Full listing of the symposium abstracts

Featured Talk

Title: The Changing ELT Landscape: What Has Changed? How Do We Respond to the Changes

Author(s) & Institution(s): WU Siew Mei, National University of Singapore


Change as the only constant in life is a familiar experience to many of us, as we manage ideological shifts in English Language Teaching (ELT) that necessitate practical professional reworkings in various situations. Changes resulting from the process grobalisation (Tsui, 2020) have seen Asian countries adapting in these critical areas: English language policies being reformed, the notion of standard English being reconceptualised, postmethod ELT being re-evaluated, and professionalism of ELT being reconsidered, amongst other areas. This paper reviews two areas of change that have emerged as critical issues (Schleppegrell, 2020; Tsui, 2020; Troudi, 2020) in the local ELT context: postmethod ELT including critical pedagogy and ELT 4.0 technologies (Kamilia et al., 2020) and ELT professionalism. It examines the extent and nature of change as a basis for assessing impact on some areas of our professional practice and student learning. It highlights the challenges that have surfaced in the process of managing change and suggests some possibly innovative ways in professional adaptation to change. Some possible waves of future change that will impact the mission of the centre will be discussed, in the light of their pertinence to the general ELT community.

Keywords: Change, English language teaching, grobalisation


Associate Professor Wu Siew Mei teaches English language and communication skills to both undergraduate and graduate students. Her research interest stems from related English language classroom issues, including investigations into the nature of academic writing, objective testing in large scale English language proficiency assessment and the validation of test descriptors. She is also the Vice Dean of Students at the Office of Student Affairs and oversees curriculum development in the university’s residential colleges and general education programmes.

List of Paper Presentations

Title: Preliminary Study of the Design and Implementation of a Critical Thinking and Communicating Module for Robotics

Author(s) & Institution(s): Brad BLACKSTONE; Radhika JAIDEV, Singapore Institute of Technology


Understanding by Design (UbD) is an innovative curriculum planning framework that enhances the potential of an instructional pathway by being goal-focused by design (Wiggins, 2013). Using such a backward design approach to course development, according to McTighe (n.d.), “underscores the value of this process for yielding more clearly defined goals, more appropriate assessments, more tightly aligned lessons, and more purposeful teaching.

This presentation reviews preliminary research on how a university-level communication module with the goal of having first-year university engineering students enhance their critical thinking, writing, and presentations skills was initiated through the conscientious UbD development framework and implemented with consideration of skills objectives, relevant assessment tasks, programme/industry needs, and expected learning events.

This presentation traces the development of a 48-hour module entitled Critical Thinking and Communicating for Robotics, from the planning phase that included a dialogue with engineering faculty members through implementation with 40 students and two instructors. The focus of the sharing is on initial considerations, the approach to aligning teaching with instructional goals as well as the means of assessment, materials development, and the challenges faced.

Key Words: curriculum development, content-based instruction, critical thinking, Understanding by Design (UbD), CLIL


Brad Blackstone (brad.blackstone@singaporetech.edu.sg) is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Communication Skills (CCS) at the Singapore Institute of Technology. He teaches critical thinking and communication modules and leads the CCS programme’s university-wide professional communication workshops. Brad’s research interests include content-based instruction, workplace communication, and curriculum development.

Radhika Jaidev (radhika.jaidev@singaporetech.edu.sg) is the Director of the Centre for Communication Skills at the Singapore Institute of Technology. She teaches academic writing modules and drives a university-wide writing-in-the-disciplines (WID) programme. Her research includes embedding writing in content learning, writing transfer in work-integrated learning (WIL) contexts, and critical reflection on learning and teaching in higher education.


Title: The Underserved Domestic Students for EAP Provisions: How Do We Better Support Their University Studies?

Author(s) & Institution(s)” Wenjin Vikki BO; Lyndon LIM; Yuna LIN, Singapore University of Social Science


As part of the admission requirement into English-medium universities, EAP assessment has been extensively researched to understand the impacts upon students’ academic performance. However, prior research has primarily focused on the international students who speak English as a Foreign Language. Local students of the English-medium universities who speak English as the first language have been under-served with the EAP support due to the assumption that they are naturally equipped with sufficient EAP skills as native speakers of English. However, this assumption seems to be increasingly untenable, even among the local students of English-medium universities who are monolingual speakers of English (Hathaway, 2015). The challenge of EAP among local students seems more evident among the multi-lingual speakers such as those in Singapore (who usually speak an ethnical language in addition to the first language of English) (Bolton et al., 2017). With the aim to explore the learning experiences of those students in the EAP programme as well as its impact upon their academic studies in the Singapore university, a mixed-method study was designed. An EAP programme was established as the graduating requirement for the domestic undergraduates who were admitted to the investigated university without meeting the basic English requirement (B4 in the English subject of O-Level). To understand the impacts of this EAP programme, an earlier quasi-experimental study was conducted; findings indicated that the EAP programme has a significant and positive intervention effect on the local students’ semester GPA in this Singapore university. A qualitative study followed to gain an in-depth understanding of those students’ learning experiences in the EAP programme, and how those experiences impacted their degree studies. Discussion of the findings proposed a framework to better implement EAP support among the domestic students in Singapore universities who are multilingual speakers with English as the first language.

Key Words: EAP, English-medium universities, domestic students, GPA, multi-lingual speaker


Dr Bo Wenjin Vikki is a senior lecturer at Singapore University of Social Sciences. She has been teaching and researching the area of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) in both university and industry context. Her research interests focus on language testing, learning motivation, and academic achievement.


Title: Football Yadayada: Learning How to Critically Reflect about Sport as a Social Field

Author(s) & Institution(s): Mark BROOKE, National University of Singapore


The talk reports on longitudinal action research conducted over three years on a Content and Language Integrated course that seeks to develop students’ critical reflection through evidence-based academic writing on subjects in the field of the sociology of sport. Students are initially surprised by the complexity of the input on interpreting sport as a social field. They tend to start with everyday experience and opinions but lack an academic interpretation. The talk will demonstrate classroom activities to guide students to develop that academic gaze. Semantic gravity from Legitimation Code Theory’s (LCT) Semantics can be enacted for this type of knowledge building. Specifically, it can be enacted to teach abstract concepts from sociological theories, to apply the concepts to empirical contexts to develop a research topic, and to raise students’ awareness about how to effectively write a cohesive theoretical framework section for an Introduction-Method-Research-Discussion (IMRAD) paper. The talk shares classroom activities devised as stages enacting semantic gravity: Entry points and upshifts to teach abstract terms; Entry points and downshifts to critically analyze empirical contexts; Semantic waves to ensure effective text cohesion. The findings comprise examples of teacher talk and students’ writing to evidence the learning from the activities.

Key Words: semantic gravity from Legitimation Code Theory, Introduction-Method-Research-Discussion (IMRAD), classroom-based action research


Mark Brooke (EdD) currently teaches and researches Content and Language Integrated Learning pedagogy in higher education. Mark is an active member of the Legitimation Code Theory Centre for Knowledge Building and has published extensively in this field in international peer review journals such as Teaching in Higher Education.


Title: Digital Human Libraries: Developing Digital Narratives in Two English Language Communication-Intensive Courses

Author(s) & Institution(s): Cherry CHAN; Elaine NG, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


To cope with online learning and teaching during COVID-19, this project aims to enhance a student-centered and collaborative online English language and (inter)cultural learning experience through a series of eLearning activities in two elective English language communication-intensive courses: Intercultural Communication through English and English through Performing Arts at a university in Hong Kong. In this presentation, we focus on one of the activities, the digital narratives, in which students’ written narratives are converted into videos for theme-based learning. In both courses, as part of the assessment, students were required to write a reflective essay, which prompted them to describe, analyze, and evaluate the topic(s) covered and discussed in class. The instructors chose the quality reflections and invited the student-writers to record their narratives and choose relevant images for their narratives to produce videos of 4 to 7 minutes long voluntarily. These videos were then utilized to facilitate real-time discussions on online platforms in class and for self-learning purposes in the subsequent offering. This presentation reports on the design and implementation of this learning task, students’ perceptions of this task, and challenges and solutions during the whole process. Suggestions for preparing eLearning materials in similar contexts will be provided.

Key Words: eLearning materials, online learning, theme-based learning, reflective writing, digital narratives


Dr. Cherry Chan is Lecturer in the English Language Teaching Unit at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she is teaching EAP and ESP courses including Intercultural Communication through English. Her current research interests include language and intercultural communication, second language identities, and education abroad.

