Saturday, December 09, 2017

The BC TEAL Journal

I'm currently the editor of the BC TEAL Journal, which is the peer-reviewed scholarly publication of the Association of British Columbia Teachers of English as an Additional Language (BC TEAL). The journal exists to promote scholarship related to the teaching and learning of English as an additional language in British Columbia, with articles explicitly reflecting the various contexts and settings of the BC TEAL Membership.

Call for Submissions to the BC TEAL Journal

The BC TEAL Journal invites the submission of original previously unpublished contributions, such as research articles or theoretical analysis, classroom practice, and opinion essays, from all sectors and experience levels represented by the BC TEAL membership.  Research type articles should be no more than 7,000 words, plus references.  Theoretical analysis, classroom practice, and opinion essays should be no more than 3,500 words, plus references.  Please refer to the Author Guidelines for more information on submitting to this journal.

Manuscripts are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year, with papers that have completed the review and editing process being published as they are ready. The BC TEAL Journal publishes on an ongoing basis, with articles gathered into a single issue over the course of one calendar year. For more information on the submission process, please visit

Friday, August 18, 2017

Interested in Service Learning and English Language Teaching and Learning? New Article in the TESL Canada Journal ...

Tracy Riley and I have recently had an article published in the TESL Canada Journal on a service learning experience for English language learners.  I was Tracy's MA supervisor on this project.  If you are interested in doing an MA related to English as an additional language teaching and learning, check out the graduate programs on my campus:

In the meantime, here is the link  to the article followed by the English and French abstracts:

The Multicultural Café: Enhancing Authentic Interaction for Adult English Language Learners Through Service Learning

While service learning platforms hold great potential for adult learners of English as an additional language (EAL), there has been little research to date related to the impact of these programs on adult newcomers’ linguistic and social development. The Multicultural Café was a food service learning platform for adult EAL learners operated over a 7-month period at a regional college in the British Columbia interior. The café was developed to provide adult immigrant learners of EAL with an opportunity to authentically engage in using English to provide a valued service to the local community. The current study was conducted to explore the impact of the service learning experience from the perspective of the participants. Using a qualitative case study research design, data were gathered from participants (n = 10) through a questionnaire, semistructured interviews, and a focus group. Data were transcribed, coded, and collected into emerging themes. Opportunities for authentic interactions with customers and with other volunteer coworkers emerged as two of the primary outcomes of the service learning experience. Incorporating the service learning opportunity of the Multicultural Café into the participants’ English language learning experiences appeared to enhance their interactions within the college community.

Les cadres d’apprentissage par le service communautaire sont très prometteurs pour les apprenants adultes d’anglais langue additionnel (ALA); pourtant, peu de recherche a porté sur l’impact de ces programmes sur le développement linguistique et social des nouveaux arrivants d’âge adulte. Le Café Multiculturel a constitué, pendant une période de 7 mois, un milieu d’apprentissage par le service pour des apprenants adultes d’ALA dans un collège régional de l’intérieur de la Colombie-Britannique. Le café a été développé pour fournir aux immigrants adultes apprenant l’ALA l’occasion de communiquer authentiquement en anglais tout en offrant un service important à la communauté locale. La présente étude a porté sur l’impact de l’expérience d’apprentissage par le service selon la perspective des participants. Employant un plan de recherche qualitative visant une étude de cas, nous avons recueilli des données de participants (n = 10) par le biais d’un questionnaire, d’entrevues semi-structurées et d’un groupe de discussion. Les données ont été transcrites, codées et rassemblées selon des thèmes qui s’y dégageaient. Deux des résultats principaux de l’expérience de l’apprentissage par le service consistaient en les occasions d’interactions authentiques avec les clients et avec les autres collègues bénévoles. L’intégration, dans le parcours pédagogique des apprenants d’anglais, de l’expérience de l’apprentissage par le service au Café Multiculturel semble avoir mis en valeur leurs interactions au sein de la communauté du collège.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

What Should Canada’s Teachers Know?

