Basic Information


Malcolm SIM


Associate Professor



E-Mail Address

E-mail address


My teaching career began in 1998 in Japan at a private English conversation school in Tokyo. I also began working at a training college (senmon gakko) and as a corporate English language trainer for SIMUL at various companies including NEC, Hakuhodo, Deutchebank, and Recruit.

In 2003 I returned to Sydney Australia to complete my MAppLing (TESOL) degree and secured a teaching position at the National Centre of English Language Teaching and Research (NCELTR) at Macquarie University. The centre, renamed the Macquarie University English Language Centre (MUELC) in 2009, coordinates programs that seek to prepare international students for further study in Australian universities. I spent six years at NCELTR and this is where I learned much of my core teaching craft from a faculty of professional and truly excellent educators. I gained extensive experience in almost all of NCELTR's programs including General English, Academic English, Direct Entry EAP, the Business Preparation Program, and IELTS. I became a long-term teacher (and joint-convener in 2006) of the Study Skills in English Preparation Program (SSEPP) and I was also involved in delivering the undergraduate and postgraduate English assistance program. During my time at NCELTR/MUELC I was involved in their postgraduate teacher-training programs and in 2007 I became the Practicum Coordinator for LING953 in the Postgraduate Certificate in TESOL. LING953 included individual teacher observations and focused on TESOL classroom practice, materials preparation, and self-evaluation.

I returned to Japan in 2009 to take up a full-time Special Lecturer in English position in the Economics department at Tokyo Keizai University. Classes included Intercultural Communication, Professional Digital Communication, Research Paper Project, and Lectures in English. Throughout my five years at TKU I also taught part-time at a range of other universities including Nihon University College of Art (Nichigei/5 years), Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology (Nokodai/3.5 years), Gakushuin University (2 years), and Waseda University (CELESE/1 year). During this period I also managed to complete my PhD in Applied Linguistics.

In 2014 the opportunity to work at one of Japan's leading liberal arts universities led me to accept a teaching position at Akita International University. Working as an Assistant Professor within the Faculty of International Liberal Arts I have taught a variety of subjects in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and Basic Education (BE) programs: Advanced Speaking & Listening (EAP106), Advanced Research Writing (ENG150), Introduction to English Studies (ENG120), Speech Communication/Social Pragmatics (ENG102), Global Issue Analysis & Discussion (ENG103), Professional Digital Communication (ENG171), and Cross-cultural Pragmatics Seminar (COM220).

Research Field

My interests lie in the fields of applied linguistics and psychology and how they interact in TESOL contexts. This includes second language acquisition (particularly the role of affective factors), pragmatics, learner autonomy, learner beliefs, EMI, teacher education, and curriculum design.

Recent Activities

The academic year in 2021 is shaping up to be a very busy one after the challenging year that was 2020; a year that saw all classes delivered online at AIU. 2021 will see the continuation of the innovative Integrated Discussion (ID) program to the EAP3 Speaking and Listening curriculum. This will coincide with another recently piloted (fall 2020) Strengths@AIU program that seeks to bolster the emotional intelligence of all young scholars and enrich their exploration of international liberal arts at AIU.

In the years ahead, besides maintaining a strong interest in TESOL, I plan to continue exploring a range of skills-based and content-based subjects with the excellent young individuals that makeup our AIU student body. This will include the expansion of teaching in the area of applied linguistics and other related areas of the social sciences. I am inspired by research that holds the potential for the eventual development of refined methods and practices that may be applied to the language classroom and beyond. I strongly seek to be part of efforts that may ultimately assist with practical theory, tools and exercises that teachers and students can employ to further their professional and personal goals. Helping others to achieve their full potential is truly the ultimate reward for me as an educator.

In the future I have a strong desire to conduct further research and teaching in the following areas:

• second language acquisition
• learner beliefs and autonomy
• language learner psychology
• pragmatics
• teacher education

Book Chapters:

• Sim, M. S. (April 2018). Integrated Discussion: Innovation via Cross-cultural Engagement. In C. Williams & R. Ruegg (Eds.), Teaching English for Academic Purposes in Japan: Studies from an English medium university.