Dr. Elaine Ng is Senior Lecturer in the English Language Teaching Unit at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she teaches EAP and ESP courses including English through Performing Arts and Medicine in the Humanities. Her research interests include biliteracy, writing process research, content and language integrated learning.


Title: Dialogic Feedback for Academic Writing: A Study on Perceptions and Efficacy

Author(s) & Institution(s): CHONG Peck Marn Sarah, National University of Singapore


Feedback, albeit an important component of teaching and learning, may not always achieve the results intended if it is inadequately or unsuitably actioned. Hill and West (2020) identified several reasons for this, such as learners’ lack of skills or tacit knowledge to act on the feedback given (Jonsson, 2013; Carless & Boud, 2018). This paper posits that dialogic feedback can bridge the gap left by written feedback, sometimes due to learners’ inadequate or wrong understanding of the comments given, and that students would appreciate the efficacy of such interactive dialogue sessions for meaning-negotiation and expectation-clarification (Carless, 2013, as cited in Steen-Utheim & Wittek, 2017) to feed-forward for better academic performance. To investigate students’ perceptions of feedback styles and dialogic feedback’s efficacy in an academic writing classroom, a survey was administered to four EAP classes, and their progress through the semester was also noted. Three forms of feedback were considered, namely, written feedback, peer review, and tutor-student dialogic feedback. The results demonstrate that despite detailed or specific written feedback comments and the availability of language information online, there remains a gap that could be effectively bridged by dialogic feedback, regardless of it happening physically in classrooms or virtually, on Zoom.

Key Words: feedback literacy, dialogic feedback, academic writing, perceptions, tacit knowledge


Ms Chong Peck Marn Sarah currently teaches at the Centre for English Language Communication. She has developed and taught professional communication and academic writing courses, both online and offline, to a broad range of learners across different countries, age groups, and profiles. Her interests lie mainly in curriculum design, materials development, and rhetoric.


Title: University Teachers’ Perceptions and Applications of Learning Transfer in English for Academic Purposes

Author(s) & Institution(s): Natalie FONG; Parco WONG; Alice YAU; Locky LAW, The University of Hong Kong


Learning transfer arises when students make use of prior experiences and apply the acquired knowledge to address new challenges in other learning contexts (Hirvela, 2016; James, 2014; Cleary, 2013); however, many university teachers have found it difficult to promote learning transfer in English for Academic/Specific Purposes (EAP/ESP) instruction. Programme coordinators and course teachers in an English-medium international university were invited to complete an e-survey to solicit their evaluation of their understanding of learning transfer in EAP/ESP courses and to explore teachers’ perspectives of how to promote learning transfer and make transfer happen more effectively (Law & Fong, 2020). This study contributes to the understanding of university English teachers’ perceptions of learning transfer and offers insights into how university teachers can develop better learning materials and motivate learners to be more engaged in transfer in their university study. The findings not only unveil teachers’ evaluation of suggested ways of applications of academic literacy skills to students’ disciplinary learning, but also suggest what teachers can do more in instructional activities to help students adapt the academic literacy skills to their target discipline and workplace-related tasks. The presentation will discuss teachers’ challenges and subsequent changes to the course curriculum after the study.

Key Words: learning transfer, higher education, English for Academic Purposes, teachers’ perception, academic English literacy


Dr. Natalie Fong is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Applied English Studies, the University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include curriculum development in English for Academic and Specific Purposes, teaching English across curriculum, classroom interaction and second language education.

Dr. Parco Wong is Lecturer in the Centre for Applied English Studies, the University of Hong Kong. He is the Deputy Programme Coordinator of CAES1000 Core University English, which is an EAP course for all first-year undergraduate students at HKU.

Dr. Alice Yau is Lecturer at the Centre for Applied English Studies, the University of Hong Kong. She is the Programme Coordinator of CAES1000 Core University English. Her main areas of interest are learners’ perceptions and experiences, English for Academic Purposes, and online teaching and learning.

Dr. Locky Law is Assistant Lecturer at the Centre for Applied English Studies, the University of Hong Kong. His research interests are creativity, multimodality, telecinematic discourse, Systemic Functional Linguistics, EAP/ESP, digital literacy, and computer-assisted language learning/teaching. He has pioneered frameworks and approaches in digital creativity multimodal analysis (DCMA).


Title: Turkish EFL Teachers’ Perceptions about Online Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author(s) & Institution(s): Burcu GUL, Bahçeşehir University & Pınar ERSIN, Marmara University


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic imposed an immediate transition upon teachers replacing face-to-face lessons with online environments. This drastic change brought out a novel phenomenon for investigation: teachers’ perceptions of online teaching during the pandemic. The literature has indicated teachers’ perceived issues related to workload, pedagogy, assessment, and institutional support during online teaching in various contexts (Cheung, 2021; Todd, 2020; Yang, 2020); however, the number of existing studies in Turkish context is scarce. Thus, the rationale for the present study is to fill the gap as no research has aimed to study Turkish EFL teachers’ perceptions at the K-12 level.

The present mixed-method study had a twofold aim: to investigate the perception levels of K-12 Turkish EFL teachers about online teaching during the pandemic and to explore their perceptions pertaining to institutional support. The participants were 31 teachers. The quantitative data were collected via a questionnaire developed by Şener et al. (2020) and the qualitative data were obtained via a semi-structured focus group interview with five volunteering teachers. The findings of the descriptive analysis of teachers’ perceptions toward online teaching revealed moderate-high scores. The results of the qualitative data with related themes demonstrated that most of the participant teachers urged for more technical support from their institutions.

Key Words: Turkish EFL teachers, online teaching, teacher perceptions, institutional support, COVID-19 pandemic


Burcu Gul (B.A. in English Language & Literature, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul) is an M.A. candidate in the Department of English Language Teaching at Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul. She teaches English at a private high school. Her research interests are teacher/ learner identity, professional development, and in-service teacher education.

Pınar Ersin (Ph.D. in Foreign Language Education, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul) is an assistant professor in the Department of English Language Teaching at Marmara University. Her professional interests in teaching foreign languages include teacher/learner and poststructuralist identity, pre- and in-service teacher education, and English as a Lingua Franca.


Title: Argumentative Writing at the Tertiary Level: Students’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of a Hybrid Approach

Author(s) & Institution(s): Frankie HAR, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


This study focuses on the pedagogical approaches of teaching and assessing argumentative writing in an EAP course for first-year undergraduate students at a Hong Kong EMI University. The ability to formulate a sound argument is imperative in today’s society; however, it is particularly challenging for L2 writers as it requires more reasoning and highly academic language to put forward the two sides of a well-considered argument. Researchers in L2 writing have argued that, with relevant, clear and explicit instruction, it is possible for ESL/EFL students to overcome the difficulties of argumentative writing (Hirvela, 2013). However, it is not clear which pedagogical approach(es) students perceive to be the most useful. This study will discuss a hybrid approach of various methods of teaching argumentative writing, incorporating multi-modal tools including  videos, online quizzes, reflections, peer reviews, and face-to-face instruction to tertiary-level learners. A total of 80 students and four teachers participated in the study, which took the form of a questionnaire followed by in-depth interviews. The data reveal which pedagogical  approach(es) the tertiary-level learners of this study feel are the most useful for assisting them in overcoming the difficulties of argumentative writing and presenting sound arguments in their writing.

Key Words: argumentative writing, hybrid approach, multi-modal, pedagogical approaches


Frankie Har is an instructor in the English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He obtained his BA (1st Hons) from the University of Stirling, MA from Lancaster University, and PGDE from the University of Hong Kong. His research interests are in second language acquisition and applied linguistics.


Title: Can Critical Media Literacy Education Be an Answer to the TUNA World?

Author(s) & Institution(s): Jason Man-Bo HO, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology & Maria Mo-Kit FUNG, UOW College Hong Kong


The myriad of information and mis/disinformation created in this Turbulent-Uncertain-Novel-Ambiguous (TUNA) digital age requires educators to develop new literacy practices to help learners handle informational and linguistic challenges. While social media has become the dominant source of news for many, a critical literacy approach can develop in students “a learned and inquiring scepticism” (Garcia et al., 2018, p. 77). Meyer et al. (2015) propose remodelling content-and-language integration into the pluriliteracies model enhancing students’ critical awareness in the media landscape, where information contains layers of cultural, social, and contextual meaning embedded in multimodal representations.

