Featured Speakers

Dr. Gail Forey
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
The Value of Meaning-focused Metalanguage for Teaching and Learning
About the Speaker
About the Talk
Within schools explicit knowledge and use of metalanguage, words or symbols used to talk about language, is often included in the English, or Foreign Language curricula, and yet frequently absent in other curriculum areas. Even within language and literacy programmes the extent to which metalanguage has been incorporated and embraced varies greatly for teachers and learners. In addition, the introduction and use of metalinguistic resources and terminology is contentious and raises many questions, e.g. why introduce metalanguage and terminology? When and what terminology should be introduced? Should metalanguage adopt commonsense or technical terms? In this paper, drawing on data from working with teachers and learners at schools in Hong Kong and the UK, I examine the benefits of introducing metalanguage for learning and teaching curriculum goals. In the present study, the metalanguage introduced and used by the teachers and learners to support disciplinary learning is based on Systemic Functional linguistics (SFL, see Halliday & Matthiessen 2014). SFL is a theory of language that emphasises the relationship between choices in a text the meanings made in context. The metalanguage within SFL is meaning-focused and provides resources to talk about language above and beyond a focus on form and sentence level descriptions. Building on earlier research using SFL for curriculum learning (Martin & Rose 2012; Schleppegrell 2013), I demonstrate the role metalanguage plays in supporting disciplinary learning. SFL metalanguage and the relationship between language and meaning, specifically disciplinary meaning, was introduced to in service teachers during professional development courses. Drawing on data from a school in the UK, Hampstead Hall, where SFL metalanguage is shared by the majority of curriculum teachers, I illustrate how explicit talk about language is the ‘norm’. SFL metalanguage has been introduced in professional development, and is embedded classroom interaction, school planners, assemblies, and talk in and outside of the classroom. Based on interviews, classroom observations, teaching material that were collected, I demonstrate how the SFL metalanguage has had a positive impact on the teachers and learners. The findings from the study illustrate the value of metalanguage in supporting teachers to understand the disciplinary literacy requirements and patterns of their own subject. The raised awareness and shared use of metalanguage across a whole school has positive implications for teachers and learners; and extends to improved understanding and literacy across the curriculum and beyond.
Dr Gail Forey is an Associate Professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she is the Programme Leader for the Doctorate in Applied Language Sciences and the Master of Arts in English Language Teaching. Gail has carried out research and published in the areas of written and spoken workplace discourse, Systemic Functional Linguistics, discourse analysis, language education and teaching development. Recently, Gail was awarded the PolyU President’s Award for Excellent Performance in Teaching 2013/14 and the prestigious Hong Kong University Grants Council Award for Teaching 2015.
Professor Azirah Hashim
University of Malaya, Malaysia
Adversarial and Arbitrative Discourses
About the Speaker
About the Talk
The majority of legal conflicts in Malaysia are resolved through a common law system that has evolved out of the English law introduced during the period of colonial administration. Alternative to the common law courts that seems to be increasingly attractive to civil disputants is arbitration. In addition, the role of the Syariah courts is also considered important as the majority of Malaysians, including all ethnic Malays, are Muslims and their family and inheritance affairs and conduct regarding various religious and criminal matters are subject to the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts. Current evidence, however, suggests that there is considerable institutional and discursive overlap between the different systems: many arbitrators and other professional participants have experience as common law judges and lawyers, and some lawyers are involved in both common law and Syariah cases. Some of the patterns of discourse typical of adversarial courtrooms are carried over, including restrictive, asymmetrical questioning of witnesses. Arbitrators have stated that arbitral cross-examination is different from in the courts, usually describing the process as less wordy, less intrusive and not coercive. However, due to the high number of former judges who have become arbitrators, there is a need for conversion courses to enable them to adapt to the discourse of arbitration. Drawing from observation of cases in both common law, Syariah and arbitration cases in Malaysia, this presentation compares discourse patterns and constraints on language- and code-choice across the different systems in multilingual and multicultural contexts.
Azirah Hashim is a Professor in the English Language Department, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya and is currently, Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute and Director of the Centre for ASEAN Regionalism at the same university. Her areas of research interests include Language Contact in the Region, Language and Law and Higher Education in ASEAN. She sits on the executive committee of the Asia Pacific Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association, is a former executive committee member of the International Association of Forensic Linguists and is currently President of the Malaysian Association of Applied Linguistics, an affiliate of the International Association of Applied Linguistics. In the last few years, she has been involved in regional initiatives such as narrowing development gaps through education and ASEAN mobility initiatives in higher education. She has led projects such as the Ministry of Higher Education CLMV project on higher education in Cambodia and Laos, a Swedish Link project on Public Understanding of Expert Views on Health Risks as well as projects on Language Contact and Courtroom Discourse. She is on the editorial board of English Today, Journal of Sociolinguistic Studies, Journal of Intercultural Communication (Nordic Network), the Asian Journal of English Language Studies and is Chief Editor of the Asia-Europe Institute Insights Journal.
