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: