ESBB 2017 Leeds, UK: Recorded presentations

Many thanks to Naeema and her team for organizing a stimulating and interactive conference in Leeds (June 29 -July 1, 2017). Some of the presentations were recorded, and so we’ve made those presentations and their abstracts available here for viewing. We would like to extend our thanks to Davinna Artibey for her work in creating the videos and helping to make them available.

You are welcome to scroll through this page or use the links below to jump to a specific presentation you’re interested in.


Crossing the Borders to Academic Speaking: An Interdisciplinary Perspective by Michael McCarthy

The Migrant Crisis: What Can Centres of Teacher Education Do to Help? by Mike Chick University of South Wales

Using Process Writing Approach as a Tool to Foster Tolerance and Diversity by Sarwat Nauman

Vowel Quality in Native and Nonnative Speech: The Case of Standard Serbian and American English by Biljana Čubrović

Negotiating Curriculum or Negating Curriculum: Student-teachers Crossing Borders to Shape Their Voice and Identity by Sivakumar Sivasubramaniam

Drawing Best out of Waste: Creating Critical Spaces for Meaningful Education through Newspapers by Vijay Singh Thakur

Tomasello’s Usage Based Theory of Language Acquisition and Digital Video Cameras Adapted for Math Word Problems by John Unger and Andrei Olifer

Available Videos and Abstracts

Crossing the Borders to Academic Speaking: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Michael McCarthy University of Nottingham, UK

Part 1:

Part 2:


While academic writing tends to be genre-governed (e.g. report versus essay), academic speaking requires the control of a vocabulary of interaction related to events (e.g. seminar versus oral presentation). Using evidence from spoken corpora, we consider how best to understand the lexicon of academic interaction. Academic speaking delicately balances items shared with everyday conversation alongside pragmatically specialised vocabulary, with interdisciplinary implications.

EAP has a long history that was, understandably, in its earliest forms, dominated by research into academic writing. Such research, typically genre-based, offered invaluable insights into the functional and structural properties of academic texts across genres and disciplines. In more recent decades, the advent of spoken corpora has prompted a fresh look at the nature of academic speaking. But, just as early written corpora tended to be massive, whole-language enterprises (typically for the compilation of dictionaries), early spoken corpora also cast their net widely. That perspective is now changing, and studies using smaller, specialised spoken corpora have been shown to yield useful information concerning not only the grammar and vocabulary of targeted speech events but also, as regards EAP, pragmatic specialisation within academic discourse and across disciplines.

In this talk, I demonstrate some of the instruments which can be used to analyse spoken corpora, from macro-analyses to the analysis of individual words and phrases. I first consider some sub-corpora within broad disciplinary categories, demonstrating how the analysis of consistency can reveal similarities and differences between disciplinary domains at a macro-level. I then turn to more familiar methods of analysis such as frequency lists and key word lists to illustrate overlaps and differences between academic speaking and everyday social conversation, in an attempt to explore the borders between them.

The examples I show are presented in support of the argument that (a) academic speaking needs to be seen as speech-event related rather than genre-related, (b) that disciplinary borders are fluid, with much shared language alongside some interesting differences, (c) that institutional labels for academic speech events (e.g. lecture versus seminar versus supervision) are an unreliable index of interactional style and (d) that EAP pedagogy should ideally prepare students for a wide range of interactional types as they enter their academic programmes.

Michael is Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Nottingham, Adjunct Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Limerick, and Visiting Professor in Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University. He is author/co-author/editor of 50 books, including Touchstone, Viewpoint, The Cambridge Grammar of English, English Grammar Today and English Grammar: Your Questions Answered, as well as titles in the English Vocabulary in Use series. He is author/co-author of 108 academic papers. He is co-director (with Ronald Carter) of the CANCODE spoken English corpus. He has lectured in 46 countries and has been involved in language teaching and applied linguistics for 51 years.

The Migrant Crisis: What Can Centres of Teacher Education Do to Help?

Mike Chick University of South Wales


In 2014, the University of South Wales (USW) and the Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) decided to collaborate on providing English language classes to the increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Cardiff. This talk will detail the tremendous impact this project has had on both the refugees and the trainee teachers involved.