The presenters will discuss their findings on a critical media literacy curriculum designed using the CLIL approach to raise awareness of the authorship, credibility, and critical awareness of media texts on controversial topics. The analysis of the responses from students of two tertiary institutions in Hong Kong shows that the students seem to be overconfident in their ability to identify media sources and authorship. Also, their preference for local media and information in their first language may limit their multicultural perspectives and be detrimental to the advancement of their language skills. The presentation aims to generate a critical discussion on the potential applications and disruptions that digital media creates.

Key Words: CLIL, critical media literacy, curriculum design, higher education


Jason Man-Bo Ho, EdD, is a lecturer in the Centre for Language Education at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research interests include multiliteracies, Content-and-Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), critical media literacy, critical sexuality literacy education, and multimodality in higher education.

Maria Mo-Kit Fung is a senior lecturer at UOW College Hong Kong and the programme leader of the Bachelor of Communication and Media, University of Wollongong. She teaches ESP, communication and media studies, and her research interests are in academic leadership, multiliteracies, and professional learning and development.


Title: A Study of Smart-Phone-Based Online English Teaching Mode

Author(s) & Institution(s): Yilin HUANG, Shantou University


Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, schools suspended classes and turned to online teaching. Due to the lack of face-to-face communication, it is difficult to have effective online interaction and is even more challenging to play games remotely. However, if teachers make good use of mobile devices, such as smart phones, and slightly adjust the rules of games and ways of organization, it is still possible to hold online games assisting in English teaching. According to the theories of gamification teaching and informatization teaching, this study creates a smart-phone-based English online teaching mode and introduces teaching strategies under this mode, exemplified by some English games designed by the author to play in live streaming teaching. As can be seen from the teaching practice, most students love playing these games. It can not only improve students’ English and develop their collaborative ability, but also promote individualized study and boost teaching efficiency.

Key Words: gamification teaching, informatization teaching, English online teaching, smart phone, online games


Yilin Huang’s research interests include language teaching and intercultural communication, and task-based language teaching (TBLT) methods. In a national Academic Papers Competition, her two papers received the first and second prizes respectively. A paper about TBLT vocabulary teaching was published in an international journal while other two papers were published in China.


Title: Constructing Learning Tasks and Materials for Assessing Critical Thinking

Author(s) & Institution(s): Dennis KOYAMA, Sophia University


Although a universal definition of critical thinking (CT) remains elusive, much CT research highlights similar learner characteristics (e.g., open-mindedness) and approaches to solving problems (e.g., informal logic). In a review of CT research, Lai (2011) defined CT as “analyzing arguments, making inferences using inductive or deductive reasoning, judging or evaluating, and making decisions or solving problems” (p. 2). However, despite the demand for CT in educational programs, institutions often struggle when designing assessments that focus on or include CT (Shively et al., 2018). This presentation will discuss the role of creating authenticity in assessments as a means of encouraging interaction and collaboration while facilitating engagement with the materials. This presentation will also describe several approaches to assessing CT by showing different task types (e.g., recognizing evidence, constructing an argument), the primary features of the tasks (e.g., completing a table, multichoice option), and the purpose of the assessment (e.g., evaluating evidence in a larger context, developing a valid argument).

Key Words: critical thinking, higher order thinking, task design, materials development, learning assessment


Dennis Koyama, Ph.D., is an associate professor of rhetoric and composition in the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. He is an educational researcher and statistician and has taught and lectured in a variety of contexts in North America, Asia, and the Middle East. Dennis has published journal articles and book chapters on several subjects, including online pedagogy, critical thinking, collaborative learning, transfer, L2 writing, language testing, and professional development.


Title: Developing Academic Conversation Skills in an Undergraduate Classroom: A Dialogic Approach

Author(s) & Institution(s): LEE Kit Mun; LUU Tran Huynh Loan, National University of Singapore


Academic conversation skills are crucial to all disciplines but they are seldom formally taught. To help students cultivate the ability to carry out “sustained and purposeful conversations” (Zwiers & Crawford, 2011, p. 1) in educational and professional contexts, academic conversation skills are incorporated into an undergraduate communication module through panel discussion activities. In the post-course feedback, some students commented that they did not see the purpose or value of the panel discussion. This points to the possible divergence between educators’ and students’ conceptions of academic conversations (Meston et al., 2021). Although scaffolding activities were conducted to bring academic conversation skills to the forefront of the students’ consciousness, the instructional materials appeared prescriptive and monologic in nature. In this light, a dialogic approach (Alexander, 2020) driven by a “metadiscussion” or open conversation where students can explicitly articulate their own conception of academic conversation skills (Meston et al., 2021) seems desirable. This presentation aims to explore the accentuation of the dialogic approach in the scaffolding phase in the subsequent semester. Students’ perceptions of academic conversation skills before and after the panel discussion activities will be analyzed to see how the metadiscussion has influenced their understanding of the purpose and value of academic conversation.

Key Words: academic conversations, dialogic approach, metadiscussion, panel discussion


LEE Kit Mun is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication. She has taught and coordinated various writing and communication modules, most of which have been designed for engineering and computing students in NUS. Her research interests include corpus linguistics, assessment and strategies for enhancing student engagement and learning.

Jodie LUU is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication. She has taught and coordinated modules that aim to cultivate transferrable critical thinking and communication skills in engineering, computing as well as arts and social sciences students. Her research interests revolve around implications of technology-enhanced classrooms and student-centred pedagogy.


Title: New Innovations in Digital Storytelling: Changing the Landscape of Teaching English Language and Communication

Author(s) & Institution(s): John I. LIONTAS, University of South Florida


A major goal of second/foreign language pedagogy has been the development of vocabulary. Even with such concerted emphasis, attainment of intercultural communication competence is not guaranteed. To successfully engage in online-offline community discourses, learners will need motive and opportunity to develop natural oral-written communication practices. Additionally, they will need a keen understanding of the language they encounter daily in various cultural artefacts. This methodological exploration presentation outlines the stages of designing digital storytelling projects with a twist (DSP+) instructors can employ to expand not only their learners’ vocabulary repertoires, but also their developing competence in intercultural multimodal communication. The presentation showcases how learners may become engaged in multiliteracies that help them understand authentic (meta)language while engaging in meaningful transmedia communication. This is followed by examples of how a focus on lexicogrammar (topic, voice, audience, cohesion) helps students deconstruct their model texts prior to creating new multimodal contexts involving collaborative writing, individual/group revision, and publishing. Participants attending this presentation will learn how to adapt DSP+ to their own glocal contexts, motivate learners to explore natural language use and engage meaningfully in transmedia discourses, and, finally, promote language creativity among learners and across grade levels.

Key Words: English language and communication, digital storytelling, intercultural communicative competence, online-offline community transmedia discourses, digital multimodal communication


Dr. John I. Liontas is the 2014-2021 director of the Technology in Education and Second Language Acquisition doctoral program at the University of South Florida, an active member in (inter)national learned societies, a distinguished thought leader, a multiple award-winning author, a researcher, a practitioner, and the editor-in-chief of the award-winning encyclopedia, The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching (Wiley, 2018).


Title: Advancing Classroom-based Assessment Fairness in Times of Covid-19: Voice from Test-takers in the Chinese Context

Author(s) & Institution(s): Andy Jiahao LIU, University of Macau


The raging pandemic has posed an immediate challenge to face-to-face education and classroom-based assessment, particularly for those employing traditional paper-and-pencil exams. To comply with the teaching needs and uphold assessment fairness, teachers worldwide have adopted a selection of measures, such as adopting alternative assessment forms and introducing whistleblower strategies. However, little empirical research has been carried out to explore the usefulness of these methods in assuring assessment fairness in times of Covid-19, especially from the standpoint of test-takers. Drawing on Kunnan’s (2018) recent model of fairness and justice, the author conducted semi-structured retrospective interviews among 12 undergraduates who have experienced the change, to explore what types of assessments their instructors use during the pandemic, how their teachers uphold assessment fairness during the pandemic, and how they perceive the effectiveness of these strategies in terms of assessment fairness. Results reveal that teachers take care of fairness and justice issues when designing, developing, and administering online classroom-based assessments, such as diversifying the assessment forms. Besides, the results call for a more sophisticated design of assessment forms to maintain assessment fairness and justice from test-takers’ perspectives. Though with local nuances and differences, this study also shares some common features internationally.

