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IATEFL 2014

Harrogate Conference Selections

48th International Conference


Harrogate 2-5 April 2014

Edited by Tania Pattison


Editorial Committee: Edward de Chazal, Chris Lima, Amos Paran
Published by IATEFL 2-3 The Foundry Seager Road Faversham
Kent ME13 7FD UK
Copyright for whole volume IATEFL 2015
Copyright for individual reports/papers remains vested in the contributors, to whom
applications for rights to reproduce should be made.
First published 2015
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Education
Tania Pattison (Ed.)
IATEFL 2014 Harrogate Conference Selections ISBN 978-1-901095-68-5
For a complete list of IATEFL publications, please write to the above address, or visit the
IATEFL website at www.iatefl.org.
Cover photographs 2014, Rachid Tagoulla. Copy-edited by Simon Murison-Bowie,
Oxford. Designed and typeset by Keith Rigley, Charlbury.
Ebook formatting by www.ebooklaunch.com
Digital version prepared by the Epublishing Working Group, IATEFL:
Roy Bicknell, Jo Mynard, Vicky Saumell, Lynn Nikkanen and Caroline Moore.

Conference Selections is sponsored by Pilgrims


Contents
Editor's introduction
1 Approaches, principles and implications
1.1 Plenary: Old approaches, new perspectives: the implications of a corpus
linguistic theory for learning the English language (and the Chinese language, too)
Michael Hoey
1.2 Language chunks that improve speaking and writing Brenda P. Imber, Carson
Maynard and Maria Parker
1.3 Communicative language teaching: a conversation Jeremy Harmer and Scott
Thornbury
1.4 Teaching language awareness: exploring advanced learners' metalinguistic
knowledge Martina Elicker and Ulla Frstenberg
1.5 Taiwanese teachers' knowledge of the communicative approach Yi-Mei Chen
1.6 Do materials writers have principles? Jill Hadfield
1.7 Plenary: The efficiency of inefficiency: an ecological perspective on curriculum
Kathleen Graves
2 Psychological and cultural aspects of ELT
2.1 Constructing classroom cultures which support student agency Diane Parkin
2.2 Teachers' perspectives on language learning psychology Christina Gkonou and
Mark Daubney
2.3 Teacher-student inconsistencies in attitude: towards a reconciliation Elena
Onchevska Ager
2.4 Vision, role-playing and identity in language learning Csilla Jaray-Benn
2.5 Exploring cultural values in film Scott Bean and Lisa Theisen
2.6 College and community partnershipscreating success Emily Bryson and Helen
Jackson
2.7 Becoming British: ESOL citizenship material and classroom pedagogy Sundus
Ameer
3 Perspectives on teacher education
3.1 Exploring culture and cultures of learning in teacher education Teti Dragas
3.2 CELTA for all? Alastair Douglas
3.3 Better together: native and non-native speakers on CELTA courses Dita Phillips
3.4 Frames for teaching teachers Gabriel Diaz Maggioli
3.5 A code for objective writing: an action research study Deniz opur and Hale
Kzlck
3.6 Digital storytelling: the power of personal narrative in initial teacher training
Angie Quintanilla Espinoza
3.7 'You are only a student teacher, aren't you?' Afrianto
3.8 Evaluating the long-term impact of a primary teacher training course Gail Ellis
and Carol Read
3.9 The flipped classroom: scaffolding community online Susan Barduhn, Katrina
Baran and Jaime Durham
4 Key topics in ELT for young learners
4.1 ELT Journal /IATEFL Debate: Primary ELT does more harm than good Fiona
Copland and Janet Enever
4.2 The earlier the better? Empirical evidence on primary EFL instruction Eva
Wilden
4.3 The dilemma of English in primary schools: The case of Gabon Hywel Coleman
and Yves Roger Mouanambatsi
4.4 Indonesian English-medium instruction: reversal and controversy Siti Fitriyah
4.5 Parental attitudes towards English in state primary schools, Assam, India
Debanjan Chakrabarti
4.6 Lexical approach with young learners Zhivka Ilieva
4.7 Motivating learning through drama: focus on young learners Vera Cabrera
Duarte and Rosemeire Batista Gimenes de Arajo
4.8 Kamishibai: learning on the small stage Conchi Martinez de Tejada
4.9 Telepresence teaching in Uruguayan primary schoolsis it delivering results?
Paul Woods
4.10 Successful team-teaching in a blended-learning context: key ingredients
Mercedes Viola
4.11 E-portfolios: engaging young learners with assessment Raquel Carlos
5 Getting creativeinside and outside the classroom
5.1 Don't believe in fairy tales Damian Williams
5.2 Preflection: a realistic approach to lesson preparation Steve Brown
5.3 Adult learners: Helping them clear the next hurdle Rachel Appleby
5.4 Symposium on creativity for a change Convenor: Alan Maley with Chaz Pugliese,
Hanna Kryszewska, Mark Almond, Chris Lima and Brian Tomlinson
5.5 Creativity in the language classroom Charles Hadfield
5.6 Ways of promoting creativity in the classroom Vicky Saumell
5.7 Breaking down the classroom walls: exploiting audience to increase motivation
Anne Fox
5.8 I speak meme! Nina Jeroni
5.9 Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges Nicky Hockly
6 Focus on listening and speaking skills
6.1 Ready listening Rhoda McGraw
6.2 An integrated skills approach to teaching active listening Rania Khalil
6.3 Environmental issues as a carrier for skill development in EGAP Evelyn J.
Naoumi
6.4 Micro and macro skills in speaking: creating situations for their development
Aida Rodomanchenko
6.5 Raising cultural awareness of classroom talk and silence Seiko Harumi
6.6 And the pragmatics of and Peter Grundy
6.7 Using blended learning techniques to improve pronunciation and fluency Sophie
Farag
6.8 New pronunciation exercises that really help students handle fluent speech
Susanne M. E. Sullivan
6.9 Pronunciation and e-portfolios: developing self-regulatory skills and self-esteem
Marina N. Cantarutti
7 Focus on reading, writing and vocabulary
7.1 Teaching and learning EAP: developing roles, defining competences, sharing
practices Edward de Chazal
7.2 Revisiting the pre-, while-, and post-reading framework for teaching L2 reading
Christine Irvine-Niakaris and Richard Kiely
7.3 Writing theory as practice Richard Badger
7.4 Writing for a purpose Hilary Nesi, Sheena Gardner and Adam Kightley
7.5 Yes, we can! A journey into plagiarism-free writing Natalya Eydelman
7.6 Writing for scholarly purposes in higher education in Taiwan Shih-Chieh Chien
7.7 Using lecture slides to create an academic corpus Simon Smith
7.8 Spilling or spelling? Why do Arabic speakers stand out? Emina Tuzovic
8 English for career training
8.1 ESP or EGP: what do learners really need? Agnieszka Dudzik and Agnieszka
Dzieciol-Pedich
8.2 How we made an 'English for Maths and Science' course Adam Simpson
8.3 English-medium instruction in HE: the what and the why Anne Wiseman
8.4 A law unto itself: course design for legal English undergraduates Barbora
Chovancov
8.5 Getting students more involved in the tasks tpnka Bilov
8.6 Sharing ESP lessons with on-the-job training sessions for healthcare
professionals Eduardo Garbey Savigne
8.7 English use in the Austrian workplace: a longitudinal study Hans Platzer and
Dsire Verdonk
8.8 How to write business English activities Marjorie Rosenberg
8.9 Authentic techniques to develop soft skills: two case studies Dana Poklepovic
8.10 Making the transition from business English trainer to intercultural trainer
Adrian Pilbeam
9 Feedback and assessment
9.1 Panel discussion on assessment literacy: bridging the gap between needs and
resources Vivien Berry, Barry O'Sullivan, Diane Schmitt and Lynda Taylor
9.2 The Hornby Scholars' panel presentation: Influences of curriculum and
assessment on teaching and learning in the ELT classroom Convenor: Martin Wedell
with The A. S. Hornby Scholars at IATEFL 2014
9.3 An impact study of KET/PET for schools on teaching in China Xiangdong Gu
9.4 Cambridge English Signature Event: Learning: a partnership between teacher
and student? Nick Saville, Miranda Hamilton, Stephanie Dimond-Bayir and Barkan
Tekdogan
9.5 Learning-oriented assessment: how assessment can support EFL learning and
teaching Ahmed Abdelhafez
9.6 Learner-directed feedback: a useful tool for developing EAP writing and
academic skills? Clare Fielder
9.7 Portfolio: student-teacher involvement in learning and assessment of writing
Afaf Mishriki and Amani Demian
10 Teacher development around the world
10.1 Forum on supporting teacher-research: challenges and opportunities Richard
Smith, Paula Rebolledo, Fauzia Shamim and Mark Wyatt
10.2 First experience of exploratory/action research: improving oral presentations
Katie Moran
10.3 Continuing professional development in a digital age Ellen Darling
10.4 Implementing teacher portfolios for professional development Daniel Xerri and
Caroline Campbell
10.5 One teacher's journey towards self-efficacy and professional development
Samel Lefever
10.6 EFL teachers' need for recognition Barbara Gonzlez
10.7 Told poems: how does a year studying peacebuilding change the way I think
about my teaching? Leslie Turpin
10.8 Forum on Curricular Issues (FOCI): An inter-institutional network for
building a professional learning community K. Funda Akgl Zazaolu , William Kerr
and Jonathan Smith
10.9 Implementing a CPD programme in a developing context Arifa Rahman
10.10 Locating CPD in tertiary English teachers in India Sabina Pillai
10.11 Leading teacher development programmes in Myanmar Tara Siddartha
10.12 The EPG: a tool for assessing language teaching competences Richard Rossner
10.13 Open Space: an alternative and spontaneous conferencing methodology
Adrian Underhill
Epilogue: Studying emergent phenomena
Plenary: The future of learning Sugata Mitra
Editor's introduction
The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference and Exhibition Conference and
Exhibition was held in a location many delegates consider to be among their favourites
Harrogate, in the north of England. This former spa town is now a popular conference
venue, with world-class facilities on site, pubs and restaurants on the doorstep, and the
dramatic scenery of the Yorkshire Moors and Dales just a short bus journey away.
The Harrogate International Centre and adjoining Holiday Inn were the ideal venue for
four days of conference sessions (five, if we include the pre-conference events). With
over 500 talks, workshops, posters, debates, publishers' demonstrations and signature
events on offer, the 2,500 delegates had plenty to choose from. As always, the
accompanying Exhibition enabled delegates to explore new materials from over 50
exhibitors, while the Jobs Market matched job seekers with potential employers. Social
events, such as the ever-popular Quiz Night, allowed attendees to catch up with friends
from around the world and to make new friends, while excursions to York, Haworth and
Castle Howard presented an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Yorkshire beyond the
conference centre.
There is something new and exciting at every IATEFL conference, and 2014 saw the
introduction of two new events. First, the ELT Conversation [1.3] enabled Jeremy
Harmer and Scott Thornbury to discuss their thoughts on communicative language
teaching; second, the Open Space event [10.11], facilitated by Adrian Underhill, brought
an innovative conference technique to IATEFL and allowed delegates to explore issues
important to them at that moment. Other key events, such as the Hornby Scholars' panel
presentation [9.2], the ELT Journal/IATEFL debate [4.1] and the Interactive Language
Fair, remained as popular as ever. We are also fortunate to have in this issue reports of
some of the most talked-about plenary sessions in recent years; I am grateful to Michael
Hoey [1.1], Kathleen Graves [1.7] and Sugata Mitra [Epilogue] for writing up their talks
for the wider IATEFL community.
Not every IATEFL member can make the journey to the UK, and as is customary,
IATEFL once again teamed up with the British Council to present Harrogate Online.
Many sessions and interviews were available for viewing through the IATEFL website,
thus making the Conference available to thousands of IATEFL members all over the
world who were not able to attend in person. IATEFL remains thankful to the British
Council for their support of this important venture.
The papers in this volume are a sample of the huge number of sessions available at the
conference. Many themes are presented here: initial teacher training, psychological
aspects of learning; creativity in the classroom; the specialised teaching of English for
young learners, academic purposes and specific professions; ongoing teacher
development; and many more. Many parts of the globe are represented in these pages,
and the work of newcomers to IATEFL appears alongside papers by well-known experts.
This year, Conference Selections received a larger-than-usual number of submissions,
and some very difficult decisions had to be made. Conference Selections is a refereed
publication, and all submissions are read 'blind' (in other words, with identifying details
removed) by an editorial committee consisting of experts in various aspects of ELT. The
Conference Selections editorial committee members are Edward de Chazal, Chris Lima
and Amos Paran; their feedback was extremely helpful to me when making these
decisions, and I am grateful for their invaluable contributions. I would also like to thank
our copy-editor Simon Murison-Bowie and our designer and typesetter Keith Rigley for
bringing their remarkable talent to these pages; thanks are also due to the IATEFL
Publications Committee and to Glenda Smart and the Head Office team for their ongoing
support of Conference Selections.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to all presenters who took the time to
send me their reports. It was a privilege to read all of your submissions, and I hope the
writers of submissions not appearing here will be encouraged to seek alternative forums
in which to publish their work. I very much hope to meet many of you in person at a
future IATEFL event.
I hope you will enjoy reading this volume, and I will see you in April 2015 in
Manchester!
Tania Pattison
Editor, IATEFL Conference Selections
cseditor@iatefl.org
1 Approaches, principles and implications
The opening paper in this chapter is Michael Hoey's plenary, in which he argues for the
centrality of Lewis' lexical approach and Krashen's monitor model in language learning.
Brenda P. Imber, Carson Maynard and Maria Parker then provide some practical
classroom applications of the lexical approach. (See also 4.6 for an application of the
lexical approach specifically for young children.) The next paper is Jeremy Harmer and
Scott Thornbury's 'conversation' about communicative language teaching (CLT), in
which the speakers discuss what has been gained and lost since ELT first embraced this
approach. The next two papers further explore topics related to CLT: Martina Elicker
and Ulla Frstenberg show how students who have experienced a CLT-dominated
approach in secondary school are challenged by grammatical concepts in university; and
Yi-Mei Chen reports on the extent to which teachers in EFL settings implement
communicative approaches, in this case, in Taiwan. Next, writing from the perspective of
a materials writer, Jill Hadfield shows how theories are filtered through the principles
that guide materials writers. The chapter ends with another plenary paper, that of
Kathleen Graves. The author discusses the notion of efficiency, and shows how an
approach to teaching that may be characterised as 'inefficient' might, in fact, produce the
best results.

1.1 Plenary: Old approaches, new perspectives: the implications of a


corpus linguistic theory for learning the English language (and the
Chinese language, too)
Michael Hoey University of Liverpool, UK

Two old approaches and the criticisms levelled against them


According to Michael Lewis (1993, 2000), the successful language learner is someone
who can recognise, understand and produce lexical phrases as ready-made chunks. So in
teaching, he argues, the emphasis needs to be on vocabulary in context and particularly
on fixed expressions in speech. When someone learns vocabulary in context, they pick up
grammar naturally, whereas when someone learns grammar separately from vocabulary,
they do not pick up much (useful) vocabulary. Lewis' lexical approach has, however,
been criticised for ignoring how language is learnt, for having no theoretical
underpinning and for trivialising the role of grammar. It is also potentially open to
criticism for being applicable only to Indo-European languages.
According to Stephen Krashen (1981, 1982, 1985), the crucial requirement for successful
language learning is comprehensible input. The only way to acquire a language, he
argues, is by reading and listening to naturally occurring spoken and written language
input that is very slightly above the current level of the learner. This is a subconscious
process, and conscious learning does not result in knowledge of the language, only
knowledge about the language. Krashen's monitor model has, however, been criticised
for (again) ignoring how language is learnt, for having no linguistic underpinning and
(again) for trivialising the role of grammar. It is also potentially open to criticism for
trivialising the role of the teacher.
In this paper, however, I want to show that Lewis' lexical approach and Krashen's
monitor model are entirely compatible with (and supported by) reliable psycholinguistic
evidence, that they are supported by at least one worked-out linguistic theory, and that the
characteristics of language that the lexical approach and the monitor model treat as
central are not limited to English.

Some important psycholinguistic research: semantic priming and repetition priming


Most of the psycholinguistic literature used by applied linguists is more linguistic than
psychological. But there are two research developments from the psycholinguistic
tradition, both of long standing, that may be of relevance to a discussion of Lewis' lexical
approach and Krashen's monitor theory. These developments relate to the discovery and
characterisation of mental phenomena that have been labelled 'semantic priming' and
'repetition priming'. (A more detailed account of the relevant literature can be found in
Pace-Sigge 2013.)
In semantic priming experiments, informants are shown a word or image (referred to as
the 'prime') and then shown a second word or image (known as the 'target word'). Key
papers include Meyer and Schvaneveldt 1971, Shelton and Martin 1992, and McRae and
Boisvert 1998. It is perhaps worth noting that the oldest of these papers is now over 40
years old; this is not new research likely to be overturned by the next experimenter. The
speed with which the target word is recognised is measured. Some primes appear to slow
up informants' recognition of the target word and others appear to accelerate informants'
recognition of the target. For example, the prime word 'wing' might have no effect on the
recognition of the word 'director', inhibit the recognition of the word 'pig' and speed up
the recognition of the word 'swan'. Or the prime word 'milk' might have no effect on the
recognition of the word 'available' and inhibit the recognition of the word 'horse' but
speed up recognition of the word 'cow'. In 2013 in the UK, however, the inhibition effect
would probably not have been true of the prime word 'beef ' and the target 'horse' because
of a scandal that received considerable publicity according to which it was claimed that
products marketed as made from beef were, in fact, made in part out of horse meat. In
other words, the slowing up or accelerating of an informant's response to a target is a
matter of linguistic experience, not logic.
The significance of all this to the language learner is that we have proof that words are
closely linked to each other in the listener's mind and that words that are closely linked
can be recognised more quickly (and presumably used more quickly) than words without
any such connection. This does not fit well with the idea that words are slotted into
grammatical frames. It does, on the other hand, fit in well with the lexical approach.
Repetition priming is rather different from semantic priming, in that the prime and the
target are identical. Experiments with repetition priming centre on exposing informants to
word combinations and then, sometimes after a considerable amount of time and after
they have seen or heard lots of other combinations, measuring how quickly or accurately
the informants recognise the original combination when they finally see/hear it again.
Key papers are Jacoby and Dallas (1981), Scarborough et al. (1977), and Forster and
Davis (1984), and again I draw your attention to the age of the papers.
In research into repetition priming, a listener may be shown the word 'scarlet' followed
by the word 'artichoke'. A day later, if s/he is shown the word 'scarlet' again, s/he is likely
to recognise and utter the word 'artichoke' more quickly than s/he did before. The
assumption must be that s/he is remembering the combination from the first time, since it
can confidently be assumed that s/he will only rarely, if ever, have heard the word
combination 'scarlet artichoke' outside the experimental context.
Repetition is arguably a more important discovery than semantic priming in that it
provides a possible explanation of both semantic priming and collocation. If a listener or
reader encounters two words in combination, and stores them as a combination, then the
ability of one of the words to accelerate recognition of the other is explained. If then the
listener or reader draws upon this combination in his or her own subsequent utterances,
then the reproduction of collocation is also explained.
The significance of all this to the language learner is that we have proof that a listener's
encounters with words in combination may result in their being closely linked to each
other in the listener's mind, without there being any conscious learning. This does not fit
well with the idea that words are slotted into grammatical frames. It does fit in well with
Krashen's arguments.
I said at the beginning of this paper that I wanted to show whether Lewis's lexical
approach and Krashen's monitor model are compatible with (and supported by) reliable
psycholinguistic evidence. I would claim that the long-standing research into semantic
and repetition priming described in this section shows that they are. We turn now,
therefore, to the second goal of this paper, namely to discover whether Lewis' and
Krashen's claims are coherent with any fully worked-out linguistic theory.

A corpus-linguistically informed theory of language


Forty years ago, linguistic research and language teaching were dominated by certain
models of language associated directly or indirectly with Chomsky (1957, 1965) and with
the structuralist movement that gave rise to his work, and though these models were
challenged at the time by original (and fruitfully subversive) thinkers such as Halliday
(e.g. 1961, 1976) and Pike (e.g. 1967), the effects of these generative and structuralist
models have not entirely gone away. It is, therefore, worth spelling out some of the
problems associated with these theories of language. The first is that they were so
concerned about accounting for creativity in language, which they saw as key to an
understanding of the human mind, that they lost sight of the equally important
phenomenon of fluency. The second is that they all idealise language; Chomsky's famous
dictum (in 1957) that a grammar should account for 'all and only the grammatical
sentences of a language' presupposes a single internally consistent 'language'. But the
language of a mathematician differs from that of a doctor, that of a Glaswegian from that
of a Texan, that of parent-child interaction from that of judge-counsel interaction. It can
be argued that there is no such thing as a single language but that there are lots of varying
(and hugely overlapping) languages masquerading as a single language, but most theories
try to ignore this.
A third problem with theories of language that derive from the generative and/ or
structuralist traditions is that they do not explain how every language user is able without
effort to recognise immediately which sense of a word is meant in a particular context.
Given that all the frequent words of the languages we speak appear to be polysemous,
this is no mean feat!
The final, and perhaps most serious, problem is that the evidence so far suggests that
collocations are universal, but grammars largely operate as if they are trivial. Any theory
of language that ignores what may be a language universal and is certainly a pervasive
feature of English and many other languages must be limited in its explanatory power.
Given that collocations are recurrent combinations of words, it seems logical to assume
that accounting for collocation is likely to play an important part in any account of
fluency and therefore in any theory of language that has psychological plausibility, and a
psychologically plausible theory will be one that takes seriously how language is
acquired.
Lexical priming theory (Hoey 2004, 2005, 2007a and b) is a theory that draws equally
upon the psycholinguistic work described earlier and on the corpus linguistic research of
the past 30 years. It has at its heart a simple claim that attempts to provide a
comprehensive account of what is involved in knowing and using a word. This claim is
that each time we encounter a word in everyday speech or in our reading (or a
combination of words, or a component of a word), we note and subconsciously remember
the context it occurs in. As these encounters increase in number, we build a mental
profile of the contexts that the word (or other bit of language) occurs in; we then draw
upon this profile when we use the word ourselves.
The first and most basic features of the context that we subconsciously take note of are
the words it tends to occur with, in other words, its collocations. So repeated encounters
with 'ears' will, for most of us, result in our associating 'ears' with 'eyes', and we will in
turn feel comfortable about using the phrase 'eyes and ears' when the appropriate
occasion arises. Crucially, once we have been primed in this way, the combination is
itself subject to further priming. For example, 'eyes and ears' is primed for most of us to
collocate with 'act as'. Of the 124 instances of 'eyes and ears' in the Guardian corpus, 14
(11 per cent) occur with 'act as'.
At the same time, we also note the pragmatics it is associated with (its pragmatic
associations). So the combination 'eyes and ears' in co-occurrence with 'act as' has a
pragmatic association that might be described as 'engagement in socially acceptable
espionage', as in: 'the Bank of China, which acts as Peking's eyes and ears among
Hong Kong's banking community'
If some of the collocates of the word we keep encountering share a meaning with each
other, we are inclined to generalise from them, so that we associate a word not just with
particular collocates but with an accompanying semantic set (its semantic associations).
So 'ears' co-occurs in my Guardian newspaper database not only with 'eyes' but also with
'nose', 'throat', 'hands', and even 'nostrils'. Indeed, of 2,294 instances of 'ears' in the data,
525 instances (23 per cent) occur with various parts of the body.
Along with the collocates and the semantic associations, the claim is that we also note
subconsciously the grammatical patterns a word is associated with (its colligations). So
'ears' occurs regularly in coordinated pairs'eyes and ears'; 'ears, nose and throat'; 'long
tail and pointed ears'; and so on. All the 525 instances of co-occurrence with other parts
of the body are coordinated.
This does not exhaust the information that it is claimed is noted in the course of being
primed. We are not only aware of the immediate environment of the word (or other piece
of language) that we encounter; we are also aware of the whole discourse situation to
which the word is contributing. So we note the pragmatics of the utterance, as already
noted, and we notice also the genre, style and social situation in which it is being used. So
the combination 'keep your eyes open' is far more likely to occur in speech between
family members and friends in the open air than between a till operator and customer, or
in writing in instructions in a travel or wildlife guide book than in a hard news story in a
'quality' newspaper.
As part of the discourse situation that we subconsciously note, it is claimed that we also
note subconsciously whether the word (etc.) is typically cohesive. More specifically, it is
claimed that we note whether the word is occurring as part of a cohesive chain or
avoiding such a chain, and also whether it occurs with particular types of cohesion rather
than others. As an example, consider the following very short news text from the
Guardian on Saturday 29 March 2014:
Obama reassures king of strong Syria stance
The United States is considering allowing shipments of portable air defence systems
to Syrian rebels, as President Obama sought to reassure Saudi Arabia's king that the
US is not taking too soft a stance over the conflict. The president and King
Abdullah met for more than two hours at the monarch's desert oasis outside the
capital city of Riyadh. Obama advisers said the two leaders spoke frankly about their
differences on key issues, with the president assuring the king that he remains
committed to the Gulf region's security.
It will be noticed that the word president forms a short chain in the text, marked out in
bold. This is entirely typical of its cohesive use. I examined the texts of 66 non-
parenthetical uses of 'president'1 and found that 50 of them (76 per cent) were part of the
cohesion of the text they occurred in. Of the 50 cohesive uses, 29 (58 per cent) occurred
as part of a cohesive chain, and the other 21 (42 per cent) were part of a cohesive pair. Of
these 50 uses, 25 (50 per cent) were cohesive by simple repetition; 23 (46 per cent) were
cohesive with pronouns; 23 (46 per cent) were cohesive with a name (excluding instances
of 'President' Name); and 13 (26 per cent) were cohesive in other ways. (They, of course,
add up to more than 50 because 'president' is quite capable of participating in more than
one cohesive relation in the text.)
On the other hand, the word 'frankly', also highlighted in the text above, behaves quite
differently. I looked at texts containing instances of the word 'frankly'2. Of the 50 uses of
'frankly' examined, only five (10 per cent) were part of the cohesion of the text; all of
these were cohesive pairs, not part of chains, and only one of these used straight
repetition.
The claim, then, is that as we read or listen to stretches of language, we subconsciously
note whether certain words (or phrases, etc.) participate in the cohesion in what we are
reading or hearing, and for the kinds of cohesive relationships that they participate in. We
are also primed for the absence of such relationships, as in the case of 'frankly'.
Cohesion contributes to the meaning-making of a text, but a cohesive analysis does not
exhaust our account of that meaning-making. Consequently, it is also claimed that we
note whether words are associated with particular textual relations (their textual semantic
associations). The claim is that words (or word combinations) may be primed to occur as
part of a specific type of semantic or pragmatic relation or in a specific textual pattern,
for example, contrast, comparison, time sequence, cause-effect, exemplification,
problem-solution, gap-in-knowledge filling. For example, McCarthy (1998) notes that
'got' is associated with the problem element of problem-solution patterns. Another
example is 'ago'. Of 100 instances of 'ago' examined at the beginning of a clause, 55 were
found to occur in a contrast relation and a further 16 occurred in some kind of
comparison relation. (The proportions rise still further if instances of 'not long ago' and
'as long ago as' are discounted.)
In addition to associating words and other stretches of language with particular patterns
of cohesion and particular kinds of textual relationship, corpus-linguistic evidence
suggests that we are also primed to recognise subconsciously the positions in a text that a
word occurs in, for example, whether it characteristically occurs at the end of a sentence
or at the beginning of a paragraph (its textual colligations) (Hoey and O'Donnell 2008,
2009). To give just one example, the group of words 'it was announced yesterday' is
typically used at the end of the first sentence of a newspaper hard news storya very
precise location and a precise genre in which it is true.
The lexical priming claim is, therefore, a psychologically valid claim that provides a
corpus-supported account of the way we make combinations of word choices and of
meaning choices, decide on grammatical patterning, and how we organise our discourses.
To show all the different kinds of priming in operation on a single item, consider the
word 'according'.
We are primed to recognise the following:
that 'according' collocates with 'to' and 'a' ('according to a');
that in newspapers there is a semantic association of 'according to a' with research
sources (for example, 'according to a study');
that in newspapers there is a pragmatic association of 'according to a research
source' with reporting something bad;
that 'according to a research source' has the colligation in newspapers of being often
followed by a 'which' clause ('according to a poll which');
that 'according to' is rarely repeated directly but is often paraphrased in subsequent
paragraphs as 'said', 'told', etc.
that 'according to a research source' is usually part of a claim-evidence relation;
that 'according to a research source' has the textual colligation of being very
strongly associated in newspapers with (a) the first sentence of the news story, and
(b) the second half of the sentence, often the end of the sentence; and
that 'according to a research source' has the genre characteristic of being used in
newspaper English (among other genres).
What, you might well be asking by now, is the significance of all this to the language
learner? The answers hark back to the beginning of this paper. Firstly, the existence of
collocation, semantic association, pragmatic association and colligation wholly supports
Michael Lewis' view of the centrality of lexis. Lewis, furthermore, sees grammar as an
output of lexis, which is supported by the evidence. Secondly, the fact that we are also
primed to associate words with particular kinds of cohesion, with the semantic
relationships that organise discourse and with the ways that texts are chunked wholly
supports Stephen Krashen's view that learners need to be exposed to naturally occurring
data that interests them and slightly extends them. Indeed it is hard to imagine how else
the textual features of lexis could be acquired. Furthermore, Krashen's approach
recognises the ancillary nature of grammar; this again is supported by lexical priming
theory.
We have, therefore, seen that the relatively old approaches of Lewis and Krashen are
supported by at least one new theoretical perspective. The only question that remains is
whether their approaches are only applicable to Indo-European languages. Partial
evidence that this is not the case is provided by the fact that the lexical priming theory
appears to apply to Chinese as well as it does to English. (I shall use pinyin rather than
Chinese characters in the following paragraph, for convenience.) So huhu
('regret/repent') collocates with b di ('cannot cope') to make an expression of
resignation meaning roughly 'too late to do anything'; collocation has been shown to be
widespread in Chinese by Xiao and McEnery (2006). Likewise in 75 instances of huhu
('regret/repent'), there was a 37/38 split between positive and negative polarity in the
sentences they appear indata analyses here and below are based on Hoey and Shao
Juan (forthcoming). So huhu colligates with negation. It also has a semantic association
with 'unhappy action taken' (or 'happy action not taken') by the speaker, and a pragmatic
association with 'suggestion'. With regard to the latter association, of the 38 negative
instances mentioned above, 12 (31.6 per cent) were used to make a suggestion, usually of
the 'don't do something you will regret' or 'avoid doing something you may regret' kind.
On the other hand, no instance in the positive form was used to make a suggestion.
These observations suggest that at least some of the features of language that the lexical
approach makes use of are as present in Chinese as they are in English. But, beyond that,
they suggest that if languages as apparently different as English and Chinese operate
according to the same lexical principles, then it would seem sensible to build on the
underlying shared lexical ground between languages in the teaching of such languages,
even though they may differ significantly in culture, grammar and phonology. With the
right approaches and perspective, we may be able to reduce the sense of 'otherness' that
can so undermine a learner's morale.
hoeymp@liverpool.ac.uk
Notes
1 So as not to warp the statistics I took only one instance of 'president' from each text,
unless the uses of 'president' were unconnected and referred to different people. The same
strategy was applied to 'frankly' discussed immediately after 'president'.
2 In addition to taking only one instance from each text, I also excluded instances where
'frankly' was being used as a disjunct (as in Rhett Butler's famous comment from Gone
with The Wind, 'Frankly, my dear, I dont give a damn', because disjuncts are
automatically non-cohesive.

References
Chomsky, N. 1957. Syntactic Structures. The Hague: Mouton.
Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Forster, K. I. and C. Davis. 1984. 'Repetition priming and frequency attenuation in
lexical access'. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
10: 680-98.
Halliday, M. A. K. 1961. 'Categories of the theory of grammar'. Word 17/3: 241-92.
Halliday, M. A. K. and G. R. Kress (eds.).1976. System and Function in Language:
Selected Papers. London: Edward Arnold.
Hoey, M. 2004. 'The textual priming of lexis' in G. Aston, S. Bernadini and D. Stewart
(eds.). Corpora and Language Learners. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hoey, M. 2005. Lexical Priming: A New Theory of Words and Language. Abingdon:
Routledge.
Hoey, M. 2007a. 'Lexical priming and literary creativity' in M. Hoey, M. Mahlberg, M.
Stubbs and W. Teubert. Text, Discourse and Corpora: Theory and Analysis. New York:
Continuum.
Hoey, M. 2007b. 'Grammatical creativity: a corpus perspective' in M. Hoey, M.
Mahlberg, M. Stubbs and W. Teubert. Text, Discourse and Corpora: Theory and
Analysis. New York: Continuum.
Hoey, M. and M. B. O'Donnell. 2008. 'The beginning of something important?: Corpus
evidence on the text beginnings of hard news stories' in B. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk
(ed). Corpus Linguistics, Computer Tools, and ApplicationsState of the Art. Frankfurt:
Peter Lang.
Hoey, M. and M. B. O'Donnell. 2009. 'The chunking of newspaper text' in M. Shiro, P.
Bentivoglio and F. Erlich (eds.). Haciendo discurso. Homenaje a Adriana Bolivar.
Caracas: Comision de Estudios de Postgrado de la Facultad de Humanidades y Educacion
de la Universidad Central de Venezuela.
Hoey, M. and Shao Juan. Forthcoming. 'English and Chinesetwo languages explained
by the same theory?: the odd case of a psycholinguistic theory that generates corpus-
linguistic hypotheses for two unrelated languages' in S. Smith, B. Zou and M. Hoey
(eds.). Corpus Linguistics in China: Theory, Technology and Pedagogy. London:
Palgrave Macmillan.
Jacoby, L. L. and M. Dallas. 1981. 'On the relationship between autobiographical
memory and perceptual learning'. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 110:
306-40.
Krashen, S. 1981. Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning.
Oxford: Pergamon.
Krashen, S. 1982. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford:
Pergamon. Krashen, S. 1985. The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. New York:
Longman.
Lewis, M. 1993. The Lexical Approach: The State of ELT and a Way Forward. Hove:
Language Teaching Publications.
Lewis, M. (ed.). 2000. Teaching Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical
Approach. Hove: Language Teaching Publications
McCarthy, M. 1998. Spoken Language and Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
McRae, K. and S. Boisvert. 1998. 'Automatic semantic similarity priming'. Journal of
Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 24: 558-72.
Meyer, D. E. and R. W. Schvaneveldt. 1971. 'Facilitation in recognising pairs of words:
evidence of a dependence between retrieval operations'. Journal of Experimental
Psychology 90/2: 227-34.
Pace-Sigge, M. 2013. Lexical Priming in Spoken English Usage. London: Palgrave
Macmillan. Pike, K. 1967. Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of Human
Behaviour (second edition). The Hague: Mouton.
Scarborough, D. L., C. Cortese and H. S. Scarborough. 1977. 'Frequency and repetition
effects in lexical memory'. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and
Performance 3/1: 117-34.
Shelton, J. R. and R. C. Martin. 1992. 'How semantic is automatic semantic priming?'.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 18: 1191-210.
Xiao, R. and T. McEnery. 2006. 'Collocation, semantic prosody, and near synonymy: a
cross-linguistic perspective'. Applied Linguistics 27/1: 103-29.
1.2 Language chunks that improve speaking and writing
Brenda P. Imber and Carson Maynard University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.,
USA, and Maria Parker Duke University, Durham, N.C., USA

Overview
This interactive session demonstrated writing and speaking activities based on the lexical
approach (Lewis 1997). It centred on the premise that using 'ready-made [i.e.,
memorized] lexical chunks' (Schmitt 2004) reduces the cognitive load in both writing and
speaking, thereby increasing students' flexibility with spontaneous language use as well
as their confidence and ability to navigate second language and cross-cultural
interactions. It also showed how focusing on chunks (a.k.a. word bundles, verbal
stratagems, formulaic expressions, skeletal phrases) can integrate features of vocabulary,
grammar and pronunciation, thus alleviating Swan's concern that focusing on chunks
could divert attention from these elements (Swan 2006).

Writing
In this activity, students work with lexical bundles common in academic writing. In
earlier scaffolded activities, the instructor will have provided examples common across
all fields. If appropriate, students can also identify which are particularly frequent in their
own fields.
In the activity, students receive a worksheet with three columns of 5-10 entries each. (See
Figure 1.2.1.) They must match items across the columns to create collocational
sentences. In some cases, more than one combination is possible.

Figure 1.2.1: Sample worksheet


Students will recognise that appropriate combinations occur in both a semantic and a
syntactic context (i.e. each phrase in column A has a specific complement verb, noun,
subject-verb inversion, etc.), and the goal is for students to memorise and internalise the
expressions in both these contexts. By memorising the expressions, they reduce the
cognitive load, thus becoming more likely to use them accurately and more frequently.
This, in turn, results in more idiomatic writing and fewer distractions for the reader.
Instructors can easily modify both the lexical chunks and the items in the other columns
for their own settings.

Speaking
This activity, entitled 'Match & Sketch', uses dialogues to encourage students to infuse
their speech with language chunks in order to produce more fluent utterances with
smoother transitions. Each student receives a card containing one half of a conversational
exchange, i.e. one student receives an 'A' card, and one a 'B' card. Each turn features a
language chunk. (See Figure 1.2.2.)

Figure 1.2.2: 'Match & Sketch' cards


Students then circulate through the room, hunting for their 'missing half ' by reading their
lines aloud to potential matches. Once a pair of students is satisfied with the fit of their
exchange, they work on extending their dialogue by an additional two turns, which must
also contain a language chunk within each turn. In the example shown in Figure 1.2.3, a
pair of students has received the A and B utterances on their individual cards; after
circulating and finding their match, they create an extension.

Figure 1.2.3: 'Match & Sketch' extension


One of the biggest challenges facing non-native speakers is acquiring control over these
linguistic moves in fast speech, so that they can effectively participate in spontaneous
conversations. While it may seem contradictory to propose teaching the use of memorised
language chunks as a way to improve proficiency with spontaneous fast speech, our
experiences show that having an inventory of language chunks does help students
become more effective turn-takers and avoid the pitfall of allowing a conversation
attempt to become an interrogation.
Electronic versions of the handouts are available on request.
prousimb@umich.edu
carsonm@umich.edu
mgparker@duke.edu

References
Lewis, M. 1997. Implementing the Lexical Approach: Putting Theory into Practice.
Hove: Language Teaching Publications.
Schmitt, N. 2004. Formulaic Sequences: Acquisition, Processing and Use. Amsterdam:
John Benjamins Publishing.
Swan, M. 2006. 'Chunks in the classroom: let's not go overboard'. The Teacher Trainer
20/3. www.mikeswan.co.uk/elt-applied-linguistics/chunks-in-the-classroom.htm.

1.3 Communicative language teaching: a conversation


Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury The New School, New York, USA
In this informal 'conversation', Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury compared their
experiences, opinions and predictions with regard to communicative language teaching
(CLT) by addressing the following questions:
1 How did you 'discover' the communicative approach, and what changed?
2 What did we gain from it?
3 What (perhaps) have we lost?
4 What is its future?

Jeremy's response
The communicative 'revolution' turned up as a combination of two strands of thought.
The first was that there were 'rules of use without which the rules of syntax are
meaningless' (Hymes 1972but popularised in the world of ELT at least a decade later),
and the second, thrilling, possibility was that 'if the language teacher's management
activities are directed exclusively at involving the learners in solving communication
problems in the target language, then language learning will take care of itself '
(Allwright 1979). What a vista this opened up to us! Suddenly, instead of teaching boring
old grammar structures through an animated process somewhere between
audiolingualism and present-day PPP (presentation, practice and production), we could
instead teach people how to invite and apologise, and we could spend long stretches of
time having them talk and discuss and role-play. Indeed the communicative approach
provoked a role-play 'golden age', and together with information gap activities (which
attempted to provoke real needful communication) it showed how much had changed.
For some of us, our more zealous appropriation of the 'latest' thinking brought us almost
into conflict with our students, many of whom wanted 'more grammar'.
Of course it wasn't, back then, all or nothing. Grammar teaching did still take place, but
much more time was being spent (in certain western contexts anyway) on discussions and
dialogues and other communicative tasks.
What did we gain from this? Well in the first place a kind of democratisation of the
classroom evolved, where students had a chance to use the language, and where we
teachers worried about interrupting students who were in 'full flow' with our petty
corrections. Suddenly students were being encouraged to use all and any of the language
they knew in a kind of giddy free fall. It was liberating. The classroom became less
bizarre, and students had a chance to experiment with language in a safe and encouraging
environment. Surely there could be nothing wrong with that.
And yet the danger was that in many communicative classrooms students were either
doing some kind of communicative activity or they were doing something more old-
fashioned and traditional. It was the joins between the two that seemed less effective.
Focus on form still went on, but it was treated, in some quarters, a bit like a guilty secret.
It was at the 'non-communicative' end of some kind of communicative continuum. But it
was the opposite end of that continuum ('no materials control, no language control, no
teacher intervention', etc.) that was prioritised and, as a result of this, students in many
classrooms spent a lot of their time moving around, chatting, laughing and doing things
with and in language. But not doing much studying.
Two things were lost, it seems to me, in the more exaggerated versions of the
communicative approach. Firstly, grammar teaching was 'left behind' and failed to
develop and evolve in the same exciting way as its new boisterous cousin. But language
learning is not just about activation, it is also about studying, and perhaps one some-what
baleful influence of the communicative approach was to take our minds away from how
successful studying might evolve.
And secondly, communicative language teachingthis heady mix of using language
freely in classrooms to create social relationswas promoted in situations where,
perhaps, it was not at all appropriate. As a result, a gap widened between culturally
divergent views of language teaching and learning. What might have been appropriate for
a class of 12 students in a private language school in the UK or Australia, for example,
seemed less obviously attractive in a class of 60 students somewhere in Asia.

Scott's response
Having been trained (like Jeremy) in what might best be described as late-flowering
audiolingualism, it was not until my second year of teaching that I became aware of CLT
and how it represented such a radical shift from current methodology. I think it must have
been the influence of the Strategies series (Abbs et al. 1975), but before long everything
went functional-notional, information gap activities were the rage, and formal accuracy,
along with error correction, went out the window. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive! In
fact, the advent of CLT coincided nicely with my own disenchantment with drilling and
with the snail-like progress through the structural syllabus that seemed only to thwart the
latent fluency of my (Egyptian) students.
So, what did we gain? The emphasis on language's social function, including attention to
appropriacy and register, was important, not least because to practise 'being social' with
language we needed to include lots of interactive activities, such as role plays and 'real'
conversations, into our classes. This in turn led to the idea that (perhaps, just perhaps)
such activities, rather than being simply practice of previously presented language items,
could be the springboard to learning itself; that is to say, that you could learn a language
simply through using it. This, after all, was a core tenet of the 'strong' version of CLT and
was an extremely powerful idea (captured in the term 'fluency-first'), influencing all my
subsequent thinking on methodology.
What we lost, from the benefit of hindsight, was a 'focus on form'. Even if you can learn
a language by using it, you still need to have your attention directed to the language's
formal features, if only so that you are 'primed' to notice them in situations of real
language use. That realisation prompted my first ever IATEFL talk, which was called 'No
pain, no gain'.
But what we also lost was the communicative approach itself. I still believe that CLT was
'betrayed' in the mid-1980s by the revival of the grammar syllabus and the associated
drift back to an accuracy-first methodology. (A subsequent talk of mine on this topic was
called 'Not waving but drowning'.) I also believe that it is possible to combine a fluency-
first methodology with a focus on form, so long as that focus is primarily reactive, not
pre-emptive. I've been lucky enough to see this occur myself, in classes I've observed.
And, of course, the view that language learning is both an emergent and scaffolded
phenomenon is fundamental to what was to become Dogme ELT. Dogme ELT was really
an attempt to inject new life into CLT.
So, is Dogme ELT the future of CLT? I doubt it, somehow. The commodification and
marketisation of education, including language education, continues unabated.
Where the English language is just another curriculum subject, where it is viewed as
knowledge to be learned rather than a skill to be activated, and where it is measured less
by communicative competence than by the results of high-stakes testing, then there is not
a lot of incentive for a fluency-first approach. In such an educational climate, concepts so
fundamental to CLT as authenticity, fluency, discovery and collaboration seem
outmoded, or, at best, 'add-ons' for those who can afford the luxury of small classes of
communicatively motivated learners. Given the appeal that still attaches to the word
'communicative', though, CLT will probably continue to prosper as a brand, even though
its original ingredients may have long since been reconstituted.
harmerj@me.com
scott.thornbury@gmail.com

References
Abbs, B., A. Ayton and I. Freebairn. 1975. Strategies: Students' Book. London:
Longman.
Allwright, R. 1979. 'Language learning through communication practice' in C. Brumfit
and K. Johnson (eds.). The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching. Oxford:
Oxford University Press.
Hymes, D. H. 1972. 'On communicative competence' in J. B. Pride and J. Holmes (eds.).
Sociolinguistics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

1.4 Teaching language awareness: exploring advanced learners'


metalinguistic knowledge
Martina Elicker and Ulla Frstenberg University of Graz, Austria

Background and rationale


It is believed that 'the practice of metalinguistic reflection [] encourages and facilitates
L2 development' and it is, therefore, essential for the teacher to create 'contexts in which
learners have the opportunity to reflect on language and especially negotiate form'
(Simard et al. 2007: 510). In the English Department of Graz University, such
opportunities have long been central to the teaching approach adopted in courses, which
have a strong grammar focus.
Possibly due to the dominance of communicative language teaching in secondary
schools, however, where metalinguistic analysis receives only limited attention (Simard
et al., 2007: 511), students are finding this aspect of language learning increasingly
challenging.

Procedure
In order to understand how our students apply metalinguistic knowledge, we followed
Roehr's (2004: 19) suggestion to use 'verbal protocols of learner introspections'. Fourteen
students were recorded as they labelled and corrected typical mistakes concerning the
verb (i.e. tense, aspect and verb complementation errors). This is a notoriously difficult
area for learners of English:
[These concepts] express highly abstract notions that are extremely hard to infer,
implicitly or explicitly, from the input. Where the semantic system of the L1 is different
from that of the L2, as is very often the case for aspect, or where equivalent notions do
not get expressed overtly in L1 [] the learning problem is serious and long-lasting.
(DeKeyser 2005: 5)
The informants solved three tasks, as shown in Table 1.4.1.

Table 1.4.1: Tasks given to participants in the study


Results
The analysis of the recordings indicates that students often label mistakes incorrectly,
reflecting an imperfect understanding of the relevant concepts, which is also obvious
when they explain their corrections. Interestingly, verb complementation seems to cause
serious problems, supporting DeKeyser's observation that 'even simpler subcategorization
restrictions, such as which English verbs take an infinitive and which a gerund, appear to
be problematic, even after decades of exposure to the language' (2005: 10). This is a
typical example:
'Look forward', it's usually used with the -ing, and progressive form [] Studying is
a longer process. [] Not a state.
The student obviously does not understand the difference between gerund and
progressiveprobably a result of a tendency in grammar books to refer to both as '-ing
forms', leading students to believe that every '-ing form' indicates progressive aspect. The
informant also refers to 'a longer process'. While this has no influence on verb
complementation, it is part of a common rule for the use of the past progressive that
seems to be especially popular in secondary school course books, summarised by another
informant as follows:
[When the phone rang, I had breakfast.] Here we have a short action which
interrupts a longer one, so 'I was having breakfast' is a longer action and we use the
past progressive, whereas 'when the phone rang' is a shorter action.
This is only one function of the past progressive, but due to the prominence of this rule in
school books, it is often overgeneralised.
Clearly, the informants turn to 'school rules' rather than more complex concepts
discussed in their university courses to explain grammatical phenomena. However, they
do show an awareness of the grammar rules discussed in the courses, even if they cannot
apply them confidently yet.
In the following example, an informant confuses the verb complementation of 'stop' with
the distinction between stative and dynamic meaning:
[Do you ever stop to think about the consequences? vs. Do you ever stop thinking
about the consequences?] I'm not so sure which is the opinion, but I know that the
second'stop thinking []'is more about the process of thinking itself.
This is obviously an attempt to apply new, not fully understood, concepts.

Implications
In our teaching, we will now use the insights gained from the verbal protocols to address
our students' 'conceptual confusion' (Roehr 2004: 15) directly. As well as using clear and
consistent terminology ourselves, we will design and use more tasks that encourage
guided metalinguistic reflection to promote language awareness. Furthermore, the verbal
protocols themselves could be used as a teaching tool to help learners understand the
thought processes involved in metalinguistic reflection.
martina.elicker@uni-graz.at
ulla.fuerstenberg@uni-graz.at

References
DeKeyser, R. M. 2005. 'What makes learning second-language grammar difficult? A
review of issues'. Language Learning 55/S1: 1-25.
Roehr, K. 2004. 'Exploring the role of explicit knowledge in adult second language
learning: Language proficiency, pedagogical grammar and language learning strategies'.
CRILE Working Papers 59: 1-22.
Simard, D., L. French and V. Fortier. 2007. 'Elicited metalinguistic reflection and second
language learning: Is there a link?' System 35/4: 509-522.

1.5 Taiwanese teachers' knowledge of the communicative approach


Yi-Mei Chen University of Exeter, UK

Research background
The communicative approach (CA), including communicative language teaching (CLT)
and task-based language teaching (TBLT), has been promoted by professionals since the
1970s. Its compelling underlying principles, such as learning to communicate through
interaction, are supported by theories in the area of second language acquisition (SLA).
However, substantial research conducted in various EFL settings worldwide points to the
difficulties of implementing the communicative approach. This has been the case in
secondary schools in Taiwan, where attempts to implement the CA have not proven
effective. Therefore, I carried out an action research study to assist a small group of
teachers in developing and implementing a context-sensitive CA through a teacher
development programme. This paper focuses on key features of the teachers' practice
which result in classes which are hardly communicative. It is worth noting that these
features share similarities with findings from past research in both EFL and ESL settings.
The recommendations made to those teachers are presented here.

Methods
To evaluate the growth of teachers' knowledge of the CA, a systematic observation
scheme was developed. First, I clarified what CA, CLT and TBLT mean according to
various definitions. Secondly, I identified the key principles, which are also informed by
theories related to second language learning and cognitive psychology. Finally, I
compared my scheme with commonly cited observation schemes. Consideration was also
given to contextual factors. Two key elements of CA are believed sufficient for assessing
pedagogical activities including teacher talk and peer work:
whether there is a primary focus on meaning; and
the extent to which interaction and involvement are observed.
An additional criterion for evaluating a task was employed:
whether there is a communicative goal for learners to achieve.
These three criteria were applied in my analysis of classroom talk and pair/group work,
as well as in the plan for and the process of pedagogical activities. (See Figure 1.5.1.)

Figure 1.5.1: Observation framework


I video-recorded the observed class while I was taking notes, and I transcribed the
interactions between the teacher and students. In observing a pair or group activity, I
recorded the students' behaviours and the teachers' strategy for increasing the learners'
engagement in interaction, as well as the circumstances of those actions. I analysed this
data to find patterns/features of the teacher's practice and then I applied these features to
the framework.

Findings
Using analysis with an inductive approach, the scheme effectively captured insights into
the teachers' practice and underlying beliefs. In the interviews conducted prior to
observations, the teachers had claimed that they were using the CA to some extent.
However, in the first observations, some inconsistencies between their stated beliefs and
actual practice were revealed. Although these teachers had very different teaching styles,
there were common features which resulted in low communication; these include weak
teacher questioning and poor talk management, as shown in Table 1.5.1.

Table 1.5.1: Features resulting in low communication


An evaluation of teacher questioning shows that the way they questioned students does
not indicate a primary focus on meaning. They mainly asked display questions (to which
they knew the answers). They seemed to have a misconception that this type of
questioning promotes real communication. For example, when a teacher pointed to a
flower in the picture, and asked, 'What colour is the flower?', the class was actually
practising the sentence structure related to colours. Teachers should understand that this
type of questioning is similar to form-focused practice (Thornbury 1996). The explicit
teaching mode observed contributes less to learners' ability to use the form accurately in
production. Therefore, meaning-focused instruction should be used alongside it (Ellis
1993).

Recommendations
The recommendations made regarding this issue were that, firstly, instead of merely
asking display questions, teachers should ask referential questions (for example, 'Why?'
and 'How?') to gain open-ended, unpredictable answers from learners. In contrast to
display questions, referential questions create co-constructed meaning in the flow of
interaction, and it is this co-constructed meaning that has the potential for learning to
happen (Long 2000). Secondly, using referential questions to relate topics or contents to
learners' own experience is always a useful strategy to raise students' desire to share.
They are usually more interested in these personalised questions. Only when they
participate in meaningful communication can they learn to communicate. Finally,
teachers can simply increase students' turns by giving them more time to respond to their
questions. To do so, teachers may need to 'force' themselves to tolerate any silence in the
interaction. It is not difficult to recognise those features which lead to low learner
involvement. However, teachers may not be aware when these feature in their own
practice.
yc315@ex.ac.uk

References
Thornbury, S. 1996. 'Teachers research teacher talk'. ELT Journal, 50/4: 279-288.
Ellis, R. 1993. 'The structural syllabus and second language acquisition'. TESOL
Quarterly 27/1: 91-113.
Long, M. 2000. 'Focus on form in task-based language teaching' in R. D. Lambert and E.
Shohamy (eds.). Language Policy and Pedagogy: Essays in Honor of A. Ronald Walton.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

1.6 Do materials writers have principles?


Jill Hadfield Unitec, Auckland, New Zealand
Some theorists have debated whether materials writers have valid principles guiding their
writing, Tomlinson, for example, suggesting:
it seems that most current global coursebooks and many local and localized
coursebooks are not driven or even informed by principles of language acquisition
and development. Some of them manage to help learners to acquire language
because their writers have been effective teachers and are intuitively applying
principles of teaching. (2010: 99)
I examined lists of principles put forward by three theorists, Ellis, Tomlinson and Nation,
and compared these to principles put forward by two materials writers, Bell and Gower
(1998), finding some interesting differences in focus and emphasis. The materials writers,
for example, had concern for the needs of teachers as well as students, were more
eclectic, advocated a balance of approaches, prioritised student engagement and had
many more concrete and detailed principles about activity types, content and design
features.
I then presented some findings from my own auto-ethnographical research: a PhD by
artefact and exegesis involving the analysis of a reflective log that I kept while writing
Motivating Learning (Hadfield 2013). Thematic coding revealed three very different sets
of principles underlying and informing the writing process. I called these 'framing
principles', 'core energies' and 'tacit frameworks'.

Framing principles
Early on in the log, I conducted a self-interrogation on my general principles on what
made good materials. This was based both on research and on my own experience of
what works in the classroom and contained items such as:
material (texts and tasks) should be interesting, engaging and motivating; and
language should be meaningful, natural and useful.
Such principles are the general beliefs which materials writers bring with them to the
writing process: they exist as part of the writers' knowledge and belief system about what
makes successful teaching and learning. These framing principles seem to me to
constitute a framework for writing: a boundary fence delimiting the kind of materials that
should be written.

