William Acton

Embodied (and disembodied) methodology in English language teaching: from drill to virtual reality


The last half century in the field of language teaching has in many ways witnessed the continuing consequences of “Descartes’ error” (Damasio, 1994), a disproportionate focus on the mind (or brain) rather than the body; cognition, rather than movement or action. Research in neuroscience has begun to establish a more prominent place for “embodied cognition” in our models of the brain and learning. The implications for research and instruction in our field are both encouraging and . . . sobering.

Diane Belcher

Digital border crossings: Promoting digital literacy as a means of crossing generic, modal, linguistic and national boundaries

While literacy educators have long been urged to view writing as linked with other modes, including oral communication, and writing pedagogy as ideally moving well beyond template-oriented views of genre, only more recently has writing been conceived of as part of a much larger technology-enhanced semiotic toolkit, capable of engendering dynamic, hybrid genre development. Such a digitally-enriched view of composing is especially likely to benefit multilingual writers, who can now be offered the affordances of a wealth of composing-process resources—audio and visual. This presentation will focus on some of the many ways in which digital multimodal composing enables multilingual writers to think and communicate outside the confines of single linguistic modes and codes, as well as genres, and succeed in reaching authentic global audiences.

Joseph Lo Bianco

The Problems of Language: Recovering a Perspective on Conflict Management and Resolution.


The term ‘Engaging with Diversity’ is replete with ambiguity.  Much of the ‘engaging’ that states and institutions have historically done with ‘diversity’ is to seek to obliterate language, dialect and script differences.  This has been a widespread historic process of linguistic consolidation in nation forming projects in Europe, but also far beyond. The shared aim was to forge national distinctiveness around mono-lingualism in national languages.  Granting national languages literate prestige, standardisation, and cultivation, as well as legal bolsters and educational primacy, served to marginalise all other communication systems.  One of the originating impulses for the ‘science’ of language policy and planning can be traced to the 1950s and 1960s efforts of North American development assistance agencies.  These bodies encountered vast multilingualism in newly independent post-colonial states in Asia and Africa and sought assistance from linguists in providing advice to states about public administration, especially for the delivery of education. As a result, a key focus of the reflections of academic scholars of the time was the notion of the language problem, how it could be conceived, and how it could be solved.  This paper will review the notion of the language problem in relation to a more democratic process of language policy and planning that places multilingualism at its core, in which speaker perceptions and priorities interact with the expertise from applied linguistics.  I will offer a new approach to language policy and planning that fuses bottom up and top down perspectives, with the relationship between expert research knowledge and community priorities.  The talk will draw on experience from towns and cities in Europe and 45 facilitated dialogues in Southeast Asia conducted between 2012 and 2017.

Rhonda Oliver

The diverse interactions of Aboriginal EALD speakers: Codeswitching, translanguaging or “whatever”….

Australian Aboriginal people interact in diverse ways and this is especially the case for those who grow up and live in rural and remote locations.  In such locations Standard Australian English (SAE) is often not spoken as the residents’ first language or dialect, instead they may have either traditional Indigenous language(s) or an English-lexified creole as their first language (L1), or they may have Aboriginal English (AE) as their first dialect.  In addition, most will also use AE as the lingua franca to communicate with other Aboriginal people who do not share their home language.

For Aboriginal people, particularly those living in the rural and remote communities, the importance of language (i.e., traditional languages, creoles and AE), both for the maintenance of culture and as a marker of Aboriginality, should not be underestimated.  For younger people in particular, their Aboriginal languages contribute in significant ways to the formation of their self-identity. At the same time, however, to fully participate in mainstream Australian society Aboriginal people also need to develop an awareness of and have skills in using SAE. This is especially the case for those studying in schools and universities.

To address this need, Aboriginal students have been encouraged and, at times, explicitly taught to codeswitch - changing from their home language to SAE within the classroom. This has been implemented on the assumption that written literacy development will emerge from such a foundation.  Yet despite this, educational outcomes (e.g., NAPLAN results) show they continue to achieve under the national standard in language and literacy (ACARA, 2012).

While formal success in SAE seems elusive, many Aboriginal speakers, including children, demonstrate a complex linguistic repertoire. Rather than simply switching from one language to another they move fluidly between their various linguistic codes and do so as required by the context, audience, and the learning environment.  In this presentation I will describe various observational data showing the diverse ways and various modes in which they do this and make suggestions for how pedagogy (including assessment) can move beyond our current monolinguistic hegemony to one that is Informed by a translanguaging perspective (Garcia & Wei, 2014).

Suzy Acton

From Japan to Australia: Essential Phonics for the EAL/D Primary Classroom


After more than of decade of teaching primary children in Japan, Suzy Acton brings a refreshing perspective on ways of teaching phonics to primary children in an English-speaking country. Her workshop focuses on discussing issues surrounding children from English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) background, especially those from Asian countries. She will debunk some of the myths of teaching these learners, and provide an insightful perspective on teaching children in this region. Based on this background, she will provide recommendations for integrating phonics in general reading and EAL/D instruction. Workshop participants will engage with a number of creative, and physically-engaging, phonics-based activities, materials and games.

Aek Phakiti

Dealing With Reliability During Quantitative Data Analysis

Can quantitative research be useful and trusted when the research instruments are not reliable? This workshop will discuss the importance of reliability in quantitative research (e.g., instrument reliability and research reliability) and factors affecting it. Reliability is associated with the concept of consistency of observation as well as replication. It is not equivalent to the concept of validity (e.g., accurate nature of a phenomenon or characteristic of something), but is a requirement for quantitative validity. In quantitative research designs, such as surveys and experiments, researchers are expected to illustrate that the data being used to address their research questions are reliable. Quantitative studies that fail to report and discuss the reliability of the instruments may lead to questionable or doubtful claims. This workshop will highlight the importance of reliability through the use of examples of published quantitative research in applied linguistics. Strategies to enhance the reliability of research instruments will be presented. In this workshop, participants will have a hands-on opportunity to learn and practise various reliability estimates, such as Cronbach Alpha and Cohen’s kappa, though the use of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) Program in a computer lab. Additionally, since the reliability of research lies on an understanding of an appropriate statistical test to be used for answering a research question, this workshop will align a type of research questions with an appropriate statistical test that may help enhance quantitative research reliability. Finally, this workshop will present the best practice for reporting and dealing with the reliability of a quantitative research instrument.

Jonathan Crichton

How Are We To Navigate ‘Interpretation’ and ‘Analysis’?

The terms ‘interpretation’ and ‘analysis’ are central to research in Applied Linguistics and cognate disciplines. However, it is often unclear how these terms are to be distinguished and the relationship between them understood.

This is not just an issue of methodological terminology and process. Interpretation and analysis each connote diverse epistemological and ontological perspectives, with implications for the nature of knowledge and language, the purposes of research, the place of data and research participants, and the relationship of the researcher to all of the above.

In the absence of paths through this complexity, it is not surprising that those embarking on research can encounter doubts, uncertainties and challenges in seeking to navigate between interpretation and analysis.

This seminar will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the relationship between interpretation and analysis and its relevance to their research interests.

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ALAA 2018

ALAA 2018

Joseph Lo Bianco