The collaboration between USW and WRC brings together undergraduate English language teacher trainees with refugees who desperately wish to start learning English.  The need for such a venture had been highlighted by the refugee council who noted that few options for language learning were available to refugees who faced long waiting lists when trying to access formal courses of ESOL provision. The project began with one, weekly class attended by fifteen adult language learners. Now, nearly two years later, the venture has expanded enormously. Ten English language classes are currently delivered each week by USW student teachers and local volunteer teachers with nearly a hundred refugees and asylum seekers attending weekly.

The talk will highlight the ways in which the collaboration has not only greatly enhanced the learning experience of the trainee ESOL teachers involved, but has also provided a valuable linguistic lifeline to asylum seekers and refugees who may otherwise have been unable to access such learning opportunities. The model of collaboration will be presented and the challenges and opportunities that emerged will also be discussed.

Finally, suggestions will be put forward as to how universities and other ESOL training institutions can play a greater role with regards to supporting the English language needs of those fleeing persecution. 

Since 1994, Mike has worked as a teacher / teacher educator in Estonia, Spain, South Korea, Greece and the UK. At present, he is focused on pre-service teacher education and he organises and oversees the ESOL collaborative project between the University and the Welsh Refugee Council. He also advises Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority on ESOL provision for participant families on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. He is the course leader for the BA TESOL degree at the University of South Wales and holds a PhD in Second Language Teacher Education.

Using Process Writing Approach as a Tool to Foster Tolerance and Diversity

Sarwat Nauman Institute of Business Management, Karachi, Pakistan


In this paper I will present the use of the process approach to teach student teachers how to handle a controversial topic in their writing. If teachers are aware of how to compose writing on controversial topics then they can teach their pupils the art of tackling such issues which will give rise to tolerance and open-mindedness of the whole society. The research methodology used is grounded theory as this is an exploratory study.

This research is a longitudinal qualitative research which spans over a period of one semester. Since the researcher did not know what to expect in response to the controversial topics introduced through the process writing approach, therefore the grounded theory approach is used to generate results from the data. Also, it seems suitable to obtain the results through coding and recoding of the data that is produced continuously. The triangulation method will be used to construct a theory.

The sample consisted of 10 MBA – Education Management students enrolled in their Academic English class. All the 10 students are teachers in various private schools of Karachi and teach primary to secondary levels. Most of these teachers teach more than one subject at a time to a class. The Academic English course that they are registered in incorporates, essay writing (analytical and argumentative), APA style and a seminar paper.

The data was collected using multiple data sources. The students were introduced to a controversial political, religious or a sectarian topic through a piece of reading. Five phases of process writing were taken from Li and Zhang (2015) whereas phase I (White, 2000) and phase II (Hyland,2011) were added to suit the research requirements. All seven phases were carried out for all three types of essays: expository, analytical and argumentative essay.

    1. Phase I: Using Text-based Approach—Explaining Fundamentals a Text

    2. Phase II: Introduction of a Topic—Critical Literacy

    3. Phase III:  Sources and Syntheses—Building Knowledge

    4. Phase IV:  Generating Ideas—through an outline

    5. Phase V: Putting It Together—Drafting

    6. Phase VI: Revising and Editing—Peer Mentoring

    7. Phase VII:  Finalizing and Sharing—Publishing

The students were asked to reflect on their practice after the class and the researcher recorded her reflections after the class. Informal interviews took place during the class to record students’ reaction to the topic and also to the writing experience.

It can be concluded that process writing along with text-based approach is an effective way to teach L2 student teachers various genres of essays even in a short duration of time. Through teaching controversial topics it was revealed that social-identity theory was seen to be in full swing in the Pakistani society. The results also point towards the possibility of teaching controversial topics in Pakistan.

An Assistant Professor, Sarwat holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Karachi. She has successfully completed her MPhil in Education and is a PhD scholar at IoBM. She has teaching experience of 13 years and has been associated with Greenwich University and Defence Authority College for Women. She also holds the position of the Associate Editor for the Journal of Education and Educational Development (JoEED) which is published biannually by the Department of Education.