I recently had a chapter published in a publication by the Canadian Association for Teacher Education (CATE). Every two years, CATE holds a working conference for teacher educators, and this book was the result of the 2015 conference that was held in Toronto.  The book is available as a pdf, and it is free.  You can find the book here:

Here is the title and abstract for my chapter:

Preparing for Linguistic Diversity: Teacher Candidate Reflections on an Elementary Education Course in Additional Language Teaching and Learning

Teacher candidates in Canada encounter a rich range of linguistic diversity in their school experiences. The goal of this qualitative study was to examine, from the point of view of elementary teacher candidates, the extent to which an additional language teaching and learning course prepared them for their encounters with students from linguistically diverse backgrounds. Data were gathered through an online open-ended questionnaire exploring teacher candidates’ perspectives on the most and least beneficial elements of the course, along with what they thought might be missing. Results point to Canadian classrooms being home to a wide diversity of English language learners. Participants also felt that instructional strategies, empathy, confidence, and transferability were some of the benefits of a course in additional language teaching and learning. However, they felt that it lacked enough time with actual students and content related to culture, socioeconomic factors, and immigration status. The findings underscore the necessity of addressing the needs of English language learners from diverse linguistic backgrounds throughout a teacher education program and the importance of having a specialized course in additional language teaching and learning.

Douglas, S. (2016). Preparing for linguistic diversity: Teacher candidate reflections on an elementary education course in additional language teaching and learning. In M. Hirschkorn & J. Mueller (Eds.), What should Canada's teachers know? Teacher capacities: Knowledge, beliefs and skills (pp. 536-568). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Association for Teacher Education. Retrieved from

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My new article in the TESL Canada Journal's special issue on language assessment in Canada

Here is the link to my latest paper in the TESL Canada Journal, Volume 32, Special Issue 9, 2015: Language Assessment in Canada: Critical Issues and Research Agenda:

The Relationship Between Lexical Frequency Profiling Measures and Rater Judgements of Spoken and Written General English Language Proficiency on the CELPIP-General Test


Independent confirmation that vocabulary in use unfolds across levels of performance as expected can contribute to a more complete understanding of validity in standardized English language tests. This study examined the relationship between Lexical Frequency Profiling (LFP) measures and rater judgements of test-takers’ overall levels of performance in the Speaking and Writing modules of the CELPIP-General test. In particular, the potential of measures such as lexical stretch and number of frequency bands accessed was examined. Randomized quota sampling from previously rated test-taker responses resulted in 200 speaking samples and 200 writing samples being compiled to create corpora of 211,602 running words and 70,745 running words respectively. Pearson r was used to examine the relationships between the LFP measures and rater judgements of CELPIP levels. Results point to significant correlations, with increasing CELPIP levels of performance generally accompanied by test-takers’ increasing ability to produce greater numbers of words, deploy a greater variety of words, rely less on high-frequency vocabulary, tap into mid-frequency vocabulary, and access a greater number of frequency bands. These results underline the contribution of independently obtained lexical measures toward a fuller understanding of concurrent validity in standardized English language proficiency testing.
La confirmation indépendante que le vocabulaire d’usage se répand sur plusieurs niveaux de performance tel que prévu peut contribuer à une meilleure interprétation de la validité des tests standardisés de langue anglaise. Ce e étude a examiné le rapport entre les mesures de profilage de la fréquence lexicale et les évaluations de la performance globale des élèves aux modules de parole et de rédaction du Programme canadien d’évaluation du niveau de compétence linguistique en anglais (CELPIP). Plus précisément, on a examiné le potentiel des mesures telles l’étendue lexicale et le nombre de bandes de fréquences a eintes. L’échantillon- nage par quota aléatoire de réponses d’élèves déjà évaluées a entrainé la formation de 200 échantillons de parole et 200 échantillons de rédaction représentant deux corpora, un de 211 602 mots liés et l’autre de 70 745 mots liés. On a employé le coe cient de corrélation de Pearson pour examiner les rapports entre les mesures de la fréquence lexicale et les évaluations en fonction des niveaux du CELPIP. Les résultats dévoilent des corrélations signi catives entre, d’une part, les meilleures performances au CELPIP et, d’autre part, une capacité à produire une quantité et une variété plus importantes de mots; à moins recourir aux mots les plus fréquents; à puiser dans du vocabulaire à fréquence moyenne; et à accéder à un plus grand nombre de bandes de fréquence. Ces résultats soulignent la contribution des mesures lexicales obtenues indépendamment à la compréhension de la validité concourante des évaluations standardisées des compétences linguistiques en anglais. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

JALT Conference Proceedings - JALT2014

I can't believe that it is almost a year since I was in Japan for the JALT 2014 conference in Tsukuba.  The peer-reviewed conference proceedings have just come out, and I thought I would share the abstract and the link:

Student Perspectives on a Short-Term Study Abroad Experience
Research that uncovers Japanese undergraduate student perspectives in connection to the short-term study abroad experience can provide valuable insights for educational program developers. The current study focused on what Japanese university students visiting Canada on a short-term study abroad program felt were the ideal elements of this kind of educational experience. Data were collected from participants at four points before and during the experience. Qualitative data analysis methods were used to identify the most prominent themes. Findings pointed to meaningful intercultural encounters, rich content-focused classroom experiences, and varied extra-curricular activities as being the key elements of an effective program. However, program developers should be mindful that intercultural encounters may not occur naturally, and extra-curricular activities might not happen spontaneously. Creating an ideal short-term study abroad program involves finding ways to encourage organic intercultural encounters and providing unique and engaging activities outside of the classroom. 

