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There is growing recognition in education that on top of the four language skills – listening, reading, speaking and writing – we need to assess the fifth skill: a person’s ability to interact, termed their interactional competence (IC). Due to the influence of Conversation Analysis (CA), to date the definition of IC predominantly focuses on the sequential dimension of interaction, which is how a speaker structures interaction on a turn-by-turn basis. The context-fitting nature of CA poses constraints on the practicality of teaching and testing IC.

In this talk Dr David Wei Dai will elaborate on a study (Dai, in press, 2021) where he investigated 1) how we can arrive at a comprehensive definition of IC, 2) whether we can assess it reliably in standardized tests, and 3) what the broader implications IC has for language education and intercultural communication.


David Wei Dai is Lecturer of Clinical Communication at Monash University in Australia. He is Editor for the journal TESOL in Context, Visiting Scholar at University College London, and Nominating Member of the International Language Testing Association. His PhD dissertation on assessing interactional competence has won the 2023 American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Dissertation Award. David’s research program focuses on interactional competence, language assessment, psychometrics (Many-Facet Rasch Measurement and Classical Test Theory), discourse analysis (Conversation Analysis and Membership Categorization Analysis) and clinical communication. His work has appeared in journals such as Language Assessment Quarterly, Language Teaching Research and Applied Linguistics Review. He is currently working on two monographs on language assessment under contract with Peter Lang and Routledge.

Event details

Bush House
Strand campus, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG

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