Archive for category Talks
Thanks to digital technology, never have we been able to access, create and manipulate such a great variety of images in so little time. This workshop analyses ways images have been traditionally used in the language classroom – as visual aids or as prompts to language production – and seeks out some alternative which place the image at the centre of our classroom practice. Among others, we study how images can be exploited in their own right and used to foster intercultural awareness in class. In doing so, we will attempt to develop a visual literacy, presenting tasks which feature many different image types – icons, maps, artworks, visual aids, etc. – and encouraging students to interpret, rather than simply describe, these images.
The acquisition of a new language raises questions of subjectivity and desire, the problems confronted by the learner are not just technical or mechanical but involve complex issues of identity: “Who am I when I speak this language?” or alternatively “can I be me when I speak it?” (Deborah Cameron). This practical workshop will look at learner autobiographies and analyse how students can be empowered to find a personal space, where they can reflect on identity, fashion their own voice and claim their right to speak.
This workshop analyses ways we can counter the classroom fatigue and frustration felt so many of our advanced learners, encouraging them to look forward to future challenges rather than back to their previous learning experiences. We look at how changes to syllabus design can open up the possibility to study lexical chunks and fluency aids so needed by advanced students but often not regarded by them as ‘new vocabulary’.
We look at the importance of bringing the outside world into the classroom, updating and personalizing our teaching materials to help learners develop an intercultural awareness and guide them through the subtleties of spoken discourse, among other things. We finish by analyzing the importance of visual media and show an example which provides sympathetic role models that can help advanced learners’ language learning and motivation.
Despite English’s status as a lingua franca, language courses, schools and materials are still marketed using anachronistic images of ‘Englishness’ and targeted at purely aspirational audiences. This talk analyses those contradictions, using examples from different sources: the cultural content of course books, advertising and news media, in which the native speaker model retains real power in a globalised world that at the same time undermines it. Finally, an alternative approach is suggested, promoting the need for learners to occupy their own space and fashion their own voice in an English-speaking world that is rapidly changing.
Click here to see the handout for the talk.
Click here to see an abridged version of the Powerpoint.
Click here for a link to ETP magazine where an article based on the talk appeared.
Some of the adverts used in the talk.
This workshop analyses the nature of teaching materials, focusing on the sanitised and safe approach taken by many course book writers. Why are topics of great social importance, such as Aids, consistently avoided? Why do many teachers have to supplement their courses with materials that truly engage their students and reflect popular culture? Why is there such a discrepancy between the real world and its ‘ELT? version?
Using a survey as a springboard for discussion, we firstly examine the topics and areas considered most and least ‘taboo’ by a cross section of teachers, then focus on ways in which new slants can be discreetly introduced into a teaching programme. We will then focus on practical ways to ‘spice up’ conventional material, find alternative sources for our texts and broach ‘uncomfortable topics’ in a ‘comfortable way’. A variety of practical examples is presented throughout.