ABSTRACTS - THURSDAY 12TH JANUARY 2017
OPENING KEYNOTE TALK: 11:30 – 12:15
Professor David Johnston – (Conference Room)
Meaning and Understanding: Translation and Translation Studies in the Foreign-Language Classroom
Professor David Johnston, has pioneered PG training in translation and interpreting in NI. He is a multi-award winning translator for the stage and has written versions of over 30 plays from Spain, Portugal, Latin America and France and was one of the pioneers of the ground breaking Spanish Golden Age season at London’s Gate Theatre in the 90’s.
‘Quelle est la morale? C’est à vous de la trouver’ - Eugène Ionesco, La cantatrice chauve
No one is ever more than six feet from an act of translation. While the original caution from which these words are adapted is—hopefully—an urban myth, our lives are undeniably surrounded by acts of translation: in the mediation between self and other, the negotiations of our journey through time and across space, the processes of cognition through which we make sense of the world. Translation has, in that regard, more than an exchange value. What we might think of as a translational awareness has a crucial ethical dimension: it destabilises correctness of interpretation, rightness of assumption, self-containment of being. It urges—or should urge—its users to look at things differently. In this regard translation, as a cultural practice, inserts itself into one of the most powerful and potentially fruitful tendencies of modern thought and art: the questioning of representation—how we represent cultural difference, how we imagine time and space, how we understand our relatedness to the world. Acts of translation are, in that sense, everywhere. And yet in the modern foreign-language classroom, translation is all too readily traduced as little more than an exercise in comprehension, and the translational awareness that informs it frequently subsumed into learner error terror. This talk is concerned with the implications of this particular translation of translation.
PARALLEL SESSION #1: 12:30 – 13:05
Caroline Campbell (Leeds) – (Room 1)
Using student-centred assessment to inspire learners and evidence their learning
Assessment is a critical part of teaching and learning so it is important to help students engage with it and see the wider benefits (Boud, Elton, Shohamy). The Institution-Wide Language Programme (IWLP) at the University of Leeds redesigned its model of assessment for modules at CEBFR B1-B2: this was partly in response to the need for ‘less assessment done better’ but also to design the assessment in such a way that it enables students to evidence their linguistic skills and intercultural awareness and the academic skills developed on a credit-bearing language module. We introduced a group speaking task in Semester 1. By encouraging students to use digital media for the assessment, they can add a link to the task to their CV and their digital profile, thus evidencing their skills and abilities for a prospective employer. This presentation demonstrates the outcomes of the new model of assessment and how it underlines to students the added value of taking a language module in enhancing their employability.
Donata Puntil & Silvia Colaiacomo (Kings College London) – (Room 3)
The International Classroom Project
The Modern Language Centre at King’s College London offers an ongoing internal Professional Development (CPD) Training Programme for its language teachers across different languages and addressing different career stages. The Programme comprises pedagogical training focused on exposing teachers to new approaches and methodologies in SLA, as well as training on intercultural competence and specific professional skills. The MLC staff is broadly multi-skilled and equipped to face the challenges and opportunities deriving from working and adjusting to a highly differentiate and international student population, presenting specific needs and frameworks.
The Training Programme is organized in different overarching themes, including: working with international students and differentiating pedagogical practice; setting courses and class activities around authentic cultural resources; feedback and assessment. Among those, ‘the international classroom’ has been the focus of a consistent training path, through various departmental events. The international classroom project aims to raise awareness and pedagogical expertise in approaching and teaching a multicultural student body and acting as a cultural mediator.
As well as raising the professional profile and expertise of individual teachers, the ongoing Training Programme aims to create an inclusive and collaborative staff community. A number of workshops offered are indeed staff-led, in order to foster sharing of good practice, peersupport among professionals and enhance reflectivity. Others events involve experts from other departments and external speakers. The variety of learning opportunities contributes to shape a strong professional community where individual members feel positively challenged and empowered. The Training Programme is also a key departmental strategy to comply with the requirements of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), offering MLC teachers an opportunity for further professional accreditation.
Alexander Burdumy (Durham) – (Room 4)
Supporting Language Learners through Phonetics Tutorials
Supporting language learners through online phonetics tutorials in heterogenic learner groups - the case of German for beginners for Chinese or Japanese native speakers.