Refereed Journal Articles:

• Sim, M. S. (2007). Beliefs and Autonomy: Encouraging More Responsible Learning. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 1(2): 112-136.

• Sim, M. S. & Roger, P. (2016). Culture, beliefs and anxiety: A study of university-level Japanese learners of English. Asian EFL Journal, 18(4), 26-77.

Keynote Speeches:

• Sim, M. S. (2016). English-medium education in Japan: Insights from an international liberal arts university. The International Conference on Social Science (CONFSS) Sapporo, Japan, 19-21 July 2016.

• Sim, M. S. (2017). Innovation in English language education: Cultivating cross-cultural engagement. The International Symposium on Education, Psychology and Social Sciences (ISEPPS) Kyoto, Japan, 9-11 May 2017.

Conference Presentations:

• Sim, M. S. (2005). Just do it: Encouraging more responsible learning. Chulalongkorn University Language Institute (CULI) 2005 National Seminar, Bangkok, Thailand.

• Sim, M. S. (2006). Tailoring English Education for Japanese Learners. Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) 2006 International Conference, Kokura, Japan.

• Sim, M. S. (2007). A Question of Responsibility: Encouraging Autonomy. Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) 2007 International Conference, Tokyo, Japan.

• Sim, M. S. (2008). Effectively Affecting Affect: Initial Results from the Classroom. International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) 2008 Int. Conference, Exeter, UK.

• Sim, M. S. (2014). Tackling Affect: Anxiety self-management for English language learners. Int. CLaSIC conference on Knowledge, Skills and Competencies in Foreign Language Education, Singapore.

• Sim, M. S. (2015). Grit and tenacity: A study of undergraduate Japanese learners of English. The International Symposium on Business and Social Sciences (TISSS) Tokyo.

• Sim, M. S. (2018). Building agency in the EMI context through integrated discussion: Successes & challenges. 8th Independent Learning Association Conference, Kobe, Japan.

Message to Students

While it is true that excellent teaching practice is essential, I also strongly believe that the most important component of the classroom is undoubtedly the students themselves. The most successful students are those that are prepared to make every effort to improve their entire skill set. It is hoped that students will not only attack any weaknesses they identify but to also utilize their unique innate talents to further cultivate their core strengths. This may mean that they will have to adjust some of their beliefs and attitudes, and even their behavior, in order to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. This is best summed up in the words of Aristotle...
"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny."

Degree Earned 【 display / non-display

  • Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, English linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, 2012/09

  • MA Applied Linguistics (TESOL), English linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, 2004/09

  • BA Business (International Trade), Business Degree, Monash University, Melbourne, 1998/05

Professional Career On-Campus 【 display / non-display

  • Akita International University Faculty of International Liberal Arts English for Academic Purposes Program, Head, English for Academic Purposes Program, 2023/04 -

  • Akita International University Faculty of International Liberal Arts English for Academic Purposes Program, Coordinator, English for Academic Purposes Program, 2020/04 - 2023/03

  • Akita International University Faculty of International Liberal Arts English for Academic Purposes Program, Associate Professor, 2019/04 -

External Career 【 display / non-display

  • Akita International University (f/t) Faculty of International Liberal Arts, Assistant Professor, 2014/04 -

  • Gakushuin University (p/t), Lecturer, 2012/04 - 2014/03

  • Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology (p/t), Lecturer, 2010/04 - 2013/07

  • Tokyo Keizai University (f/t) Economics, Special Lecturer, 2009/04 - 2014/03

  • Nihon University College of Art (p/t), Lecturer, 2009/04 - 2014/04

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Academic Society Affiliations 【 display / non-display

  • Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (ICLHE), 2020/01 - , JAPAN

  • Applied Linguistics and Language in Education (ALLE), 2004/04 - , AUSTRALIA

  • Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT), 2002/04 - , JAPAN

Field of Expertise 【 display / non-display

  • Educational technology

  • Applied Linguistics

  • Higher Education

  • E-learning

  • Curriculum design

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On-Campus Classes/Subjects In Charge of 【 display / non-display

  • 2024, Spring, EAP106-D_S, EAP Academic Listening and Speaking

  • 2024, Spring, ENG102-1_S, Speech Communication