The goal of the course is to provide practical guidelines for teachers and teacher educators who seek to develop effective curricula for language development in second language writing courses. The course focuses on research-based principles of effective and efficient pedagogy in the essential second language discourse, grammar, and vocabulary that learners require to produce reasonable quality academic prose. The overarching purpose of the course is to outline the foundational elements of a curriculum design and to suggest ways to integrate them in the context of principled and language-focused instruction in second language writing. In addition, a step-by-step guide to curriculum design is also considered, together with practical examples and illustrations of how to develop curricula for teaching second language writing.

The course will take a look at the three interrelated curriculum design practicalities and pedagogy:

  • identifying the elements of text and discourse that are valued in student writing in schooling and academics
  • integrating the teaching of language with a curriculum on teaching second language writing
  • designing a principled curriculum based on the language and discourse features of writing

The course highlights the what and the how-to of developing research-based curricula and the principles of effective teaching in second language writing and academic language.