Core energies
Through thematic coding, I discovered a different set of principles at work, which I
called 'core energies'. These I define as those driving forces in a writer's work which give
a definite colour and style to the work. Mine happen to be the importance of affect,
creativity and play. These differ from the framing principles in that they do not constitute
a boundary fence: although I believe all activities should be communicative and
meaningful (framing principle 2), I do not believe all activities should be affective,
creative or playful. There are times when activities should be cognitive, logical and
serious, depending on aim and on a consideration for learning styles. Core energies can
tend to work at the level of passion rather than rationalisation. To be valid, however, they
should also be grounded in research. I passionately believe that affective, creative and
playful activities work at a deep level to enhance language learning, but am grounded in
this belief by research: Arnold, Krashen, Stevick and Drnyei's work on affect; Alan
Maley and Tan Bee Tin's work on creativity; and Pomerantz and Bell, and Kim and
Kellogg's work on play.
Tacit frameworks
The final set of principles I have called 'tacit frameworks' (Hadfield 2013). I derived
these from a coding of reflections on the writing of particular activities. These reflections
provided a way of analysing and justifying design decisions. Three processes were
involved:
dialoguing (a conversation with the imagined readerin this case the teacher);
imagining scenario (playing out mentally how the activity would unfold in the
classroom, from the teacher's point of view); and
trying out (another dialogue with the imagined readerin this case the student
by putting oneself in the place of the student and actually trying the activity out.)
Each process gave rise to different sorts of micro-design decisions; from decisions based
on theoretical justification (dialoguing), through classroom management decisions
(imagining scenario), to decisions about language level, conceptual difficulty, student
engagement and so on (trying out.) Each design decision can be shown to be underpinned
by an unvoiced principle; for example, the realisation that an activity lacked pace led to
the decision to have smaller stages and vary the groupings. This was underpinned by the
tacit principle 'grouping should be varied to maintain pace, momentum and therefore
student engagement.' These tacit principles form a fine network of very detailed micro-
principles concerned with effective design of materials.
It seems to me, therefore, that materials writers have a complex system of interlocking
principles underlying their work, which operate in a different way from theorists'
principles.
jhadfield@unitec.ac.nz

References
Bell, J. and R. Gower. 1998. 'Writing course materials for the world: a great compromise'
in B. Tomlinson (ed.). Materials Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Hadfield, J. 2013. 'Chaosmos: spontaneity and order in the materials design process' in N.
Harwood (ed.). English Language Teaching Textbooks: Content, Consumption,
Production. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Tomlinson B. 2010. 'Principles and procedures of materials development' in N. Harwood
(ed.). Materials in ELT Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1.7 Plenary: The efficiency of inefficiency: an ecological perspective on


curriculum
Kathleen Graves University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., USA
The aim of this article is to bring together the two sides of the title: the notion of
efficiency in education, and the notion that the educational curriculum can best be
understood from an ecological perspective. My purpose is to make an argument that an
approach to learning that seems inefficient may actually be efficient in terms of meeting
educational goals in lasting ways.
I first came across the phrase 'the efficiency of inefficiency' in a book about a hospital for
the indigent, the poor and the homeless in San Francisco. The book's title, God's Hotel
(Sweet 2013) is a reference to the French name for these kinds of hospitals htel dieu.
The name of this particular hospital is Laguna Honda, where the author is a doctor. In the
book she writes about a time when the hospital was visited by a team of efficiency
experts. The efficiency experts examined everything about the hospital: the financial
records, costs and revenues, the patient records, the protocols, the space; they consulted
everything, that is, except the people: the patients, the nurses, and the doctors.
The following definition of efficiency captures what the team was looking for: how to
achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. One of their most
important aims was to cut costs. They found a great deal of inefficiency, especially in the
way time and resources were used. For example, time and resources were devoted to
maintaining a garden and an aviary where patients could spend time near plants and
birds. Head nurses sat all day overlooking their wards and didn't seem to do much. There
was even one head nurse who spent her day knitting blankets for each of her patients.
The author argues that the reasons for Laguna Honda's success in healing its patients
were some of the very things that the efficiency team decided were inefficiencies:
keeping a garden and aviary prompted patients to go outside to spend time potting plants
or watching birds; having head nurses sit all day overlooking their wards gave them time
to answer calls from families and other medical staff, keep the ward tidy and welcoming,
and manage the patient charts so no mistakes were made; in the case of one particular
head nurse, knitting individual blankets for the patients made them feel cared for and
respected.
At the core of these inefficiencies was the notion that 'the secret in the care of the patient
is in caring for the patient' (Sweet 2013: 91). This didn't mean caring about the patient
finding the right diagnosis, and prescribing the correct medicinealthough these were
clearly important. Caring for the patient literally meant doing the little, personal things
like adjusting a patient's bedclothes or giving him or her sips of water. This would not
seem to be the most efficient way for highly trained doctors to spend their time. But the
author argues that it was worth it because that kind of time-costly caring created the
relationship between doctor and patient. And that relationship was the secret of healing;
in other words, 'the secret of patient care was inefficiency' (Sweet 2013: 92).
What appeared to the efficiency experts as inefficient were the ways the doctors and
nurses tuned into their patients' needs and created relationships with their patients. These
relationships allowed them to focus on what was meaningful and helpful to the patient as
a whole person, and, critically, to take time to do this so they could focus on long-term
healing, not short-term results.
The author's description of the hospital struck a chord in me because education seems to
be increasingly focused on efficiency, on how to do as much as possible within the
shortest amount of time with the fewest possible resources. This push for efficiency
centres on standardisation of outcomes, pre-packaged curricula that match these
standards, and tests that measure short-term results rather than long-term growth. It seems
particularly problematic in our field of ELT. The global role of English has made
efficient delivery of English instruction a major concern of ministries of education,
educational institutions and schools. This demand creates tremendous pressures on
teachers and students to produce results quickly in the classroom and to be able to
quantify the results. Students may feel they are being prepared for tests rather than being
prepared for life. Many score poorly on tests, lose motivation and interest, and, in the
end, don't learn. So teachers are caught between needing to use time and resources
efficiently and acknowledging that learning a language is a process that takes time.
How can this notion of the efficiency of inefficiency be applied to education? The
process of learning is not about efficiency, it is not a mechanical process that can be
reduced to protocols and test scores; it is a human process, one that is organic,
unpredictable and dynamic. Let's imagine how efficiency experts might look at how time
in the classroom is used. They would probably consider the following exchange efficient.
It takes place in a maths class in Australia in which some of the students are English
language learners. The teacher is a maths teacher, and the student is an English language
learner.
Teacher: What is the circumference?
Student: All the way round.
Teacher: Right, the circumference is the perimeter of the circle.
How is this exchange efficient? If we consider the earlier definition of efficiency
achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effortit is quite efficient. In
terms of time and effort, it gets the job done in as few turns as possible: the teacher asks a
question, the student gives a response, the teacher confirms the response. But is it
efficient in terms of learning? We have one clue that the student understands the meaning
of circumference, the answer 'all the way round', but we have no evidence that the learner
can use the technical language needed to talk about maths. In fact, if we take away the
teacher talk, what the student says doesn't make much sense. So is it really a productive
exchange?
Let's contrast it with a different type of exchange. (The earlier exchange is embedded and
signalled by italics.)
1 T: What is the circumference?
2 S1: All the way round.
3 T: All the way round what?
4 S1: The circle
5 T: Can you say that again? Remember the word we used yesterday to describe 'all
the way round'? The
6 S1: Oh! Peri? 7 S2: Perimeter.
8 S1: Perimeter.
9 T: Right. So the circumference? 10 S1: Is the perimeter of the circle.
11 T: Right, the circumference is the perimeter of the circle. Now tell Malouf. I'm
not sure if he's listening!
12 S1: The circumference is the perimeter of the circle. (Examples adapted from
Gibbons 2009: 137).
The second exchange is not efficient in terms of time, but it is productive in terms of
student participation. The teacher seems to be working for a different outcome than in the
earlier exchange. She builds on what the student has to offer in turn 2 by asking him to
complete his thought. But she doesn't leave it there, she asks him to use technical
language to describe what he knows in turns 5-8. And notice that she has created an
atmosphere in which other students feel free to contribute to the conversation (turn 7). By
the final turn, the student is able to independently define circumference using
mathematical language.
What would the efficiency experts say about this exchange? It takes 12 turns, versus
three turns for the first. Although it appears inefficient, the second exchange could be
viewed as an example of the efficiency of inefficiency; it is making the best use of
resources, the learners, to achieve the desired results, the learners' understanding.
Efficiency is not necessarily a negative aim. Energy efficiency is a case in point. Most
would agree that focusing on efficient use of energy is a positive aim. It makes us
consider how to use limited resources effectively so that they will last. The key here is
the notion of resources. If we turn to the classroom and ask what the resources are, we
might first think of the physical resources in the classroom, or the materials. We might
identify more abstract resources such as the curriculum. However, further reflection
might lead us to say that first and foremost, the resources are the people in the
classroomthe learners and teacher. Viewing the classroom in terms of people as
resources leads to questions such as how we can use or tend those resources effectively
so they will thrive. Looking at the classroom in terms of resources is in line with an
ecological perspective on curriculum, one that views learning in terms of growth and
development through the interrelatedness of people and environment. Leo van Lier's
work on the classroom as an ecology is particularly helpful in this regard.
Van Lier (2010) defined ecology as the study of the relationships among elements in an
environment or ecosystem, in particular the interactions among such elements. In
classroom as ecosystem, we thus consider the relationships among the elements: the
people, i.e. learners and teacher; the materials and concepts that make up the curriculum;
and the environment, both the physical and the social environment. Those relationships
come about and are manifest in interactions, interactions among people, interactions of
people with the curriculum, interactions of people with and within the environment.
Other characteristics of an ecological approach to education include quality, activity,
autonomy and agency (van Lier 2004). What is meant by quality? Van Lier contrasts
quality of life with standard of living. We can have a high standard of living but a low
quality of life or sense of well-being. Education is currently heavily focused on standards,
accountability and testing. When education is focused on standards, and the aim of
education is to produce outcomes as measured by tests, we lose sight of the educational
experience itself and how it contributes to students' well-being and quality of life. This
notion of quality and the focus on experience and the well-being of learners hark back to
the notion of caring for the patient in Laguna Honda hospital. An ecological approach to
education focuses on activity. The classroom is not a place to transmit ideas from teacher
or book to student, but is a community where students carry out a variety of activities,
collaborating with peers or working on their own. Learners develop understandings of the
material and rapport with each other through activities.
In an ecological approach, learners are autonomous. 'Autonomy' does not mean
individualism or independence; as van Lier points out, it means 'having authorship of
one's actions and speech, within one's community of practice' (2004: 8). In this sense,
autonomy implies that learners are sources of knowledge as well as learners of
knowledge and that they have opportunities to exercise their authority as sources of
knowledge. He also uses the term 'agency' to describe learners. He describes agency as
movement in order to live and grow. Agency 'can be more individual or more social, it
can be more creative or more routine, it can be more serious or more playful, and so on
and so forth. There must be room in a learning environment for a variety of expressions
of agency to flourish' (2010: 5). In this view, learners are, or should be, active
participants and protagonists in the processes of learning and development.
Taken together, then, an ecological approach to education envisions the classroom as an
ecosystem, which is, by its very nature, dynamic and evolving. It is an environment
where teacher and learners are engaged individually and together in a variety of
purposeful activities, in which they build relationships with each other within their
environment. It is an environment in which they define their own meaning and purpose in
what they do and where their well-being and the quality of their experiences matter.
This is not unlike the description of Laguna Honda hospital and the secret of patient
healing, which depended on the way the doctors and nurses tuned into their patients'
needs and formed relationships with them. It was these relationships that allowed them to
focus on what was meaningful and helpful to the patient and to take time to focus on
long-term healing, not short term results.
Thus, when we envision a classroom as an ecosystem, we consider the people, the way
they interact, the kinds of relationships they form, and how and why they form those
relationships. We look at the kinds of activities they engage in and the purposes of the
activities. We look at the quality of their experiences. We look at how they are exercising
their agency so that they can grow and what kind of meaning they ascribe to their actions.
And we look at language. Language has a crucial role to play in the ecology of the
classroom. Van Lier describes language as 'relations between people and the world' and
language learning as 'learning ways to relate more effectively to people and the world'
(2004: 4). Interactions in the classroom for the most part happen in and through language,
as does the learning of subject matter, as shown in the earlier maths exchange.
Let us enter a classroom to see how it functions as an ecosystem. Although it is not an
EFL or ESL class, it is one in which language plays a vital role. It is a fifth-grade (age
10) classroom in Watts, Los Angeles. Students are clustered at tables in teams. The
teacher, Mr. Russell, is leading them in a game of Jeopardy, a popular television quiz
game. On a screen at the front of the classroom are different categories such as 'name it',
'feature', 'code switch', 'do it all'. A team nominates a category for a certain number of
points and a sentence appears on the screen. One team has nominated the category 'do it
all' and the following sentence appears on the screen: Last night, we bake cookies.
Teacher: (reading Jeopardy board) Last night, we bake cookies. The students in the
group can be heard saying:
Students: past tense marker 'ed'.
Students: No, no, it's past tense, past tense. The teacher looks at the group.
Teacher: Are you ready? Okay. Number one, what language is it in? Student: AAL.
Teacher: It is an African American language. Number two, what linguistic feature
isn't in AAL?
Student: Past tense marker 'ed'.
Teacher: Past tense marker 'ed', that's two. And how do you code switch it into
mainstream American English?
Student: Last night we baked cookies. Teacher: You got 500 more points.
Students: Yeah!
The students in this class are primarily African American. The game is part of a
curriculum called 'Academic English Mastery', which is designed to teach mainstream or
'standard' American English, the language of schooling. The transcript is taken from a
video of the class that is part of a Public Television Series called Do You Speak
American? (2005).
In this classroom language plays a role on several levels. It plays a role on a social level,
in the sense that the participants use language to interact with each other to carry out their
activities. It also plays a role on a symbolic level. Learners have symbolic resources, one
of which is their home language, which is the language through which they relate to
family and friends. Their relationship with language is something to value. African
American language, the language of the home, is an important resource and an integral
part of their identity. African American language, also called AAVE (African American
Vernacular English), is a linguistically complex, systematic, rule-governed variety of
English. Other examples the students addressed were 'We don't have nothin' do to' and
'He funny'. 'We don't have nothin' to do' is an example of negative concord, or double
negation, a regular feature of AAVE. In 'He funny', the copula 'be' is systematically
omitted, as in languages like Hebrew, Chinese or Russian. These are not mistakes. They
are accurate for this variety of English.
An educational ecosystem uses existing resources as the basis for extending and building
new resources. In this case, the home language is a resource that can be used as a basis
for contrast with academic English. The students learn to use the linguistic tools of
contrastive analysis to understand how academic English is similar to and different from
African American English. So, in a sense, they learn a third language, the language of
linguistics. The teacher and the curriculum provide opportunities for agency, in which
students use what they know to gain new understandings.
Van Lier's notion of autonomy as 'authorship of one's actions and speech within one's
community of practice' takes on a fuller meaning. The root of authorship is author. This is
the same root as for the word authority. In this case, learners are both authors of and
authorities on their own language.
What would the efficiency experts say about Mr. Russell's class? They might say
something like, 'We're not teaching students to be linguists. So why are you teaching
them to contrast their home language with academic language? Why are you teaching
them to talk about those contrasts using technical language like code-switching, and
third-person singular and past tense marker 'ed'? Why are you taking this long, time
consuming path? We want our students to speak and write properly. Why not be more
efficient and simply 'correct' their 'incorrect' language?'
'Correcting language' is a common approach taken by teachers who encounter other
language varieties in their classrooms. The following is an example of such an approach.
Mrs. Swords is a primary school teacher interacting with one of her fourth grade students
(age 9).
Student: Mrs. Swords, why you be teachin' maf in da aftanoon?
Mrs. Swords: Why do I what?
Student: Why you be teachin' maf in da aftanoon?
Mrs. Swords: We don't say, "Why you be teaching math in the afternoon" We say,
"Why are you teaching math in the afternoon?"
Student: Oh, OK.
(Wheeler and Swords 2004: 470).
We could say that both Mrs. Swords and Mr. Russell have the same purpose: they want
their students to learn academic English, the language of schooling. The issue here is that
Mrs. Swords' approach, which appears to be very efficient, is not about efficiency, it is
about deficiency. It takes as its starting point that students are deficient, in this case
because they lack Mainstream American English. The language they do possess, African
American English, is considered substandard. And so it is something that must be
overcome. The efficient route is to replace the substandard language by 'correcting' it.
The result is that the students' language is devalued, and the students are devalued.
By contrast, the 'inefficient' or ecological approach starts with the assumption that
students are resources and have resources. One of the most important resources they have
is their home language. It is a resource they can tap as a basis for learning the standard
variety of English. They do this by learning to analyse both languages. They learn a
metalanguage for describing features of each language. Their own language is valued and
they are valued. They are active participants and protagonists in the processes of learning
and development; they are exercising their agency so that they can grow; they are
engaged in challenging, sophisticated processes. In a profound sense they claim
authorship of their own actions and speech.
What were the results of Mrs. Swords' approach and Mr. Russell's approach? Rachel
Swords (in a co-authored article) describes her development as a teacher in learning how
to support all her students, including her African American students, to gain mastery of
academic registers through contrastive analysis, or what they call a 'code-switching'
approach. But before she learned to do this, this is what happened:
She noticed as time went on, [however], that her students were asking significantly
fewer questions. She would call for questions and her students would begin: "Mrs.
Swords, why you be? Is you? Ain't you? Never mind." The students knew she was
going to correct them. They tried to ask the question in the form the school system
wanted, but they didn't know how. Rather than risk the embarrassment of being
corrected in front of the class, students became silent. (Wheeler and Swords 2004:
470.)
Her efforts had the opposite effect of what she intended. Rather than providing students
with tools for expanding their resources, Swords' approach ended up silencing them,
shutting them down. From an ecological perspective, students had very little agency or
autonomy. The expectation was that they would repeat the teacher's corrections. This is a
very limited form of interaction and is hardly a good basis for developing the kinds of
relationships that are the foundation for learning communities. We can link it back to the
earlier, first maths example about the circumference of a circle in which the teacher
supplied most of the information. The focus was on the end result; it was not on the
learner, not on the experience of the learner, and not on the processes of learning.
And what happened in Mr. Russell's class? In fact, his students performed significantly
higher on standardised tests than in previous years. It could be considered ironic to use a
standardised test as a measurement of result, especially given that 'a standards >
accountability > testing system largely bypasses the all-important notion of the quality of
the educational experience, of learning opportunities, and the wellbeing of the learners'
(van Lier 2010:4). However, Mr. Russell's class actually illustrates what is meant by the
efficiency of inefficiency. In his class, the learners' deep engagement with language
their home language, the language of schooling, and the meta-language of linguistics
led to increased understandings, which could be demonstrated through their test
performance. But we can speculate that they also gained much more than could be
measured through a testgains in self-understanding and self-confidence, gains in
problem-solving, gains in social skills, gains in understanding how language works in
different contexts, gains that will serve them in life, not just in school.
My aim in this article has been to bring together the notion of efficiency in education and
an ecological perspective on curriculum in order to investigate ways to appreciate and
cultivate the human and linguistic resources in the classroom. I have used classroom
examples to make an argument that an approach to learning that seems inefficient may
actually be efficient in terms of meeting educational goals in lasting ways. My hope, in
van Lier's words 'is not to provide readymade answers or prescriptions, but to provide
food for thought, to encourage reflection about language and education, and to stimulate
critical discussion.' (2004: 3)
gravesk@umich.edu

References
Gibbons, P. 2009. English Learners Academic Literacy and Thinking. Portsmouth, N.H.:
Heinemann.
Sweet, V. 2013. God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of
Medicine. New York: Riverhead Books.
MacNeil-Lehrer Productions. 2005. DVD: Do You Speak American? Out West. Available
from Films for the Humanities and Sciences.
van Lier, L. 2004. The Ecology and Semiotics of Language Learning: A Sociocultural
Perspective. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
van Lier, L. 2010. 'The ecology of language learning: practice to theory, theory to
practice'. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 3: 2-6.
Wheeler, R. and R. Swords. 2004. 'Codeswitching: tools of language and culture
transform the dialectically diverse classroom'. Language Arts 81/6: 470-80.
2 Psychological and cultural aspects of ELT
This chapter focuses on the student: autonomy and motivation are considered here, along
with ethical and emotional development, identity, beliefs, values, and the integration of
ESOL students. As Diane Parkin reminds us in the opening paper, 'there is no perfect
correlation' between methodology and student success; much depends on personal
factors. Christina Gkonou and Mark Daubney then report on a multinational study
designed to understand teacher perspectives on language learning psychology. Next,
Elena Onchevska Ager reports on her research into teacher and students perspectives on
group dynamics in Macedonian EFL classes. Csilla Jaray-Benn presents activities
designed to enhance concepts of vision and identity, keys to motivation in language
learners, while Scott Bean and Lisa Theisen explore ways in which popular films can be
used to raise awareness of cultural values. The final two papers address issues related to
immigrant communities in the UK. Emily Bryson and Helen Jackson discuss the very
practical concern of forming partnerships to raise funds for ESOL programming, while
Sundus Ameer reports on her research into social integration as a result of ESOL
programming with citizenship materialwith some very interesting results.

2.1 Constructing classroom cultures which support student agency


Diane Parkin INTOUEA, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Background and rationale


Perhaps we should acknowledge and celebrate the fact that there is no perfect correlation
between the theories and methodologies we employ in the classroom and successful
learning. This is not surprising because language, learning and classrooms are all
complicated phenomena so no classroom experience can ever be perfectly replicated.
Recently there seems to have been a revival of interest in what Underhill (2013: 204)
describes as the unique 'psychological learning atmosphere' of each class as a key factor
of learning outcome.
In my EAP classes I have been experimenting with a very simple procedure which has
helped me to tap into this idea in a practical way. This procedure is based on Kelly's
Repertory Grid technique which is underpinned by the metaphor that each of us is a
scientist devising, testing and modifying theories throughout our lives (Fransella et al.
2004).

Workshop procedure
In the workshop participants were invited to explore a simple and practical procedure
designed to elicit and explore authentic constructs about language learning. As with any
newly formed group, IATEFL workshop participants brought with them a rich and
diverse range of personal constructs, prior learning experiences and hypotheses about
language learning. Participants were first given time to reflect individually on the
qualities possessed and strategies used by successful language learners. They then
completed a simple grid by eliciting a partner's unique dichotomous constructs about
successful language learning. Finally, they asked the partner to rate themselves within the
elicited construct grid. Thus everyone engaged in structured conversations about
themselves in relation to successful language learning. This procedure gave rise to
several questions which participants took away with them. It can be adapted and used in a
variety of classroom settings.

The grid: one example of classroom use


The following example is a grid completed by an intermediate student, 'Sb'. This was
completed in class during week one of a Foundation course. Sb listed her own unique
constructs about the successful language learner on the left; she then listed the opposite of
each construct on the right. This is a psychologically authentic opposite, not necessarily a
linguistic or dictionary opposite. (See Figure 2.1.1.) In this instance Sb perceived that
successful language learners are 'talkative', her opposite of 'talkative' is 'not willing to
speak'. Having listed her constructs Sb rated herself on each. Sb placed herself firmly on
the 'not willing to speak' side of this top construct.

Figure 2.1.1: Grid, transcribed as originally written by student Sb


In a follow-up tutorial focused on the grid, Sb confirmed that she was 'unwilling' to
participate in speaking activities because she found it 'difficult to say a complete sentence
without note'. She did, however, request discussion activities in class because she wanted
to practice speaking. This enabled us to have a conversation about the idea that she did
not need to speak in complete sentences, or to say everything correctly. Perhaps more
importantly, it told me that I shouldn't construe Sb's silences in group discussion as a
protest against speaking activities. In structured conversation, Sb had been able to raise
my awareness of her relationship to speaking activities, in this instance her need for
preparation time, and this proved important to both of us as the course unfolded.

The grid procedure guides emergent classroom culture


Williams and Burden (1997: 170) suggest that 'the way in which any lesson unfolds is a
joint construction between all the participants, including learners and the teacher.' This
must also be true of courses. As a teacher I have found that the grid procedure enables
conversations which can have a substantial impact on emergent and developing
classroom relationships and culture. Implicit in the procedure are important messages
about teacher values and approaches. The teacher models a willingness to listen
thoughtfully to all individuals within the classroom. Authenticity within the classroom is
valued, as is diversity. Classroom procedure can be exploratory and not constrained by
correct answer. The procedure enables active engagement which supports student
motivation and responsibility. Learners are invited to develop their awareness of the
impact that they have, both on their own learning and as agents constructing a unique and
evolving classroom culture.
d.parkin@uea.ac.uk

References
Fransella, F., R. Bell and B. Bannister. 2004. A Manual for Repertory Grid Technique
(second edition). Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.
Underhill, A. 2013. 'The Inner Workbench: learning itself as a meaningful activity' in J.
Arnold and T. Murphey (eds.) Meaningful Action: Earl Stevick's Influence on Language
Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Williams, M. and R. L. Burden. 1997. Psychology for Language Teachers: A Social
Constructivist Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2.2 Teachers' perspectives on language learning psychology


Christina Gkonou University of Essex, Colchester, UK and Mark Daubney Polytechnic
Institute of Leiria, Portugal

Why teachers' perspectives?


Language learning psychology (LLP) is 'concerned with the mental experiences,
processes, thoughts, feelings, motives, and behaviours of individuals involved in
language learning' (Mercer et al. 2012: 2). In fact, Stevick (1980: 4) suggests success in
language learning depends 'less on material, techniques and linguistic analyses, and more
on what goes on inside and between people in the classroom.'
But what are teachers' perspectives on LLP? To our knowledge, no research has been
undertaken in this area. This workshop reported on ongoing research with teachers in
Austria, Portugal and Greece, aimed at understanding their perspectives on LLP and
suggesting possible intervention strategies that could inform classroom pedagogyin
sum, a research project which benefits teachers.

Our three-phase project


The first phase of our project aimed to establish which aspects of LLP teachers felt were
priorities in their own teaching contexts. We therefore designed an online questionnaire,
comprising a biodata section and 14 items about key LLP constructs (for example, self-
concept, motivation, learning strategies), and sent it to primary, secondary and tertiary
education teachers in Austria, Portugal and Greece. Teachers were asked to rate how
important each of these constructs was for their setting. We also included an open-ended
question, asking participants to select two of these constructs that were most important
for them and explain why. Seven LLP constructs were prioritisedsee the sections
headed Phase 1 and Phase 2 below.
The second phase built on the findings gained in Phase 1. We interviewed secondary
school teachers because they represented the majority of language teachers across all
three teaching contexts.
The third phase of the project will combine the findings of the two earlier parts and will
investigate specific teaching practices regarding the seven LLP constructs focused on in
part two.

Phase 1: Insights from the questionnaires


For the participating teachers, motivation was the most important LLP construct,
followed by willingness to communicate, emotions, group dynamics and self-concept.
We checked for differences in teachers' priorities according to three school levels, and
motivation was again rated as the most important construct by teachers of all levels. For
primary school teachers in particular, emotions seemed to be equally important as
motivation. Secondary school teachers felt that willingness to communicate was the
second most important variable they would attend to in their classes. Further, learning
strategies were another priority for them despite not featuring among the top five most
important constructs for primary school teachers and teachers in tertiary education.
Answers to the open-ended question showed that teachers seem to be aware of the fact
that the LLP aspects are context-specific, given their emphasis on the needs of different
learners and on adjusting accordingly their teaching strategies to cater for these needs.
The vast majority of teachers also commented on their role as educators and the extent to
which they are responsible for engendering positive emotions or increasing learners'
motivation. Related to this, the amount of learner involvement and their willingness to
work and invest in their studies were also touched upon by many teachers.

Phase 2: Insights from the interviews


We interviewed 11 foreign language teachers: four each from Austria and Portugal, and
three from Greece. The interviews revealed that first, teachers view the various aspects of
LLP as highly interrelated and complex. This finding indicates that LLP could best be
viewed as a system where all aspects interact. Second, teachers have considerable
knowledge about LLP, but this might not correspond to the terms and discourse used by
researchers. Therefore, bridging the gap between teacher discourse and researcher
discourse would appear to be a desirable goal. Third, teachers seem to rely heavily on
their experience and intuition to interpret student behaviour in class, thus signifying high
degrees of emotional intelligence. Raising awareness of LLP through workshops and
publications in newsletters and magazines could further enhance teachers' knowledge and
expertise and would encourage them to consider its different facets in their classroom
practice. Finally, teacher psychology seems to be crucial to what is going on in the
classroom, and learner psychology was found to be heavily dependent on teacher
psychology.
Implications
Our findings, although provisional, lead us to suggest that, although the field of LLP is
broad and comprises a range of constructs, it might best be viewed as a dynamic system
where all aspects interact. In addition, finding out as much as we can about our students
is of the utmost importance in any teaching context and level of education, and garnering
insights into teachers' perspectives on LLP can only help to contribute to this goal.
cgkono@essex.ac.uk
mark.daubney@ipleiria.pt

References
Mercer, S., S. Ryan and M. Williams (eds.). 2012. Psychology for Language Learning:
Insights from Research, Theory and Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Stevick, E. 1980. Teaching Languages: A Way and Ways. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury
House.

2.3 Teacher-student inconsistencies in attitude: towards a reconciliation


Elena Onchevska Ager Ss Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Republic of
Macedonia

Introduction
This talk reported on an aspect of the author's doctoral research (Onchevska Ager 2012)
into the principles of group dynamics in the Macedonian undergraduate EFL classroom.
The research was in part inspired by Stevick's (1980) work, which foregrounds the
centrality of interpersonal relationships in the classroom to successful English language
learning (ELL). Stevick defines success in the EFL classroom as depending 'less on
materials, techniques, and linguistic analyses, and more on what goes on inside and
between the people in the classroom' (1980: 4).
Curious about the quality of teacher-student communication in the Macedonian context, I
set out to juxtapose the teachers' and their students' beliefs about issues related to group
dynamics to ascertain if, and to what extent, they matched. The literature on group
dynamics suggests that members of close-knit groups normally share similar beliefs, and
such fundamental overlapping of their belief structures ensures successful cooperation
within the group (rather than conflict) and task orientation (Drnyei and Murphy 2003).

The study
Participants in the study were 42 EFL teachers and 196 students studying in 17 classes at
Macedonian state and private universities. I attempted to answer the following questions:
1 What are the teachers' and their students' perceptions about the influence of group
dynamics on ELL?
2 How much group work do the teachers organise in the classroom, and what do the
students think about that amount?
3 What are the teachers' and their students' attitudes towards group work?
The data was gathered by means of a questionnaire and was analysed using descriptive
statistics. The study suggested that the teachers and their students held similar opinions
about very few group dynamics issues.
The two populations shared the view that interpersonal relationships in the classroom
have an influence on the quality of ELL. However, when asked about how they perceived
the role of the EFL teacher, the two cohorts placed the teacher's role at quite different
points on the continuum between (a) transferring knowledge, and (b) mediating between
the students and the target material. The majority of the students (67 per cent) expected
the teacher to primarily impart knowledge, in contrast to the majority of the teachers (69
per cent), who viewed their job as creating conditions for ELL.
Further belief discrepancies surfaced regarding the amount of group work opportunities
for ELL offered in class. The students expressed a preference for a larger amount of
group work compared to its current allotment. This was borne out by performing t-tests
which unequivocally pointed in the direction of a significant gap existing between the
current and the desired amount of group work offered in the EFL classroom.
The teachers' and their students' attitudes about the (positive and negative) effects of
working in groups in the EFL classroom were not too dissimilar, with the teachers' data
being more detailed. However, the two cohorts were very much at odds regarding the
students' perceptions of group work. Namely, 67 per cent of the teachers suggested that
their students were, on the whole, fond of group work. A striking 94 per cent of the
students, on the other hand, reported enjoying the group format. Even more surprisingly,
in 3 (out of the 17) classes very few students (if any), i.e. 14 per cent, 0 per cent and 0 per
cent, respectively, shared their teachers' attitude that in their classes group work was
generally disliked.

Teaching implications
The dissonant views on fundamental educational topics among some of the teachers and
their students may imply a lack of two-way communication, an essential feature of highly
cohesive (hence, high performing) groups. This lack of group cohesion may, in turn,
result in some students being denied their preferred instructional approach(es), such as
those drawing on social motivational factors like the group.
To improve teacher-student communication as a starting point for reconciling the
differences in attitude, several suggestions were offered:
teachers to get their students to document their learning by keeping learning diaries
as a form of indirect communication;
teachers to set up teacher-student conferencing opportunities as a form of overt
communication;
teachers to justify their instructional decisions by making explicit their views about
what is or should be going on in the classroom and why; and
teachers to invest time and effort in developing positive group dynamics in the
classroom, foregrounding the joint responsibility of all group members (the teacher
included) for what goes on in the classroom and therefore in everyone's learning
agenda.
elena.oncevska@gmail.com

References
Drnyei, Z. and T. Murphy. 2003. Group Dynamics in the Language Classroom.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Onchevska Ager, E. 2012. Group Dynamics in Teaching English as a Foreign Language
at a Tertiary Level. Unpublished PhD thesis, Blae Koneski Faculty of Philology, Skopje,
Republic of Macedonia.
Stevick, E. 1980. Teaching Languages: A Way and Ways. Rowley: Newbury House.

2.4 Vision, role-playing and identity in language learning


Csilla Jaray-Benn Business English Services and University Pierre Mends-France,
Grenoble, France

Vision theory
Being a successful communicator in a foreign language engages the whole person as a
cognitive, emotional and physical being. The latest research (Drnyei and Kubanyiova
2014, Drnyei and Hadfield 2013) places vision at the core of learners' motivation.
Seeing oneself as an L2 speaker will design the roadmap to achieve this personal goal.
The vision of one's future self 'includes a strong sensory element' (Drnyei and
Kubanyiova 2014: 10), we could say even a series of sensory elements, which will help
the learner create a self-image where he exists through the foreign language. The
question is, how can we implement multi-sensory based classroom activities that could
engage the learners in the desire of seeing, accepting and enjoying an L2 self, their L2
identity? We will look at two activities from the perspective of creating and maintaining
an L2 self-vision: role-plays and personal narratives.

Conscious role-plays
Role-plays are considered a basis for performing a communicative task. They are said to
enhance student interaction and place classroom practice in a real-life context. Despite
these beliefs, many teachers would agree that not every student likes roleplays; some
students cannot engage in their roles, they lack enthusiasm during the activity and they
will not necessarily take away a memorable learning experience of an activity where they
had to be a receptionist at a museum, for instance.
Constantin Stanislavski, Russian theatre director, speaks against 'mechanical acting' and
requires his actors to approach their role from its 'inner content' because, as he puts it, 'a
role which is built on truth will grow, whereas one built on stereotype will shrivel'
(Stansislavski 1937: 25). Actors need to enter their role with their true personality, build
it from inside, nourish it with their past experiences and future aspirations. Stanislavski's
words resonate with van Lier's statement: 'Learning an L2 involves a struggle to forge a
new identity that is true to the self ' (cited in Drnyei and Kubanyiova 2014: 36). The
theatre director's view on acting is similar to what Zimmermann defines as 'transportable
identity' (Drnyei and Kubanyiova 2014: 110) as opposed to 'discourse' and 'situated'
identity.
In the traditional way of utilising role-plays, students are engaged through their discourse
identity. They are speakers or listeners in a dialogue; their situated identity is their role in
the situation, i.e. receptionist, but their transportable identity is not taken into account.
Transportable identity concerns their gender, past experiences, beliefs, what they like or
don't like. This is when their personality becomes part of their language, often referred to
as 'personalising' the activity.
Role-plays can be introduced by a pre-task which focuses on learners' transportable
identity using 'helping cards' with questions about their personality and multi-sensory
past experiences. These details will help them build their role-identity in a self-conscious
way, and their English speaking role-identity will come alive in a seamless way.

Personal narratives
Seeing oneself in a future situation can be enhanced to whole-life scenes. Teenagers are
in a period of their lives when constructing a vision of their possible future selves is a
natural aspect of their personal development. Thereby, intertwining the vision of being a
confident L2 user and a successful person in the future comes as a very natural thinking
process. Mental imagery or image streaming, used in sports psychology and as proposed
by Drnyei and Hadfield (2013) in Motivating Learning, can be very effective with this
age group.
The guided imagery activity 'My Future L2 Self ' as described in Motivating Learning
(Drnyei and Hadfield 2013: 26) served as the starting point for a visionary programme
with a small group of teenagers. Based on a series of questions read by the teacher,
revealing multi-sensory experiences, students gave a detailed description of their lives in
10 years' time. They were able to visualise themselves in the future, see their goals
achieved and realise that they had become competent L2 speakers. The vision narrative
activity took five steps engaging all five language skills and the concrete outcome was a
printed magazine with students' stories and photos.

Conclusion
Through the collaborative, creative process of the personal narratives and conscious role-
plays, learners can benefit from a positive learning experience and establish harmony
between their ideal L2 self and ought-to L2 self in their 'mind's eye'. The two activities
can be sequenced in a way that learners play the role of their future L2 selves developed
through the vision narrative activity in various imagined situations.
csilla.benn@bes-grenoble.com

References
Drnyei, Z. and J. Hadfield. 2013. Motivating Learning. Harlow: Pearson.
Drnyei, Z. and M. Kubanyiova. 2014. Motivating Learners, Motivating Teachers.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stanislavski, C. 1937. An Actor Prepares. London: Bloomsbury.

2.5 Exploring cultural values in film


Scott Bean and Lisa Theisen Kansai Gaidai University, Hirakata, Japan
Films are often used in language learning classes for various purposes. One useful
pedagogical application of films is to discover differences in culture, particularly in films
that involve culture clashes. The 'visible' aspects of culture, such as food, architecture and
customs, are easy to spot for students. However, students find it more challenging to
analyse characters' words and actions to discover 'invisible' aspects of culture, such as
beliefs and values. This presentation focused on a project that encourages university
students who are planning to study abroad to reflect on cultural values as they appear in
film.

Concepts of culture
In this project, students first explore definitions of culture, thinking in terms of an
iceberg. In this model, certain aspects of culture are visible, whereas much of culture is
invisible (Wintergerst and McVeigh 2011). The lesson then hones in on cultural values,
defined as ideas about what is right, good and normal. Students consider eight American
cultural values, including individualism, directness, informality and equality (Althen
2011), comparing and contrasting them with their own cultural values. It is stressed, of
course, that not everyone in a culture may share the values to the same degree, but that
the values are shared by the majority of people in a culture.

Presentation
The students' task is to highlight cultural values they find in a primarily English language
film of their choice in a presentation. Students normally present in pairs, and we provide
a list of suggested films they can use. Films that feature a culture clash, such as Bend It
Like Beckham, East is East and Gung Ho, work well for this project. The 15-minute
presentation is composed of four parts: an introduction, a summary of the film, two or
three examples from the film that highlight cultural values, and a conclusion. For each
example, students need to explain the scene from the film, analyse the cultural value in
the scene, and compare or contrast the value with their own cultural values. The cultural
values the students focus on will naturally depend on the film they choose, and they may
need to do additional research on the culture featured in the film to be able to analyse the
values that appear.
We model the presentation, using examples from the film Mr. Baseball. The main
character is an American baseball player in Japan who experiences various culture
clashes with his Japanese teammates, translator, coach and girlfriend. The examples we
choose from the film underscore his American values of individualism, informality and
directness. Two weeks after this model presentation, students submit an outline in
advance of their presentation in order for us to give them feedback and guidance.
Caveats for students
Students may be tempted to focus on visible cultural differences, such as different
customs, since they are easy to identify. Some customs may be connected to values (such
as removing shoes before entering a house), while others may not (such as utensils used
for eating). Thus, students need to be reminded to focus on cultural values. Students also
need to be careful to avoid generalising one character's personal values to an entire
culture when the values are not shared by the larger culture. In addition, students need to
focus on the heroes, not the villains in the film. Normally, the heroes represent the ideas
that are valued by the majority culture, whereas the villains do not. In terms of the
presentation itself, students should be advised to keep brief the second part of the
presentation, the summary of the film. Long summaries have tended to make the
audience lose interest. Furthermore, students whose visual aids are film clips need to pay
special attention to integrating their film clips into the presentation in a smooth way by
practicing using the DVD or movie files in order to prevent technological glitches.

Conclusion
Students have told us that analysing cultural values in film has helped them understand
other people's ways of thinking and behaving. As our students are all study abroad
candidates, we believe this project will help them to cope with potential
misunderstandings in the future. The project can be adapted to a variety of cultural and
teaching contexts, and it can expose students to a variety of cultural values from an
extensive range of films available. The medium of film is naturally appealing to students,
and examples of cultural values appear in the context of a larger narrative. All in all, the
project helps students think about the invisible aspects of culture that require deeper
analysis and inquiry.
sbean@kansaigaidai.ac.jp
theisen@kansaigaidai.ac.jp

References
Althen, G. 2011. American Ways: A Guide for Foreigners in the United States.
Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press.
Wintergerst, A. C. and J. McVeigh. 2011. Tips for Teaching Culture: Practical
Approaches to Intercultural Communication. White Plains, NY: Pearson.

2.6 College and community partnershipscreating success


Emily Bryson and Helen Jackson City of Glasgow College, UK

Introduction
Partnership working is now an essential element of securing ESOL funding. To secure
funding, colleges and community ESOL providers must work together. The aim of this
talk was to share our experiences of successful partnership working and provide tips and
advice for ESOL providers.
Background
The ESOL Network Project (ENP) assists ESOL learners in Glasgow to access provision.
It holds initial assessment and advice sessions in community centres and Jobcentres
where students can find out their ESOL level and be signposted towards provision. The
project has successful partnerships with numerous college and community ESOL
providers.
City of Glasgow College (www.cityofglasgowcollege.ac.uk), as one of the largest
providers of ESOL in Scotland, receives funding from the Glasgow Community Planning
Partnership which brings key public, private, community and voluntary representatives
together with the aim of delivering better, more joined-up public services in the city.

Tips for success


Tip 1: Communicate
In order to maintain successful partnerships, communication is the key. It is important
that providers and students know the service is available and to be as visible as possible.
The best way to do this is simply to get out there and talk to people: arrange meetings,
attend networking events and training sessions, even pick up the phone for a chat, send an
email or use social media. The ENP uses Facebook and Twitter, with growing numbers of
followers of community providers, teachers and students.

Tip 2: Stay up-to-date


It is important for service users to have easy access to up-to-date information. The
previous ENP website was managed by a design company, and there were delays and
costs involved with updating the site. To combat this, the ENP now uses weebly. com, a
free web-hosting service and their website (www.learnESOLGlasgow.com) is now
updated regularly and has Google Translate software embedded to enhance accessibility.

Tip 3: Have mutual goals


When working in partnership, it is essential that all organisations have similar interests.
In ESOL, the learner is always the most important shared interest. Partnership working
means helping each other and the ENP helps students to find classes as well as helping
providers to find studentsa win-win situation! To enhance the students' learning
experience, teachers participate in CPD and the ENP supports teachers by delivering
training sessions. This training also provides a networking and communication
opportunity for teachers to create new partnerships and community links.

Tip 4: Support each other


Supportive relationships are successful relationships so listening and learning the needs
of the partner organisation are essential. The ENP supports community ESOL classes in
Glasgow by providing study packs with pens, pencils and notebooks. In addition, it
provides ESOL Maps which inform students and referral organisations with the contact
details of the largest ESOL providers in Glasgow.
Tip 5: Be efficient
It is important to ensure that classes are held in the correct location, run to capacity,
target the correct levels, provide a suitable syllabus and obtain feedback from both
students and partners. Venues that already have high numbers of BME community
visitors or a prior history of ESOL classes are generally more successful than those that
do not. In addition, we have found that sending text messages to students to invite them
to a class gets a quicker and larger response than sending letters.

Tip 6: Meet the learners' needs


The Community Planning Partnership has divided the types of classes into two strands:
family learning and support for employment. Family learning meets the needs of parents
with young children while employability supports learners into work. One of the college's
initiatives has been to start a JobClub where students have access to job adverts and an
opportunity to speak with trained professionals on how to complete CVs and job
applications and prepare for job interviews.

Tip 7: Shout about your successes


Work hard and aim high, and then shout about your successes. New partners are keen to
work with ones that have a proven track record. One of the courses that City of Glasgow
College developed for our partner, Bridges Programmes (www.bridgesprogrammes.org),
was recognised as an example of Effective Practice in ESOL by the Scottish Government.
These courses include ESOL into Social Care, Customer Care and Employability. A
partnership has also progressed with Jobs and Business Glasgow where we teach
essential employability skills at a literacy level to Roma students and this project recently
won a COSLA Excellence award.

Conclusion
Partnerships take time, work and attention. Following the tips and examples above will
assist providers in creating success.
emily.bryson@cityofglasgowcollege.ac.uk
helen.jackson@cityofglasgowcollege.ac.uk

2.7 Becoming British: ESOL citizenship material and classroom


pedagogy
Sundus Ameer University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
The UK Home Office's policy related to naturalisation links the use of English language
to social integration and cohesion in British society (Commission on Integration and
Cohesion 2007). This debate started due to various circumstances but one key event was
the 2001 riots in the north-west of the UK. This presentation presents the results of a
study investigating the effects of ESOL with citizenship material on learners' identity and
social integration. The presentation tried to answer two research questions:
How successful is the goal of achieving the social integration of immigrants
through ESOL with citizenship material?
What impact does this goal have on the lives and identities of migrants with
reference to integration in British society?

The study
The study is a longitudinal research project. Semi-structured interviews were conducted
with four participants in their native language at four stages of their learning process. The
aim was to record changes in the responses of the participants in five key areas after they
had completed the course. The participants, aged 27-30 years, were of Indian and
Pakistani origin and were doing eight-week courses in two different centres in the north-
west of the UK.
The findings of the study showed that the course didn't help the participants to be more
integrated into society. ESOL learners already had established lives in the UK and were
only doing this course as it was a requirement of the Home Office for British nationality.

English usage
The course didn't affect the participants' language usage in their daily life. It was found
that the participants felt comfortable using their native language and believed that they
would keep on doing so even after becoming British. Reasons were as follows:
'because our language is Guajarati and we already speak that, that's why if may
be we were born here then we would have spoken in English' (Subject A)
'because at our place we don't speak English'(Subject B)
'basically we speak Urdu and Punjabi at home' (Subject C)

Integration into society


The study looked at the ways in which the class has helped the participants to integrate
into society. It was found that the learners were not actively involved in the community
and the course had not helped them in becoming more involved in their neighbourhood or
community. Comments were as follows:
'I have never been to community centre' (Subject A)
B: (+) I have never been there
S: How often do you visit your neighbour?
B: not even once, I have never been there (Subject B)
'community centre, just (+)What do you mean by community centre?' (Subject D)
All participants were focused more on responsibilities than rights when asked about this:
'the rights and responsibilities for citizenship and Ahhhh! [] are that people here
should follow law, should respect everyone' (Subject A)
'I don't know that much because I have never gone so deep in that' (Subject D)
Knowledge of citizenship material
A change in responses was seen in the area of knowledge of citizenship material. The
learners became more knowledgeable about the British political system. They learnt
about different political parties and the parliament and could give factual answers.

Future expectations
All participants believed that they would be better off in the future as they would be
equal to British people. They felt the investment they were making in the form of paying
for the course and application fees would help them in securing a better future for
themselves as well as for their children:
'your life will change a lot, you can become independent, you can get a good job'
(Subject B)
'The only thing in my mind is that alright they have made it compulsory for
indefinite and for nationality so they can process it. So we are doing it according to
that so as such it is not that important' (Subject C)

Conclusion
In terms of the first research question, it can be said that the government was not
successful in the goal of social integration through the course if we take into
consideration the four case studies. In terms of the second research question, there was no
effect of the course on participants' lives and identity. The learners felt that they were
Indian or Pakistani and would remain so even after doing this course:
'I think I am Pakistani and will be Pakistani no matter what nationality I get'
(Subject B)
'But first of all I am Pakistani and will remain Pakistani [] always' (Subject C)
sameer@uclan.ac.uk

Reference
Commission on Integration and Cohesion. 2007. Commission on Integration and
Cohesion Our Shared Future. http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20080726153624/
www.integrationandcohesion.org.uk/~/media/assets/
www.integrationandcohesion.org.uk/our_ shared_future pdf.ashx.
3 Perspectives on teacher education
This chapter presents a variety of papers related to teacher education, both initial and at
the postgraduate level. The chapter opens with Teti Dragas' exploration of how
culturesand cultures of learninginform and shape the development of trainees on an
MA course. The next two papers both address the CELTA: Alastair Douglas considers
how the course could be adapted to meet the needs of teachers from various backgrounds,
while Dita Phillips discusses the implications of mixed NS and NNS CELTA classes.
The next few papers come from various parts of the world but all address universal issues
in teacher education and offer practical advice. Gabriel Diaz Maggioli reports on a
workshop in which participants explored the use of content-free 'frames' for teacher
education; Deniz opur and Hale Kzlck show how trainee teachers face challenges in
the writing of lesson objectives; and Angie Quintanilla Espinoza shows how the use of
digital storytelling not only develops trainees' technological literacy but also helps to
foster a supportive class environment. The next paper, by Afrianto, points to a challenge
faced by trainee teachers in the form of student resistance. The final two papers in this
chapter address specific training programmes. Gail Ellis and Carol Read report on the
long-term impact of a primary teacher training course and Susan Barduhn, Katrina
Baran and Jaime Durham describe how a long-running MA in TESOL was
successfully taken online.

3.1 Exploring culture and cultures of learning in teacher education


Teti Dragas University of Durham, UK

Background
In Jin and Cortazzi's words, 'a culture of learning frames what teachers and students
expect to happen in classrooms, how participants interpret the format of classroom
instruction and language, and how interaction should be accomplished as part of the
social construction of an educational discourse system' (2006: 9). But what happens in a
teacher training context where the culture of learning that trainees are drawing on in order
to think about teaching and learning is not a given? What happens when teacher and
learner roles, the classroom itself and educational philosophy are very different? As a
teacher trainer and module leader on a practical teaching module on an MA TESOL at a
British university where students were international non-native English speaker teachers
(NNESTs), I found that my exploration into 'culture' and 'culture of learning' became very
pertinent.
This presentation provided a case study of a group of pre-service teachers and sought to
explore whether, how and to what extent culture and or cultures of learning informed and
shaped their developing practice. Given that we are increasingly seeing NNESTs seeking
ELT training in 'western' contexts where the learning culture may well be (very) different
from their own, the larger question for me was what can and/or should we, as teacher
trainers, do with an awareness of the role of culture and cultures of learning, and how
might this inform our future teacher development practices?
Context and research methods
As part of their master's degree, students take a practical teaching module which acts
much like a pre-service training course aimed at teachers with little or no previous
teaching experience. One aspect of the module involves practice in the form of peer
teaching. Importantly, students are not assessed on their teaching, but on their ability to
reflect on practice. Students' written reflections thus provided the data for the exploration
into culture, serving as a rich resource precisely because the medium of writing helps
uncover deep-seated beliefs about the learning/teaching process (Hoover 1994).

Cultures of learning: east/west


The presentation explored how the methodology that underpins the 'training' that students
receive and the learning culture within which they 'receive' it has an impact on their own
development and learning, in terms of their roles both as students and as developing
(ELT) practitioners. As 48 of the 50 international students on the module were NNESTs
from China, I focused on the relationship between the learning culture of China and that
of Britain. The methodology that underpinned teaching practice in the British context was
founded on a broad CLT framework. However, although appropriate for the context
within which students were learning and exploring 'teaching practice', students
understandably had problems when considering how it might work in their own context.
Table 3.1.1 shows a breakdown of how some of these differences appear.

Table 3.1.1: Differences between teaching practice and prospective teaching contexts
The presentation explored the learning culture in China and revealed a number of areas
that helped to 'account for' some of the most prominent differences in terms of
teacher/learner roles, methods of instruction, beliefs and classroom expectations.
Interestingly, I found that many of these beliefs and practices were expressed in Chinese
'educational' sayings which centred on the importance of the teacher as imparter of
knowledge (moral and academic), memorisation, learning through reading/writing and
diligence rather than talent.
With this in mind, I explored students' reflections and cited numerous examples which
showed how cultural processing was intricately linked to their development. This was
expressed in terms of improving, changing, justifying and explaining practice.

Findings and conclusions


Although the shift from teacher-centred to a learner-centred educational environment,
may initially cause students to experience 'learning shock' (Gu and Schweisfurth 2006) in
a teacher training context, this 'shock' is positively transformed not only from the
experience of teaching practice and the ensuing exploration of teacher/ learner roles and
beliefs, but importantly, by the ability to reflect on practice. This ability to reflect aids
pre-service NNESTs professional development and, arguably, fosters an even deeper
intercultural competenceone which is intricately linked to learning cultures.
areti.dragas@durham.ac.uk

References
Gu, Q. and M. Schweisfurth. 2006. 'Who adapts? Beyond cultural models of "the"
Chinese learner'. Language, Culture and Curriculum 19/1: 74-89.
Hoover, L. A. 1994. 'Reflective writing as a window into pre-service teacher's thought
processes'. Teaching and Teacher Education 10/1: 83-93.
Jin, L. and M. Cortazzi. 2006. 'Changing practices in Chinese cultures of learning'.
Language, Culture and Curriculum 19/1: 5-20.

3.2 CELTA for all?


Alastair Douglas International House London, UK

Introduction
CELTA was originally designed for non-experienced, native speaker (NS) teachers
planning to teach adults in private language schools. The current course is now open to
non-native speakers (NNS) and those with experience, but the majority of candidates still
fit the original mould. Indeed, the Cambridge English website describes the course as 'for
people with little or no previous teaching experience'.

However, the types of trainees on CELTA courses are changing, as Tables 3.2.1 and
3.2.2 show.
Table 3.2.1: Native speakers vs. non-native speakers on English on CELTA courses
(Source: Cambridge English)

Table 3.2.2: Percentage of CELTA candidates already holding a teaching qualification


(Source: Cambridge English)
Thus there is an increasing number of candidates with a background different from that
of the traditional CELTA candidate, and there is little to suggest that this trend will not
continue. Having worked on a number of courses with only experienced NNS trainees, I
considered the suitability of the CELTA for this group, together with the need for any
adaptations.

The course
Why do NNS candidates choose this course?
The main reasons given by NNS trainees and by those institutions choosing CELTA for
their teachers are as follows:
1 International reputation. This refers to the quality of the training itself, rather than
just the worldwide recognition of the qualification.
2 Practical training. Although the qualification would not necessarily improve the
job prospects of trainees since the qualification lacks recognition in their contexts,
many wanted the training on offer.

Does the course meet everyone's needs?


The practical aspect of CELTA sets it apart from many other qualifications. Two
important aspects of CELTA are (a) showing trainees how to implement communicative
language teaching (CLT) in practical ways, and (b) developing reflective practice; these
are both crucial components of teacher training. Teaching practice, followed by self-
evaluation and trainer-guided feedback, is also a significant component of a CELTA
course. These elements are valuable for all teachers, and the core principles of the
training will benefit all teachers.
However, the teaching methodology is open to question. The syllabus does not openly
espouse a particular approach, but there is an implicit CLT undercurrent. This often
presents one of the biggest challenges for trainees, who might be used to a different
approach, such as grammar-translation. The issue arises of whether CLT is useable in
trainees' specific contexts. Many former trainees said they found it hard to apply CELTA
ideas, some saying that it was virtually impossible in their context. Conversely, all the
trainees said they believed in the approach. Obstacles to using it are their students'
expectations and their organisation's curriculum, tests and materials.

Adaptations to the course


The CELTA syllabus is set by Cambridge English in broad terms but can be adapted to
meet trainees' needs. Areas in which adaptation has been found to be beneficial are as
follows.
1 Little input on the 'knowledge' and analysis of language was needed. This allowed
more time on how to teach language.
2 In terms of classroom management skills, all trainees were confident with the
students and needed little basic guidance; however, input was needed on setting up
activities in the L2 and in responding to students' contributions. Classroom
management was best handled reactively.
3 Trainees' theoretical knowledge of CLT was strong, but their practical knowledge
was weak. Input sessions were mostly practical. Often the trainees were familiar with
standard ELT coursebooks, but they had little understanding of the purpose of
activities.
4 Input on how to implement the approaches in the trainees' teaching context was
very important; this included such issues as how to adapt to large classes, how to
motivate learners and how to manage their expectations.
5 Unlearning ingrained habits, such as over-reliance on explanations of language,
excessive focus on grammatical accuracy and difficulty in engaging learners in
contexts, was found to be necessary.
6 Teachers' use of L1 in the classroom is often not covered in-depth on CELTA, yet
it is one of the biggest issues for NNS trainees.

Conclusions
The CELTA offers a solid, practical grounding that is suitable for teachers in most
contexts, and input can be tailored to meet their needs. The bigger issue is whether CLT
can be effectively implemented. This challenge stretches from the classroom to the
educational establishment. While CELTA trainers are able to give their trainees practical
ideas for the classroom, more significant issues arise at a higher organisational level, for
example with the materials, the expectations of the students and testing procedures.
If institutions wish to develop their teachers by choosing CELTA, they will get well-
trained teachers. However, for institutions to benefit from choosing CELTA for their
NNS teachers, a more fundamental shift in the provision of language teaching and testing
might be needed.
aadouglas1@outlook.com
3.3 Better together: native and non-native speakers on CELTA courses
Dita Phillips British Study Centres Oxford, Oxford, UK
The aim of this workshop was to share various tasks that my colleagues and I often use
during input sessions on CELTA courses in order to promote cooperation between native-
speaker (NS) and non-native-speaker (NNS) trainees.
The tasks were developed in a training context where nearly a third of all candidates are
NNS and the majority of courses have mixed groups of NS and NNS trainees. This is
important because of the prevailing myth of the 'native-speaker teacher' in ELT, which is
often reflected in preconceived views trainees tend to bring to the course. These views
were explored in the initial task, where the audience was asked to identify whether views
expressed by CELTA candidates were the views of a NS or a NNS. Some of the
experienced ELT professionals in the audience expressed their surprise at the strength of
some of the views quoted, such as one by a NS who had said, 'I was a little surprised
there were any [non-native speakers] on the coursenot that I didn't believe they could
teach English. I'd just never thought about it before.'
Another interesting point regarding the NS and NNS dichotomy was made by a member
of the audience who felt unsure about her own statusshe had always spoken Arabic at
home, but she had been educated solely in English in the UK from an early age. This may
suggest that in a globalised world the clear-cut distinctions between NS and NNS are
becoming more and more obsolete.
The second task was designed to help CELTA trainees analyse the use of modal verbs in
English. This was found to be of particular practical use by the audience. In the first part
of this task the trainees were asked to complete a rule for the use of modal verbs based on
the analysis of example sentences such as 'He might be right. / He'll be there by now.
Complete: In the third person singular, modals don't take' The second part of the task is
based on an activity from Innovations Upper-Intermediate (Dellar, et al. 2004), in which
trainees are asked to come up with idiomatic or commonly used expressions with modal
verbs such as 'must'. Examples include 'You must be mad!', 'You must be joking!', 'It
must have been nice', and so on. Trainees are asked to complete the tasks in mixed
groups of NS and NNS. In most cases, NNS candidates find the first (more grammatically
based) task easier to deal with, whereas NS tend to find the second (more lexical) task
more accessible. In order to succeed in both tasks, the candidates have to cooperate,
which has a positive effect on group dynamics. The tasks also help candidates to
highlight and appreciate their own and each other's strengths in language analysis.
A similar effect was noted with the third task, which deals with correction. Candidates
are asked to discuss the need for correction in various utterances such as 'You might just
better check with him' or 'Both British girls don't make the final'. It is later revealed that
these examples are genuine statements originally made by native speakers on a BBC
radio phone-in. This triggers an open discussion about the English language, its
development and its ownership. This is a discussion that I believe is essential and that
needs to be encouraged among future ELT professionals.
After illustrating tasks primarily designed to help CELTA candidates analyse their
strengths and weaknesses, I highlighted the need for tasks in which all candidates are on a
level playing field. I believe that the inclusion of a foreign language lesson on a CELTA
course is a good way to achieve this and has the added benefit of helping trainees to
empathise with learners. A short video clip of a sample foreign language lesson was
presented, and the audience noted that they were unable to distinguish between the NS
and NNS trainees in the clip based merely on their level of participation and engagement
in the lesson.
Finally, I expressed my agreement with Medgyes' (1992) view that NS and NNS have an
equal chance of becoming successful teachers and my belief that if trainees are
encouraged to discuss and analyse issues stemming from this dichotomy during their
initial training, this will help them to become more effective teachers.
dita.phillips@british-study.com

References
Dellar, H., D. Hocking and A. Walkley. 2004. Innovations Upper-Intermediate (second
edition). London: Heinle.
Medgyes, P. 1992. 'Native or non-native: who's worth more?' ELT Journal 46/4: 340-8.

