ELF 2.0 Study – English as a Lingua Franca Discussions in the Web

Invitation to participate

Target groups:
(a) secondary school pupils who are non-native speakers of English
(b) university students who are non-native speakers of English
Proficiency level: Low to upper intermediate (A2 – B2)
Requirements: Internet, computer/laptop with sound/video, (simple) headset, webcam

In the EU project TILA (“Telecollaboration for Intercultural Language Acquisition”), we are conducting case studies of discussions in English as a lingua franca (ELF discussions) in two web environments: the 3D virtual world of OpenSim and the videoconferencing platform of BigBlueButton.
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The ELF discussions take place in small groups of three to five speakers from different countries and cultures. The discussion topics concern the speakers’ experience with social media such as facebook.
Questionnaires, replay of recorded discussions, and retrospective interviews are used to collect speaker profile information as well as comments regarding lingua-cultural divergences, communicative challenges, and strategic solutions.
The focus of analysis is on intercultural communicative interaction in non-native speaker English and on how pupils and students adapt to the conditions imposed by the respective technological environment.
Our ELF 2.0 study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the potential of telecollaboration for real and authentic communicative language learning and teaching beyond the face-to-face classroom. It is also expected to provide insights for pedagogical measures concerning learner preparation and teacher development.
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@ Teachers of English: if you are interested in this study and some of your pupils or students might want to join one of the ELF discussion groups, please get in touch.

Contact: Kurt Kohn
Steinbeis Transfer Center Language Learning Media

English for Special Purposes: Communication across Disciplines

The International Conference on English Education “English for Special Purposes (ESP): Communication across Disciplines”, 20-21 April 2013 at Shih Chien University, Taipei Campus, Taiwan (R. O. C.)

delicious dumplings

Food for Mind, Body, and Soul

An interesting and well-balanced range of talks: Keynote speeches by KAY WESTERFIELD (“Passport to Academia and Beyond”), KURT KOHN (“Collaborative Authentication – A Social Constructivist Perspective on ESP Learning and Teaching”) and YUKIO TONO (“Corpus Linguistics and ESP”) – Invited speeches by WENLI TSOU (“What’s Missing in our EAP Program”), SHIOU-WEN YEH (“What Can Technology Do to Support EAP”) and CHING KANG LIU (“The Strengths of the Project-based Framework in ESP Courses”).

Check out the full programme

Overwhelming hospitality and professional conference support by a merry crowd of enthusiastic students gently supervised by Wei-chen Chuang and Tian-Tsai Chiang (TJ), not to mention the rich cultural and culinary excursions – and of course Lyn and Eve and Jim, my “cultural bodyguard” – a BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!

If you want to know more about “Collaborative Authentication”, here are my presentation slides.

Back from TESOL Arabia, Dubai, 14-16 March 2013

A GREAT conference experience – Interesting people, excellent insights – These were some of my favorites:

  • “Curriculum Approaches in Language Teaching: Forward, Central and Backward Design” (Jack C. Richards)
  • “Creating and Performing Jazz Chants” (Carolyn Graham)
  • “Ten Ways to Get Your Students to DO Something” (Ken Wilson)
  • “Learners in the 21st Century: Are they Any Different?” (Linda Price)
  • “The Price and Value of Education: A Dickensian Approach” (Luke Prodromou)

A big THANK YOU to the organizers Les Kirkham and Sandra Oddy.