Professor Ann Johns
San Diego State University, United States
Grappling with the Personal Statement: Case Studies of Multi-lingual Writers
About the Speaker
About the Talk
It has long been noted that writers position themselves in texts, even though at more novice academic levels, students tend to believe that their assigned writing is “objective” and thus “author evacuated.”  Researchers have demonstrated using corpora that writers project themselves into texts through “stance,” by demonstrating certain attitudes toward the content discussed (Aull & Lancaster, 2014; Biber & Finnegan, 1989; Hyland, 2005; Hyland & Jiang, 2016).  Much more obviously writer-saturated is the “The Personal Statement” genre, required of university applicants at all levels (Gelb, 2008) and of students applying for a number of scholarships and grants (Johns, 2016). Accustomed to the more typical research-oriented and source- or data-driven assignments, many students find writing a Personal Statement antithetical to what they believe an academic text should do, thus making production of these texts difficult.   In this paper, the presenter will focus on her case studies of two academically-capable students: a bilingual high school senior preparing a personal statement for a university entrance application and a multi-lingual student completing university and applying for a Fulbright grant. After pointing out some of the challenges these students face when attempting linguistically and pragmatically viable texts in this genre, the presenter will suggest pedagogical implications for encouraging a writer’s reflective positioning and enhancing this writer’s rhetorical flexibility.
Ann M. Johns, Professor Emerita, Linguistics & Writing Studies, San Diego State University, is author of more than eighty articles and book chapters about teaching academic reading and writing to diverse students at the secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels.  Her work in English for Academic Purposes has taken her as curriculum and literacy consultant to more than 30 countries.  Though retired, she continues to teach and develop curricula for secondary and university writing classes, conduct workshops for international Fulbright students, and pursue both formal and informal research studies.
Dr. Jane Lockwood
City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The Many Faces of Workplace English: Research and Development in the Teaching of Business English
About the Speaker
About the Talk
As businesses expand across the world due to the new globalized economies and outsourcing practices, the demand to speak English at work has grown exponentially with latest estimates of over 2 billion speakers of English. Many of these speakers will use English for international business purposes and this means the market for ‘business English courses’ is huge and growing. But what do we really mean by this term ‘business English’; for whom and for what purposes? In this paper I argue that deconstructing this term and developing a nuanced understanding of the specific and different contexts for teaching ‘business English’ is a pre-requisite in adequately being able to evaluate what research, syllabus planning, materials development, delivery approaches, assessment processes and evaluation reporting is required for business English courses. In this paper, I first discuss the huge shifts in doing business across the world enabled by technology and resulting in the rise of English as a lingua franca in global business. I then discuss in detail an approach that is sensitive to the many different contexts and purposes for researching and teaching ‘business English’ in both workplaces and educational contexts.
Jane is currently Associate Professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong. Her career spans over 30 years in UK, Europe, Australia and Asia (Hong Kong and the Philippines) where she has worked in educational management, teacher training, teaching and research with specific reference to workplace communication. Her doctorate was completed at Hong Kong University where she investigated workplace curriculum and evaluation design in Hong Kong workplaces; her current research focuses on the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry and in particular the call centre sector as well as the impact of technology  on virtual business meetings.
Professor John Flowerdew
Lancaster University, the UK
Corpus-based Language Description for English for Academic Purposes
About the Speaker
About the Talk
Language description is a fundamental requirement for second language (L2) syllabus design. The greatest advances in language description in recent decades have been achieved with the help of electronic corpora. In this talk, I will present a selective overview of such recent work with regard to academic English and of relevance to the teaching of English for Academic Purposes. The presentation first introduces some basic concepts and principles in corpus research for language pedagogy. The main body of the talk then focuses on four different types of corpora: expert professional corpora, expert student corpora, L2 learner corpora, and lingua franca corpora. The conclusion argues that corpus-based language description can provide important insights to teachers and learners about discourse practices across the academic disciplines and genres.
John Flowerdew was until recently a Professor in the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong and is now a Visiting Professor at the University of Lancaster and a Visiting Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London.  During a lengthy career, he has published well over a hundred books, journal articles and book chapters. His books on English for Academic Purposes/academic discourse include Academic Listening: Research Perspectives (Cambridge), Research Perspectives in English for Academic Purposes (with M. Peacock) (Cambridge), Academic Discourse (Longman), Signalling Nouns in Discourse: A corpus-based discourse approach (with R.W. Forest) (Cambridge), and Discipline Specific Writing: Theory into practice (Routledge). He is also interested in Critical Discourse Studies and has just published The Routledge Handbook of Critical Discourse Studies (with J. Richardson).