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Kindly supported by

Phil Benson


Phil Benson is Professor of Applied Linguistics and coordinator of the Multilingualism Research Group at Macquarie University. His main research interests are in the area of multilingualism and include informal language learning beyond the classroom, language learning environments and the language experiences of migrants and international students. His preferred research methods are qualitative and he is especially interested in narrative inquiry as an approach to language learning research. He is the author of Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning (Pearson, 2011), co-author of Narrative Inquiry in Language teaching and Learning Research (Routledge. 2013), and co-editor of Beyond the Language Classroom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and a forthcoming volume, The Multilingual City: Sydney Case Studies. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling and walking around Sydney’s many multicultural neighbourhoods.

Language learning environments: Learning English in the spaces of the multilingual city
Saturday 06 October, 9.00am

The challenges of gaining access to opportunities to use the target language in contexts of study abroad, international education and migration are well documented. But how can we conceptualise the conditions under which language learners gain or fail to gain access to such opportunities? In this presentation I will discuss a Sydney-based study, in which the challenge of access to the target language is reconceptualised as a challenge gaining access to English in an English-speaking, but increasingly multilingual, city. The notion of ‘context’ is also reconceptualised in spatial terms as a learner’s ‘language learning environment’, or the spatial configuration of their everyday life (study, home, work, leisure), which is partly fixed in advance of the learner’s arrival, but also shaped by their agency within the environment itself. Drawing on case studies of international students’ daily activities and language use, I will highlight the importance both of the spatial circumstances of students’ everyday lives in multilingual Sydney and of their management of these spatial circumstances to enhance access to opportunities for English language use and learning.

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Shanton Chang

Associate Professor Shanton Chang is a research and teaching academic at The Department of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. He is also Assistant Dean (International) at the Melbourne School of Engineering. His current primary areas of research include the Online Behaviour, Information Seeking Behaviour and Needs, and Information Security Culture. His latest research is on the information seeking behaviour and social networking patterns of international students.

He was also Conference Convenor of the ISANA International Education Association from 2004 - 2015, and Co-Convenor of the IEAA's Internationalisation of Curriculum Special Interest Group. He has been involved in the Australian international education sector since 1992 (as a student leader) and subsequently as an education agent, coordinator and academic, receiving the IDP award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian International Education in 2000. In 2012, he also received an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning Across Cultures. He is an ISANA Life Member.

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Angel Lin

Angel Lin is Professor of English Language and Literacy Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. She received her Ph.D. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada in 1996. Since then her research and teaching have focused on classroom discourse analysis, bilingual and multilingual education, academic literacies, language across the curriculum, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), and language policy and planning in postcolonial contexts. She has published six research books and over ninety research articles, and serves on the editorial boards of leading international research journals including Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, Language and Education, and Pragmatics and Society. In 2018 Angel Lin is moving to Simon Fraser University to take up the position of Canada Research Chair in Plurilingual and Intercultural Education.

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Steven Thorne

Steven holds faculty appointments in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Portland State University (USA), and secondarily, in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands). In 2014, he was selected to receive the inaugural Faculty Research Excellence Award for Assistant and Associate Professors at Portland State University. He received an M.A. (in Hindi and Urdu) and Ph.D. (in Language, Literacy, and Culture) from the University of California at Berkeley. His interests include cultural-historical and usage-based approaches to language development, language use and learning in social media and online gaming environments, and research that examines human activity at the nexus of technologies-cultures. Steven is currently working on a variety of projects that examine technology-mediated language learning occurring within and outside of formal educational settings, indigenous language maintenance and revitalization, and exploring the conceptual and social-material consequences of divergent theories of second language development. In a prior incarnation, he taught Hindi and Urdu (at UC Berkeley and in Pakistan). Over the years he has presented talks, plenaries, workshops and seminars on a variety of language-related topics including new media communication and information technologies, gaming and game-based learning, intercultural communication, Vygotskian and cultural-historical activity theory, corpus linguistics, second language development and pedagogy, and ancestral/indigenous language revitalization. 

Invited Speakers 

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Rae Si‘ilata

Dr. Rae Si‘ilata is a lecturer in Biliteracy-Pasifika in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, at The University of Auckland. Rae's research and teaching centre on linguistically and culturally sustaining practice for Pasifika bilingual learners, identity construction in Māori-Pasifika whānau, and on the development of reciprocal home school partnerships. In 2014 she completed her doctoral studies on Pasifika learner success in English-medium education. Formerly a primary ESOL/classroom teacher and principal, Rae is interested in bilingual/biliterate academic outcomes, language teaching and learning, and is committed to teacher professional learning and development in bilingualism/biliteracy. She supports facilitators, school leaders and teachers to critically examine notions of power and success, and to value and utilise the language and cultural resources of whānau/aiga within classroom learning.

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Sharon Harvey

Associate Professor Sharon Harvey is Head of the School of Language and Culture and Deputy Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Culture and Society at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Sharon has been an EAL and workplace literacy teacher over much of her career. During the last 20 years she has also been closely involved in the development of postgraduate programmes and a research culture at AUT. From 2007-2011 Sharon led three national Ministry of Education research evaluations in the areas of ESOL paraprofessionals and language teacher professional development. Currently, she is principal investigator on the Ministry of Education national evaluation of Asian Language Learning in Schools (ALLiS) and is a co-investigator on the Norwegian Research Council funded project, ICE (Indigeneity, Citizenship and Education) led by the University of Tromso.

Sharon's strong interest in languages equity and policy led her to initiate and co-write the 2013 Royal Society of New Zealand paper Languages of Aotearoa / New Zealand and she has been a core member of the Auckland Languages Strategy Group which succeeded in having a Languages Strategy endorsed by Auckland Council in 2015.

Research and supervisory interests include critical refugee and migrant studies, discourse analysis, language learning and teaching, curriculum studies, language policy and planning, intercultural competency and language teacher development. Sharon also has a strong interest in the fields of research policy, knowledge and national science, which were the areas she researched for her PhD (completed 2006).


Jeanette King

Jeanette King is a Professor in Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury where she has been teaching Te Reo Māori for 25 years. She also heads the bilingualism theme of the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour. She has published widely in areas relating to the Māori language and languages spoken by Māori - from aspects of linguistic change through to language revitalization. Her recent work examines Māori language in Māori immersion education settings as well as the intergenerational transmission of minority languages in New Zealand.