While listening and pronunciation exercises are integral parts of most syllabi and present in most course books used for teaching German as a foreign language, few of them start with the very basic phonetic information needed to successfully engage with these: the underlying insight into how to produce the correct phonemes in the language. Especially students with a background in a non-romance or non-germanic language (e.g. Chinese or Japanese native speakers) can find this challenging and, as a result, can fall behind the progress of their peers in a mixed group of learners. This paper advocates the integration of phonetic content along with a variety of exercises into the syllabus of a German language class, in order to counter this problem. It explores the feasibility of supplying it as a part of the curriculum, or as an optional remedial class or online tutorial. The paper will begin by exploring the value of phonetics teaching in a language class and proceed to look into the challenges of German phonetics for students with a non-romance or non-germanic language background, along with a depiction of the most difficult phonetic aspects. It will finish by looking at ways to remedy this and showcase the use of an online delivery method.
While the paper looks in particular at German language teaching, the similarity of experiences of teachers of other “euro-centric“ languages such as French, Spanish, Italian etc. should make it of interest to a wider audience.
Liza Zamboglou (Queen's University) – (Syndicate Room 6)
Making the most of free online tools and technologies for language learning & teaching
Today’s students live their lives through technology and are using a vast range of online tools and devices to access learning materials on the go. With this in mind, The Language Centre at Queen’s has created a number of microsites using free tools available online, to support students enrolled on IWLP Level 1 language classes.
As language learning is an accumulative process, the aim of our approach is not only to support, but also encourage interaction with our language course content in between weekly classes. Our students can now listen to audio files, watch animated videos and practice reading aloud short phrases to get more familiar with the language and to reinforce what is learned in class each week. As technology lends itself very well to personalised and independent learning outside the classroom, students now work at their own pace to revise course content, making our weekly language classes more relevant, engaging and accessible to all.
Taking advantage of a range of free online tools embedded in one site, we are now able to support language learning in a more widely accessible and user friendly way than ever before. In this parallel session, we would like to share our development experiences and demonstrate just how easy it is for others to accomplish something similar, using free tools available online to everyone.
PARALLEL SESSION #2: 14:05 – 14:40
Catherine Xiang (LSE) – (Virtual Presentation via Skype in Conference Room)
Building the Links: Rethinking the Roles Language Centre Plays in Wider University Activities
This paper aims to present some innovative ways in which Language Centres could engage its teaching and learning activities with wider University activities and strategies. It calls for a rethink of the current and possible roles that Language Centres should and can play within the HE contexts.
Two case studies at LSE Language Centre will be discussed in this paper to demonstrate the importance of Language Centre beyond traditional language teaching in the university. The first case study is a project called ‘LSE Research in Mandarin’, which explores how Language Centre contributes to the wider public engagement and research impact of the institution by producing interviews in Mandarin Chinese. The interviews then also become valuable teaching and learning resources. The second one is called ‘The Mocha Approach to Assessment: Translation and LSE Review books’. It shows how to link course assessment with university level social media, in this case LSE Review Book Blogs, in order to strengthen students’ contribution to university community and activities. Three languages are initially involved in this project: Mandarin, Japanese and German.
By demonstrating the two case studies, the paper argues for a broader definition and perspective of the roles university language centres can play by engage centres’ activities with university activities. It also argues for the key role language centres play in terms of the international outlook of universities teaching and research profile. It also shows how language centres should build on its own strength of being multilingual in nature.
Carolin Schneider & Melinda Whong (Leeds) – (Room 1)
Developing Co-curricular Language Learning Activities
The value of co-curricular activity for students on degree courses is uncontroversial. And we know language learning requires engagement with learning beyond the time spent in language class. The nature of Universities, and degree courses at universities, however, means that it is often difficult for language resource centres to ensure that their programme of activity intersects with degree programming in a way that is appropriate, effective and sustainable.
Highlighting both difficulties and innovations, we consider some of the affordances created for both the Language Centre and our students at the University of Leeds as a number of the strategic plans converged to allow for changes to structures, processes and practices. For illustration, we contrast two activities that work well (PowerPoint Karaoke and Conversation Club) with one that didn’t (Peer Learning). In doing so we discuss variables which contributed to their levels of success, including communication, visibility, stakeholders, physical and programme structures and resourcing.