Key Words: language assessment fairness and justice, language testing and assessment, classroom-based assessment, Covid-19, test-takers


Andy, Jiahao LIU is a second-year graduate student majoring in English Studies at the University of Macau. He is interested in second language writing, language testing and assessment, and literacy development in general, and language assessment literacy, language assessment fairness and justice, and academic literacies in particular.


Title: Engaging with Academic Language and Disciplinary Content: An Inclusive Framework for Academic Literacy Development

Author(s) & Institution(s): Daron Benjamin LOO; Misty So-Sum WAI-COOK, National University of Singapore


Academic literacy is integral to a university student’s success in higher education. To hone academic literacy, students should be given opportunities to engage with disciplinary discourse. Opportunities may also need to take into account students’ need for instruction in English language for Academic Purposes (EAP). Typically, guidance in language proficiency takes precedence over content; moreover, proficiency is often distinguished as a precursor to content instruction and mastery. This is driven by the assumption that students with low language proficiency may be unable to engage with content. In contrast, students with high language proficiency will need instructions beyond language usage within the discipline. Nonetheless, approaching language and content separately may diminish students’ motivation and hinder the transference of literacy skills across courses or academic tasks if the proposed curriculum and scaffolding strategies are not pitched at an appropriate level. Furthermore, it is more likely that student engagement arises if both the content and language instructions are relevant to their discipline and applicable to real-life contexts (Nagao, 2020; Sahin & Top, 2015). This presentation suggests a framework that captures the development of students’ academic literacy that encompasses engagement with specific content and general academic language.

Key Words: academic literacy, language proficiency, content-based instruction


Daron Benjamin Loo teaches academic writing to graduate students at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. His research interests include student engagement with corrective feedback, and challenges that international graduate students face in academic writing.

Dr Misty So-Sum Wai-COOK is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. Misty has published in the areas of academic literacies, tutor and peer feedback in language education, English across the curriculum, and the use of technologies to enhance teaching and learning.


Title: Blending of Language Tools for Blended Learning

Author(s) & Institution(s): Yevette MATHEW; Thuraia Al JABRI, Majan University College


Nowadays, technology is infusing classrooms with digital learning tools, increasing student engagement and motivation. It also accelerates learning beyond the walls of a classroom. This presentation aims to introduce the impact of digital affordances by implementing different digital language learning tools like Padlet, Quizlet, and EdPuzzle in college classrooms, which can substantially promote collaborative and responsive learning. The key point in using any of the tools depends on the level of users and type of activity. A study was conducted to determine whether these language tools are effective for students’ achievement in language classrooms in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) setting. Data were gathered from 100 students participating in this study through a questionnaire. The assessment results and attendance records of the students were examined to support the research findings. It was observed that these learning apps help the students to become more autonomous and responsible learners in language learning. These learner-centred practices provide remarkable insights from blended learning incorporating instructional technology. The results also show that technology could be a factor in enhancing students’ academic achievement.

Key Words: digital learning tools, blended learning, autonomous learners, collaborative


Yevette Mathew holds a Master’s Degree in English Language and Literature and has an experience of over 25 years of teaching in Oman. She is currently working as a senior lecturer at Majan University College. She has actively presented in many national and international forums and ELT conferences and assisted students with IELTS preparation classes. Her research interest lies in blending teaching with the use of latest language tools thereby to promote collaborative learning.

Thuraia Al Jabri is a senior lecturer and holds a Master’s Degree in Information Management and Security from the University of Bedfordshire, the U.K., and a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems from the University of Nizwa, Oman. She is the Level 3 coordinator for all college students, coordinating and teaching IT modules at the foundation and undergraduate level. She also has various training-related certifications, such as an online educator from Hamdan Bin Mohammed smart university in Dubai. Moreover, she is an associate fellow from HEA, the U.K.


Title: Chinese University Students’ Regulatory Focus and L2 Grit: The Mediating Role of Academic Emotions

Author(s) & Institution(s): Yong MEI; Yabo YAN, Hubei University


Grit, a positive personality trait, represents a combination of people’s perseverance and passion while pursuing long-term goals. Since grit entered the field of SLA, there have been numerous studies focusing on L2 grit’s relationship to motivation. Nevertheless, as a relatively novel type of motivation, regulatory focus has been neglected in the study of grit in SLA. Thus, this study investigated a sample of 1,045 freshmen and sophomores at a Chinese university using questionnaires to explore the relationship between regulatory focus and L2 grit as well as that under the mediating effect of academic emotions. Then, we found that male university students’ L2 grit level was significantly higher than female university students’ L2 grit level, and L2 grit level of freshmen was notably higher than that of sophomores. Furthermore, the relationship between regulatory focus and L2 grit was not necessarily direct, although it was moderated by academic emotions. Specifically, positive academic emotions had a positive mediating effect on the link between promotion focus and L2 grit, while negative academic emotions had a negative mediating effect on that, and there was a similar mediating effect between prevention focus and L2 grit. This study has its teaching implications in two respects: 1) EFL teachers are supposed to enhance emotional awareness in teaching and adjust their teaching according to students’ emotional and motivational changes; 2) it is desirable for teachers to create a positive EFL learning atmosphere for students and promote their positive emotional experience in learning so as to strengthen their L2 grit and boost academic achievement.

Key Words: Chinese university students, regulatory focus, academic emotions, L2 grit


Yong Mei is an assistant professor at the School of Foreign Languages of Hubei University, China. His research has mainly been in EFL learning and teaching.

Yabo Yan is an M.A. student at the School of Foreign Languages of Hubei University, China. His research interest is in ELT.


Title: Professional Communication Curriculum: Staying Relevant with Industry Insights

Author(s) & Institution(s): Norhayati Bte MOHD ISMAIL; LAM Wanli, Aileen; CHONG Peck Marn Sarah, National University of Singapore


In curriculum design, the authenticity and relevance of curriculum materials, tasks, and experiences to reflect the real world are needed to maximise the quality of learning outcomes (Meyers & Nulty, 2009). There is a growing movement to support collaborative partnerships between academia and industry (Rico et al., 2021; Rawboon et al., 2019) because of their differing focuses; academia focuses on knowledge acquisition, but may be “divorced from the world of work” while industry focuses on the direct market value that knowledge and research can bring to them (Bosley, 1995). With the rapid and dynamic changes at the workplace, the Centre for English Language Communication (NUS) recognises the need to review its professional communication courses to stay relevant with changing workplace practices, contexts, and communication demands. The team reviewed current industry reports on core skills for the workplace and surveyed current students with working experience; it will also employ surveys and interviews with graduates already in the workforce and professionals in various industries.  This presentation will share the analysis of McKinsey’s 56 distinct elements of talent (2021) and Singapore SkillsFuture SSG’s critical core skills (2019) along with the first set of findings from the survey of current students with working experience.

Key Words: professional communication, academia industry collaboration


Ms Norhayati Ismail is currently teaching at the Centre for English Language Communication. She has taught communication skills courses to Engineering, Computing, Design, and Business students. Her research interests include curriculum design and student engagement.

Ms Lam Wanli, Aileen is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, NUS and has more than 10 years of teaching and corporate training experience in professional communication, media, and writing. She is also passionate about education technology and has developed blended and online courses.

Ms Chong Peck Marn Sarah currently teaches at the Centre for English Language Communication. She has developed and taught professional communication and academic writing courses, both online and offline, to a broad range of learners across different countries, age groups, and profiles. Her interests lie mainly in curriculum design, material development, and (media) rhetoric.


Title: The Critical Scholar as Rhetorical Citizen: Fostering Criticality and Social Responsibility in an Age of Disruption

Author(s) & Institution(s): Gene Segarra NAVERA, National University of Singapore


The paper illustrates how critical scholarly writing skills are developed among learners while they are prepared to become rhetorical citizens (Kock & Villadsen 2012, 2014, 2017).  More specifically, the development of criticality and social responsibility through writing pedagogy is contextualized in an age of disruption characterized as turbulent, uncertain, novel, and ambiguous (TUNA). Through a personal scholarly narrative, the author recounts and accounts for how he meshes writing instruction with content focused on the relationship of discourse, citizenship and society. Through evidence collected from participant observations of teacher-student interactions and samples of students’ essays, the paper illustrates how learners through their writing manifest criticality and social responsibility. These particular ways of interacting and writing, on the other hand, shape the ideas put forth by students in their class engagements and their essays as they position or constitute themselves as scholars who are rhetorical citizens at the same time. The author concludes the paper by arguing that the development of criticality and social responsibility through writing and communication instruction is all the more significant in an age of disruption to enable students to see beyond the tendency to drift towards social fragmentation, polarization, and dangerous cognitive short cuts.

