Language Centre Research Presented at World’s Leading Universities

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Language Centre tutors Mr Gareth Morris, Ms Xuanying Shen and Mr Eoin Jordan from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) presented research papers at Oxford University and Exeter University recently.

At the 13th British Chinese Language Teaching Society (BCLTS) International Conference on Teaching and Learning Chinese in Higher Education, Ms Shen and Mr Morris presented a paper co-researched with Mr Yaohui Liang and Ms Yunyi Zhou on the topic of Chinese Language Learning Strategies and Motivation. This is a longitudinal study that will soon enter its third year of data collection.

“Not only does this research set out to establish which Chinese language learning strategies adult learners use, and whether this is affected by linguistic background and or language proficiency, it also explores what motivated and now motivates learners to study Chinese”, said Mr Morris.

“The results from this survey are helping the Chinese language teaching team at XJTLU to better customise their curriculum, materials and pedagogic approaches to learners’ (present and future) needs, preferences and interests. It is additionally helping to fill a language learning literature gap by advancing a body of knowledge which is, compared to studies conducted into English language learning strategies and motivation, comparatively sparse,” added Ms Shen.

This same paper was also presented at the Education, Learning, Styles, Individual Differences Network (ELSIN) 20th International Conference held at Exeter University together with a paper written by Mr Morris and Mr Jordan on the subject of Customised Language Assessment for Specific Academic Degree Programmes.

This paper considered how to customise assessment on credit-bearing English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses, and how these may differ from mainstream English proficiency tests. Areas under discussion included the thematic coverage of assessment content, the integration of language skills within tests, the incorporation of academic skills into assessments, and the design of grading descriptors in order to ensure that students who pass EAP modules have met module learning outcomes.

In addition, Mr Morris also presented a paper titled The Professionalism of Teaching, TESOL and Pre-Service TESOL Teacher Education at the 1st Summer Research Forum held by the Graduate School of Education at Exeter University. This presentation explored what is meant by the terms ‘profession,’ ‘professionalisation,’ and ‘professionalism’ followed by a focus on the professionalism of the mainstream teaching profession, before moving on to examine the professionalism of TESOL.

“It has been great to showcase, at two of the best universities in Britain, the increasingly high quality work and research that is conducted here at XJTLU. Hopefully it will not be too long before educators and academics from these institutions are regularly looking forward to presenting their work here in Suzhou,” said Mr Morris.

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