Keynote Speakers


Professor Vijay Bhatia

Visiting Professor, Hellenic American University, Athens, Greece
Adjunct Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong


Vijay Bhatia retired as Professor from the Department of English at the City University of Hong Kong, and is now Adjunct Professor in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Visiting Professor at the Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece.

Some of his research projects include Analyzing Genre-bending in Corporate Disclosure Documents, and International Arbitration Practice: A Discourse Analytical Study, in which he led research teams from more than 20 countries. His research interests are: (Critical) Genre Analysis, academic and professional discourses, including, legal, business, newspaper, and promotional genres; ESP and Professional Communication; simplification of legal and other public documents. Three of his books, Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings (1993), Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based View (2004), and Critical Genre Analysis: Investigating Interdiscursive Performance in Professional Communication (2017) are widely used in genre theory and practice.


New Technology in ESP: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities

The recent upsurge of new technology and digital modes of communication, including social media, in interdiscursive professional contexts has not only opened up new opportunities for input to ESP programmes, but also brought into focus new challenges for ESP practitioners. Critical Genre Analysis (Bhatia, 2017), with its focus on interdiscursivity in professional practice, can be insightfully exploited to understand and respond to some of the issues that ESP scholars and practitioners need to identify and account for in their pedagogic practice. In this plenary address, I would like to identify some of these key issues and challenges that ESP scholars, programme designers, and practitioners often face, and suggest possible responses to them in order to exploit opportunities made available by new technology. Taking examples from various ESP contexts, I will also illustrate how such challenges can be insightfully met using recent research in Critical Genre Theory.  


Bhatia, Vijay K., (2017): Critical Genre Analysis- Investigating Interdiscursive Performance in Professional Practice, London and New York, Routledge.

Professor Rod Ellis 

Research Professor, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University Australia
Emeritus Professor, University of Auckland


Rod Ellis is currently a Research Professor in the School of Education, Curtin University in Perth Australia. He is also a professor at Anaheim University, a visiting professor at Shanghai International Studies University as part of China’s Chang Jiang Scholars Program and an Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland.  He has recently been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. His published work includes articles and books on second language acquisition, language teaching and teacher education. His latest book (2016) is Becoming and Being an Applied Linguist (John Benjamins). Other recent publications include are Language Teaching Research and Language Pedagogy in 2012 (Wiley-Blackwell), (with Natsuko Shintani) Exploring Language Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition Research in 2014 (Routledge) and Understanding Second Language Acquisition 2nd Edition in 2015 (Oxford University Press). He has also published several English language textbooks, including Impact Grammar (Pearson: Longman). He has held university positions in six different countries and has also conducted numerous consultancies and seminars throughout the world.


Task-Based Language Teaching in Asian Primary Schools

The global importance of English has led a number of Asian countries to introduce English in the primary school despite the fact that there is no clear evidence that an early start results in higher levels of English proficiency. The position we will adopt is that if the teaching of English is to succeed at elementary school it needs to move away from the traditional structure-oriented approach and adopt a task-based approach. TBLT provides a basis for providing young learners with the opportunities they need to develop a capacity to communicate in English. If an early start in teaching English is to prove worthwhile, TBLT is the approach most likely to achieve this.

In this talk I will first present the basic principles that inform task-based teaching and then illustrate these by examples of task-based lessons for young children. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the problems that teachers and students often face in implementing task-based teaching and invite discussion of how these might be resolved. I will also acknowledge a number of structural impediments and possible solutions to these.


Professor Diane Pecorari

Head of Department of English
City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Professor Diane Pecorari works within the area of English Applied Linguistics. Her research has investigated aspects of English for academic purposes and second-language writing, (including source use and plagiarism), and the widespread and growing phenomenon of English medium instruction.

She has taught courses in linguistics, academic writing and professional communication. In addition, she has designed and taught professional skills development courses for university teacher who want to work pedagogically with questions such as how to work against plagiarism, how to promote students' writing skills and how to teach effectively in the English-medium classroom.