Key Words: writing pedagogy, content-integrated writing instruction, criticality, social responsibility


Gene Segarra Navera is Deputy Director and Senior Lecturer of the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. He teaches ideas and exposition as well as critique and expression modules in the residential colleges.


Title: Overcoming the Challenges through Technology Use in EFL Education

Author(s) & Institution(s): Eunjeong PARK, Sunchon National University


The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented and unexpected occasion all around the world since 2020. There were 130 country-wide closures that affected approximately a hundred million learners at the time of February 2021 (UNESCO, n. d.). This caused a significant paradigm shift in educational mode, i.e., face-to-face learning environments to online/virtual learning environments. As a result, this qualitative study explored pre-service teachers’ perceptions of English language education and the role of schools and teachers in the post-COVID-19 era. Fifteen EFL pre-service teachers joined the interviews, and 36 argumentative essays on the topic of English language education were collected in this study. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the interview data and written products. The findings revealed that the pre-service teachers deeply considered technology use as essential, and the future English language classes should be reframed in the post-COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, developing digital literacy seems to be the key to EFL teaching and learning. Some suggestions of classroom technology integration are also discussed in this study.

Key Words: EFL pre-service teachers, technology use in language learning, digital literacy, qualitative research, teacher education


Eunjeong Park is an assistant professor in the Department of English Language Education at Sunchon National University. Her research interests include teacher education, faculty professional development, mentorship, and mixed methods research in higher education.


Title: Rethinking Peer Review Guidelines for Online Learning

Author(s) & Institution(s): Anuradha RAMANUJAN, National University of Singapore


Peer reviews are built into academic writing classes to foster collaboration and help students become more critical and self-aware readers and writers. Scholarship emphasizes the importance of preparing students for peer review by explaining its relevance in academia, modelling the process, creating an environment in which students feel comfortable about giving and receiving support and providing clear instructions and worksheets for each task (Baker, 2016; Hansen & Liu, 2005; Pearce et al., 2014). The teacher’s presence during the activity also serves to reassure, clarify, and affirm as students work together to construct and negotiate meaning. Drawing on evidence from a first-year academic writing classroom at the National University of Singapore, this presentation examines how the recent shift to online learning has necessitated changes in the ways peer review sessions are perceived and conducted. It specifically focuses on how space, scheduling, group dynamics, teacher presence and intervention need to be reconsidered to motivate students and facilitate effective peer engagements in a virtual classroom.

Key Words: peer review, academic writing, critical reading, collaborative learning, teacher role and presence


Anuradha Ramanujan is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication. She joined NUS in 2010 to help develop the two-level University Town Writing Programme and continues to teach content-specific academic writing. Her research interests include literary and cultural studies, postcolonial theory, critical pedagogy, writing studies, food studies and critical animal studies.


Title: Teaching in a Pandemic: A Phenomenological Study of Higher Education Professional Communication Academics’ Lifeworlds in Response to Pandemic Measures

Author(s) & Institution(s): Chitra SABAPATHY, National University of Singapore


This insider research study, which uses phenomenology as a concept and research design, examines how higher education academics responded to and enacted on pandemic measures, specifically the pivot to online synchronous education using phenomenology as a concept and research design. Seven academics who teach professional communication skills to computing undergraduates and whose lessons are traditionally based on face-to-face lessons were especially impacted by this measure. They were selected to participate in semi-structured interviews in this study. Consistent with phenomenological studies, and to deepen depth in understanding the phenomenon, ‘existentials’ of lifeworlds, namely lived space, lived time, lived body, and lived human relations were used to highlight salient features of the opportunities these academics utilized and challenges they experienced in response to the pandemic measures. Findings revealed mixed responses. Namely, although all of them experienced varying degrees of challenges, they also acted as agents, adapted their traditional face-to-face pedagogies, and created new online practices to remain buoyant and enhance their teaching and their learners’ learning experiences. This study raises our awareness of professional communication academics’ lifeworlds in a pandemic, invokes academic consciousness in the reader, and invites contemplation on being at the receiving end of pandemic measures.

Key Words: phenomenology, higher education, academics, communication, pandemic, life worlds


Ms Chitra Sabapathy is a professional communication tutor with the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. She has vast experience teaching students and working professionals. She believes in student-centered learning and her research interests are in HE education, evaluation and enhancement.


Title: Learner Perceptions about Online Language Learning Pedagogies

Author(s) & Institution(s): Mili SAHA, University of Wollongong


The study explores Bangladeshi English language learners’ perceptions of online language learning and teaching through various learning management systems during the Covid-19 pandemic. The analysis includes how online learning offers specific advantages or disadvantages to second language learners and how the virtual mode differs from in-person teaching-learning pedagogies. Three hundred EFL students were surveyed using an original research questionnaire consisting of 15 Likert scales and two open-ended items. The questions involve learner beliefs and practices about language learning activities in the online classes via Zoom applications or Google Meet. Later, two focus groups consisting of thirty students discuss learner problems and suggestions. Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis based on ISTE-S (2016) indicates that students hold positive beliefs about online language learning. The pedagogy empowers them with native language exposure, creative lessons, innovative activities, multi-modal communication, asynchronous collaboration, critical thinking, technical skills, etc. However, community language learning, diversity inclusion, critical thinking, and problem-solving partnership do not effectively develop. Although the students enjoy the flexibility and technical discoveries, they confront inadequate technical support, social interactions, peer learning, physical attachment, control, and motivation. The conclusion focuses on interactive teaching, technology-enhanced learning, learner engagement, and parental involvement in online instructions.

Key Words: learner perceptions, online learning, language pedagogies


Mili Saha, an associate professor of English in Bangladesh, is studying for a PhD in Education at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Earlier, she studied Applied Linguistics and Curriculum Studies in Dhaka and Toronto. Her research interests include critical applied linguistics, language minority issues, and marginalized teacher preparation.


Title: Engaging International Music Students: Interventions in an EAP Classroom

Author(s) & Institution(s): Doreen TAN; FONG Yoke Sim, National University of Singapore


While there are many studies on motivation in language learning, there is a gap in literature on motivation, specifically on international music students taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses at tertiary level. This presentation highlights the findings from a study which addresses this gap. It investigated strategies to raise the motivation of a cohort of music conservatory students from several countries, including Uzbekistan, Russia, and East Asian countries, and with varied motivation levels. In the process, we learnt about the effectiveness of three teaching strategies, namely, goal setting, reflection writing, and vocabulary presentation. These are based on Dörnyei’s (2005) Second Language Motivational Self System (L2MSS) and Norton’s (2000) social identity, agency, and empowerment framework. The findings of the study indicate that all three strategies led to higher levels of motivation in and beyond the EAP classroom. The learners applied the strategies to their majors, started to plan for future learning, and became more enthusiastic about setting goals for themselves in various aspects of their learning. This paper thus recommends the considered application of these or similar strategies to other modules in English language and communication and other disciplines.

Key Words: motivation, international, music, EAP, strategies


Ms Doreen TAN is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. She has taught EAP, Business English and IELTS preparatory courses. She has also conducted training sessions on Workplace Communication and mentored students on leadership, teamwork, and other soft skills. Her research interests include motivation and technology-enhanced learning.

Dr FONG Yoke Sim is a senior lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. She has taught Business Communication, EAP, English Assist, Graduate English, Intensive English, English as Medium of Instruction, and Ideas and Exposition courses. Her research interests include intercultural communication, language education, learner strategies, and motivation.


Title: Interrogating a Collaborative Instructional Approach to Academic Literacy: A Narrative Inquiry

Author(s) & Institution(s): TANG Kum Khuan; Derek WONG; LEE Gek Ling, National University of Singapore


In a Covid-19 ‘new normal,’ academics have been urged to tear down subject silos and approach teaching collaboratively with increased urgency. An example of faculty collaboration is curriculum-integrated academic literacy instruction that is based on the collaboration between English language specialists and subject matter experts. As the dominant discourse on collaborative academic literacy instruction acknowledges, clear shortcomings abound in its adoption and implementation. Frequently reported are the difficult challenges of collaborating with subject lecturers and their deficit beliefs, skills, and values. However, the reflexive voices of English language teachers are under-represented: little is known about their experiences, emotions, and subjectivities as they go about negotiating and accommodating a collaborative instructional approach. This paper undertakes a narrative inquiry into three English language teachers’ stories of teaching discipline-specific academic literacy. The paper is framed within the theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism which foregrounds the role of experiences and interpretations in the social construction of reality. It brings to voice the elements of thick description such as their desires, concerns, and anxieties which, when shared and compared, would merge into a larger narrative about curricular sustainability, and render a more detailed and expansive portrait of faculty collaboration in teaching academic literacy.