3.4 Frames for teaching teachers


Gabriel Diaz Maggioli The New School University, New York, USA

Introduction
The purpose of this workshop was to introduce participants to the concept of frames for
teaching teachers. Frames are content-free tasks that promote situated teacher learning.
These frames were developed around current understandings of the effective teaching of
teachers and advocate for a sociocultural perspective (Johnson 2009, Diaz Maggioli
2012). During the workshop, participants experienced a series of frames and reflected on
their potential uses, as well as the particular teaching of teachers' concepts they lent
themselves to promoting.

Background
Much activity in the field of teaching teachers relies upon tried-and-tested materials that
have not changed significantly since they were published. In some cases, these materials
were produced in the 1990s, and the field of teacher training has progressed significantly
since then. Also, many of the materials for teaching teachers are content-oriented; their
creators claim that they can be used in any training situation regardless of the
particularities of the local context. In this sense, materials favour a 'look-and-learn
perspective to teaching teachers (Diaz Maggioli 2014). In this perspective, the teaching of
teachers is reduced to transmitting a series of best practices that trainees are expected to
replicate to the letter and briefly reflect on how well (or badly) the replication has gone.
In contrast with this situation, recent research on teaching teachers seems to indicate that
best practices in the field need to be imbued with far more characteristics than those
afforded by the look-and-learn perspective (Johnson 2009, Diaz Maggioli 2012).
Teaching teachers today
Proponents of a new way for teaching teachers stress four main characteristics that
teachers of teachers (ToTs) need to take into consideration when designing their
instruction.

A. Experiential basis
In order to counteract the negative effects of new teachers' nave understandings, teacher
training activities should engage participants in experiencing ways in which they are
expected to teach students. The use of an experiential learning cycle (starting with an
experience, reflecting on it, deriving principles and planning how to apply this new
learning) promotes the kind of understanding required.

B. Reflective learning
One keystone of a sociocultural perspective to teaching teachers is the engagement of the
novice in reflecting upon the effects of their teaching on students' learning. Frames allow
aspiring teachers to reflect via analysis and evaluation of their own experiences, and
those of their students, while, at the same time, opening paths to creating new
understandings about teaching and learning.

C. Higher-order thinking
Because the bulk of teacher training activity must necessarily rely on construction rather
than transmission, frames are designed so that they directly target higher-order thinking
skills such as analysis, evaluation and creativity. Each of the frames presented acts as a
problem-posing activity, which participants break apart and assess in order to engage in
their own construction of teaching and learning opportunities.

D. Community-building
Teaching teachers can be best understood as a community-building endeavour. The main
task of the ToT is to mediate professional learning so that newcomers to the field can
function effectively in the classroom and produce quality learning opportunities. In this
sense, frames allow aspiring teachers to construct their own knowledge via collaborative
learning opportunities that are suited to the context in which they will operate.

A sample frame
Figure 3.4.1 shows a sample frame discussed during the workshop. Participants used the
boxes in the top row to assess the characteristics provided by the framesee key
belowand also their suitability to different purposes. Finally, they thought of variations
to the activity and potential topics it would lend itself to exploring.
EB = experiential basis; HOT = higher-order thinking; RL = reflective learning; CB =
community building. O = Opener; P = processing; R = review;
A = assessment; L = lexical learning.
Figure 3.4.1: A sample frame

Other dimensions of frames


After analysing over 20 frames, participants concluded that they all exemplified the
characteristics described above. The next step was for participants to decide whether the
frames could be used as motivational openers, for input processing, for review, for
assessment for learning or for professional lexical learning. These different purposes help
ToTs introduce a wide variety of topics in the training syllabus. In particular, they help
aspiring teachers engage in using professional language via professional lexical learning.
The use of technical terms is one of the marks that distinguishes professionals from non-
professionals.
Conclusion
Given the content-free nature of the frames, they become true mediational tools that can
help ToTs fulfill a multitude of training purposes, while allowing aspiring teachers to
contextualise their learning to their present teaching situation.
diazmagg@newschool.edu

References
Diaz Maggioli, G. 2012. Teaching Language Teachers: Scaffolding Professional
Learning. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Education.
Diaz Maggioli, G. 2014. 'Tradition and habitus in second language teacher education'.
Language and Linguistics Compass 8/5: 188-96.
Johnson, K. E. (2009). Second language teacher education: A Sociocultural perspective.
New York: Routledge.

3.5 A code for objective writing: an action research study


Deniz opur and Hale Kzlck Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Although there is some recent scepticism about the importance attached to objective
writing in lesson planning, our experience as teachers and teacher educators leads us to
believe that clear objectives are at the heart of a good lesson. Without well-defined
objectives, teachers and students may not be certain about what they want to achieve and
whether or not they have achieved it. However, experts define the term 'objectives' in
different, and often conflicting, ways. What is needed is code for writing objectives
which is both practical and professional.

Background
When we first examined the literature in order to enumerate the qualities of 'good'
objectives, we realised that the terms 'aims', 'goals', 'objectives' and 'learning outcomes'
are all used to define the purpose of a syllabus, a course and a lesson; however, they are
explained in different ways. Richards (2001) uses 'aim' and 'goal' interchangeably to refer
to a change a programme seeks to make as part of a curriculum ideology. He uses
'objectives' to describe the learning outcome and states that these should be consistent
with the curriculum aim. Harmer (2007), on the other hand, defines 'aims' as the
'outcomes' we try to achieve. The aims should be specific, measurable, achievable,
realistic and timed. For him, 'aims' help the 'overall objectives'. Anderson and Krathwohl
(2001) categorise objectives into three groups: 'global objectives' that provide the vision,
'educational objectives' that design a curriculum and 'instructional objectives' that prepare
lesson plans.

Context and action research


Our context is the pre-service ELT teacher education programme. In our presentation,
following Richards (2001) and Anderson and Krathwohl (2001), we use the term
'objective' to refer to the instructional outcomes of a lesson. We analysed the objectives in
our student teachers' lesson plans to identify any problematic aspects. On analysis, we
found four recurring problems:
1 Objectives were too general to be achieved in a lesson and/or were teacher-centred,
for example, 'The teacher will help students be familiar with the reported speech'
(weak), as opposed to 'Students will be able to use time expressions in reported
speech by rewriting an interview' (improved).
2 The activities rather than the learning outcomes were written as objectives, for
example, 'Students will be able to fill in the blanks with the given vocabulary'
(weak), as opposed to 'Students will be able to identify the target vocabulary items
by matching the words with their definition' (improved).
3 The objectives were not easy to observe as they did not specify the condition and/
or the degree, for example, 'Students will be able to pronounce /D/ and /T/ sounds'
(weak), as opposed to 'Students will be able to pronounce the /D/ and /T/ sounds in
the poem The Thunder' (improved).
4 Trainees were often unable to write objectives for skills lessons, for example,
'Students will have practiced listening for specific purpose' (weak), as opposed to
'Students will be able to identify the names, dates and numbers while listening to a
semi-authentic telephone conversation' (improved).
In order to help student teachers write more effective objectives, a code of objective
writing was constructed. This code was shared with a group of student teachers and ELT
experts and was further polished in light of their comments. The code was intended to be
straightforward and easy to use. It has four phases:
1 Determine the focus of the lesson.
2 Identify a specific outcome.
3 Identify the activity used to reach the outcome.
4 Write your objective using the formula When + Who + What + How.
This code was presented to student teachers before their micro-teaching and practicum
tasks, and a model lesson plan with accompanying objectivesreflecting the codewas
also given to clarify the relation between the lesson plan and its objectives.

Conclusion
It would be unrealistic to say that student teachers no longer have any problems in terms
of the objectives they write for their lesson plans. We, as teacher educators, still come
across objectives that are too general, too specific or unfocused. However, we can say
that the formulaic nature of the code has made it easier to communicate and share
feedback about the quality of the objectives provided.
dsalli@metu.edu.tr
khale@metu.edu.tr
References
Anderson, L. W. and D. R. Krathwohl (eds.). 2001. A Taxonomy for Learning Teaching
and Assessing. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Harmer, J. 2007. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson
Longman. Richards, J. C. 2001. Curriculum Development in Language Education.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

3.6 Digital storytelling: the power of personal narrative in initial teacher


training
Angie Quintanilla Espinoza Universidad San Sebastin, Concepcin, Chile
IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG Diana Eastment Scholarship winner

Introduction
Digital storytelling is a creative process in which a story is told using multimedia
elements such as images, audio and/or video. These stories can be used in EFL settings
for different purposes, for example, to assess students, to make difficult content
understandable and to enhance discussions (Robin 2006).
Digital storytelling based on personal narrative contains accounts of significant incidents
in a person's life. This type of story provides students with a significant learning event
that underlies a classroom shared experience. Students are able to express themselves and
get to know each other better at the same time.
Regarding language skills development, Diaz and Ortiz (2010) have argued that while
students create their own stories, there are several processes involved: students improve
their writing skills, they use vocabulary in context and they apply grammatical rules. In
terms of speaking, segmental and suprasegmental aspects can be improved through the
recording, repetition and evaluation of a student's own performance.
When incorporating technology into the classroom, a key consideration is the teacher's
knowledge and beliefs. According to Hughes (2005), if teachers perceive technology to
be a tool in the students' learning process, they will integrate it effectively into their
teaching. Providing opportunities to learn and reflect on the use of technology will help
teachers to develop their knowledge and beliefs about technology and language learning.

The project
The objective of this talk was to present a class project carried out in a computer
technology class as part of an initial teaching training program in EFL. In this project
student teachers used movie-making applications (Photo Story 3 and Movie Maker) to
create a two-minute video with images, music and voice; the story was based on a
personal experience they wanted to share with their classmates. The purpose of this
activity was to enhance technological literacy and digital competence in preservice
teachers and to increase their participation and creativity. In addition, student teachers
were able to use their own experience to reflect on the role of personal narrative as a
student-oriented pedagogical tool.

Students' reflections
In order to elicit students' views on digital storytelling a series of semi-structured
interviews were conducted. After analysis of the data collected, students' main reflections
can be summarised as follows.
Using digital storytelling in class
helps students to develop technological literacy while creating their videos;
helps students to improve writing, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation skills;
is a motivating activity that enhances students' autonomy and creativity;
develops students' higher-order thinking skills; and
creates a positive classroom atmosphere because students get to know each other
better.

Conclusion
Teachers still often find it difficult to integrate technology into the classroom; this is a
problem even for novice teachers who were born in the technological era. The difficulty
is related to the lack of technology-related professional development available to teachers
and trainee teachers. It is important, therefore, to give trainee teachers models of sound
technology use and to enable them to reflect on the role technology plays in the language
classroom, as teachers' beliefs about technology have a deep impact on their pedagogical
practices.
anquinta@hotmail.com

References
Diaz, C. and M. Ortiz. 2010. 'Usos Pedaggicos de los Relatos Digitales en el Proceso de
Enseanza Aprendizaje del Idioma Ingls'. Contextos, Estudios de humanidades y
ciencias sociales. www.umce.cl/recursos-yde/357-n24-04.html.
Hughes, J. 2005. 'The role of teacher knowledge and learning experiences in forming
technology-integrated pedagogy'. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 13/2:
277-302. Robin, B. 2006. 'The educational uses of digital storytelling' in C. Crawford, R.
Carlsen, K.
McFerrin, J. Price, R. Weber and D. A. Willis (eds.). Proceedings of the Society for
Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2006.
Chesapeake, Va.: AACE. www.editlib.org/p/22129.
3.7 'You are only a student teacher, aren't you?'
Afrianto Riau University, Pekanbaru, Indonesia

Introduction
This paper summarises one of the findings of a qualitative investigation into the
transition of Indonesian pre-service English teachers (PSTs), as they progressed from
being university students to novice teachers. The study explored the shift in identity
among this group, especially as they undertook a teaching practicum. Specifically, this
paper aims to answer the research question: What kinds of tensions and challenges do
trainee teachers experience as they go through their transitional process?
A teaching practicum is considered a central and strategic component of a teacher
education course (Farrell 2001). The practicum provides a range of contexts and
experiences and implies a welcoming by colleagues into the teaching community
(Uusimaki 2009). It is, however, a complex process. Studies have shown that many PSTs
experience 'transition shock' during this period, when they feel they are not adequately
prepared for the complexities of problems they face during the practicum. The
participants in this study were ten 21-22-year-old trainee teachers; nine of the ten had no
prior teaching experience in public schools. Two rounds of in-depth interviews with each
PST were conducted, before and after the teaching practicum.

Resistance: 'You are only a student teacher, aren't you?'


It can generally be said that the PSTs undergo some degree of shock and tension during
the practicum before they develop a sense of belonging to a community of teachers. One
of the most apparent factors contributing to this condition is that there is a tendency
among students in their placement schools to not accept the PSTs as 'real' teachers. In
other words, they regard these PSTs as 'only' student teachers, with limited power and
authority. The PSTs are indeed still university students, learning how to become teachers
during this practicum.
This investigation showed that resistance frequently created problems and even conflict
between PSTs and their students. Conflict was not only psychological but also appeared
in the form of physical and personal conflict between PSTs and their school students.
One trainee recalled an episode in which she reminded one of her students to behave
during her class, asking the student to listen to her and to not bother other students.
Shockingly, the student reacted harshly to her advice, saying, 'You are only a student
teacher, aren't you? Why are you acting like a real teacher?'
This situation was exacerbated by the fact that resistance was not shown exclusively by
students; it was also shown by some incumbent teachers. Three participants reported that
they were not happy interacting with some senior teachers at school as the senior teachers
seemed to exclude them from the teachers' collegial community. This state of
professional rejection leaves the PSTs in a vulnerable state of mind, especially in defining
themselves as new teachers. In other words, they experienced a sense of uncertainty and
insecurity in playing the role of a 'teacher' in front of their students.
The problem was more severe when the PSTs had to deal with power relation issues
between themselves and their mentor teachers. The fact that they were 'only' student
teachers made them too insecure to oppose their mentors. They sometimes lacked
courage to express different ideas, or they felt reluctant to challenge their mentor
teachers, no matter how strong they believed their argument to be. This feeling of
reluctance is common in Indonesian culture: people live in a feudalistic society in which
age difference is considered a clear social marker. Even being one day older may position
a person as privileged in social interactions (Syahril 2012).

Conclusion
To conclude, the present study suggests that professional inclusion, a collegial
atmosphere, and professional interaction assist participants in becoming self-assured and
contributing members of their school community. As discussed, the nature of PSTs'
relationships and interactions with colleagues and pupils plays as a major factor in
supporting their professional learning and identity construction.
aburaudha@gmail.com

References
Farrell, T. S. C. 2001. 'English language teacher socialisation during the practicum'.
Prospect 16/1: 49-62.
Syahril, I. 2012. An Indonesian Breakthrough in Field Experience: The Challenge for
Reculturing the Practice. http://iwansyahril.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/new-form-of-field-
experience-challenge.html.
Uusimaki, S. L. M. 2009. Pre-Service Teacher Education and The Development of
Middle School Teacher Identity: An Exploratory Study. Brisbane: Queensland University
of Technology. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/34438/.

3.8 Evaluating the long-term impact of a primary teacher training


course
Gail Ellis British Council, Paris, France and Carol Read Independent, Madrid, Spain
Investigation into the long-term impact and effects of teacher education courses in ELT is
surprisingly rare. This session aimed to report on a study to evaluate the long-term impact
of a 30-hour primary teacher training course which has run annually since 1994 and to
provide pointers for others wishing to design and deliver short intensive courses.

Course participants
The course attracts a diverse range of participants. There are variations in career stage,
job titles, age, teaching experience and context (state/private). There are also some
important commonalities in that 90 per cent are female and share high levels of personal
motivation and professional commitment to learn how to teach children effectively.
Course principles
Data collected from enrolment forms showed a wide range of needs which present a
challenge in terms of course design, content, methodology and delivery. Six key
principles were established at the outset to address this challenge:
1 to establish a shared collective starting point for learning in each session;
2 to provide a cycle of theoretical input, practice and reflection;
3 to enable participants to become co-owners of the learning community and part of
a mutual teaching and learning resource;
4 to develop three key competencies within each session;
5 to develop participants' professional confidence and self-esteem; and
6 to develop a spirit of enquiry and critical awareness.
The methodology used on the course is structured around the 'plan, do, review' learning
cycle in order to combine personal reflection and experimentation and to develop
participants' critical awareness of effective primary practice.

Data collection
Mixed methods were used to capture both large-scale longitudinal evidence and in-depth
qualitative evidence. Data was collected via an online survey from participants who
attended the course from 1-18 years ago, representing 646 total participants and 300 valid
email addresses. We received 125 responses representing 19 per cent of the total 646
recorded participants and 42 per cent of those contacted. In addition to this, 20
participants from previous courses dating back to 1997 attended two semi-structured
focus groups.

Impact of the course


We used a framework adapted from an approach to evaluating training programmes
developed by Kirkpatrick (1996). This allowed the long-term impact to be measured from
five perspectives: relevance, scale, learning, action and wider benefit.
In terms of relevance and scale, two thirds of participants were teachers or teacher
trainers, there was evidence of strong engagement and they were willing to recommend
the course. An average of 25-30 participants attended per year, which is a respectable
scale for an annual one-week course delivered by two trainers.
There was considerable evidence of new learning and understanding, and a high level of
learning around topics participants found most useful. As part of the online survey
participants identified sessions they remembered, and then chose the session they found
most useful and rated themselves on the three key competencies. Sessions which were
more 'enjoyable' and 'active' or identified by participants as part of their needs on
enrolling were better rememberedsee Figure 3.8.1.
Figure 3.8.1: Course sessions remembered: evaluation survey 2013 (n=125)
Informal learning was also identified as a valuable part of the course where participants
learnt with and from each other.
The evidence of action through the incorporation of learning into classroom practice is
self-reported (rather than observed directly), but the weight of evidence is strong. A high
proportion of participants do appear to have subsequently incorporated both general and
specific (technique-based) learning into their everyday classroom practice.
In terms of wider benefit there is self-reported personal benefit and benefit to learners
and colleagues within the teacher's own context. However, fewer participants responded
to the questions on benefits in the wider educational context.

Salient features
The salient features from the five perspectives that seemed to give the course lasting
impact and would be important in replicating the course successfully elsewhere were:
Relevant course content had personal relevance and reflected areas where
participants had stated that they lacked knowledge, skills and confidence.
Balance of theory, practice and reflection was remembered as effective.
Opportunities for formal and informal learning: participants remembered positively
the experience of working with others and taking ownership of their learning in a
relaxed and supportive professional community.
Course delivery reflected good primary practice and provided a model to follow.
Effective monitoring and evaluation involves assessing both short- and long-term impact,
and this requires strategic planning and resource allocation from the outset. In this case,
this wider strategic planning was not in place. However, the unusual longevity and
continuity of the course has provided a unique opportunity to explore its long-term
impact.
gail.ellis@britishcouncil.fr
carol@carolread.com

Reference
Kirkpatrick, D. L. 1996. Evaluating Training Programs: The Four Levels. Oakland,
Calif.: Berrett-Koehler.

3.9 The flipped classroom: scaffolding community online


Susan Barduhn SIT Graduate Institute, Vt., USA, Katrina Baran Al Yamamah
University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Jaime Durham SIT Graduate Institute, Vt., USA

Problematising the online curriculum design


SIT Graduate Institute has been running its highly acclaimed face-to-face MA TESOL
(MAT) programme for 45 years. This year we designed an additional format of this
degree in order to meet the needs of today's working teachers. The new design is a
blended version, in which participants only come to campus twice, for three weeks each,
with the rest of the programme taking place online. This meant 'flipping the classroom' so
that reading and writing activities would take place online, and the precious time together
could focus on interaction. The ideal would have been to start face-to-face, in order to
introduce peer mentoring and to develop the deep connections, trust and community
amongst participants which are the foundation of our other successful programme.
However, because of the varied schedules of our international and expat participants, the
only option was to start online first, with a seven-week module.
Our IATEFL presentation described the process of designing and executing this
'Foundations of Learning and Teaching' module, and brought together the programme
director, one recent SIT graduate who wrote her MA thesis on planning for this module,
the programme coordinator (also an SIT student) who collaborated in the design and
execution of the online activities, and the voices of the participants.

Our approach
The SIT program is a unique programme that relies on students' relationships with each
other to co-construct knowledge. It is a cohort-based, experiential and humanistic
program. This philosophy affects every facet of the courses and the overall programme
design.
Good online learning practices share much with SIT's MAT programme philosophy.
Solid online learning is based on constructivist theory. The learners construct meaning
and they learn through this construction. SIT's MAT programme is based on the
experiential learning cycle and discovery learningboth constructivist learning theories.
Solid online learning builds community so that learners feel supported and engaged, and
so they co-construct knowledge. SIT's MAT programme builds and utilises community to
teach skills like active listening and peer mentoring. In solid online learning practice, the
instructor is the 'guide on the side', not the 'sage on the stage', and in SIT's MAT
programme, the instructor takes on the role of facilitator, guiding but not prescribing.
The key to successful online learning is pre-planning and organisation. Because you can't
see your students' faces to gauge understanding and learning, the planning cycle needs to
anticipate needs and issues, and set everything up in advance with maximum clarity and
organisation.
One important part of the pre-planning cycle, identified by Tina Stavredes (2011), is
procedural scaffolding. This is comprised of orientation, expectation and resource
scaffolding. Orientation scaffolding familiarises students with the course, including a
technical orientation. Expectation scaffolding suggests that policies and procedures need
to be made clear. Resource scaffolding addresses how resources are dealt with. These
three types of scaffolding were fundamental guiding principles in the design of the
'Foundations' course.

Solutions discovered
The 'Foundations' course was designed to create a safe place where trust, connections and
community could be fostered online. In addition to the scaffolding mentioned above, two
key additional principles were adhered to. The first was to have fun with the design and
be visually appealing, so the course was a welcoming and enjoyable place to learn. The
second was to keep the class in the Moodle classroom. Originally we had looked to
outside software sources for activities to use in this course, but as the design developed,
we realised that our learning management system, Moodle, actually had all kinds of tools
for organising the students and for activity creation. By using Moodle as much as
possible to do what we wanted, and by planning to enrol the students in only one Moodle
course at a time, we were able to reduce the technological knowhow necessary for the
students to succeed in this programme.
These design principles, again, meant to foster trust in the technology, have continued to
inform all of the course designs. In fact this 'Foundations' course purposefully acted as a
holistic orientation for the entire programme.

Student feedback
Regular feedback from our first group of participants (they call themselves 'The
Pioneers') has been invaluable in shaping our programme and contributing to its success.
In the words of one student:
I thought I would miss a lot by not being person to person. Now I think I am getting
a whole new and different dimension that is very enriching I am glad for the seven
weeks before the residency as it gives me a chance to figure out how to manage my
time and how to do the technology (Arline Saturdayborn, MAT Pioneer).
susan.barduhn@sit.edu
jaime.durham@sit.edu
katrinabaran@yahoo.com

Reference
Stavredes, T. 2011. Effective Online Teaching, Foundations and Strategies for Student
Success San Francisco, Calif.: John Wiley & Sons.
4 Key topics in ELT for young learners
This chapter addresses some important and somewhat controversial questions in ELT for
young learners. The first topic addressed in this chapter is what is the best age to begin
English language education? This was the topic of the ELT Journal/ IATEFL debate in
2014, which pitted Fiona Copland against Janet Enever. A related research project,
presented by Eva Wilden, sheds further light on this issue. Next, we explore some
important questions related to the usefulness and desirability of teaching of English at
primary level in three different contexts: Gabon, with Hywel Coleman and Yves Roger
Mouanambatsi; Indonesia, with Siti Fitriyah; and India, with Debanjan Chakrabarti.
The next group of papers deal with classroom issues. Zhivka Ilieva explores the use of
the lexical approach with young learners; Vera Cabrera Duarte and Rosemeire Batista
Gimenes de Arajo show how drama can be used effectively with children; and Conchi
Martinez de Tejada presents the traditional Japanese kamishibai technique of
storytelling with pictures. The next two papers report on the progress of Uruguay's Ceibal
en Ingls initiative: Paul Woods provides an analysis of results so far, while Mercedes
Viola discusses the components of a successful team-teaching approach. Finally, we turn
our attention to assessment with Raquel Carlos' paper on the use of e-portfolios with
primary-age children.

4.1 ELT Journal/IATEFL Debate: Primary ELT does more harm than
good
Fiona Copland Aston University, UK and Janet Enever Ume University, Sweden

Fiona Copland, proposing the motion


There are many reasons why this motion should be supported. In this brief discussion, I
will focus in particular on children as language learners, social and economic issues in
learning English, policy and children's well-being.
Many people believe that children should start language learning as early as possible to
take advantage of a seemingly innate ability to learn quickly and without effort. They
point to bilingual children who are able to speak two languages fluently as evidence for
the 'younger is better' approach. However, as Pinter (2011) shows, currently there is no
clear evidence that children benefit from an early start. Most children learning English do
so in a primary school environment, not in a bilingual home. They are taught for an hour
a week with lots of other children, and what they are taught is dictated by a coursebook
rather than by their communicative needs. The progress they can make in these contexts
is minimal, and is nothing that cannot be made up at a later date. Yet, as we know, time
devoted to English teaching takes time away from other subjects, such as numeracy and
literacy, subjects which are crucial to children's educational and social development.
The second point is that there is little evidence that English contributes to economic
and/or social development. Particularly in developing countries, research evidence to date
suggests that teaching English in the state school systems can actually exacerbate the gap
between rich and poor. Lamb (2011), for example, shows that in Indonesia, children
whose parents can afford extra English lessons benefit from English teaching in school,
but those whose parents cannot afford extra lessons fall behind. He argues that children
who receive school English and private English have a 'massive competitive gain' over
children from modest backgrounds who only receive school English.
Third, there is no evidence that teaching English in the state system to children works.
Despite the massive financial and human investment in teaching English to children,
Wedell (2011: 270) reports that 'there are relatively few state school classrooms
anywhere in which children are developing a useable knowledge of English'. He goes on
to say (op. cit.: 288): 'Given the massive scale of the human and financial investment that
continues to be devoted to the teaching of English worldwide, the continued lack of
success cannot be considered acceptable.'
Fourth, there is a huge problem with countries rushing into early language learning
without considering how policy will be implemented practically, on the ground. One of
the most serious of these problems is the lack of teacher training (Copland et al. 2013).
This means that currently children are either being taught by teachers who know how to
teach children but do not know how to speak or teach English, or by teachers who know
how to teach English but do not know how to teach children.
Furthermore, government policies on what to teach are often accompanied by clear
guidelines about how to teach. In many cases, teachers are exhorted to use a
'communicative language teaching' approach. Yet CLT is not always appropriate in large,
under-resourced classes, particularly if teachers have not been trained in the
methodology. CLT also goes against what Jin and Cortazzi (2003) call 'cultures of
education' in many countries: teachers and parents find it hard to accept a methodology in
which children are moving around the class, making a noise.
My last set of points concerns the most important element in the discussion, the children.
In many places children in primary schools do not know why they are learning English.
They are too young to be motivated by instrumental concerns, and the youngest at least
may not be able to imagine themselves as language speakers. It is not fair to children to
tell them that their lives will be improved if they learn English when, in so many cases,
they will not.
It is clearly in the interests of the English speaking world, and the organisations that
promote English, to champion English teaching to young learners. However, it is not in
the interests of the young learners themselves or their teachers. There are educational,
socio-political and policy reasons why teaching English to children does more harm than
good and in the interests of fairness and equality we should heed these.

Janet Enever, opposing the motion


The central issues concerning primary ELT today relate to the many different school
contexts in which primary English is taught, the varied conditions under which it is
taught and the consequently varied outcomes that result. Given this variation, it is
difficult to make such a general evaluative claim as proposed in this motion.
For example, examining the very varied conditions that currently exist around the world,
for instance in Chile, Moscow, China, Colombia, Kosovo and Sweden, where I have
recently observed lessons, we can see the following: classroom numbers range from 12 to
50; teacher expertise varies from little appropriate training to clear evidence of age-
appropriate primary languages teacher education; methodological approaches range from
rather formal to lively, interactive classes; and resources range from almost non-existent
to situations where laptops and tablets are readily available. This rich variety of
classrooms illustrates just how varied conditions for primary English learning currently
are around the world today. It is important to acknowledge the extent to which these
varied conditions will result in a wide range of outcomes and thus, how inappropriate it is
to draw direct comparisons between primary ELT in varying contexts.
I would argue, therefore, that the theme of the debate is actually outdated because, surely,
we have now reached a point where primary ELT is sufficiently embedded in the national
curriculum documents of so many countries that, realistically 'the deed is done'an early
start is here to stay. The question of start age is no longer the issue. We need now to
focus more clearly on fully understanding the necessary conditions for learning. Drawing
on the extensive body of research conducted by Richard Johnstone over many years (see,
for example, Johnstone 2009), it is possible to highlight five key conditions most likely to
contribute to satisfactory conditions for primary ELT learning: teacher quality in terms of
both language competency and age-appropriate teacherly skills; provision of continuing
professional development opportunities for teachers; continuity of learning from class to
class and across school phases; provision of adequate resources; and the amount of
language exposure the child experiences beyond the classroom. Regarding this final
point, we now have extensive evidence of children in some contexts engaging in
computer games in English via the Internet. Exposure to film and TV programmes
available in English, with subtitles only, has also been shown to have a substantial impact
on young children's familiarity with English (Lindgren and Munoz 2013).
Consequently, the findings of an eight-year study conducted in Croatia (Mihaljevi
Djigunovi and Vilke 2000) indicated that the most important variable accounting for the
younger learners' success is the quality of the input and teaching, clearly emphasising the
key role of the teacher for young children particularly.
To conclude, it is unrealistic to expect substantial progress in primary-level English
learning with only one or two language lessons per week and limited access to English
outside school. However, we can expect that an early start will help to make children less
anxious, building their confidence for speaking in English and 'feeling comfortable' in the
language. An early start also provides the opportunity for schools and parents to start
early with developing intercultural awareness, working towards establishing intercultural
communicative competencea skill of increasing importance as migration becomes an
increasingly familiar feature of global mobility today.
f.m.copland@aston.ac.uk
janet.enever@sprak.umu.se

References
Copland, F., S. Garton and A. Burns. 2013. 'Challenges in teaching English to young
learners: global perspectives and local realities'. TESOL Quarterly.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tesq.148/full.
Jin, L. and M. Cortazzi. 2003. 'English language teaching in China: a bridge to the future'
in W. K. Ho and R. Y. L. Wong (eds.). English Language Teaching in East Asia Today:
Changing Policies and Practices. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
Johnstone, R. 2009. 'An early start: what are the key conditions for generalized success?'
in J. Enever, J. Moon and U. Raman (eds.). Young Learner English Language Policy and
Implementation: International Perspectives. Reading: Garnet Education Publishing.
Lamb, M. 2011. 'A 'Matthew Effect' in English language education in a developing
country context' in H. Coleman (ed.). Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and
the English Language. London: The British Council.
Lindgren, E. and C. Munoz. 2013. 'The influence of exposure, parents and linguistic
distance on young European learners' foreign language comprehension'. International
Journal of Multilingualism 10/1: 105-129.
Mihaljevi Djigunovi, J. and M. Vilke. 2000. 'Eight years after: wishful thinking versus
facts of life' in J. Moon and M. Nikolov (eds.). Research into Teaching English to Young
Learners. Pcs , Hungary: University of Pcs Press.
Pinter, A. 2011. Children Learning Second Languages. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wedell, M. 2011. 'More than just "technology": English language teaching initiatives as
complex educational changes' in H. Coleman (ed.). Dreams and Realities: Developing
Countries and the English Language. London: The British Council.

4.2 The earlier the better? Empirical evidence on primary EFL


instruction
Eva Wilden Bielefeld University, Germany
This paper was co-written with Raphaela Porsch, University of Mnster, Germany. In
Germany, EFL instruction now begins in Year 3, and in some states in Year 1. The
introduction of primary EFL instruction has partly been criticised, one argument being
that some children might need more time to develop their German literacy skills first.
This presentation addressed the question of whether a longer EFL learning time in
primary school actually results in higher learning outcomes. After outlining the context of
primary EFL education in the state of North Rhine-Empirical evidence on primary EFL
instruction Westphalia (NRW), we presented the results of an empirical study analysing
the receptive EFL skills of more than 6,500 children after 2 or 3.5 years of EFL education
respectively.

Primary EFL education in a German federal state (NRW)


In NRW children attend primary school for four years. In 2003 primary EFL education
was introduced in Year 3 with two lessons per week; in 2008 it was moved forward to
Year 1. The 2008 curriculum prescribed the usage of written English language from the
start while oral skills remained the main objective of primary EFL education.
Research design
In the project 'Ganz In' more than 6,500 ten year olds were tested on their receptive EFL
competences in 2010 and 2012. The two cohorts differ in that the 2012 group was the
first cohort with 3.5 years of EFL instruction, whereas the 2010 cohort only had 2 years
of EFL education.

Evidence related to the length of EFL education


On average, the children with 3.5 years of primary EFL education showed higher
receptive achievements than those with 2 years of EFL education. Figure 4.2.1 illustrates
the mean differences in the reading and listening tests. Furthermore, the 2012 cohort had
more overachieving children scoring 600 points or more. In contrast, the 2010 cohort had
more underachieving children scoring 400 points or fewer (Wilden et al. 2013).

Figure 4.2.1: Mean differences in the reading and listening tests (cohorts 2010 and 2012)

Evidence related to mono- and multi-lingual children


The data on listening and reading achievements were further analysed to see whether
both mono- and multi-lingual children benefited from the extended learning time.
Differences were made between children growing up in (a) a monolingual family in
German; (b) a multilingual family with German; and (c) a multilingual family without
German. The results indicate that all three groups appear to have benefited from the
extended learning time. A comparison of the two multilingual groups showed that,
regardless of the length of EFL education, the multilingual children with German scored a
little better on the reading test than the multilingual children without German; the results
were reversed when it came to listening comprehension. However, the differences
between the two groups were low and statistically not significant. (See Figures 4.2.2 and
4.2.3.)
Figure 4.2.2: Mean differences in the reading test of mono- and multi-lingual learners
(cohorts 2010 and 2012)

Figure 4.2.3: Mean differences in the listening test of mono- and multi-lingual learners
(cohorts 2010 and 2012)
Regardless of the length of EFL education, the children growing up monolingually with
German demonstrated the highest receptive achievements, even if only some of the
differences to the two multilingual groups were statistically significant and clear. In
addition, after 3.5 years the differences in EFL reading between the three groups were
lower than for listening. Finally, a multilevel regression analysis showed that the
linguistic background of the children did not appear to impact their EFL achievements. In
contrast, other factorsin particular, the children's German reading competenceswere
identified explaining the variance in receptive EFL achievements (Wilden and Porsch
2014).
Conclusion and limitations
The results of this study show that introducing EFL in Year 1 of primary school can lead
to higher receptive skills of the children. Learners growing up multilingually also benefit
from the extended length of learning time. It is especially noteworthy that after 3.5 years
their reading achievements hardly differ from those of monolingual children. Thus, these
results do not support demands for introducing EFL learning at a later time in primary
school. However, individual support seems sensible for children with an age-
inappropriate level of German, the language of schooling.
The findings from this study should, however, be discussed cautiously, for it would be
too hasty to claim 'The earlier, the better!' This study was limited to only one German
federal state and tested high-achieving learners entering the top-tier level of the
multipartite German secondary school system (Gymnasium). Moreover, the tests used are
not linked to any competence model (for example, the CEFR). As a result, no conclusions
can be drawn as to whether the achievements can be considered sufficient regarding 3.5
years of EFL learning.
eva.wilden@uni-bielefeld.de

References
Wilden, E. and R. Porsch. In preparation 2014. 'Die Hrund Leseverstehensleistungen im
Fach Englisch von Kindern am Ende der Grundschulzeit unter besonderer
Bercksichtigung von lebensweltlicher Einund Mehrsprachigkeit' in Ktter, M. and J.
Rymarczyk (eds.). Englischunterricht in der Primarstufe: Neue ForschungenWeitere
Entwicklungen. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
Wilden, E., R. Porsch and M. Ritter. 2013. 'Je frher desto besser? Frhbeginnender
Englischunterricht ab Klasse 1 oder 3 und seine Auswirkungen auf das Hrund
Leseverstehen'. Zeitschrift fr Fremdsprachenforschung 24/2: 171-201.

4.3 The dilemma of English in primary schools: The case of Gabon


Hywel Coleman University of Leeds, UK and Yves Roger Mouanambatsi
Gabon Association of Teachers of English (GATE), Libreville, Gabon

Introduction
We face a dilemma if an education ministry requests support for introducing primary
English yet our judgement suggests that this is inappropriate. Research in primary
schools in Gabon has revealed many problems requiring urgent attention but no apparent
need for English that is not already being met in secondary schools. How should we
respond to the ministry's request?

Gabon: the country, its economy, its languages


Gabon is an oil-rich Francophone country in Central Africa with an estimated population
of 1.6 million. It is highly urbanised (86 per cent of people live in towns and cities) and
wealthy (with a gross national income of $12,500 per person per year). But, despite this
wealth, one third of the population live in poverty. Furthermore, human development is
low. According to the United Nations, Gabon was 106th of 187 countries in human
development terms in 2013 (UNDP 2013).
Gabon is linguistically rich, with 41 African languages, but these languages have no
official status. French is the national language, and English is taught as a foreign
language at the secondary level.

The study
The Strategic Plan for an Emergent Gabon (Government of Gabon 2012) states that 'by
2015 the national languages and English will be introduced in pre-primary and primary
schools.' In 2013 the Government asked the regional British Council office in Senegal to
support its plan to introduce English as a subject in primary schools. Coleman was then
commissioned to research the context and make recommendations. Mouanambatsi,
representing GATE, provided input for the study.

Findings: education
The survey found significant problems in four aspects of primary education: (1)
children's participation; (2) teachers' qualifications; (3) the medium of instruction; and (4)
teaching methodology.
1 In terms of participation, UNESCO data (2012) shows that Gabon has the most
inefficient primary education system in the world. Many children repeat classes,
there is a very wide age range in many classes, many children drop out before
completing their primary education andeven among those who do complete
primary schoolonly a few continue to the secondary level.
2 Some younger primary teachers have a two-year teacher education diploma
(postsecondary school), but most primary teachers have lower qualifications or none
at all. No primary teachers are qualified in English.
3 Education is delivered entirely through French, yet many children do not
understand the language. They therefore experience major communication
difficulties. Some teachers informally use local languages to make themselves
understood.
4 Teaching is abstract and theoretical without attention to meaning. Textbooks come
from France and consequently no links are made to the environment in which
children live. Most class time is spent on choral repetition, children answering
questions from the teacher, individuals going to the front to write something on the
chalk board and stressful 'continuous assessment' tasks. Very little time is spent on
reading.

Findings: economy
When interviewed, employers said developing English skills at the primary level was
unnecessary. What employers need are people who possess basic literacy (in French) and
numeracy, who can work independently and who are able to cooperate with others. In
2012 the World Economic Forum concluded that Gabon's poor primary education is a
major obstacle to development (Schwab 2012).

Conclusion and recommendations


The survey concluded that there is no obvious economic or pedagogic rationale for
introducing English in primary schools. The English already being taught in secondary
schools is enough (though some improvements are needed). Therefore, the survey
recommended that English should not be introduced in primary schools: there is no need
for it, nobody is available to teach it, and there are far more urgent issues that require
attention. It also recommended that even if English is introduced into primary schools it
should be limited to Year 6, treated as a 'taster' just to attract learners to the language and
not be included in the assessment system. At least seven years would be needed to
prepare the necessary human resources.

What happened next?


By April 2014 Gabon had a new Minister of Education. There was still no official
announcement about whether English is going to be taught in primary schools or not.
Meanwhile, the British Council has said that it is 'engaged with Gabon and committed
to supporting them in their educational development ambitions' (Director British
Council Senegal).
The audience in Harrogate were asked how they would have dealt with this dilemma.
There was consensus that advice for Ministries of Education must be principled and
based on objective analysis, even if this means not supporting Ministry plans.
h.coleman@leeds.ac.uk
myre_60@hotmail.com

References
Government of Gabon. 2012. Plan Stratgique Gabon mergent. Libreville.
Schwab, K. 2012. The Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013. Geneva: World
Economic Forum.
United Nations Development Programme. 2013. The Rise of the South: Human Progress
in a Diverse World (Human Development Report 2013). New York: UNDP.
UNESCO. 2012. Opportunities Lost: The Impact of Grade Repetition and Early School
Leaving. Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

4.4 Indonesian English-medium instruction: reversal and controversy


Siti Fitriyah University of Jember, Indonesia

Introduction
In my presentation, I gave a brief history of English-medium instruction (EMI) in
Indonesia and described the controversies behind its reversal. These controversies are as
expressed in the narratives of the expert witnesses of both the supporters and the critics of
EMI in the legal document governing the termination of Indonesian EMI. The data are
originally in Bahasa Indonesia. I translated the extracts presented in this paper into
English only for the readers' benefit.

Indonesian EMI: a brief history


Indonesia is a country characterised by linguistic diversity and complexity. With Bahasa
Indonesia as the national and official language and more than 700 vernacular languages,
language policy and planning has never been a simple issue. Amid this complexity,
Indonesia introduced EMI in 2006 in a stream of public schools known as (pilot)
International Standard Schools (ISSs). One of the aims was to prepare Indonesian young
people to be more competitive globally.
In these schools, a foreign language, predominantly English, was to be used as the
language of instruction for the core subjects. However, in most ISSs, English was not
only used in the classes but also around the schools and thus became the prominent
characteristic of these schools (Coleman 2009). This use of English was considered
excessive. In 2011, a group of parents, teachers and academics proposed a judicial review
of the ISS-enacting Law (no. 20/ 2003) on the basis that it contravened the Indonesian
Constitution of 1945. One of the reasons was that it might endanger Indonesian national
identity with Bahasa Indonesia as the national language (CC 2013). In January 2013, the
Constitutional Court declared the law unconstitutional. The ruling marked the end of the
ISS/EMI era: public schools were no longer permitted to use English except in English
classes and had to revert to the use of Bahasa Indonesia as the language of instruction.

Indonesian EMI: the controversies


The narratives surrounding this history contain controversial statements. Witnesses
against EMI expressed their concerns over its provision. One worry was that the
excessive use of English might jeopardise Indonesian young people's commitment to
Bahasa Indonesia. For example, Chadijah, an Indonesian expert in English teaching and
teacher training, said, 'I once heard a story; a mother was startled when her child said, "I
hate Bahasa", by which s/he meant Bahasa Indonesia I think this kid regretted s/he was
not born British.' (CC 2013: 77).
Another apprehension was that the application of EMI might endanger the Indonesian
people's ideology. Daoed Joesof, a former Minister of Education of Indonesia stated, '
the Indonesian nature of the Indonesians, both as human beings and as citizens, is formed
by Bahasa Indonesia' (CC 2013: 76).
The final worry expressed in the narrative was that the long-term implementation of EMI
might encourage a social divide. Chadijah said, ' in the long run, Bahasa Indonesia,
which is the unifying language of Indonesians, will be the language of the low-class
people, and this will distinguish them from the educated lite [who speak English]' (CC
2013: 74).
On the contrary, witnesses supporting EMI expressed opposing opinions. One of the
constitutional court judges who disagreed with the verdict argued that these ideas were
'exaggerated' and that 'people learn a foreign language not to get rid of Bahasa Indonesia,
but because they need the [foreign] language for a better life' (Sumadi, CC 2013: 200).
Further, Prastowo, a principal of an ISS in western Java, stated that contrary to the
concerns of the critics, the use of English in his school had opened up an opportunity 'to
introduce Bahasa Indonesia and Indonesian culture to the overseas communities' through
sister school projects (CC 2013: 170). Another principal argued that in his school, they
had a programme called 'Local culture goes international', which enabled the children to
introduce Indonesian local culture, such as how to grow rice, to foreigners through
English. These are some statements that characterise the controversial history of EMI in
Indonesia. The differing opinions reflect Shohamy's (2006) argument that language
policy can often lead to battles between language ideology and practice.

Conclusion
The controversy surrounding the Indonesian EMI reversal expressed in the narratives
deal with the desire to protect Indonesia's linguistic heritage, ideology and equality.
These may resonate with what happens in other countries where EMI or other similar
bilingual education schemes are being implemented, including those where policy
reversal is taking place.
masrifafitriyah@gmail.com

References
Coleman, H. 2009. 'Are 'International Standard Schools' really a response to
globalisation?' Paper presented at the International Seminar 'Responding to Global
Education Challenges', Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 19 May 2009.
Constitutional Court (CC). 2013. Putusan 5/PUU-X/2-12. Jakarta: Constitutional Court.
http//www.mahkamahkonstitusi.go.id/putusan/putusan_sidang_5%20PUU%202012-
sisdiknas%20-%20telah%20baca%208%20Januari%202013.pdf.
Shohamy, E. 2006. Language Policy: Hidden Agendas and New Approaches. Abingdon:
Routledge.

4.5 Parental attitudes towards English in state primary schools, Assam,


India
Debanjan Chakrabarti British Council, Kolkata, India
Why are the poorest parents in India voting with their feet, staying away from free state
primary schools and sending their children to fee-paying private, mostly English-medium
instruction (EMI) schools instead? This research attempts to throw light on what parents
think of English in primary schools in the state of Assam in Northeast India, and what
they expect to gain by sending their children to school.

Background: language in primary school


Demand for EMI has historically been huge, and is increasingly being demanded by the
masses, who see it is a language of economic opportunity and social and geographical
mobility. However, enrolment in government primary schools is dwindling. The Annual
Status of Education Report 2012-13 (ASER) predicts that the private school sector will
cater to 50 per cent of all of India's school students by 2018. Private schooling in India is
almost synonymous with EMI. English in education continues to dominate the news in
India and exercise the popular and political imagination. The Times of India, the country's
largest newspaper, splashed a story on page one on India's Republic Day, with the
headline 'States realize English is what people want' (Chhapia 2014). Increasingly, state
and central governments are under pressure from their electorate to provide EMI options
in remote rural areas.

Universalisation of primary education


India has the largest school system in the world, with 135 million children in primary
schools (Grades 1-5). The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Universalisation of Education
Project), with its annual budget of nearly USD 4.5 billion (budgetary allocation in 2012-
13), and in tandem with the Right to Education Act (2009), is credited with achieving
near-universal enrolment. However, state primary schools face two interrelated
challenges. The first is that the dropout rate is high. UNICEF notes that 'one in four
children left school before reaching Grade 5 and almost half before reaching Grade 8 in
2005.' The second is that 'the children who do remain in school are not learning the basics
of literacy and numeracy or the additional skills necessary for their overall development'.
The 2013 ASER report showed 29 per cent of India's primary school children were going
to private schools, up from 18.7 per cent in 2008.

Research in Assam
We carried out an investigation to establish whether there are correlations between
factors such as geography, income, ethnicity, educational background, faith, caste and the
value parents place on education in general and English language in particular. We chose
Assam because the British Council has a project, 'Aim Higher in Assam', where we train
and support a cadre of 471 master trainers who cascade the training to all 37,000 English
teachers in primary schools in Assam.
Assam is also a melting pot of languages, ethnicities and faiths. The People's Linguistic
Survey of India has identified the northeast of India as the region with the highest per-
capita density of languages in the world.

Research design and data collection


The research tools were developed by myself and Philip Bebb, and the data collection
tools and analysis for this paper were written by Mainak Kanjilal; all were from the
British Council India. The data was collected by a team of five researchers from the State
Council for Educational Research and Training, Assam, led by Dr Mizo Provah Bora.
The research questionnaire combined both quantitative and qualitative data gathering
tools. The qualitative section asked parents whether and what kind of sacrifices they had
made for the sake of their children's primary education. We conducted 100 interviews in
five districts of Assam, with 20 interviews per district. An additional seven interviews
were carried out during the testing phase and those data points were also included in the
analysis. The average age of the 107 respondents was 35 years.
The responses
Our results were as follows:
1 Of the interviewed parents, 94 per cent wanted their children to have access to
higher education and saw English language skills as essential for that.
2 Educational spending was high: 69 per cent of the parents spent up to 20 per cent
of their monthly income on primary education, and 13 per cent spent up to 60 per
cent of their income.
3 Regarding satisfaction, 58 per cent of parents felt their child(ren) enjoyed learning
English and 87 per cent were happy with their children's progress in English.
4 Only 50 per cent of parents could help their children with English lessons at home,
and 59 per cent never use English at home.
When asked about the relative importance of English in relation to other subjects for
accessing higher education and jobs, parents put mathematics before English. However,
English got the highest score as the second choice.

Use of research
The research will provide an evidence base for wider policy-level decisions in Assam
vis--vis English at the primary level. The research will trigger more debate within India
about the role of English to access higher education and employment opportunities.
debanjan.chakrabarti@gmail.com

References
Annual Status of Education Report. 2013.
http://img.asercentre.org/docs/Publications/ASER%20Reports/ASER_2013/ASER2013_r
eport%20sections/aser2013fullreportenglish.pdf.
Chhapia, H. 2014, 26 Jan. 'States realize English is what people want'. Times of India.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/States-realize-English-is-what-
peoplewant/articleshow/29374133.cms.
UNICEF India. n.d. The Right to Education: Fact Sheet.
www.unicef.org/india/education_6145.htm.

4.6 Lexical approach with young learners


Zhivka Ilieva Dobrich College, Shumen University, Dobrich, Bulgaria

Introduction
Children easily remember stories and whole books in their native language. They can do
so in English as well. The supporters of the lexical approach claim that language should
be taught in chunks. Why not start from an early age? At this stage children cannot write
down phrases in their vocabulary books, but they can memorise whole sentences from
their favourite book.
Lewis (2008: 50) states that ' the lexical approach encourages the introduction of
powerful patterns as lexical itemsthat is, without analysis of their internal structure
appropriately early in the syllabus.' Stories are part of children's acquisition of their
native language. They can be used to create a natural environment for remembering large
phrases in the foreign language and guarantee the transformation of the input into intake.
Children's books contextualise the foreign language not only through the text but also
through the pictures. Using the book and other visuals we can activate certain phrases
(for example, 'full of ' or 'a pair of ').

Activities using children's books


The book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (1996) is introduced at the end of
three successive classes. During the first two we read a colourful page and the following
black and white pages. Each time we start from the beginning. During the third class we
read the whole book. Two more times we read the whole book and do certain activities,
and then we read occasionally. Reading the whole text or larger excerpts is supported by
Lewis (2000: 181), who says, ' phrases are easier to remember than words; breaking
things into smaller pieces does not necessarily make them simpler.' Using pictures we can
create the following sentences:
In the great green/yellow bottle there was a big/small/pink fly.
At the second stage of this activity we change the places of the constituents in the phrase:
first say what, then where:
There is a blue butterfly on the big mushroom.
There is a frog/ladybird under the big mushroom.
The same pictures are used so that children acquire the phrase both waysthe way it
occurs in the story and the way it most commonly occurs. Using pictures the children
practise the following expressions:
a full of (for example: a bottle full of milk, a box full of chocolates)
a pair of gloves/shoes/scissors/glasses/trousers
Later on the second expression can be expanded by adding colours:
a pair of blue/red socks, jeans
Children remember some of these pictures for life, and the view or the memory of the
picture unlocks the corresponding expression in English. This way we provide
expressions ready to be used in sentences. For example, there may be a complex sentence
with an attributive clause. Although it is too complicated for young learners, they learn it
by heart and the formula stays in their mind to illustrate grammar later on. The children
enjoy practising this complex sentence with pictures:
a crazy/happy young lady/boy/girl (who is) shouting Hooray!

Building a story
The primary school students fill in more slots in the first sentence:
In the adjective room there was a/an adjective noun who loved/hated -ing/noun.
This is the opening sentence of a new story. The story continues:
One sunny/cloudy/foggy day he/she/it (X) went to the X wanted (to buy) a (new)
(pair of) socks/jeans/T-shirt. It was/They were magic. When X put it/them on
This can be done as a whole class activity with fourth-grade students: either the class
discusses and the teacher writes the suggestions on the board, or each student in turn adds
a new sentence to the story.

Conclusions
As a result of our work the children learned the phrases from Goodnight Moon and could
say the words as soon as the teacher turned the page. They also enjoyed working with
books and learned the next one as well.
Using real books in the foreign language classroom helps children to develop a positive
attitude to books and reading and an interest in books in English, and enables them to
build a stock of ready-to-be-used expressions.
In a similar way various sentences from any book can be turned into funny activities.
Young learners practise phrases and reinforce vocabulary. Acquiring such sentences and
having practised the structures with various fillers the children can easily break the
formulae and actively use them later on.
zhivka_ilieva@yahoo.com

References
Brown M. W. 1996. Goodnight Moon. New York: HarperCollins.
Lewis, M. 2000.'Learning in the lexical approach' in M. Lewis (ed.). Teaching
Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical Approach. Hove: Thomson Heinle.
Lewis, M. 2008. Implementing the Lexical Approach: Putting Theory into Practice.
Andover: Heinle, Cengage Learning.

4.7 Motivating learning through drama: focus on young learners


Vera Cabrera Duarte Catholic University of So Paulo, Brazil and
Rosemeire Batista Gimenes de Arajo EMEF Pres. Joo Pinheiro, Brazil
Teaching English to children has gained more relevance in the field of TEFL in public
schools in So Paulo, Brazil, since the government recently made EFL a compulsory
subject. The curriculum guidelines emphasise communicative language teaching
principles with a focus on the use of the target language. However, although the
government has provided classroom materials, teachers still seem to lack the knowhow
about which activities to integrate in their lesson-planning to motivate and engage
students using authentic, meaningful language.
With over 35 students in a class, some of them from underprivileged social backgrounds,
the teachers' main challenge seems to be offering classroom activities linked to learners'
interests and everyday social contexts; such activities include games, songs, storytelling
and dramatisation.
This paper describes an ELT pedagogical proposal resulting from a research project:
'Living Drama in the Classroom'. The project addressed theatre activities and their
pedagogical implications; we offer practical suggestions for ELT, grounded in an
interdisciplinary approach which is theoretically based on three areas of study: TEFL,
educational psychology and drama in education. These areas are intertwined and support
the idea of promoting positive change towards learning. For this paper we will
concentrate on TEFL, a field in which researchers and theorists have endeavoured to
propose ideas on how to facilitate learning through drama.
According to Maley and Duff (1998: 12), drama techniques tend to 'help us to keep all
thirty people active all the time' and promote a special relationship between teacher and
learners in a relaxed atmosphere. Also, Heathfield (2009) points out that drama activities
help generate energy, fun and laughter by involving students' language, bodies, minds
and interpersonal relationships.

The proposal
Theatre activities were implemented in one of the two weekly 45-minute sessions over
one school term in 2013. The participants were 105 students aged 6 to 10, divided into
three different groups. Two professionals, the state school teacher of English and a
teacher educator, were involved. The stages of the project were as follows:

Sensitisation
Also called 'group-strengthening', this included corporal and/or vocal warm-up exercises,
as well as concentration and group interaction activities at the beginning of every session.

Improvisation and practice


This involved practising dialogues from learners' coursebook; this stage empowered the
students by providing the language and fostering interest in learning.

Choice and preparation


With the students, we decided which situation would lead them to create the final story to
be presented at the end of the term. Then, we wrote the sketch, entitled The Fantastic
Circus which was inspired by one of the lessons from the coursebook. Subsequently,
learners performed different characters to decide which would suit them best. Rehearsing
took place in class with our help and was reinforced by a blog where we posted short
videos of rehearsals. The students accessed it at home, and then in class we helped them
by answering any questions. This turned out to be a very effective resource, as it seems to
have helped students to become more autonomous; their performance showed
improvement every week.

Dramatisation
At the end of term, learners performed The Fantastic Circus (Duarte and Gimenes 2013)
three times: at school to friends, to parents, and to EFL teachers at the Brazilian British
Center in So Paulo. The story setting was a circus where ballerinas, magicians, fire-
eaters, clowns, masters of ceremony, and the audience performed their roles. One day, the
circus received the news that it would be shut down so that a shopping centre could be
built in its place. The artists had to dissuade authorities from closing down the circus, as a
circus would be more amusing than a shopping centre.

Evaluation
At the end of the project, students wrote a composition beginning 'When I think of The
Fantastic Circus, I' in which they were asked to comment on their learning and
feelings about the experience. Students' compositions indicated their involvement
throughout the experience: they enjoyed the 'make-believe' element, which may have
been essential in the process. Individually, some learners seemed more at ease taking
risks in using English in different situations. As a group, there was also noticeable
improvement in interpersonal relationships as students became more cooperative towards
one another. What is more, as learners gradually engaged in the process, a positive
change in their attitude towards learning English was observed.
The proposal has been accepted and implemented by the school board, and plans for the
coming term include a talent show in the English language.
veracabrera@uol.com.br
rosegimenes@uol.com.br

References
Duarte, V. C and R. Gimenes. 2013. The Fantastic Circus.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpQWeaiwyd4&list=UUuCUaMtSUyOb3D61SEm0K4Q.
Heathfield, D. 2009. Spontaneous Speaking: Drama activities for confidence and fluency.
Peaslake, UK: Delta.
Maley, A and A. Duff. 1998. Drama Techniques in Language Learning (second edition).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

4.8 Kamishibai: learning on the small stage


Conchi Martinez de Tejada IES Francisco de Orellana, Trujillo, Cceres, Spain
OISE Young Learners 2013 Scholarship winner
'Come gather around me, little ones, your kamishibai man is here again!' (Say 2005:
14)
For many, going from teaching adults to managing children resembles tumbling down a
slippery slope past teens and down through the echoing caverns of young learner (YL)
classes until finally reaching the unchartered depths of very young learners (VYL).
Without the proper training, it can be like falling into a deep pit with no light or sense of
direction, resulting in a debilitating fear of the lively little creatures around you.
However, it is one thing to stand empty-handed before a group of wide-eyed three year
olds, but quite another to do so with a kamishibai theatre in hand. This presentation
explored ways in which kamishibai can help take VYL language production beyond
isolated words while keeping the teacher's fear at bay.

At a glance
Kamishibai (kah-mee-she-bye), or 'paper theatre', originated in Japan in the 1920s as part
of a longer tradition of storytelling with pictures. We all know children love stories, but
in our age of iPods and PlayStations, it's sometimes difficult to catch and keep children's
attention. The 'paper theatre' is just different enough to hold their attention from the first
minute. In the presentation, I discovered everyone there was teaching in a very different
context. The wonder of kamishibai is that it can work for everybody.

Practice makes perfect


I travelled from western Spain to Harrogate with my A3 kamishibai under my arm, just
as I go from class to class, and showed how to use it. It's as simple as placing a small
stage on a table before your audience, opening its doors and letting the magic begin. In
my experience, three-to-five year olds exposed to a story like The Very Hungry
Caterpillar or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? for two 30-minute
kamishibai sessions a week can retell the story within a month. And not only do they tell
the story, but they chunk the language appropriately while mimicking the intonation. By
focusing on the story rather than isolated words, they take their language skills beyond
the single-word parroting that is often typical at this level. A video of one of my classes
that was shown during the presentation can be seen online. You may now be thinking, 'If
it's so easy, how do I get hold of one?' Kamishibais can now be bought virtually
anywhere, but you can make your own from almost anything. You can also get your
students involved, thus generating even more interest in the paper stage. I took ten A4
cardboard stages to Harrogate so that the teachers could try them out. In groups of four
people they had the opportunity to use them first-hand and to see how easy it is to make
and use one. You can find instructions with measurements for cardboard or wooden ones
online, but it is also fun to recycle boxes from the market or old folders gathering dust on
classroom shelves.

A step further
As a follow-up, there are many activities that can enhance the understanding of the story
and recycling of new vocabulary. Circle time activities are the perfect complement to a
beautiful story and can help reinforce ideas, words and feelings presented during story
time. Table 4.8.1 shows some examples of how to take your storytelling even further.
Table 4.8.1: Suggested kamishibai activities

Getting your head around it


The simple fact that kamishibai is different draws the students in, and then the fun seals
the deal. It's portable and can be easily carried from class to class, and once you get the
hang of it, classes will fly by for you almost as fast as it does for them. Welcome to being
a briefcase teacherfun in a box guaranteed.
azulaza@yahoo.es

References
Say, A. 2005. Kamishibai Man. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Learn English with Ken and Karen. http://kenandkaren.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/using-
kamishibai-with-the-story-brown-bear-brown-bear-what-do-you-see/.

4.9 Telepresence teaching in Uruguayan primary schoolsis it


delivering results?
Paul Woods British Council, Montevideo, Uruguay
Jeremy Harmer's blog recently reported, 'under Plan Ceibal, English teaching has taken
an extra leap with the provision of "distance teachers" who teach English remotely, their
faces appearing on big screens at the front of the classroom as they interact with children
in rural schools. The distance teachers may be sitting in Montevideo, Bogota, Buenos
Aires or the Philippines, but for the children there they are there, right in their classrooms'
(2013). I will give a brief outline of the project, report on a survey of classroom teachers
and describe pupils' results on achievement tests.

Outline of project
Plan Ceibal is a Uruguayan project, developed in association with MEC, the Uruguay
Ministry of Education and Culture; ANTEL, the national telecommunications company;
and ANEP, the Board of Public Education; it is located within LATU (Laboratorio
Tecnolgico del Uruguay). The project began in 2007 with the distribution of XO-1
laptops (ceibalitas). In 2009 Uruguay became the first country in the world to have given
one laptop to every primary school student; the millionth laptop was recently distributed.
The project provides wireless internet connections (generally fibre optic), and
videoconferencing equipment is being installed in all state schools. The four-year TCO
(total cost of ownership) is just US$100 p.a. per child; this includes laptops, Internet
costs, administration, fibre optic cabling, robotics, planned VC facilities, a portal and
LMS platform, digital resources for many subjects (not just English) and teacher
orientation sessions.
The British Council-managed Ceibal English project began with a small-scale pilot in
2012 in just 20 schools. By the end of 2013 the project was teaching 1,000 45-minute
remote lessons each week, and by March 2013 the numbers had doubled to 2,000 remote
lessons per week. By March 2015 the plan is to reach 120,000 learners by teaching 4,000
remote lessons per week. Each class has three 45-minute lessons per week. The first is
taught by a remote teacher using VC equipment, and the other two are practice lessons
supervised by the class teacher who has only a limited knowledge of English. There are
detailed scripted lesson plans for all three lessons and weekly coordination sessions in
Spanish between the remote and class teacher. Of the classroom teachers, 90 per cent are
initially at A0 level, but they are improving their own English by following the British
Council's online LearnEnglish Pathways course with support from mentors via Skype,
emails and Facebook groups.

Survey of classroom teachers


A survey of classroom teachers took place in November 2013 which aimed to discover
the opinions of class teachers about the delivery of remote and practice lessons. Out of
942 teachers, 630 respondeda response rate of 67 per cent. Respondents worked with
remote teachers from a wide range of delivery institutions in Uruguay, Argentina, the
Philippines, Mexico and Colombia. Remote teachers were rated highly on a range of
variables including punctuality, rapport, responsiveness and general conduct of the
remote classes. (See Figure 4.9.1.)

Figure 4.9.1: Remote teaching: evaluation of classes


The level of Spanish of the remote teachers was rated 'good' or 'very good' by 86 per cent
of classroom teachers.
Regarding the lesson plans supplied, 99 per cent of classroom teachers made use of them,
though not all followed them closely. Responsibility for correcting pupils was divided
between remote and classroom teachers. (See Figure 4.9.2.)

Figure 4.9.2: Who corrects the pupils?

Achievement testing
Achievement tests were administered in August and November 2013, and the results are
analysed by Plan Ceibal's evaluation team. Groups were controlled for social class, and
children who reported having lessons outside school were excluded from the analysis of
results. Some groups started lessons in March 2013, others in July 2013. Pupils tested
comprised 1253 from Grade 4, 1169 from Grade 5 and 1425 from Grade 6. Social class
and economic background were found to have little impact on the results. (See Figure
4.9.3.)
Figure 4.9.3: Average scores by social background and time of test

Figure 4.9.4: Average scores by grade and time of test


Students following the same course level in higher grades class got marginally better
results. (See Figure 4.9.4.)
According to Claudia Brovetto, Plan Ceibal's Head of English:
The data is consistent and very robust. There are differences between children who
started the programme in March 2013 and July 2013 on both versions of the tests in
all grades and in all social contexts. There are also marked differences in the test
results in July and December, for the groups which began in July. All analyses were
carried out excluding children who claim to study English outside of school. All
differences are statistically significant.
The results show that primary school pupils taught through a team-teaching approach by
a remote teacher who is the 'knower' and a class teacher who acts as a facilitator,
supported by laptops on which pupils can practice what they have learnt in the remote
lessons, are achieving objectively verifiable results.
rphwoods@gmail.com

Reference
Jeremy Harmer's blog. 2013, 23 August. Something Big in UruguayHow Do You
React? http://jeremyharmer.wordpress.com/category/technology-in-education/.

4.10 Successful team-teaching in a blended-learning context: key


ingredients
Mercedes Viola 4D Content English, Montevideo, Uruguay

Introduction
Ceibal en Ingls is an initiative that is being implemented in Uruguay to teach English to
state school children. In this project, English lessons are delivered by via
videoconferencing by a 'remote' qualified English teacher (RT) in conjunction with the
classroom teacher (CT) who is physically present in the classroom but who has little or
no knowledge of English. Each week children have three 45-minute lessons (lessons A, B
and C). Lesson A is taught through videoconferencing by the RT, while lessons B and C
are led in the classroom by the CT.
After the successful implementation of a pilot phase between June and November 2012,
the programme was expanded to 1,000 classes a week in 2013. Now, Ceibal en Ingls is
implemented in almost 2,000 groups of different state schools throughout the country. All
stakeholders involved know there is still a lot to learn and to improve. However, we
know that there are some crucial elements for the success of this project. Team-teaching
is one, and a good use of technology is another.
I have been coordinating a team of 'remote' English teachers (RTs) since the beginning of
the programme's expansion. Based on this experience, I will share some reflections
regarding key ingredients for the success of this team-teaching in a blended-learning
environment.

Essential components of the project


As Sharma explains, ' blended learning means a language course that combines a face-
to-face classroom component with an appropriate use of technology' (2007). Even though
technology is used to deliver the remote class, we could say lessons A have the
characteristics of a face-to-face class (classroom dynamics), while lessons B and C
resemble better the online component since children use the platform under the CT's
supervision. Components that are essential for the project to work properly are as
follows:
1 Connectivity and videoconference facility. A good connection is necessary to be
able to stream good video and sound quality, so fibre optics were installed in the
participating schools. It is very important to know how to operate the
videoconference equipment to better benefit from it. For example, teachers can zoom
in and out with their camera and the school's camera, or they can choose different
layouts for the screen depending on the activity they are doing.
2 Virtual learning environment. Children can practice and do activities during classes
B and C using the platform under the supervision of the CT. The RT can follow their
work there.
3 Coordination between the CT and the RT. RTs are the ones who know about
second language pedagogy and English. CTs know the learners, their contexts and
their learning process. They are the ones in charge of classroom management.
Collaboration between the CT and the RT is necessary, consequently they 'meet'
online to coordinate what to do, and to talk about the different children and how they
are progressing.

Traits of remote teachers


Besides being qualified teachers who know about second language and young learner
pedagogy, RTs should have the following:
1 People skills. They should know how to build relationships of trust and respect.
The capacity for building a good relationship with the CT is crucial since they need
to work together; the RT needs the CT and vice-versa. They complement each other.
2 ICT skills. They use technology all the time for videoconferencing and teaching in
a virtual environment. The more they know about technology the easier it is for them
to create more interesting and better classes.
3 Histrionic skills. RTs are teaching through a screen, and they need to capture the
attention of children. They need to become actors and storytellers; they need to know
how to use the camera, the voice, and the silences.
4 Creativity and flexibility. They need to be able to cope with uncertainty and
change.

Conclusion
Ceibal en Ingls is a very dynamic project, and is both ambitious and challenging. For
this reason it requires open-minded people who are willing to be part of it, who believe in
it. Moreover, an empowering type of leadership is required that fosters initiative,
collaboration and knowledge creation. Knowledge creation is not an isolated task; it is
something that is co-constructed. Opportunities for sharing best practices, discussing
initiatives and learning from one another are encouraged and implemented. This is a truly
collaborative project in which all the stakeholders work together towards a common
goalhelping children to become competent users of English, children who otherwise
would not have the chance to learn English.
mercedesviola@4d.edu.uy

Reference
Sharma, P. 2007, 16 Feb. 'Try a blend that creates a new class of learning'. Guardian
Weekly. www.theguardian.com/education/2007/feb/16/tefl1.
4.11 E-portfolios: engaging young learners with assessment
Raquel Carlos Cultura Inglesa S.A., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This presentation described and discussed core aspects of the e-portfolio assessment
instrument I designed as part of the assessment system for nine-year-old beginners at my
language institute.
My motivation for investigating e-portfolio assessment was to try out an alternative
formative assessment instrument which would provide information on students' progress
and check how far they had mastered what they should have learned in their first term of
their basic general English course.
E-portfolios are a repository of students' work hosted within an online environment. For
my investigation, I chose to use a free website called Little Bird Tales
(www.littlebirdtales.com). One of the important aspects to consider when developing e-
portfolios is to identify students' and teachers' technological needs and access (Ali 2005).
Thus, it is relevant to mention that within my reality, every classroom is equipped with a
connected computer and an interactive whiteboard. Also, most students have access to
connected PCs at home. From my teaching experience, children in my context enjoy
technology-driven activities. Thus, Little Bird Tales seemed suitable for the target group
of learners and teachers. It also seemed practical and intuitive, while allowing for written,
oral and non-verbal student production to be stored.

Sections of the e-portfolio


The e-portfolio is composed of three distinct sections: 'My School Info', 'My Work' and
'My Comments'. These components were designed as PowerPoint slides and uploaded to
a master account of Little Bird Tales. The master account allows me to create one account
per group/teacher involved and teachers are, in turn, allowed to create individual accounts
for their students. All the slides uploaded through the master account are made available
to every student involved.

My School Info
The objective of including this section in the e-portfolio was to engage both learners and
parents in the learning process (McKay 2006), thus, sharing with them the responsibility
for learning.
Also, the concept of assessing through an informal instrument such as an e-portfolio may
be 'surrounded with questioning related to reliability and availability of resources'
(McKay 2006: 161), thus, making content, structure and criteria clear to stakeholders was
an attempt at higher levels of reliability and accountability of the instrument.
Reference material also needed to be easily accessible for teachers, who were
experimenting with e-portfolio assessment for the first time.

My Work
This is the section where students store their work. Teachers encourage students to create
their own content, but they also had nine suggested tasks available. The topics of the
suggested tasks were personal and within the conceptual capacity, interest and experience
of the learners; they were planned so they would be likely to promote and assess
language use which involves interaction and authenticity (McKay 2006). Interaction
comes from the fact that an e-portfolio is naturally built for an audience. While students
work mostly individually to create content, they will have their teachers, classmates and
parents to validate and acknowledge their work. After all, 'portfolios make student work
visible to the community as evidence of teaching and learning' (Stefanakis, 2002: 87).

My Comments
This section which aims at making room for self-reflection and self-assessment, based on
performance objectives previously established. If we want our students to take
responsibility for their own learning, we have to make this clear from the beginning.
Since students are very young, and it was the first time they had experimented with self-
assessment, the activities were meant to foster students' sense of achievement in the
current level in a very simple way.

Preliminary implementation and next steps


The programme was initially implemented in 2013 as a pilot scheme which involved ten
groups. During the first phase of the pilot, teachers reported great student involvement
and enthusiasm in building their e-portfolios. One aspect which was highlighted was that
self-motivated students would encourage their peers to keep working, since they would
always want to share their latest additions to the e-portfolio in class, thus, fostering a
sense of pride and commitment.
Teachers resented not having more time to work on the e-portfolios in class; this shows
that one aspect of teacher development which cannot be overlooked is how to foster
learners' autonomy and develop learner training skills.
Among other positive aspects identified were:
1 the perception of assessment tasks as being part of classroom practice;
2 the development of self-correction skills among students;
3 the use of the e-portfolio as a means of fostering interaction; and
4 the potential for assessing performance and gauging the learning environment.
I shall now move on to phase two of the pilot programme before attempting mass
implementation, in order to further analyse the effectiveness of alternative assessment
through e-portfolios in the young learner classroom. I am convinced that e-portfolio
assessment is likely to encourage the use of English inside and outside the classroom in a
more independent way, through an engaging, interactive, stimulating and meaningful
process. Still, I see careful planning and very well assisted deployment and monitoring
phases as key aspects if it is eventually to be integrated to an institutional assessment
policy.
raquel.carlos@culturainglesa.net
References
Ali, S. Y. 2005. 'An introduction to electronic portfolios in the language classroom'. The
Internet TESL Journal 11/8. http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Ali-Portfolios.html.
McKay, P. 2006. Assessing Young Learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stefanakis, E. H. 2002. Multiple Intelligences and Portfolios: A Window into the
Learner's Mind. Portsmouth, N. H.: Heinemann.
5 Getting creativeinside and outside the classroom
The key word for this chapter is 'creativity'. This chapter takes us from a critical look at
some common ELT 'mantras', through a questioning of lesson planning, to three papers
dealing specifically with creativity, and ultimately to innovative approaches to lesson
delivery using technology. In the first paper of this chapter, Damian Williams urges us
not to 'believe in fairy tales' regarding classroom practice and to beware of 'fads' in ELT.
Steve Brown then challenges the typical approach to lesson planning, arguing instead for
a process of 'preflection', and Rachel Appleby shows how the choice of engaging topics
enhances student motivation. The symposium on creativity for a change, convened by
Alan Maley, presents reasons why teachers should become creative in the classroom and
offers some pointers on how to do so. This is followed by two papers, by Charles
Hadfield and Vicky Saumell, who present practical approaches to creativity.
Technology, of course, opens up many avenues for creativity, and three are presented
here. Anne Fox describes a joint project in which teachers and students in Denmark and
the USA collaborated online; Nina Jeroni shows how memes can be used in the ELT
classroom; and Nicky Hockly provides guidance on the use of mobile technology inside
and outside the classroom.

5.1 Don't believe in fairy tales


Damian Williams Tailor-Made English, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Revisiting ELT 'mantras'


During my workshop I revisited a number of ELT 'mantras'things we learn as
inexperienced teachers to help us towards good practice. I began by asking participants to
discuss the following question together: What advice would you give to a newly qualified
teacher? Answers included 'plan but don't over-plan', 'observe your colleagues', 'use
social networks to connect with other professionals', and mine: 'be aware'. Be aware of
the language, your learners' needs, and developments in methodology. Also, beware of
'fads'.
We then went on to look at some common 'mantras'. Here are four of them, and the
results of our discussion.

1 I need to use CCQs and ICQs to check understanding.


This stems from the idea that we should never ask learners, 'Do you understand?' as it's
not an effective way of checking. Instead, we ask concept-checking questions (CCQs) or
instruction-checking questions (ICQs) in order to test whether learners have understood.
This sometimes leads to some rather odd-sounding questions, such as (real examples):
'Can you cancel a lake?' or to check instructions, 'I want you to answer these questions.
Are you going to answer these questions?'
The point is, there are lots of ways to check understanding, such as eliciting an example,
ordering things on a cline, asking learners to show things or diagrams, etc. While
acronyms such as this can be useful memory tools, it's important to remember they're not
the be-all and end-all.

2 Visual learners need to see things; auditory learners need to hear things.
For many years teachers have been told that learners have different learning styles or
intelligences, and therefore need to be taught in different ways according to their
preferred styles. In mainstream education, some schools even go as far as to print special
cards for learners with a profile of the child's learning styles (Beadle 2011).
While it obviously makes sense that learners are different and learn in different ways, the
theory that, for example, a 'visual' learner learns best by 'seeing' things isn't actually
based on any evidence. Willingham (2005) states 'we can say that the possible effects of
matching instructional modality to a student's modality strength have been extensively
studied and have yielded no positive evidence. If there was an effect of any consequence,
it is extremely likely that we would know it by now.'

3 Grade the task, not the text.


This 'mantra' refers to the idea that we need to use authentic reading material with
learners in order to better prepare them for reading outside the classroom. By grading the
level of difficulty of the task, we can introduce authentic texts to learners at a low level.
The problem with this is that we potentially end up with tasks which carry little or no
useful purpose such as 'Identify the type of text' or 'Count the types of food mentioned',
and it does little to help develop reading strategies. Perhaps the opposite of this is to
provide inauthentic texts written to demonstrate a particular language use. This, however,
carries its own set of problems, not least a lack of authenticity.
In my workshop I proposed a middle way, by studying the text we want to use for
features of organisation, layout, content and style, and then rewriting it with language
appropriate for the level. I demonstrated Extensive Reading Central's online graded text
editor, where you can copy text and it highlights language above the level (www.er-
central.com/ogte/).

4 Correcting all a learner's errors can be demotivating.


This 'mantra' gets used a lot on pre-service training courses, the idea being that if you
correct every error it will damage the learner's confidence or fluency. Personally, I've
never heard learners complain about being corrected too much, but I have heard the
oppositecomplaints about not being corrected enough. However, focused intervention
(as opposed to interruption) can be helpful, i.e. waiting for a learner to finish what they're
saying, then correcting the error quickly and clearly. This way, the learner gets to build
their fluency and long-term structured support through conscious-raising (Ellis 2002).

Conclusion
We're surrounded by 'noise' in modern society. From the moment we wake up, we are
bombarded with things competing for our attention, whether at work, in the street or
online. It's up to us to filter this 'noise' in order to be able to see what's truly there,
whether it's the language we teach, our learners' needs, or the new 'fad' in ELT. The most
important thing is to be aware.
damian@tmenglish.org

References
Beadle, P. 2011. Bad Education. Carmarthen: Crown House Publishing.
Ellis, R. 2002. 'Grammar teachingpractice or consciousness-raising?' in J. C. Richards
and W. A. Renandya (eds.) Methodology in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Willingham, D. 2005. 'Do visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners need visual, auditory,
and kinesthetic instruction?'. AFT, Ask the Cognitive Scientist.
www.aft.org/newspubs/periodicals/ae/summer2005/willingham.cfm.

5.2 Preflection: a realistic approach to lesson preparation


Steve Brown West College Scotland, Clydebank, UK

Introduction
In most TESOL courses, a heavy emphasis is placed on lesson planning and creating a
detailed, prescriptive document that is followed closely to ensure successful teaching and
learning. The aim of this workshop was to suggest that detailed, prescriptive lesson
planning is in fact detrimental to both the language learning process and teacher
development, and to propose an alternative approachpreflectionto develop more
effective language teachers.

The 'formal' lesson plan


Most teachers are familiar with the formal lesson plan from their experience on TESOL
courses or staff observations. It usually includes such detail as overall aims, a detailed
procedure with aims for each stage, and a section that times each activity down to the last
minute. The supposed benefits of such a plan are that it gives the teacher a sense of
direction and makes it easier to focus on specific aims, as well as being a useful
document for the teacher to refer to throughout the lesson.

Why don't experienced teachers plan like this?


Workshop discussions revealed that experienced teachers tend not to write such detailed
lesson plans. It is easy to suggest practical reasons for this: lack of time, and perhaps less
need to articulate the processes of a detailed lesson plan. But there are other reasons why
detailed lessons plans are not the most effective way of preparing for lessons.
Producing a plan beforehand can make the teacher complacent during the lesson; it
creates a misconception that all the teacher needs to do is follow the plan and the lesson
will inevitably be a success (workshop participants agreed that this is not necessarily
true). Furthermore, a detailed plan, written by the teacher, reduces opportunities for
learner input and limits the scope of the lesson. Most importantly, the practice of writing
detailed lesson plans with preconceived aims is based on the premise that language
learning is linear, when it has long been established that this is not the case (Larsen-
Freeman 1997). In fact, language learning is a very disjointed and disorganised process,
with each learner acquiring different language at different times, forgetting it again while
they acquire something else, and then re-learning it later (Nunan 2001).
Teaching a specific language item in one lesson, expecting all the students to acquire it,
and then moving on to another item in the next lesson, goes against widely accepted
principles of language acquisition. And yet this is exactly what trainee teachers are
expected to do by writing detailed lesson plans with pre-determined aims and rigid
staging. I suggested that most experienced teachers eventually realise that this is not the
most effective way to plan, and employ a more constructive approach to lesson
preparation. But this realisation is reached in spite of, rather than because of, the way
they were trained.

What's the alternative?


Rather than trying to systematise language, teachers need to plan lessons that
acknowledge the 'inherently chaotic and idiosyncratic nature of language learning'
(Thornbury 2014). Teachers need to focus less on planning the whole thing in advance,
and more on going through the necessary thought processes to be able to react effectively
during a lesson. This is what is meant by preflectioncareful and considered thought
about an activity before it happens. Preflection involves selecting tasks that are
appropriate to learner needs and identifying real-world tasks that all learners will be able
to achieve. In the completion of these tasks, a range of language learning opportunities
may arise. Rather than pre-selecting specific items to use as a lesson aim, teachers need
to identify what learning opportunities may arise, and consider how they might be able to
exploit these opportunities. Ultimately, the hard work should take place during the
lesson, not before it.
Preflection takes the focus away from writing lesson plans and encourages teachers to be
ready to react to the needs of individual learners as needs become apparent during the
lesson.

Conclusion
Discussion stages revealed that experienced teachers feel they already engage in
preflection, but there were some who felt that inexperienced teachers would be unable to
do this. My response was that if new teachers were shown how to plan in this way from
the start, rather than relying on a procedure that is at odds with language acquisition
theory, they may be able to become effective teachers more quickly. Teacher training
courses need to stop requiring detailed lesson plans with pre-selected aims, and
encourage other strategies to make trainee teachers more reactive to their learners' needs.
stevebrown70@yahoo.co.uk

References
Larsen-Freeman, D. 1997. 'Chaos/complexity science and second language acquisition'.
Applied Linguistics 18/2: 141-65.
Nunan, D. 2001, 'Teaching grammar in context' in C. Candlin and N. Mercer (eds.).
English Language Teaching in Its Social Context: A Reader. London: Routledge.
Thornbury, S. 2014, Who Ordered the McNuggets? www.eltjam.com/who-ordered-the-
mcnuggets/.

5.3 Adult learners: Helping them clear the next hurdle


Rachel Appleby Oxford University Press/ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary
Language learning, for many, is characterised by starting, stopping and restarting again:
we often take a non-planned break from learning, maybe due to time constraints, or for
other reasons. Students might complain that 'doing grammar is boring', or 'I can learn
long lists of words, but I still can't use them'; or they feel disappointed they've not yet
reached native-speaker level, a goal which mostly isn't very helpful. Often, however,
learners simply reach a point where progress is no longer visible: they find themselves
facing another hurdle, and it becomes increasingly difficult to move ahead.
This session looked at the five key areas teachers need to focus on in order to help
students develop their language: ensuring that topics are engaging; focusing on chunks
and phrases; promoting plenty of safe and free practice; providing relevant language
students can relate to; and including the means for evaluation, whether by the teacher,
peers or oneself.
To illustrate the 'hurdle', I used an example from Joshua Foer, who talks about the 'OK
plateau'that point you reach when you say you're OK with how good you are, and you
stop improving. He claims that practice does not make perfect: we need to find the small
areas which need developing, use a strategy to improve each one, and then ensure
immediate feedback (Foer 2011). Why shouldn't we be able to do this in the language
classroom? Simply providing speaking practice isn't enough for students to really
develop; we need to home in on details, use effective practice strategies and include
feedback. Zoltn Drnyei has recently been researching 'vision' and states how important
it is for learners to have a clear sense of direction, including both short- and long-term
aims (Drnyei 2013). This implies a more realistic objective than reaching native-speaker
level, and makes it easier to demonstrate progress. Research from York University, UK,
found that social participation in the adult language class is a driving force for sustaining
motivation (Ferrari 2013), not forgetting that adult learners bring a wealth of experience
to class which they are usually only too keen to share! This session set out to illustrate
how we can address these issues, referring to materials from the recently published third
edition of OUP's International Express (2014).
Advertising was the first topic, one which can engage students from a range of access
points. A short text on multi-sensory adverts led to focusing on collocations such as
'advertising slogan', 'product launch' and 'brand awareness', with exercises to demonstrate
ways of building on what students know already. Plenty of controlled and freer practice
tasks showed how students can use the target language in meaningful contexts.
Evaluation here was partly self-evident, through discussion activities with a 'physical'
component (e.g. turning over cards, ticking off collocations), thus addressing Joshua
Foer's idea of immediate feedback.
A phone-in programme (audio text) on how our lives might change in the future provided
the context for the next section, shifting from upper to pre-intermediate. Discussion was
prompted through pictures and elicited ideas about e-books, online learning, smart-phone
payment, and so-on, with 'will' and conditionals as the target language. However,
especially important here were the exercises and activities which enabled students to
focus on communicative aims, not simply grammar, in exchanging experiences, ideas and
opinions, and so highlighting Ferrari's focus on social participation. Having the chance to
engage in real-life tasks is also necessary for making that leap from inside to outside the
classroom in experimenting with new language.
Continuing with the topic of books and e-books, participants were introduced, on video,
to an impressive bookshop housed in an old church in Maastricht, Holland. The aim here
was to provide plenty of lead-in to the video beforehand, through questions and
discussions, as well as targeted vocabulary work, so that by the time students watch the
clip, they are comfortable, and understand almost everything. This sort of 'success' in
itself promotes confidence and can be further enhanced by allowing students to re-watch
the clip, with or without the subtitles. Follow-up tasks provide students with opportunities
to incorporate the language into their own linguistic base.
Thus, participants were shown how we can draw on adult learners' experiences through
engaging topics, build on their language knowledge, provide them with opportunities to
try out new language, and also involve them in immediate feedback, by which we can
demonstrate progress. If we can do this, then I'm confident our students will be able to
clear the next hurdle with ease!
rachelappleby@mail.datanet.hu

References
Drnyei, Z. 2013. 'Motivation and the vision of knowing a second language'. Paper
presented at the IATEFL.hu conference, Budapest, Hungary, 4-6 October 2013.
Ferrari, L. 2013. 'The motivation of adult foreign language learners on an Italian
beginners' course: An exploratory, longitudinal study'.
http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/4073/1/L_Ferrari_PhD_2013.pdf.
Foer, J. 2011. 'Conquering the OK plateau'. http://joshuafoer.com/conquering-the-ok-
plateau.

5.4 Symposium on creativity for a change


Convenor: Alan Maley Freelance, UK, with Chaz Pugliese Freelance, Paris, France,
Hanna Kryszewska Pilgrims, Sopot, Poland, Mark Almond Christ Church University,
Canterbury, UK, Chris Lima, University of Leicester, UK and Brian Tomlinson
Anaheim University, Anaheim, Calif., USA.
This session served to launch the foundation of the 'C' Group, a group of professionals
aiming to promote a greater degree of creativity in our fieldsee
http://thecreativitygroup.weebly.com. Creativity is at the heart of learningbut rarely at
the heart of institutional education. Instead, we seem to work increasingly in a culture of
control, where teacher initiative is minimised in favour of pre-packaged learning
delivered and assessed in ever more regulated programmes. In reality, however, teachers
are faced with unpredictability at every turn. Rather than viewing this as a threat, we
advocate seeing it as an opportunity.
What then is creativity? These are some of the parameters: newness/originality;
immediacy; wonder (the 'Aaah!' factor); curiosity/play; inspiration; finding/seeing
connections; unpredictability; relevance; 'flow'; and constraints.
Why should we be bothered with creativity? There are several reasons. First, humans are
hard-wired for creativitywe cannot help being creative; second, creativity has survival
value (physical, psychological, spiritual, professional); third, creativity stimulates and
motivates; and fourth, language is inherently creative anyway.
How can we facilitate creativity? Some ideas are as follows: play around, experiment;
leave space for chaos/randomness; try new ways of doing old things; use
heuristics/analogy to provoke new ideas; allow time and silence to work; find unusual
combinations; draw on other domains for inspiration (Nachmanovitch 1990); make sure
it's relevant; don't forget effort, working within constraints; and don't forget pleasure and
delight!
Symposium presenters focused on specific areas for the exercise of creativity.

Getting our students in flow: the creative teacher's ultimate challenge


Chaz Pugliese: There's more to creativity than just thinking outside the box. There
seems to be consensus that rather than just a single trait, creativity is best thought of as a
cluster of skills used to produce an idea that is novel and culturally appropriate or valued.
Creativity is also a decision we take (Sternberg 1999); wanting to be more creative is the
main drive; the rest is up to hard work.
There are a few reasons why teachers should try to exercise creativity. Students expect
their teachers to be original; a creative teacher will always manage to surprise his/her
students; and surprise in the classroom is good. Without creativity, we wouldn't be able to
cater for the great diversity of our classrooms: mixed levels, mixed intelligences, mixed
motivation, and so on. Without creativity, we wouldn't be able to inject new life into the
coursebook, either. Inevitably, we would get stuck in a rut and lose our motivation to
teach.
Creativity researchers tell us that creativity is not a gift bestowed upon a select few. Just
like intelligence, creativity is not a fixed, unitary trait, is not genetic and, if welcomed,
can be developed. Some ideas to get you going are as follows:
1 Cherish the company of creative people around you.
2 Seize the moment; always keep a notepad and a pencil ready. If there is a time of
the day that seems to be conducive to better thinking, try to stick to it.
3 Don't be disappointed if what had seemed a great insight doesn't lead to much. Put
it on the back burner; you'll come back to it later. Sometimes an idea needs a good
incubation period.
4 Take baby steps. You're not out there to blaze new trails or revolutionise the ELT
world. Just keep telling yourself that every little bit helps.
5 Value feedback, but believe in what you do and persevere.
6 Take sensible risks; remember that learners like to be surprised, but they don't like
to be shocked!
In terms of creativity training, two strategies are extremely helpful: simplicity and
playfulness. Keeping things simple in the classroom implies that our teaching focuses on
the learner, rather than on the materials that need to be 'covered'. Most importantly, to
teach more simply is to teach more purposefully and with a minimum of distraction. An
ability to play is the capacity to have serious, purposeful fun. This is seen by many
creativity researchers as an important step in the creative process.
A word of caution is in order. Human beings have to deal with all sorts of fears that may
keep us from being creative. Remind yourself that there is no such thing as right or
wrong, and that failure is sometimes more useful than success. Trust the process, find
your pace and enjoy the ride.

Why do we still need creativity in a language class?


Hanna Kryszewska: Fine arts (FA) play an important role in promoting creativity in the
language class. Unfortunately, like many trends in ELT, using FA comes in and out of
fashion, which should not be the case. FA received prominence and became rooted in a
pedagogical framework in Project Zero, an educational research group at Harvard started
in 1967, aiming at researching learning processes. In 1972-2000, when Gardner and
Perkins co-directed Project Zero, teaching through FA was recognised along with
teaching for understanding, performances of understanding, and multiple intelligences.
This way of thinking about education was a result of investigations into the nature of
intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, ethics and other essential aspects of
human learning. It is also in tune with the ideas of John Debes (1968), the co-founder of
the International Visual Literacy Association. He promoted the development of visual
literacy in learners by helping them to comprehend images and facilitated their cognitive
development by using images. Recent ideas about education (e.g. Five Minds for the
Future, Gardner 2006) revive the importance of learning about fine arts, creativity and
understanding in the learning process.
Using FA in the ELT classroom can serve many purposes. Firstly, beautiful paintings
enrich the visual input and are in contrast to the usually poor artwork in coursebooks.
They can be used like any other visual material, but as learners commune with works of
art while carrying out language activities their aesthetic tastes are also shaped. Secondly,
learners interpret works of art in their own way, which promotes creative thinking and
understanding. Thirdly, learners can research the images they are interested in, and in
doing so, they engage in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). Finally, the
learners can become creative themselves: inspired by works of art, they can create their
own, or they can write poems or stories.
Putting the human centre-stage
Mark Almond: I am working on the premise that teaching should be regarded as an art
form that only succeeds when it connects with its 'audience' on a personal, human level,
where it engages the senses and stirs and challenges the emotions and one's thinking. One
key reason for pursuing this is teachers' increasing dependency on classroom technology.
Although much of it these days is incredibly innovative and useful, I am arguing that our
over-reliance on it can detract from the more meaningful, spontaneous and richer
communication that should be taking place between the people in the room.
Learning and teaching experiences should be three-dimensional, so I am suggesting that
there should be much more emphasis in teacher training programmes on developing our
interpersonal and facilitative skills to deepen our rapport with learners and react and
respond to what is happening in a lesson as it unfolds. It is this improvised management
of a lesson that is so crucial for real learning to take place, but which is so often neglected
in our training work, probably because it is deemed unteachable.
I believe that teaching is performance art and that much can be transposed from theatre
craft to the classroom. In my article in The Teacher Trainer (Almond 2013), I outline the
importance and application in training scenarios of certain dramaturgical devices that can
achieve the objectives set out above. These include devices that concentrate on areas such
as a teacher's non-verbal behaviours (posture, face, gesture); creative use of voice and
space; eye contact; the importance of being energised, enthusiastic and fresh; the use of
humour and mime/pantomime; incorporating an element of surprise into a lesson; and
having explosive beginnings and clear endings. There are, however, others, a little more
abstract, that might be viewed as being more unteachable: improvisation skills and being
prepared for the unpredictable; developing a teacher's presence; using silence to positive
effect; being in the moment and finely tuning our own listening skills and the need to slip
in and out of 'characters'. It is these vital skills that every teacher needs that enable us to
re-focus our lessons so they are more human and less IT-centred.

Creative reading in teacher development


Chris Lima: This talk focused on ways of integrating the reading of literature in English
language teacher education in order to give ELT professionals the opportunity to
participate in discussions of relevant issues, engage with different points of view, and
develop their own language skills. The relationships between language teachers and
literature have been historically complex (see Hall 2005), as the approaches we adopt to
the reading literature in the language classroom seem to be influenced by our own
experiences as readers, the theoretical principles that inform our understanding of the role
of literature in education, our teaching objectives, and the institutional contexts where we
operate.
After brief theoretical considerations on reading as a dialogical process and an overview
of reading as a communal, shared activity, I presented the results of a study conducted on
the interactions in an online reading group for English language teachers and TESOL
students worldwide. Special emphasis was given to a discussion of how reading literature
has led to the development of creative writing among group members. Research findings
suggest that fictional, literary accounts, if used mindfully, provide a 'safe ground' for the
exploration of teaching/learning concepts and teachers' beliefs and experiences. The
findings also suggest that reading groups in teacher education programmes can serve as
springboards for language development, creative writing, intercultural communication,
and professional involvement.
At the end of the symposium, participants asked further questions about the online
reading group and were directed to the Group website at
http://eltreadinggroup.weebly.com/

Creative use of the coursebook


Brian Tomlinson: Language use is nearly always creative. Therefore, language learning
needs to be creative too. Unfortunately, language learning coursebooks are not typically
creative; many are predictable, routine and monotonous. In addition, they do not typically
encourage learners to be creative; instead they encourage conformity, safety and
simplicity. There are many reasons for this: a creative coursebook would not achieve face
validity and therefore would not sell; coursebooks are designed to avoid errors, not create
them; coursebooks need to be serious rather than humorous; coursebooks encourage the
closed mode rather than the open mode; and coursebooks condition learners to participate
in adult-like work rather than childlike play.
However, even in the most restrictive contexts, the teacher can use the coursebook
creatively by subtracting or modifying closed and monotonous activities, and by
replacing or modifying these activities with others which encourage personal response,
language discovery, authentic communication, the taking of risks, and a more open mode.
Examples of additions include lead-in texts which engage the learners in relation to the
topic in the core text, readiness activities which activate the learners' minds in relation to
the main topic, discovery activities which get learners to find things out for themselves
about a salient linguistic feature, and activities developed by the learners for other
learners to do. Examples of modifications include the teacher acting out a text, the
students acting out a text from the teacher's reading of it, the teacher performing bizarre
stories using the language of drills, the students performing dialogues in character rather
than just in role, and the students finding ways in which wrong answers could become
right.

Conclusion
Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
yelamoo@yahoo.co.uk

References
Almond, M. 2013. 'Is language teaching a performance art?' The Teacher Trainer 21/1: 2.
Debes, J. 1968. 'Some foundations of visual literacy'. Audio Visual Instruction 13: 961-4.
Gardner, H. 2006. Five Minds for the Future. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Business
School Publishing.
Hall, G., 2005. Literature in Language Education. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nachmanovitch, S. 1990. Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. New York:
Tarcher/Putnam. Sternberg, R. (ed.). 1999. The Handbook of Creativity. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.

5.5 Creativity in the language classroom


Charles Hadfield University of Exeter, UK
This workshop consisted of a discussion of the nature of creativity and reasons for using
it in the language classroom, followed by a series of 11 creative exercises based on a
variety of prompts: grammatical structures, lexical sets, and exemplar poems. These
prompts were activated by combining them with randomly selected word cards.
Reasons for using creativity in classroom teaching were first discussed: creativity is
important because it increases motivation, empowers learners, can help create self-
esteem, results in a tangible 'product', helps create a sense of excitement, helps the group
to 'bond', and helps construct a L2 identity and class community. Perhaps most important
of all, it brings a bit of magic into the classroom.
A very brief overview of creativity theories from Heraclitus onwards, including those of
Boden, Webster, van Oech, and other recent theorists, ended with mention of Koestler's
The Act of Creation (1964), in which he puts forward the idea of 'bisociative thinking'. A
creative spark occurs when two previously unrelated facts or concepts are brought
together, creating a novel situation or idea. In our case, in the language classroom, this
will be a new combination of words. Although it is 50 years old now, I still regard
Koestler's thinking on this as the clearest and most fruitful ingredient in my own
approach to teaching creativity, or teaching creatively.
This introduction was followed by 11 examples of practical classroom exercises moving
from open or 'pure' creativity, through five successive layers of increasing constraint:
pure creativity, genre writing, teaching grammar, teaching vocabulary, and creativity for
beginners. At first sight, using creativity approaches with beginners may seem to be the
least likely to prove successful, but in fact in many ways it is much the most successful of
all. Each tiny step for a beginner is, proportionally, a huge leap: helping learner
motivation, self-esteem, and providing opportunity for repetition and reinforcement. The
activities provided help with three key questions:
1 What can I write? Help is provided through creative gap activities (providing
unusual associations), imaginative stimulus (using music, pictures, objects),
brainstorming (collecting ideas) and 'making the familiar strange' (looking at
everyday objects in a new way).
2 Who am I writing to? Help is provided through interactive activities which provide
an audience.
3 How can I write? Help is provided through using patterns, frameworks, and
formulae for poems and short stories.
Four of the exercises (three based on poemsStevens's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a
Blackbird, Williams's This is Just To Say, Holub's A Boy's Headand one on my own,
Soap Opera) were practised by the participants in periodic short buzz groups, and the
results then shared in pairs or small groups. In each case an example text, an example of
'real' language, was shown/read, then the underlying structure/grammatical framework
revealed. Next, participants selected at random a word or words from a list, and
incorporated these into a piece of their own invention.
The other seven exercises: Metamorphosis, Past Regrets, This Is the House that Jack
Built, Recipes for Success, Preposition Poem, Rhyme Sets and Word Pictures, were
'talked through' and demonstrated by me. These involved making the familiar strange
(Metamorphosis and Recipes for Success), pattern poems (This is the House, Past
Regrets), using pictures (Word Pictures and Preposition Poems), and providing rhyme
and pattern (Rhyme Sets).
Following these practical classroom teaching exercises, brief mention was made of my
belief that 'creativity' is an important ingredient in many other areas of our work, such as
in teacher training, in academic study at undergraduate and postgraduate level, in ESP
situations and of course in test preparation classes (e.g. IELTS) where the periodic
introduction of a 'creative' look at the matter in hand can help learners/ students, for all of
the reasons given above in paragraph two, and more.
Finally, the audience was set some 'homework': they were encouraged to work on one of
the exercises, and bring a short piece of prose or a poem to contribute to the Thursday
evening Open Mic session 'World of Words'.
The PowerPoint slides, a total of 53, are available to participants from me at the email
address below; a reference list is included for those who wish to investigate creativity
theory further.
C.R.Hadfield@exeter.ac.uk

Reference
Koestler, A. 1964. The Act of Creation. London: Hutchinson.

5.6 Ways of promoting creativity in the classroom


Vicky Saumell Instituto San Francisco de Asis, Buenos Aires, Argentina
As Einstein once said, 'Creativity is intelligence having fun'. As such, I think creativity
should be an important aspect of teaching and learning. However, it depends on us that
creativity finds a place in our classrooms. Creativity has multiple interpretations and can
be looked at from different perspectives: creative teachers or creative students? We must
understand that one does not imply the other. Creative teachers can design creative tasks
but not necessarily promote and develop creativity in their students. This article explores
the latter.
Some perceived barriers to creativity are routine, close-ended tasks, fear of being wrong
or making mistakes, tight rules and the perception that fun is not conducive to learning.
So varying what we do in the classroom, going for open-ended tasks, creating a safe
environment for risk taking, having flexible rules according to aims and allowing for
experimentation are some ways of creating an atmosphere where creativity can arise
more easily.

Promoting creativity
Although my teaching background is mostly with teenagers, the ideas in this article can
be used with all age groups. In my teaching practice, I have experimented with different
ways of bringing my students' creativity to life. I have found different ways of
stimulating creativity and these are some practical ideas that have worked for me.

Allow for open ended tasks so that students have room for choice.
Choice is a natural partner of creativity. If you limit your students' work by providing
stiff guidelines, it will be harder for creativity to arise. Open-ended tasks in general and
providing choices within tasks can deeply influence creativity from the very beginning.

Allow them to be exposed to different uses of language.


Coursebooks are generally filled with narrative and informative texts. Explore different
genres and creative expressions. What about shape poems, haikus, classics with
alternative endings, literal videos? You can then ask your students to try writing their
own. Here are some suggestions:
Word Whirls and other shape poems collected by John Foster is a delightful
collection of shape poems that can show students an alternative way of writing
poetry.
Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes by Michael Rosen is a collection of well-known
tales with alternative endings.
Wicked World! by Benjamin Zephaniah is a collection of poems on very interesting
topics. You can also find videos of Benjamin Zephaniah himself reciting the poems.
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton is a
fantastic collection of poems aligned with the film director's wacky style. There are
also videos extending the stories in his poems.
Literal Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer is an example of alternative
narrative in modern times. You can find it at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVZNif6sd2s

Allow them to express who they are in different ways.


Find new ways of doing the getting-to-know-you kind of activities. Let them talk about
or show their interests and talents. For example, you can use Wordle to have your
students create a word art poster about themselves and then use it in a variety of ways; for
examples, see http://isfa.wikispaces.com/2010+Activities. Another option is using
Glogster for students to create interactive posters about themselves; see
http://isfa.wikispaces.com/Getting+to+know+each+other+2012.
Allow them to become somebody else.
Provide alternatives through creative writing, drama, digital storytelling. For example,
you can ask them to research a time and place of their choice and then write a diary entry
about a typical day in their life pretending they are somebody from that period. You will
be amazed at who they choose to be: a samurai, a Native American, a Jew in Nazi
Germany, a hippie, a Beatlemaniac, a 9/11 witness!

Allow them to explore literature in different ways.


Let them choose how to respond to a reading. Promote new ways of doing book reports.
For example, when we read an abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, I
suggested a list of possible options including making a video, writing character diaries,
comparing different versions, doing character analysis, creating the stage setting and
costume design, acting out a scene, among others. Here are some of my students'
productions: http://isfa.wikispaces.com/A+Midsummer+Night%C2%B4s+Dream.

Conclusion
Promoting creativity in the classroom calls for an open-minded teacher. Think of
different ways of doing the things you usually do. Be open to suggestions from your own
students and guide them as to how they can achieve what they want to do. You will
discover your students are a rich source of creative power that they can unleash under
your mindful guidance.
vicky.s@umell.com.ar

References
Burton, T. 1997. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories. New York:
Harper Entertainment.
Foster, J. (comp.). 1998. Word Whirls and Other Shape Poems. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Zephaniah, B. 2000. Wicked World! London: Puffin.

5.7 Breaking down the classroom walls: exploiting audience to increase


motivation
Anne Fox Bryd Muren, Aarhus, Denmark
'Willingness to communicate' (MacIntyre et al. 1998) is higher when communicating
with third parties in authentic contexts, whether national or global. This article describes
a scalable framework used to involve contacts outside the classroom and to increase
authentic communication using an external audience of individual adults or partner
classes. Digital tools make it much easier to organise authentic activities involving third
parties but many teachers are unaware of the options available, the benefits to student
motivation or assume that these types of connections are complex and time-consuming to
set up. The emphasis here is on the soft skills necessary for success rather than on the
digital tools used.
Setting up and undertaking global collaborations using the five-step process shown in
Figure 5.7.1 ensures that trust is built between the distant collaborators. The chances of
success are increased by the following:
1 Activity preparation
2 Trust building between teachers
3 Trust building between learners
4 Clarifying goals at each end
5 Identifying and addressing potential challenges
The process gives an opportunity for differentiated activities within a common project
and shows important milestones in any digital communication project at the start, mid-
point and end.

Figure 5.7.1: The five-step process

An example of the five-step process


A recent example was a joint project facilitated by the author between two school classes
(third grade in the US and sixth grade in Denmark) on the topic of shared and unique
celebrations such as Christmas (shared) and Thanksgiving (unique to the US).

1 Preparation
This refers to finding your external partner and finding out his or her needs. The teachers
need to discuss practical matters such as learning outcomes, time available and
technology to use for communication purposes. In our case, the ages were different as we
worked with native speaking third-grade and non-native sixth-grade English learners. For
the US class, critical thinking skills, fluent communication and intercultural awareness
were key, while in Denmark it was language acquisition and use as well as intercultural
communication. The project brought together two links of the author's personal learning
network (PLN), thereby ensuring a high degree of trust from the outset.

2 Trust between teachers


The author had worked with both class teachers on separate projects previously and on
the 'Your friend is my friend' principle, both teachers agreed to work together.

3 Learners
Before doing any serious language or analytical work, the learners involved introduced
each other. Lindsay and Davis (2012) call this the 'digital handshake' in the Flat Class
project and it is critical to the success of a project. Prompt and friendly communication at
this stage to show presence and commitment paves the way for productive work later.

4 Project
Project activities can be on any topic. The critical issue is to use digital tools to support
an exchange of language-based products such as blog posts, webpages, videos, surveys,
and so on. In our case, we produced several videos such as a tour around the school.
Equally important is the audience for the final product and a celebration at the end.
Salmons' Taxonomy of Online Collaboration (2014) shows how tasks can gradually bring
learners together from simple dialoguing tasks at the start to working as a team producing
joint products across distances by the end.

5 Challenges
Many factors could have led to challenges but these were avoided by the trust established
between all parties. Therefore, the age difference of three years was not a problem and
neither was the difference in language capability. For example, the American students got
into the habit of adding captions to their videos to help the Danish learners'
understanding. The biggest challenge was the six-hour time difference, which meant that
a synchronous meeting did not occur until the last week of the project when everyone
was so engaged that they made special efforts to ensure a meeting happened.

Outcomes
An indication of the build-up of trust was the organisation of a synchronous meeting at
the end of the nine-month project. In the Danish class the curiosity and engagement of the
sixth graders resulted in measurable advances in vocabulary acquisition beyond the
official expectations for their year. Just as important, but less measurable, was an
increased confidence in using English. On the American side, language use also
advanced, not as foreign language learners but in the areas of adapting language to
audience. This meant avoiding idioms and speaking slowly and clearly in videos. Both
sides also gained a great deal in intercultural understanding as they learned about each
other's celebrations.
annef@annefox.eu
References
Lindsay, J. and V.A. Davis. 2012. Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to
Global Collaboration One Step at a Time. White Plains, NY: Pearson.
MacIntyre, P., Z. Drnyei, R. Clments and K. Noels. 1998. 'Conceptualising willingness
to communicate in a L2: a situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation'. Modern
Language Journal 82/4: 545-62.
Salmons, J. 2014. Overview of the Taxonomy of Online Collaboration. Vision2Lead.
http://vision2lead.com/e-collaboration/.

5.8 I speak meme!


Nina Jeroni Mint International House Ljubljana, Slovenia
Teacher Development SIG Michael Berman Scholarship winner
With the rise of technology and accessibility of the Internet, English has become the go-
to language of many online communities, which has of course left its mark on the
language as well. In recent years, the Internet has seen the birth of an entirely new way of
communication, mostly in use among teenagers and young adults. Internet memes, as the
phenomenon is called, are predominantly shared in English and, as such, they can be
exploited as a motivating and engaging tool in English language learning.

Defining memes
The term 'meme' (pronounced /mi:m/) was originally coined by Richard Dawkins as an
attempt to explain how cultural information spreads (Dawkins 1976). The term is now
also widely applied to its subcategory, the Internet meme, which can take the form of an
image, a video, a website, a hashtag, a word or catchphrase, and even the intentional
misuse of grammar and spelling.
Internet memes are often based on pop culture and include humour. Most of them are
easily created with online tools called 'meme generators' and then spread virally over
websites such as 9gag.com and Facebook. Due to their viral character and popularity
among young people, many learners who are in daily contact with the Internet are able to
recognise or even actively use some of the best known Internet memes, which are usually
images with English captions.

The impact of memes on English and implications for ELT


Memes have significantly influenced daily communication in English. Firstly, they have
introduced hundreds of new vocabulary items that can be used every day. Secondly, some
memes actively disobey grammar rules, which means that phrases such as 'much scare'
are not seen as incorrect. Lastly, memes can entirely replace communication, for example
in the case of Facebook status updates.
With such an influence, teachers of English need to be aware of the existence of memes,
as not doing so also implies falling behind with the evolution of English. Knowing and
using memetic language helps establish better rapport and a more positive and motivating
learning environment. What is more, with the right knowledge, which is easily accessible
through websites such as knowyourmeme.com and Wikipedia, memes can be exploited
as speaking or writing prompts, for grammar analysis and for classroom management.

Concrete examples for classroom activities


Images are often used to stimulate conversation and background knowledge about a topic
and since most memes are images, they lend themselves perfectly to this task. A
particularly suitable meme for this task is the 'Philosoraptor', an image of a velociraptor
captioned with contemplations on various issues, such as the validity of retouching
pictures of supermodels when professional athletes are not allowed to use steroids.
Another meme which produces great written language is the 'Archaic Rap' meme, which
features lyrics of well-known song replaced by their more archaic synonyms or wordy
paraphrases. This activity stimulates thinking outside the box and discovering new
vocabulary, and can be combined with using dictionaries and thesauruses.
Memes can also be used for grammar purposes. Two examples for this are the 'Super
Cool Ski Instructor', who warns against negative consequences of various actions, and
'Captain Hindsight', who gives belated advice. Both of these memes have very firm
structures, which can be exploited for practicing conditionals, modal verbs and other
forms of giving advice. The structure for the former is 'if you [do something], you're
gonna have a bad time' and the structure of the latter is 'if you wanted to [do something],
you shouldn't have [done something]' (or the other way round). Another meme, the
'Actual Advice Mallard' can also be used to practice giving advice and to establish
classroom or grammar rules, or even studying tips. Learners can also use the meme
'Grammar Guy' to correct grammar mistakes found online, as suggested by Lea Soboan
(2013).
The last meme phenomenon that can be exploited for reading comprehension or as a
writing prompt are hashtags (words preceded by #). In social media, hashtags are mostly
used to mark keywords or for summarising, which can be turned into a while-reading
activity with learners 'hashtagging' important pieces of information. Alternatively,
students could create a text based on given hashtags.

Conclusion
Memes are so closely connected to fun and free time that they provide an exciting tool to
use with sometimes unmotivated teenagers. Memes make classes more engaging and
relevant while still promoting valuable English language skills.
nina.jeroncic@iatefl.si

References
Dawkins, R. 1976. The Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Internet Meme
Database. http://knowyourmeme.com.
Soboan, L. 2013. 'Like a sir teaching with memes'. Life of a perpetually disorganised
teacher. http://perpetually-disorganised.blogspot.com/2013/05/like-sir-teaching-with-
memes.html.
5.9 Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges
Nicky Hockly The Consultants-E, Barcelona, Spain
Although the term 'mobile learning' has become equated with mobile phones and apps, it
is much more than that. Mobile learning refers to the use of a range of handheld devices
in education, across a range of contexts, and both inside and outside the classroom. The
ELT world is becoming aware of the potential of learning via mobile technologies, and
teachers need guidance in implementing and using mobile devices effectively in the
language classroom. This workshop aimed to provide some guidance, and to consider
both the choices and challenges involved in using mobile devices with students.
In the workshop, we first clarified the term 'mobile learning' by referring to Pegrum's
(2014) helpful classification:
when devices are mobile;
when learners are mobile; and
when the learning experience is mobile
When we conceive of mobile learning as only devices being mobile, we tend to limit our
focus to apps. Although the use of (for example) vocabulary apps can lead to vocabulary
acquisition, there is more to learningand teachingwith mobile devices.
Pegrum's second category, when the learners are mobile, describes scenarios where
learners may be moving around the classroom or the school premises while learning.
They may be using apps, but we can also integrate other affordances of mobile devices.
For example, a simple photo taking activity can provide an engaging way to help students
brainstorm vocabulary around a coursebook topicsee this blog post for an example:
http://goo.gl/gt1XPw). Or students can use mobile devices to read QR codes and to carry
out a 'treasure hunt' activity around a school, that has a clear language review and
practice aimsee an example here: http://goo.gl/gx1dLF.
Pegrum's third category, when the learning experience is mobile, refers to learners using
devices across a range of real-world contexts to access information needed at that
moment, or to create multimedia records of their learning wherever they may be at that
moment. It is this third category of mobile learning which is arguably the most disruptive,
and which relies on the specific affordances of networked smart devices. Tasks relying on
geolocation are clear examples of situational mobile learning. For example, students can
listen to and/or create geotagged audio recordings using a free cross-platform app like
Woices (http://woices.com), or they can access and create augmented reality (AR)
content while on field trips.

Considerations
When teachers design tasks for mobile devices, there are a number of considerations to
keep in mind. These include ensuring that mobile device-based tasks are staged from
simple to more complex; following Pegrum's three categories (as exemplified by the
short examples above) can help teachers with this. In addition, teachers are usually
working to a syllabus, so tasks need to relate to that, either in terms of topic or content
area, and/or language focus. An important consideration is to remember that the focus of
a task needs to be on language practice and language production, and the technology
needs to be secondary to that. Mobile devices need to support language aims, not replace
them. Finally, it's worth remembering that mobile devices can bridge work in and out of
class, by encouraging situated learning. See this research paper on six key parameters for
effective mobile task design: http://goo.gl/lGQDaP. See also Hockly and Dudeney (2014)
for how to set up and carry out an implementation plan for the principled use of mobile
devices within an institution.

Challenges
During the workshop, participants were invited to send in questions they had about any
challenges related to using mobile devices with students, via Poll Everywhere. Although
we didn't have time to address these questions during the workshop, they have been
addressed in a follow up blog post, available here: http://goo.gl/g6qIUa.
nicky.hockly@theconsultants-e.com

References
Hockly, N. and G. Dudeney. 2014. Going Mobile: Teaching with Handheld Devices.
Peaslake, UK: Delta Publishing.
Pegrum, M. 2014. Mobile Learning: Languages, Literacies and Cultures. Basingstoke
and London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
6 Focus on listening and speaking skills
The papers presented in this chapter provide different perspectives on listening and
speaking skills. Starting with listening, Rhoda McGraw gives practical suggestions for
teaching 'ready' listening, while Rania Khalil shows the effectiveness of an integrated
skills approach. Evelyn J. Naoumi then presents a course of study designed to address
academic listening and speaking skills for Japanese students. The next two papers report
research into speaking skills. First, Aida Rodomanchenko distinguishes between 'micro'
and 'macro' speaking skills and presents some activities designed to develop both. Then,
Seiko Harumi presents the findings of a study into classroom silence across cultures.
Moving on to pragmatics, Peter Grundy shows how the phonetic realisation of a phrase
affects its pragmatic meaning; this is seen in the realisation of 'and' and several other
examples. The last three papers in this chapter deal specifically with pronunciation.
Sophie Farag describes the introduction of blended learning into a pronunciation class;
Susanne M. E. Sullivan outlines the use of 'gleeps' (incomprehensible fragments of
speech); and Marina N. Cantarutti reports on the use of e-portfolios for pronunciation
assessment.

6.1 Ready listening


Rhoda McGraw Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Paris, France
Classroom listening practice frequently centres on recorded materials. Yet real life in the
classroom offers excellent opportunities for students to develop a kind of listening which
can enhance communication everywhere. When their classmates are speaking, learners
need to be ready listenersprepared, respectful, focused and interested in what they hear.
And when students are encouraged to value their classmates' speech, the classroom
becomes a better environment for all aspects of language development. This talk explored
some simple, effective techniques for promoting good classroom listening.
To open the session I told how some of my students had noticed the term 'a ready
listener' (Douglass [1845] 1995: 25) in a reading text and had asked me about it. At first
the answer seemed obvious, but as I thought more about the term and checked the word
'ready' ('fully prepared', 'willing') in the dictionary, I began to look at my teaching in a
new way. I realised that, while 'ready listening' for learners with each other was a primary
aim in my teaching, I was not always making the aim explicit for students, or even for
myself. At the same time, I encountered the work of Sue Palmer, explaining how it is
crucial for humans to develop and maintain the ability to listen to each other in person
even if electronic communication is a growing part of our lives
(Palmer 2007). It became clearer to me that we need to value listening to classmates at
least as much as speaking in the classroom, since language is for communication, not
only for performance.
After giving a brief description of my own teaching situation with mixed-level groups of
10 to 25 multilingual students in European higher education, I went on to discuss the
ways in which I try to encourage ready listening in my classes. A focus on content which
interests all group members is ideal when possible, and classroom speakers should be
well prepared to convey their messages. But ready listening places responsibility with
every group member all the time. The teacher can start with optimal seating
arrangements, she can introduce listening preparation which includes silent thinking, and
she can set an example by paying attention to the speaker and the message. She can
clearly define times and conditions for speaking and listening. Times can be short, and
conditions may include such devices as requiring listeners to write down and ask
questions at regular intervals. Listeners can notice the speaker's voice and gestures and
can try to adopt supportive body language of their own. They may take notes or listen for
specific information. Finally, the teacher can show her attitude towards learners' speech
by giving it as much importance in a course as recorded speech, if not more.
In my classes, learners' spoken contributions and their responsesto materials and to
each otherare central. All students are required to contribute, but they have choices
about when and how they do it. Regular opportunities to contribute, together with the
time limits mentioned above, may help students focus to their attention on what other
students say. They do not need to feel anxious about getting their own turns, and they
know that they will only have to concentrate on others' speech for limited amounts of
time.
In the discussion following the presentation, audience members brought up more
challenging points than we could fully address in the time available. People asked about
assigning specific tasks to learners listening to each other, giving feedback on classroom
listening, and assessing it. They also wondered about how to deal with electronic
distractions like smartphones. One question about how we can avoid seeming patronising
or condescending to learners when we encourage them to listen to classmates sparked off
a series of thoughtful comments about cultural aspects of listening to and respecting
others. Session participants were clearly concerned about learners listening to their
classmates. Their involvement in the final exchange made me think that they agree with
the importance of ready listening and are looking for ways to promote it.
rhoda.mcgraw@mail.enpc.fr

References
Douglass, F. 1995. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. (Anti-Slavery Office,
Boston, 1845.) London: Dover Publications.
Palmer, S. 2007. Toxic Childhood. London: Orion.
6.2 An integrated skills approach to teaching active listening
Rania Khalil The British University in Egypt, Cairo, Egypt

Introduction
Listening and speaking are essential skills of real life. We do not, however, in real life,
use our language skills in the same way that they appear in textbooks. Listening today is
classified as an interpretive process. The role of the listener as an active participant in the
listening process was emphasised in this presentation; I also shared active listening
strategies which learners can employ to 'facilitate, monitor, and evaluate their own
listening abilities' (Richards 2008: 1). Recommendations underscored the impact active
listening may have on students' overall language output, academic success and enhanced
performance on listening assessments.

Are you listening?


A large percentage of second language learners can understand the words of a lecturer
but may still fail to understand the main points of the lecture. In general, effective
listening requires the listener to distinguish relevant information and draw on background
knowledge; it also requires the student to be able to identify the purpose of the lecture,
follow topic development and identify relationships among units within discourse.

Active listening
Reasons given by students as to why they perform poorly on listening assessments vary
but mostly include statements like 'audio was too fast' or 'the accent was strong.' In
reality, what these students lack are active listening skills. Porter and Grant (1992: 33)
define active listening as the ability 'to focus on what a speaker says, and how a speaker
says it: it means attending to paralinguistic cues; it means concentrating and
acknowledging different points of view'. The best way for learners to develop an
unconscious mastery of active listening skills is through explicit teaching of listening
strategies in an integrated skills approach and planning for that teaching beforehand; this
is especially effective in countries where English language is not the dominant language.

An integrated skills approach to teaching active listening


Any skill that requires mastery must be practiced repeatedly. Equally important is
optimal use of classroom time which focuses equally on each of the four language skills.
Language skills need to be integrated in order for communication to become effective.
An integrated skills approach to teaching active listening allows learners to achieve
communicative competence, particularly, in countries where there is no direct exposure
to hearing or speaking English. Teaching active listening through an integrated skills
approach can provide input that triggers the further development of second language
proficiency. Much research on academic listening supports the notion that students'
engagement in note-taking during listening practice is an important facet of academic
success. Additionally, linking listening tasks to speaking tasks also provides opportunities
for students to notice how language is used in different communicative contexts.
Classroom practices for developing active listening skills
Few teachers in non-English speaking countries are professionally trained to teach active
listening strategies to learners of English; few go beyond asking their students to practice
note-taking. Two effective classroom approaches identified by research which engage
listeners in the process of listening are cognitive and meta-cognitive activities (Buck
2001: 104). In this presentation, meta-cognitive listening strategies which focus on
conscious and unconscious mental activities were shared with the audience. Activities
shared included the following:

Listening with visual cues


Pictures and sounds (for example, in a movie) provide a context for the learner; they also
provide training for real-life listening when using the following three questions during the
listening process:
What do you see? (recall key words)
What do you hear? (rethink what you heard)
What are the non-verbal cues? (emotions and location)
Students' achievement can be assessed by providing questions before the movie, taking
notes, or answering questions as they watch/listen to the movie. Students in groups can
recreate a dialogue to a scene which can be recorded and added to a listening portfolio.

Listening portfolio
Students can be videotaped during several 'authentic' activities such as interviewing or
group discussion. The students can also write a self-assessment essay about the
effectiveness of the strategies. Each student should have a number of recordings,
transcriptions and essays. This is effective in evaluating the development of the learners'
active listening skills.

Conclusion
The success of active listening for learners is determined by practicing specific
behaviours. Porter and Grant (1992) suggest that students can acquire active listening
skills by practicing simple strategies such as processing words, paraphrasing internally/
externally, displaying receptive listening non-verbal behaviour, asking for repetition or
clarification, interrupting politely and being motivated to listen. Further learner success is
determined by the student's language ability, content, and the presence or absence of
distractions. Audience in the final discussion, agreed on the usefulness of this teaching
approach.
rania.khalil@bue.edu.eg

References
Buck, G. 2001. Assessing Listening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Porter, P. A. and M. Grant. 1992. Communicating Effectively in English: Oral
Communication for Non-Native Speakers. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
Richards, J. C. 2008. Teaching Listening and Speaking from Theory to Practice.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

6.3 Environmental issues as a carrier for skill development in EGAP


Evelyn J. Naoumi Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan

Introduction
An increase in the number of courses taught in English at the postgraduate level in
Japanese universities and student attendance at international conferences has created a
need for English academic support courses that specifically address student
comprehension and participation. Research into Language for General and Specific
Academic Purposes (LG/SAP) has identified lecture comprehension and recall,
notetaking, research presentation and discussion skills as common areas of weakness
(Flowerdew and Peacock 2001).
Research into content-based instruction (CBI) supports the creation of theme-based
lecture courses, created and taught by language specialists, as a carrier for skill
development and a 6T framework (theme, texts, topics, transitions, threads and tasks) was
proposed for course design and evaluation (Stoller and Grabe 1997). Van Lier (1996)
advocates a bottom-up approach to curriculum design driven by the actual situation in the
classroom in which 'Whereas the curriculum should be "thick", the most useful syllabus
should be "thin"' (van Lier 1996: 213). The following course was developed from the
above guidelines.

Environmental Issuesa course for postgraduate students


The elements shown in Table 6.3.1 can be changed according to student needs, interests
and time constraints, but they do provide a framework for developing materials and tasks,
while keeping to the overall theme:

Table 6.3.1: Course elements


Design of tasks and materials
Lectures should be highly structured at first with an emphasis on key vocabulary and
discourse structure for easy note-taking. Additional materials and tasks should reinforce
these and focus on replication and discussion. Strategies for learning vocabulary and
participation in discussions need to be introduced early in the course.
Many students are unsure of their lecture comprehension in English and are sometimes
presenting in English for the first time so lectures and tasks should be short at first and
gradually become longer as the course develops. Teachers should also not make
assumptions about student familiarity with presentation tools like PowerPoint so group
presentations during the early part of the course help to reduce anxiety among students. A
common problem in the Japanese context is that students are very slow in performing
tasks so setting time limits and encouraging evaluation of task performance are
important.
The concept of 'audience' in lectures and presentations should be stressed, particularly as
students move towards presenting from their own study perspectives and they should be
encouraged to keep individual presentations to within 10 minutes.

Evaluation
One issue in theme-based courses as carriers for skill development is the temptation to
evaluate content acquisition rather than skill development. One solution is to have
students evaluate their own performance in response to questions designed to elicit their
perceptions of their performance. Rubrics on lecture comprehension, discussion and
presentation skills as a pre-course and post-course measurement give a better framework
of reference. These self-evaluations are then combined with peer and teacher evaluations
to give a more objective perspective to the often subjective teacher evaluations in such
courses. These evaluations are also vital for course development particularly given the
constraints of the one-semester 15-week class schedule that many universities impose.

Conclusion and implications for other contexts


This is an example of one course developed by a language specialist as a carrier for
necessary skill development at the postgraduate level and is rewarding for students.
Student comments generally reflect the assumption that environmental issues are relevant
and interesting to all disciplines and that there is improvement in some skills if not all.
All showed an increased awareness of their own weaknesses. As one English education
major commented, 'You chose a topic to study carefully, gave useful feedback on student
work and taught useful strategies as well as English itself you motivate and give
students confidence.'
evelynkk@kisc.meiji.ac.jp

References
Flowerdew, J. and M. Peacock. 2001. Research Perspectives on English for Academic
Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stoller, F. L. and W. Grabe. 1997. 'A six Ts approach to content-based education' in M.
A. Snow and D. Brinton (eds.). The Content-based Classroom: Perspectives on
Integrating Language and Content. New York: Longman.
Van Lier, L. 1996. Interaction in the Language Curriculum: Awareness, Autonomy and
Authenticity. New York: Longman.

6.4 Micro and macro skills in speaking: creating situations for their
development
Aida Rodomanchenko Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Trinity College London Language Examinations Scholarship winner
The aim of this talk was (a) to give theoretical information on what 'micro' and 'macro'
skills in speaking are; and (b) to explore some in-class activities which can be used nearly
at any language proficiency level and in any context to hone specific speaking micro and
macro skills.

Background
The terms 'micro' and 'macro' skills (Brown and Abeywickrama 2010) correlate with the
'can-do' statements used in the CEFR to describe what learners can do at various levels in
different skill areas. The micro and macro skills under consideration here were
determined during my PhD research; 5 global, approximately 22 macro, and many more
micro skills were specified for B2-C1 levels.
In my presentation I focused on two micro skills: 'an ability to handle interjections' and
'an ability to respond spontaneously and almost effortlessly' as they are the most widely
used in real life and the least trained in a classroom. These were related to the macro skill
'an ability to handle heckling or audience questions' which is rarely developed and honed
consistently in the classroom despite being vital in academic and professional
environments.

The importance of micro skills


'An ability to handle interjections' involves the use of set expressions, stock phrases and
various language clichs. Not only does this skill allow a speaker to keep a conversation
going and/or give the impression of active participation in it, it also helps keep the
exchanges in turn and allows the speaker to gain time while formulating what to say.
The significance of this micro skill increases when combined with 'an ability to respond
spontaneously and almost effortlessly'. This constitutes the basis for a few macro skills
on the levels of reception and interaction, for example, 'an ability to handle heckling or
audience questions', such as might arise during a presentation.

Classroom situations for micro and macro skills development


I created a number of tasks to teach my students to deal with extraordinary situations
when giving a speech. First we trained these micro skills independently so that students
could use interjections and exclamations in a natural way without them seeming to have
been 'learnt by heart'. Then we polished them together as a macro skill; this enabled my
students to maintain contact with the audience during a presentation while handling
heckling and interjections without getting side-tracked and losing their train of thought.
The tasks I use might be classified into two groups: monologues (prepared in advance or
delivered on the spot) and game-like activities (communicative micro situations and role
plays). During my IATEFL talk I showed a few activities, gradually increasing the level
of difficulty. Taking into consideration advanced language proficiency level of the
audience I didn't provide a list of possible introductory phrases, useful collocations and
stock phrases, or a range of discourse functions. The participants worked in groups of
three: two of them collaborated on a task, and the third evaluated their performance using
the set of criteria given.

Activity instructions
In every activity one person ('A') had to give a particular piece of information to a
colleague ('B'), whose task was to ask as many unrelated questions as possible to try to
side-track the speaker. The questions could not be random, but had to be logically
connected. To do this, B had to use linking words and discourse markers. A had to react
naturally without losing his/her train of thought. S/he couldn't ignore B's questions.
Moreover, A still had to fulfil the main task, which was to inform B. The general tone of
the activities had to be neutral and polite. By the last task, participants were also advised
against using 'yes' or 'no' while answering their colleagues' questions and were
encouraged to use discourse markers and comment closes instead. Every activity lasted
approximately four minutes: three minutes for discussion and one minute for feedback
from an evaluator ('C').

Figure 6.4.1: Example for Activity 1


Activity 1
Describe a picture to your colleague. Explain the meaning of as many symbols shown as
possiblefor an example, see Figure 6.4.1.

Activity 2
Choose a quotation and explain its meaning. How far do you agree with the quotation?
Examples:
A positive effort may not solve all your problems, but it may annoy enough people
to make it worth the effort (Herm Albright, 1876-1944).
Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre (Gail Godwin,
1937-).

Activity 3
Come up with a story using the following words. (See Figure 6.4.2.)

Figure 6.4.2: Example for Activity 3

Comment
Participants admitted that despite being fluent in English it was quite difficult for them to
deal with unexpected questions while speaking without getting side-tracked. They also
agreed that the honing of micro and macro skills under consideration is very important
and the activities shown might be easily adapted to suit different levels, needs and
contexts.
a.rodomanchenko@gmail.com

Reference
Brown, J. D. and B. Abeywickrama. 2010. Language Assessment: Principles and
Classroom Practices (second edition). Harlow: Pearson.
6.5 Raising cultural awareness of classroom talk and silence
Seiko Harumi Cardiff University, UK

Introduction
This talk reported the findings of an action research project conducted in Japanese EFL
contexts which investigated the use of classroom talk and silence. While learner reticence
in Asian EFL contexts is widely discussed (Harumi 2011), practical and effective
pedagogical approaches to facilitate learners' active participation and to raise cultural
awareness of interactional skills are under-investigated. The project examined how
Japanese EFL learners can raise cultural awareness of talk and silence in the L2 by
participating in a 12-week speaking class. The study specifically examined the
improvement of speaking skills in oral presentations; it also investigated how students
had developed cultural insight and self-awareness in L2 interactional competence.

Methodology
The participants comprised 75 Japanese EFL learners enrolled on a tertiary oral
communication class; data was collected at four different stages over a 12-week period to
examine their progress longitudinally. The initial assessment comprised a questionnaire
survey asking how respondents perceived their own L2 talk; students were specifically
asked which features of speaking they were good at and which they would like to
improve. In the subsequent stages, they were given a weekly task to prepare a three-
minute talk on a broad common topic and then self-record and self-analyse their speech,
taking into account interactional features learnt in class. They then shared their prepared
talk within a group. The audio-recorded data along with their self-analysis sheet was
collected three times over a term, and the teacher then gave feedback.
The project aimed to create opportunities for learners to be more critically aware of L2
interactional features and also responsible for their own study through classroom practice,
self-analysis and self-reflection. The learner-centred approach adopted in this speaking
class reflects Goh and Burns' claim that 'the students were not encouraged to self-regulate
their learning by planning, monitoring, and evaluating their own performances' (Goh and
Burns 2012: 3), and the study aimed to provide such opportunities.

Findings
The initial enquiry into respondents' own speaking ability in their L2 found they were
more aware of their weaknesses than their strength in speaking, particularly in the
production of particular sounds which are dissimilar to their native Japanese language.
While they were confident with similar sounds in Japanese, overall they appeared to lack
confidence in many interactional features in speaking. This includes the use of linking
words, pitch, intonation and their L1 influenced use of vowel stretches at the word-
endings, as well as the use of pauses.
The second and the third enquiries, which analysed their self-assessment sheets and
audio-files, showed that their focus and awareness of their spoken language shifted from
the level of sound to more prosodic features. While learners felt that they are able to
clarify and produce particular sounds better with improved overall speech rate, they still
found it hard to improve specific interactional features such as the effective use of pauses
and eye contact. Nevertheless, their overall awareness of their own L2 talk was further
raised and their analytical skills improved. Continuous involvement in analysis and
reflection supported their improved speech.

Pedagogical implications
This project was valuable as action research since it provided good opportunities for
learners and the teacher to see the extent to which learners were aware of their own
classroom talk and the use of silence, as well as what kind of elements of spoken
discourse can be practiced in and outside the classroom. Above all, learners' overall
awareness of L2 spoken discourse and improved speaking skills were partially achieved.
Though it was difficult for the learners to attain prosodic features over short periods of
time, their awareness of the importance of these features in speaking was raised.
At the end of the talk we shared ideas to improve these prosodic features in speaking
according to activity type, and elements to be incorporated into these. The prepared talk
used in this study within small group in regular and ideally daily sessions appeared very
effective as the first stage. The learner centred-reflective approach could also work for
Japanese learners who are often considered withdrawn, if the necessary steps are taken.
Also, it led me to reflect that creativity and the elements of thinking while doing the
activity may be effective, as learners can be responsible for expressing themselves. The
further longer-term classroom practice and research into acquiring prosodic features in
spoken discourse and the appropriate methodologies which support to raise awareness are
to be investigated.
harumis@cardiff.ac.uk

References
Goh, C. and A. Burns. 2012. Teaching Speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. Harumi, S. 2011. 'Classroom silence: voices from Japanese EFL learners'. ELT
Journal 65/3: 260-9.

6.6 And the pragmatics of 'and'


Peter Grundy University of Durham, UK
The purpose of this report is to show how pragmatic meaning varies with phonetic
realisation and to stress the importance of teaching this kind of meaning.
We owe to Grice the recognition that inferred rather than literal meanings are usually
what speakers seek to convey and that, given the right context, anything can mean
virtually anything, as in the following banter in which the last three words a male radio
presenter addresses to his female colleague imply that she is naked: 'That's one of the
advantages of working on radioyou can wear anything you like or absolutely nothing at
all and no one would ever know, would they Michelle' (BBC Radio 5 18.02.2014).
Such context-related implicatures, nowadays studied in Post-Gricean pragmatics and in
relevance theory in particular, can be distinguished from implicatures which arise
because of the way things are said, nowadays studied in neo-Gricean pragmatics. In
choosing and as the subject of my talk, I was going back to the original problem which
set Grice thinking, a problem I illustrated with an exchange with a friend as we studied
the Christmas menu in a restaurant last December:
Pauline: I'm having turkey and stuffing
Peter: In that order?
In her use of 'and', Pauline meant turkey-with-stuffing, and in my response I suggested
that she might mean turkey-and-then-stuffing (in which case 'stuffing' might
communicate a different meaning). How come the simple conjunction 'and' does not
always behave in the same way as the logical operator to which it's supposedly
equivalent? Such uses of 'and' can only be, explained, Grice argued, if we view the and-
then interpretation as an inference.
In this example, it's easy to see that I'm assuming a different context from the one Pauline
has in mind. But it's also possible to invite inferences that result from the way we say
things, as mentioned above. A neat example is the name of a vintage shop near where I
live, 'Lovely and British' (Lovely / n / British), implying lovely-because-British. On one
occasion I rather naughtily suggested to the owner that the shop should be called 'British
and Lovely' (British /nd/ Lovely), implying lovely-despite-being-British.
In neo-Gricean pragmatics, we would explain 'Lovely and British' = lovely-because-
British by appealing to the heuristic 'Minimal specifications get maximally informative or
stereotypical interpretations' implicit in Grice's second Quantity maxim: 'Do not make
your contribution more informative than is required' (Grice 1967). On the basis of this
heuristic, Levinson (2000: 114) proposes an I-Principle:
For speaker: Say as little as necessary (for example, nd).
For hearer: Amplify the informational content of the speaker's utterance, by finding
the most specific interpretation, up to the speaker's intended point (for example,
because).
Similarly, neo-Gricean pragmaticists would explain 'British and Lovely' = lovely-despite-
being-British by appealing to the heuristic 'what's said in an abnormal way isn't normal'
implicit in Grice's Manner maxim: 'Be perspicuous' (Grice op. cit.). On the basis of this
heuristic, Levinson (2000: 136) proposes an M-Principle:
For speaker: Indicate an abnormal, non-stereotypical situation by using marked
expressions that contrast with those you would use to describe the corresponding
normal, stereotypical situation (for example, /nd/).
For hearer: What's said in an abnormal way indicates an abnormal situation, or
marked messages indicate marked situations (for example, despite).
In effect, this is an elaborate way of saying that we convey the most expectable meaning
in the most economical way and that we use a less economical form to convey a less
expectable meaning.
Here are some further examples where phonetic realisation affects meaning:
I /wz/ invited (I-inference: past meaning)
I /wz/ invited (M-inference: ? but I didnt go)
I /wz/ going to invite you (I-inference: Im inviting you)
I /wz/ going to invite you (M-inference: ? past meaning, very rude)
If I /wz/ you / If I /w/ you (I-inference: Im advising you what you should do) If
I /wz/ you (M-inference: ? in some previous existence)
If I /w/ you (M-inference: ? counterfactual)
If /ju/ dont feel well.. (I-inference: you is non-deictic)
If /ju/ dont feel well.. (M-inference: you is deictic).
Finally, remember that the use of English is learnt through the ear not through the eye,
and that optimality (finding the best form for a meaning and the best meaning for a form)
is more important than grammaticality. And encourage the use of phonetic realisation to
invite inference from the first lesson, as in:
Where are you /frm/?
Im /frm/ Durham. Where are you /frm/?
I'm married.
I'm single.
I am married but I'm on holiday.
grundypeter@btinternet.com

References
Grice, H. P. 1967. 'Logic and conversation: the William James lectures, Harvard
University' in H. P. Grice (ed.). 1989. Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press.
Levinson, S. C. 2000. Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational
Implicature. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

6.7 Using blended learning techniques to improve pronunciation and


fluency
Sophie Farag The American University in Cairo, Egypt

Background
Students admitted to the Intensive English Program of the American University in Cairo
vary in fluency and pronunciation accuracy, and the programme does not offer any
formal pronunciation instruction. Pronunciation classes are offered at the end of the day,
after the EAP classes. Students sign up on a voluntary basis to attend one 40-minute class
per week, totalling 10-12 sessions per semester. This provides limited contact hours, so
blended learning was introduced to help students improve their pronunciation and
fluency.

Blended learning approach


Rationale
Online learning was introduced to complement face-to-face classes for the following
reasons:
1 to increase the time the students can spend working on their pronunciation and
fluency;
2 to provide flexible opportunities for revision of the material covered in class;
3 to provide opportunities for feedback from teachers and students, and collaboration
among students; and
4 to improve digital literacy skills.

Blended learning techniques


A wiki was created to post supplementary materials for each lesson. Students were also
encouraged to download apps to their mobile devices. Students attended the face-to-face
class and were introduced to specific pronunciation points with teacher guidance and
opportunity to practice. They could then access related online materials during the week
for additional practice. Supplementary materials were posted after each lesson in the
following three categories:
1 Focus on pronunciation
Resources for pronunciation practice included short YouTube videos (giving
explanations for specific pronunciation points), tongue twisters, activities, and links to
websites and apps. Some of these are listed below:
Howjsay online dictionary of English pronunciation allows students to check the
pronunciation of new words.
RoadToGrammar website has interactive activities to practice word stress and
vowel sounds.
Sounds: the Pronunciation App includes activities related to the phonemic chart.
Speak English is a two-level app which focuses on the pronunciation of individual
sounds and words in the beginner level, and on sentences and short conversations in
the advanced level. Students read and listen to the audio recording, record their own
version of the script, and play it back to compare with the original. Both apps are
available for Android and iPhone.
2 Speaking activities
Speaking activities asking students to complete a story, respond to an image or topic, etc.
were posted on the wiki. Students were encouraged to record their responses using
recording applications, such as Vocaroo and Mailvu, and to use the comments section of
the wiki to post their audio and video responses, and to respond to, comment on and learn
from each other's posts.
Supiki is a free conversation app available for Apple devices. The learner can have
a conversation with the app, listen to recorded conversations and e-mail them, earn
points, and unlock higher levels. It also gives information on idioms and expressions.
3 Listening activities
Listening is another way of improving speaking skills. Podcasts can be downloaded
beforehand, and students can listen to them on their phones without internet access. The
LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts app, produced by the British Council, can be
downloaded on Apple or Android smart phones. It offers three series of podcasts, with 10
episodes in each one. Each episode includes a transcript and exercises with answers.

Feedback and reflections


The challenges were that students did not always attend the classes regularly, and their
participation in the online activities was poor.
In response to a survey administered at the end of the course, students said they enjoyed
the classes and found the activities useful, especially talking to each other, playing games
and doing group activities. The reasons they gave for missing classes were lack of time
and too much homework. They said they referred to the follow-up materials on the wiki
only occasionally because of lack of time. On reflection, the reasons for these results
could be attributed to the following:
1 Technology failure, as some students had difficulty with the recording applications
on their computers, and others did not have a microphone for their PC.
2 Shyness, as students were unwilling to share recordings and expose mistakes to the
class. Because of irregular attendance, it was difficult to create a strong sense of
community.
3 Cultural preference for immediate teacher feedback, since the Egyptian school
system is largely teacher-centred and the teacher is expected to lead all class
sessions. Students enjoy the social interaction provided by the face-to-face class and
require training to be comfortable in more autonomous activities.
Actions for improvement include providing more hands-on training in the use of
technology and making more use of mobile phone apps since they are more portable and
accessible.
sophiemf@aucegypt.edu

6.8 New pronunciation exercises that really help students handle fluent
speech
Susanne M. E. Sullivan Papanui High School, Christchurch, New Zealand
Second language students whose speech makes more use of automatic brain processes
show greater proficiency in the language overall. Ullman's research (2005) showed adult
second language learners (AL2) rely heavily on the slower, fact-filled memory network
of declarative resources rather than the fast, automatic network of procedural memory
(Paradis 2009). I wanted to overcome the obstacles to this and develop exercises that
gave students greater access to fast phonological resources so they could hear the more
difficult bits of native speakers' speech. Neuroscientists believe special repetitive
strategies may reactivate the automatic procedural memory.
Taking for material exactly those parts of fluent speech that eluded students, I created
exercises that would challenge their hearing and require intense repetition for a short
time. These short half-second fragments I called 'gleeps'. The exercise as a whole I called
'speech stream exercises'. Three conditions have to be present for the exercises: intense
repetition of gleeps, lack of comprehension and active muscle work. Gleeps are chosen
for incomprehensibility. They can contain lots of function wordsthe joining,
grammatical words that are often reduced and linked and squashed. In natural
conversation with other native speakers (the 'jungle' as Richard Cauldwell so aptly calls
it) the prepositions, auxiliary verbs, articles and other words carrying less semantic
information are often subjected to forces of speaking that mean their sound is far from the
citation forms students know. Most gleeps are simple words changed by the words
around them'howazi?' ('How was it?') and 'wombe great!' ('Wouldn't it be great!') are
examples of good, natural English. These utterances are instantly recognised by children.
And can baffle my adults. More examples from television presenters: 'taykalukitcha diet'
('Take a look at your diet.'); 'bacha NO gedding in' ('But you're not getting in.'); 'tuh keep
the nastee bugzabay' ('To keep the nasty bugs at bay.').
While concentrating and repeating a gleep that they do not, in the first stage of the
exercise, understand at all, learners try to articulate it with great accuracy. As students
repeat the gleep 10 or 15 times or more, the teacher corrects and encourages individuals.
In stage 2, students and teacher gradually piece the phrase together. (See Table 6.8.1.)
In speech stream exercises, not activating the written language means incomprehensible
sounds are treated as novel, the automatic processor opens, the scanning of acoustic
material begins and the data provides uptake for statistical 'learning' that will establish the
new matrix, the phonological system for L2 (Pierrehumbert 2003).
Thinking of words or reading depends on the process of mapping speech sounds to
written text. The written word always activates a sound systemthe grapheme-phoneme
connection. Not activating the grapheme-phoneme connection is achieved by
not presenting text;
not suggesting words;
not acknowledging students' guesses during stage 1;
redirecting learners' attention to sound ('Don't think. Listen to the sound.');
encouraging all articulation efforts while guiding individuals to very accurate
reproduction; and
using as materials gleeps from unrehearsed natural conversation of reasonably good
speakers (homework: none; revision: none).
The material for gleeps can come from any natural unscripted exchange. I use television
presenters' conversation around breakfast shows. Revisiting these materials at home will
not reactivate processing as words are now understood. Also the accuracy in articulation
and benefits can be lost if the learner reverts to L1 habits at home. What is achieved in
the classroom by not understanding (initially) and intensely repeating is uptake to
automatic processors. This ceases immediately after written words are presented or the
words are spoken slowly by the teacher, thus activating again the written-sound
association which reverts, with adults, to L1.

Table 6.8.1: The process of using 'gleeps'


The absence of understanding is intended to allow the repetition to drive the procedural
memory resources to open up and scan this new data. The initial disciplined focus on
sound to the exclusion of understanding seems to create a more efficient L2 phonological
system: 50 minutes of practice at least bi-weekly for several weeks significantly increases
students' listening skills and their motivation and satisfaction. It also seems to generalise
to overall language proficiency.
My students are full-time Asian adults learning some 20 hours per week with me. The
students are enthusiastic users after one or two sessions, experiencing the method's
efficacy immediately. This approach may not suit all teachers or learners whose first
language is closer to English. It is unlikely to be helpful to pre-teens whose automatic
networks are already at work. If speech stream exercises achieve their purpose by
reactivating subconscious linguistic procedures for adults, they overcome significant
obstacles for these second language students. I am grateful in my work to have always
been accompanied by diligent, enthusiastic learners. Thanks to them, we know speech
stream exercises really work.
sues@xtra.co.nz
References
Paradis, M. 2009. Declarative and Procedural Determinants of Second Languages.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Pierrehumbert, J. 2003. 'Phonetic diversity, statistical Learning, and acquisition of
phonology'. Language and Speech 46/2-3: 115-154.
Ullman, M. T. 2005. 'A cognitive neuroscience perspective on second language
acquisition: The declarative/procedural model' in C. Sanz (ed.). Mind and Context in
Adult Second Language Acquisition: Methods, Theory and Practice. Washington, D.C.:
Georgetown University Press.

6.9 Pronunciation and e-portfolios: developing self-regulatory skills and


self-esteem
Marina N. Cantarutti ISP Joaqun V Gonzlez / ENSLV Sofa B de Spangenberg /
Profesorado del Consudec, Buenos Aires, Argentina
International House Brita Haycraft Better Spoken English Scholarship winner
This talk reports the rationale, implementation and student appraisal of an experience at
three tertiary level institutions training EFL teachers and translators in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, during the 2011 through 2013 academic years. The project involved the use of
e-portfolios for self-regulation in pronunciation practice, mediated by the audio platforms
SoundCloud and Audioboo.

From challenges to goals


Some of the challenges encountered during the delivery of the Phonology and Laboratory
courses inspiring the planning of the project have been:
lack of proper equipment at the language lab;
limited amount of time for completion of institutional requirements (i.e. acquisition
of the sounds in the direction of RP English to advanced students with limited
previous pronunciation instruction); and
reduced possibilities for systematic in-class feedback.
Thus, a number of goals and objectives were set up, including the provision of more and
better instances of follow-up by the teacher, allowing better knowledge of her students'
progress; and training of students in self-assessment techniques of their 'English voice'
and self-selection of successful tips and tricks.

Rationale and implementation


The project intended to address both the cognitive and motor complexities that
pronunciation learning as habit-formation involves. Therefore, three axes were set up
when planning the experience:

A framework for learning: the self-regulatory learning model


The self-regulatory learning model by Zimmermann, as reported by Pintrich (2004) and
Wolters (2010), establishes that learning takes place when learners go from controlled to
automatic processing (Rumelhart and Norman 1978 in Celce-Murcia et al. 2006: 25) and
that achieving this self-regulation entails a route through three stages:

Accretion: comparison of new habits with own schemata.


Restructuring: adoption of new habits, awareness of changes taking place.
Tuning: shaping of new habits towards a better performance, conscious control.
Wolters (2010) considers that these stages should be materialised in the development of
the lesson by creating a sequence of forethought, monitor and control, and reflection
activities. In our pronunciation course, these were applied in an ongoing cycle, thus:
Forethought activities: multisensory presentation of tips and tricks for articulatory
processes of L1 and L2 sounds.
Monitor and control tasks: in-class and at-home practice and upload of best
versions onto e-portfolio; face-to-face and virtual feedback.
Reflection activities: students' assessment of e-portfolio and of successful tips;
follow-up tests.

1 A means of assessment: the portfolio


The process of achieving self-regulation in pronunciation entails being able to 'grasp' the
fleeting nature of speech. Hence, the e-portfolio, embodying the best versions of students'
oral performance, was meant to ensure not only methodical practice for students to fine-
tune their articulatory habits, but also to introduce skills for self-assessment of their
'English voice'.

2 A set of tools: SoundCloud and Audioboo sound platforms


The pronunciation e-portfolios were hosted on two oral platforms (Soundcloud.com and
Audioboo.fm) that enable users to upload or record their audio files. Feedback and self-
assessment were presented via recorded or written messages in the comment box or as
pop-up remarks within the waveform of the original file.

Student appraisal
Results of the feedback survey at the end of the academic year are shown in Table 6.9.1.

Introspective conclusions
Self-regulatory learning through these e-portfolio tools appears to be a suitable way of
approaching pronunciation instruction, as:
it personalises the teaching and learning processes;
it allows students to become responsible for and aware of their own progress; and
it enables students to self-regulate their articulatory habits towards their best
'English voice'.
However, student appraisal invites us to reconsider the following:
effectiveness of face-to-face classroom time;
esteem-boosting features of feedback; and
encouragement of upload of improved versions as part of the e-portfolio.

Table 6.9.1: Survey results


These new challenges pose new questions which are now being considered for the
implementation of the project in the new academic year.
marinacantarutti@gmail.com

References
Celce-Murcia, M., M. Brinton and J. Goodwin. 2006. Teaching Pronunciation. A
Reference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. New York:
Cambridge University Press.
Pintrich, P. 2004. 'A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated
learning in college students.' Educational Psychology Review 16/4: 385-407.
Wolters, C. 2010 'Self-regulated learning and the 21st century competencies.' Department
of Educational Psychology, University of Houston.
www.hewlett.org/uploads/Self_Regulated_Learning_21st_Century_Competencies.pdf.
7 Focus on reading, writing and vocabulary
We now move on to topics related to reading, writing and learning vocabulary. The
opening paper in this chapter is by Edward de Chazal, who reports on the challenges
faced by EAP students when analysing academic text. Reading is the focus of Christine
Irvine-Niakaris and Richard Kiely's paper, in which they consider the traditional pre-
reading, while-reading and post-reading stages of a reading lesson and make
recommendations on how to enrich the structure. Moving on to writing, Richard Badger
discusses four approaches to writing: product, process, genre and literacy; Hilary Nesi,
Sheena Gardner and Adam Kightley then outline the genres of writing revealed by an
analysis of the BAWE corpus and introduce materials designed to accompany these.
Plagiarism remains an ongoing concern for writing teachers, and Natalya Eydelman
shows how she addresses the problem in her writing classes. Next, Shih-Chieh Chien
outlines the challenges faced by Chinese-speaking researchers trying to publish in
English. The final two papers deal with lexis. Simon Smith demonstrates one method to
help students to develop subject-specific vocabulary and Emina Tuzovic investigates
spelling difficulties among Arabic-speaking learners.

7.1 Teaching and learning EAP: developing roles, defining competences,


sharing practices
Edward de Chazal Independent, Lulworth, UK

Context
English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teachers and students have many roles, for
example critical thinker, and need many competences, such as the ability to analyse and
construct texts. In this workshop we explored aspects of the two key roles of critical
thinker and reader, using material drawn from chapters in the new teacher's handbook
English for Academic Purposes (de Chazal 2014).

Critical thinking
To emphasise the international and ancient nature of critical thinking, we looked briefly
at early critical thinkers including Confucius, who encouraged his students to take the
initiative and draw inferences, and Aristotle, who said of his teacher, 'Plato is dear to me
but dearer still is the truth'. As critical thinkers, EAP students need to challenge the
sources of knowledge and how information is presented. We can question the information
in texts, andin the spirit of critical EAP and critical discourse analysisthe wider
context of the texts themselves. Such questions could include: 'What are the assumptions
in the text?' and 'Why is this text included in my coursebook?' I described these roles as:
'Critical thinker as reflector and challenger'.
Reading and summarising a sample text
We illustrated some of these roles and competences by processing an academic text from
a textbook on ecology (Beeby and Brennan 2008: 345) which included a graph. The title
and first paragraph are given below.
The big questions: stability and sustainability
The question of how many species are needed for an ecosystem to function is
critical, both to ecological theory and to political practice. Perhaps we could afford
to be unconcerned about species going extinct if their ecosystems continued to work
in their absence. If ecosystem services were unaffected by their loss we might be
able to live without some species and the economic argument for protecting large
and talismanic species would be weaker.

Participants read the full 150-word extract and summarised the text in one sentence.
Writing a summary demonstrates a student's understanding of the text and their ability to
select, synthesise and process the information using their own language (vocabulary and
grammar). My suggested summary was more informal in style than the source text: 'Do
we really need all the species?' Summaries like these can form the basis of a discussion of
the text; they also work well as citations within the student's new written or spoken text.
To reflect the reading process, I proposed the following role: 'Academic reader as
processor and evaluator'.

Challenges in reading the sample text


Participants identified a number of challenges faced by students when accessing the
sample text. Some challenges are cultural and involve dealing with assumptions made by
the authors of the text. For instance, for some students from unstable countries the
concepts of stability and sustainability referred to in the title of the text may concern
basic security such as freedom from violence and war, and a stable water supply, rather
than the environmental concerns intended by the authors.
Other challenges are linguistic. We analysed two words and one grammatical structure.
First, students may struggle to understand the authors' intended meaning of the infrequent
word 'talismanic'. The definition in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (2010)
does not help much: 'possessing magical powers'. What kinds of species possess magical
powers? Also, the very frequent word 'we' can present challenges: it could refer to the
authors of the text, or the authors plus the readers, or perhaps the whole of humanity.
One challenging grammatical structure is the first sentence ('The question', given
above). At 13 words the subject of the sentence comprises one long noun phrase. In
contrast, the main verb is straightforward'is'but students need to work out what it
agrees with: 'question', 'species', or 'ecosystem'. Helpfully, 'question' collocates with
'critical'.
Further challenges include working out the meaning of concepts including 'ecological
theory' and 'political practice', and dealing with the accompanying graph and its legend.
Processing this information is exacerbated by hypothetical language including the
sequence 'if were might would'.
Dealing with challenges
To overcome challenges like these, EAP students and teachers can try the following
strategies: ignore unknown words, as meaning can often be recovered without knowing
them; read in English every day; actively process the information in the text, for instance
by writing a summary of it; integrate the skills so that information transfers across skills
such as from listening or reading into writing; explain the main points in the text to
another student; and practise searching for, evaluating, selecting, and synthesising texts.

Conclusion
In summing up, I emphasised that many of these EAP roles and competences are
alignedthey apply both to EAP teachers and students.
edward@emdechazalconsulting.co.uk

References
Beeby, A. and A. Brennan. 2008. First Ecology: Ecological Principles and
Environmental Issues (third edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
de Chazal, E. 2014. English for Academic Purposes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English (eighth edition). 2010.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

7.2 Revisiting the pre-, while-, and post-reading framework for teaching
L2 reading
Christine Irvine-Niakaris Hellenic American University, Athens, Greece and Richard
Kiely University of Southampton, UK

Introduction
Research on how successful readers are able to comprehend texts is reflected in the
traditional three stages of a reading lesson: pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading
(PWP) recommended in teacher training books, incorporated in textbooks and applied in
real classrooms. The presentation aimed to re-examine the validity of the PWP
instructional framework and make recommendations on how teachers can enrich its basic
structure.
The PWP framework as an instructional model has its origins in the Paris et al. (1991)
model for L1 reading. It is based on readers' ability to select appropriate strategies that fit
the particular text, purpose and occasion. (See Table 7.2.1.)
Table 7.2.1: Examples of reading strategies
Grabe's (2009) component abilities view of L1and L2 reading illustrates key challenges
in the development of reading strategies in the L2 reading classroom that the PWP
framework needs to attend to. Some challenges are as follows:
letter sound correspondences (different alphabet);
automatic lexical access develops later in L2;
different size of vocabulary in L2;
morphology and syntax not easily processed in L2;
limited discourse awareness in L2;
varying background knowledge, and social and cultural purposes for reading; and
strategic resources not easily transferred from L1 to L2.
The PWP instructional model is recommended in teachers' methodology handbooks,
teacher training courses, and in course books. Research suggests that while experienced
teachers use the model in a variety of ways (Irvine-Niakaris and Kiely 2014), a particular
finding of that study indicates a smaller number of activities (and less classroom time) at
the post-reading stage, compared to earlier stages. The focus of the next section is an
illustration of the ways teachers can harness the PWP framework to enrich their own
practice in reading lessons.

Enriching the instructional model


The second part of our presentation demonstrated how the reading framework was used
effectively with an interactive whiteboard (IWB) for an intensive reading lesson with a
group of Greek teenagers (intermediate level) taking language classes at an established
language centre in Greece. The text used for the lesson presented the results of a survey
in the US on how and why teenagers text each other. Below is a brief description of each
of the stages of the lesson using the PWP framework.
Pre-reading
Predicting the topic of the text from a picture and word cloud.
Checking understanding of the word 'texting' and use of the word 'teens' in the
Greek context.
Timed reading of text focusing on first sentence of each paragraph (skimming) to
predict content.

While-reading
Monitoring knowledge of vocabulary leading students to guess words from context,
recognise cognates, and to make use of the glossary.
Leading students to connect different parts of the text to infer meaning.
Practicing metacognitive strategies for example, summarising paragraphs.
Raising awareness of text structure through focusing on topic sentences and
reference words.

Post-reading
Discussion in small groups to reflect critically on the topic of texting in relation to
their own social context.

Feedback from students


The students responded well to the lesson. They commented on the benefits of using
specific functions of the IWB for reading comprehension: highlighting, timed reading,
revealing part of the text for prediction purposes and focusing on each paragraph with
relevant questions and while-reading activities. They enjoyed the topic and the fact the
text was based on real data. However, some students felt that reading from a coursebook
still has a place in the classroom and that both approaches to reading comprehension
should be used.

Conclusion
The use of the PWP framework may facilitate the development of students' strategies
with or without the use of the IWB. However, we emphasised that teachers using the
framework need to consider that the activities they develop are fit for purpose, varied,
and practiced frequentlyenabling students in the long term to understand texts
thoroughly, read more efficiently, use a wider range of vocabulary, recognise the
structure of a specific genre, and use L2 to engage in critical discussions of the reading
topic in relation to their own social contexts.
cniakaris@hauniv.edu
r.n.kiely@soton.ac.uk
References
Grabe, W. 2009. Reading in a Second Language. Moving from Theory to Practice.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Irvine-Niakaris, C. and R. Kiely. 2014. 'Reading comprehension in test preparation
classes: an analysis of teachers' pedagogical content knowledge in TESOL'. TESOL
Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/tesq.189.
Paris, S. G., B. Wasik and J. C. Turner. 1991. 'The development of strategic readers' in R.
Barr, M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal and P. D. Pearson (eds.). Handbook of Reading
Research, Volume II. New York and London: Longman.

7.3 Writing theory as practice


Richard Badger University of Leeds, UK
Approaches to writing are presented as sequences of threes. Hyland (2009) talks of 'text',
'writer' and 'reader' approaches; and Badger and White (2000) use the terms 'product',
'process' and 'genre'. In recent years have seen the emergence of what I would term
'literacy approaches' with a focus on students participating in authentic writing events and
developing the ability to critique different types of writing. These see writing as a kind of
socialisation in which learners become aware of not only how texts are produced but the
reasons why texts are produced in this way.
In teachers' handbooks, the history of writing pedagogy is often seen a kind of historical
progress from product, to process, to genre, and now we might treat literacy approaches
as the next stage in the evolution of the teaching of writing. This progressive narrative is
unfortunate for two reasons. Firstly, it misrepresents how writing has been taught in the
past. Teachers are more eclectic that the four approaches suggest, and the idea of a
teacher receiving a revelation and then adopting a new way of teaching is not an accurate
depiction of how changes come about. Secondly, this narrative is a misrepresentation of
theories as distinct from the teaching contexts in which they were developed. It is not
surprising that many teachers feel that their work is not being made easier by a demand
that everyone teaches writing in whatever currently counts as the most modern way.
Figure 7.3.1 is an attempt to describe the four approaches in a way that avoids the
implication of progression. It places writing approaches in two dimensions related to
firstly skill versus knowledge and secondly, whether they are more socially or
individually oriented.
Figure 7.3.1: Approaches to writing
All writing involves aspects of product, process, genre and literacy. You cannot write
well without knowledge of grammar from product approaches or text structure from
genre approaches. Similarly, expert writers are able to plan their writing as in process
approaches and participants in authentic writing events from literacy approaches.
Teachers should see the approaches as a diagnostic tool they can use to identify what the
writing needs of their learners are. The process starts with a needs analysis of the kind of
writing that a particular group of students need to produce, followed by an analysis of
what knowledge and skills the students already have. This analysis will produce very
different results in different contexts. The teacher's role is to identify strategies which
will help the learners develop from where they are now to where they want to be.
r.g.badger@education.leeds.ac.uk

References
Badger, R. G. and G. White. 2000. 'A process genre approach to teaching writing'. ELT
Journal 54/2: 153-60.
Hyland, K. 2009. Teaching and Researching Writing (second edition). Harlow, UK:
Longman.

7.4 Writing for a purpose


Hilary Nesi and Sheena Gardner Coventry University, UK and
Adam Kightley British Council, Poland
This presentation described the development of academic writing materials based on
findings from the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus. The materials are
genre and discipline-specific; they aim to raise teachers' and learners' awareness of the
types of writing produced by students studying at university level in the medium of
English, and to improve the quality of student writing, especially the writing produced by
users of English as a second or a foreign language. They are freely available at
www.britishcouncil.org/writingforapurpose, on the British Council LearnEnglish site.

Background
The BAWE corpus was originally developed as part of the project 'An investigation of
genres of assessed writing in British higher education'. This project was funded by the
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (Award RES-000-23-0800), and aimed
to develop descriptors for all the genres of British university student assignment,
identifying assignment types according to their social purposes. The BAWE corpus
contains about 6.5 million running words, and is made up of assignments written by
students at four levels of university study in over 30 academic disciplines. The
assignments were all written for assessment and were given good grades by the students'
subject lecturers. They are spread fairly equally across the undergraduate and taught
master's levels, and across disciplines in the arts and humanities, life sciences, physical
sciences and social sciences.
Thirteen 'genre families' have been identified for the assignments in the corpus: case
studies; critiques; design specifications; empathy writing; essays; exercises; explanations;
literature surveys; methodology recounts; narrative recounts; problem questions;
proposals; research reports. A full account of the characteristics of these genre families
can be found in Gardner and Nesi (2013) and Nesi and Gardner (2012). Other relevant
information and advice on how to access the corpus is available at
www.coventry.ac.uk/bawe.

The materials
The 'Writing for a Purpose' materials were developed with the aid of follow-on funding
from the ESRC (Award ES/J010995/1). This award required collaboration between
academic and non-academic institutions, and in our case researchers from Coventry
University collaborated with web developers from the British Council. Andy Gillett, the
writer of the 'Using English for Academic Purposes' (UEfAP) materials (2014), also
worked with us as a materials developer, and Elly Hutchings, an undergraduate design
student at Coventry University, provided the artwork for the materials.
In 'Writing for a Purpose' the genre families are grouped according to their primary
purposes: 'demonstrating knowledge and understanding' (exercises and explanations);
'developing powers of independent reasoning' (critiques and essays); 'building research
skills' (literature surveys, methodology recounts and research reports); 'preparing for
professional practice' (case studies, design specifications, problem questions and
proposals); and 'writing for oneself and others' (narrative recounts and empathy writing).
Narrative recounts and empathy writing have been renamed as event recounts and public
engagement, as these names seem to give a better indication of their purpose.
Users of the materials are encouraged to identify the genre family their assignment
belongs to so that they can structure their writing appropriately and incorporate suitable
linguistic features. We are now adding subject-specific pages, however, so that users can
start their journey through the materials via a genre family or via the discipline they are
studying.
The materials include interactive exercises of the type used in computer-assisted
language learning (CALL), but there are also links to short sample assignments, audio
and video recordings of lecturers and students talking about writing tasks, and
concordance lines within SketchEngine, the corpus query tool. Users are presented with
words and phrases that commonly occur in certain types of assignment, and can then use
SketchEngine to examine how these words and phrases are used in the BAWE corpus.
Additional resources
The 'Writing for a Purpose' materials are intended for use by individual students outside
the classroom, and by teachers in class. Registered users can post comments and queries
on any page of the 'Writing for a Purpose site', and we aim to respond to all of these.
Plans for lessons using the materials are now being posted to the companion British
Council site TeachEnglish.
We continue to investigate the BAWE corpus, and as we find out more about proficient
student writing we add new features to the 'Writing for a Purpose' materials.
h.nesi@coventry.ac.uk

References
Gardner, S. and H. Nesi. 2013. 'A classification of genre families in university student
writing'. Applied Linguistics 34 /1: 1-29.
Gillett, A. 2014. Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP). www.uefap.com/
Nesi, H. and S. Gardner. 2012. Genres across the Disciplines: Student Writing in Higher
Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

7.5 Yes, we can! A journey into plagiarism-free writing


Natalya Eydelman Novosibirsk State University, Russia
Have your students had problems understanding what constitutes plagiarism? Have they
struggled with acquiring their own voice when writing? What can be done to help them to
learn to write observing the conventions of academic integrity? These were some of the
questions I addressed during my workshop.
The problem of students' plagiarism is rather acute in my teaching context for reasons
that can be summarised as a lack of knowledge and understanding of what plagiarism is
and why it is considered unacceptable in the academic community, as well as a lack of
skills necessary to avoid it. Cases of plagiarism among my students are not uncommon
and often take a rather crude form of 'cut and paste' plagiarism (McCabe 2005), with
students copying sentences and whole paragraphs from the Internet and pasting them into
their work.

BestPolicies wiki
The idea to create this wiki was driven by the necessity of dealing with the problem of
plagiarism in academic writing courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students at
my university in Russia. Unfortunately, in general across Russia, intolerance to
plagiarism has not yet become the norm, although in some institutions the situation has
started to change. To address this problem I designed a wiki, BestPolicies
(http://bestpolicies.pbworks.com/), to help students to learn about the essence of
plagiarism and to practise a variety of skills necessary to avoid it. The objectives of using
the wiki were as follows:
To understand what constitutes plagiarism and why.
To learn about different types of plagiarism.
To learn about the consequences of plagiarism.
To understand the purposes of referencing.
To improve note taking, summarising and paraphrasing skills.
To compile a bibliography about plagiarism.
To improve general writing skills.
To improve academic writing skills.
To improve general reading skills.
To improve academic reading skills.
It was hoped that achieving these objectives would help the students to improve the skills
they need to master in order to write from sources without plagiarising.

Quoting, paraphrasing, summarising and referencing


Mastering academic skills is a necessary step on the way to writing without plagiarising.
There are tasks in the wiki, the purpose of which is to familiarise students with quoting,
summarising, paraphrasing and referencing conventions (Task 5: Quoting; Task 6:
Summarising; Task 7: Paraphrasing; Task 8: Referencing). The next step was to let them
practise these skills by completing such activities as:
creating a 'hotlist' of resources about plagiarism using the social bookmarking
service delicious.com (http://delicious.com);
writing summaries of articles read throughout the course; and
improving the existing reference list in Wikipedia article about plagiarism and
adding their own references to it.
An appealing feature of doing these tasks in the wiki is that they are done by students
collaboratively, which encourages them to learn from each other.

