Keynote Speakers

Keynotes and Pre-Conference Workshops

Professor David Boud

Alfred Deakin Professor and Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Emeritus Professor, The University of Technology Sydney, Australia


David Boud has published extensively on teaching, learning and assessment in higher and professional education. His current work focuses on the areas of assessment for learning in higher education, academic formation and workplace learning. He is one of the most highly cited scholars worldwide in the field of higher education. He has been a pioneer in developing learning-centred approaches to assessment across the disciplines, particularly in building assessment skills for long-term learning (Developing Evaluative Judgement in Higher Education, Routledge 2018), designing new approaches to feedback (Feedback in Higher and Professional Education, Routledge, 2013) and in judging the effects of feedback (The Impact of Feedback in Higher Education: Improving Assessment Outcomes for Learners, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).


From assessment as looking back to assessment as looking forward

Higher education has come a long way from the naïve view that assessment is the testing of students’ knowledge in relation to that of other students. But, have we fully considered the implications of the many changes in assessment thinking and the educational landscape in which we now operate for what we do now? The presentation will review recent major changes that have occurred in assessment thinking and explore the current agenda for assessment practice. It will focus on a renewed emphasis on learning, on standards and on students taking greater responsibility not only for learning but also for assessment.


Redesigning feedback practices to make a difference

Too often, feedback has focused exclusively on what teachers do, but ultimately it can only be judged in terms of the influence it has on student learning.  This session will show how conceptions of feedback have shifted rapidly in the past few years to become much more learning-centred. It will emphasise the importance of students building the capacity to judge their own work and that of others, and discuss the development of student feedback literacy, that is, the capability to benefit and ultilise feedback processes for their own ends.

Associate Professor Averil Coxhead

Associate Professor, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


Associate Professor Averil Coxhead teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in vocabulary, EAP, TESOL and Applied Linguistics in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Averil’s research interests include general and specialised vocabulary for English for Academic Purposes and English for Specific Purposes. She is a co-author for the new Academic Spoken Word List (Dang, Coxhead, & Webb, 2017). Her recent books include Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes research: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives (2018; Routledge), a series of textbooks called Reading for the academic world with Professor Paul Nation (2018, Seed Learning), and a new volume on language in trades education (Coxhead, Parkinson, Mackay & McLaughlin (2019, Routledge). Averil is currently researching specialised vocabulary, including multiword units, in spoken and written English in the trades and higher education.


Assumptions and research into vocabulary in EAP

Vocabulary seems to be a core part of English for Academic Purposes courses in institutions in Hong Kong as in other parts of the world. Some common aspects of academic vocabulary feature quite often in course descriptions, such as word parts, academic verbs, and differentiating between general and specific academic lexis. In this talk, I plan to address some common assumptions about academic vocabulary that come up in conversations with EAP teachers. I will discuss each assumption in relation to research in vocabulary studies, using examples. Here are the four main assumptions: (1) Written academic word lists are useful for academic speaking courses; (2) any academic word list is worth spending time on in class; (3) learning words in a word list is useful for learners; and (4) TED Talks are useful for EAP classes. I will end the talk with some suggestions for innovations and implications for pedagogy, as well as research.


Vocabulary in English for Specific Purposes: Three key ideas

This workshop focuses on vocabulary in ESP by focusing on three key ideas. The first part of the workshop introduces specialised vocabulary, with examples from research into different contexts and subject areas, and examines how this vocabulary has been identified in research. The second part focuses on word lists in vocabulary in ESP, and considers options for evaluating them. The final part looks into principles and practice in language classrooms and materials design when dealing with specialised vocabulary. Participants will be expected to take part in discussions, ask questions, and complete tasks in this workshop.

Professor Alister Cumming

Professor Emeritus

Former head of Centre for Educational Research on Languages and Literacies

Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

University of Toronto, Canada


Alister Cumming is professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, where he has been employed since 1991 following briefer periods at the University of British Columbia, McGill University, Carleton University, and Concordia University.  From 2014 to 2017 Alister was also a Changjiang Scholar in the National Research Centre for Foreign Language Education at Beijing Foreign Studies University.  His research and teaching focus on writing in second languages, language assessment, language program evaluation and policies, and research methods.  Alister’s recent books are High-stakes English Language Testing in China (with David Qian, special issue of Language Assessment Quarterly, 2017), Agendas for Language Learning Research (with Lourdes Ortega and Nick Ellis, Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), Adolescent Literacies in a Multicultural Context (Routledge, 2012), A Synthesis of Research on Second Language Writing in English (with Ilona Leki and Tony Silva, Routledge, 2008), and Goals for Academic Writing (John Benjamins, 2006).   Alister’s university home page is:


L2 writing and L2 learning: Transfer, self-regulation, and identities

The idea that writing in a second language (L2) can foster learning in that language has intrigued educators and researchers for several decades.  I review the theories and research that have addressed this idea to date.  Three perspectives have been established, focusing either on (a) the transfer of knowledge and skills; (b) attention, self-regulation, knowledge consolidation, or collaboration while composing; or (c) development of identities within particular discourse communities and complex dynamic systems.  I suggest that each of these perspectives has multiple dimensions, ranging from (a) micro-levels of linguistic and cognitive resources to (b) processing levels of attention, knowledge consolidation, and self-regulation and on to (c) macro-levels of interactions with semiotic systems, other people, and identities within discourse communities.  I discuss each of these perspectives and dimensions in sequence, leading to the formulation of ten tentative claims about diverse ways in which L2 writing may foster L2 learning.  I conclude by considering how four general theories of learning relate to these claims: behaviorist, cognitive, sociocultural, and complexity theories.


Responding to students’ writing: Promoting assessment for learning

This workshop will first review best practices for teachers to respond to students’ written drafts based on professional advice and syntheses of published research.  Formulating common principles, however, is complicated by contextual variability in aspects of language and writing attended to; curricular contexts, processes, and populations; media, modes, and timing of feedback; purposes of assessment; and roles of self-, peer-, and teacher assessment. Certain approaches can aim to promote assessment for learning:  stating and evaluating individual goals for learning, establishing criteria for evaluation in advance by consensus among students, relating responses directly and selectively to curriculum taught and studied, sequencing revisions of multiple drafts strategically, and self- and peer-modeling and assessment. The second half of the workshop will invite participants to discuss in small groups, then to share and deliberate over collectively, their recommendations and rationales for responding most effectively—to promote assessment for learning—to a draft written by a student preparing for an English proficiency test.

Professor Mike Levy

Honorary Professor

The University of Queensland, Australia


Mike Levy’s research work focuses on CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning), and includes studies on the distinctive role of technology in mediating language learning, including how the technology itself shapes the interaction at both the macro and the micro level. His interests span theory, design and practice and his work has included studies on digital literacy, mobile language learning, dictionary use, online cultures, teacher education and learner training.

Professor Levy has published over 50 research articles on CALL. His sole, co-authored or edited books include: Computer-Assisted Language Learning (OUP, 1997), CALL Dimensions (Erlbaum 2006, with Glenn Stockwell) and Teacher Education in CALL (Benjamins 2006, with Phil Hubbard). In 2015, he received the article of the year award for the CALICO Journal. In this article, he examined the role of qualitative research and CALL. He was guest editor for a special issue of Language Learning and Technology on qualitative research in CALL published in 2018. His latest article is, ‘World CALL: Are We Connected?’ (2019: Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 59-73.


Innovation and digital literacy in English language education at the tertiary level

Events in the wider world — political, economic, social, technical — inevitably impact upon the lives of university educators and their students. Digital media permeates this terrain in ever more powerful ways. Constant reappraisal is required; adjustments need to be made.

As far as our responsibility to our students is concerned, we are always, in a sense, helping prepare them for what comes after university as they seek to clarify their goals and to find their place among the professions and the wider community. In this presentation, a ‘long view’ of the student is taken where language learning is related to real-world contexts and future goals, not merely the next assessment item.

Within this context, this presentation examines the question of digital literacy and the corresponding need for authentic, digitally-mediated materials and tasks in class.  This perspective demands a pivotal role for the language teacher, in mediating the language learning process and selecting the appropriate classroom materials and digital media. A strategy for innovation is presented leading to principles that can guide media selection and task design to support and enhance digital literacy. Illustrative examples will be given.

The goal throughout is to highlight the connectivity between the wider world and the world of the language classroom in large part supported and enhanced via digital literacy. Through increased awareness and informed debate, it is hoped this will place us in a stronger position to ensure well-motivated students and real-world relevance.


Qualitative approaches to research in digitally-mediated language-learning contexts: From design concept to research method

This workshop will begin with an overview of qualitative approaches to research in CALL and digitally-mediated contexts. It will include brief discussion of some of the key attributes and areas of focus of this orientation (including as a component of a mixed-method approach), and in the process explain why it can be so powerful, insightful and effective.

The workshop will then proceed to explore innovative approaches to project conceptualisation and design.  Where do we begin? How do we choose our approach, be it ethnographic, case study, interview, action research, or a combination. Workshop participants will be encouraged to contribute their ideas at each stage of the research process, from initial concept through to implementation.

What exactly do we wish to discover through the research project? Central to the discussion is the language learner. A number of the studies emphasize the importance of listening to the students’ voice in qualitative research. It is in the unpacking of what students actually do moment-by-moment in CALL tasks and activities that best illustrate the strengths of qualitative methods in enhancing our understanding of mediated learning and thereby driving productive research agendas.

