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Past Projects

Documenting British Council involvement with ELT, 1934-2014 (2014)

This project follows on from the 2010-11 project ‘Building an Archive and a Record of British Council Involvement with ELT, 1934-2009. The following outputs will contribute to the celebration of 80 years of British Council involvement in ELT in 2014: A briefing document on the history of British Council involvement in ELT (1934-2014), to serve as a basis for online infographics; Enhancement of the ‘Milestones in ELT’ section of the Teaching English website; Manuscript of a printed book and pdf publication, taking the form of a bibliography (and filmography) with commentary.

The impact of teacher training at pre-service and early in-service levels on teacher performance in the classroom (2014)

Steve Mann, Keith Richards, Ema Ushioda, Annamaria Pinter. Funded by: Anglo Mexican Foundation

Project Start Date: 01/04/2014

Project End Date: 20/12/2014

Teachers researching with children in large classes in India (2013-14)

Funded by a Warwick International Partnerships Award with the support also of The British Council India and OUP India, this project involves a collaboration between Richard Smith and Annamaria Pinter of CAL with Professor Rama Mathew, Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Delhi. A group of primary teachers in Delhi are being supported in teacher-research with children as co-researchers, with a view to exploring feasibility for roll-out on a wider scale from 2014 onwards.

Investigating NEST schemes around the world: supporting NEST/NNEST collaborative practices (2013-14)

This joint project between Aston University and University of Warwick, funded by the British Council under the English Language Learning and Teaching Research Partnership Award (ELTRPA) scheme, was led by Fiona Copland of Aston University and included Sue Garton (Aston) and Steve Mann (CAL). It investigated NEST schemes in various contexts, collecting detailed information through document analysis, interviews with NESTs and NNESTs, and classroom observations. This information will be used to prepare an audit document which will give details about the schemes, and which will be of value to both policymakers and teachers. Importantly, classroom and interview data will be used in the preparation of training resources to support both teachers and teacher trainers.

Video for ALL (2013-15)

This project is EU funded under Lifelong Learning: Comenius (KA2) Languages Multitlateral Projects. The Warwick team, led by Steve Mann and including Russell Stannard and Claudia Harsch (CAL) and Teresa MacKinnon (Language Centre) is one of seven partners from the UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy and Germany. The project aims to bring together all current methodologies, ideas and innovative practices used to teach and learn languages by integrating digital video, building a comprehensive repository of every type of video and associated language practice through templates that will describe each practice with examples of usage. Outputs will include 'How to' videos and an in-service teacher training course on the use of video as a basic tool for language teaching.

Towards a History of Modern Foreign Language Teaching and Learning (MFLTL) (2012-2014)

Led by Dr Nicola McLelland (Nottingham) and Dr Richard Smith (Warwick), this was a research network project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (15 July 2012 - 14 July 2014; AH/J012475/1 / RGS105262). The project aimed to generate interest in historical research into language teaching in the UK and to contribute to the establishment of a European network of researchers.

Fostering and assessing intercultural communicative competencies – a socio-cultural approach (2014)

This project aims at exploring Dynamic Assessment to integrate training and assessment of intercultural communicative competencies, and it aims at developing empirically-based assessment scenarios (so called critical incidents) to be used in a Dynamic Assessment approach. The project builds on a data-driven conceptualisation of ‘global graduates’ intercultural communicative competencies. Assessment Scenarios have been developed based on interview, text and questionnaire data. The scenarios are used in an innovative dynamic assessment approach, which is a pedagogical Vygotskian approach whereby assessor and student interact during the assessment; the aim is to develop learners’ competencies and simultaneously assess their potential for future development. Video data of initial trials serve as starting point to evaluate the feasibility of the new approach and to revise the assessment/training materials. Claudia Harsch is collaborating with Dr Matt Poehner, State University of Pennsylvania (CALPER) during a research visit in autumn 2014 funded by the British Council.

Directory of UK ELT Research: 2011-12 Research (2013)

Richard Smith with Seongsook Choi. Funded by The British Council, this survey research project provided copy for a comprehensive Directory of UK ELT Research, 2011-2012, as well as data for uploading to the British Council's TeachingEnglish website. The project builds on previous work carried out for the period 2005-2010. Data over the entire period 2005-12 was analysed and interpreted, partly on the basis of interviews with key stakeholders. The project was managed by Imogen Liggins, with research assistance provided by Gosia Sky. Project Start Date: 22/01/2013 - Project End Date: 31/07/2013.