We explore the question of resource by looking more closely at the approach taken to Language Advising, showing how changes in how these activities are staffed plays a crucial role in integrating co-curricular activity. We argue that the tension between pragmatism and intellectual idealism is a useful and healthy one, supporting a perspective in which institutional structures are seen to exist in order to facilitate education, encouraging academic and pedagogical conversations across the University, while offering opportunities for enhanced development and education, not only for students but also for language tutors.
Christine O’Leary (Sheffield Hallam) – (Room 3)
Fostering Learner Engagement and Autonomy through Assessment
The growing recognition within current educational literature that student engagement and motivation are essential to successful learning (Coates, 2006; Zepke and Leach, 2010) supports a student-centred approach to Teaching and Learning. Cognitive and more particularly constructivist views of student learning suggest that learners’ active and independent/ interdependent involvement in their own learning increases motivation to learn (Raya and Lamb, 2008; Hoidn and Kärkkäinen, 2014) and develops their autonomy (Benson, 2011). Furthermore, the ability to influence one’s own learning has been associated with improved academic performance (Andrade and Valtcheva, 2009; Ramsden, 2003). The shift to a more student-centred curriculum and the need to align assessment with Learning and Teaching practices (Biggs, 2003) has prompted the development of new approaches to assessment in all sectors of education, including higher education. Assessment for and as learning approaches recognise the role of assessment as a vehicle for learning as well as a means of measuring achievement (Gardner, 2012; Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick, 2006). The active use of assessment in learning necessitates engagement both within and outside the classroom.
This paper will examine the use of assessment for and as learning as a means of fostering learner engagement both in and out of the classroom, based on the qualitative analysis of undergraduate students' learning logs as well as peer individual and group feedback. It will conclude with a consideration of the assessment design principles associated with this approach, and its contribution to the development of learner autonomy and engagement.
ANDRADE, H AND VALTCHEVA, A 2009. Promoting Learning and Achievement through Self-Assessment. London: Routledge.
BENSON, P, 2011. Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. Harlow, England: Longman (2nd Ed.)
BIGGS, J. 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning in Higher Education. Buckingham, England: Open University Press.
COATES, H 2006. The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance. Quality in Higher Education, 11 (1), 25-36.
HOIDN, S and KÄRKKÄINEN, K 2014. Promoting Skills for Innovation in Higher Education: a literature review on the effectiveness of problem-based learning and of teaching behaviours. [online]. OECD. OECD Education Working Papers, 100. http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2013)15&docLanguage=En
GARDNER, J 2012. Assessment and Learning. London: Sage
NICOL D.J. & MACFARLANE-DICK D. 2006. Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2): 199-218
RAMSDEN, P 2008. The future of higher education teaching and the student experience. [online]. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100304122451/http://www.bis.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/HE-Teaching-Student-Experience.pdf
RAYA, MJ AND LAMB, T 2008. Pedagogy for Autonomy in Language Education. Dublin: Authentik.
ZEPKE, N and LEACH, L 2010. Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Educatio n, 11 (3), 167-177
Diego Soto Hernando (Exeter) – (Syndicate Room 6)
New Dynamics in Teaching Pronunciation for English-Speaking Students
Pronunciation usually ends up being a marginalized component of the syllabus in our language programmes, across all foreign languages. This workshop will present a number of dynamic proposals to insert the teaching of pronunciation skills in the language class in a more natural and interactive way: We will provide some advice on how to teach pronunciation in a more effective manner, as well as specific exercises that have been proved to be successful in the classroom. We will also discuss certain false beliefs that are common to teachers on how pronunciation should be taught in the classroom. The workshop will finish by sharing some online resources that are available online for students to work autonomously with their pronunciation skills.
Keynote talk: 15:45 – 16:30
Libor Štěpánek, Masaryk University LC – (Conference Room)
Multilingual and Creative: Rethinking University Language Classrooms
Libor Stepanek is Assistant Professor in English and Director of the Masaryk University Language Centre, Brno, Czech Republic. His broad international teaching experience and teacher training activities include EAP soft skills such as intercultural communication, critical thinking or videoconferencing, however, his main academic interest lies in creativity and Creative Approach to Language Teaching (CALT). He is also an author and co-author of a number of materials, online courses and publications, such as Oral Presentations or Grada´s Academic English.
Internationalisation of universities of recent years has changed the work of language centres considerably. The institutional focus on English as lingua franca on one hand and the interest of international students and staff in languages of the local cultures surrounding the universities on the other have brought the necessity to adapt educational practices of language teachers to the dynamic multilingual academic environment.
In this paper, I will present a Creative Approach to Language Teaching (CALT) as a possible tool for such an adaptation. I will introduce theories of M. Csikszentmihalyi, K. Robinson, E. de Bono, J.P. Guilford and B. Krouwel that enable us to view creativity as an integral part of language teaching practice. I will address questions of creative potential, processes, situations and barriers, and I will identify approaches that can help teachers broaden their own repertoire as multilingual educators. I will discuss successful examples of how creativity may equip teachers with strategies that can help solve a wider variety of challenges that multilingual classes bring.
PARALLEL SESSION #3: 16:35 – 17:10
Judy Barker - (Worcester) – (Room 1)
Blended learning and continuous assessment: mixing and matching
How can we optimise blending online learning with face-to-face teacher-student contact time? What is the best way to assess students’ performance in a blended learning programme? These are some of the questions the University of Worcester Language Centre has addressed in recent years. Following the introduction of a 50% e-learning based syllabus on our Pre-sessional courses, we adopted a similar approach on our modern foreign language modules. A significant part of the content is now delivered via Blackboard. From end-of-programme testing we moved to continuous assessment via a portfolio and a reflective journal. Portfolio and journal submission is becoming increasingly electronic. What are some of the advantages and challenges of this approach, both for students and for tutors? On the basis of their feedback, what improvements could we make? We would like to share our experience so far and are interested in exchanging ideas about content delivery and assessment.
Thomas Smith - (Queen's University) – (Room 3)
Language Centres – Non Academic, Academic Support Units
Academic curricula are evolving. It is happening across the board and particularly in the humanities. Notions of employability and transferable skills have gained momentum and moved from the extra-curricular domain and into the academically embedded forecourts of University curricula.
The Language Centre at Queen’s is not an academic unit, and so there are restrictions to our autonomy as we cannot accredit our courses and student achievement. Luckily, we are able to work closely with the School of Modern Languages at Queen’s to provide QUB students with opportunities to have their studies accredited. With the growing importance being placed on empowering all graduates with a broader range of skills outside their chosen field, such as IT related skills, business awareness as well as Language skills and global/cultural awareness, The Language Centre at Queen’s has been reacting to this growing need in a number of ways, through the delivery of discipline specific cultural awareness and language training.
Clifford and Montgomery (2011) see the internationalisation of university curricula as involving, ‘challenging current course content and pedagogy and offering a transformative education experience’ which has a ‘very strong agenda for active global citizenship.’ In this session, we would like to share details of the collaboration that we have been able to facilitate so far at QUB, and encourage discussion as to what opportunities there might be for Language Centres to further support and embed themselves in academic curricula.
Moving forward our goal is not to have all of our courses accredited, nor is it to develop only niche LSP training. As academia evolves, so too must academic support. The key to success is flexibility, in order to appropriately react to evolving educational needs and opportunities.
Clifford, V. and Montgomery, C. (Eds), (2011), Moving Towards Internationalization of the Curriculum (Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford).
Nobuko Ijichi - (UCD) – (Room 4)
New ways of Learning Japanese through ‘Beyond the Classroom’ engagement
‘Beyond the Language Classroom’ learning is a recent and exciting trend in second language pedagogy (Benson & Reinders 2011). Using digital technology is central but blended approaches of face to face and digital methodologies can provide opportunities for meaningful and authentic language use not easily available in the classroom.
Japanese can benefit greatly from this approach. Many university students are keen to discover Japan and Japanese culture (incl. manga, anime and now Pokémon.) But learning Japanese is challenging. Opportunities to meet Japanese people (3,000 in Ireland) or travel to the farthest of the ‘Far East’ countries are limited. How can we create meaningful contacts with native speakers of Japanese and with non-native speakers sharing a common passion for Japan? This Japan Foundation supported project provides some insights.
From their first class, students of Japanese are invited to ‘think outside the classroom’. Various structured activities offer connections with wider Japanese and Asian communities in and beyond Ireland. Based on a ‘community of practice’ model in Sydney, Australia (Thomson & Mori 2015), these links become a focus and a goal for learning. Activities include active participation in cross-university Japanese student societies, involvement in a Taiko Drum dojo as performers, assistant teachers or organisers, creative and innovative volunteerism in the successful national Experience Japan festival, creative use of videoing, T.ej talks, nights out or gookon etc. Though these activities are not yet assessed, the engagement and relationships created enhance motivation impacting on results and appetite for further learning.
Kinoshita Thomson, C. & Mori, T. 2015. ‘Japanese Community of Practice: Creating Opportunities for Out-of-Class Learning’ in Nunan, D. & Richards, J. C. (Eds.) Language Learning Beyond the Classroom. Routledge. NEW York. 27: 272-281
Benson, P. & Reinders, H. (Eds.) 2011. Beyond the Language Classroom. Palgrave.
Daniela Standen & Ugo Marsili - (Reading) – (Syndicate Room 6)
Encouraging Students to Learn Deeply and Broadly
Among the many challenges of language teaching in Higher Education there are the constraints imposed by the Framework of Qualifications for Higher Education (FQHE). This requires that students – regardless of their linguistic abilities - use higher order cognitive skills and learn independently. With limited contact hours available in an IWLP setting there is a great tension between delivery and practice.
How can this tension be eased? Can beginner students use higher order cognitive skills in the language classroom? As we develop transferrable skills is there still room left for creativity?
This presentation will explore such questions by analysing the principles of the flipped classroom (Bergmann & Sams, 2012; Lockwood, 2014) and Enquiry Based Learning (Kahn&O’Rourke, 2004) and how they have been applied to a beginner Italian module. It will examine the challenges in introducing aspects of these methodologies including how students react when invited to be increasingly responsible for their own learning and how the relationship with the teacher is affected. The use of some online resources and collaborative spaces will also be considered.
ABSTRACTS - FRIDAY 13TH JANUARY 2017
Plenary: 09:30 – 10:15
Professor Janice Carruthers – (Conference Room)
Exploring Multilingualism and Identity: the benefits and challenges of a large interdisciplinary project
Janice Carruthers is Professor of French Linguistics at Queen’s and the AHRC Priority Area Leadership Fellow in Modern Languages. She was Head of the School of Modern Languages in Queen’s from 2011 to 2016. Her primary research interests and publications are in the fields of temporality (tense, aspect, connectors, adverbials), sociolinguistics (language policy and language variation), the structure of oral French (word order, language change, lexical creativity) and corpus linguistics. She supervises a Horizon 2020 Marie Curie project on Occitan and is Strand Lead on the ‘Sociolinguistics’ strand of the AHRC Open World MEITS project.
This paper is set in the context of the AHRC Open World project ‘Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies’ (or MEITS), where Queen’s leads the ‘Sociolinguistics’ strand which centres on France and Ireland. The paper will explore the relationship between language and identity in contexts of multilingualism, focusing in particular on multicultural urban settings in France (which are multilingual melting pots) and on minoritised or regional language contexts, where France and Ireland offer a fascinating contrast in terms of language policy and practice. The paper will ask what the concept of ‘identity’ might mean in contexts such as these, going beyond well-established categories such as national, regional or ethnic identity to examine the complexities of speakers’ linguistic identities as well as the role language might play in shaping perceptions of identity. This discussion will open up questions around the role of languages in social cohesion, particularly in large urban settings and in post-conflict societies. The paper will also consider the methodological challenges of a large interdisciplinary project, particularly in terms of qualitative and quantitative approaches.
PARALLEL SESSION #4: 10:20 – 10:55
Inés Alonso Garcia & Helen Mayer - (LSE) – (Room 1)
Improvisation for Language Learning
In Improvisation Theatre, actors create a performance on the spot; there are no lines to memorise or rehearse. Improv actors use a series of activities which help them to develop their techniques in listening and connecting with other actors. They can then respond better to new contexts and create original and spontaneous plays. “(…) improvisation is characteristic of any human action that is not fully scripted and determined – which is the case in most of our daily encounters”. (Sawyer, 2011, P. 12)
This strongly resonates with the ideal context we want to provide for language learning: a supportive and safe environment where students learn to be creative, spontaneous and willing to take risks. The role of the teacher is to offer this context where structure and improvisation are in balance.
