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Keynote Speakers

 

Prof. Thomas Robb

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Sangyo University

Thomas Robb, Ph.D., University of Hawaii, is Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Sangyo University where he was Chair of the English Department. He is a long-time user of CALL and the Internet, and has created a number of websites and applications for Extensive Reading, student projects, interactive learning and professional exchange. He was instrumental in developing some of functions useful for language learning such as the quiz import function, and the item analysis function in Moodle. One site for extensive reading, mreader.org has over 100,000 student users in 40+ countries. He has been President of JALT, served on the Board of Directors of International TESOL, and is the past president PacCALL. He has been Chair of TESOL’s EFL Interest Section, Chair of the CALL-IS Interest Section and now is Chair of the new Reading-Vocabulary Interest Section which he was instrumental in founding. He is also Chair of Extensive Reading Foundation, the editor of TESL-EJ, the first online journal for ELT, and the founder of the annual GLoCALL conference and a member of the organizing committee of WorldCALL.

In the past three years he has conducted over 30 workshops on Extensive Reading to teachers in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

 

 

Keynote Address:

Teaching Reading in an Online World: How to Get them to Read at a Distance

 

Of the four skills -- reading, writing, speaking and listening -- the single skill that can be most effectively practiced in distance learning is reading. Yet, many of the methods that are usually used in classroom-based reading instruction do not translate well when used in distant learning.
One important issue is the traditional over-emphasis on "language-focused learning" rather than other learning activities such as "meaning-focused input", "meaning-focused output" and "fluency development", which according to Paul Nation's "Four strands" principle, should each comprise about 25% of the students' language learning activities. Yet around the world "Language-focused learning" often comprises nearly 100% of what teachers do in the classroom.
The current focus on distant learning, however, now provides us with an opportunity to emphasize these other neglected aspects since "language-focused learning" itself, does not work so well at a distance.
In this presentation, we will examine the rationale for concentrating on reading practice in distant learning, and examine methods that will work with your students to enhance their learning. Useful sites for reading materials will be introduced along with tips to make them work effectively but with less work on the already over-burdened teacher. Approaches to evaluation will also be discussed.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Ali Al-Issa

Associate Professor of English Language Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education,

Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman

Dr. Ali Al-Issa has a Master of Arts in Education (TESOL) from University of London in the U.K. and Ph.D. in Education (Applied Linguistics) from University of Queensland in Australia.
He is currently an Associate Professor of English Language Education at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman. Dr. Al-Issa has extensive experience in different areas of English Language Education and has been involved in the planning and implementation of English Language Education in the Sultanate of Oman for over 30 years. He has presented and published widely about English Language Education in Oman. He is a recipient of several local and international teaching and research awards and recognitions. In addition to teaching ELT Bachelor’s and Master’s students and supervising postgraduate theses, he has published two books, several book chapters, and numerous articles about ELT in Oman in different prominent journals. Dr. Al-Issa has been the “Best Cited” Omani English Language Education scholar since 2005. His research interests include, but not limited to, foreign/second language education policy and planning and teacher training and education.

 

 

Keynote Address:

Cyber ELT in Oman: Creating Opportunities for Testing Theory and Practice

 

The uses and values of the English language continue to evolve and the number of people learning this international language for multiple purposes is rapidly increasing. This has made teaching and learning English more challenging and demanding than ever. More and more English Language Teaching (ELT) practitioners worldwide are hence showing growing interest in using technology in their classrooms to help facilitate their learners’ learning. However, teachers, with their intellectualism and agency, are not only expected to demonstrate critical awareness and informed decisions about the theory and practice of using technology inside their classrooms, but they also need to go the extra mile and show how such decisions can impact their professional development and that of others sharing the same professional community.  

 

Therefore, unlike many presentations, which discuss the nuts and bolts of using technology inside the ELT classroom, this talk takes a more macro approach. It attempts to propose a “fresh” perspective on “planning” integrating technology into ELT in the Sultanate of Oman and the implications of this for testing theories and practices. It starts by developing a theoretical framework for the interrelatedness between technology and the English language to justify both constructs’ local and global values. The talk then moves on to narrow the focus down to defining “Cyber ELT” and its multiple advantages. The next part of the talk discusses the advantages of Cyber ELT in Oman and ways of achieving it. The talk wraps up with some “food for thought” for the audience about how they can make the most of Cyber ELT to pursue lifelong learning.