Addressing the needs of international students with academic writing difficulties: Pilot Project (2010-2011)

This is a pilot phase of a long-term research-and-development project to investigate the needs of international students with academic writing difficulties. The pilot project has two strands:

Strand 1 focuses on international first year undergraduates in the departments of Law and Statistics, some of whom are undertaking dedicated English language classes run by the Centre for Applied Linguistics. The strand comprises a detailed evaluation of their learning through this in-sessional support, and analysis of a corpus of their assessed academic writing with a view to understanding the specific nature of their writing difficulties in their disciplinary writing tasks.

Strand 2 focuses on students who have undertaken the pre-sessional programme in August/September 2010 and examines the predictive validity of their IELTS (TOEFL or equivalent) scores. The aim is to explore what relationships, if any, there may be between students' language entry scores, their writing performance and assessment during the pre-sessional course, and their subsequent writing progress in their academic courses of study. The report can be accessed here.

This pilot project is funded internally by the Centre for Applied Linguistics and the International Office, while the dedicated English language courses are funded by the departments of Law and Statistics. Project team members are Ema Ushioda, Sue Wharton (PAD), Claudia Harsch, with contributions from Seongsook Choi and Tilly Harrison, and research assistance provided by Darío Banegas. The project thus integrates the work of both LLTA and PAD research groups.

Directory of UK ELT Research: 2009-2010 Research (2010-2011)

This survey research project (December 2010 - April 2011), commissioned by The British Council, provided copy for a Directory of UK ELT Research, 2009-2010 by May 2011, as well as data for uploading to the British Council's TeachingEnglish website. The project builds on previous work carried out for the period 2005-2008 (see below). Richard Smith, with Seongsook Choi, Stuart Reid and Gosia Sky. Guardian Weekly article (8 February 2011) related to the project here.

Building an archive and a record of the history of British Council involvement with ELT, 1934­-2009 (2010-1011)

This project (January 2010 - December 2011), coordinated by Richard Smith, was funded by The British Council as part of the overall Warwick ELT Archive enhancement programme. (add link)

Directory of UK ELT Research, 2005-2008: Adding value to the database (2010)

This project (February - November 2010), funded by The British Council, made the existing database more comprehensive and added value by other means including instigating online discussions. Richard Smith, with Seongsook Choi.

An Archive and Record of UK-funded ELT Projects, 1950 onwards 

As part of the overall Warwick ELT Archive enhancement programme, this project aimed to systematically increase the stock of knowledge relating to UK-supported ELT projects undertaken in different parts of the world since the 1950s. This was done by building an archive of reports and other documents and by constructing an inventory/chronology, and a bibliography, on this basis. Coordinated by Richard Smith, assisted by Shelagh Rixon, Sian Alsop and Sheila Verrier.

ELT Research in the UK (2005-08)

This project delivered a report with the above title to the British Council at the end of July 2009, as well as a database for uploading to the British Council Teaching English website as a searchable resource. The published report contained an introduction by Shelagh Rixon and Richard Smith and a listing of research projects and papers. Seongsook Choi and Duncan Hunter were also involved as team members.

Teaching English in Large Classes (TELC) Project / Network

Fauzia Shamim (Karachi University, Pakistan) and Richard Smith, with Shelagh Rixon, Harry Kuchah (Ministry of Basic Education, Cameroon), Rama Mathew (University of Delhi, India), Nigussie Negash (Ethiopia), Zakia Sarwar (SPELT, Pakistan) and Wang Qiang (Beijing Normal University, China). Aims: To share and disseminate good practice relating to teaching in large classes / teaching in otherwise 'under-resourced' or 'difficult' circumstances; To theorize from such practice with a view to identifying common principles; To promote further exploratory practice and research in such circumstances. For outcomes of the project so far see here.

Enhancement of the Warwick ELT Archive

Richard Smith. £10,000 granted by the A.S. Hornby Educational Trust (Oct. 2005-September 2007). See here for further details.

Developing an Archive and Histories of Learner Autonomy (DAHLA) Project

Coordinated by Richard Smith, this project was launched at the Nordic Workshop on Learner Autonomy in the Foreign Language Classroom, Copenhagen, 31st August- 2nd September 2006. DAHLA stands for 'Developing an Archive and Histories of Learner Autonomy'. In these pages, further details of the project, and results of our archive-building and history-construction activities are posted.