At the LSE Language Centre we have been using Improvisation activities in English for International students since 2012 and we are currently piloting it in other languages. In addition, in sessions with teachers, we explore Improv activities and applications, with the aim of inspiring teachers to incorporate these techniques into the classroom, which we think transform the student learning experience.
In this interactive workshop we will briefly present our findings, based on student feedback and teacher observation and practice a series of activities with attendees so that they experience Improv first hand.
Sawyer, R. Keith (2011) What Makes Good Teachers Great? The Artful Balance of Structure and Improvisation. In Sawyer, R. K. (ed.) Structure and Improvisation in Creative Teaching. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521746328
Geraldine Crahay - (Durham) – (Room 3)
Raising Learners' Interest through advertising
A challenge that language teachers can face in the classroom is enabling students who are not language specialists to engage with the learning process. These students may find the language class ABSTRACT: and disconnected from their own interests. A possible solution is to teach language through a topic that can be of interest for, and bring together, students from diverse academic background, and to allow them to develop transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and co-operation. In this paper, I will present a sequence of lessons on advertising for post-GCSE students in French (A2 level).
Advertising constitutes an engaging topic because it involves audio-visual media, language games and products that may correspond to students’ cultural image of France (fashion, gastronomy and elegance) and can accordingly raise their interest — their ‘active engagement and enjoyment combined, leading to more active participation in the on-going learning activities’ (Waninge, 2015) — for French language and culture. Through teaching materials and activities, including advertising texts, slogans, critical texts and recordings about advertisement, commercial spots, individual and group presentations, and the writing of a text promoting a bizarre product (coming from chindōgu, the Japanese art of inventing gadgets), learners can develop their reading, listening, speaking, writing and grammar skills, as well as analysing texts and using argumentative techniques. By pondering on the goals of advertising, publicists’ techniques and the influence of advertising on their lives, they also develop a critical mind.
Andrew Grenfell - (Newcastle) – (Room 4)
Providing languages for All and much more through digital media
This will be a show-and-tell concerning the Language Resource Centre's adaption of Planet eStream' IPTV system. This was initially to provide answers to DVD storage issues and live international TV distribution which has now developed into a sophisticated digital based teaching tool that allows access to a huge amount of language and cultural media resource. The system also provides individualised and customised media channels for teaching and learning.
Khalil Estaytieh - (Bath) – (Syndicate Room 6)
Building bridges in language and culture outside the classroom with the Arab world
The Middle East has always been an area of great importance. In recent years, its political and social unrest has affected not only the Mediterranean basin, but the whole of Europe and the world.
Despite all this, the Arab World is quite unknown and often seen with circumspection.
As the Arabic teacher at the University of Bath Foreign Languages Centre and as a committed supporter of intercultural communication, I realise that gaining an understanding of the Arabic culture is more important than ever at the present moment.
Learning Arabic and/or learning about the politics of the Middle East is of interest to a certain cohort of students: these are the students that often attend my classes. As an Arabic teacher, however, I would like to share, with as many students as possible, the important elements of the Arabic culture, with the aim of enriching transcultural understanding on our University campus and beyond.
This paper aims to share with colleagues my experience in organising an extra-curriculum cultural event. The event provided an opportunity to listen to talks about Arabic culture and Arab contributions to science, to taste Arabic food and to listen to Arabic music. Experiences were shared and long-lasting bonds between students from the Arab world and other students, members of staff and members of the Bath community were forged.
Successes, challenges and practicalities will be presented. I will also reflect on the value added by similar cultural events to the student experience and share ideas for future similar occasions.
PARALLEL SESSION #5: 12:05 – 12:40
Juan Muñoz López & María García Florenciano – (Room 1)
Authentic Materials and real tasks, Enhancing students’ employability, intercultural Awareness and communicative competence
Working with authentic materials in and outside the classroom allows us to work with real language as it functions in contextually appropriate ways, while providing opportunities to improve students’ intercultural awareness.
We will examine several examples of teaching practice, specifically designed for a language module aimed at students of Spanish in HE working with a B2+ level of linguistic competence (CEFR), where we have introduced sociocultural content by means of authentic written and oral texts from a variety of sources (mass media, cinema, official bodies, employment agencies, educational institutions, etc.) specifically related to the professional world.
