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Wed, Jan 17



Scholarship as the Bridge between Practice and Theory

Melinda Whong, Center for Language Education, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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Time & Location

Jan 17, 2024, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM GMT+8

AAB817, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

About the Event

The need to bridge theory and practice in applied linguists is as uncontroversial as the desire to do so. Yet the difficulty of bridging the divide remains all too real. This should not be seen as the fault of any constituency, but instead a natural outcome of the circumstances of applied linguistics as an academic field, and language education as an academic practice. In this talk I argue that the situation would be much improved if there were bi-directional discourse between researchers and practitioners instead of the current situation which relies almost exclusively on researchers who are pressed to apply their research by articulating implications for practice. In particular, there is a need for the practitioner voice as an equal contributor in the academic discourse. This voice will be heard if there is recognition and support for practitioner scholarship as valid academic activity in applied linguistics. In this talk I define, explore and promote the concept of scholarship as distinct from research, yet equally worthy of respect as rigourous activity. I note that more outlets are needed so that practitioners can publish their scholarship, arguing that widespread recognition of practitioner scholarship holds the potential for a genuine bridge between practice and theory in applied linguistics.

Melinda Whong is Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Language Education at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Having taught in Asia, the Middle East and North America, her academic career includes over twenty years in the UK. She has devoted her career to bridging the gap between linguistic theory and language teaching practice, most recently by promoting scholarship in language education through the development of a new online journal STiLE (Scholarship of Teaching in Language Education).

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