Conference Program - please click here for a detailed program table.

The conference (all sessions, panels, workshops) on both days, will take place at the Instructional Building (Centre) at UTM.

All conference participants will be provided with the program booklet at the time of registration.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Tom Cobb, Département de didactiques des langues, Université du Québec à Montréal

Does research have a role in” improving language learners' accuracy and proficiency”? What kind of research?

Few L2 practitioners doubt the value of “evidence based” or “research based” language instruction, in principle.  But few can cite the research behind many of the instructional decisions they make, and fewer keep up with the research literature – even when they have done a research degree.  My plenary presentation will look at why research is not taken seriously in frontline ESL or FSL, and what failure to take it seriously costs us. It will argue that an “applied applied linguistics” is yet to emerge and describe what this would look like.
Thomas Cobb has taught and coordinated ESL reading programs in many parts of the world (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, England, and Canada).  He currently teaches teachers and does research and development in applied linguistics at the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada.  His development work is mainly involved with creating and maintaining the Compleat Lexical Tutor website (or Lextutor, at, which is devoted to supplying ESL and French teachers and their learners with tools for “data driven” language learning. His research mainly involves looking at what practitioners do with these tools.  Recent papers can be found many in downloadable form at and citation data at .

Professor Larry Vandergrift , Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa

Facilitating language learning: Developing smart listeners

This talk will inform teachers on how they can help students become successful listeners by putting more emphasis on the process of listening rather than just the product (i.e., the correct answer) alone.  Participants will:
-  review research related to comprehension processing and the critical role of metacognition in the process;
-  learn to help students plan, monitor, problem-solve and evaluate as they engage in listening tasks; in other words, help students learn how to regulate the comprehension processes; and,
- examine and evaluate a few listening tasks that lead students through the process of listening and develop listener metacognition.
In sum, participants will gain an enlarged view of what it means to teach listening comprehension and, thereby, help students learn to listen so that they can better listen to learn.
Larry Vandergrift is a recently retired Professor from the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute at the University of Ottawa. He has published widely on listening, particularly the role of metacognition in successful L2 listening.  His book, with Christine Goh, entitled Teaching and Learning Second Language Listening: Metacognition in Action was published in 2012.  He has also been a co-editor of the Canadian Modern Language Review. In 2009, the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers honored him with the Robert Roy Award for his teaching, research, writing and dedication to the improvement of L2 teaching and learning in Canada.