Key Words: academic literacies, curriculum integration, discipline-specific writing instruction, faculty collaboration, narrative inquiry


Jonathan Tang teaches academic writing and argumentation at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. His research interest is in the knowledge-base of language teacher education in higher education.

Derek Wong teaches scientific communication at the Centre for English Language Communication at the National University of Singapore. His research interest is in the application of genre theory to teaching academic literacy.

Lee Gek Ling is a senior lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. She is enthusiastic about making learning enjoyable and meaningful and has been doing so for academic English, professional communication, and critical thinking courses for about 30 years.


Title: Dialogic Feedback: Types of Tutor Questions Used

Author(s) & Institution(s): TENG Sze Mei Jessie; Norhayati Bte MOHD ISMAIL; Daron Benjamin LOO, National University of Singapore


Dialogic feedback has been shown to promote students’ self-regulation of learning (Ajjawi & Boud, 2018), and that highly interactive segments in a feedback exchange would spur students to think more (Van der Schaaf et al., 2013). One mode of communication that supports dialogic feedback is student conferencing, where tutors typically engage students in discussing their work, inevitably with the use of questions. The types of questions asked and students’ responses to such questions may offer some light on the effectiveness of such questions in helping students to improve their work, and their learning. This paper presents a framework of different types of questions posed by tutors in tutor-student conferencing adapted from a coding framework by Adie et al. (2018) that codes the contributions of the teacher and the student to the feedback conversation. It also examines students’ responses to the different types of questions, and as the study participants are from three different modules, patterns relating to the types of questions asked in relation to the module will also be discussed.

Key Words: dialogic feedback, conferencing, tutor questions


Dr Jessie Teng has taught at the Centre for English Language Communication for more than two decades. She has taught academic writing, English language proficiency and communication skills to undergraduates and graduates from various faculties.

Ms Norhayati Ismail is currently teaching at the Centre for English Language Communication. She has taught different types of courses but is most experienced in communication skills courses. One of her research interests is student engagement.

Dr Daron Benjamin Loo teaches academic writing to graduate students from different disciplinary backgrounds at the Centre for English Language Communication. In his classes, Daron is keen on creating an environment where students feel supported and comfortable to discuss corrective feedback.


Title: A Collaborative Approach to Teaching Multimodal Discourse Analysis Online in the Philippines

Author(s) & Institution(s): Marella Therese TIONGSON; Irish Joy DEOCAMPO, University of the Philippines Diliman


Collaboration is a popular pedagogical practice that aims to foster non-hierarchical structures in the classroom, where teachers and students are co-constructors of knowledge. However, traditional classrooms seldom foster collaborative practices because of the classroom’s physical setup and the expectation that teachers are authority figures. Moreover, the shift to online learning has highlighted the need for more authentic collaborative teaching practices.

We present a case study demonstrating how teaching under the “new normal” led us to innovate, collaborate, and co-construct knowledge with our students. We used multimodal discourse analysis in a critical pedagogy class, using anti-sexual harassment materials as primary texts for analysis. We planned and designed the class module despite our difference in geographical locations and team-taught using Google classroom for asynchronous discussions and Zoom for synchronous synthesis sessions.

Overall, our experiences in collaborating with students challenge ideas of online learning as individualistic, static, and isolating. Our use of various digital tools to co-construct knowledge with our students allowed them to speak up more freely. With minimal teacher intervention, students demonstrated independent thinking during their asynchronous discussions with each other. We believe that other teachers interested in facilitating collaborative practices in their online classrooms may benefit from our research.

Key Words: collaboration, online teaching, multimodal discourse analysis, team teaching


Marella Therese Tiongson teaches courses on English, pedagogy, language studies, and academic writing at the Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of the Philippines Diliman. Her research interests include critical pedagogy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and writing in the disciplines.

Irish Joy Deocampo teaches at the Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of the Philippines Diliman. She has a Bachelor in English Studies: Language from the same university and recently earned a Masters in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies from KU Leuven in Belgium. Her research interests include multimodality, critical pedagogy, and gender and development studies.


Title: Understanding Critical Thinking: A Minimal English Approach

Author(s) & Institution(s): Jock Onn WONG, National University of Singapore & Nadya Shaznay PATEL, Singapore Institute of Technology


There has been in recent years a move towards interdisciplinarity in higher education and the emphasis for universities to future proof their curriculum. This has led to an emphasis on the teaching of critical thinking (CT). However, what is CT? Paul and Elder (2014) define CT as “the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.” Facione (1990) links CT to learning outcomes using reporting verbs to guide learning with criticality. King and Kitchener (1994) see CT in terms of stages, and students need to capitalise on their knowledge-building experiences to reach the higher stages. Kronholm (1996) provides an instructional model that can help students advance their CT skills through phases. However, despite the many discussions, CT has not been clearly explained because the discussions are couched in complex English, which does little to advance our understanding of CT. Without fully understanding what CT is, educators and their students will not know what exactly they are teaching and learning. If we expect CT to be a universal cognitive skill, it must be explained in universally accessible, cross-translatable terms. This presentation aims to explain CT using a ‘minimal language’ approach. The explanation is presented in maximally cross-translatable English.

Key Words: critical thinking, a universal cognitive skill, Minimal English, cross-translatable English


Jock Wong is based in the Centre for English Language Communication. As a linguist and an educator, Jock has published in both areas. He subscribes to the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) and Minimal English school. He believes in maximizing student potential. He publishes with his students and provides opportunities for them to be the first author.

Nadya Patel teaches in the Centre for Communication Skills, SIT, and has taught critical thinking, engineering leadership, community leadership and EAP. She leads a faculty community of practice for critical thinking in the disciplines. She currently co-edits a special issue on critical thinking and communicating in the disciplines for International Journal of TESOL Studies.


Title: Designing and Revamping Teaching Materials for Technical English Courses: Perspectives of a Former Engineer

Author(s) & Institution(s): Greg Chung Hsien WU, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


In higher education, increasing cross-disciplinary collaborations are underway to prepare students for disciplinary practices aligned with the academy, the workplace and the society (Kuteeva & Airey, 2013). An important role of language teachers is thus to attend to disciplinary disparities and offer literacy instruction commensurate with students’ disciplinary backgrounds. While research attention has been gradually paid to language teaching across the disciplines, there remains the scarcity of research on the development of discipline-specific learning materials.

This longitudinal case study looks into the trajectory of one language teacher, who was formerly an engineer and is currently a course coordinator. Three semi-structured interviews, spanning three semesters, were conducted. Artifacts such as course materials and reflection notes were collected. Perspectives emerging from qualitative analysis firstly suggested an integral connection of engineering thinking with his teaching praxis and team coordination. His prolonged experience in the field of engineering assisted him in proposing a feedback form entailing multifaceted considerations such as disciplinary audience and engineering-specific conventions. His discovery of a recurring component of technical writing within the four years of engineering education was enacted on the creation of a new learning task. The nuances of these teaching materials will be explicated in this presentation.

Key Words: English across the curriculum, language teaching across the disciplines, materials development, engineering


Greg Chung-Hsien Wu is a lecturer at the English Language Teaching Unit of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He currently teaches foundation EAP and engineering/nursing ESP courses. His main area of interest is English across the curriculum and the professional development of EAP/ESP/CLIL teachers.


Title: Textbook for Teaching Intercultural Communication Competence in University EFL Classrooms: Teachers’ Needs and Expectations

Author(s) & Institution(s): Junru YANG, Shantou University


This study investigated teachers’ needs and expectations related to textbooks for teaching intercultural communication competence (ICC) in university EFL classrooms. Data were first collected from class observations of 16 teachers teaching both ICC and English to students from a university in Southern China with a textbook specially written for such purposes. Afterwards, the researcher conducted in-depth interviews with six of them. Finally, notes of classroom observations and transcriptions of interviews were analyzed. It was found that the teachers had relatively high expectations for textbooks of this type. For example, apart from looking for interesting content, accurate and updated information, representation of cultural diversity, real-life examples, creative teaching activities and effective exercises, teachers also placed a special emphasis on the logical progression of content in the book and the close links between the content and activities. Besides, all teachers adapted or replaced the content and activities from the textbook to some extent for their classes, depending on their beliefs about the role of textbooks and the needs of students. The findings of this study have important implications for the compilation of textbooks meant to be used for both ICC and English.