Vowel Quality in Native and Nonnative Speech: The Case of Standard Serbian and American English

Biljana Čubrović University of Belgrade, Serbia


In this talk, I present the results of an experimental cross-linguistic vowel study that explores the vowel inventories of two different vowel systems: standard Serbian and American English. This study is motivated by a vivid interest in the effect of inventory size and its structure on vowel qualities. This interest arises from the observation that certain vowel inventories and certain vowel configurations are more common than others in the languages of the world. In three carefully designed acoustic experiments the focus is on Serbian as L1, and American English as both L1 and L2. The acoustic analysis of Serbian monophthongs shows that phonemic length influences vowel quality in all five Serbian vowels /i, e, a, o, u/. This vowel quality difference between five long and five short Serbian vowels brings the vowel inventory of Serbian closer to the American English vowel system, where the opposition tense/lax is consistently accompanied by spectral differences. The results obtained from the native English speakers, while consistent with findings in the literature, point at several changes that are evident in younger speakers of American English, most notably, the phenomenon of front vowel backing. Of particular interest are the results obtained from the productions of English monophthongs by native speakers of Serbian, which depart both from their own productions of Serbian monophthongs, and from the productions of native American English speakers. One of the most notable findings is partial neutralization of vowel pairs in beatbitbootputbetbat. Overall, non-native production of this quantity distinction is accompanied by a difference in quality that is smaller than in native American English productions, but greater than in native Serbian productions.

Biljana is an Associate Professor of English Linguistics in the Department of English, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade in Serbia, where she currently teaches English Phonetics and Acoustic Phonetics at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In 2006, she was awarded the Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English by the International Phonetic Association at University College London. She was a Visiting Scholar at the postdoctoral level in the Department of Linguistics at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 2008/2009 and 2013/2014, where she carried out experimental phonetic research. She is the author of several books about the English language and English phonetics. Most recently, a monograph entitled Acoustic Investigations of Serbian and American English Vowel Inventories was published in 2016. She has been Chief Editor of The Linguistics Journal since 2015. She has given invited talks in Japan, UK, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. She is one of the founders of the academic circle of international scholars English Scholars beyond Borders. Her research interests include: articulatory and acoustic phonetics, phonetics and phonology of English, French, and Slavic Languages, as well as second language acquisition and bilingualism. She founded Laboratory for Phonetic Research at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade in 2017.

Negotiating Curriculum or Negating Curriculum: Student-teachers Crossing Borders to Shape Their Voice and Identity

Sivakumar Sivasubramaniam University of the Western Cape, Republic of South Africa (RSA)

Very often, teachers who enslave themselves to their language curriculum find it both demanding and demoralizing to determine their choice of teaching method(s) and a style of teaching that they would be comfortable with.  As a result, they surrender their beliefs, values and intuitions and accept unquestioningly any choice of methods or materials in order to satisfy their superiors/stakeholders,who use the curriculum as an instrument of control and homogenization. Disempowered teachers, can thus find it both convenient and comfortable to carry out the choices and pre-determined objectives of a curriculum designed by someone else. Because of this, they do not critically examine the role of the curriculum and their role in deploying it as way of engendering their voice, agency and subject-hood.

An uncritical engagement with the curriculum and its materials/texts reduces their teaching role to that of a perfunctory task. As a result teachers become ‘curriculum clerks carrying out other people’s decisions about subject matter and classroom management’ (Delawter in Langer, 1992: 101). In light of this, a well-informed reception and response to a language curriculum can lay the groundwork for teacher empowerment thereby leading teachers into voicing their professional beliefs and concerns in order to consider and construct new perspectives on their role as teachers (Krammer-Dahl, 2008, Postman, 1993, Sivasubramaniam, 2015). Such a position is even more important for student teachers who prepare for a career in language teaching. Therefore, the express purpose of this paper is to equip student teachers with the much-needed resolve and resilience by helping them listen to their own voices and beliefs about their PGCE language curriculum and how they can challenge the taken-for-granted conventions and assumptions that play out in their curriculum prescriptions by attempting a situated construction of their “self” as “empowered learners”.  

Using a representative selection of excerpts from the PGCE English Method students’ reflective essays, the presentation will argue and attempt confirmations as to how and why the students have personalised their curriculum as a way of negotiating it instead of attempting a non-agentive approximation to it as a set of linguistic codes.  In sum, the presentation will regard the student teachers’ negotiated curriculum as acts of border-crossing by which they make sense of their worlds and “self” via their agency.

