In the past month, CAERe members have been active at conferences around the UK and Europe. This post is the first in a series that details recent conference presentations and publications.
Extracting words from IELTS Writing Task 1. Is it like extracting Sunlight from Cucumbers?
CAERe at British Association for Applied Linguistics – Vocabulary Special Interest Group (BAAL VOCAB SIG) 2017 Annual Conference, University of Reading, 3-4 July
by Tony Clark
In July this year, Dr Guoxing Yu (and Tony Clark) gave a plenary talk at the BAAL VOCAB SIG Annual Conference. The presentation was entitled ‘Extracting words from IELTS Writing Task 1. Is it like extracting Sunlight from Cucumbers?’
Although a work-in-progress session, the project’s use of eye tracking equipment to monitor test-takers’ lexical decision-making when writing generated much interest. The large amount of data analysed, and the different possible future directions suggested for the research, also prompted a lively discussion. Those in attendance were particularly enthusiastic about the visually-documented process of writing, and the innovative ways in which eye-tracking technology had been used to highlight candidates’ individual actions in the production of an essay. The discrepancy between the ‘final’ composition an examiner sees and the step-by-step account of writer activity actually involved was the subject of much debate.
Over the two days, there were engaging talks on a variety of vocabulary-related topics. A high number of international attendees and established academics, teachers and trainers made the conference particularly insightful. The specialised nature of the event, combined with an open and inclusive discussion format, ensured that contributions from leaders in the field and junior researchers were equally encouraged.