Key Words: intercultural communication competence, English language teaching, textbook, university, teachers’ expectations


Junru Yang is a lecturer at the English Language Center, Shantou University. She is currently doing research on teaching intercultural communication in EFL classrooms. She has presented papers on relevant topics at conferences (e.g. CELC Symposium 2016, TESOL 2015, and IALIC 2015) and has been involved in the compilation of textbooks.


Title: Developing Multi-faceted Feedback Literacy: Embedding Technology-enhanced Peer Assessment for Effective Science Communication

Author(s) & Institution(s): Brenda YUEN Pui Lam, National University of Singapore


Feedback literacy is conceptualized as the “understandings, capacities and dispositions needed to make sense of information and use it to enhance work or learning strategies” (Carless & Boud, 2018, p. 1315). The literature review shows that collaborative feedback dialogue, systematic scaffolding, and teacher mediation are crucial factors to feedback literacy development in higher education. No previous research, however, has examined a technology-enhanced approach to peer assessment to promote feedback uptake and literacy development for effective science communication. This study presents an investigation into using technology-enhanced dialogic peer feedback with teacher mediation in a science communication module to develop feedback literacy and science communication skills. Two hundred science undergraduates participated in the study. Their self-perceived feedback literacy was measured before and after the technology-enhanced intervention. A feedback literacy scale was adapted from Carless and Boud’s (2018) four-dimensional framework and validated using the confirmatory factor analysis. The statistical analysis indicates an improvement in feedback literacy and positive correlations between their feedback literacy and writing performance. Interview data also reflect the impact of technology-enhanced peer assessment on feedback uptake and highlight factors affecting feedback literacy development. This study explores implications of pedagogical strategies for technology-enhanced feedback processes to enhance students’ engagement with feedback.

Key Words: feedback literacy, peer assessment, dialogic feedback, technology-enhanced feedback, science communication


Brenda Yuen is a senior lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, where she coordinates a science communication module. She is involved in the development of large-scale English placement tests for NUS undergraduates and postgraduates, and assessment quality assurance through quantitative data analysis, particularly using Rasch Analysis.


List of Lightning Talks

Title: Lexical and Phraseological Development in Postgraduate Academic Writing: A Longitudinal Study

Author(s) & Institution(s): Feng CAO, National University of Singapore


The use of less frequent, more sophisticated vocabulary, as well as formulaic language has been found to be indicative of the L2 English learners’ academic writing proficiency. Although previous research has shown that the degree of lexical sophistication and formulaicity in L2 learners’ writing varies across proficiency levels, less attention has been paid to the writing development over time. This study, therefore, aims to examine writing development by tracking the lexical and phraseological changes in the written work from a group of L2 postgraduate students. The data consists of a corpus of written coursework of 56 postgraduate students from an intensive English program over two semesters. Indices of academic vocabulary and bi-gram measures were used to assess the changes in students’ writing at three different stages. The preliminary analysis indicates that the students did not show much change in the use of academic vocabulary from Stage 1 to Stage 3, and the use of academic words and bigrams appeared to be affected more by task type than by time. The implications of the findings for research and pedagogy will be discussed.

Key Words: EAP, lexical sophistication, phraseology, corpus, postgraduate


Feng Cao is currently a lecturer in the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. His research interests include academic writing, English for academic/specific purposes, discourse analysis, and corpus-assisted language studies.


Title: The Role of Qualitative Feedback in Curriculum Enhancements in a Professional Communication Course

Author(s) & Institution(s): LAM Wanli, Aileen, National University of Singapore


Student feedback provides evidence of teaching quality and a more systematic way to document student experiences on programmes over several cohorts. It also helps educators consider their teaching effectiveness and provides a measure for administrative decisions (Richardson, 2005). In the National University of Singapore (NUS), student feedback on courses and teachers (Centre for Development of Teaching & Learning, n.d.) are gathered through the online Student Feedback Exercise, which takes place towards the end of the semester, but before the examinations to reduce bias (Christudason, 2006). Students’ identities are also protected (Registrar’s office, n.d.). Both quantitative and qualitative feedback are available through this exercise but this study focuses on the analysis of qualitative feedback which has been argued to lead to more valuable insights (Christudason, 2006), especially when the context of the data is considered (Kong, 2004).

This lightning talk aims to share the analysis of qualitative student feedback which led to curriculum changes in a professional communication course, CS2101 Effective Communication for Computing Professionals, and the subsequent analysis of qualitative student feedback and the student’s critical reflections to understand the reception of the new curriculum in the following semester.

Key Words: qualitative student feedback, curriculum development


Aileen Lam is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, NUS and has more than 10 years of teaching and corporate training experience in professional communications, media, and writing. She is also passionate about education technology and has developed blended and online courses.


Title: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: A Tale of Collaboration and Alignment in Delivering an Academic Literacy Module

Author(s) & Institution(s): LEE Ming Cherk; Chammika UDALAGAMA; Brenda YUEN; Happy GOH, National University of Singapore


Academic literacy programs are typically designed for students to develop communicative abilities within their discourse communities, as they learn about the epistemological processes and culture of their target discipline (Wingate, 2018). However, given the content-language gap that is inherent in most academic literacy courses, collaboration among stakeholders is often fraught with practical difficulties (Li, 2018; Wingate, 2018). This paper reports on how, based on an information literacy model (Porter, 2005), close collaborative efforts were forged among stakeholders (i.e. subject and language lecturers, student mentors) to engage freshmen in “doing science” and through that, become acquainted with the science discipline culture, the epistemological assumptions and processes, and the disciplinary discourse. Feedback on the module was obtained through focus group interviews with three sets of stakeholders and two sets of survey questionnaires. The results show students’ high level of satisfaction with the module. They reported being cognitively challenged and engaged, and having learned much about discourse within their science discipline. The report also shows that beyond a coherent course structure, a high level of goodwill, professionalism and commitment are needed to deliver a well aligned and integrated module (Ding & Bruce, 2017, as cited in Li, 2018).

Key Words: academic literacy, student engagement, curriculum planning and delivery


Lee Ming Cherk teaches academic writing in the Centre for English Language Communication at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests are in pedagogy, student engagement, discourse analysis and academic literacy. She is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and occasionally undertakes interpretation work.

Chammika Udalagama is a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics at the Faculty of Science (FoS). Chammika teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on topics ranging from quantum mechanics and Python programming to ocean dynamics. He is very interested in using technology to enhance teaching, learning, and assessment.

Brenda Yuen is a senior lecturer at CELC, teaching and coordinating courses in science communication, academic writing, and critical thinking. She is also involved in developing and validating university-wide English language proficiency and placement tests in Hong Kong and Singapore. Her research interests include technology-enhanced feedback for student learning, language testing and assessment, particularly rubric validation with Rasch modelling.

Happy Goh is a retired senior lecturer at CELC. She has taught various communication courses designed for different types of learners and purposes, including critical thinking and writing for community and engineering leadership, and oral skills. Her research interests include assessment and blended learning.


Title: Intra-disciplinary Genre Variation in Business Research Papers and How to Teach It

Author(s) & Institution(s): Tetyana (Tania) SMOTROVA, National University of Singapore


Genre-based approach has been acknowledged as a potent pedagogical tool in teaching academic writing due to being explicit, systematic, and empowering (Hyland, 2004; 2008). It is claimed to provide students with a clear coherent framework and access to common patterns and possible variation (Hyland, 2008). This is intended to help students make conscious choices in their writing and empower them as academic writers. Specifically, the three-move CARS model (Swales, 1990; 2004) should provide students with a clear guidance on how to structure their introductions (Lee et al., 2009). In our experience, this model appears quite useful in teaching introduction writing to doctoral students in science and engineering. However, it poses major challenges in teaching introduction writing to doctoral students from six business disciplines: Management and Organization, Analytics and Operation, Strategy and Policy, Accounting, Finance, and Marketing. This is due to considerable variation and lack of consistency in writing conventions across and within the six business disciplines, which creates difficulties in teaching and learning introduction writing in business. This presentation proposes a two-stage study to: 1) identify the rhetorical moves in business research articles introductions; 2) design a pedagogy for introduction-writing in business. The possible applications will be discussed.

