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Current events

(for past events, please click here).

External Speaker Series

Hui Du (Hohai University, China)

Wednesday 10th May, 1-2pm, Room S0.28

Teacher talk as ‘edging input’: A perspective of sociocultural theory

This is a case study looking at the relationship between teacher talk as input and its potential for mediating language learning. The classroom data were collected by observing and audio-recording College English classes in three Chinese national universities and analysed by applying Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development (ZPD) to the transcription of classroom discourse. The analysis identifies that teacher talk can be beneficial for learning when it functioned as edging input (EI), input that was likely to edge students a little beyond the edge of their self-regulation area into their ZPD, and thus lead to the extension of their knowledge either receptively or productively. The study provides a new understanding of the ZPD in terms of language learning by distinguishing “receptive ZPD” and “productive ZPD”. It is argued that language can be taught through EI from text-focused to text-related, and to text-free. The study has potential for informing language teaching through teacher talk. It also throws some light on language teacher development.

2016/17: Term 2 events

External Speaker Series

Dario Banegas (Ministry of Education in Chubut, Argentina, and University of Warwick) and Luis Villacañas de Castro (University of Valencia)

Monday 23rd Jan 2017, 1-2pm, Room S0.18 (Social Sciences Building -- NOTE ROOM CHANGE)

Banegas: Investigating the impact of Linguistics in pre-service language teaching in Argentina: A case study

Initial English language teacher education programmes are usually organised around three broad areas of knowledge: general pedagogical knowledge, specific didactics and professional practice, and subject matter knowledge. The latter may include linguistics-related modules such as Syntax, Morphology, Phonetics, and General Linguistics. However, one question remains still today: to what extent does Linguistics help future teachers succeed in their practicum and professional practice?
The aim of this presentation is to explore the impact of linguistic knowledge in the micro-teaching practices and Professional Practice module of a group of student-teachers at a four-year pre-service English language teacher education programme in Argentina. I will discuss results and implications for initial language teacher education and suggest ways in which the different components of programmes could be shaped in order to ensure meaningful learning experiences for future teachers.

Villacañas de Castro: Expanding EFL teachers’ and learners’ identities in a destitute, urban school in Valencia through funds of identity and identity texts

This presentation aims to describe the process and outcomes of a two-year collaborative research connecting different agents and contexts: university researchers, university EFL student-teachers (STs), and the primary learners of a destitute urban school in Valencia. At the outset, strong obstacles prevented those involved in the project from coming together into a single community of EFL educational practice: the native-speaker model imprinted on the university STs’ teacher identities; the gap standing between the primary students’ cultural, ethnic and linguistic identities and the English-speaking worlds; and finally the white, middle-class background to which, on the one hand, the university researcher and the STs belonged and, on the other, the impoverished and multiethnic neighborhood where the primary learners lived and went to school. Two strategies —funds of identity (Esteban Guitart, 2015) and identity texts (Cummins & Early, 2011)— were used at several phases of the research in order to expand the teachers’ and learners’ identities, overcome the educational effects that derived from the aforementioned obstacles and thus create a meaningful and democratic EFL educational context where engaged language learning could arise.


Visiting Scholar Talk

Hideki Ohno (Daito Bunka University, Japan)

Wed 8th Feb, 1-2pm, Room S0.28

Prospects for developing critical thinking in L2 learning: Implications from L1 studies

This talk discusses how findings of critical thinking (CT) research in L1 can inform CT research and teaching in L2. The key elements to be discussed here are types of thinking, cognitive biases, types of CT instructions and tests, and the issue of domain-generality and domain-specificity. Implications will be drawn for CT instruction and evaluation in L2 settings, providing examples of CT tasks that will tap into the function of intended CT skills. Additionally, CT instructions in a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) framework will be discussed.

Staff Speaker Series

Tony Liddicoat

Wednesday 22nd Feb 2017, 1-2pm, Room S0.28

Eliciting intercultural capabilities in language learning

This presentation considers the diverse ways of assessing intercultural capability that incorporate participation in experiences of intercultural communication and learning as well as analyses and reflection. It will discuss issues that come into play in eliciting this capability, for example, the positioning of students (as performers and analysers), personalisation, engagement with and management of multiple perspectives, considering choices, responses, reactions, analyses and perspectives on experiences of language use and language learning (those of self and others reciprocally) and comparing these. It also discusses the complex issue of integrating the performative, analytic and reflective facets of the elicitation and ways of capturing experience, analyses and reflections over time, highlighting the contingent and developmental nature of intercultural capability.


External Speaker Series

Glenn Fulcher (Leicester)

Wednesday 1st March 2017, 1-2pm, Room S0.28

Language Assessment Literacy and Language Testing Pedagogy

The term “assessment literacy” was coined by Stiggins (1991) to refer to the level of teachers’ engagement with testing and assessment issues to evaluate, select and use appropriate instruments and techniques for specific purposes and contexts. In recent years research into Language Assessment Literacy (LAL) has increased as teachers and other stakeholders have had to deal with every more complex applications of language tests in contexts as disparate as education and employment, immigration, and the evaluation of educational systems. The current working definition of LAL is provided by Fulcher (2012), which has led to further research into discovering the components of LAL that might be required for different stakeholder groups (Taylor, 2013; Harding, 2016). Equally important, but nevertheless under-researched, is the operationalization of LAL in pedagogy. I argue that assessment practitioners are what the ancient Greeks would have termed demioergoi – craftspeople who fashion tests and assessments informed by theory and research, and who can evaluate the value of the products created by others. Developing LAL requires a “deliberate pedagogy”, which I will illustrate with original teaching and learning resources.


Doctoral Speaker Series

R. Vennela Rayavarapu (Visiting PhD student from Centre for English Language Studies, University of Hyderabad)

Wednesday 8th March 2017, 1-2pm, Room S0.28

The role of Christian Vernacular Education Society in colonial Indian English language pedagogy

History of English language teaching is an area which occupies a middle ground between history and English studies. With this philological orientation, my research aims to chart a history of bilingual English language teaching in 19th century India. Most previous postcolonial Indian historiography posits colonial education as an oppressive mechanism, whereas recent historians with painstaking archival research show that colonial education far from being a tool for cultural acculturation paved way for intercultural dialogue and new linguistic formations. It became a bridge for the colonial Indian elite and the British ruling sect to establish various socio-political foundations that would later lead to the nation-state formation that is present day India. This research emerges from this perspective, that colonial English language teaching by way of bilingual education evidences the ambiguity and complexity of colonial English language pedagogy. This presentation will introduce Christian Vernacular Education Society and explain its role in in textbook making, publishing and circulation during 1855-1875. It will also introduce several colonial English language textbooks representative of the period and share an in-depth analysis of the textbook content.