Learning & Teaching Languages Research Lab

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Learning and teaching languages is a very active area at the University of Canterbury. We have a suite of unique online courses and programmes which are available to students in any part of the world. Our research efforts are focused in two areas: digital practices in learning and teaching languages and intergenerational transmission of minority languages. As well as their own individual and collaborative research, a team of enthusiastic researchers supervise research students in this area who are working on their PhDs and Master theses. We regularly invite researchers, students and teachers to meet up with us in person or online for symposia in these research areas, and we offer resources for language teachers and for parents and professionals involved with children growing up with more than one language.

Please browse through these pages and take a look at what we are doing. Come back regularly and see if there is a meeting you can join in.

Resources for Teachers

These presentations of selected digital tools were produced by students in the course EDEM633 Foundations of technology-enhanced language learning and are shared here by permission from the authors.

Using digital tools to enhance English Listening Comprehension of New Zealand Mi

Barbara Song-Smart

This essay investigates the potentials of incorporating five digital tools in the English listening comprehension training.  It illustrates some of the features and functions of individual tools, and examines and demonstrates how they can be used in listening comprehension training to enhance the outcome or improve the enjoyment of learning.  

Investigating whether several digital tools would enhance L2 language learning i.

Kath O’Regan

The context for teaching and learning is an Urban Primary School in Christchurch, New Zealand. Many more English Language Learners (ELLs) than before are enrolling at the present time and now represent one fifth of the school roll.  The Primary School caters for Year 0-6 children and takes children from both in zone and out of zone.  Many of the ELLs enrolled at the current time are from out of zone.  One of the reasons given by out of zone parents for enrolling in this school is the robust ESOL programme offered in conjunction with the strong emphasis on technology enhanced language learning (TELL).

Using Mobile Technology for Second Language Skills Acquisition: A Task-based App.

Linda Edwards

The context for this assignment is a private English language provider in Christchurch, New Zealand. The English language teaching industry has suffered since the earthquakes of 2010/2011, shrinking from forty-four to two private providers. Consequently, this particular institution has only two classes; one for adults and one for teenagers. The school has a strong pastoral care and communicative language teaching focus but the teaching environment is digitally poor (Gonzalez & St. Louis, 2012). It is not financially viable for the school to up-grade technological equipment in any significant way. All the learners have at least one mobile phone and/or tablet each; it would seem apposite to use these devices as that would not entail any undue financial outlays for the school. The school has ultra-fast broadband with Wi-Fi available to all students. Thus, introducing mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) into task-based (TBL) lessons could help modernize the teaching and learning environment.

Tools for creating bilingual resources for ESL students in the junior classes.

Marilyn Walter

According to Statistics New Zealand as cited in Royal Society of New Zealand (2013), more than 160 languages are spoken in NZ homes.  As 2006 data (New Zealand Human Rights Commission, 2008) reveal that 76.6% of New Zealanders are monolingual, most children learning English as their second language (ESL) starting school in New Zealand, will have a teacher not fluent in their home language (L1).  For junior classroom teachers faced with the challenge of teaching reading and writing to a child in a language they are still unfamiliar with, creative solutions are required. Children learn most effectively in their L1 (Dixon, Zhao, Blanca, & Jee-Young, 2012; Halle, Hair, McNamara, & Chien, 2012; May, Hill, & Tiakiwai, 2004), once concepts are learned in their L1 they are easily transferred to their L2 (second language).  Much research shows that bilingual education that lasts over several years is the most beneficial for the student and for society in general (May et al., 2004). But best case scenarios rarely occur in the classroom, so it is up to the teacher, with the support of the school and the community, to provide the best education practicable to ensure ESL students receive an adequate literary education. 

This paper will concentrate on tools which support both the teacher and student to create bilingual resources such as digital stories, which enable meaningful tasks, creating authentic artefacts for authentic audiences. 


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