Key Words: genre, research writing, teaching, rhetorical moves, disciplinary variation


Dr Tetyana Smotrova is a lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. Her research interests include gesture, multimodality, classroom interaction, and academic writing. Her research focuses on microanalysis of teacher and student use of gesture in the classroom. She has published in such journals as “TESOL Quarterly,” “The Modern Language Journal,” and others.


Title: Interdisciplinary Classroom Communication in a University-Level Communication Course

Author(s) & Institution(s): Eunice TAN, Nanyang Technological University


Research has shown that academic disciplines exhibit specific ways of thinking and approaching real world problems (Becher & Trawler, 2001; Bradbeer, 1999; Woods, 2007). With the recent proliferation of interdisciplinary courses in Singapore’s universities, the ability to understand and be understood by their classmates from other disciplines has undoubtedly become more important to students. However, not much is known empirically about how university students in Singapore interact and communicate in interdisciplinary classroom settings.

The aim of this ongoing study is to describe university students’ performance and perceptions of interdisciplinary communication in a first-year university communication course. A total of 270 students were surveyed. Twelve instances of classroom group discussions will be recorded and transcribed, and 20 interviews will be carried out. Analysis of the data will aim to lead to descriptions of specific interdisciplinary communication competencies that contribute to effective interdisciplinary communication in learning contexts.

Participants can expect to gain insights into university students’ views on interdisciplinary classroom communication. These insights will be valuable in facilitating knowledge construction and helping instructors design and structure learning activities in interdisciplinary courses.

Key Words: interdisciplinary, communication, university, classroom


Eunice Tan is a lecturer at Nanyang Technological University’s Language and Communications Centre (LCC). Before LCC, she previously taught Academic Communication and Business Communication in high schools in Mie and Osaka, and at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. Her research interests include pedagogy, inter-cultural communication, and educational technology.


Title: Challenges and Solutions of Conducting Synchronous Speaking Exams to a Substantial Number of Students: A Case Study in a Sino-British EMI University

Author(s) & Institution(s): Anying WANG, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University


Chen et al. (2009) argue that synchronous cyber oral tests are appropriate for testing presentation skills; however, few practices have actually implemented speaking exams in a synchronous cyber classroom. It has been admitted that it is pretty challenging to conduct remote online assessments (Wahid & Farooq, 2020). In light of the aforementioned, it seems there is an urgent need to address the challenges and solutions of implementing synchronous speaking exams to a significant number of students. This presentation will share the recent implementation of synchronous speaking exams via Zhumu assessing presentation skills in a Chinese-UK EMI university of approximately 600 students with examiners and students located across the globe. To ensure the smooth conduct of the exams, the critical implementation processes entail selecting a stable online platform, drafting detailed exam guides for both lecturers and students, establishing the best method for notifying students of the virtual examination links, and devising strategies for troubleshooting. In retrospect, the successful completion of the speaking tests is a collective effort; a well-thought-out assessment design and a thorough contingency plan are crucial given the complexity of the situation. It is hoped that the presentation can provide valuable insights into the development and application of synchronous oral tests.

Key Words: synchronous oral tests, online assessments, implementation of synchronous speaking exams


Anying Wang holds a master degree in TESOL, and she is a fellow of the HEA, i.e. Higher Education Academy in the UK and now an EAP lecturer in the English Language Centre at XJTLU. She currently serves as a deputy head of the Division of Advanced EAP.


List of Teaching Demonstrations

Title: Exploring Affordances of VR Educational Technology in EAP Speaking Practices in an EMI Context

Author(s) & Institution(s): Mengqi HU; Airong WANG; Rui XU, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University


This teaching demonstration aims to investigate affordances from Immerse Me, an immersive virtual environment, that can be perceived by EAP learners and teachers in academic speaking practices. The theoretical framework for this exploration lies in van Lier’s ecological approach, which claims that a dynamic interaction between leaners and the environment is necessary to perceive potential affordances of the environment. Immerse Me offers learners with EAP-related themes, e.g. pronunciation and speaking activities at three different levels and more than six hundred units and 360-degree view of authentic real-life contexts. How teachers and students perceive and use Immerse Me as a teaching and learning tool could provide useful insights into an English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) context. Through the use of this tool, certain considerations such as pronunciation and vocabulary learning, translation practice, topic relevance to students’ disciplinary study will be explored and open for discussion in this teaching demonstration.

Key Words: Immerse Me, affordances, English speaking practices, effectiveness, VR


Mengqi Hu is an EAP teacher from Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University in Suzhou, China. She is interested in exploring and applying innovative uses of AR/VR technologies in both teaching and research. She believes that interactive and immersive VR technologies will enhance both digital literacy and learning autonomy for all stakeholders.

Airong Wang has been teaching university-level English courses for 15 years. She obtained Doctor of Philosophy in English from Mid-Sweden University, Sweden. Her research interest lies in Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching, particularly English courses in virtual environments. Airong has been publishing research articles in international journals, including SSCI journals.

Rui Xu is an EAP tutor and the manager of VR Language Learning Lab from Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University. The VR Language Learning Lab is a community of educators and students passionate about enabling, enhancing, and enriching the experience of language learning by exploring innovative uses of XR technologies.


Title: Six Steps to Developing Effective Infographics

Author(s) & Institution(s): Charina ONG, National University of Singapore


Information graphics, more commonly known as infographics, have become an increasingly popular means for disseminating data. Infographics combine elements of data visualization with design to present complex information quickly and clearly. While it is easy to put these elements together, integrating them in an easily digestible format can be challenging.

How then do we produce an eye-catching infographic and an engaging headline that generates conversations among colleagues? How do we present the data in a clear and concise manner to help readers evaluate and analyse the information? How do we strike a balance between text and images to reduce cognitive overload and improve comprehension?

In this session, I will share practices on designing effective, reader-friendly posters by using a 6-step process to create powerful, engaging, and easy-to-understand infographics.  This process aims to address key issues like cognitive overload, poster fatigue, missing important information, and outmoded layouts.

Key Words: infographics, effective communication, e-learning


Charina ONG is Senior Educational Technologist at the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning. Charina’s work includes designing and conducting professional development courses/workshops for academics, specifically on Technology-enhanced Learning, developing e-learning resources, providing pedagogical advice on designing or redesigning of blended learning modules, and designing multimedia-related resources to promote the CDTL’s publications and outreach initiatives.


Title: Critical Reading for Uncovering Values in Persuasive Texts Using Systemic Functional Linguistics and Legitimation Code Theory

Author(s) & Institution(s): Namala Lakshmi TILAKARATNA, National University of Singapore


This interactive teaching demonstration explores how students can uncover evaluative meanings in persuasive texts such as news media, government posters and advertising. In critical thinking research and pedagogy, one important element of ‘analysis’ or analytical skills defined as the means “to determine the role that various expressions play… in the context of argument, reasoning or persuasion” (Facione, 1990). In this lesson, I show how to systematically scaffold students through the process of understanding the complex ways in which authors create persuasive texts and try to convince the reader to align with a particular point of view. Drawing on the framework of Appraisal (Martin & White, 2005), the session begins by demonstrating (with audience participation) the activity that helps students to identify instances of positive and/or negative emotions and opinions. After this exploration of how evaluative meaning works in texts, we will jointly explore how, over time, these instances create “clusters” or recurring patterns of evaluative meaning (Tilakaratna & Szenes, 2020). Extending on this activity, the remainder of the lesson demonstration will focus on how I scaffold students through the process of discussing subjective meanings in texts and how these meanings can reveal world views and belief systems through use of the LCT concept of ‘axiological constellations’ (Tilakaratna & Szenes, 2020). The lesson demonstration will show how SFL and LCT approaches to text analysis can provide us with us a theoretically informed and rigorous, yet accessible, approaches to uncovering evaluative meanings that are used in powerful texts that aim to persuade us.

Key Words: critical literacy, evaluative language, persuasive texts, critical thinking and analysis


Dr Tilakaratna is a senior lecturer at the Centre for English Language and Communication at the National University of Singapore. She has designed EAP materials for modules on public communication, Content and Language Integrated Learning and design semiotics drawing on Systemic Functional Linguistics and the sociology of education framework of Legitimation Code Theory. She has published on the use of SFL and LCT to create effective pedagogy across a range of disciplines such as social work, nursing, and design and is the Principal Investigator in an NUS funded project exploring critical reflection in undergraduate nursing clinical practice. She is currently co-editing (with Dr Eszter Szenes) a book on demystifying critical reflection, which presents research by international scholars on previously unpublished theoretical, pedagogical and methodological innovations in studying reflection in higher education.

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