Wikipedia task
To complete the course students had to contribute to the Wikipedia article devoted to
plagiarism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/plagiarism) using their experience of learning
about plagiarism throughout the course. This task gave them a chance to further practise
their writing skills in the authentic context and provided them with additional motivation
through an opportunity to receive feedback from other Wikipedia users.
Why Wikipedia? According to Warschauer, to ensure the successful integration of
computer-mediated instruction, it is essential for an activity to be socially and culturally
significant. In addition, the use of an electronic medium should match its purposes and
make use of 'medium-appropriate rhetorical features' (2005: 45). Incorporating
contributions to the article on plagiarism in Wikipedia in the course made its different
parts fit together and the whole experience of working in the wiki more authentic.
Konieczny (2007) points out that writing for Wikipedia allows students to reach a wide
audience who can provide them with additional feedback; this provides an often missing
link between theory and practice. Among other things, the Wikipedia task enabled the
students to use tools for editors available on Wikipedia, such as ranking articles
according to their quality, editing 'stubs' (articles that require considerable improvement
of their content and presentation) and including citation and referencing.

Feedback
During an informal feedback session conducted at the end of the course the majority of
the students reported that working in the wiki and completing the project helped them to
gain a deeper understanding of the essence of plagiarism and improve their writing skills,
particularly summarising, paraphrasing and referencing.
eydelman.natalia@gmail.com

References
Konieczny, P. 2007. 'Wikis and Wikipedia as a teaching tool'. International Journal of
Instructional Technology and Distance Learning 4/1: 15-34.
McCabe, D. 2005. 'Cheating among college and university students: a North American
perspective'. International Journal of Academic Integrity 1/1: 1-11.
Warshauer, M. 2005. 'Sociocultural perspectives on CALL' in J. Egbert and M. Petrie
(eds.). CALL Research Perspectives. Mahwah, N.J. and London: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates.

7.6 Writing for scholarly purposes in higher education in Taiwan


Shih-Chieh Chien Taipei Medical University, Taiwan

Background
In academia, the definition of scholarship is highly linked to academic publications.
University rankings, public funding and prestige are generally intertwined with the
number of research articles published in certain journals and their following citations by
researchers (Anderson et al. 2007). The concept of 'publish or perish', which denotes the
value of writing for publication, has greatly influenced academia in Taiwan (for example,
Chen and Chien 2009, Kao and Pao 2009). As a consequence, researchers are under
enormous pressure to publish in international journals. The main reason behind the
pursuit of world-class universities and global university ranking is that the more
publication in international journals, the more resources and social prestige universities
will obtain.
The case of academia in Taiwan is typical in that the notion of quality worldwide is
related to 'indexisation', such as the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI), the
Science Citation Index (SCI) and the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). Some key
issues that arise include the hegemony of English, the problems of defining research
performance outcomes, and the dilemma of publishing in local versus international
journals, especially when the priority is on high-stakes international journals. As English
has become the major language for scholarly publishing in international journals,
researchers need to publish in English in order to have wide representation and
recognition.

Research design
In view of the background and contextual description provided above, this study sought
to answer the following questions:
What are researchers' perceptions of publishing in English?
What are their problems with publishing in English?
What are their needs for successful publishing?
Participants in the study consisted of 20 academics (12 male; 8 female) from three
universities in Taiwan. The interviews were designed to understand researchers'
perceptions of the issues in writing for scholarly publication in English in Taiwan.
Specifically, the purpose of the interviews sought to discover what problems researchers
in Taiwan faced and how they handled the problems.

Findings
Findings pertaining to four salient emerging themes include (a) the need for publication
in English; (b) A&HCI, SCI and SSCI fever and controversy in Taiwan;
(c) difficulties in writing in English; and (d) the need for academic writing support. First,
reasons for the need for publication in English include conveying ideas to international
readers, facing pressure from government authorities and the university, and finding a job
and/or getting promoted. Second, since A&HCI/SCI/SSCI databases provide the number
of citations per paper and the journal impact factor, the Taiwan government favours
quantified criteria. The use of A&HCI/SCI/SSCI in recent years as university academic
evaluation indicators has caused a lot of controversy. In most cases, the government and
universities mainly look at these indicators, which are increasingly criticised by
Taiwanese people. The third major theme emerging is the difficulties researchers
experience when writing in English. Compared with native English speakers, all
participants in the study noted a degree of difficulty in writing professionally in English;
challenges include a lack of sophisticated vocabulary, a lack of variety in sentence
patterns, problems with using language, a lack of skills in using the appropriate tone, and
problems with organising a research paper.
Finally, researchers in the present study indicated that the following factors can be
beneficial:
receiving support in searching for appropriate research topics that work within the
context of Greater China;
receiving support in choosing appropriate frameworks from Anglo-American
theorists to frame local issues as well as enriching theories;
collaborating with others; and
receiving appropriate individual guidance in writing, and attending relevant writing
workshops.

Conclusion
The findings reveal the following points:
1 First, the dominance of English in international research has resulted in the
pressure for researchers to publish internationally in English. As a result of
globalisation, writing scholarly articles for publication in English is becoming
increasingly necessary for researchers.
2 Second, there is concern about A&HCI, SCI and SSCI fever in Taiwan. Excessive
emphasis on A&HCI, SCI and SSCI, regardless of culturally responsive evaluation
criteria, may result in local Taiwanese research decoupling.
3 Third, the English language barrier in writing for publication tends to be a common
problem for non-native speakers. Writing challenges include vocabulary, grammar,
discourse organisation and tone.
4 Finally, to increase the chances of scholarly publications in international journals,
researchers may adopt some strategic plans with university support. Universities can,
for example, establish academic writing programs for researchers to promote their
professional development, including fostering the awareness of differences between
English and Chinese academic writing conventions, informing researchers of clear
standards for scholarly publication in English, and developing plans for researchers
based on their specific needs in writing.
chien.paul@gmail.com

References
Anderson, M. S., E. A. Ronning, R. D. Vries and B. C. Martinson. 2007. 'The perverse
effects of competition on scientists' work and relationships'. Science and Engineering
Ethics 13: 437-61.
Chen, K. H. and S. Y. S. Chien. 2009. 'Knowledge production in the era of neo-liberal
globalization: Reflections on the changing academic conditions in Taiwan'. Inter-Asia
Cultural Studies 10/2: 206-28.
Kao, C. and H. L. Pao. 2009. 'An evaluation of research performance in management of
168 Taiwan universities'. Scientometrics 78/2: 261-77.
7.7 Using lecture slides to create an academic corpus
Simon Smith Coventry University, UK
The idea of supporting language learning with the use of corpora has been around since
at least 1997, when Tim Johns coined the term 'data-driven learning' (DDL). This
approach invites learners to tease out patterns from authentic text and test their own
linguistic hypotheses in the manner of a mini research project; it has an intuitive appeal to
teachers who favour student-centred or inductive learning.
In this study, students constructed and consulted their own web corpora, based on
presentation slides from their subject lectures. This was intended to help them build up
their subject vocabulary, as well as access authentic texts from their discipline. Although
no firm conclusions about the success of the method were reached, and no formal
evaluation was conducted, feedback gained from participants was positive. The corpus
query tool Sketch Engine (http://sketchengine.co.uk/) was used for the study. It includes a
web corpus generating module, WebBootCat. Readers may also be interested in the freely
available version of BootCat, at http://bootcat.sslmit.unibo.it/.

Corpus construction by learners: background


Many approaches to DDL involve the consultation of corpus resources. It has been
claimed that corpus construction by learners, followed by consultation, may yield better
learning outcomes (Aston 2002). Involvement with the process of corpus construction
may instil in learners a sense of ownership of the product, as well as lead to the
acquisition of transferable skills (in ICT, for example; see Boulton 2011). Smith (2011)
had language learners in a Taiwan university create their own personal corpora based on
keywords.

This study
The present study differs from Smith (2011) in that (a) the corpora created were focused
on the students' subject area, Accounting and Finance for International Business (AFIB),
not selected by students; and (b) the corpora were seeded from course materials (mainly
lecture PowerPoints) in the subject area, and not from user-selected (and sometimes
arbitrary) keywords.
A group of six AFIB students undertook the corpus construction as part of an in-sessional
English for Academic Purposes (EAP) class, over a period of four teaching weeks. In the
first two lessons, an introduction to using corpora and reading concordance lines was
given. In weeks 3 and 4, students constructed and consulted their own corpora.
Figure 7.7.1: Schematic of corpus construction and consultation
Key: 1. Text input. 2. Wordlist from mini-corpus. 3. Bing API interacts with BootCat. 4.
Word sketch and concordance displays from web corpus.

Corpus construction method


The corpus construction architecture is shown in Figure 7.7.1. Corpus construction is
seeded with a set of user-supplied keywords: first a search engine module finds web
pages that are 'about' the keywords, then other BootCat software components extract text
from the web pages and generate the corpus, which can then be consulted in various
ways.
First, the user uploads the text content of one or more PowerPoint (or certain other
format) files to form a mini-corpus, using the Sketch Engine Corpus Architect. Because
of the nature of lecture slides, the resulting corpus does not contain many full sentences;
however it will include key topic vocabulary. Students could opt to create a more
specialised corpus, consisting of perhaps just one PowerPoint, for example on 'Capital
Investment Appraisal', to which two lectures were devoted. Alternatively they might
decide to create a broader corpus, such as 'Management Accounting for Business
Decisions', by downloading all PowerPoints on the module.
The Sketch Engine generates a list of the most salient words in the corpus (words found
much more frequently in this corpus than in a standard [reference] corpus). Using the
wordlist, BootCat then creates a larger corpus, consisting of texts from the web.
Corpus consultation
The large corpus can be used to
1 produce lists of subject area words and terms for study;
2 view word sketches, which give a one-page view of the collocations and
grammatical structures in which a word or term participates;
3 view the words and terms in context, using concordancing; and
4 link to the original texts on the web.

Feedback and future plans


Representative comments included:
The work is useful for my AFIB study. Because the software list the word which I do not
understand very clearly. I can learn the speech and the meaning of this word.
In the coming academic year, a more detailed quantitative study will be conducted using
control and experimental groups. As new lecture slides become available week by week,
the learners will be encouraged to update their personal corpora, and the impact of the
approach on learning will be assessed by pre/post-tests.
simon.smith@coventry.ac.uk

References
Aston, G. 2002. 'The learner as corpus designer' in B. Kettemann and G. Marko (eds.).
Teaching and Learning by Doing Corpus Analysis. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
www.sslmit.unibo.it/~guy/graz.htm.
Boulton, A. 2011. 'Bringing corpora to the masses: Free and easy tools for language
learning' in N. Kbler (ed.). Corpora, Language, Teaching, and Resources: From Theory
to Practice. Bern: Peter Lang. http://hal.archives-
ouvertes.fr/docs/00/32/69/80/PDF/XXXX_boulton_TaLC_interdisciplinary.pdf.
Smith, S. 2011. 'Learner construction of corpora for general English in Taiwan'.
Computer Assisted Language Learning 24/4: 291-316.
http://curve.coventry.ac.uk/open/items/96362d30-9307-404e-81e8-16091fb2c118/1/.

7.8 Spilling or spelling? Why do Arabic speakers stand out?


Emina Tuzovic The London School of English and Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Introduction
Arabic-speaking learners of English present a unique group of students whose needs
differ from those of other learners. While they may perform well in listening and
speaking tasks, their reading and writing skills often lag behind. This paper will focus on
one of their most persistent difficulties, spelling, and will highlight the principal reasons.
Practical solutions for teachers will then be provided.
Trainers in general English and EAP classes tend to teach reading and writing skills on a
sentence, paragraph and text level, which may not fit the needs of this particular group of
learners. Initially, it is the word level that should be tackled. This entails decoding
individual items (reading) and recalling them (spelling).
Identifying typical spelling mistakes made by speakers of Arabic
In comparison to other groups, the randomness of spelling errors in Arabic-speaking
learners of English puzzles many teachers. However, on closer inspection, patterns of
errors can be detected. Arabic students' misspelled words retain the consonantal skeleton
of the target word, while the vowels tend to be the source of errors (for example, careful-
*carfal; discussed-*descaussed). This is sometimes referred to as 'vowel blindness'.
Therefore, a target item often becomes another high-frequency English word (for
example, stupid/stopped; subtle/subtitle).
The spelling of words which feature vowel sounds /e/, //; //, //; and /e/, /e/ seem to
create most problems for Arabic learners. An additional difficulty is the schwa sound //
which frequently occurs in unstressed positions and maps onto different letters (for
example, *humon, *standerd, *eccept). Overall, spelling errors in Arabic learners are
predominantly phonological in nature (for example, especially-*spachelly; enough-
*enouf).

What factors influence poor spelling in Arabic ESL learners?


L1 interference plays a major role in poor spelling performance in this group. The
differences entail a visually distinct cursive script and right-to-left reading direction.
However, the most vital difference is that Arabic is a consonantal script where short
vowels are, in most cases, not written down. Moreover, in comparison to a very complex
vowel system in English, Arabic only has three short vowels, three long vowels, and two
diphthongs (/a/, / /, /u/; //, //,//; /a/, /a/). These features all make mapping of
vowel sounds onto letters very challenging for Arab learners.

Practical solutions for teachers


First and foremost, teachers should pre-teach what vowels, consonants and syllables are,
as well as the difference between the sounds and letters. These are a prerequisite for
grasping the basics of spelling in English. Secondly, when writing lexical items on the
board, vowels should be marked with another colour to differentiate them from
consonants. Every important word should also be broken down into syllables. Being able
to identify the syllabic structure will consolidate the CVC pattern which will help
students spell longer, multi-syllabic words and focus their attention on affixation. This is
an area Arabic speakers will respond to well as the morphological system of Arabic also
contains complex affixation patterns. Thirdly, learners should be encouraged to write
items by hand (instead of on the computer) which consolidates the visual form of the
word. In order to test themselves, students should use the method look, remember, cover,
write, check. They should cover the word for up to a minute before they attempt to write
it. This will encourage the use of the whole word rather than a phonological approach.
But most importantly, the learners should be encouraged to notice the patterns of
common English letter combinations (for example, <str>; <gh>; <ei>; <ie>), and record
their spelling mistakes based on these (Stirling 2003).
Playing games such as 'spelling bee' to recycle the newly learnt lexical items is a useful
tool to improving these students' spelling, as well as gapping vowels in words (for
example, except:_xc_pt) (Harrison 1992). On the other hand, popular 'unjumbling letters'
tasks (for example, except-xecpet) might have a detrimental effect particularly for Arabic
speakers, as these will not assist in the consolidation of the visual word form. Apart from
transcribing particular sounds, Arabic speakers might find the use of the whole phonemic
chart overwhelming as it seems like another alphabet.

Conclusion
As a growing group in ESL classrooms, Arabic-speaking learners require special
attention with their spelling, which is complex and can, therefore, be erroneously
perceived as lacking in rules. Nevertheless, the consistent use of techniques to reinforce
letter patterns and syllables with Arabic-speaking learners will aid them in improving
spelling in a very short period of time.
eminatuzovic@londonschool.com

Reference
Harrison, R. 1992. Keep Writing 2. A Writing Course for Arab Students. Harlow:
Longman. Stirling, J. 2003. 'Remedial spelling in EFL'.
www.elgweb.net/spelling_article.html.
8 English for career training
The opening paper of this career-focused chapter asks, 'ESP or EGP: what do learners
really need?' The context, as described by Agnieszka Dudzik and Agnieszka Dzieciol-
Pedich is Poland, but the question is applicable worldwide. Given that ES(A)P is a
growing area within ELT, it is increasingly necessary for teachers to design courses for
specific groups of learners; Adam Simpson provides guidance on how to do this for
maths and science, while Anne Wiseman reports on a course designed to assist higher-
education subject specialists who need to teach in English. Turning to legal English,
Barbora Chovancov writes about course design for students of legal English and
tpnka Bilov presents activities designed to increase students' engagement in their
classes. Next, Eduardo Garbey Savigne outlines an approach to training Cuban
healthcare professionals in medical English, while Hans Platzer and Dsire Verdonk
present the results of a longitudinal study into the needs of Austrian business and
engineering students. The final three papers all address topics in business English.
Marjorie Rosenberg gives pointers for writing business English activities; Dana
Poklepovic presents training games designed to develop soft skills; and Adrian Pilbeam
discusses the process of becoming an intercultural trainer.

8.1 ESP or EGP: what do learners really need?


Agnieszka Dudzik Medical University of Bialystok, Poland and Agnieszka Dzieciol-
Pedich* University of Bialystok, Poland
*IATEFL W R Lee Scholarship winner

Background
Tertiary education in Poland is supervised by the Ministry of Science and Higher
Education which, in order to ensure the quality of teaching in all institutions of higher
education, has developed teaching standards for 118 academic areas. As regards foreign
language instruction, the standards require university graduates to demonstrate language
proficiency in at least one foreign language at CEFR level B2 or higher and to know a
specialised variety of a foreign language related to their area of study. While the
specifications of general language learning outcomes can be found in the CEFR
guidelines, the choice of specialised language course content is determined by foreign
language departments or other units providing language courses for institutions of higher
education.

Rationale behind the research


According to Brumfit (2001), one of the principles of communicative language teaching
is a concern to identify learners' needs. This, unquestionably, leads to the
individualisation of the teaching process. An individual approach to students is likely to
increase the effectiveness of language learning, which indicates that both general and
specialised language programmes should be preceded by an analysis of learners' needs.
Moreover, in the case of specialised language courses at tertiary level in Poland, a needs
analysis may help course providers determine learners' specific language needs, which
are frequently a reflection of the content subjects they are studying.

Research aim, questions, sample and instrument


The main aim of the study was to compare ESP language needs of students at the
Medical University of Bialystok and the University of Bialystok. It was motivated by the
following research questions:
How do students use subject-specific English outside the language classroom?
How do students use general English outside the language classroom?
To what extent should syllabus design reflect English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
principles compared to English for General Purposes (EGP) principles?
What should the main focus of ESP classes be?
The research was conducted among 100 students at the Medical University of Bialystok
(Faculty of Medicine) and 92 students at the University of Bialystok (Faculty of
Economics and Management) at B2 language proficiency level. The research instrument
was a self-administered questionnaire with close-ended questions.

Results
Use of subject-specific English outside the language classroom
As can be seen from the summary of student responses in Figure 8.1.1, students of
economics and management use subject-specific English almost exclusively in the
language classroom, while medical students also have contact with subject-specific
English in content subjects.

Figure 8.1.1: Learner use of subject-specific English outside the language classroom
For medical students, the curriculum requirements (i.e. a language course entirely
devoted to ESP) do not reflect their needs. They would prefer to have three-quarters of
the course hours devoted to ESP and the remainder to EGP. Similarly, students of
economics and management, who at B2 level are expected to focus solely on ESP, would
like to learn a combination of ESP and EGP in equal proportions.

Main focus of ESP classes


Both groups indicated that the main focus of ESP classes should be developing speaking
skills and expanding their knowledge of specialist vocabulary. Although they are aware
of the need to use ESP for oral communication, in reality medical students need ESP for a
variety of purposes including reading, writing, listening and speaking. Economics
students, on the other hand, are primarily focused on developing oral communication
skills that will enable them to function in English-speaking environments.

General English outside the language classroom


Both medical and economics students use general English in a restricted number of
contexts, which frequently include the use of colloquial English. Their use of EGP is
based on receptive activities (browsing Internet websites and listening to songs), and it
offers very limited opportunities to use English for oral communication.

Conclusions
Both medical and economics students need a curriculum that includes both ESP and EGP
instruction rather than an ESP-only approach. Moreover, these students use subject-
specific English too infrequently to design an ESP-only course. As indicated by the
responses provided by medical students, the importance of ESP during a language course
increases when the design of a language course reflects, at least to some extent, the
curriculum of content subjects. As regards EGP, students should be provided with a
variety of oral communication-oriented tasks and they should be offered opportunities to
have contact with literary, media and formal varieties of English.
agdud@yahoo.com
lumriel@gmail.com

Reference
Brumfit, C. 2001. Individual Freedom in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.

8.2 How we made an 'English for Maths and Science' course


Adam Simpson Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey
The use of a traditional coursebook in preparatory university programs presents a
predicament for students who go on to study science-based degrees, as there is often a
bias toward social sciences and away from natural sciences. Nevertheless, setting up an
English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course is not something that every tertiary level
institution can easily manage. Indeed, the journey towards implementing such a course
often requires a number of duties that go beyond the classroom walls and need to be
defined long before anything happens in the classroom (Basturkmen 2010). In my
presentation I offered a model of how such courses can be created by focusing on every
stage of the process, thus delivering a set of guiding principles for those seeking to
initiate a university level ESP program from scratch.

Guidelines for setting up an ESP course


1 Discovering that you have a need in the first place
My teaching career is typical, in that I've frequently worked with general English
coursebooks. Certain university disciplines such as maths, however, require knowledge
of grammatical and lexical areas not covered in such general texts. In the presentation I
showed the importance of looking at what your course contains and seeing how it relates
to the future needs of learners. Suggested actions included examining coursebooks for
social science vs. natural science content. Learners might also conduct a quick
examination of course materials and provide feedback as to how much directly relates to
future studies.

2 Deciding what exactly is required in terms of new course content


Any successful ESP course has a distinctive approach to language teaching based on
identifying the specific language features, discourse practices and communicative skills
of the target learner group (Hyland 2002). In our case, we liaised with lecturers to analyse
the core courses that learners would take in their freshman studies. The content was then
compared to our courses to see what was lacking. Alternative approaches discussed
included conducting needs analyses with learners who weren't sure where their
continuing studies would take place.

3 Formulating aims, objectives and exit level descriptors


When forming aims, objectives and exit levels, I recommend the three-pronged approach
of ethnography, genre analysis and corpus analysis noted by Hyland (2006). For us,
ethnography meant physically attending the lectures that learners would take; genre
analysis required looking at written course materials; and corpus analysis involved
looking at the typical linguistic features learners should know by the end of the course.

4 Choosing key vocabulary and grammar


In ESP we need to investigate the specialist language and lexis connected to the
community of practice (Hyland 2006). Developing from the work done in the previous
stage, vocabulary and grammar may be chosen based on analysis of your chosen input
materials. This can be done on an intuitive basis, but the use of corpus analysis tools is
encouraged.

5 Maximising the effectiveness of the language input learners receive


The final organisation of courses should include a balance between 'real' (lecturer-
delivered) and 'carrier' (language teacher-delivered) content and 'authentic' (actual
lectures) and 'non-authentic' (designed for the language classroom) materials
(Basturkmen 2010). In my talk I highlighted the importance of working with lecturers to
achieve this balance. An alternative mentioned was the use of YouTube university
lectures to facilitate the use of authentic materials.

6 Deciding on the roles of language teachers in delivering the course


ESP teaching practices need to recognise the particular subject-matter needs and
expertise of learners (Hyland 2002). Language teachers need to feel comfortable with a
university-level course (maths in my case). Suggested actions include bringing guest
lecturers and teaching assistants into the class for question-and-answer sessions. For
those without access to such individuals, the use of YouTube video clips was again
mentioned as an alternative.

7 Exploring the roles of assessment and stakeholder feedback


Assessment plays as significant a role in ESP courses as in any other language education,
and due consideration as to how it will be performed is a necessity. I discussed ways in
which priority could be given to assessing lexical development (the language of maths)
rather than displaying content knowledge (knowing mathematical formulae and the like).
I additionally noted the advantages of conducting learner- and teacher-based research in
order to gauge the usefulness of a course, and how this might influence the future design
of the course.
adams@sabanciuniv.edu

References
Basturkmen, H. 2010. Developing Courses in English for Specific Purposes.
Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hyland, K. 2002. 'Specificity revisited: how far should we go now?'. English for Specific
Purposes 21/4: 385-95.
Hyland, K. 2006. English for Academic Purposes: An Advanced Resource Book. London:
Routledge.

8.3 English-medium instruction in HE: the what and the why


Anne Wiseman The British Council, Portugal

Introduction
This talk begin by discussing the term EMI (English-medium instruction) and comparing
it to other practices in which English is used as a medium of instruction, such as CLIL,
immersion and ESP. Referring to Macaro's concept of the ELT continuum, practices
which have language dominant aims (such as EAP, ESP and ELT) were shown at one end
of the ELT continuum; at the other are practices which have content-driven aims, such as
immersion and EMI.
There has been a phenomenal growth of EMI in higher education across the across the
world. In the EU alone in 2002, 560 master's programmes were taught in English; by
2011 it was 3,701, and by 2013 6,609 master's programmes were taught in English. This
accounts for a 79 per cent increase in the number of master's programmes taught in
English since 2011.
Why are more and more courses in non-English-speaking countries being taught in
English? Answers to this question vary: some universities choose to teach through the
medium of English as it is the lingua franca of their country; others do so because it gives
the university the opportunity to attract a wider range of students; and others do so
because they feel they can strengthen their offer to students with courses taught in
Englishand make their students more employable. This spread can also be attributed to
the general globalisation of English, driven by the need for a common language in an
increasingly globalised world. This then links into the need for English for employability,
an issue mentioned in the EU's policy document on education and training.
Clearly, the Bologna Process and the Erasmus programme in Europe have already had a
major impact on students' mobility, and with it the need to ensure that students are
studying their subject in a common language which they understand. More often than not,
this language is English.

The Academic Teaching Excellence course


In the EU the British Council was approached by universities for assistance with their
EMI courses. After initial research in eight EU countries we found that many universities
are offering courses in English but that many of their lecturers do not feel confident
enough to deliver their courses in English, despite having a CEFR level of English
between B2 and C1. The issue was therefore not around levels of English, but around
communicating their subject knowledge effectively through the medium of English.
In response to the universities' needs and with reference to wider research, the Academic
Teaching Excellence (ATE) course was produced for the British Council by Oxford
University and British Council colleagues. The course aims to advance the lecturer's
ability to structure and deliver lectures in English effectively and confidently,
communicate effectively with students whose first language is not English, and use
English in supervision or discussion and small-group contexts. There is a large practicum
component with peer observations and micro-teaching.
The course is currently being delivered across Europe and is expected to be delivered in
universities in South Asia shortly. The course has been highly praised, with one lecturer
citing the course as the answer to all her problems.

Challenges within EMI


The talk ended with a review of some of the challenges EMI courses present. Questions
around the lecturer's changed role from that of a discipline specialist to that of a
discipline specialist who can deliver in a second language were discussed. Another issue
was around English; some lecturers feel that their role is not to help students with their
English, but simply to deliver their subject in English. One lecturer on the British Council
ATE course commented, 'I'm not interested in the students' English; I'm interested in their
competency in biogenetics.' This, then, begs the question to what extent an academic
teacher lecturing through the medium of English can or should also become a quasi-
English language teacher who takes time to explain specialist English vocabulary and
grammar. Other issues were around perceptions of the ATE courseswhether it is an
English course or a methodology courses (in fact it is a hybrid)and, of course, the ever-
present question of 'native' versus 'non-native teachers' teaching subjects in university.
anne.wiseman@pt.britishcouncil.org

Reference
Macaro, E. 2013. 'Defining and researching English medium instruction: the need for
clear thinking and a clear research agenda.' Paper presented at the British Council
Regional Policy Dialogue The Role of English in Higher Education. Segovia, Spain,
November 2013.

8.4 A law unto itself: course design for legal English undergraduates
Barbora Chovancov Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Designing a syllabusthe first prerequisite of any good and well-balanced language
courseis a task many ESP teachers have to face at some point in their professional
careers. The presentation showed how the development of a legal English syllabus can
draw on information obtained from recent graduates on the basis of a 'transferred' needs
analysis survey.

Background
Needs analysis is a well-researched field, with origins in Hutchinson and Waters (1987)
and developed by many other authors, most recently by Huhta et al. (2013). The idea of
finding out about students' needs by asking them directly has been successfully applied to
many ESP courses. However, as regards the future needs of pre-service students, it is not
feasible to perform adequate needs analyses because the respondents lack the necessary
insight into their future professions. Still, there are certain areas where the students can
provide some very relevant information, for example, concerning their level of English,
motivation, preferences and expectations.

Published materials vs. tailor-made courses


Although the recent whirlwind of publishing activities in the field of legal English has
resulted in many high-quality publications, there does not appear to be a single book that
would comprehensively satisfy all the English language needs of specific target groups.
Thus, when presented with a chance to revise the old syllabus and prepare new materials,
the teachers of legal English at my institution decided to take the opportunity and fashion
the new syllabus to the specific needs of their first- and second-year students.

Transferred needs analysis


A 'transferred needs analysis' (Chovancov 2013) in the form of a questionnaire survey
carried out among recent graduates from the Faculty of Law yielded some surprising
results. Though the legal profession might appear as fairly domestic, tied to the local
context, three-quarters of the respondents reported having to use English in their jobs.
Young Czech lawyers identified the following areas as particularly relevant to them:
reading: working with written texts (judgments, case law, contracts);
writing: drafting of contracts and other documents; correspondence (emails, dealing
with clients, internal communication);
translating and cooperating with translators; and
speaking: telephoning, using Skype, presenting, chairing meetings and negotiating.
The graduates were also asked to reflect on their past experience with legal English
classes and suggest possible changes to the course syllabus.

Changes to the syllabus


Based on the findings from the transferred needs analysis, a number of suggestions were
made by the teachers. Eventually, the new syllabus implemented these major changes:
suitable texts were selected from Czech law, such as samples of legislation and other
authentic legal texts; writing skills practice was incorporated; and new emphasis was
placed on soft skills, namely telephoning, negotiating and lawyer-client interviews.
Moreover, in view of the immediate needs of undergraduates studying at the Faculty of
Law, academic skills (namely writing abstracts) and systematic exam practice were
included.

Motivating activities
Unlike professionals who are motivated intrinsically, undergraduates very often need
external motivation to help them maintain interest in the classes and, thus, achieve good
results. Stimulating materials and exciting activities can help to achieve this goal. The
following two activities, shared with the IATEFL audience, are given as examples of
successful innovation in the syllabus.
In the first activity, students role-play an interview between a lawyer and a visiting
British citizen whose hotel room was burgled. While the 'John Hopkinses' prepare the
issues they need help with, the 'lawyers' study role-cards with relevant quotations from
the Civil Code. The lawyer-client interview that follows is both true-to-life and
manageable for pre-experience students. The next step is a follow-up letter to the client.
Authentic legal materials are thus used to practise reading, speaking and writing skills.
In the second activity, an extract from a legal drama series is used to illustrate a point
made in class. Students are shown a scene from the Boston Legal dramedy in which one
of the main characters is being arrested for aiding and abetting a fugitive, conspiracy and
obstruction of justice. Then, they brainstorm Miranda warnings (and learn about their UK
equivalent). In less than two minutes, the video shows how the arrested lawyer waives his
right to have Miranda read to him. Students discuss and explain what happened (rather
than, for example, merely watching a policeman recite the rights on the screen). Often,
the activity leads to further out-of-class learning since students become motivated to
watch the movie on their own.
Conclusion
The piloting of the revised syllabus has shown that course design based on transferred
needs analysis can bring very positive results both to teachers and students.
barbora.chovancova@law.muni.cz

References
Chovancov, B. 2013. 'From classroom to courtroom: preparing legal English students
for the real world' in R. Vystrilov (ed.). Prvn jazykod teorie k praxi (Legal
Languagefrom Theory to Practice). Olomouc: Palack? University.
Huhta, M., K. Vogt, E. Johnson and H. Tulkki. 2013. Needs Analysis for Language
Course Design: A Holistic Approach to ESP. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hutchinson T. and A. Waters. 1987. English for Specific Purposes: A Learning-centred
Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

8.5 Getting students more involved in the tasks


tpnka Bilov Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
The paper presents four activities which enhance students' efforts when preparing for
their English for Specific Purposes classes. Their homework includes pre-session
activities in which the students obtain necessary knowledge for the topics explored in the
lessons, and post-session tasks in which the students show the understanding of the topic
taught. Originally, I employed variations on traditional comprehension exercises, such as
'read the text and answer the questions' or 'write a summary of the topic from the lesson'.
It often happened, though, that the students produced a piece of work which showed they
had misunderstood the instructions or the theme, or which included simple copying and
pasting. I started to modify the tasks in order to increase the students' achievement by
encouraging their critical thinking and supporting their creativity.
In the first activity the students are asked to prepare slides for a presentation. The source
text remains the same; however, the outcome takes a significantly different form. The
students are instructed on the principles of preparing successful slides, and they submit
them before the class. The teacher can easily identify problematic areas and provide
feedback at the beginning of the lesson. The slides are then a basis for group mini-
presentations.
Another option for preparing a presentation or a discussion is to set a piece of audio
homework. The students learn about the features of written and spoken texts and about
the rules for transforming a written piece into an oral delivery. Then they transform a
short formal text into a presentation and to submit the task as an audio recording. It is
advisable to set a time limit (around two to three minutes). The students can use their
mobile devices for recording, or there are various online resources or software
applications available on the Internet.
The following two activities employ discussion forums. Students can show their
understanding of a topic or a text by answering a question in a discussion forum. This
task was inspired by webpages in which people ask questions and receive answers from
others who are willing to share opinions, facts and experience. The teacher starts a
fictitious discussion open only to the students. For example, the following fabricated post
comes from legal English classes; the aim is to understand the work of barristers and
solicitors: 'Hi, I'm Bob and I'd like to become a solicitor, but my brother says that a
barrister would be better. What's the difference between them?' The teacher can also
supply a sample answer which can encourage discussion by, for example, including false
or partial information.
The fictitious discussion forum can be set as an online professional website providing
expert advice; in our case, we created London Lawyers Online. The teacher prepares
clients' questions which the students (as 'lawyers') react to. They can also comment on
their peers' answers, correct them or complete them. The following example of a post
from a 'client' allows students to revise different types of business: 'I'm thinking about
starting a restaurant with two friends of mine as business partners. Could you tell me
what to be careful about? Thank you very much. Jonathan Miles.' The aspects of these
activities which made the greatest difference are twofold. The first concerns the audience.
No longer is the teacher the only reader; he or she is to a great extent substituted by the
peers (and 'pretend' virtual readers). The students realise that they do not just submit
something to the teacher; it is obvious from the very beginning that their piece becomes a
source for further work in which all students participate. The second aspect involves the
wider possibilities for feedback.
The teacher and students can analyse not only the context and the language, but also the
register and impact on the audience.
I cannot claim that, with the new tasks, all students submit perfect pieces of work.
However, it is evident that the students engage more in the tasks and during each activity
there are more opportunities for the students to comprehend the topic and the language.
The slides and audio tasks can lead to a group presentation or discussion. In the
discussion forums the students produce a lot of material which requires critical reading
and, at the same time, is open for their creativity. In general, the new tasks become more
personalised, engaging and enjoyable, and the students acquire more practice.
bilova@law.muni.cz

8.6 Sharing ESP lessons with on-the-job training sessions for healthcare
professionals
Eduardo Garbey Savigne Universidad de Ciencias Mdicas de la Habana, Cuba
This session described an on-the-job-training approach to medical English for Cuban
healthcare professionals. There is a need in Cuba to train healthcare personnel who will
travel overseas to provide assistance to patients from different cultural backgrounds in
developing contexts; this initiative is of prime importance as it is considered as a strategic
issue by the Cuban government.
Teaching ESP lessons to healthcare personnel in their workplace while they are fulfilling
their duties (for example, ward rounds, shift reports or case presentation) is a different
approach to teaching, and it is now becoming a common practice. It is a kind of a
simulated performance in a non-English medical setting where the English teacher
monitors the language used in the medical sessions and provides the healthcare
professional with feedback on mistakes and corrections. In the following session, the
teacher brings a feedback sheet containing the previous suggestions, together with advice
on the use of language in medical contexts and possible intercultural communication
pitfalls.
This approach complies with the idea that ESP is specific to the professional context
(Huhta et al. 2013), and it is in this context where English is best learned. ESP lesson
planning must correspond to the Cuban medical training curriculum, and English teachers
should profit from the medical context in helping students to develop pertinent and better
communication skills. As such, these on-the-job training sessions require the
collaboration of the ESP teacher and the medical doctor/nurse; this collaboration is vital
in the achievement of the goal: the training of a competent intercultural healthcare
professional.
This approach to training is, however, not without constraints and difficulties. It also
suffers from biases and fallacies shared by Cuban EFL teachers, such as, 'Medical terms
are difficult to explain'; 'Healthcare personnel use jargon during their performance';
'Medical doctors are reluctant to reveal their weaknesses when speaking English'; and
'Healthcare providers carry out the same procedures everywhere'.
As a result of these comments and opinions, some suggestions for teachers entering the
ESP field have been devised. New EFL teachers coming into ESP are advised to do the
following:
develop their own needs analyses;
be positive, and believe it can be doneothers have done it;
start by shadowing any experienced medical doctor/nurse with a good command of
English (at least a B1);
jot down new words, and read about specific diseases, treatments and procedures;
talk to their peers, share their views, ask for clarifications;
learn commonly used medical abbreviations and acronyms; and
develop intercultural communication awareness in a medical setting.
Once this has been achieved, then the teacher is ready to do the following:
fulfill his or her role as a facilitator, as a language provider or sometimes as a
guidebut never to lead the medical sessions;
train healthcare personnel on how medical ward rounds are delivered and how shift
reports are conducted in English-speaking medical contexts. English teachers are
advised to read medical thrillers and watch TV programmes such as Grey's Anatomy
or House, as they provide some cultural and medical background information;
build rapport, as it is vital to make participants feel at ease; and
give feedback and comments at the end of the session. Teachers should be positive
when correcting healthcare personnel while in session, saying, for example,
'someone said' rather than 'Dr. X said', or 'Sister Y expressed'
Table 8.6.1 shows some advantages, disadvantages and challenges I have encountered in
this kind of ESP teaching.

Table 8.6.1: Advantages, disadvantages and challenges


This innovative approach to ESP teaching enables learning to take place in a memorable
context, and with authentic and meaningful activities designed to enhance learning. It is
synergya cooperative interaction among professionals for the goal of English language
learning.
egarbey@infomed.sld.cu

References
Garbey Savigne, E. 2010. Learning Intercultural Communication through English. La
Habana, Cuba: Editorial Ciencias Medicas.
Huhta, M., K. Vogt, E. Johnson and H. Tulkki. 2013. Needs Analysis for Language
Course Design: A Holistic Approach to ESP. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
8.7 English use in the Austrian workplace: a longitudinal study
Hans Platzer and Dsire Verdonk Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Introduction
In principle English for Professional Purposes is a well-researched area. Previous studies
have focused on written text types and spoken communication involving business
contexts and technical settings. Unfortunately, with only very few exceptions, most of
these needs analyses were small scale, hence questions remain about the
representativeness of the respective results. While it is true that some larger,
representative surveys have also been conducted, the relevant findings in these studies do
not reflect the situation of actual language users but personnel managers' observations;
this has been shown to introduce unwanted bias. In addition, few of the relevant studies
explicitly contrast the language needs in business and engineering positions. It may,
therefore, be useful to generate further data based on a larger sample and involving
respondents in both technical and business contexts.

Method
For this purpose, a questionnaire survey was carried out among in-service business and
engineering students at the Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt (University of Applied
Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Austria). In order to ensure a sufficiently large respondent
base, data was collected at three points in time: 2003, 2008 and 2012. The overall sample
came to 576 students with 68.8 per cent from our business programmes and 31.2 per cent
from the engineering programmes.

Politeness strategies and formality


Overall, 69.1 per cent of our respondents report using English at work. No significant
differences were detected between business and engineering staff in terms of the
language functions reported in Table 8.7.1. According to Table 8.7.1, over 80 per cent
read and write emails. These results reflect observations by Evans (2012) and Louhiala-
Salminen (2002), who also highlight the key role of emails in business communication.
Evans (2012) and Louhiala-Salminen (2002) also assume that politeness and formality
are less essential for internal communication, but they accept that these considerations are
more central in communicating with clients or customers. If we therefore look at our
respondents' company-external communication partners, then it is clear that politeness
strategies are a key issue. Over a third of our respondents (33.6 per cent) report being in
contact with customers/clients; over half (56.1 per cent) communicate with external
partner organisations; and one fifth (20.1 per cent) communicate with suppliers. That
means for these users politeness strategies are definitely relevant, be it for email writing
(80.9 per cent), telephoning (77.6 per cent) or socialising (36.2 per cent). On basis of this
data, we therefore conclude that it may be counterproductive to relegate questions of
formality and politeness too much to the side lines.
Table 8.7.1: Reported needs (n=398)

Intertextuality
Table 8.7.2 shows significant differences (p<0.05) in language use between respondents
in business and technical positions. In this respect, the following functions/situations are
especially interesting: meetings, reading/writing minutes and following presentations.
Significantly more respondents (p<0.05) in the engineering programme need English for
these purposes than business staff, which runs counter to the traditional clich. However,
this finding not only means that teaching meetings-related language is particularly
essential for engineers, it has further didactic implications. Evans (2012), Bremner (2008)
and Louhiala-Salminen (2002) suggest that English in the workplace is highly
intertextual, for example, with written emails generating oral responses by phone or
meetings generating minutes. For the teaching process this means that tasks combining
different text types or genres in spoken and written modes closely reflect actual practice
in the workplace. However, Bremner (2008) also observes that this interaction of
different modes is rarelyif everreflected in coursebook tasks. It is, therefore, still up
to the individual teacher to develop such tasks which combine spoken and written
interaction and thus reflect actual usage in the target language situation.

Table 8.7.2: Differences in reported needs (n=398)


Conclusion
Based on the data reported above, we conclude that formality and politeness issues are
relevant in workplace communication for both engineers and business people. In
addition, engineers in particular should benefit from training in language functions which
are required in meetings-related contexts, especially if oral and written tasks are
integrated.
hans.platzer@fhwn.ac.at
desiree.verdonk@fhwn.ac.at

References
Bremner, S. 2008. 'Intertextuality and business communication textbooks: Why students
need more textual support'. English for Specific Purposes 27: 306-21.
Evans, S. 2012. 'Designing email tasks for the Business English classroom: implications
from a study of Hong Kong's key industries'. English for Specific Purposes 31: 202-12.
Louhiala-Salminen, L. 2002. 'The fly's perspective: discourse in the daily routine of a
business manager'. English for Specific Purposes 21: 211-321.

8.8 How to write business English activities


Marjorie Rosenberg University of Graz, Austria

Introduction
Business English teachers are often expected to create specialised materials for their
learners. These can serve to teach specific vocabulary, offer additional practice or provide
impetus for engagement in the classroom. As this can be a daunting task for those trying
this for the first time, this workshop was designed to provide a framework to aid them in
creating tailor-made lessons making use of both published material and input from
participants.

A framework for materials development


Getting the idea
We started off with a discussion of where to find suitable materials. As texts and videos
may be under copyright, participants were urged to adapt texts, find material in the public
domain or seek permission from copyright holders. Those teaching corporate clients may
also be given permission to use authentic materials for their in-company courses.

Lead-in activities
Lead-in activities can be an excellent method for introducing a topic and awakening
learners' interest in it. We therefore looked at several different types, including choosing
or creating a definition for a term, eliciting learners' opinions, matching words to
meanings, general discussion of the topic or using guided questions to raise learners'
involvement and curiosity.
Preparing the learners
As the aim here is to engage learners while enabling them to fulfil specific tasks, we
considered several techniques such as working with collocations, putting half sentences
together, using multiple choice options to create definitions, brainstorming with graphic
organisers, finding words in a text or predicting what learners might read or see.
Examples shown included a gap text to complete using word partnerships and a Venn
diagram to find similarities and differences between sports and business. (See Figure
8.8.1.)

Figure 8.8.1: The Venn diagram

Making use of input material


It is clear to most teachers that expecting learners to jump enthusiastically into reading a
text may be wishful thinking and perhaps may not be the most efficient use of input
material. Linking this stage to previous ones, however, creates a flow and gives structure
to a lesson. For example, after having made predictions, learners can watch a video or
read a text to find out if their ideas were included. Cooperative reading, in which several
groups of 'experts' are assigned a text and work together to answer questions about it, is
an alternative to learners reading on their own. The students are then put into new groups
with one 'expert' (i.e. the person who has read the particular text) in each group. They
report on what they have read to the others who take notes or the teacher can pose
questions to individual learners who have not read the text. The 'experts' are then
expected to pass on the information to their colleagues and the other experts listen to
make sure the answers are correct. Other possibilities presented were putting sentences
into categories or matching statements to parts of an article.
Activating the material
Having read and understood a piece of writing does not necessarily mean the learners can
use its lexis or grammar themselves which is why activation is essential. This can take
place through games such as 'Say my word' (learners choose a word and ask questions
prompting another learner to answer with the word), crossword puzzles, word grids, role
plays and simulations or mini-presentations. This also gives the teacher the opportunity to
observe what the learners have absorbed and determine which elements may need to be
covered again.

Debriefing and presenting results


Although this type of activity may not be necessary in every situation, after role plays,
simulations and mini-presentations it is an important element of the lesson. Learners can
present their results orally or in the form of a poster, write minutes if they held a meeting,
give feedback on presentations or simply report on how the activity went and if the goals
were reached.

Follow-up activities
The follow-up activities we discussed were designed to take place outside the classroom.
This is the perfect opportunity for Internet searches or for learners to use authentic
materials from companies they know or work for. It should help to keep the material
fresh and show them how the material can be applied to real-life situations, vital for many
business English learners.

Conclusion
The general consensus of the participants was that the framework provided gave them a
structure to work with when creating activities. The lively discussions also generated a
number of ideas for practicing and activating knowledge in the classroom making the
workshop a collaborative effort for all involved.
marjorie.rosenberg@tele2.at

Reference
Rosenberg, M. 2012. 'Sports and business metaphors'. Professional English Online
Activities 2012. http://peo.cambridge.org.

8.9 Authentic techniques to develop soft skills: two case studies


Dana Poklepovic DPL Language Consulting, Buenos Aires, Argentina
IATEFL Business English SIG Facilitators Scholarship winner

Background
Training games (TG) are widely used to develop soft skills in management programmes.
The basic format is that participants solve a challenging situation by applying a soft skill
while they interact in a low-pressure setting. Their performance is followed by a review
and feedback led by the instructor. Participants learn by doing and by reflecting on their
experience. The theory underpinning TG is David Kolb's experiential learning process:
do, review and improve (Kolb 1984).
Given the growing demand for soft skills in business English, I have borrowed this
authentic technique and integrated it into my teaching. I started my presentation by
sharing two games, then highlighted key drivers for integration and finally we discussed
two case studies.

Two games
Game 1: Step Out
This game develops persuasion skills. The trainer puts participants in pairs, marks a
circle on the floor and asks for two volunteers to step inside. Their goal is to convince the
other to step out of the circlewithin a time limitby applying any influencing
technique while the trainer observes them. The game is over when one of the participants
steps out or time is up. The group wraps up and reflects on the experience: Who really
won? The one who remain inside, or the one who stepped out in exchange for something
he negotiated? Whose method was more effective?

Game 2: Early Bird, Second Mouse


This game is based on the funny one-liner 'the early bird may get the worm, but it's the
second mouse that gets the cheese'. The trainer splits the group into two teams and
assigns one half of the sentence to each team. They discuss and decide why their half is
the best strategy for their business and make a three-minute presentation. All members
have to contribute their opinions. After the presentations, the group holds a debate and
the instructor debriefs the activity. This game develops teambuilding, decision-making
and problem-solving skills.

Integration highlights
TG can be used as a stand-alone activity or embedded in a lesson plan. In all cases,
however, the integration should address the following drivers:
Language level: identify whether learners are equipped with the linguistic tools to
perform the game or if they need language input.
Objective: define the purpose the game will fulfil in your lesson plan.
Review: plan the feedback and reflection questions in advance.
Business English trainer's role: act as a teacher during the language input stage, a
facilitator during the game, and a coach during the review stage.

Case study 1
Level: Intermediate (B1). This group was learning the language of negotiations from a
course book.
Objective: I decided to use Step Out to round off the unit.
Integration: The input stage spanned eight lessons. Students not only learnt the language
but also developed the interpersonal ability to influence. (See Table 8.9.1.) Practice
activities were based on authentic videos and readings.

Table 8.9.1: Step Out: language, skills and emotions


The game was successfully performed and recorded. During the review, I highlighted the
effectiveness of learners' message and the eye-contact made, then I helped them reflect on
their weaknesses. For example, one of them had not built trust effectively and, as a group,
we suggested the best moment and manner to do this. Finally, learners listed the emotions
they had felt. Emotions shape our experiences; therefore, by acknowledging them,
students may enhance their learning outcome.

Case study 2
Level: Advanced (C1). We were about to start a unit about teamwork.
Objective: I decided to use Early Bird, Second Mouse as a lead-in activity. Integration:
To achieve this goal, I designed a thought-provoking review session based on Belbin's
team roles. While the teams discussed their ideas, I observed how they put forward their
contributions and the roles each one adopted (leader, follower, compromiser). After their
presentations, I asked open and leading questions that engaged learners. To elicit
information about team roles, we brainstormed the concept. (See Table 8.9.2.)

Table 8.9.2: Early Bird, Second Mouse: sample questions and brainstorming

Conclusion
Training games add value to business English courses and help develop soft skills by
nurturing a learning environment that encourages action and reflection.
danapoklepovic@fibertel.com.ar
References
Belbin, M. 2010. Team Roles at Work. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Kolb, D. A. 1984. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and
Development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Win-Win Negotiation Theory. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqn4azeHikc.

8.10 Making the transition from business English trainer to


intercultural trainer
Adrian Pilbeam LTS training and Consulting, Bath, UK
In recent years, intercultural training has become one of the 'hot' topics at ELT
conferences. But what is intercultural training and how can one become an intercultural
trainer? In my presentation, I described what is required for a (business) English trainer
to make the transition to becoming an intercultural trainer. I speak from experience
because I made the same transition 20 years ago. In fact, I am still making the transition,
because there is always something new to learn. I structured my presentation around four
questions.

What is intercultural training?


According to Robert Kohls, a leading US intercultural teacher trainer, 'Intercultural
training is training that helps people acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills to
communicate and function effectively with cultures other than their own' (Kohls and
Knight 1994). Kohls' definition covers three types of learning: cognitive (knowledge),
affective (attitudes and awareness) and behavioural (skills). All three should ideally be
present in intercultural courses.
Knowledge includes facts and figures about a culture, what behaviour will be well or
badly viewed, and being well informed about the key cultural dimensions (time,
hierarchy, task/relationship, etc.) described by writers such as Edward Hall, Geert
Hofstede and Fons Trompenaars.
Trying to change peoples' attitudes and awarenessthe way they think and how they
view the worldis the central part of intercultural training. This includes raising
awareness about their own culturebehaviour, norms, attitudes, valuesas well as about
other cultures. It means realising that what is normal in our culture may not be normal in
other cultures. This can be at the simple level of how people greet each other, as well as
at the more complex level of how decisions are taken, or the role of a leader or manager.
More challenging is helping people develop the skills they need to be effective
internationally. This is partly because intercultural courses are usually short (one or two
days), especially when compared with business English courses. Skills which learners
need to acquire include:
being able to stand back and describe what is happening before interpreting or
evaluating;
being able to adjust their behaviour;
modifying their communication style: direct or indirect, formal or informal, etc.;
modifying their use of English (mainly for native speakers of English);
mirroring their counterparts' style, a technique central to NLP; and
showing patience, tact and resilience.

What skills and qualities does an intercultural trainer need?


Some of the key skills and qualities are:
Experience with other cultures, often gained by living and working in other
countries. We would not have credibility with our participants without this.
Knowledge about our own and other culturesnorms, values, etc.and of key
intercultural theories.
Being open to new experiences, and being ready to learn from our participants, who
bring so much of their own experience to the course.
Self-awareness: realising that we do not have all the answers; this is a different role
from that of the business English trainer, who is usually considered by the learners to
be an 'expert'.
High emotional intelligence because, when getting participants involved in
simulations and other experiential activities, a lot of feelings can come out which
need to be processed sensitively.

What does a business English trainer bring to the intercultural trainer role?
Business English trainers have the potential to make excellent intercultural trainers. They
usually have extensive experience with other cultures and often quite a lot of knowledge
about them, gained from experience. They bring good training skills, and they know how
to manage group dynamics.
However, there are some key differences, mainly because, as mentioned above, the
business English trainer is often considered as an 'expert'. This means learners expect to
be told when they are 'right' or 'wrong'. Also in language teaching, new skills can often be
tested and checked.
By contrast, the intercultural trainer is more of a facilitator than a trainer, helping the
participants to acquire knowledge, awareness and skills, by getting them to reflect on
their experiences and to set 'goals for future behaviour. But it is very difficult to test
whether they have acquired new skills, certainly within the time frame of the course
itself.
How can you develop your skills for intercultural training?
Suggestions include reading to get an overview of the intercultural field, attending talks
and workshops at conferences such as SIETAR, and attending a train-the-trainer course.
adrian.pilbeam@lts-training.com
adrian.pilbeam@gmail.com

References
Kohls, L. R. and J. M. Knight. 1994. Developing Intercultural Awareness: A Cross-
cultural Training Handbook. Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press/London: Nicholas
Brealey Publishing.
SIETAR (Society for Educational Training and Research). www.sietareu.org/
Developing intercultural training skills. www.lts-training.com/ICTTcourse.htm
9 Feedback and assessment
This chapter contains two signature events, one panel discussion and four presentations
on the topic of giving feedback to students and providing assessment. First, Vivien
Berry, Barry O'Sullivan, Diane Schmitt and Lynda Taylor discuss the importance of
assessment literacy for stakeholders in the ELT process, outline the knowledge
stakeholders need and introduce resources designed to enhance assessment literacy. Next,
the report of the A. S. Hornby Educational Trust Scholars' presentation, convened by
Martin Wedell, investigates the practice of assessment in the transitional world and
shows how assessment methods influence classroom practice. In a similar vein,
Xiangdong Gu explores the influence of Cambridge English for Schools exams on
classroom practices in China. The theme of this year's Cambridge English Signature
Event was learning-oriented assessment (LOA), reported by Nick Saville, Miranda
Hamilton, Stephanie Dimond-Bayir and Barkan Tekdogan; LOA is also the topic of
the next paper, by Ahmed Abdelhafez, who explores LOA in an Egyptian context. The
final two papers address issues related to feedback and assessment specifically in EAP
writing. First, Clare Fielder explores the use of learner-directed feedback, then Afaf
Mishriki and Amani Demian report on the use of portfolios in a writing course.

9.1 Panel discussion on assessment literacy: bridging the gap between


needs and resources
Vivien Berry and Barry O'Sullivan British Council, London, UK; Diane Schmitt
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK; and Lynda Taylor University of
Bedfordshire, Luton, UK
Introduction
Knowledge and understanding of important issues in language assessment has often been
eschewed by many people involved in language education including teachers,
administrators and other employees of educational institutions on the (misguided)
grounds that knowledge of assessment requires a detailed understanding of complex
statistics and of specialist topics that are irrelevant to teaching and learning. The purpose
of this panel discussion was to debunk this myth and show how assessment literacy, to
varying degrees and at variable specific levels of engagement, is essential to all involved
in education and educational decision making.

Introducing assessment literacy


Literacy is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as 'the ability to read and write'. While
applied linguistics has, over the years suggested a number of alternative definitions, they
all essentially refer to an ability to comprehend and/or contribute in a formal way through
a recognised communication system to a specific domain of knowledge or ability. Three
key questions need to be asked when considering literacy:

1 What skills or sub-skills should be included?


2 Is there a minimum level of competence required?
3 How do we define and operationalise these?
These questions indicate two additional concepts, firstly, that literacy is a continuum
which ranges from little or no knowledge to an extensive knowledge, and secondly, that
literacy is multi-dimensional and will have a broad range of sub-skills or knowledge
areas. If we consider language assessment to be a specific domain, then literacy, as
associated with that domain, should be conceived in a similar way to general literacy.
Table 9.1.1 marks an initial definition of the main stakeholders in any assessment literacy
initiative. Since the table is based on the needs of one organisation it is unlikely that it
will prove to be complete in all contexts. It is included here purely to demonstrate that
any assessment literacy programme will have multiple audiences and users.

Table 9.1.1: Assessment literacy stakeholders


In order to reach these audiences, we need first to identify the range of contexts within
which the assessment literacy initiative will be relevant. Within a learning system it
seems imperative to ensure that all teachers and learners have a practical working
knowledge and understanding of what assessment is and how it works within the system.
In terms of assessment providers, any organisation involved in test development should
consider embedding assessment literacy right across the institution so that employees can
share a common understanding of the approach to assessment. Finally, policy makers
should base their policies on a sound knowledge of the area in order to have sufficient
knowledge to guide their policy decisions.

