Using corpora for writing instruction: Key concepts and considerations – English for General and Specific Academic Purposes Community seminar @ Room 6.66, 6/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, The University of Hong Kong
Nov 27 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Using corpora for writing instruction: Key concepts and considerations - English for General and Specific Academic Purposes Community seminar @ Room 6.66, 6/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, The University of Hong Kong

Due to unforeseeable circumstances, this seminar is cancelled.   


The use of corpora in language teaching at the tertiary level is now well documented in the literature. My aim in this practically oriented presentation is to illustrate the rationale and benefits of using corpora and to examine some key considerations for implementing corpus-based writing pedagogy. As far as the choice of corpus is concerned, one decision to be made is whether an off-the-shelf or a self-compiled corpus is used. Other considerations include the starting point for the corpus search, the visual display of the corpus data and the role of the teacher and student. Challenges in implementing this approach will also be addressed. Illustrative examples will be taken from my own work in using corpora for thesis writing, writing research grant proposals and business letter writing. While I focus on the three afore-mentioned genres, the corpus-based principles and practices outlined in my talk can be applied to a wide range of undergraduate and graduate-level writing. I will conclude the presentation by looking at some recent innovations in the field in terms of new software programs and corpora available for EAP writing. It is hoped that the talk will illustrate the relevancy of this methodology to those new to corpus-based pedagogy and will encourage those who already use corpora an opportunity to reflect on their own situation and exchange ideas.

About the speaker:

Lynne Flowerdew’s main research and teaching interests include corpus linguistics, English for Specific Purposes and disciplinary postgraduate writing. She has published widely in these areas in international journals and edited collections and has also authored and co-authored several books. She is currently an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

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Developing Classroom Interactional Competence (CIC): International and Hong Kong perspectives – Professor Steve Walsh @ Room 6.66, 6/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong
Nov 29 @ 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm


In this session, we’ll be looking at ongoing work which proposes a ‘third strand’, CIC, in English Language Teacher Education. Classroom Interactional Competence (CIC) is defined as ‘teachers’ and learners’ ability to use interaction as a tool for mediating and assisting learning’ (Walsh, 2013, 124). Adopting a sociocultural perspective on learning and using constructs from this theoretical perspective, I present a number of features of CIC and consider how an understanding of the construct can lead to more dialogic, engaged learning environments.

In classroom settings, there are many factors which combine to produce interaction which is conducive to learning. CIC encompasses the less easily definable – yet no less important – features of classroom interaction which can make the teaching/learning process more or less effective. CIC is concerned to account for learning-oriented interaction by considering the interplay between complex phenomena which include roles of teachers and learners, their expectations and goals; the relationship between language use and teaching methodology; and the interplay between teacher and learner language.

In the data, there are a number of ways in which CIC manifests itself. Firstly, and from a teacher’s perspective, a teacher who demonstrates CIC uses language which is both convergent to the pedagogic goal of the moment and which is appropriate to the learners. Secondly, CIC facilitates ‘space for learning’ (Walsh and Li, 2012), where learners are given adequate space to participate in the discourse, to contribute to the class conversation and to receive feedback on their contributions. Thirdly, CIC entails teachers being able to shape learner contributions by scaffolding, paraphrasing, re-iterating and so on.

We will be looking at a number of data extracts to identify instances of CIC and evaluating its significance from both a teaching/learning and teacher education perspective. We will also consider the implications of this research for materials development, assessment and curriculum design and explore ways of embedding CIC in the context of higher education in Hong Kong. The last part will be an open session when participants will have an opportunity to discuss how some of the ideas in the series might be embedded and integrated into current practice.

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Venue: Room 6.66, 6/F, Run Run Shaw Tower,  Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

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