Monday, September 07, 2015


Marcia Kim and I have an article in the TESL Canada Journal on how instructors perceive and practice Task Based Language Teaching in the Canadian context.  Here is the abstract followed by the link:

TESL Canada Journal, Volume 31, Special Issue 8, 2014

Task-Based Language Teaching and English for Academic Purposes: An Investigation into Instructor Perceptions and Practice in the Canadian Context

Scott Roy Douglas, Marcia Kim


English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs designed to meet postsecondary English language proficiency requirements are a common pathway to higher education for students from non-English-speaking backgrounds. Grounded in a Canadian context, this study seeks to examine the prevalence of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) in EAP, common examples of EAP tasks, and the benefits and drawbacks of this approach for EAP students. EAP professionals (n = 42) were recruited from the membership of TESL Canada, and participants completed a questionnaire on their perceptions of TBLT for EAP. Of those who participated, 69% reported using TBLT in at least half of their lessons, with 86% of the par- ticipants indicating that TBLT was suitable for EAP instruction. Further qualitative analysis of the data revealed that presentations, essays, and interviews were the top three tasks employed by EAP teachers; the practicality, effectiveness, and learner-centredness of TBLT were its major benefits; and mismatched student expectations, lack of classroom time, and excessive instructor preparation were TBLT’s major drawbacks. Ambiguity regarding what constitutes TBLT was also found in the data. It appears that TBLT is used by participants across Canada and is well accepted as a teaching approach. However, some concerns associated with TBLT in EAP remain to be addressed.
Les programmes d’anglais académique visant à combler les exigences en matière de compétences linguistiques pour l’anglais au postsecondaire représentent souvent une voie vers les études postsecondaires pour les élèves allophones. Située dans un contexte canadien, cette étude porte sur la prévalence de l’enseignement des langues basé sur les tâches (ELBT) dans les cours d’anglais académique, des exemples courants de tâches dans ces cours, et les avantages et les inconvénients de cette approche pour les élèves. À partir des membres de TESL Canada, on a recruté des enseignants d’anglais académique (n = 42) et ceux-ci ont complété un questionnaire portant sur leurs perceptions de l’ELBT dans les cours d’anglais académique. Les résultats indiquent que 69% des participants emploient l’ELBT dans au moins la moitié de leurs leçons et que 86% jugent l’ELBT approprié pour l’enseignement de l’anglais académique. Une analyse quantitative plus poussée a révélé que les trois tâches les plus fréquemment employées par les enseignants d’anglais académique étaient les présentations, les rédactions et les entrevues. De plus, les participants ont indiqué qu’ils estimaient que les atouts principaux de l’ELBT étaient son aspect pratique, son efficacité et le fait qu’il est centré sur l’apprenant; comme inconvénients majeurs, ils ont noté une inadéquation des attentes de la part des étudiants, l’insuffisance des heures de cours et la formation excessive des enseignants. Les données ont également révélé une ambigüité par rapport à ce qui constitue l’ELBT. Il parait que l’ELBT est employé partout au Canada et est bien accueilli comme méthode enseignement; toutefois, il faudrait aborder certaines préoccupations quant à son emploi dans l’enseignement de l’anglais académique.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Article in the International Student Experience Journal

I've been thinking a lot in the past few years about the validity of instructor-assessed final grades in English for Academic Purposes courses and how evidence can be gathered to contribute to the validity of these types of grades.  One on-going study that I've been involved with has been looking at the relationship between instructor-assessed EAP final grades and standardized English language proficiency test scores administered at the end of an EAP course.  The first paper published out of this study is in the Autumn 2014 issue of the International Student Experience Journal (, and the paper looks at the concurrent validity of instructor-assessed EAP final grades.  Correlational analysis was used to compare the EAP final grades with TOEFL ITP scores that were gathered at the end of the semester.  There were statistically significant moderate correlations, contributing to the idea of concurrent validity, but the was also enough of a divergence to point to meaningful differences in what the instructors were assessing and what the TOEFL ITP was assessing.

The article can be found in the current issue here: