Introducing the second English Australia Journal Article Discussion


Voting has now finished: the most favoured article with 43% of the votes in this issue is:

Using wikis and forums for writing practice in ELICOS courses, by Jade Sleeman from La Trobe Melbourne International College. You can download the article here or access the whole issue from the English Australia website.

Jade has kindly offered to be available to join in the discussion. In the meantime, I suggest you use the next few days to read the article, and I’ll post some guiding questions in a couple of days’ time.

It was encouraging to see a good number of votes for the other two articles, and congratulations to all four authors on their excellent contributions.

Phil Chappell

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Welcome to the voting page of the second Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. For the time being, the discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page (although this may change in future) and this discussion is scheduled for 15-21 June (Reading time) and 22-28 June (Discussion time).

The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which AusELT folk practice. They are primary research articles, that is, the authors have devised and conducted their own research study and reported their findings. In addition, each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.

In order to assist those who are new to reading research articles, the moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online here and can also be downloaded in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.

Using wikis and forums for writing practice in ELICOS courses

Jade A. Sleeman, La Trobe Melbourne International College

Utilising the collaborative affordances of Web 2.0 tools, this study examined how writing practice can be facilitated in English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) with a view to improving learning outcomes. In this study, wikis were used to practise writing with a class studying Advanced Academic English, with discussion forums used as a follow-up online activity. Though student contributions were initially tentative, their participation exhibited elements of an emerging community of practice, where there was the opportunity for more competent students to provide models of participation and practice to those students that were less confident. Though the writing skills of stronger students were not seen to improve, results from the study suggested that many of the weaker students that engaged actively in the online activities may have improved their writing abilities.

Evaluating material designed to support trainee English language teachers

Peter Watkins & Mark Wyatt, University of Portsmouth

Material used by pre-service English language teachers, such as those preparing for, or already on, courses such as the Cambridge English Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA), needs evaluating to accommodate our continually evolving understandings of learning teaching in a rapidly changing world. Materials evaluation exercises may rely too heavily, though, on the ‘armchair evaluation’ of experts who may never use the material themselves and indeed might have imperfect understandings of the needs of novice teachers. This article reports on an attempt to access CELTA-type trainees’ cognitions and practices through interviews, questionnaires, reading and reaction protocols, and the analysis of a lesson plan, with a view to this informing the materials evaluation and revision process. In our study, this combination of methods, with the research design evolving out of efforts to reduce the threat of researcher bias, generated useful insights, which then fed into the revision process. There are implications for how material used in other teacher education contexts is evaluated.

Individual feedback consultations in Japanese tertiary EFL: A systemic semiotic exploration

Thomas Amundrud, Nara University of Education, Macquarie University

Teachers often advise students on their classwork, but the discourse features of this activity have not been widely studied. Moreover, while corrective feedback (e.g., Bitchener, 2008) has been subject to extensive study in SLA, the classroom discourse in which it occurs has received little attention. This paper examines one phenomenon, called the individual student feedback consultation, that was found in data collected from two Japanese tertiary EFL courses and appears to fit the characteristics of a genre, or ‘a staged, goal-oriented, purposeful activity’ where speakers interact (Martin, 2010, p. 19). This study is situated within systemic functional linguistics and multimodal discourse analysis, and specifically the study of curriculum genres. Five samples from a larger audio-video corpus were analysed for lexicogrammatical, discourse semantic, and multimodal features. Following this analysis, four obligatory stages – Opening, Conferring, Advice, and Closing – were found in all consultations. After presenting the analyses of each stage, this paper closes by discussing possible implications of researching individual student feedback consultations for EFL/ESL teaching and teacher training, as well as for corrective feedback research.

So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Monday June 15, 2015 at 5 pm DST

Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ, Executive Editor of the English Australia Journal)

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