Integrating new technologies into EAP practice: The case of "plagiarism detection" software

Plagiarism is widely understood as a disruptive phenomenon, a problem to be combatted, detected and punished. In this sense it is a distraction from the teaching and assessment activities which are central to the mission of the EAP/ESP classroom. "Plagiarism detection" tools are therefore often seen as a solution which can minimise the time and attention teachers must spend on this particular disruption. However, such tools are controversial and problems have been associate with their use.

This talk will examine the phenomenon of plagiarism, describe the types of plagiarism which software can and cannot detect, and discuss the problems and benefits associated with these tools. It will conclude by making connections between this and other instructional technologies, and describe one model for integrating technology into ESP in a productive way. 



Prof. Bernadette Watson

Department of English
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong


Bernadette Watson (PhD Queensland) is Professor of Health Communication at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.  She is a health psychologist who studies communication.  She researches on the influence of identity and intergroup processes both on patient-health professional communication and on communication in multi-disciplinary and multicultural health teams.  Her research focus is in the area of language and social psychology and she has been a member of the International Association of Language and Social Psychology (IALSP) executive since 2000 and was president between 2012 and 2014.  She is a Fellow of IALSP and was recently honored as a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities.  Bernadette is also an active member of the International Communication Association and the Intergroup Interest Group. 


Exploring effective communication in the health context:  An intergroup approach

Increasing life expectancy and technological advances in treatment and care mean that healthcare has become highly complex, specialist and multi-disciplinary in nature.  Since the 1990s, there has been a recognition that health professionals should learn to work together, rather than as separate professional groups.  Bodies such as the Centre for Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE) and the WHO have promoted the practice of professionals from different disciplines learning to communicate and work with each other effectively.  While there have been some steps forward, it is still true that health professions work in silos that do not easily communicate with each other. Specialist language is inevitable in these diverse disciplines but also brings effective communication challenges.

In this talk I discuss the challenges that exist in many current health care contexts when health professionals from different disciplines come together to manage and negotiate patient treatment plans and care.  Through an intergroup framework of communication, I discuss some core issues that must be tackled to improve interprofessional health communication and ultimately patient safety. 



Dr Beata Webb

Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia


Dr Beata Webb’s research interests extend to education, applied linguistics and linguistics. She has lectured in linguistics and language teacher education in Australia for over 25 years. Working with students and teachers from all over the world has inspired and determined her main research which focuses on internationalisation of education in Australia and worldwide, international student mobility and intercultural teaching and learning. Dr Webb’s research aims to improve understanding the nature of linguistically and culturally diverse student cohorts, leading to better preparation of teachers and institutions for the challenges presented by international student mobility, diversity and global citizenship. Her other professional interests include the use of technology in education and e-learning. In the field of linguistics, her work focuses on cognitive linguistics and the study of discourse, with a particular interest in the concept of cross-linguistic possession and linguistic possession in Polish discourse. She has delivered professional workshops and lectures in many countries including Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, China, Poland, the UK and Germany.


Re-thinking online education: definitions, frameworks, myths and future

Digitalisation of our lives is a world megatrend which is already here; we work, we learn, we shop and we organise our entertainment online. Correspondingly, the concept of teaching and learning via digital resources has been part of English as a Second and Additional Language education and broad education at all levels for several decades. However, professional literature demonstrates that many educators still ask questions about the place of online education in teaching and about its expediency. One of the challenges educators face is the revolutionary advancement of digital technologies. These changes in technology and the way it is employed for teaching blur even relatively new definitions regarding online education. Consequently, many existing classifications and frameworks employed for developing and evaluating blended and online learning environments need constant re-defining. This paper aims to address four points. First, it explores world megatrends in order to examine the place of online teaching in global educational settings. Second, the paper examines rapidly changing concepts and frameworks in order to choose the models flexible enough to embrace rapid changes in technology and its collaboration with pedagogy.  Considering these re-defined concepts, the third aim of the paper is to look at some prevalent myths concerning online education.  The fourth and final aim of the presentation is to risk a look into the future to see how the new adopted frameworks can be used as predictors of what the future holds for us and our learners.