Article Discussion Group: October 2018


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UPDATE: The voting has ended and the favoured article for discussion is The vexed issue of written corrective feedback: English language teachers using theory to improve practice. You can read the article online here and download the pdf here. This week is reading and thinking time, and next week, the discussion begins.

Welcome to the voting page of the 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. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled as such: October 22-28 is reading time; October 29 to November 4 is discussion time.

The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which members of AusELT practice. One is a research article focused on the English Australia/Cambridge Assessment English action research project. Another is an action research project focused on improving students’ confidence in interacting in their local communities. The third looks at how teachers engage with research to improve the way they give feedback on student writing. 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 downloadable in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.


Embracing action research: Current tensions and possible directions

Emily Edwards

University of Technology, Sydney

This article reports on findings from a qualitative study in the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) context which explored teachers’ experiences and their managers’ perceptions of teacher participation in the Cambridge Assessment English/English Australia Action Research in ELICOS program. Despite previously reported benefits for teachers’ professional development as a result of action research participation, the study found that some current tensions may be limiting the potential and sustainability of the English Australia Action Research program for the development of teachers, ELICOS centres and the sector as a whole. This article explores four key tensions and offers some possible ways in which the tensions can be addressed within ELICOS centres and more broadly. These tensions and directions are also likely to be relevant to other ELT contexts in which teachers are conducting action research.

The Rejection Project: An action research project encouraging student interaction outside the classroom

Sarah Wilson

Monash University English Language Centre

International students are increasingly isolated and disconnected when they attend university and may fear talking to the English- speaking public. The Rejection Project is an action research project that examines a new classroom method for university EAP [English for Academic Purposes] teachers to actively encourage students to overcome their fears and speak to local English speakers. This may increase their interactions with the Australian public and give them a better student experience.

The vexed issue of written corrective feedback: English language teachers using theory to improve practice

Margaret Kettle
Queensland University Of Technology

Bronwyn Watson
Daniel Murphy

This paper focuses on written corrective feedback and its challenges for teachers working with adult learners in the English language classroom. The teachers introduced in this paper teach in dedicated language centres, specifically a private college specialising in journalism courses and a university English language centre. Both teachers teach academic preparation courses with a particular focus on writing. They each recognise that academic writing in a second language is new for their students and that the students value feedback on their written drafts. However, for the two teachers, written corrective feedback remains a vexed issue because of their own acknowledged unfamiliarity with the principles of best practice. This paper highlights their concerns and presents points from the field of second language written corrective feedback that have helped inform and improve their feedback. It is envisaged that sharing the teachers’ experiences and the relationship between theory and practice can assist other English language teachers seeking to improve their feedback on students’ second language (L2) writing.


So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Sunday October 21, 2018 at 5 pm DST


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

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