Mark James

Ross-Blakley Hall 353
PO Box 871401
TEMPE
Associate Professor
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
0302

Biography

I am a faculty member in the English department at Arizona State University, in Tempe, Arizona, USA.  Most of my work is with the department's MA and PhD programs in linguistics and applied linguistics, master's program in teaching English to speakers of other languages (MTESOL), BA program in linguistics, and TESOL certificate program.

Generally speaking, my research activities deal with issues related to curriculum, teaching, and learning in second language education.  More specifically, most of my work focuses on practical and theoretical aspects of learning transfer in second language education.

Learning transfer refers to the application of learning outcomes in novel situations.  For example, if I know how to play the guitar, and then try to learn to play the violin, I may apply some of my guitar skills to this new instrument.  If I do this, I am transferring my guitar playing skills to this new situation. 

There is already a large body of research on learning transfer as the influence of a person’s first language on her/his second language learning and use.  But this is only one way of looking at learning transfer in second language education.  Learning transfer is also relevant as a goal of second language education:  If students can’t apply outside the classroom what they learn in the classroom, the value of instruction is questionable.  In this sense, learning transfer is just as important as learning itself.

… And here’s the problem:  Learning transfer is often assumed to occur in and from second language and other educational settings.  If students can demonstrate in the classroom that they have learned something (for example, by successfully completing a test), it may be taken for granted that they will be able to apply what they have learned outside the classroom (for example, in a different course, at home, or at work).  In other words, if students learn, then they must be able to transfer that learning.  But, a century’s worth of research on learning transfer (primarily in psychology and human resources development) shows that learning transfer isn’t inevitable and can be very difficult to stimulate!

With my research, some questions I have investigated are:

  • What second language learning transfers beyond learning contexts?
  • What factors influence this transfer?
  • How “far” will second language learning transfer?
  • What can educators do to promote transfer of second language learning?

For more details, please visit my website (www.drmajames.info).

Education

PhD in second language education, from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada, 2003

Research Interests

Please visit my website (www.drmajames.info) for details (e.g., to see a list of publications, or to hear recordings and see slides for presentations).

Teaching Website

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
LIN 501 Approaches to Research
ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
LIN 501 Approaches to Research
ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
LIN 521 Mthds Teachng Engl as Sec Lang
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
LIN 500 Research Methods
ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
LIN 521 Mthds Teachng Engl as Sec Lang
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
LIN 523 Language Testing and Assessmnt
ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
LIN 521 Mthds Teachng Engl as Sec Lang
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
LIN 524 Curriculum Design/Material Dev
ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
LIN 521 Mthds Teachng Engl as Sec Lang
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
ENG 404 Studies 2nd Lang Acquisition
LIN 591 Seminar

Service

Please visit my website (www.drmajames.info) for details.