And here are my own presentation slides:

 

TESOL Arabia Conference, 14th – 16th March 2013, Dubai

Check this out: three talks by Kurt Kohn at TESOL Arabia [http://tesolarabia.org/conference/]

1st Featured session, Thursday 14th March 12.30-1.15, Crystal Ballroom A
“E-LEARNING FOR LANGUAGES: THE HUMAN DIMENSION”

My presentation will be guided by the overall assumption that e-learning can play an innovative and powerful supporting and enhancing role in foreign language learning and teaching – provided, however, pedagogic exploitation proceeds from a sound understanding of the HUMAN nature of the needs and processes involved. With this orientation in mind, I will first sketch out key principles and requirements of language learning and teaching, with a special focus on communicative and social constructivist models. I will then briefly trace the evolution of computer technologies – from multimedia to internet to web 2   and analyze their potential for language learning and teaching purposes. In this context, I will touch on issues of learner and teacher autonomy, authenticity, and collaboration. In terms of pedagogic implementation I will emphasize the concept of blended language learning, including its more recent revival in the guise of the ‘flipped classroom’ approach. Case studies from European projects will be used to demonstrate pedagogic solutions involving the e-learning platform Moodle, wiki collaboration and Skype.

2nd Featured session, Friday 15th March 11.00-11.45, Crystal Ballroom A
“INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE:  AN ENGLISH AS A LINGUA FRANCA PERSPECTIVE”

In my presentation, I will focus on the roots of intercultural communicative competence in ordinary everyday communication. I will first trace the development of models of communicative competence from Hymes (1972) to Canale & Swain (1980) and Leung (2004). Against this background, I will introduce the social-constructivist “My English” condition (Kohn 2011) according to which learners acquire English by developing their own versions of it in processes of individual and collaborative creative construction. I will then discuss the nature of non-native speaker English from the perspective of ownership in a globalized world of communication seemingly torn between foreign language learners’ orientation towards Standard English and the requirements of communication in English as a lingua franca (ELF). In their attempt to establish a ‘third space’ of intercultural communication, lingua franca users of English are faced with the challenge of learning to explore and trust their own non-native speaker creativity in collaborative processes of accommodation and meaning negotiation. As an illustration I will use examples from an ELF corpus of critical incident discussions.

Masterclass in ELT, Saturday 16th March 11.00-11.45, Emerald Room
“PEDAGOGIC CORPORA: FROM REAL LANGUAGE TO RELEVANT LEARNING ACTIVITIES”

I will first give a brief overview of descriptive corpus linguistics and the exploitation of descriptive corpora for pedagogic purposes within the framework of data-driven learning. Following a critical evaluation from a cognitive discourse perspective, I will then argue for a pedagogic corpus approach in which corpus conceptualization and design are vitally shaped by the pedagogic orientation itself. This concerns in particular pedagogic motivation of corpus content development, including corpus annotation with pedagogically relevant thematic and linguistic categories, content enrichment to facilitate authentication, as well as online searches beyond the familiar concordances. The approch will be illustrated with reference to copora available from the EU project “BACKBONE – Corpora for Content and Language Integrated Learning”. The BACKBONE corpora contain video interviews in English, German, French, Polish, Spanish and Turkish as well as in European manifestations of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF); they are freely available for non-commercial educational use. Moodle-based pilot courses will be deployed to demonstrate how BACKBONE search results can be used to facilitate individual and collaborative learning activities in blended learning settings.

My Language – My English. Towards a Lingua Franca Pedagogy

Back from „Sprachen & Beruf“, Berlin, 25-26 Oct. 2012, www.sprachen-beruf.com,
Kurt Kohn talked about „My Language – My English”  (presentation slides)

Kurt KohnEnglish enables non-native speakers to gain access to a globalised world of communication and to overcome barriers of language and culture. But more often than not they are also forced to hide their intellectual and communicative capabilities under a bushel, while native speakers can be quite carefree about how they exploit and display their ‘home field’ advantage. It is not always easy these days for non-native speakers of English to find their place of identity in the English-speaking world. Torn between seemingly conflicting needs and requirements regarding communication, communal participation, self-image and esteem, knowing and learning, non-native speakers sometimes find it hard to feel at ease with themselves and to perform at the top of their potential. This is all the more frustrating since out there in real life, non-native speakers are on the rise. In Europe and around the world they are increasing in numbers, using their own version(s) of English for their own authentic communication purposes. Continue reading