Dr. Sivasubramaniam is Professor and Head of Language Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape, Republic of South Africa (RSA). He is also a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated Researcher in RSA. He serves the Editorial Board of the Journal of English as an International Language (EILJ) as Chief Editor and the Editorial Board of Asian EFL Journal (AEJ) as Associate Editor. In addition, he serves as Honorary International Adviser to TESOL International Journal and as Executive Board Member of the International TESOL Accrediting Authority (ITAA). He has been a foreign language/ second language educator for over thirty years and has taught English in India, Ethiopia, Thailand, Bahrain, Armenia, and U.A.E prior to relocating to the Western Cape. His research interests include response-centred reading/ writing pedagogies, literature-based language pedagogies, constructivism in EIL, second language advocacy, narratives in language education and text-based approaches to academic and social literacy practices.

Drawing Best out of Waste: Creating Critical Spaces for Meaningful Education through Newspapers

Vijay Singh Thakur Dhofar University, Sultanate of Oman


A Course Book, to use Patil’s (2012) argument, must not be a ‘Force Book’ but a Source Book along with which authentic materials from varied sources could be used as supplements (p. 67). Drawing pedagogical motivation from the basic premise of this argument, this paper aims at demonstrating how a most viable and educationally rich, yet neglected, resource of newspapers could be fruitfully used to develop and strengthen language skills and higher order critical thinking and research skills in English language classrooms. The paper discusses why authentic materials ought to be used as supplements in English Language Teaching; why and how newspapers are suitable materials for teaching language skills and developing critical thinking and research skills; and how innovative teachers can develop a variety of fruitful tasks and activities through which critical spaces for a meaningful education could be created and developed in the English language classrooms.

As Hall (1995) argues, instructional materials should stimulate interaction and be generative in terms of language (p. 9). Communication is an event in which there is an interactional relationship between interlocutors.  This interaction, as Gaskaree, Mashhadi, and Dousti (2010) argue, needs whole language in which language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, associated knowledge of vocabulary, meaning, syntax etc, and also thinking skills are interwoven (p. 33). This means that “if language isn’t kept whole, it isn’t language anymore” (Rigg, 1991, p.522, cited in Richards and Rogers, 2001, p. 109). Research suggests that Critical Thinking (CT) is a means to transform learning and society and social practice is one of the indispensable components of CT (e.g. Benesch, 1993; Atkinson, 1997; Oster, 1989; Brookfield, 1987; Shor & Freire, 1987; Fox, 1994; etc).  Taking pedagogical focus and direction from these studies, this paper aims to demonstrate how a pedagogically rich resource of newspapers could be fruitfully exploited to develop integrated language skills and promote critical thinking and research skills in English language classrooms. The paper, in order to attain desired outcomes, capitalizes on Adger’s (2010) five principles of education practice (p. 513); hence, the tasks and activities, developed in the conceptual framework of Rigg’s  (1991) “Whole Language”, are aligned with these principles:  (i) to facilitate learning through joint productive activity among teachers and students; (ii) to develop competence in the language and literacy of instruction through all instructional activities; (iii) to contextualize teaching and curriculum in the experiences of home and community; (iv) to challenge students toward cognitive complexity; and (v) to engage students through dialogue, especially the instructional conversation. The presenter strongly believes that newspapers, as supplementary materials, are more suitable for creating productive critical spaces in the English language classrooms.

The paper will discuss why authentic materials ought to be used as supplements in the English language classrooms; why and how newspapers are pedagogically more viable for teaching language skills and developing critical thinking and research skills; and how innovative teachers can develop a variety of fruitful tasks and activities through which critical spaces for a meaningful education could be created. The critical spaces could be created, to mention some, by introducing simple tasks of asking students to question what they read in the newspapers; by giving advanced activities of investigating deeper and more implicit meanings in texts and identifying assumptions and weaknesses; by discussing issues related to critical qualitative inquiry revolving around a particular article or a set of agreed upon readings from newspapers; and by researching the way chain of events develop around a sensational news story through which multi-level responses and reactions, loaded with strong attitudinal, political, and ideological overtones, surface.

