Applied Linguistics, Language, and Literacy (ALLL) Lab

About the lab

At the Applied Linguistics, Language, and Literacy (ALLL) lab, we investigate incidental and intentional language and literacy acquisition by learners at all levels of education. Using a number of different techniques, we approach multiple language learning “puzzles” from a variety of applied linguistics perspectives. The ALLL lab is affiliated with the Faculty of Education, University of Macau.

Featured projects (1)

Complete a series of studies focused on second language vocabulary and writing using eye tracking and other cognitive science data collection methods. More specifically, incidental vocabulary acquisition and corrective feedback of second language writing will be the focus.

Featured research (7)

The global importance of English and therefore the teaching of the English language has made the English language curriculum an integral part of all levels of teacher education, including early childhood education. The purpose of this study was to first explore the beliefs about the teaching of English to very young learners held by pre-service pre-primary teachers in Macau and then to see whether these beliefs were reflected in their microteaching. Qualitative content analysis performed on the written reflections and transcriptions of the microteaching videos of 75 pre-service pre-primary teachers found that their beliefs about classroom practices, lesson planning, and English as a foreign language (EFL) learners and learning were the most predominant beliefs exhibited in their reflections and were evidenced in their microteaching. Less predominant, but still salient, were their beliefs about the goals of language learning, assessment, teaching, pedagogical knowledge, and content. No observable practices were found regarding the pre-service teachers’ beliefs about the role of teaching, learning to teach, microteaching, the self, the subject, hearsay, self-assessment, and schooling. The current study found that with only limited exposure to EFL teaching methodology from a single course, the pre-service pre-primary teachers were able to implement some of their beliefs about several important aspects of teaching English to very young learners.
This investigation is one part of a large study exploring the relationship between comprehension, lexical coverage, text genre, and other reading-related variables. To further the field’s current understanding of the lexical coverage-reading comprehension relationship, we examined the effect lexical coverage and topic familiarity have on L2 comprehension of the expository genre by controlling L2 reading ability and L2 vocabulary size. As previous research has reported 95% or 98% as the minimal coverage for unassisted reading (Hu & Nation, 2000; Laufer, 1989), our study worked with six lexical coverage figures (95%, 96%, 97%, 98%, 99%, and 100%) to answer the following research question: Is there an interaction effect between topic familiarity and lexical coverage on L2 learners’ reading comprehension of expository texts?
Research on the beliefs of pre-service and in-service English teachers at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels has provided useful knowledge to teacher education curriculum designers. However, the beliefs of pre-service pre-primary English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers have not been addressed. Thus, a case study was conducted in one pre-primary education program at a public university in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China. Data was collected by providing participants ( N = 63) a writing prompt aimed at gathering their beliefs about the teaching and learning of English in the pre-primary context. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze these written reflection reports of third-year pre-service pre-primary English teachers with the aim of uncovering their beliefs about teaching and learning EFL. Results showed the participants held beliefs about classroom practice, EFL learners and learning, pedagogical knowledge, teaching, content, goals of language teaching, the role of teaching, subject, schooling, hearsay, self, learning to teach, and the teacher education program. Most participants mentioned their beliefs about classroom practice, EFL learners and learning, and pedagogical knowledge, while very few participants wrote about self, learning to teach, or the teacher education program. While many of the beliefs held by the participants were found to be substantiated by early childhood education research, some unfounded beliefs were also uncovered. The results highlighted a need for curriculum designers to reconsider the education program’s ability to meet the needs of the pre-service teachers. Participants required additional training in English content knowledge, use as a medium of instruction, and pronunciation. The polarized view of teaching the mother tongue and EFL should be reconsidered in light of the current views on bilingualism and bilingual education.
Early childhood education (ECE) in China has become complex and multi-dimensional. Chinese parents/caregivers are actively involved in ECE. This qualitative study provides insights into how three ECE-related professionals, namely, a family education professional, an ECE enrichment teacher, and a founder/administrator of an ECE centre, worked collaboratively in a transdisciplinary early childhood family education (ECFE) program in a northern city of China. Qualitative data was collected via three rounds of interviews with each of the three ECE professionals and several sources of documents. The findings are generally in line with existing literature regarding the factors that influence effective transdisciplinary collaboration among ECFE team members. The ECE professionals claimed the program was a success was due to their willingness to become ergonomists, daily collaborative practice with team members, interaction with both the caregivers and their children, and non-judgmental sharing among colleagues. These positive outcomes occurred due to the continued support and instruction from other ECFE team members, especially when applying approaches outside one’s respective fields. The findings illuminate several insights relating to ECFE and offer several implications regarding hands-on practices for effective ECFE.
Language teacher beliefs have received increasing research attention for the past few decades. However, little is known about the beliefs of pre-service teachers in the pre-primary English as a foreign language (EFL) education context. This qualitative case study extends this line of inquiry by investigating the trajectory of student teachers' beliefs about teaching English to pre-primary learners in Macau within a teacher education course. The participants included 60 pre-service teachers taking an English Language Activities course in their third year of a 4-year Bachelor of pre-primary education program. The data comprised written reflections collected at three points in time during the 16-week course: at the beginning of the course, mid-way through the course, and at the end of the course. The findings showed five broad themes, constituted from 15 subthemes, regarding (1) learners and learning, (2) teaching, (3) subject, (4) self, and (5) learning to teach. The major themes have been documented in the literature, but several subthemes were identified for the first time in the context of pre-primary EFL teacher education. More importantly, the findings revealed that some of the subthemes were newly shaped and several subthemes were reshaped as a consequence of taking the course. The findings were interpreted in relation to the content of the course, the experiential learning opportunities, the pre-service teachers' prior experiences of language learning and teaching, and the local language teaching and learning context. Implications for pre-service teacher education programs are discussed.

Lab head

Barry Lee Reynolds
  • Faculty of Education
About Barry Lee Reynolds
  • Dr. Barry Lee Reynolds is Assistant Professor of English Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Macau. He conducts interdisciplinary education research in Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition, L2 Vocabulary Development, Phraseology and Formulaic Language, Extensive Reading, L2 Vocabulary Learning Strategies, Written Corrective Feedback and L2 Writing, Digital Game-Based Language Learning, Language Teacher Education, among others.

Members (11)

Chen Ding
  • University of Macau
Sylvia Liu
  • University of Macau
Tian-Jiao Song
  • University of Macau
Xiaofang Zhang
  • University of Macau
Maja Milosavljevic
  • University of Macau
Jennifer McDonald
  • University of Macau
Xiaoyan Ma
  • University of Macau
Xiao Chen Tan
  • University of Macau