Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

There are nine Special Interest Groups at CAES.  They are a key part of professional development of the Centre. They help foster greater interaction and collaboration among colleagues who share similar interest in research and teaching to network, learn, mentor and work together.


Assessment SIG

Co-ordinator: Michelle Raquel michelle.raquel@hku.hk

Members: Simon Boynton, Natalie Fong, Ashley Hazell, Joanna Lee, Carly Ng, Phil Smyth, Laura Wakeland, Bernadette Wo

The main purpose of the assessment SIG is to critique EAP/ESP assessment practices in light of the existing research on learning and assessment. The predominant focus is on the assessment of writing, although assessments of other skills are also reviewed. The main areas of interest for the group are feedback practices, formative assessment, the development of marking criteria, portfolio assessment, peer- and self-assessment, assessing writing development, alternative assessments, and technology and assessment. An aim of the group is to further improve the quality and usefulness of the assessments we carry out in CAES, and to devise assessments that are practical, learning-oriented and theoretically-grounded.

Autonomy in Language Learning SIG

Co-ordinator: Ellie Law ellielaw@hku.hk

Members: Christian Allen, Cezar Cazan, Julian Chase, Daya Datwani, Amanda Ma (PhD student)

The purpose of the Autonomy in Language Learning SIG is to build up and/or update our understanding of autonomy and related concepts through selected readings. In the past the readings have dealt with issues that are relevant to CAES initiatives such as language advising, scaffolding for courses with a self-access component, and out-of-class learning.
The SIG also supports colleagues who are conducting research on learner autonomy. A number of colleagues have presented their research findings at the SIG and received feedback from the SIG members.

Corpus SIG

Coordinator: Lisa Cheung lisa@hku.hk

Members: Aditi Jhaveri, Patrick Leung, Albert Wong

The main role of the Corpus SIG is to enhance CAES colleagues’ understanding of different corpus linguistics techniques and explore opportunities to use corpora in the classroom.  We are interested in how corpora can be applied to three domains of language teaching practice and research: the development of instructional materials for our EAP/ESAP courses, the analysis of different genres that are relevant to our courses, and the application of concordance feedback to writing. The group will hold regular meetings to discuss related concepts through selected readings and share hands-on pedagogical practices, and to work collaboratively to develop an online all-in-one website that all colleagues can access to enrich their language teaching and research in CAES.

Genres SIG

Co-ordinator: Ken Ho hoken@hku.hk

Members: Natalie Fong, Ken Lau, Joanna Lee, Julie Ng, Colin Tait, Parco Wong, Greg Wu (PhD student)

The Genres SIG provides an informal venue for discussing various types of genre and the associated pedagogies. In the past, two major forms of activities have included members sharing their readings on issues pertaining to language/writing-across-the-curriculum and taking part in hands-on workshops on genre-based materials development. Other possible research activities could include seminar presentations by members or genre analysts from other universities, and coming up with relevant research projects.


Co-ordinator: Karissa Muse muse@hku.hk
Deputy Co-ordinator: Albert Wong edubert@hku.hk

Members: Christian Allen, Cezar Cazan, Keith Chau, Daya Datwani, Patrick Desloge, Rebecca Taylor, Glenda Thomas, Melanie Zee

Keeping pace with IT can be quite a challenge for busy teachers. This IT SIG provides a forum for teachers who would like to increase their efficiency and skills using IT at work, regardless of their prior experience using technology. The group has its own Blog on which members can, for instance, share ideas, review new applications, post questions and identify their IT needs. We also meet face to face to work collaboratively to share knowledge, experience and lesson ideas, with the aim of enabling colleagues to move forward faster than they might on their own.

Language Education SIG

Co-ordinator: Lillian Wong lillianwong@hku.hk

Members: Andrea Chai, Vivian Kwan (PhD student), Karen Ngeow, Doris Wong, Alice Yau, Melanie Zee

This SIG is interested in language education issues such as language policy, language choice and identity, attitudes and motivation, language use and strategy, language and curriculum, bilingualism, language and culture, teacher professional development. Our group activities include research articles sharing and discussion, seminar and conference presentations, and exploration of relevant projects for future research and publication.  Our SIG has surveyed articles published in 2007-2011 in major Applied Linguistics and ELT journals on the topic “Language Education in Higher Education in Greater China” and produced a bibliography.  We have also worked on two projects: Teacher Questions in the EAP classroom and English-in-the-discipline: Design, implementation and evaluation. Our current project is Motivating Student Collaborative Learning with Mobile Technology in EAP Classrooms.

Postgraduate Writing SIG

Co-ordinator: Aditi Jhaveri aditi5@hku.hk

Members: Tess Hogue, Eleanor Kwan, Carly Ng, Lowana Phillips, Michael Wiggs and Melanie Zee

Our group is interested in the teaching of writing at the postgraduate level, and our special focus is on the thesis/dissertation. So far we have surveyed articles published in the last ten years in major Applied Linguistics journals, and plan to produce an annotated bibliography by the end of the year. Besides this long-term project, our members also meet regularly to discuss chosen articles, usually one per meeting.

Pragmatics SIG

Co-ordinator: Cynthia Lee cfklee@hku.hk

Members: Juan Castillo, Akiko Chiba Mereu, Aditi Jhaveri, Kevin Pat, Simon Scanlon

The Pragmatics SIG studies how interlocutors use language for intercultural and interlanguage communication in various spoken and written contexts in English, and explores ways to inform teaching and understanding of interpersonal and intercultural rhetoric. Initially, the plans are to (1) study and review state-of-the-art articles; (2) find ways to integrate our discussion/members’ current research into the Centre’s work, and (3) explore opportunities to collaborate on research-related activities within and outside the Centre.

Vocabulary Teaching and Learning SIG

Co-ordinator: Louisa Chan lswchan@hku.hk

Members: Patrick Leung, Carly Ng, Heidy Wong, Tess Hogue

The main purposes of this group are to review some current approaches to vocabulary teaching and learning (e.g. the acquisition of multiword lexical items and corpus-based vocabulary learning) and discuss ways of applying some of these approaches in our courses. Readings will be provided for discussion in the first few meetings and members are expected to bring in articles of interest into subsequent meetings. The possibility of collaborative research in the form of seminar presentations and small research projects will also be explored.