Language in the Workplace Project and Workplace Communication for Skilled Migrants course at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

The School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (LALS) at Victoria University of Wellington conducts research and teaching in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Writing and Deaf Studies. It incorporates a Deaf Studies Research Unit, which undertakes research on topics relating to deaf people and their language in New Zealand, and the New Zealand Dictionary Centre, set up in partnership with Oxford University Press, which provides a base for research into New Zealand lexicography and aspects of language in New Zealand. It also incorporates an English Language Institute, which specialises in teaching English language courses and teacher education programmes. A particular strength of the School's makeup is the opportunity to engage in research which benefits and is benefited by both theoretical and practical approaches to issues in linguistics and applied linguistics. This report describes one of a number of examples of the productive integration of language teaching and language research at LALS. We describe an ongoing research project that has developed organically over the past twelve years. The research involved first collecting and analysing authentic workplace interaction between native speakers, and then making use of it in explicit instruction aimed at developing socio-pragmatic proficiency in the workplace among skilled migrants with English as an Additional Language (EAL). We are now engaged in evaluating the results of the instruction, not only in the classroom, but also in workplaces where the migrants have been placed as interns.

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