A number of representative examples will also be presented. These examples are used to highlight the importance and value of qualitative data in relation to a specific research objective in CALL and digitally-mediated contexts.


Recommended readings:

Levy, M. (2015). The role of qualitative approaches to research in CALL contexts: Closing in on the learner’s experience. CALICO Journal 32(3), 554–568.

Levy, M.  & Moore, P. (2018). Qualitative research in CALL. Language Learning & Technology, 22(2), 1-7.

Professor Lourdes Ortega

Professor, Department of Linguistics

Georgetown University, The United States


Lourdes Ortega is a professor at Georgetown University, where she mentors language educators and linguistics doctoral students. She investigates how adults learn new languages, particularly in higher education settings. She is best known for an award-winning meta-analysis of second language instruction published in 2000, a best-seller graduate-level textbook Understanding Second Language Acquisition (Routledge 2009, translated into Mandarin in 2016), and since 2010 for championing a bilingual and social justice turn in her field of second language acquisition. Her latest book is The Cambridge Handbook of Bilingualism (co-edited with child bilingualism researcher Annick De Houwer). Lourdes was born, raised, and college-educated in southern Spain, spent a year abroad at the University of Munich in the early 1980s, worked as a teacher of Spanish in Greece for almost a decade, and obtained her doctorate in the United States, the country where she has lived for over 25 years now. These choices have afforded her a different dominant language at different periods in her life (so far): Spanish, German, Modern Greek, and English. This trajectory has shaped her professional identities as an educator and a researcher. She is committed to investigating what it means to become bilingual or multilingual later in life and across elite and marginalized contexts for language learning. In her work she seeks to encourage connections between research and teaching and to support harmonious bilingualism and the well-being of all multilinguals. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of a large number of international journals, Lourdes has a decades-long association with the journal Language Learning, including Journal Editor in 2010-2015 and, currently, Associate General Editor. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Applied Linguistics. At Georgetown University she is also founding member and convener of the Initiative for Multilingual Studies.


Exploring teaching-research interfaces: A down-to-earth SLA perspective

In my twenty years of being a second language acquisition (SLA) researcher, I have met many language teachers who told me learning about SLA really shifted their thinking about their teaching practice and their approach to teaching. I have, however, also spotted many baffled or dismayed faces of language teachers, who just couldn’t believe what SLA had to say (or how little it had to say) about some of their most urgent classroom questions. Many professional development efforts focus on familiarizing teachers with the latest trends in SLA research. But why should language teachers care? In this talk I want to show new ways of seeing the relationship between research and teaching, from the perspective of a down-to-earth SLA researcher. First and foremost, research is about generating useful information for some community, of which the most important one is language teachers. A good example is motivation, an area where SLA researchers have sought, and mostly succeeded, to turn empirical evidence into knowledge that can make the lives of language teachers better. Often, findings from SLA need a large amount of contextualization and critical professional translation before they can be of use in actual local classroom contexts. A good case in point is research on error correction, which has yielded contradictory and fragmentary findings thus far. But the best research is about generating knowledge without which we would see the world of language teaching differently. Like discovering that the earth is round, not flat. Here, age and multilingualism are two areas in which SLA has a lot to offer to teachers. My goal is to provide tools for thinking about research and teaching as imperfectly and not always obviously compatible perspectives that can enrich the professional lives of language teachers and researchers alike – but only when a delicate balance between idealism and pragmatism is struck.


A multilingual ethos for error correction in Additional Language pedagogy

Correcting language errors in students’ speech and writing is thought to be a central part of every teacher’s job, a professional duty that many language teachers excel in and that most language students expect. However, even teachers who are well trained in matters of error correction still often find it hard to deal with their students’ errors in their professional practice.  Some teachers ask themselves: What value and purpose might there be in correcting my students’ errors when I am teaching in a curriculum that is communication oriented (for example, a TBLT curriculum, a CLIL program, or an EMI school context?). Other teachers who are concerned with unmasking nativespeakerism also ask themselves: Does error correction feed into feelings of linguistic insecurity among my students, feelings of always being less than native speakers? And almost all teachers have at some point asked themselves: Is error correction worth the time investment and the affective risks?

In this workshop, participants will engage in scenario-based discussions that help them interrogate key principles for error correction in L2 classrooms, with examples from speaking and writing, and pose critical questions, such as: Is accuracy a worthwhile pursuit in language teaching? What does it mean to be “accurate” in a second/additional language? The aim of the workshop is to develop a personally relevant professional stance on error correction that takes into account (a) difficult philosophical and ideological issues regarding the value of nativelike norms and (b) the social, educational, and affective dimensions (or the why’s) of error correction across diverse classroom contexts. The hope is that workshop participants will come up with some strategies for responding to their student errors in ways that nourish a multilingual ethos in their teaching and help them and their students resist the myth of nativelikeness as the “true” measure of success in language learning.

Banner photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

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