Critical issues in assessment literacy


Davies (2008) also suggests that assessment literacy comprises three core components:
skills, knowledge and principles. If we break these three core components into more
micro-level elements, we might consider that the following are relevant and important for
anyone involved in assessment:
an understanding of the principles and practices of sound assessment;
the know-how required to assess learners effectively and to maximise learning;
the ability to identify and evaluate appropriate assessments for specific purposes
within specific contexts;
the ability to analyse empirical data to improve one's own instructional and
assessment practices;
the knowledge and understanding to interpret and apply assessment results in
appropriate ways; and
the wisdom to be able to integrate assessment and its outcomes into the overall
pedagogic/decision-making process.
These general notions provide us with a basis for conceptualising some sort of syllabus,
or set of topics, which can be delivered to develop or improve assessment literacy. These
might include knowledge of assessment theory (for example, notions of validity);
technical skills in assessment (for example, writing test tasks, analysing test data);
principles and concepts (for example, ethical issues in assessment); language pedagogy
(for example, understanding the teaching/learning/assessment interface); socio-cultural
values (for example, role of assessment in education/society); local practices (for
example, traditions of assessment in the local context); personal beliefs/attitudes (for
example, views of teachers, parents, etc. concerning assessment); and scores and
decision-making (for example, value and limitations of test scores for decision-making).
As discussed above, clearly not all those who are involved in assessment will need to be
trained and qualified to the same degree in all areas. But who needs training in what
areas, and to what level? We might hypothesise that professional language test
developers would need to achieve a high level of literacy in all areas. For classroom
teachers, however, we might conceive of a teacher training course or in-service module
which prioritises language pedagogy together with socio-cultural values, personal
attitudes/beliefs and technical skills, but expect a lower level of attainment in other areas.
For university admission officers, priority areas requiring a high level of training and
expertise are likely to concern scores and decision-making. The overall aim, therefore,
should be to identify the appropriate balance of content needed by any particular
stakeholder group, and the level of expertise required in each content area according to
that group's background and context.

Developing resources for assessment literacy


Complementing the idea that different stakeholders have different assessment literacy
needs (Taylor 2013), a project is currently under development to create a four-stage
language assessment literacy project catering for these differing needs.
Stage 1 is designed for anyone working in an assessment context who has no background
or training in language assessment and consists of a series of four-to-five-minute 'click
and watch' animations giving a basic overview of assessment topics. Topics included
were selected on the basis of responses to a questionnaire completed by 500+ people
involved in some way with language tests and examinations worldwide and reflect a wide
range of interests. Minimal language is used in the animations to enable voiceover
delivery in English or a local language as appropriate. Each animation contains three or
four key questions relating to main points and is not theoretical or technical but very
practical and relevant to specific areas of employment.
Stage 2 is designed for English language teachers and is relevant to classroom, peer and
self-assessment, with the main focus being on assessment for learning and learning-
oriented assessment. It is more in-depth than Stage 1 but is also very practical with
minimal theoretical input, with all technical terminology hyperlinked to a glossary. The
range of topics in this stage is also based on responses from language teachers specifying
their requirements and includes methods of assessment, how to design tests for specific
classes and an introduction to what makes a good test.
The next stage is intended to appeal to anyone interested in issues of language
assessment who already has a minimal level of training in the field. It consists of a series
of lectures, interviews and/or discussions with recognised experts, on selected topics,
complementing and extending those addressed in the second and fourth stages.
The final stage is designed to be delivered as a MOOC (massive open online course) and
will be of interest to anyone wanting MA-level input on major topics in language
assessment, both practical and theoretical. It is developed in part from an existing course
originally delivered as a distance MA in language testing at a leading UK university and
also as a continuing professional development course in a large international
organisation. It is theoretical and academic in tone and has mixed modes of delivery
including tasks and supplementary readings.

A case study from higher education


The UK is the second most popular destination in the world for international students and
is particularly popular with students for whom English is a second language. However,
while international student numbers are growing, the UK government is also trying to
limit the number of new immigrants by introducing tougher visa policies. One strand of
these policies involves the introduction of a set of secure English language tests to
provide evidence of English language proficiency in a student visa application. This
means that the government now has a prominent voice in an area where universities were
previously free to make their own decisions about English language entry requirements to
their courses.
One part of the immigration policy still gives discretion to universities in determining the
English language proficiency (ELP) level of applicants for direct entry to degree-level
courses. This means that universities are free to use a range of external qualifications,
including standardised tests, in-country school-leaving exams and their own internally
developed assessments. Despite the wide array of assessments used for university
admissions, in many universities across the country there is a tendency to try to link all
types of assessments to one common scalethe International English Language Testing
System (IELTS) bands. This is generally problematic because it demonstrates a lack of
understanding of the differences between different types of language assessments and
their scoring. It is particularly problematic for in-house assessment of pre-sessional,
foundation and pre-masters programmes, as it breaks the link between assessment and
language programme curricula and delivery.
There is clearly a need for increasing the dialogue between English for Academic
Purposes (EAP) professionals and university decision makers on the nature and purpose
of an institution's English for academic purposes programmes, the information about
students' language proficiency that such programmes can generate and the needs of the
departments ultimately receiving these students. The main aim is to ensure that
assessments and scoring are fit for purpose and, to this end, a set of guidelines has been
produced by a group of EAP professionals from a number of UK universities (BALEAP
2012). This is just one of the many current attempts to encourage greater assessment
literacy in all stakeholders.
vivien.berry@britishcouncil.org

References
BALEAP. 2012. BALEAP Guidelines on English Language Tests for University Entry.
www.baleap.org.uk/media/uploads/testing-working-
party/BALEAP_Guidelines_on_English_Language_Tests_for_University_AGM_v19_M
ay_2012.pdf.
Davies, A. 2008. 'Textbook trends in teaching language testing'. Language Testing 25/3:
327-347.
Taylor, L. 2013. 'Communicating the theory, practice and principles of language testing
to test stakeholders: Some reflections'. Language Testing 30/3: 403-412.

9.2 Influences of curriculum and assessment on teaching and learning in


the ELT classroom
Convenor: Martin Wedell University of Leeds, UK, with The A. S. Hornby Scholars at
IATEFL 2014
Simn Ruiz Hernandez Venezuela; Saraswati Dawadi Nepal; Tomas Ramirez
Andujar Cuba; Zainab Cengiz Umaru Nigeria; Santi Budi Lestari Indonesia; Deepa
Ellepola Sri Lanka; Dame Diop Senegal; Abayneh Haile Mengesha Ethiopia; Patrick
Musafiri Rwanda

Curriculum and assessment: a frequent mismatch


The mismatch between national curriculum goals and the content and format of high-
stakes assessment remains a striking feature of the state education sector in the majority
of contexts in which Hornby scholars work. For example the curriculum in Ethiopia
states the following:
Content is both topic-based and linguistic All four language skills are developed
equally and language chosen is functional, relevant and realistic for teenagers (The
Ethiopian Ministry of Education 2008).
However, the Ethiopian school-leaving certificate assesses reading comprehension,
vocabulary and grammar. Similarly the stated aim of Nepalese English curriculum is
to develop an understanding of and competence in spoken English; communicate
fluently and accurately with other speakers of English (Curriculum Development
Centre 1995, as cited in Shrestha 2008: 195).
Yet 70 per cent of the marks for the English national exam are given for reading
comprehension and writing. English assessment results play a high-stakes role for
learners within many state systems worldwide. More and more contexts also embrace a
'performativity culture' (Ball 2003), in which school test results are used to measure
teachers and schools as well as 'learning'. In such circumstances the mismatch strongly
influences the extent to which the teaching and learning behaviours espoused by
curriculum reform initiatives can become visible in classrooms.

Curriculum and assessment represent different 'cultures'


Curriculum goals such as those above, which promote skilled performance, are usually
imported, unadapted, from 'western' educational contexts. They are not aligned with the
existing educational cultures in most countries that Hornby scholars represent, where
learning often continues to be seen as absorbing a body of information, with little
emphasis on its application. Learning English is thus considered to consist of learning a
body of knowledge like any other subject, and good language teaching entails a one way
transmission of this knowledge to learners. Within such contexts learners' purpose for
learning English is to chiefly to pass high-stakes tests, and the assessment of any subject
learning assumes that there will always be one correct answer to any question.
Consequently assessment based around multiple choice questions focusing on 'correctly'
filling a gap with a grammar item, or 'correctly' understanding the information carried by
a reading text, perfectly matches the existing culture of teaching and learning. It is the
kind of learning, teaching and assessment embodied in the curriculum goals that is 'alien'.
The lack of 'fit' between curriculum goals and their assessment creates a tension for
English teachers, who work with the constant dilemma of where to focus their efforts.
They know that the curriculum expects learners to develop skills but that the tests
emphasise knowledge. Teachers feel they must cover what is likely to be in the tests
because learners, parents and often their school leaders view good test results as more
important than successfully achieving curriculum goals. Consequently, teachers spend
more time preparing their learners for (especially high-stakes) exams, than on providing
opportunities for developing skills. 'Learning English' becomes increasingly less
enjoyable for learners, and they can leave school having passed the English assessment
knowing a lot about English but having few communicative skills.

Is this state of affairs inevitable?


Assessment is a key feature of state education systems everywhere, so is it possible to
develop English assessment initiatives that can support the learner skills development
aspired to in the above curriculum goals?
At a national level, the example of Sri Lanka seems worth exploring. Previously the
English assessment situation in Sri Lanka shared most of the features mentioned earlier.
However, one goal of the national 'English as a Life Skill' project, launched in 2008, was
that all state system learners' speaking and listening skills should be nationally assessed
by 2015.
The planning to achieve this goal was unusually coherent. Firstly, it recognised the need
for sufficient time to plan and prepare for the classroom implications of this assessment
change. The initial years of the preparation period (2008-2015) focused on trainer
training, preparation for and provision of teacher training. This enabled all English
teachers to receive 10 days training on teaching speaking well before learners began to be
assessed. The importance of the speaking element was supported by timetabling one
English lesson per week specifically for 'speaking', and labelling the day of this lesson as
'The Day of Enjoyment'.
Time was spent developing resources for teaching oral skills and, in particular, on raising
awareness of what was to come. There were telecasts for learners and teachers reminding
them that oral skills would be assessed in 2015. School principals and their deputies
received English language training to enable them to participate in the initiative, and a
massive national information campaign was launched to dispel the fear of speaking
English from the Sri Lankan mind-set, by acknowledging that the goal was not to achieve
some unrealisable native speaker perfection, but to 'speak English our way'. Finally,
national leadership support for the initiative was consistent and very evident, with school
learners having an annual opportunity to visit the President in his official residence to talk
with him in English.
Such coherent national assessment initiatives are sadly extremely rare, so is there
anything that individual teachers or groups of teachers can do to enable learners to meet
the curriculum goals of developing some language skills, despite the inappropriate
content and format of so much national assessment.
Scholars from Venezuela, Cuba, Nepal and Indonesia explained the possibilities that can
arise when individual teachers feel able to make a commitment to some form of
continuous assessment. This allows the assessment of different examples of learners'
knowledge and performance, taken at different points during the assessment period, to
contribute to final grades. Assessing through such multiple examples of learner
knowledge and performance helps both to improve score reliability and to lower students'
stress and anxiety by lessening the importance of any final exam, which in Venezuela can
account for only 30 per cent of learners' overall mark.
Another approach recommended by scholars from Cuba, Sri Lanka and Nigeria was to
provide learners with feedback rather than (or in addition to) numerical marks. The
teachers' aim here is that assessment should support learning by informing learners about
their progress (their existing strengths and weaknesses), and, through the feedback,
provide them with enough information to allow them to make personal plans to further
improve their learning of how to use English.
Since few countries have so far made a sustained commitment to the assessment of oral
skills at national level, scholars also suggested ways in which individual teachers could
assess their own learners' oral performance. In Rwanda at the British Council Teaching
Centre, teachers are encouraged to carry out observation-based assessment of learners'
speaking skills throughout their course of study. In Indonesia imaginative teachers have
developed 'genuine' reasons for learners to use spoken English (and so opportunities to
informally assess it) through encouraging the use of drama in the classroom, or through
presentations in which learners report back to their classmates on the outcomes of
external community projects that they have participated in.
Finally, in some contexts such as Cuba, teachers may be officially invited to become
personally involved in designing assessment instruments for learners at local, regional or
national levels. In other settings, for example, Indonesia and Senegal, scholars report that
teachers work together in teachers' networks to develop assessment instruments that
reflect the 'spirit' of the curriculum for their local learners.

Conclusion
There is inconsistency between curriculum goals and high stakes test content and formats
in many parts of the world. Given the important role of assessment results in all national
education systems, and hence societal concern for 'good marks', this inconsistency means
that what can be seen happening in most state system English classrooms often bears
little relationship to achievement of the stated English curriculum goals. Teachers' jobs
become more stressful as they try to meet the conflicting demands of the curriculum and
the assessment system, and despite successfully passing exams, learners' performance
outcomes remain disappointing.
Assessment is here to stay, and the cultural mismatch between imported performance-
focused curriculum goals and many societal beliefs about the nature of knowledge and
how it should be assessed will not disappear overnight. However, the examples of the
planning and implementation of national level assessment change in Sri Lanka, and the
more or less official personal, collaborative or government sponsored efforts made by
teachers to better align assessment to curriculum goals, demonstrate that there are
alternatives.
m.wedell@education.leeds.ac.uk

References
Ball, S. 2003. 'The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity'. Journal of Education
Policy 18/2: 215-228.
Ministry of Education. Ethiopia . 2008. English Syllabus for Grades 5 to 8.
www.academia.edu/4062675/Solomon_Worku_Curriculum_Expert_GECFDD_Ministry
_of_Education_
Tsegay_Ammenu_Dubbale_Research_Expert_GECFDD_Ministry_of_Education_Hamid
_Mustefa_English_Language_Expert_Ministry_of_Education_Tsegaw_Berhanu_English
_ Language_www.academia.edu/406.
Shrestha, P. 2008. 'ELT, ESP & EAP in Nepal: whose interests are served?' in M.
Krzanowski (ed.). EAP and ESP in Developing Countries: State of Play vs Actual Needs
and Wants. Canterbury: IATEFL (ESP SIG.
http://oro.open.ac.uk/16274/1/ESP_SIG2_Ch13_Nepal.pdf
9.3 An impact study of KET/PET for schools on teaching in China
Xiangdong Gu Chongqing University, China and Cambridge English Language
Assessment, UK

Research contexts
In line with the social, political and educational changes that have taken place in China
since 1978, English language education in China has become internationalised and more
and more internationally established English tests have been introduced to China. Among
them are Cambridge English examinations. Ensuring that Cambridge English
examinations are fit for purpose, 'impact by design' is a fundamental principle of good
practice (Cambridge ESOL 2011). Thus to monitor and evaluate the use of the exams in
China, we have conducted a series of impact studies including Cambridge English: Key
for Schools and Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools (KET/PET for Schools),
YLE, BEC, etc., focusing on various groups of stakeholders such as test-takers, parents,
teachers and speaking examiners, in collaboration with the Research and Validation
Group since 2011. Due to the length limit, we will only present the findings and
discussion from teachers' perspective in the Cambridge English: Key for Schools and
Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools impact study (for more, please refer to Gu
and Saville 2012, and Gu et al. 2012).

Research questions
1 What are the characteristics of classroom teaching in the training classes for
Cambridge English exams in China?
2 Have the Cambridge English exams exerted impact on the training classroom
teaching? If so, in what ways?
3 What are the main factors affecting the classroom teaching?

Research methods
Four teachers in two private training schools in Beijing, China were observed with
video/audio recordings in their classrooms. Table 9.3.1 shows the baseline information of
the four observed teachers and their classes. Individual interviews were conducted after
the observations.

Table 9.3.1: Baseline information on the four observed teachers and their classes
Findings
After transcribing the four recordings, we first analysed the teaching materials used, the
knowledge taught, the skills trained, and the classroom interaction patterns the appeared;
then we matched the test task types with the classroom task types.
Teaching materials: T1, T2 and T3 used textbooks, and T4 used test-preparation papers
with no other authentic teaching materials. T1 used PowerPoint slides and T3 pictures as
teaching aids.
Knowledge and skills: The knowledge and skills seemed integrated in classroom
activities, but most of the class time was spent on grammar and vocabulary knowledge,
with some time on speaking (and translation) skills. Far from enough listening and
reading input was offered, and there was no writing practice in any of the four classes.
Many of the new words, expressions and grammatical structures taught in the classes
were beyond the exam requirements according to the vocabulary and grammar lists in the
exam teachers' handbooks.
Classroom interaction patterns: Although teachers and students seemed to take equal
numbers of turns, the teachers dominated most of the class time and talked much longer
in their turns.
Comparison between the test tasks and the classroom tasks: It was, amazingly, found that
there was a mismatch between the test tasks and the classroom tasks. Only one reading
test task (gap-fill) and one speaking test task (interview) were practiced.

Discussion and conclusions


The following conclusions can be reached:
Textbooks are the primary teaching materials with no authentic materials used.
Vocabulary and grammatical structures are primarily taught and emphasised.
The grammar-translation method is popular among the teachers.
The classroom teaching is very teacher-dominated with very short students' turns.
The difficulty level of the teaching contents is much higher than the exam
requirements.
Practice in the four basic skills in class is very imbalanced with little match to the
equal importance of the four skills in the exams. There is some practice in speaking,
inadequate input in listening and reading, and no practice in writing in class.
The Cambridge English exams seem to be one of the main factors contributing to the
characteristics of the classroom teaching, but the teachers may not know much about the
exams as they thought or as they were expected. Other factors such as school contexts,
teaching materials, teachers' individual differences, parents' expectations and children's
age also play important roles in the classroom teaching as the interview and observation
revealed.
Limitations and next agenda
Due to a small sample of teachers and schools observed, further validation is needed on
whether the research results can be generalised. Thus a much wider range of sampling in
different schools and cities are to be involved in our following research agenda.
xiangdonggu@263.net

References
Gu, X. and N. Saville. 2012. 'Impact of Cambridge English: Key for Schools and
Preliminary for Schools: parents' perspectives in China'. Research Notes 50: 48-56.
Gu, X., H. Khalifa, Q. Yan and J. Tian. 2012. 'A small-scale pilot study investigating the
impact of Cambridge English: Young Learners in China'. Research Notes 50: 42-8.
University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. 2011. 'Cambridge English Making an
Impact'. UCLES.

9.4 Learning: a partnership between teacher and student?


Nick Saville Cambridge Language Assessment, UK, Miranda Hamilton
Cambridge Language Assessment, UK, Stephanie Dimond-Bayir
Bell International, UK and Barkan Tekdogan Terakki Foundation Middle School,
Turkey
At this year's IATEFL conference, learning-oriented assessment (LOA) took centre stage
at Cambridge English's signature event. It was the focus of a debate and the theme of a
number of presentations from Cambridge English experts and teachers working in
different contexts.

So what's it all about?


Dr Nick Saville from Cambridge English's Research and Validation department gave us
an insight into Cambridge's approach to LOA. There are many different types of
assessment ranging from informal activities to large-scale formal assessment, and the role
of LOA is systematically to bring all these together into one coherent approach. On the
one hand, we have informal assessment activities, typically with a formative function and
usually conducted by teachers. Carried out inside and outside the classroom, such
formative approaches to assessment are really valuable, and play a key role in helping
teachers set realistic learning objectives and in monitoring their students' progression up
the 'learning ladder'. On the other hand, summative approaches to assessment such as the
widely recognised Cambridge English certificates meet educational needs for external
qualifications and accountability linked to international standards.
Figure 9.4.1: The learning-oriented assessment cycle
LOA provides a clear structure for integrating all of these different types of assessment
into a system which can better support successful teaching and learning. Figure 9.4.1
shows the LOA cycle.

Placing learning at the heart of every assessment context


Linking up all different types of assessment can only be achieved by placing learning at
the heart of every assessment context and by measuring progression against recognised
levels of proficiency. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
(CEFR) and the associated Cambridge English Scale provide the necessary framework
for this and these are at the heart of the LOA model which is proposed. An LOA syllabus
based on the CEFR provides the basis for level-specific learning goals which allow
teachers to take the appropriate steps in supporting their learners. By applying these
standards across the piece, learners, teachers and policymakers can share a common
understanding of what language ability at a certain level means (for example, what a
learner can do in the language at B2 level and what he/ she needs to do to make further
progress). This has long been at the heart of what we do at Cambridge English and the
driving force behind important projects, such as the ALTE Can-Do statements.

But don't teachers do this anyway?


To a certain extent, with good teachers this is true. Many teachers are familiar with LOA
concepts such as monitoring learners' performance on communicative tasks, testing their
progress and adapting their course goals to match the strengths and weaknesses of the
students in the classes. Experienced teachers also use external assessments for formative
purposes, because they recognise that high quality examinations can have a positive
washback effect on learning.
The future?
But LOA will play a big role in future in bringing all the components together and
making life easier for all concerned. On a practical level, this will be achieved by
harnessing the power of digital technology and learning management systems to enhance
the 'learning partnership' shared between teacher and learner. This brings me to one final
point I'd like to make, and that is the importance of individualising learning.
LOA activities should engage learners in activities with individualised objectives not
just for the classroom as a whole. From this point of view, the concept of LOA gives
teachers and learners the flexibility they need to tailor learning; the challenge is to
empower learners by giving them the confidence and motivation to achieve their goals,
and to empower teachers to use all forms of assessment to support their learning. This
creates many challenges for the teachers, and I'm sure we'll see the role of the teacher
change. Although technology will play an increasing role, and will hopefully lighten the
burden, it will not replace the need for human intervention. On the contrary, when used
wisely technology will allow the teacher to find new ways of supporting students and of
helping them to realise their potential as successful language users. That's something I
find really exciting.

Find out more about LOA


To find out more about LOA, you can watch our videos and read the frequently asked
questions from past webinars and events. Over the next six months we also plan to launch
a short online course about LOA and release some papers on the concept of LOA and the
impact on English language learning. You can also watch the signature event video:
Measurably Better Learning for Your Students
(http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2014/sessions/2014-04-03/cambridge-signature-event).
The programme includes:
Introduction and short video about Learning Oriented Assessment (LOA), Michael
Carrier, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Cambridge English Language Assessment
LOA: the concept and theory, Dr Nick Saville, Director, Research and Validation,
Cambridge English Language Assessment
LOA from theory to practice, Dr Miranda Hamilton, Consultant, Cambridge
English Language Assessment
LOA in the UK multilingual classroom, Stephanie Dimond-Bayir, Teacher
Training Programmes Manager, Bell International
LOA in the overseas monolingual classroom, Barkan Tekdogan, Head of English
Department, Terakki Foundation Middle School, Turkey
Q & A session
Our website is www.cambridgeenglish.org/loa.
9.5 Learning-oriented assessment: how assessment can support EFL
learning and teaching
Ahmed Abdelhafez Minia University, Egypt
Everyday practice of assessment in Egyptian classrooms is beset with problems. Based
on evidence I collected through observation, interviews, and questionnaires from EFL
teachers in several state schools in Egypt, I found a variety of problems which
discouraged effective language learning and teaching as a result of impoverished
assessment (Abdelhafez 2011). The classroom culture focuses on grades. Pupils look for
ways to obtain the best marks rather than to improve their learning. Teachers look
carefully at the type of questions being asked in the test and adjust their teaching to
address these forms. This resulted in a narrowing of the curriculum to reflect the demands
of the tests, and the use of teaching practices which are considered most beneficial to
successful test performance. However, these practices reflect a mismatch with the
assumptions of assessment and teaching for effective learning. My talk explored learning-
oriented assessment (LOA) as an approach to language learning that attempts to
overcome these problems.

LOA
LOA integrates two forms of assessmentoften referred to as formative and summative
assessmentand provides a structured approach to collecting and using evidence from
the test and from the classroom (Hamilton 2013). According to Carless (2007: 65), 'LOA
is conceptualised as focusing on three core elements: assessment tasks which promote the
kind of learning which is sought; the involvement of students in the assessment process
exemplified by the development of evaluative skills; and feedback which feeds forward
by promoting student engagement and action'. Figure 9.5.1 summarises the framework
for LOA.

Figure 9.5.1: Framework for learning oriented assessment (Carless 2007: 60)
In action, LOA proceeds in the following steps (Hamilton 2013):
1 Identifying learning objectives that are linked to both learner needs and external
requirements (for example, frame of reference and/or external exams).
2 Giving learners a task to do.
3 Observing and interpreting learners' performance through generated records.
4 Providing feedback and modifying learning objectives if necessary.

LOA in the EFL classroom


I applied the LOA steps in an EFL classroom while I was teaching a BULATS
preparation course to university students in February 2014. This was a project funded by
a skills development programme ('Pathways to Higher Education') in Egypt in association
with ESOL, Cambridge University. According to quantitative and qualitative evidence I
collected from the students (n=27), LOA not only helped students to prepare for the test,
it also helped them to develop lifelong learning skills. The vast majority of students
agreed on a list of skills that they had developed as a result of joining the LOA-oriented
BULATS preparation course. These skills included: monitoring learning progress,
devising own learning strategies, achieving better, keeping motivated, learning from
mistakes, setting own goals for learning, learning cooperatively, self-regulating and
reflecting on learning, identifying own learning needs and strategies, and transferring
learning to other situations and contexts.
Self-reports from the students clarified some of their learning outcomes. For instance,
one student stated, 'My communication skills are now better and my presentation skills
are still in need of a lot of work, but I am on the right track'. Another student reported,
'Because of the course, I can now make a presentation without being shy. Also, I am able
now to manage my time and make use of every single second. I am also capable of
working in a team.'

Implications
LOA supports students to learn effectively and has a positive impact on conceptualising
learning, teaching and assessment. Accordingly, learning is not about memorisation and
cramming for a test. It is about being more independent to plan own learning based on
provided feedback, and to set and achieve own goals. Teaching is also reconceptualised.
By being aware of clear curricular objectives and by providing timely feedback on
learner understanding, teachers can actualise LOA in the classroom. They can interpret
their judgments, make decisions about what to do next, and set in place plans of action
for further progression. With strategic planning and mediating actions, teachers can
transform an assessment context to a powerful learning context. The concept of
assessment is also transformed in the LOA framework. LOA bridges the gap between the
micro level of classroom assessment and the macro level of external exams. The
relationship between formative and summative assessment becomes complementary.
Instead of being viewed as opposing ideasa distinction that oversimplifies themthey
set in a spectrum. Formative assessment is a kind of purpose, whereas summative
assessment is a kind of judgment and can be used formatively. Besides, formative
assessment becomes a highly qualitative process of identifying personal profiles of
individual learners.
abdelhafez.edu@mu.edu.eg

References
Abdelhafez, A. 2011. An Investigation into Professional Practical Knowledge of EFL
Experienced Teachers in Egypt: Implications for Pre-service and In-service Teacher
Learning. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Graduate School of Education, Exeter, UK.
Carless, D. 2007. 'Learning-oriented assessment: conceptual bases and practical
implications'. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 44/1: 57-66.
Hamilton, M. 2013. 'How can assessment support learning: a learning oriented
approach?'. www.cambridgeenglish.org/loa.

9.6 Learner-directed feedback: a useful tool for developing EAP writing


and academic skills?
Clare Fielder University of Trier, Germany

Introduction
Teachers and learners often feel frustrated by 'traditional' correctional feedback given on
written work, and the literature reflects concerns regarding the effectiveness of various
practices, discussing issues like:
the intelligibility of feedback comments;
'authority' over written texts (Ferris 2003); and
the importance of correcting grammatical errors (Truscott 1996).
This presentation was based on my action research which contributes to this discussion,
focusing on academic essays by advanced learners. The results suggest that learner-
directed feedback (LDF) alleviates the concerns noted above, and is useful for developing
students' writing and academic skills. I define learner-directed feedback as learners
asking to receive feedback in a certain format and on specific aspects of their written
work. Contrary to peer review, the feedback is given by the teacher, but the learners
'direct' how and on what they receive commentssee also Campbell and Schumm-
Fauster (2013).

Research
My study involved 40 advanced students on EAP writing courses at Trier University,
who submitted three drafts of one essay over a 14-week term. The LDF process meant
students chose between various delivery formats for the feedback (for example, email,
audio recording, consultation) and posed specific questions about their work, to which the
teacher replied (for example, on lexis, register, grammar, logic). The data was collected at
the end of the course by written questionnaires which surveyed students' attitudes
towards various delivery formats, and the perceived effectiveness of LDF for improving
general written language and academic skills.

Results
The most commonly requested delivery formats were audio recordings and emails,
followed by requests for responses to specific questionssee Table 9.6.1.

Table 9.6.1: Responses to survey question 'What forms of feedback have you asked for
and received on your English academic writing this term? (Tick all that apply)'

Questionnaire responses showed that students felt comfortable using LDF and found it
highly motivating as it encouraged them to evaluate their own writing. Students also
valued the level of detail which ensued from the speed and scope these digital formats
enable. Particularly audio feedback allowed students to identify through the teacher's
intonation exactly how positive or negative a comment was. Having individual feedback
emailed or recorded also intensified the feeling that it was personal and the teacher had
invested time in helping them individually.
Overall, the number of students perceiving general aspects of their writing as having
been improved by LDF was considerably higher than of those perceiving no
improvementsee Figure 9.6.1. The exception here was punctuation. This may be
because few students asked specific questions about their use of punctuation (no question
meant no feedback). Perhaps concentration on other skills led to the disregard of what are
often considered 'minor' errors. Still, free responses were generally positive and explained
that LDF, by being more specific and detailed than traditional feedback, motivated
students to actively seek corrections by themselves.
Figure 9.6.1: Responses to survey question 'Which aspects of general written language
has student-directed feedback helped you to improve, and to what extent?'
Key academic skills such as critical thinking, proofreading and working with feedback
were all seen as having significantly improved through LDF. There were some interesting
differences in other responses, for example, the number of students reporting that LDF
significantly helped with choosing and narrowing a topic is similar to the number
perceiving no improvement in this skill. These points can be attributed to students'
varying previous experience.
Free responses regarding academic skills again praised specificity, the personalised
nature of the feedback, and increased motivation to develop their individual academic
abilities. Several claimed LDF helped them to think more critically and present
arguments more logically, and some were glad to have skills deficiencies highlighted by
LDF that they had not anticipated.

Discussion
Based on these results, I argue that LDF is a viable alternative to traditional feedback.
The findings also address issues of intelligibility, 'authority' over the written texts,
motivation, and the correction of grammatical errors.
Allowing students to choose a delivery format for their feedback means each one can
receive feedback in a form that suits their personal strengths and preferences.
Digital delivery formats enable more detail in feedback and can aid intelligibility.
Moreover, by allowing students to request help with specific aspects of their writing,
LDF encourages learner reflection and self-editing, while leaving the 'authority' over the
text with the student author. It also removes some of the urgency from practitioners to
agree on a single 'correct' solution to the issue of grammatical correction. All of these
benefits of LDF have a motivating effect on the students.
Thus, the results collected here lead to the conclusion that LDF is a useful tool for
developing learners' writing and academic skills, and highlight compelling reasons for
adopting LDF on academic writing courses. Many of these would also justify
implementing the approach in other EFL classrooms; I'm happy to receive enquiries
about how.
fielder@uni-trier.de

References
Campbell, N. and J. Schumm-Fauster. 2013. 'Learner-centred feedback on writing:
feedback as dialogue' in M. Reitbauer, N. Campbell, S. Mercer, J. Schumm and R.
Vaupetitsch (eds.). Feedback Matters. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
Ferris, D. 2003. Response to Student Writing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Truscott, J. 1996. 'The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes'. Language
Learning, 46/2: 327-69.

9.7 Portfolio: student-teacher involvement in learning and assessment of


writing
Afaf Mishriki and Amani Demian American University in Cairo, Egypt

Introduction
Assessing student achievement and gained knowledge during and after teaching and
learning is an integral part of education as it provides important information for teachers.
Using alternative forms of assessment like presentations, reflections, projects and
portfoliosalso known as authentic measureshas become a must to gauge the
acquisition and utilisation of skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and
presentation skills, that constitute an important part of the current language curriculum.

What is portfolio assessment, and why use it in a writing class?


It is ' a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits students' efforts, progress
and achievements' and a teaching tool that enhances the development of language skills'
(Snavely and Wright 2003: 3). Since writing is more of a process than a product, a
portfolio can show the gradual development of writing skills over time. It involves
ongoing reflection on strengths and weaknesses which motivates progress, enhances
student confidence, and fosters independent learning. Besides, students engage in various
types of writing that are not tested, and one-shot tests are not a reflection of all the effort
and progress a student makes over one semester.
Previous research findings indicate that portfolio assessment has a short- and long-term
positive impact on language learning, especially writing. It gives the teacher a clearer
idea about the students' needs, complements traditional testing, and it is beneficial for
formative assessment and curriculum development.

The study
The purpose of this study was to inquire about students' and teachers' attitudes towards
portfolio assessment in their writing courses because research is limited in this area and
because gaining this insight can help teachers, students and administrators to better
understand the effectiveness of the portfolio as a teaching and evaluation tool. Subjects
were 81 first-year university students, most of them taking English for Academic
Purposes, with a few in an intensive English programme. Also taking part were eight
experienced teachers with more than 15 years' teaching experience and more than 10
years' experience using portfolios. Research instruments were as follows:
1 A student portfolio use attitude survey, adapted from Caner (2010), made up of 12
statements that students rated on a five-point scale from 'strongly disagree' (1) to
'strongly agree' (5). Statements covered three areas: awareness, actual practice and
attitudes.
2 A teacher survey adapted from Arter and Spandel (1992) consisting of seven
questions on the purpose of using portfolios; their advantages, drawbacks and
effectiveness; the way teachers handled portfolios in their classes and encouraged
their students to reflect on their work; the problems they encountered; and the
assessment method they preferred.

Results
The majority of students reported having a clear idea about how to compile a portfolio
and agreed that it was helpful in learning and assessment, in enhancing writing skills,
organising, presenting, reflecting on learning, and identifying their strengths and
weaknesses; however, almost half of the subjects thought the portfolio was an increased
burden, and only slightly fewer than half said that they preferred to be evaluated by
portfolio.
Teachers reported using the portfolio to show process besides product, monitor students'
progress, diagnose problems and to help them determine end-of-term results when the
portfolio was given a percentage of the overall grade. The problems they encountered
included lack of students' sense of commitment or readiness to make good use of their
portfolios (focus on cosmetic revisions), use of the portfolio being time consuming, and
portfolio use not being taken seriously by their departments. The criteria teachers used to
evaluate the portfolio were quality, growth, depth of reflection and completeness. Most
teachers agreed that the use of a portfolio for assessment was fairer and more
comprehensive than one-shot tests, provided that reflection was included.

Conclusions and implications


The positive results of the student survey confirm Caner's (2010) results. The less
frequent neutral and negative responses could be attributed to the students' lack of
familiarity with the tool and to their past learning experiences, which did not foster
autonomous learning. It is advisable to train students on the skills necessary to properly
utilise a portfolio, like critical thinking, time management, organisation and, most
importantly, meta-cognition.
The results of the teacher survey showed teachers' belief in the effectiveness of a
portfolio in teaching/learning and assessment and their willingness to utilise it, yet they
should also be made aware of the need to employ multiple forms of assessment that can
measure the new learning outcomes and be familiar with the specific features and
requirements of a good portfolio. In addition, the administration should be more willing
to accept and support change in assessment methods and to invest time and effort in
training teachers.
afaf@aucegypt.edu
amanid@aucegypt.edu

References
Arter, J. and V. Spandel. 1992. 'Using portfolios for student work in instruction and
assessment'. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 11/1: 36-44.
Caner, M. 2010. 'Student views on using portfolio assessment in EFL writing courses'.
Anadolu University Journal of Social Sciences 10/1: 223-36.
Snavely, L. and C. Wright. 2003. 'Research portfolio use in undergraduate honors
education: assessment tool and model for future work'. The Journal of Academic
Librarianship 29/5: 298-303.
10 Teacher development around the world
As the length of this chapter suggests, teacher development was a key topic at IATEFL
2014. The opening paper in this chapter presents a report of a forum in which Richard
Smith, Paula Rebolledo, Fauzia Shamim and Mark Wyatt spoke about research
carried out by teachers into their own practice; this theme is further exemplified by Katie
Moran, who shows how exploratory/action research helped her to gain a deeper
understanding of her French students. Digital resources have become an integral part of
CPD; this is the topic of the next paper, by Ellen Darling. Reflection is the theme of the
next two papers: Daniel Xerri and Caroline Campbell show how portfolios help
teachers to reflect on their own practice, while Samel Lefever describes how reflective
practice became a key component in one teacher's professional journey. This paper points
out that teachers need recognition, a point further emphasized by Barbara Gonzlez
with reference to teachers in Mexico. Next, Leslie Turpin tells how participation in a
peacebuilding programme influenced her teaching approach. The next paper comes from
Turkey: K. Funda Akgl Zazaolu, William Kerr and Jonathan Smith describe the
establishment of an inter-university forum on curriculum, which brings EAP teachers in
Turkey together. Three papers from transitional parts of the world then outline specific
issues within the contexts of Bangladesh (Arifa Rahman), India (Sabina Pillai) and
Myanmar (Tara Siddartha). Richard Rossner then argues that 'Self-assessment can
play a key role in reflection and continuing professional development; however, valid and
useful tools are needed to support it.' This is the goal of the European Profiling Grid,
described in the next paper. Finally, Adrian Underhill presents a report of a new
addition to the IATEFL conference line-up: the Open Space session, in which
participants engage in discussion on a variety of topics according to their own interests.

10.1 Forum on supporting teacher-research: challenges and


opportunities
Richard Smith University of Warwick, UK, Paula Rebolledo Alberto Hurtado
University, Chile, Fauzia Shamim* Taibah University, Saudi Arabia and Mark Wyatt
University of Portsmouth, UK
*International House Training and Development Scholarship winner
It is generally acknowledged that teacher-research (research by teachers into their own
practice) can be a particularly empowering form of professional development. Indeed,
engagement in teacher-research seems to have been on the increase recently (thus,
nineteen posters were presented at the Teachers Research! Pre-Conference
Event organised in Harrogate by IATEFL's Research SIG: see
http://resig.weebly.com/teachers-research-1-april-2014). However, to date there has been
relatively little focus on how teacher-research can be supported by teacher educators and
educational managers. The three papers in this forum presented different experience-
based perspectives on some of the challenges and opportunities involved.
Fauzia Shamim set the scene with her paper Action research for teacher development:
opportunities and challenges. As she pointed out, the benefits of action research have
been well documented (e.g. Burns 2010). However, there is a scarcity of accounts of how
action research can be incorporated as a strategy for teacher development within teachers'
everyday working lives, outside degree course contexts. Her paper aimed to address the
gap by discussing two cases from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
In Pakistan, a one-year action research project was undertaken by the Society of Pakistan
English Language Teachers (SPELT). Twenty-two teachers participated in this project on
a voluntary basis. Following a three-day introductory workshop led by a consultant from
the UK, ongoing support was provided in the form of a fortnightly group meeting with a
local mentor. Finally, a writing workshop was held at the end of the project. However,
only a few of the participants were able to continue with researching their own practice,
for various reasons (to be explored below). As a result, only two project reports were
completed.
In the second case, a one-year action research project was initiated in a university English
Language Centre in Saudi Arabia. This had the Centre Director's support, although it did
not form part of the institutional plan for teachers' professional development.
Participation in the project was again voluntary, and 30 out of 63 female teachers signed
up for the project after an introductory session. A follow-up workshop and regular
fortnightly meetings were held for these teachers throughout the period of the project, and
the mentor was additionally available at other times for individual consultations and
lesson observation, if required. Quite a few teachers, ranging in number from 6 to 25,
attended the group meetings and shared their success stories and challenges. However, by
the end only two teachers had been able to complete action research projects in a
systematic way.
In both of these cases, the participants identified various benefits of action research for
their own learning, including teacher empowerment and an enhanced focus on student
learning in the classroom. However, it became clear that a more compelling incentive
was needed if they were to engage in full-scale action research. The major challenges in
both cases included lack of institutional support, competing priorities, time constraints,
and lack of familiarity with methods for systematic data collection and analysis.
Mark Wyatt's paper was titled Helping teachers become action researchers through
(despite?) teacher education. While teacher education courses often tend to encourage
reflective practice and introduce teachers to action research, academics sometimes
complain that teachers' instrumental motivation hampers their development in these
areas. Much might depend, though, on the nature of the course. A constructivist
programme might be relatively effective in bringing about action research engagement. A
teacher education programme in Oman was described. While some of its features might
have encouraged instrumental motivation, others seemed conducive to the development
of intrinsic motivation. Indeed, qualitative research (e.g. Wyatt 2011) has provided
evidence that some teachers were highly intrinsically-motivated and conscious of the
practical benefits of engaging in action research. These benefits included a growing
capacity to support and to research learning.
The talk highlighted, then, how transformative growth can occur in intrinsically-
motivated teachers if teacher education is situated in local contexts, incorporates
mentoring, and promotes reflection and action research. Explanations were provided as to
how these elements interacted in a positive way in this particular programme. For
example, reflective practice was encouraged through experiential teacher education
sessions that incorporated loop input as well as by opportunities being provided for
regular teaching in the local context while studying and being mentored. The capacity to
engage in action research was supported in ways that built on the encouragement to
reflect. For example, there were practically oriented assignments that developed skills in
observing, hypothesising, planning, adapting materials, monitoring and evaluating. In
addition, there was a cooperative sharing of ongoing research experiences as well as
formal input. Supervision aimed to be sensitive, tailored to needs and facilitative of
autonomy. Furthermore, the programme was administered in such a way that teachers
were given additional time for their research, while the university timetabled research-
related tasks (i.e. research proposal, oral presentation and written thesis) so that these
were manageable.
The outcomes were generally positive. It has been noted, for example by Wyatt (2011),
that participating teachers grew in autonomy and self-confidence through the course.
Some have subsequently spoken at local, regional and international conferences and
pursued further studies overseas. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education in Oman has
continued to develop a research culture. Omani regional teacher trainers still run short
courses, helping teachers to carry out classroom research which deepens their
understandings of the needs of their learners.
Finally, in Managing teacher-researcha project with Chilean secondary school
teachers, Richard Smith and Paula Rebolledo shared lessons learned from an
innovative project, co-sponsored by the British Council Chile and the Chilean Ministry of
Education, which placed teacher-research at centre stage within an in-service CPD
intervention (see also Smith et al. 2014).
The project was innovative in several respects: participation was voluntary and not
qualification-oriented; it targeted secondary school teachers facing large classes, very
busy schedules, and other difficult circumstances; it was a relatively ambitious project
(potentially involving support for a cohort of eighty teachers from all over Chile for a
period of one year via online mentoring); also, the project facilitators adopted a process-
oriented approach to developing the project which allowed for ongoing evaluation and a
flexible design.
Another innovative aspect that emerged early on was the development and promotion of
the concept of 'exploratory action research'. Action research was favoured for the
potentially empowering and bottom-up nature of the professional development it could
offer. However, a deliberate attempt was made not to present it as something academic,
overpowering or unrealistic for participants. Instead, teachers were encouraged to explore
issues before plunging into action and evaluating action, hence, 'exploratory action
research'. Ways of gathering data were suggested which would be integrated into and
useful within 'normal' teaching. For example, if students' lack of motivation is the major
problem, the teacher can begin by gathering written or oral feedback from the class in
response to prompts like 'What activities do you find motivating? / would you find
motivating?' On this basis a new action can be planned. However, as was experienced by
several participants, the students might actually become more motivated just because the
issue has been explored with them: the possibility was allowed for, then, that some
teachers might not wish to carry out and evaluate a new intervention at all but instead
explore further.
About half of the 80 teachers present at the initial taster session made contact with
mentors afterwards and embarked on a project. Almost all of them then remained in
contact and came together to present on their research by means of posters a year later (in
January 2014). An extension of the project into a further period of activity is planned
which will engage successful teachers from the 2013 project in mentoring new
participants from their region.
Aside from providing some practical pointers for others interested in supporting teacher-
research, the forum raised important general issues and indicated directions for further
research and development. An area of particular debate seems to be whether teachers
require external incentives to engage in practitioner research, and if so, what incentives
might be most effective. Gaining a qualification, of course, is one incentive which
underlies many existing reports of teacher-research. Experiences recorded for a
qualification have their own positive value (Wyatt), but, as Shamim stressed, there do
seem to be relatively few published reports from teachers who have engaged in teacher-
research voluntarily, and even the best-intentioned in-service interventions can come up
against major barriers when a qualification or other incentive is not offered. Discussion
following the papers produced the following list of possible motivators for voluntary
teacher-research: institutional recognition in the form of time off; action research
constituting one option within approved pathways for professional development; and the
possibility being offered of presenting at a conference or publishing a written account
(though, as Shamim argued, this may not be motivating to all teachers). At the same time,
the way action research is presented to teachers may be a major factor contributing to its
uptake or otherwise. If a 'constructivist' approach (Wyatt) is adopted, one which takes
account of the difficult circumstances teachers often face and which offers a way of
addressing those circumstances rather than adding to their burdens (Smith and
Rebolledo), then the chances of success may be increased. The form of final reporting
can also be made relatively teacher-friendlythus, what Smith and Rebolledo stressed
was allowing for different genres, including posters, or podcasts, and not being colonised
by academic norms.
As all three of the Forum papers showed in different ways, there are difficulties which
prevent many teachers from engaging in self-directed inquiry, including time constraints
and the view that research is for academics, not 'for them'. However, the potential of
teacher-research to empower teachers and to enhance their relationship with learners also
emerged strongly, and useful experience-based insights were shared. Finally, a new
direction for further research and development seemed to emergethat is, what can be
done to foster sustainability after the end of degree programmes (such as that described
by Wyatt) or 'voluntary' initiatives (as described by Shamim, and by Smith and
Rebolledo)?
r.c.smith@warwick.ac.uk
prebolledoc@gmail.com
fauzia.shamim@yahoo.com
mark.wyatt@port.ac.uk

References
Burns, A. 2010. Doing Action Research in English Language Teaching: A Guide for
Practitioners. New York: Routledge.
Smith, R., T. Connelly and P. Rebolledo. 2014. 'Teacher-research as CPD: A project with
Chilean secondary school teachers'. In D. Hayes (ed.). Innovations in Continuing
Professional Development for ELT. London: The British Council.
Wyatt, M. 2011. 'Teachers researching their own practice'. ELT Journal 65/4: 417-25.

10.2 First experience of exploratory/action research: improving oral


presentations
Katie Moran Efrei, Villejuif, France
This presentation described an ongoing project aimed at improving university students'
oral presentations. As a newcomer to exploratory/action research, through the talk I
shared my eye-opening experience of exploring my students' perceptions and treating
them as critical, creative actors in the classroom.

Situation
I teach in a private French university specialising in computer engineering, and I had
been concerned about the drop in quality in students' oral presentations; I was concerned
that this was a reflection of lower student motivation. For example, many students
'seemed' to be preparing at the last minute, without seeing the value of the exercise. It
'appeared' that they were copying and pasting the contents from online sources, then
simply reading their findings, without any in-depth reflection or analysis. Few students
'seemed' to be actively listening to their peers' talks and I 'felt' that students were not
taking my feedback into account.
In 2013, I discovered exploratory/action research at a professional development
workshop (led by Divya Madhavan and Dr Richard Smith, Uplegess, Paris), and realised
that my preoccupations involved self-questioning (my students 'seemed' and 'appeared', I
'felt', etc.), and I thought I might gain an understanding of the situation through
exploratory/action research.

Procedure
My project has involved two cycles of exploratory/action research with upper-
intermediate/advanced-level students. With the first group, I explored students'
perceptions by asking the class to do a free write on the topic. I then analysed the themes
which emerged and shared the findings with my students. To exploit the enthusiasm this
generated, I asked the students if they wanted to participate in a class project. They
agreed and together, we came up with improvement strategies. We then set up a class
plan of action and a schedule, and at the end of the project the students did a free write
about the experience.
Before starting with the second group, I discussed the positive findings and limitations of
the first group's project with them. I then repeated the research process: freewriting,
thematic analysis, dissemination, group project.

Improvement strategies
In each cycle, the class democratically decided on eight improvement strategies.
Interestingly, the second group reused some ideas from the first group while adapting and
inventing others. Three example strategies included:
Freer subject. The class felt that increased autonomy in choosing a presentation
topic would make the oral presentation experience more enriching. The students
decided they could present any aspect of the assigned theme.
Evaluation criteria. The students said it would be useful to have a clearer idea of
the evaluation criteria. I explained that I use an evaluation grid and suggested that, as
a class, we could develop one together. I set up a group poster activity by sticking up
four large sheets of paper around the classroom. Each poster had a different heading:
contents, structure, delivery and language. In small groups, students brainstormed
and wrote the criteria on the poster that they would want take into account if they
were the teacher evaluating the talks. After this, the groups switched posters, read
and discussed their peers' criteria and added more. After switching posters a final
time, I centralised the ideas on the board. We collegially decided how many points
would be attributed to each section. The evaluation criteria grid established by the
students themselveswas typed up and made available on the student intranet.
Richer content. The students wanted to listen to more interesting and critically
analytical talks, so they required peers to present a two-minute pitch of their idea/
plan two weeks before the presentation date. The pitch was to be approved by the
class, which would also give advice and ideas for further research.

Reflections
The students overwhelmingly endorsed the research approach, suggested the project be
replicated, enjoyed participating in an on-going project, took ownership of the project and
showed more motivation.
I was reminded that students come to the classroom as highly creative individuals with
different experiences and expectations, tried innovative teaching methods, felt
empowered by the research approach which is compatible with a teacher's heavy
workload and was motivated to explore its potential.
The quality of the presentations improved generally because the students were more
engaged and motivated; improvement continued throughout the project as group two built
on the experience of group one.
This project generated avenues of further exploration. I would like to explore with the
studentsthe teacher's role as a project facilitator, how my language expertise can be
best exploited by and for the students and ultimately, whether a third cycle would further
improve the students' learning experience and their talks.
katherine.moran@efrei.fr
10.3 Continuing professional development in a digital age
Ellen Darling British Council, Naples, Italy

Background
In recent years there has been a proliferation of online continuing professional
development (CPD) resources and tools available to teachers and managers. With the
advent of new technologies, teaching professionals all over the world are 'just a click
away' from accessing and sharing new ideas. While this is clearly a positive shift, it can
be difficult to find a way to organise professional development so that it is meaningful
and makes a difference to our teaching practice and repertoire.
In this presentation I focused on examples of CPD resources which are freely available
on the EnglishAgenda website and presented an approach which teachers and managers
might employ to organise and effectively manage their own and others' professional
development.

Online CPD resources


There are many useful online CPD resources available to teachers or managers looking
for input into their professional development. These include the following:
guides, handbooks and booklets for planning and logging professional
development;
webinars on various development themes, for example, how to move into teacher
training, language school management, materials writing, and so on;
podcast interviews which discuss innovative projects and ideas in the profession;
seminar recordings to watch and reflect upon;
books and research papers to download;
blogs;
websites with lesson plans and activities; and
social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook groups.

Planning CPD
The first thing to decide when starting to plan professional development is the direction
the teacher would like to take. There are several ways of identifying a direction for
development. These can be divided into two main areas. Needs can be identified; for
example, teachers may perceive something missing in their skills, knowledge and
experience, or they may identify a specific problem that has arisen with their classes, or
they may use ready-made external criteria to identify gaps. Alternatively, teachers can
focus on their interests and strengths and think about what element they are interested in
developing most, or what skills they need to develop for their chosen future career path.
Tools for (self-) evaluation
There are several tools that can be used to evaluate teaching skills and competencies, for
example the British Council Professional Development Framework, which has six career
stages, from newly qualified to specialised. Teachers can identify themselves within the
framework and then watch videos and find suggestions for potential action and directions
to take. Similarly, the recently launched Cambridge English Teaching Framework gives
suggestions for activities and courses according to the teacher's assessed progress level.
Other tools include the European Profiling Grid, which outlines language teaching
competencies and has the advantage that the evaluation can be saved online for future
reference and comparison [See 10.12. Editor]. The European Portfolio for Student
Teachers of Languages is a downloadable booklet and provides descriptors of the
necessary skills to develop in order to become effective language teachers. It is
particularly useful for use in teacher training contexts,

Plan, do, review

Figure 10.3.1: An approach to CPD


Figure 10.3.1 illustrates how this approach might work. As an example of how teachers
can move forward once they have identified their direction and goals, let's imagine the
situation of a teacher who would like to develop skills in working with learners who have
special educational needs. There is no one in her school with any expertise in this area,
and she has some students with learning difficulties in her classes. By doing an online
search, she discovers the following relevant resources that she can use to provide input
relating to special needs:
a network she can join on Facebook;
a webinar on special needs;
two seminar films;
a short podcast;
a publication of case studies; and
a self-access training course.
She creates her own action plan which involves learning about special needs using
content found on the Internet, putting what she has learnt into practice in the classroom
and reflecting on her experiences in a personal journal or blog. She may also have
questions and doubts and so makes contact with others in order to develop a personal
learning network via the online Facebook group. As a way to consolidate her learning
and share her knowledge, she decides to give a training session at her school.

Conclusions
Teachers have never before had access to so many (often) free resources and we are
lucky to be part of a very generous and active online community. Lifelong learning
should contribute to sustained motivation in our careers, which are becoming longer as
the retirement age rises. Taking control of and planning our professional development in
a meaningful way will help teachers to be more empowered, successful and happy.
ellen.darling@britishcouncil.org

Reference
Davidson, G., F. Dunlop, D. Soriano, L. Kennedy and T. Phillips. 2011. 'Going forward:
continuing professional development for English language teachers in the UK'.
EnglishAgenda. http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org.

10.4 Implementing teacher portfolios for professional development


Daniel Xerri University of Malta, Msida, Malta and Caroline Campbell EASY School
of Languages, Valletta, Malta
Teacher portfolios are instrumental for professional development because they enable
teachers to reflect on their beliefs and practices, and enhance their knowledge and skills.
A portfolio allows teachers 'to develop a record that documents improvements in
performance and professional knowledge, and which by its nature asks them to provide
documentary justification for their practice' (Crookes 2003: 200). Nonetheless, the
successful use of this professional development tool requires an effective implementation
strategy.

Implementation
In 2012, Malta's EFL industry adopted a system of teacher portfolios; this formed part of
a CPD policy devised by a regulatory body in collaboration with the main stakeholders.
Using a case study approach, we explored the effects these teacher portfolios are having
on professional development. Nine teachers working at an EFL school were asked to
complete a questionnaire, and a semi-structured interview was held with each one.
Subsequently, the portfolio of every interviewee was analysed with the intention of
identifying how it was being used for professional development purposes.

Significance
The teachers use the portfolio as a means of organising various professional development
records, including CPD attendance certificates, self-evaluation reports and classroom
observation feedback. The latter two documents show that the portfolio is an important
means of engaging in self-reflection. In fact, one interviewee stated that the portfolio is 'a
method to reflect on how I've progressed as a teacher.' For these teachers the most
important documents in the portfolio are the observation feedback they receive from the
director of studies, the self-evaluation reports they write on their professional
development and observed lessons, and the profile they write about themselves as
educators. The opportunities afforded by the portfolio to reflect on beliefs and practices
were indicated by most interviewees. One of them explained, 'You could have been
teaching for many years but it's still essential for you to reflect because there is always
something you can improve on.'

Contribution
For almost all the interviewees the implementation of teacher portfolios has contributed
to professional development. They mentioned that the portfolio acts as a log of their
participation in various forms of CPD as well as a record of professional growth. One
teacher claimed, 'The importance of having a portfolio is that you can use it to look back
at the way you were in the past, to reflect on where you are now, and to think about
where you would like to be in the future.' Another interviewee maintained that the
portfolio 'imposes a certain discipline and commitment to take part in educational
seminars'. The teachers affirmed that the portfolio has led to professional change by
providing them with an instrument for self-reflection, a structured approach to classroom
observation and the incentive to attend CPD events more frequently. They also indicated
that as a result of the portfolio there has been a positive change in their attitude towards
teaching and CPD.
Moreover, the interviewees remarked that they have noticed a change in the school's
CPD culture due to the fact that teachers now have a heightened sense of accountability
and professionalism, give more value to self-reflection and manifest pride in professional
development. One teacher declared, 'The direction is more professional now. It no longer
feels as if you're just a housewife who comes in to teach for a couple of hours to fill in
your time Your development as a teacher is acknowledged. It's more concrete.' For
these teachers the portfolio seems to operate as a locus of professional development.

Challenges
Besides various benefits, our study highlighted a number of challenges associated with
teacher portfolios that need to be taken into account in developing a strategy for effective
implementation. The main challenges indicated by the teachers were the time needed to
keep a portfolio, the specific writing skills required to engage in self-reflection and
concerns with the portfolio's audience and purpose. One teacher confessed, 'I find it
difficult to write about myself I'm not used to it, and I find myself in an uncomfortable
position having to write about myself.' Her colleague explained that 'teachers agonise
over the purpose of the self-reflection and who is going to read it'. These challenges seem
to suggest that for successful implementation of a portfolio system teachers need to be
provided with more than just training that targets the knowledge and skills they need in
order to use this tool effectively. Training must also provide them with ownership over
the portfolio by convincing them that it is not primarily a means of appraisal but a
testament to their professional development.
daniel.xerri@um.edu.mt
carecampbell@icloud.com

Reference
Crookes, G. 2003. A Practicum in TESOL: Professional Development through Teaching
Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

10.5 One teacher's journey towards self-efficacy and professional


development
Samel Lefever University of Iceland, Reykjavk, Iceland
An important quality of good teachers is the desire to continuously improve and develop
professionally. This presentation looked at the ways an experienced English teacher
challenged herself, explored new areas and furthered her professional development. Her
story is a good example of individual action research which involves reflective practice,
peer networking and feedback from a 'critical friend'.