Activities have been designed to enhance communicative skills and specific subject knowledge (grammar, lexicon and language functions). The use of simulations and real tasks will encourage the students’ active participation in solving real problems, giving them the opportunity to further develop those skills which make them employable, as most of these students will be carrying out during their third year a work placement or seeking temporary part-time employment in a Spanish speaking country.
Dr Juan Garcia Precedo & Jordina Sala-Branchadell - (Exeter) – (Room 3)
Facing the 9k Generation Challenges Online: The Network of Student Projects at Exeter
The use of the Internet as a learning resource has not only altered our teaching practices, but also shaped the way language learners access knowledge nowadays. Online resources have fostered a solid sense of autonomy and self-sufficiency that occasionally puts the role of the teacher at stake. Nevertheless, the socioeconomic intricacies triggered by the consolidation of a self-aware 9k generation have returned the attention to the role of the tutor. The amount of resources available online may feel unmanageable, and the figure of the tutor has emerged again to filter and facilitate adequate online learning tools addressing learners’ increasing preference for independent study.
ML at Exeter has built up on the above by introducing the Network of Projects, a collaborative online space created by, and for Y2 Spanish undergraduates. This space is a solidary repository of virtual classes in which students share self-created learning materials in order to boost their classmates’ linguistic and intercultural competence, while fostering a more efficient use of their independent study time.
When contributing to the Network of Projects, students work collegiately and develop essential employability skills that include the design and promotion of a website of their own, and the elaboration of effective learning materials in order to strengthen their classmates’ linguistic skills and year abroad awareness. All aspects considered, the Network of Projects successfully develops student motivation, proactivity and engagement, and responds to the increasing demands for further contact hours and guidance at no cost, and with no significant impact on the tutors’ workload.
Patrizia Lavizani - (Leeds) – (Room 4)
The Italian Digital Project
Technology is in all walks of our lives and young people are often defined as the web-generation. It has now become a challenge to embed technology into the modern teaching and learning of foreign language classrooms and harness students’ enthusiasm in ICT.
Research has indicated that technology benefits those who use it as a pedagogical vehicle of productive tasks. (Michael Evans, 2009)
My project embraces this challenge and enhances students’ learning by using digital tools to develop student independence. It encourages them to become creators of their own learning by setting out their own website to present a topic of their choice related to a cultural aspect of Italy. They need to research and present the topic using the project guidelines. They are encouraged to engage with all four language skills to communicate and are invited to share their work with others to benefit from feedback and learn from each other.
This task based project allows students to cover a number of topics specifically tailored to their ability and interest. Moreover, it works well alongside the aims and the learning outcomes of the module. The “real life” situation, proposed in the project, motivates students to use the language for a purpose and promotes other skills such as: team work, peer learning, time management, organisation and digital communication. These skills bode well for the students as they are the basic requirements that employers look for when recruiting.
The scope of the project has a multicultural and multidisciplinary application. It can be adopted and adapted by any subject area and be considered as an alternative interactive form of assessment which by its nature would be important to the student employability.
M. Evans, (2009). Foreign Language Learning with Digital technology. In Elodie Vialleton, Language Learning and Technology Volume 16, Number 2 pp. 27–30. June 2012. Retrieved on 18.11.16 from: http://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2012/review1.pdf
Ali Dickens - (Southampton) – (Syndicate Room 6)
Making Intercultural Connections
Making Intercultural Connections: students promoting intercultural engagement Intercultural Connections Southampton has been running for the last 2 years and aims to facilitate better intercultural relations within and beyond the University of Southampton. Working closely with students we have held a highly successful intercultural festival (Welcome to our World) at which we had events and workshops facilitated by University staff, students and local groups. Linked to this we have developed a Cultural Game workshop to raise awareness of the experience of moving cultures which includes having to learn and adapt to different ways of doing and being. Finally, we have recently launched a pilot Intercultural Impact Awards scheme through which students can gain recognition for their efforts in developing projects to promote intercultural awareness and exchange. This is being rolled out as part of our Language Opportunity Scheme, which offers students free language and intercultural communication courses. We currently offer certificates of attendance for all students participating in this scheme but hope to enhance this through the intercultural impact awards scheme through which students can earn (digital) achievement badges. We are also investigating opportunities to develop a student-led social enterprise which will use some of the outcomes of the student projects in order to support and sustain the awards programme in the future.