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#AusELT Twitter chat: What would you like to talk about on Sunday 5th March 2017?

We are approaching March which means we need to start planning for our next Twitter chat. That’ll be on Sunday, March 5, at 8:30pm Sydney time.

We have a choice of three topics, based on topics which have generated some interest on the #AusELT Facebook group recently.

Please vote in the poll below and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page and on Twitter towards the end of next week. The chat will take place on Sunday 5th March at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

Vote here:

For those new to Twitter chats, these posts should get you started:

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message Gerhard on Facebook or Twitter (@heimuoshutaiwan) or by leaving a comment below.

Transitions and Transfer: From EAP to Uni – #AusELT Twitter chat, 5th February 2017

puzzle-1020221_1280In this post, Meredith MacAulay discusses how we can better help students transfer their knowledge from preparatory courses to the real world. (NB: The Twitter chat referred to has now taken place, but please check the pre-chat post and links below.)

Despite the increasingly high enrolments in EAP courses in Australia, particularly Direct Entry courses, there is still limited published research into what impacts these courses have on students’ success at university. It can be argued that the ultimate goal of an English for Academic Purposes course is for students to transfer the language, skills and strategies they learn to the tertiary context. However, to what extent does this occur? What affects whether our students use what they learn in their EAP courses? And are we teaching what they really need?

This Twitter Chat will focus on issues surrounding the teaching of EAP courses and learning transfer, that is the application of skills or knowledge learned in one context to a new context. The inspiration for the chat comes from my personal interest in learning transfer and research I carried out on the transfer of learning from a Direct Entry EAP program [DEP] to students’ university mainstream subjects. It focused specifically on speaking skills and the related assessments from the DEP course, and you can read more about it here.

In the Twitter Chat, I’d like to draw on three factors that have been suggested as possible influences on transfer of learning, and which also featured in my results.

They include:

  • students’ perceptions of task similarity – do tasks that students are required to do at uni seem similar to tasks they have done before?
  • students’ perceptions of transfer ‘climate’ (James, 2010) – do students feel supported by the context, including their peers, teachers and assignments?
  • instructional strategies – we can teach for transfer by making our courses similar to the target context and by making students aware of these similarities. We can also encourage students to reflect, plan and monitor their activities and to anticipate future applications (Green, 2015). These strategies are outlined in the  ‘hugging and bridging’ model.

So bring your experience and ideas and let’s discuss the following:

  • What skills do you expect your students to take from your class to uni?
  • To what extent do your students transfer what they have learnt in their mainstream classes? How do you know?
  • How can we strike a balance between near transfer (learning for the test) and far transfer in a DEP course?
  • What can we do to familiarise our students with the target context?
  • What else do you (or your institute) do to facilitate transfer?
  • What information or research would help us to plan our courses and teach for transfer?

All are welcome to this chat, even if you don’t teach EAP! Transfer from our courses to a ‘real life,’ context is relevant to all teachers-General English, Business English, English for Migrants, Teacher Training, etc…Look forward to seeing you there!

This chat has now taken place.

Further Reading & References

Green, J. (2015). Teaching for transfer in EAP: Hugging and bridging revisited. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 1-12.

MacAulay, M (2016). Transition and transfer: Effects of an EAP direct entry course on students’ discussion skills at university. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, vol 11, pp. 97-130.

James, M.A. (2006b). Teaching for transfer in ELT. ELT Journal, 60 (2), 151-159.

James, M. A. (2010). Transfer climate and EAP education: Students’ perceptions of challenges to learning transfer. English for Specific Purposes, 29(2), 133-147.

merMeredith MacAulay (@MeredithMacAul1) is an active AusELTer and currently teaches a Direct Entry EAP course to international students pursuing tertiary study in Sydney as well as training pre-sessional and in-session teachers. She presented on this topic last year at the University of Sydney TESOL Research Colloquium and the English Australia Conference. This is her first time to moderate a Twitter chat!

What would you like to talk about on Aug 7th?

Dear AusELTers

We’re getting ready for our monthly Twitter chat, which is happening this Sunday 7th Aug at 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

To vote for a topic, pick your favourite from the poll below. Topics were proposed by group members and/or near misses in previous votes. The result will be announced on the #AusELT Facebook page and on Twitter and whatever they may be I look forward to hanging out with you lovely people for a chat!

If you are not sure about Twitter and need a hand to get started, do message me on Facebook or Twitter (@sophiakhan4) or by leaving a comment below.

You might also be interested in these posts:

Need help with Twitter?

#AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter

So you have a Twitter account – now what? 


Share your favourite topics for speaking & writing tasks or activities: upcoming #AusELT Twitter chat – 3 April 2016

Our next Twitter chat (THIS Sunday at 8:30pm AEST*), is going to be one of sharing!

Specifically sharing topics and themes for writing and speaking activities and tasks.