Vijay is an Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics in the Department of Languages and Translation of Dhofar University, Sultanate of Oman. He has a doctorate degree in Applied Sociolinguistics. His main publications include the books Discourse Analysis of a Novel: Theory and Method and Sociolinguistic Perspectives of Politeness in Communication and 27 papers and articles in the areas of Applied Sociolinguistics, Pragmatic Discourse Stylistics, Cross-Cultural Pragmatics, and TESOL Pedagogy.

Tomasello’s Usage Based Theory of Language Acquisition and Digital Video Cameras Adapted for Math Word Problems

John Unger and Andrei Olifer Georgia Gwinnett College, USA


For this part of an ongoing study of mind, signs (i.e. language), and human activity, Michael Tomasello’s Usage Based Theory of Language Acquisition, along with older Vygotskian-related concepts and newer ideas from social semiotics, are used to set up digital video tasks for solving math word problems. This interpretive, descriptive study presents three cases of adult English speaking participants solving the same math word problems. As an adaptation of Tomesello’s and others’ ideas, three reference areas, speech, a visual, and the act of pointing, are used to interpret the differences in how each participant moved from the initial stimuli, the word problem, onto a piece of scratch paper; then onto a visual, then into a short participant-created digital video presentation. Participants were asked to frame their explanations of how they solved the word problems as if they were teaching this process to others; this is a variation on Palinscar and Brown’s (1984) idea of reciprocal teaching, which is from older research into reading comprehension.  All raw data, the Power Point for the presentation, and many other related documents and data will be made available to the audience on the author’s non-profit website,

The nature and structure of courses designed to prepare students for college-level academic work, known as developmental (i.e., remedial; transitional) education, which also includes adults learning English as an additional language, has been undergoing tremendous change in the U.S. over the past several years. These changes include increased pressure to quickly and seamlessly transition unprepared first-year students, along with ESL and international students, into college level work. As a response to these changes and as part of a search for ways to engage students with academic literacy and critical thinking, the first author has been developing a theoretical framework and procedures for integrating digital video cameras into outlining short essays, writing summaries and responses, and completing sentence-level vocabulary tasks in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. Currently, in collaboration with the second author, these language/literacy learning strategies have been introduced to developmental math students as a strategy to solve word problems in developmental math courses.

The ultimate purpose of using digital video in the EAP courses, and now for word problems in developmental math courses, is to prompt metacognition through an emphasis on reciprocal teaching types of activities (see Palinscar & Brown, 1984). For all literacy activities or math word problems, students select information to place on a visual and talk about how they reached their outcome and/or support for their outcome.

For this paper and presentation, the adaptation of Tomasello’s Usage Based Theory of Language Acquisition will be presented along with data from sentence completion tasks and math word problems. Current findings from the cases selected for analysis will be presented as well as implications for the classroom and avenues for further research.

John Unger teaches English for Academic Purposes at Georgia Gwinnett College, an open-access baccalaureate degree granting institution in Lawrenceville, Georgia USA. He has worked and studied in a variety of ESL/EFL and development English contexts for over 26 years. He has published, presented papers and workshops, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses revolving around TESOL, gesture and language, writing, developmental English, linguistics, traditional English grammar and usage, literacy, semiotics and video games, and multilingual/multicultural education. His current research is focused on using digital video cameras as tools for students to create short videos that explain how they are responding to sentence completions for vocabulary learning, reading response prompts, essay prompts, and how students are solving math word problems. Before his life in higher education, John spent four years in the U.S. Navy and fifteen seasons on coastal and deep-sea commercial fishing boats in the northern Pacific, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea.

Andrei Olifer (“Andrey Olypher”) received his PhD in applied mathematics from Rostov University (now Southern Federal University), Russia, in 1989. His main interest is in understanding cognition. He worked as a research scientist in biological labs in the Pasteur Institute (Paris, France), Institute of Physiology (Prague, Czech Republic) and Emory University (Atlanta, USA).  The objects he studied range from abstract mappings of binary strings to the dynamics of anatomically and physiologically detailed neuronal models. As a college professor he is interested in developing cognitive processes in students. He believes that mathematics, with its structure and unambiguity, offers exclusive opportunities for understanding and improvement of such development.


For information about abstracts and publication of proceedings, please contact Dr. Naeema Hann at or +44 (0)113 81 25179. For information about ESBB contact Dr. Roger Nunn or at +971526993957.