Plenaries and Speakers

Plenaries and Speakers

Clare Furneaux

Professor of Applied Linguistics

Teaching and Learning Dean

University of Reading, UK

With background in English language teaching in schools and universities in Asia (China, Japan, Malaysia and Nepal) and in the UK, Clare Furneaux is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the British University of Reading’s Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics. In that role she has taught on and led MA ELT programmes on campus and by distance learning over many years. She supervises and conducts research into academic literacy, especially writing. Clare also has a major leadership role at Reading as a Teaching and Learning Dean; her portfolio includes responsibility for ‘the student experience’. She is also a UK National Teaching Fellow.

Maggie Sokolik

Director of College Writing Programs

UC Berkeley, USA

Maggie Sokolik has a Ph.D. in applied linguistics from UCLA. She has taught writing and technical communication on the Berkeley campus since 1992, where she is now the Director of College Writing Programs. She has taught reading and composition courses, advanced composition, American Cultures courses, and a full range of courses for multilingual student writers. She is the author/editor of more than thirty ESL and composition textbooks. She travels frequently to speak about technology, writing, and instructor education, most recently in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Turkey, New Zealand, France, and Nepal. She teaches a graduate course on writing pedagogy, as well as several MOOCs through

Critical thinking in the curriculum: How can EAP help?

Speaker: Professor Clare Furneaux
Date: 5 June 2019
Time: 09:25-10:25
Venue: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


This plenary will discuss what we mean by critical thinking, and how far the meaning varies across disciplines. Programmes which encourage critical thinking in general terms may not help students when they have to write in non-humanities-based contexts. How can EAP teachers identify what critical thinking means in different contexts and then help our students to develop these skills? The plenary will also consider how EAP teachers can work with Faculty discipline-specific colleagues in producing tasks to develop critical thinking within their curriculum, focusing on academic literacy. Reading and writing will be considered as separate and then integrated skills.

Real and Virtual Learner Engagement in Writing

Speaker: Dr. Maggie Sokolik
Date: 5 June 2019
Time: 17:10-18:10
Venue: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Student engagement in writing courses, especially those taught online, is a complex problem. To increase retention and completion rates in two ELL MOOCs, research into using goal-setting and statements of inclusion, which state explicitly that students of different ages, ethnicities, and educational backgrounds are welcome, to improve student participation was conducted. While goal-setting was correlated with improved retention and completion rates, statements of inclusion were less effective. These results can be related to face-to-face classrooms as well, where we seek ways to improve learner engagement, inclusion, and motivation through goal-setting. We look at the outcome of the research as it pertains to making writing classes more inclusive and engaging.

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