Ones that have worked well… and also ones to avoid.

To keep the ideas rolling, during the hour of the chat you can make requests, such as

  • What are your best topics for writing reports?
  • What works best for ’compare & contrast’?
  • What topics work well for a spoken debate?

Of course we won’t just be sharing topics, but also ideas for activities & resources to bring those topics to life.

Join us to share your favourite topics and to discover new ones.

We’re going to be discussing this on Sunday 3rd April at 8.30 pm AEST (Sydney*) time (click here to see the time where you are).

(* Don’t forget, daylight saving finishes this Sunday – well, for those who live in states that save daylight that is)

If you would like some help getting started with Twitter, click here. You can also follow me Lesley Cioccarelli (@cioccas) and Nicki Blake (@Penultimate_K) and a number of other #AusELT members – tweet to us for help and we’ll look after you!

This post by @cioccas

“Photos taken from by @yearinthelifeof, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license,”

Writers wanted!


Ok, so you know you had that New Year’s Resolution to do something different with PD in 2016? (Of course you do!) How about writing for the #AusELT blog?

This could be a good way to spread your wings a little bit if:

  • you have done something great in your classroom/school lately and want to share it
  • you have had something not go so well that you’d like to reflect on and discuss
  • you simply have thoughts on an issue related to English language teaching and learning that you’d like to start a discussion on
  • you have done a presentation or workshop recently that you’d like to share more widely
  • you are thinking of setting up a professional blog of your own
  • you are thinking of writing for the English Australia Journal or another ELT publication

Blog posts are generally around 500-1000 words, and can be written as if you were speaking to a friend or colleague. You can include ideas for further reading if you like, and/or end by adding a question to readers.

Here are some examples of things #AusELT members have written about previously:

You can see that it is pretty varied! Write what you know – or don’t know but would like to explore – it’s all food for thought for the rest of us 🙂

If you are interested, leave a comment below, or contact any of the admin team on Facebook, contact me on Twitter or send an email here. Thanks for reading – now start writing!

This post by @sophiakhan4

AusELT/English Australia Journal presents: Article Discussion Group for November, 2015

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Burri, M. (2015). ‘My perspective changed dramatically’: A case for preparing L2 instructors to teach pronunciation. English Australia Journal, vol 32.1, pp. 19-37.

Access the article to read online here, or download the pdf from here.

Update: Download thread of discussion in pdf


Michael Burri’s articles focuses on the challenging area of preparing teachers to teach pronunciation. For a multitude of reasons (some understandable, and others due to misunderstandings), many language teachers are reluctant to teach pronunciation. This is possibly due to being ill-prepared in their initial or in-service teacher education and training. Michael’s research demonstrates that an increased awareness of English varieties and accents can be beneficial in helping teachers understand more about the goal of pronunciation instruction. This is an important step in improving the way pronunciation is taught in English language programs, however the relationship between teacher cognition and their classroom practices is anything but straightforward.

Michael’s paper gives us an opportunity to understand more about research into teacher cognition, as well as to consider ways that we, as an English  language teaching community with quite a bit in common, can support each other in improving pronunciation teaching practices. Michael offers a convincing case for understanding more about varieties of English and non-native speakers’ accents. It is certainly my own experience that some of my students have said that they do not wish to have a native-like accent in English, but they want to be understood when they speak.

Michael’s research methodology involved a group of 15 mixed-nationality participants taking a postgraduate TESOL subject in pronunciation. As well as covering the usual aspects, this subject included a focus on helping the student teachers develop an appreciation of English varieties and accents. Michael designed the research based on case studies, using questionnaires, focus group discussions, and classroom observations. This is important in teacher cognition research, for what teachers say and what they do do not always match up, for many reasons.

So, we have a study of teacher cognition (beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and knowledge) related to teaching pronunciation, with a case study design involving a variety of data sources, using a class of postgraduate students taking a pronunciation subject in a postgraduate TESOL course.

Opening questions:

1) How confident and effective are you at teaching pronunciation?

2) To what degree are you confident that you understand enough about English varieties and accents to adequately teach pronunciation to your students?

We’re fortunate to have Michael available to comment when required, and I’ll do the moderation of the discussion, though I’m hoping it will flow without need ing too much input from me.

Phil Chappell, Executive Editor, English Australia Journal

Please post your comments on the AusELT Facebook page.

(Image accessed from

Vote for the last #AusELT Twitter chat of the year!!

It’s the last chat of the yeeeeeeeeaaaaarrrrrr!!

Here are some of the 2015 topics that snuck in under the radar but which plenty of people wanted to talk about:

Please vote and the most popular will be the subject for discussion at the last Twitter chat of the yeeeeeeeeaaaaaarrrr, Thurs 5th Nov, 8.30pm Sydney time (click here to see the time where you are).

Hope to see you there!

This post by @sophiakhan4 and @Penultimate_K