Speaker: Dr Jim Chan from The University of Hong Kong
Topic: Bridging the gap between EFL and L2 student pragmatics: Rethinking assessment practices in teaching English as a global language.
Date: Friday, 14 December 2018
Venue: BC404, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Time: 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Since the era of globalisation, the use of English in international communication has been the focus of considerable research in the emerging research paradigm of English as a lingua franca (ELF), which has seen L2 speakers become the vast majority. One significant implication of this vibrant field of research is a shift in the conceptualisation of the changing functions and forms of English in multilingual societies worldwide, in that real-life ELF communication places greater emphasis on communicative functions, and the use of pragmatic strategies plays an important role in this process. This poses immense challenges for traditional ELT theories and practices guided by native-speaker (NS) standards because NSs are less relevant to most international communication. With reference to previous research on ELF pragmatics, this study examines the extent to which L2 learners' pragmatic production reflects the use of ELF in an interaction task in Hong Kong's public examination. The findings suggest that the students' interactions were dominated by several discourse-specific pragmatic features and pre-taught communicative strategies based on the examination task design, whilst relatively few features were relevant to those identified in previous ELF studies. Although students with a higher academic attainment were more capable of diversifying their language forms, they tended to only show a limited range of pragmatic functions owing to the design of the examination task and their prior language learning/teaching practices. This seminar will conclude by offering suggestions for contemporary language assessment practices to address this misalignment between L2 students' pragmatic production and the ELF reality.
Dr. Jim Chan is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education in the University of Hong Kong and was previously a Chemistry and English teacher in secondary and tertiary education in Hong Kong. His research interests include world Englishes, English as a lingua franca, language policy, curriculum and teaching, and language attitudes. Some of his recent work has been published in TESOL Quarterly, World Englishes, International Journal of Applied Linguistic, System, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Language and Education, Asian Englishes, and Journal of English as a lingua franca
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