Paul Mathieson

Nara Medical University


Paul is an associate professor in the Department of Clinical English at Nara Medical University, where he has been working since 2016. Paul has a law degree and an arts degree from the University of Auckland (New Zealand), and a master’s degree in applied linguistics and TESOL from the University of Leicester (UK). He is currently a PhD candidate at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies. Paul's primary research interests are in second language vocabulary acquisition, content and language integrated learning (CLIL), English for specific purposes (ESP), and learner motivation. When he is not teaching or researching, he can be found jogging or cycling around the Kita-ku area in Osaka, eating out at one of Fukushima’s fabulous restaurants, or rocking with his band ‘The Ballbreakers’ somewhere in Osaka. Paul also loves travelling, and isn’t far away from achieving his goal of visiting all 47 Japanese prefectures (38 so far!).


Vocabulary Facilitating English academic vocabulary learning using fictional graded readers more

Sat, Jul 9, 14:40-15:05 Asia/Tokyo

Given the importance of learning L2 vocabulary in context (Webb, 2008), academic texts would seem to be the most useful way to support learners’ academic vocabulary learning. However, for teachers using word lists such as Coxhead’s (2000) academic word list (AWL), finding authentic materials with sufficient academic vocabulary range and frequency to support course-related academic vocabulary learning can be a challenge. Against this background, the presenter wrote a fictional graded reader series (‘The AWL Readers’) in an attempt to make English academic vocabulary learning more stimulating and (hopefully) more effective for his students. The AWL Readers follow the adventures (and misadventures) of a fictional university student and her unusual friend, and include all 570 AWL words (with spaced repetition). One of the goals in creating the AWL Readers was to add to recent research which is rethinking the assumption that academic vocabulary learning should primarily be facilitated through reading academic (rather than fictional) texts (Krashen, 2010; McQuillan, 2020). This presentation will discuss: (1) how and why the AWL Readers were created; (2) the results of our preliminary study into their effectiveness as a vocabulary learning tool; and (3) their possible usefulness in other teaching and learning contexts.

Paul Mathieson Claire Murray

Testing and Evaluation Assessing the validity of essay marking rubrics more

Sat, Jul 9, 11:45-12:10 Asia/Tokyo

As English high school curricula becomes increasingly communication-oriented, it is becoming more necessary to develop university entrance tests which assess students’ ability to produce target language based on communicative goals rather than to translate between languages or select correct answers. A potential problem with these more communication-oriented test questions is they may risk sacrificing reliability for validity; however, the use of rubrics can ensure that both reliability and validity remain high (Jonsson and Svingby, 2007). This presentation looks at the results of a preliminary study to determine if a university entrance exam rubric results in high inter-rater reliability. The study looks at the test scores of three types of markers: 1) those trained to apply the rubric; 2) those who have seen the rubric but have not been trained to apply it; and 3) those who have not seen the rubric. It aims to answer the following questions: Does the rubric achieve a Cohen's kappa value greater than 0.7 for inter-rater reliability 1. between trained markers? 2. between trained and untrained markers? 3. between trained markers and markers who have not seen the rubric? The findings of this study will interest educators involved in test and assessment design.

Claire Murray andrew blaker Paul Mathieson Francesco Bolstad