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This presentation describes the process of introducing MA TESOL students to the use of corpora. The non-native speaking students are currently enrolled in an EAP course, for which they have to submit various written and spoken assignments, and which is preparing them to present assignments in the other subjects that make up the MA program.  


For the EAP course, the students are working through Discovering Academic English, A Task-based Linguistics Approach, which I drafted for this course. The tasks aim to teach these future English teachers features of academic English and Neo-Firthian linguistics, as well as what and how they can learn from language-as-data. They learn how to create queries in COCA and VersaText and how to draw conclusions. They also reflect on the multiple affordances of doing so.  

In addition to this course focussing on academic prose, it is also a teacher training course. Through their multiple experiences with goal-oriented language discovery, the students consider their application of this to general English. To this end, they also meet SkELL.  

In addition to conducting a survey to gather their impressions, the students engaged in a graded online discussion that explored their understanding of, reaction to and potential application of DDL.  

About the presenter

The work presented here is undertaken through Webster University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where James Thomas recently served as visiting professor and director of the MA TESOL program. He has been working with corpora in language teaching for over 25 years. He hosted TaLC in 2010 and is a committee member of that conference, and was chair of CorpusCALL. He published Discovering English with Sketch Engine (2017) and created the VersaText software for which he wrote Discovering English with VersaText (2021). He is also currently the lead researcher on the BC grant project, CONYE, creating a corpus of native-speaker youth English for the preparation of word and phrase lists.  

About International Perspectives on Corpus Technology for Language Learning - Seminar Series

Given the challenges to language education posed by COVID-19, increasing collaborative development in online pedagogies and resources ensures continuity of language education throughout the pandemic, while preparing students to succeed in an uncertain post-COVID-19 world. This seminar series is a global initiative spanning multiple time zones, with participants from Brazil, the UK, the USA, France, Poland and Australia, discussing the latest applications of language corpora for (language) learning. Topics include the use of corpora for language education, corpus pragmatics, text analytics for classroom use, data-driven learning, and much more, with a range of famous international speakers.

If you would like to present or have any queries about the CORPUS Seminar series, please contact Peter Crosthwaite.

If you would like to receive invitations to our CORPUS seminars, please sign up here.

The seminars will take place in the following time zones: 9pm (Brisbane), 8am (Sao Paulo), 11am (UK)


Online via Zoom