Background
The key constructs which provide the basis for this narrative study are reflective practice,
self-efficacy and continuing professional development (CPD). Reflective practice is
based on a process of learning from experience in order to evolve as a practitioner. Self-
efficacy is the belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Lastly,
continuing professional development can be any relevant learning activity, formal and
structured or informal and self-directed, undertaken by an individual to further his/her
professional development.
The teacher in this study has been teaching English to young learners for over 10 years.
We met regularly during the school year to reflect and discuss issues of her choice. We
recorded the sessions and used them to kindle further thought and questions between
sessions. My role as a 'critical friend' was to listen, provide feedback and ask provocative
questions to take her further in her reflection. The teacher examined her teaching in
multiple ways: through oral and written reflection, through trying out new teaching
approaches and by reflecting on recordings of her own teaching.

Professional development
At the onset of the study the teacher was very preoccupied with the idea of professional
development. She had given it a lot of thought, both her own development as a teacher
and how to encourage teachers to become more involved in their own CPD. She
described this inner need as follows:
This has been my way of doing things, and I don't see how it could have been any
different. I didn't reflect on my teaching because I was told toit came from within. It
came because of my incurable interest in the profession and the desire to look deeper,
learn more and try new things.
One of her first steps in her CPD was to join a reading group, a cross-disciplinary group
of women who read about and discuss a range of issues having to do with education and
human development. She said:
The group has helped me to reflect on myself as a teacher and professional in ways
that have not been possible in schools where I have taught. It has given me the
chance to question and discuss aspects about myself, my teaching and my feelings as
a teacher. Reactions and input from the others have expanded my views and planted
seeds for further thought.
Peer networking has also played an important role in her development:
After a few years of teaching, I made a point of contacting the English teachers'
association, attending a meeting and volunteering to sit on the board. I think this
step, which I took solely because of my own interest and the need to learn more and
meet other English teachers, was very important for my professional development.
Through the teachers' association I met a lot of practicing English teachers, learned
how the system works and participated in a variety of initiatives.
She believes that teachers should receive recognition and encouragement from the
workplace; unfortunately this has been lacking in her case and she is experiencing
burnout:
Now I think that I am simply tiredtired of trying to find a 'place' where I can learn
more, tired of seeing the lack of interest in my colleagues and tired of feeling so
alone.
However, her feelings of burnout are counteracted by the positive interaction and
feedback she gets from students:
I listen to what [my students] have to say about my teaching and the teaching
materials and I trust their opinions. Sometimes they come up with unexpected ideas
that I try to incorporate in my teaching.

Conclusions
Experiences and reflections from the teacher's CPD journey illustrate how ideas emerge
and teaching practices develop in interaction with self, students, teachers and others.
Outcomes of her journey have been new and rewarding challenges and projects which
have led to more networking and more opportunities. Her knowledge and experience
have expanded, and the benefits of her journey extend beyond herself to her students,
colleagues and others. She has come to recognise her strengths (self-efficacy) and to
follow her ambitions despite feelings of isolation and disappointment in her job setting.
Her professional development journey has been a fruitful one.
samuel@hi.is

10.6 EFL teachers' need for recognition


Barbara Gonzlez Veracruz University, Xalapa, Mexico
All humans need to be accepted for who they are, as well as identified, respected, taken
into consideration and esteemedin short, 'recognised' by 'significant others' (Heikkinen
2003). 'Significant others' refers to their family, friends, students, colleagues and work
authorities in their social context. In particular, recognition is an important issue that
interrelates with, and possibly influences, not only the sense EFL teachers' have of their
professional identity but also their practice in their educational context. Thus, this need
for recognition should be taken into consideration in both micro and macro educational
contexts. This is especially the case for EFL teachers in Mexico, although the findings
presented here may resonate for other EFL teachers elsewhere.

The study
The need for recognition emerged as a constant main issue in a number of interpretative
qualitative inquiries focused on examining the emotional dimension of teaching in the
state of Veracruz in Mexico. This particular inquiry focused on 19 Mexican EFL teachers
from different educational institutions who are, at present, studying for an MA in TEFL.
Grounded theory was used to analyse their written personal response portfolio
submissions concerning the concept they have of their professional identities.

Recognition of teachers' social identity within their context


A teacher's context, depending on its nature, may have either a negative or positive effect
on the teacher's professional life (Flores and Day 2006). Within this context, recognition,
especially for teachers who are constantly in the public eye, is 'an essential element in the
formation' of their professional identities and, as such 'could even be called a vital human
need' (Heikkinen 2003: 3). When teachers do not receive this essential feedback, they
may often feel undervalued and so reluctant to make any kind of effort to improve their
practice, interact with others and/or participate in change initiatives. This appears to be
the case in Mexico where EFL teachers are aware that they are often considered as
'pobresores' instead of 'profesores'. The word 'pobresores' in Mexico, is a word play on
'profesores' in Spanish and refers to the ideas that not only are teachers poorly paid, but
also that their teaching practice is poor. As a result, EFL teachers' constant struggle
against this negative form of recognition may lead not only lead to their lack of
motivation but often to burnout and possibly their leaving the profession.

Recognition of professional self by others


Owing to the rather dismal state of affairs reported above, it seems understandable why
these EFL teachers are so 'content' and 'satisfied' (Heikkinen 2003: 4) when they do
receive 'authentic recognition'. That is, when teachers feel recognised by others, for
example, by receiving some kind of awards or even tenure. One teacher reported feeling a
sense of 'spiritual well-being' (Heikkinen 2003: 14). However, 'authentic recognition', is
not always easy to acquire. This may be influenced by the fact that teachers are now
living in the age of accountability, in a 'tick box' culture in which they are expected not
only to perform well but also to accept, often without comment, what is asked of them.
This is especially the case of language teachers, whose standing as professionals often
appears to be not taken seriously or deemed worthy of respect.

Recognition leads to professional self-esteem


Self-confidence is important as EFL teachers often feel insecure of their language ability
and/or teaching ability, especially when they are beginning their careers. That is why a
growing sense of pride and self-worth, triggered by recognition, is very important for
them. What is more, it may also lead to a healthy level of self-esteem which according to
Heikkinen (2003) is essential for teachers. Why? Because as people, not only as teachers,
they need to feel recognised by others, that they have the right to exist, and are accepted
for who they are as professionals. If they receive this level of recognition, then they may
be strong enough to continue transforming their professional identities as teachers.

Conclusion
Teachers need some kind of sign that they, and their work, are appreciated. A sign of
recognition whether it be an action or a prize, a word of praise, improved job security or
working conditions will allow them to feel pride in their practice, a sense of spiritual
well-being, self-confidence, and self-esteem as teachers, and thus a sense of self-
actualisation. Without these feelings triggered by some form of recognition, both their
professional identity as well as their teaching practice may be slowly eroded.
scholesbarbara@yahoo.co.uk

References
Flores, M.A. and C. Day. 2006. 'Contexts which shape and reshape new teachers'
identities: a multi-perspective study'. Teaching and Teacher Education 22/2: 219-232.
Heikkinen, H. L. T. 2003. 'Becoming a teacherstruggling for recognition'. Paper
presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, University of Hamburg,
17-20 September 2003.

10.7 Told poems: how does a year studying peacebuilding change the
way I think about my teaching?
Leslie Turpin SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro, Vt., USA
The only way that individuals and collectivities can establish their harmlessness to
others is to accept unconditional (and unlimited) responsibility to and for the Other
(Clements 2012: 66).
Every moment-to-moment choice a language teacher makes can be considered in light of
how it promotes peace. Grounded in my experience attending a year-long peacebuilding
programme, this workshop explored how elements of an intercultural communications
course for language teachers could be enhanced by a foray into the field of peace studies.
To explore this link, participants created Told Poems (Porche 1998), an activity I have
often used with teachers-in-training in an MA TESOL programme.

Background
I began with an overview of the peacebuilding program I attended. Unlike me, many of
the participants in the programme had experienced, or were experiencing, war and its
aftermath first-hand. The challenge of this presentation was to bring my learning to others
through concrete teaching techniques without minimising the fact that internal change has
been the essence of my learning. The workshop focused on being peace more than doing
it: making the space and taking the time for meaningful shifts to occur.

The metaphor
The metaphor I used to describe my learning was a church in my town. I showed two
photographs of the outside of the building shot from the same angle and asked
participants to note observations. (See Figure 10.7.1.)

Figure 10.7.1: Church exterior

I then showed two pictures of interiors of a building and asked again for observations.
(See Figure 10.7.2.)
Figure 10.7.2: Church interior
These were followed by several photos which showed the story of the church being
burned to the ground and rebuilt. Although the building looks the same in the before and
after external photos, it has been transformed inside. The nailed-down pews were not
replaced and the interior of the sanctuary was left open. This change enabled the space to
be used not only for religious services but for dances, concerts, yoga and any number of
other things. The metaphor describes, I think, the internal transformations that we often
go through as teachershow we rebuild new 'open' space within existing structures
(bodies, classrooms, schools). Things can look the same without being so.

Reimagining pre-during-post
Then I showed the phrase 'pre-during-post'. What comes to mind? Previously, I thought
of reading and listening activities. Now, I think about conflict. I think of pre factors that
contribute to conflicts such as economic, political and social injustice, climate change,
fear of identity differences, misguided development interventions and proliferation of
weapons. I think of the loss during conflictchild soldiers, refugees, internally displaced
citizens, genocide, human trafficking and war economies. I think of the post-conflict
landscape, generational trauma, perpetual cycles of retribution or ones that lead toward
forgiveness, reconciliation and justice. This hasn't changed the way that I teach reading or
listening per se. Instead, it causes me to look more closely at students' contexts and to
value, emphasise and enhance as life and death skills things that I already work on in my
teaching: listening, empathy, dialogue, truth-telling and inquiry into multiple
perspectives.
This understanding has changed the way that I approach simple identity activities with
my students and, in the presentation, I shared a few examples of these (students' drawings
of identity spheres, cultural identity timelines) to demonstrate the potential of pre-, during
and post-conflict analysis.

Told Poems
The heart of the presentation was an abbreviated version of an activity called Told
Poetry. Participants worked in pairs. One told a story and the other (the scribe) recorded
the essential/emotionally laden words from the story into a cryptic recordwhat we
loosely defined as a poem. I do this activity as an introduction to my intercultural
communications course. It is a way to stress the fact that our cultural identity is made up
of stories shared in different contexts and to demonstrate how we are re-created by those
who listen to and recast our lives. As a result of the peacebuilding programme, I adapted
the activity by making the story prompt a memory of being excluded. Participants told
their stories to their scribe and worked in pairs to edit the poem until it felt 'true' to the
teller. The scribes read the poems aloud. Even in this truncated version of the activity,
several personal stories of exclusion emerged, transforming this simple activity.

Conclusion
The activity demonstrated how a simple shift of focus can enhance empathetic listening,
and storytelling. By examining dynamics of exclusiona force that cause conflicts and
inhibits their transformationanyone can foreground the responsibility of caring for the
other any time.
leslie.turpin@sit.edu

References
Clements, K. 2012. 'New wars-old wars: thinking creatively about the prevention and
transformation of armed conflict in the twenty-first century' in B. C. Goh, B. Offord and
R. Garbutt (eds.). Activating Human Rights and Peace: Theories, Practices and Contexts.
Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate.
Porche, V.1998. 'Told Poetry.' Community Works Journal 9 (Fall).
10.8 Forum on Curricular Issues (FOCI): An inter-institutional
network for building a professional learning community
K. Funda Akgl Zazaolu Izmir University of Economics, Turkey, William Kerr Ko
University, Istanbul, Turkey and Jonathan Smith Sabanc University, Istanbul, Turkey

Aims of the forum


Our IATEFL talk was aimed at colleagues interested in establishing an inter-institutional
forum and attempted to give our audience a comprehensive overview of the Turkish
FOCI, in terms not only of aims and rationale, but also of problems and pitfalls. We were
hopeful that colleagues would see, as we have in Turkey, the immense benefits of such a
forum. Set up by the Curriculum Team of Sabanc University School of Languages in
May 2010 for representatives from the curriculum teams of a range of
foundation/preparatory programmes preparing students for their academic studies in
English, the forum provides an opportunity for different state, foundation and private
universities within the Turkish context to come together. The principal aims are to
discuss issues of concern in the areas of needs analysis, syllabus writing, implementation
and programme evaluation; to share experiences and ideas relevant to curricular issues
from their diverse contexts; to raise mutual awareness of the activities and approaches to
curriculum issues in other programmes; and to build relationships and links between the
curriculum teams in different institutionssee http://focionline.wordpress.com/.

Rationale of the Forum


The FOCI project holds regular twice-yearly two-day events in May and December.
FOCI events are hosted by different universities in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Events
are organised by the FOCI Organising Team which is comprised of members from the
School of Languages of Sabanci University, Ko University and Izmir University of
Economics, in collaboration with the host institutions. The forum takes an informal and
hands-on approach to the practical 'nitty-gritty' of curriculum work, aiming to
complement the formal presentation of papers or workshops to be found at other
professional gatherings such as conferences, seminars and workshops. FOCI events are
aimed at members of syllabus or curriculum teams or teachers interested in curricular
development rather than administrators. Events focus on issues related to
foundation/preparatory programmes rather than to freshman or other faculty courses.

Participants
In order to ensure efficient and focused discussion and an informal atmosphere, places
are limited to one representative from each institution. The representative should be a
member of a syllabus or curriculum team, or other teacher who is involved in curricular
development. FOCI events are held without charge to the participants; refreshments and
lunch are provided by the hosting institution. The language of the forum is English.
A typical example of focus group tasks
FOCI events started in May, 2010 with a theme of 'Common concernsmultifarious
responses'. Various other sessions included such themes as 'Enabling low-level learners'
success', 'Developing a curriculum that fosters independent learner competencies',
'Collaborating with colleagues to consolidate the curriculum', 'Pathways for progress/ ion:
what we do do, don't do and could do', 'The quest for the ideal course book', and
'Thinking critically about critical thinking in the curriculum'.
One very controversial and topical theme was:
'Standardisation: what are we sacrificing?' We make efforts to ensure that all our
learners are provided with the best possible materials, teaching methods and fair and
objective assessment procedures. But does this mean we should strive for uniformity
in the delivery of curriculum so that every learner's experience is identical? What do
we mean by 'standardisation'? How and to what extent are our programmes
standardised? Is there room to meet individual learners' needs? What are the
implications for teacher and learner autonomy? Are teaching and learning being
sacrificed in the name of standardisation? Can the curriculum allow for
standardisation without sacrificing teacher and/or learner autonomy? This FOCI
event will attempt to clarify the concept of 'standardisation' and its effects on the
curriculum.
Over the two-day session, small focus groups passionately discussed and debated,
preparing for final presentations in the last hours of the Forum.

Focus group task 1: definitions


As a group, come to a consensus about the definition for:
standardisation; and
teacher autonomy.

Focus group task 2: guidelines


You are the curriculum team of a university preparatory school. As a group, draw up
some guidelines for the development of a curriculum. Make it clear which things will be
standardised and to what extent. Here are some areas you can consider: teachers, learners,
curriculum and assessment, and teaching.

Feedback and the future


Feedback from both individual participants and institutions has been very positive, and as
we move forward, the plethora of themes suggested by participants is overwhelming and
seemingly endless. It is clear to all who have participated in these foci events that the
'multifarious responses' are, paradoxically perhaps, bringing us all closer together.
funda.akgul@izmirekonomi.edu.tr
wkerr@ku.edu.tr
jsmith@sabanciuniv.edu
10.9 Implementing a CPD programme in a developing context
Arifa Rahman University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
The presentation analysed the challenges of continuing professional development (CPD)
in a developing South Asian country, Bangladesh. I first introduced the concept of CPD
in its different forms, then discussed the challenges of CPD in Bangladesh and finally
argued for a localised version that might be sustainable.

What is CPD?
CPD stands for 'continuing professional development' and generally signifies the process
of continuing growth of a person after joining a profession. The notion of CPD draws a
difference between staff development (capacity building of the organisation) and
professional development (capacity building of the individual). In this sense, CPD views
professionals as lifelong learners.
In education, CPD is practised within a narrow and a broad view. The narrow view
imparts skills and knowledge in order to deal with specific new requirements, for
example, the use of a new textbook. On the other hand, the broad view sees CPD as a
deeper and longer-term process in which professionals continuously enhance their
knowledge and skills and their understanding and maturity, and grow both as
professionals and as individuals. Most educators in today's world see CPD in its broad
sense. Thus Padwad and Dixit (2011: 7) define CPD as 'a planned, continuous and
lifelong process whereby teachers try to develop their personal and professional qualities,
and to improve their knowledge, skills and practice, leading to their empowerment, the
improvement of their agency and the development of their organisations and their pupils.'
However CPD is not an easy process. In terms of teacher professionalism, Hargreaves
(2000) points to the current status of CPD as being marked by a struggle between de-
professionalising (negative) and re-professionalising (positive) forces. Educators need to
understand these critical forces to plan and support CPD in their own context.

CPD in Bangladesh
With the advent of the introduction of the CLT approach in the late 1990s, there have
been several initiatives on teacher development but most attempts have favoured an in-
service training approach with short-term goals of acquiring a set of skills and/or some
knowledge. Thus the narrow view of CPD has been followed. There is no recognition of
CPD as a lifelong, continuous process. This exemplifies what Hargreaves (2000) calls the
de-professionalising force.
The reason for this state of affairs in-country range from a top-down transmissive
educational culture, myopic state policies regarding teacher development, the teachers'
ingrained beliefs of their roles and practices, and societal expectations of teachers' roles
as knowledge providers. In addition, private tutoring by teachers, spawned by an outdated
assessment system that encourages rote learning, has a backwash effect on teaching and
learning. In such a set-up, most teachers themselves seem hardly interested in
professional development, let alone CPD.
Coping with change tactics
Introducing innovation and change is a difficult endeavour. Wedell (2009) suggests 're-
culturing' be undertaken by those bringing in change, clearly as a response to the local
culture and context. Care and sensitivity need to be exercised in connecting to teachers'
beliefs, thus enabling then to clarify their prior perceptions and helping then to elaborate
and develop their schema about learning and teaching. In short, educators need to provide
teachers with pathways of linking their own beliefs to current knowledge regarding
professionalism.
Other issues include encouraging policy dialogues and developing a long-term strategy
for sustaining CPD. Research is an imperative. Research findings can provide insights for
(a) academic and practical components of CPD; (b) policy makers who need to have
appropriate information about CPD theory and practice; (c) teachers/ student teachers
who are seeking to develop themselves; and (d) teacher education managers who are
looking for ways of establishing more effective systems for teacher development in their
specific contexts.

A localised version of CPD


The first step is to identify the de-professionalising forces at work and then working in a
culturally appropriate manner to gradually blend them into re-professionalising ones.
This is no easy task. A starting point is to explore and identify areas where there are
difficulties but caution and sensitivity need to be exercised. Above all, there have to be
informed policy initiatives that can support and sustain ell endeavours.
Some of the re-professionalising strategies could be to encourage professionals to extend
their professional orientation, going beyond a short-term goal, developing knowledge-
seeking processes and developing emotional/cognitive states. In addition the teaching
community needs to engage in mentoring, study groups and networking through teachers
clubs and associations. CPD thus needs to leverage in changes with caution and with
plenty of support. Obviously this will take considerable time and a long-term strategy.
arifa73@yahoo.com

References
Hargreaves, A. 2000. 'Four ages of professionalism and professional Learning'. Teachers
and Teaching: Theory and Practice. 6/2: 152-82.
Padwad, A. and K. Dixit. 2011. Continuing Professional Development. An Annotated
Bibliography. British Council India.
Wedell, M. 2009. Planning for Educational Change. London: Continuum.
10.10 Locating CPD in tertiary English teachers in India
Sabina Pillai Delhi University, New Delhi, India
Cambridge English Teacher Training Scholarship winner

Introduction
My presentation was based on a research project I undertook as member of the British
Council, India's English Think Tank team. After the presentation, I gained tremendous
insights from the discussion that followed. I found that some of my audience from South
Asia agreed with the findings of my study while others from the UK and Middle East
found the situation intriguing as it differed from their own realities.
In this study I investigated the status and role of continuing professional development
(CPD) among a small cross-section of tertiary-level English teachers in India and
ascertained their views about a tool like a personal development plan (PDP) to help them
initiate or sustain it. My focus was on whether this cohort of teachers had considered
CPD at all, and if they had made any self-motivated efforts to develop themselves.
The qualitative data was collected in 2012 by a triangulation method to increase the
reliability of the findings. The first kind of evidence I derived was from a questionnaire,
sent out to teachers in various colleges and universities. The second source was collected
from five informal and voluntary teacher narratives. The third type of evidence was
documented information about the provision of CPD in two leading universities, Delhi
and Mumbai.

Background
Blackwell and Blackmore (2003: 23) state that 'staff expertise is the most important asset
in a university; without it literally nothing can be achieved'. But they also state that most
higher education systems have a very low entry requirement for teaching expertise. This
leads to a situation where academics normally practice with few or no skills in teaching
pedagogy, banking on what Lortie (2002: 61) calls the 13,000 hours of 'apprenticeship of
observation' of their own days as students observing their teachers.
Furthermore, CPD is an unfamiliar term in higher education, with no accepted definition.
Tertiary-level teaching is also caught between sets of competing priorities: a greater
emphasis on knowledge content than on the craft of teaching, greater perceived glory in
pursuing research than teaching and demands of administrative responsibilities diluting
teaching. Ironically, universities, which are conventionally a formal source of CPD for
other professionals (Blackwell and Blackmore 2003) seem negligent of this need among
their own staff.
Most tertiary-level teachers accept the institutional view of CPD as a product to be
notified to others by participating in mandated training, rather than being a process to be
assimilated internally for the teacher's own development as a person and a professional.
The institutional view of CPD as a quantifiable, product-based action on the teachers' part
is at variance with the general view in research and literature of CPD as a self-initiated,
reflexive process of critical reflection and personal and professional development.
My study
My study aimed to assess the respondents' awareness of CPD. It further suggested the
concept of a personal development plan (PDP) as a viable option to pursue it. As
Megginson and Whitaker state, 'Continuing professional development is a process by
which individuals take control of their own learning and development, by engaging in an
on-going process of reflection and action' (2007: 3). The questionnaire was sent to 50
teachers pan India, of which only 15 responded. I must, therefore, state that it is by no
means a representative study.

Findings and suggestions


These were the findings that the triangulation method of the study yielded:
There is complete ambiguity about CPD.
It is seen to be unnecessary fanfare by senior-level teachers.
Record keeping is seen as a waste of time.
There is a lack of awareness about PDPs as a tool to initiate CPD.
Its value is accepted in principle, but it is relegated to deferred action status as it is
not mandatory.
Teaching is seen to be a less-preferred career choice and is regarded as lower in
esteem than other major careers.
There is a lack of a community of practice and nurturing climate institutionally,
where teacher accountability and professional development are contentious issues.
Suggestions for a paradigm shift regarding CPD included the need to build a supportive
institutional climate; a change in the notional perception of teachers as not being 'real'
professionals; accountability of outcomes to be made sacrosanct; the concept of teacher
as learner to be inculcated; class observation and supervision to become the norm; and
teacher mentoring and teacher forums to be encouraged all around.

Conclusion
My presentation concluded with a lively discussion on the many issues it raised. It has
made me resolve to expand the scope and extent of my study and to publish my findings
in due course.
sabinapillai2000@yahoo.com

References
Blackwell, R and P. Blackmore (eds.). 2003. Towards Strategic Staff Development in
Higher Education. Maidenhead, UK: Society for Research into Higher Education and
Open University Press/McGrawHill Education.
Lortie, D. C. 2002. Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study (second edition). Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Megginson, D. and V. Whitaker. 2007. Continuing Professional Development (second
edition). London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

10.11 Leading teacher development programmes in Myanmar


Tara Siddartha British Council, Myanmar
As Myanmar is undergoing a period of transition in most sectors, teachers of English
from primary to high schools are experiencing challenges in coping with changes in
education reform. Along with other changes, the child-centred approach which has been
implemented in the classrooms has been the most dramatic challenge for school teachers.
They are facing difficulties with teaching methodologies and classroom management as
well as their own use of English as the mode of instruction when teaching English. The
most significant issues from a trainer's point of view are as follows.
Firstly, there is a lack of proper training among teachers. Most teachers at government
schools are assumed to have completed pre-service training at a teacher training college
or a university. However, very few monastic (religious) school teachers and other
teachers assigned to remote areas have completed a degree or high-school education or
pre-service training programme. If they receive in-service training, this definitely does
not focus on English language teaching. Moreover, most training does not provide
sufficient opportunities for the trainees to observe experienced teachers and to be
observed and receive feedback.
Secondly, the teacher's knowledge base and beliefs also contribute to failure in English
teaching. There is a deep-rooted belief that English should be taught in the same way as
other content subjects, with students still learning by memorisation; the result is that the
teaching and learning of English in Myanmar is still not ready to deliver the expected
results. Some teachers understand the benefits of using modern teaching methodologies
and providing students with opportunities to interact; however, as teachers have to focus
on seven monthly assessments throughout the school year, even those who would like to
try some newly introduced teaching methods often lack the time to develop them.
Therefore, in addition to not having proper training, the teacher's beliefs and limited
opportunities to put theory into classroom practice add to the list of inhibiting factors.
Finally, other obstacles for teachers include low resources and limited exposure to the
target language. It is hard for teachers who have never read or listened to authentic
language to develop their own language skills and confidence. In particular, teachers
from remote areas do not have access to authentic materials or anyone to approach when
they have queries regarding the language.
It has been a great experience to help teachers round the country to overcome these
difficulties. For over three years, as part of the English for Education Service (EES)
programmes, several teacher training programmes for teachers from the public, private
and monastic sectors, from primary to tertiary levels have been developed and delivered.
The training programmes reached remote areas and provided both technical and material
support, such as teaching aids and methodology and language development courses. This
training aimed to help in-service teachers teach English better using a learner-centred
approach, handle large classes, and plan lessons using the textbook materials from the
state curriculum. It is evident that teachers' awareness has been raised of how to use
context-relevant techniques in low-tech situations to bring about the best possible
learning outcomes. Nevertheless, short programmes with no follow-up only make a
limited difference to the teacher's classroom practice. What more could be done to help
these teachers to develop their language, gain self-confidence and teach English in a
communicative way? They live in areas where there is no electricity and no access to
modern technologies such as the Internet, computers or mobile phones, so very limited
language exposure is available. How might exposure to the English language be
increased? One innovation would be a radio programme in which experts advise teachers
on how to deal with particular problems. Another would be to distribute an audio CD to
teachers to help with language practice. A pronunciation CD which includes the exercises
from the government textbooks they are using would be especially useful. Even though
native-like pronunciation is not a necessary goal, clear and accurate pronunciation is an
important key to intelligibility. Thus, researching the problematic sounds for Burmese
learners and developing corresponding pronunciation exercises would be a great idea.
The question is to what extent the idea of helping teachers with their English language
development will bring about change in their classroom practice. There is no doubt that it
will increase their language exposure and widen the scope of their knowledge. However,
as long as other key problems such as teachers' beliefs and the backwash from testing
remain, improvement in practice will be slow.
tara.siddartha@mm.britishcouncil.org

10.12 The EPG: a tool for assessing language teaching competences


Richard Rossner EAQUALS (Evaluation and Accreditation of Quality in Language
Services), UK.

Key background issues


Language teachers, however experienced they may be, need to ensure that the ways in
which they facilitate language learning are of consistently high quality and continually
improving. Those who manage, train and mentor language teachers need to help them to
continually develop. Self-assessment can play a key role in reflection and continuing
professional development; however, valid and useful tools are needed to support it. The
aim of the European Profiling Grid (EPG) is to supply such a tool.

What is the EPG?


The EPG is an instrument to support teachers in their own professional development, and
to aid those managers and coordinators who are responsible for assuring quality in
language education. It contains sets of descriptors covering key aspects of language
teaching competence. The EPG results from an EU-funded project that ran from 2011 to
2013 and involved partners from ten countries, including leading national language
education bodies. The aim of the project was to validate and develop the original
Profiling Grid, first designed for use by language centres accredited by EAQUALS. Two
descriptions of language teaching competences had previous been developed (Newby et
al. 2006, Kelly and Grenfell 2004), but both were initially developed for teacher trainees.
The EPG, on the other hand, is designed to support practising language teachers with
varying degrees of experience in assessing their own language teaching competences.
The EPG competence descriptors cover the following key areas:
as background, the qualifications and experience of teachers: proficiency in the
target language, educational qualification, teaching qualifications, and teaching
experience;
key teaching competencies: methodology (knowledge and skills), planning,
interaction management and monitoring, and assessment;
enabling competences: intercultural competence, language awareness, and use of
digital media; and
professionalism: professional conduct, including participation in professional
development, contributions to the institution, collegiality, and dealing with
administrative tasks.
Thirteen categories altogether are covered in these four main areas. The descriptors in
each category are organised over six 'phases of professional development' ranging from
trainee to 'very experienced', yielding a total of 78 descriptor 'cells'. Each cell in the Grid
contains between one and five descriptors depending on the category and phase of
development. The layout of the Grid is summarised in Table 10.12.1.

Table 10.12.1: The Grid: layout, main categories and phases

How was the EPG validated?


As part of the EPG project, the Grid (in five language versions) was tested with nearly
2,000 teachers, mainly from 20 countries in Europe, and over 60 managers and 100
trainers from a wide range of contexts in 11 European countries. The purpose was to
ensure that the descriptors worked in the five languages and to identify changes that
needed to be made in the final version. This is now freely available in nine languages via
www.epg-project.eu, together with a User Guide. In addition, an electronic version, the e-
Grid, is available at http://egrid.epg-project.eu/en.

How can the EPG be used?


The main intention is to support teachers' continuing professional development, but the
EPG also has a role to play in quality management and in determining whether the goals
of a teacher training/development programme have been attained. Thus it has three main
groups of intended users:
Teachers/lecturers can use all or parts of the Grid for:
self-assessment and as a stimulus for reflection;
thinking about their own development needs; and
preparing for review meetings with academic managers.
Academic managers can use the Grid, for example, to:
discuss teachers' individual professional development needs;
build an overview of the competences of their teaching team, for example, to
decide on suitability for certain tasks;
help prepare lesson observation sheets; and
assess teachers' competences as preparation for review meetings with teachers,
comparing their assessments with teachers' own self assessments.
Teacher trainers and mentors can use the Grid:
to plan whole training courses or single workshops;
as a source of focus points for observation and discussion of an individual's
teaching; and
to raise teachers' awareness about specific competences they need to be working
on.

Summary
Defining and describing language teaching competences is not a simple matter. The final
version of the EPG and the e-Grid are valuable tools for both teachers and managers that
have been shown to work across borders and languages. The EPG aims to raise standards
by encouraging teachers to regularly assess and reflect on their own teaching
competences, and by enabling their managers and trainers to compare and discuss the
similarities and differences between their assessments and teachers' own self-
assessments.
rrossner@eaquals.org

References
Kelly M. and R. Grenfell. 2004. European Profile for Language Teacher Education: A
Frame of Reference. www.lang.soton.ac.uk/profile/report/MainReport.pdf.
Newby, D., R. Allan, A. Fenner, B. Jones, H. Komorowska and K. Soghikyan. 2006. The
European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages. EPOSTL.
http://archive.ecml.at/mtp2/fte/pdf/C3_Epostl_E.pdf.
10.13 Open Space: an alternative and spontaneous conferencing
methodology
Adrian Underhill Freelance, Hastings, UK
At the IATEFL Conference in Harrogate about 60 people gathered for an experimental
taster of an alternative conference format known as Open Space. This was facilitated by
Adrian Underhill, Ros Wright and Margit Szesztay with the aims of raising awareness of
conference modes that might complement our existing ones and giving delegates tools to
use in their own work with groups.

Coffee breaks are the best bit


The IATEFL conference is a great example of the traditional conference format working
at its best. But there are kinks in its operating system: talks and workshops are defined
and submitted months in advance, mostly proposed without taking account of the content
of the other sessions. And due to the lockstep 'grip' of the conference programme
(necessary for a traditional conference) it is hard for new conference themes to emerge
spontaneously, or for later sessions in the programme to pick up on and run with the
outcomes of earlier sessions. In effect the conference restarts from zero every hour. And
the speaker comes prepared, speaks, and invites interaction at prepared points. Perhaps
this is what people are responding to when they say that the coffee breaks are the best bit.
So, what would it be like if you could somehow organise coffee breaks into a
spontaneous conference? This is the question that occurred to Harrison Owen sometime
in the 90s, and Open Space is the result. The aim is to enable groups of any size to
address complex, important issues and achieve meaningful results quickly, by offering a
subtle but clear-cut structure that invites dialogues, ideas exchanges, buzz groups,
brainstorms, and so on, to take place fairly spontaneously, according to where the interest
and energy are at the time. You do not come 'prepared' to an OS session; you come with
yourself, your experience and your passion for what is important at that time.

The basic OS procedure


In brief, if you have a burning issue to share, you put a descriptive title on a post-it and
these are arranged on the board according to topics. Similar topic area may be merged at
this point if their proposers agree. Participants select which sessions will run by a simple
show of interest, and these topics are arranged into the time slots and rooms that are
available. And then everyone goes off to his or her chosen session and meets up with the
others who have opted for the same topic plus the initial proposer. The proposer will also
convene the sessionwhich does not mean that he or she is the main speaker. There is a
report from each session using either paper or wifi, which is shared at a plenary
immediately after the first round of sessions. Then, as feelings and thoughts get focused
in the plenary and as the group gets to know itself, so a second round of sessions emerges
from the first round, from the plenary, and from any fresh shifts or insights. There are
brief reports and a plenary meeting again after this, and so it proceeds.
The sessions include the challenging and liberating Law of Two Feet, which invites us to
take responsibility for what we feel passionately about, so if we're neither contributing to
nor getting value from the session we chose then we use our two feet and go to another
session where we can contribute better.
There is more to it, but that is the basic procedure. During these 2.5 hours we were
allotted in the Harrogate programme we had time for the set-up, two rounds of Open
Space sessions, the plenaries and feedback. Here is what happened.

OS rounds 1 and 2
Our focus question 'What is a burning issue for you in ELT today?' elicited about 30
post-its. Here are a few examples:
What would an interactive e-book for seniors look like?
Teaching students to write extended academic essays
Managing 1:1
Teaching ideas to support EL for offender learners in UK
Why is English as the medium of instruction suddenly a topic of discussion?
What is the best way to implement a CLIL programme?
How does an educational institution share vision so everyone moves in the same
direction?
and so on. There were so many that it took us some time to sort out the sessions.
(Lessons we learnt during this stage were: have a more focused conference question than
our rather general one to start with; invite fewer post-its per round; and make sure the
proposer announces/clarifies his or her topic aloud.)
We then conducted the first round with about six parallel sessions lasting 30 minutes. A
plenary feedback followed on the content of the sessions, and then we solicited topics for
round 2 taking account of the lessons learnt so far (mentioned above). One of the sessions
proposed in round 2 was 'I have to do a presentation in three weeks on behaviour
management in the classroom and how to deal with confrontation and I need some help
with this'. This was seen as an example of a good OS topic in that it was focused and had
a clear need, outcome and time frame. Quite a few opted for this session.

Some of the participant feedback


Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. People genuinely seemed
interested in learning about this (new) format and some suggested they would be putting
it to immediate use in their own contexts, notably in teacher training and CPD sessions:
Good to have something different. You can learn something from [the] content and
[the] processuseful for training and facilitation.
I will try this technique in my department.
Participants particularly welcomed the inclusive nature of Open Space; something that
IATEFL is always very keen to promote:
Good to have the space to let us share.
It's a great opportunity to mingle with colleagues from different countries
discussing issues of common interest.
Good to have a more bottom-up and 'open' approach than typical sessions.
The Open Space format also enabled those whose voice might not normally be heard
within the traditional conference scenario to shine through:
Open Space values the conference-goer and gives them a voice.
Some delegates mentioned positive knock-on effects from participating in this
experimental session:
there was so much knowledge in the room
[I] got good ideas for my work.
Others even felt it gave them the boost they needed to go it alone and present at future
IATEFL conferences:
After [] Open Space I'll feel more confident about presenting myself in the
future!

Open Space in 2015


The Conference Committee has agreed to offer Open Space again in 2015, and the
lessons learnt in 2014 mean that while retaining the same level of spontaneity, the
methodology will be more streamlined so that we reach operating temperature sooner,
and thus we may be able to make it slightly shorter so that participants take a bit less time
out of the main conference programme. Those hosting the event will, of course, seek to
promote mutual respect among group members, encouraging anyone who wishes to speak
to do so.
We'll prepare a description of the Open Space event for the 2015 IATEFL Conference
Programme, with a suitably pitched overall question to bring us together, and using a
streamlined methodology informed by the lessons learnt from this year. Anyone who
chooses to attend should find at least two benefits: 1) a spontaneous mini-conference
dealing with 'hot' issues, and 2) experience of the methodology for running an OS event
for yourself.
adrian@aunderhill.co.uk
Epilogue: Studying emergent phenomena
On the final day of the 2014 conference, delegates saw one of the most talked-about
plenary talks in recent IATEFL history. Sugata Mitra presented his research on self-
directed learning with children, first in India and now in the UK and elsewhere. This
issue of Conference Selections closes with a look into the future of learning.

The future of learning


Sugata Mitra Newcastle University, UK
History of primary education
Primary education began sometime in pre-history, before the advent of written history.
Much of its past is, therefore, based on conjecture. Most schooling across the world is
dated from 1,500-1,000 BC. Among the oldest is Vedic education in the Indian
subcontinent, which is currently dated to 1,500 BC. However, this estimate is clearly
wrong. Historical evidence found in Lothal, India, indicates a port city around 3,000 BC,
with fairly advanced metallurgy, drainage, civil engineering and other artefacts
suggestive of an effective education system. We could safely suggest that primary
education dates back to at least 5,000 years ago.
This being the case, primary education of that time would have needed to be exclusively
oral. This gives us a clue to the structure of classrooms. For students to listen effectively
to a teacher, they would have had to sit in rows in front of the teacher and be instructed
not to talk amongst themselves. They would have been trained to listen carefully and
memorise what they were told. They would then have been taught to recite with clear
pronunciation. Indeed, the Vedas, among the oldest books in the world, were transmitted
using this method over thousands of generations until they were written down
(www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html). A teacher, in a reasonably quiet
setting, speaking at a normal 60 Db volume would be heard clearly to about six metres
(www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-distance.htm). So, a teaching enclosure where
listening is important would have had a radius of about six metres. This establishes a
classroom size. Since rooms in most cultures are rectangular, we would imagine a
classroom to have an area of about 36 square metres. Allowing about one square metre
for each learner, and leaving some space for the teacher, we would get a class size of not
more than 30. Moreover, a teacher speaking continuously in a normal voice would tire in
about an hour
(www.businessdevelopmentusa.com/references/SiCECA/Train_Sim_Test_Report.pdf).
This determines the class duration. Student attention spans were possibly different in an
illiterate agebecause the only way to receive communication was by listening. This
design of the classroom geometry, size, class size and duration, originating from oral
tradition, is still with us today.

Writing was invented independently in all the ancient civilisations in the period 3,500
BC-1,000BC. However, it was not until the Middle Ages that writing became a
technology available to education. Paper was invented in China in the 2nd century BC
and travelled to Europe in the 13th century, when the first paper mills were constructed.
It is safe to assume that paper became available to students around the 14th century.
Paper makes it possible for students to record the main thoughts they hear from their
teacher and also to write down their own thoughts. The decimal system for writing
numbers was invented in India around the 3rd century BC, became prevalent around the
6th century AD and travelled to Europe in the 11th century. It is reasonable to suppose
that early years numeracy education using paper would have started in the 13th century.
This would have caused a great change in the teaching learning process. The emphasis
from listening to writing and reading would have profoundly changed our ideas about
what is important for children to learn. It is around the 13th century that literacy and
numeracy would have entered the primary school, although they would have been taught
using the methods and classrooms of the oral tradition.

Things changed dramatically with the advent of printed books and examinations using
paper. This was introduced in England in the early 19th century. Examinations change
both teaching and learning. Teachers who 'prepare' children for examinations are focused
on developing children's memories to reproduce answers to expected questions. Learners
getting ready for an examination memorise answers to expected questions. There is an
assumption that, in this process, the learner will actually understand the material he or she
is memorising. However, neither the learner nor the teacher would have actively tried to
ensure any understanding. This situation remains, by and large, in all countries today.
From this brief historical discussion we see that the introduction of new technology has
profoundly affected primary education through the ages. The introduction of reading and
writing changed the emphasis of early childhood education from listening and reciting to
good spelling, handwriting and reading comprehension. The introduction of the decimal
system brought numeracy to the very young. As more technology emerged, around the
early 19th century, we notice also that the real-world technology that was used for
solving technical problems rulers, compasses, dividers, protractors, paper, pens and
later, logarithm tables and slide ruleswere all introduced into the examination hall. In
other words, the learner was expected to prove that he or she was capable of solving real
world problems the way they are solved in the real world. The teachers, in order to cope
with this system of examination, would encourage learners to use all of these
technologies. The curriculum, too, would integrate these technologies and include them
in the skills that children need to learn. During the industrial revolution, knitting, sewing,
kitchen automation and a host of real world technologies entered the primary school.
Changing technology and examinations changes schooling
(www.battleofideas.org.uk/index.php/site/battles/1072).

Primary education remained mostly unchanged throughout the world during the 18th and
19th centuries. The world, during these periods, was mostly divided into empires created
by European countries as a consequence of the invention of guns. Older civilisations and
empires that did not have firearms were quickly colonised by the western empires. In
order to administer a colonised world, the empires invented administration and
management, essentially a system of data processing using people as the computing
elements. Data was processed by clerks and transmitted physically on paper using ships
as the main form of transportation. Communication was through a chain of command,
invented earlier by the military.
In order to produce the large number of clerks needed to administer empires, primary
schooling had to adopt a factory model, aimed at producing identical and interchangeable
clerks. The skills most needed by clerks and other officials in the chain of command were
reading, writing and arithmetic. These became the three pillars of primary education and
continue to be so, centuries after the empires ended. The military-industrial-
administrative machines of the age of empires, needed to have strict rules of dress,
behaviour and conduct. These were introduced into primary education through religion
and discipline.
In most countries, only a few schools were created that had a more liberal education
policy. Here, the emphasis would be on philosophy, history, science, the arts and
literature. These schools were designed to produce the people who would be at the top of
the chains of commandthe ones who would actually own and enjoy the lands they ruled
over. Meanwhile, technologies and new findings from the older civilisations and empires
such as gunpowder and tea from China, opium and mathematics from India, architecture
from Greece and the Middle East, tobacco, potatoes and chillies from the new world, all
went into the creation of an industrial and technological revolution in Europe. Schools
became the manufacturers not just of clerks but also accountants and factory workers.
New inventions in science and engineering became frequent but confined to the people
who came from elite schools and universities. The age of empires slipped into the same
errors committed by the empires of earlier agesBrahmanism and the division between
the working classes and their masters.
For the average school of those times, curriculum needed to be changed once every 50
years of so and the process of changing curriculum, examination systems and teaching
methods were geared to that pace of change. It remains so today. Just as guns had
changed an age, two inventions were to change the age of empiresthe telephone and
the digital computer. By the mid-20th century, computers had begun to replace the clerks
in the lowest layers of the military industrial-administrative machine, while the telephone
was shortening chains of command. Empires disintegrated rapidly, to be replaced by
other, mostly experimental, forms of governance.
Schools struggled to cope with these changes. Computer-assisted education, computer-
aided learning, programmed instruction and computer-based teaching were all attempts to
replace teachers with machines that would, we hoped, close the gap between the lite and
the common. These attempts were doomed to failure because they assumed that for
learning to happen, there must be a teacher, a classroom of 36 square metres, 30 children
and classes of about an houra model inherited from the oral tradition of 5,000 years
ago. Curricula around the world remained staticit assumed a top-down hierarchical,
predictable and controllable world that progresses slowly. There was still no reason to
believe otherwise.
Three quiet revolutions in science, all around early or mid-20th century, were saying
something vastly different about the way things work. Information and disorder are
related (Shannon 1948); the act of observation changes the observable (Heisenberg
1927); and connected things show emergent properties not expected from them (Huxley
and Huxley 1947).
The world of physics changed in the 20th century from an ordered, well-understood,
controllable model to a chaotic, probabilistic one. We are still struggling to understand a
Universe that is governed by probability, chaos and emergence. Schools, and the working
classes they continue to produce, know nothing of this. Others, the clerks and their
managers, are in denial. They still hide in a mythical orderly world where things happen
by design.
Meanwhile, towards the end of the 20th century, computers began to connect to each
other over telephone lines. By the year 2,000, millions of them were connectedby
2010, billions. Connected by wireless, electromagnetic signals, the biggest network of
information exchanging entities, the Internet, was passing more bits of information back
and forth than there are stars in the Universe. From that cloud of chaotic interconnection
there has to come emergent order. We know that.

The 'hole in the wall' and beyond


Since 1999, a number of experiments seem to suggest the existence of a pedagogical
method that is considerably different from the traditional methods used in schools in the
last century.
Among the first of these are a set of experiments often referred to as the 'hole in the wall'
experiments. Here, computers, connected to the Internet, were embedded into walls in
villages and urban slums in India, much like public ATMs used by banks but with larger
screens and placed at a height such that it was convenient for 8-13 year olds to use them.
There was no specific learning software on these computers, and no instructions given to
the children about what they were and what they were for, except for a sign that said they
are for free use by children. In 1999, poor children in India often did not know what a
computer was and were quite unaware of the Internet. A study over five years (Mitra et
al. 2005) showed that children were able to learn how to use the computers to play
games, download media and search for information, among other things. Moreover, the
locations were chosen such that, other than the fact that these machines were computers,
the local adults had no other knowledge of how to use them. Also, these installations
were designed in such a way that it was nearly impossible for adults to use them. Using a
random sample of children in 17 locations all over India, and various tests, it was
concluded that the children had learned to use the computers by themselves. This is, of
course, no surprise today (2014).
These 'hole in the wall' computers remained in working condition for about two years
after the experimental period, as there was no funding available to maintain them after
that. During this period, a number of experiments showed that children, working in
groups, demonstrate educational achievements in these unsupervised environments.
These achievements are described briefly in what follows. To describe each of the
experiments that followed the original 'hole in the wall' study would be beyond the scope
of this paper. The methods of data collection and analysis are all described in the
publications referencedall of which are internationally peer reviewed.
It is important to note that to reach educational objectives, children invariably worked in
groups, interacting constantly with each other, in a somewhat chaotic manner. There was
very little similarity with an orderly learning environment such as that provided by a
school classroom. Based on these observations, it was suspected that the learning was the
outcome of a self-organising system. The term 'self-organising system' is used here in the
same sense as it is used in the physical sciences or mathematics: a set of interconnected
parts, each unpredictable, producing spontaneous order in an apparently chaotic situation.
To summarise the results from these experiments carried out between 1999 and 2013, we
observe the following when groups of children (usually 8-13 year-olds) are given access
to the Internet and left unsupervised:
1 They can learn to use computers and the Internet by themselves, irrespective of
who or where they are and what language they know (Mitra et al. 2005, DeBoer
2009).
2 They can achieve educational objectives by themselves. A number of studies were
conducted to show this. Among them were studies that showed that children were
able to complete standard school examinations in computer science and mathematics
(Inamdar and Kulkarni 2007); they were able to improve their English pronunciation
by themselves (Mitra et al. 2003); and they showed improvements in their school
achievement (Dangwal and Thounoujam 2011).
3 They show self-organising behaviour resulting in learning at 'minimally invasive'
environments (Dangwal and Kapur 2008, 2009a, 2009b).
4 They understand content years ahead of their time (Mitra 2012, Inamdar 2004).
In an experiment to find the limits to such self-organised learning, it was found (Mitra
and Dangwal 2010) that groups of Tamil-speaking children in a southern Indian village
were able to understand the basic concepts of bio-technology on their own in English.
This rather astounding result seemed to indicate that children in groups were able to reach
levels of learning years ahead of their time. However, their understanding was
considerably less than that of a control group who were taught the same subject. It was
then found that an affectionate and admiring, but not knowledgeable, adult was able to
equalise the levels of learning between the control and experimental groups. This was
described as the 'grandmother's method' (a friendly, non-threatening and admiring adult
presence).

Can these results be useful in a classroom context?


The experiments described below attempt measure the effectiveness of learning in
unsupervised environments created inside schools. The experiments were conducted at
St. Aidan's Church of England Primary School in Gateshead, England. The school is of
slightly below average size. It serves an area of considerable social and economic
disadvantage, and a high proportion of pupils are entitled to a free school meal. There are
more pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities than in most schools. Most pupils
are of white British heritage, and very few do not have English as a home language.
Children enter the Nursery with attainment well below expectations for their age.
We set up an environment simulating the conditions in the 'hole in the wall' experiments
in a Year 4 classroom in the school. We call this a Self-Organised Learning Environment
(SOLE). A SOLE consists of a facility with one computer for every four children,
approximately. Each computer is connected to the Internet. Children are given a question
and asked to research the answer. Given the number of available computers, they need to
work in groups; however, they are not told to do so. They form their own groups, are
allowed to talk within groups and also with other groups. They are allowed to move
around, change groups and look at what other groups are doing. There is no adult
intervention, from teachers or otherwise. At the end of about 45 minutes, each group is
asked to present their results briefly.
SOLE sessions in a classroom can be set up in the following ways:
Timetabled usage. Each class should have at least one session of about 90 minutes
in the SOLE, timetabled every week. During this time, a teacher engages the children
with a question that they answer using the SOLE. Examples of questions could be,
'Who built the pyramids and why?'; 'What are fractals?; 'What are they looking for
with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva?'; 'Who was Gandhi, and what
did he do?'; 'Where is Botswana, and what is it famous for?'; and so on. For each
session, the children form their own groups of around four each, of their own choice.
Each group is allowed to use one computer with Internet access. Children are
allowed to change groups, talk to each one another, talk to other groups and walk
around looking at other's work. There are very few rules. The teacher's role is
minimal, to observe the children and stay out of their way. About 30 minutes before
the end of the session, the groups should produce a one-page report where they
describe what they have found. The teacher can then expand on this in a later class.
Curricular usage. This is similar to the above except that the driving question is
one taken from the school-leaving examination (for example, CBSE in India or
GCSE/SAT in the UK).
Aspirational usage. In these sessions, children listen to a short lecture from an
interesting website on the Internet, for example, TED talks (www.ted.com). They
then research the talk in groups and present their findings.
Free usage. The SOLE should be open to for use by any child in the school before
and after regular school hours. It should be made clear to the children that they can
use this time to play games, chat or do whatever they wish. As usual, working in
groups is to be strongly encouraged. All screens in a SOLE need to be large and
clearly visible to all children and passing adults. SOLEs should preferably be
conducted in enclosures with transparent walls.
We set up several SOLE sessions to let the children get used to the new way of working.
After their initial disbelief that we will let them do 'anything they like', the children
reacted with great enthusiasm and declared the SOLE to be a great way to learn. The
essences of their feelings are summed up in the following conversation, after a SOLE
session on a difficult topic on electricity:
Child: Aren't we going to do any work?
Teacher: What were you doing so far?
Child: Learning.
Teacher: And what is 'work'?
Child: When you tell us things and we have to write them down.
Schools in the Cloud
Let's look back at some past work:
1 Groups of children can learn to use a computer and the Internet by themselves,
under certain conditions described a little later. This is a finding from a set of
experiments carried out from 1999-2004, often called the 'hole in the wall'
experiments.
2 There are places all over the planet where it is difficult or impossible to build
schools.
3 There are places all over the world where good teachers cannot, or do not wish to,
go.
4 Children who know how to read can use the Internet in groups to research and
answer questions far ahead of their traditional curriculum.
5 This kind of learning is a 'self-organising system' in the technical sense of those
words. It happens in a 'minimally invasive' environment and appears to be an
'emergent phenomenon', again, in the technical sense of those words.
6 The emergence of learning in children from a chaotic, self-organised situation
seems to be helped by the occasional presence of an admiring, interested but not
necessarily knowledgeable, adult or adults.
7 Reading comprehension is a key requirement for this kind (perhaps any kind) of
learning.
8 We don't know, but can ask, whether children in groups can learn to read by
themselves. This question is courtesy Nicholas Negroponte. We could also ask if
children in groups can read at higher levels of comprehension than individually.
Is it possible to put all this together into a learning system for children in need? If you
give children below the age of 13 access to a computer connected to the Internet, they
learn how to use it. However, there are some conditions for this to happen.
1 The computer has to be in a safe, public place so that parents will let children come
there. A playground, for example, is a good place. Public visibility is important so
that people can see what the children are doing and the children know this.
2 There should be no adult directing them; children don't like having people
breathing down their necks watching their every move.
3 About four or five children with one computer seems to be the optimal number.
4 They should know that they are free to do what they like and there is no
preselected activity. What they choose to do is a group decision. Usually they find
and choose to play games.
If you then ensure the computer is in working order, children begin to tire of games in a
month or so and look for other activity. Painting is a very popular activity and they learn
to save and load pictures in the process. Some children learn to look for and install games
from the Internet. In the process they discover Google.
If they can read sufficiently well in English or some other language that is adequately
represented on the Internet, such as Spanish, Italian, Chinese etc., children begin to
search for answers to questions. These questions are usually about games, but in the
process of looking up these words related to games, they stumble upon other sites. In
about six months' time, they begin to understand keyword searching. Some begin to
search for homework-related materials while others look for news or sports. I have seen
some look for a job for their fathers, a horoscope forecast for their family, or medicines
for the elderly. They must have considered these questions important. If a group of
children find a question that they think is important, they will search for an answer. On
the Internet, this will usually result in finding good information. Groups of children in the
presence of good information will discuss possible answers. Most of the time, such a
process results in the emergence of good answers. A by-product of this process is
learning.
We can bring this process into classrooms through Self-Organised Learning
Environments (SOLEs). This is now fairly well understood and accepted by many
teachers around the world. We can 'beam' people to places where they cannot physically
go by using the Internet. The 'Granny Cloud' is a group of mediators that are Skyped into
schools. It has been in existence since 2009 and is currently (2014) quite active.
Can the SOLE and the Granny Cloud come together? Well, we have some problems:
1 Are SOLEs really self-organising? When conducted in a classroom, children are
asked to make groups (by themselves), each group is given an Internet connection
and they are asked to answer a question. We allow them to move around, change
groups, talk and look at each other's work. But it is we who are telling them to do all
this. Are we moving away from the chaotic self-organisation of the hole in the wall?
(this question is courtesy C. Y. Gopinath). We could argue that an 'attractor' or a
'seed' is required for emergent behaviour to happen in a self-organizing system. But
is the adult organising a SOLE just a seed? Or is this adult the traditional teacher in
disguise. Is it fake? This is a troublesome question.
2 If self-organised learning is an alternative to traditional teaching, then how is the
Granny Cloud of any use? Are we not bringing traditional teaching back, disguised
with some clever technology? To my mind the Granny Cloud was to improve
children's English, but did I actually mean to 'teach' English? Thomas Garrod wrote
in an email to me:
The first granny said, 'How did you do that?!' She sold them on their own power. Then
(on the Granny Cloud) you said, 'sorts everything out'. I hope you misspoke. I hope your
granny cloud does nothing of the sort. I hope they don't work one-on-one with struggling
learners because that would take us back to the empire.
3 None of the original holes in the wall are in working condition. Payal Arora
pointed this out, several years ago. Technical sustainability is a big problem, often
confused with the sustainability or the usability of the method of self-organised
learning.
The TED prize gives us the opportunity to sort all this out and get some answers. Schools
in the Cloud must be sustainable facilities that provide unsupervised self-organised
learning environments to children. The role of the Cloud Granny reverts to the admiring
adult, who sometimes asks a question, but mostly observes and records learning as it
happens. But what about reading comprehension? I don't know. The e-mediators will
have to tell me how to do this, as we progress. This will be our central research question.
The role of the Granny Cloud will be somewhat different when they are remotely in
charge of a School in the Cloud. In addition to developing one or more approaches to
how they will interact with the children, they will also have access to much of the
hardware in the facility. They will eventually be able to turn the lights on or off, check
the batteries in solar powered systems, look anywhere in the facility, and, perhaps, 'walk'
around through multiple cameras. 'A session is not a lesson', Jackie Barrow once said.
That just about sums it up.
Seven facilities will be set up over the next year or so. Five will be in India ranging from
very remote villages to urban slums and the urban middle class. Three of the five in India
have been built (June 2014). Two in England have also been set up, in relatively affluent
areas with excellent schools. What we do in each of them will, I think, emerge, as we go
along.
What else can one do when studying emergent phenomena?
sugata.mitra@newcastle.ac.uk

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