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 []

1st Featured session, Thursday 14th March 12.30-1.15, Crystal Ballroom A

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

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

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.

TILA – Telecollaboration for Intercultural Language Acquisition

On 24 and 25 January 2013, partners from 6 countries met in Valencia for the kickoff meeting of the new European Lifelong Learning project TILA.

TILA Kickoff MeetingThe aim of the TILA project is

  • to innovate and enrich language teaching programmes at secondary schools by introducing telecollaboration activities to facilitate intercultural communication with peers from other countries;
  • to implement (pre- and in-service) teacher training programmes that promote teachers’ pedagogical and intercultural competences in relation to telecollaboration through experiential learning in connection with task development, implementation and evaluation;
  • to explore the added value of telecollaboration activities for language learning and intercultural communication among young learners (aged 13-16).

TILA will offer actual practice and hands-on experiences in telecollaboration activities using video conferencing tools (e.g. skype or BigBluebutton) and virtual worlds created in OpenSim as well as asynchronous tools like blogs and wikis. It promotes professional teacher development by addressing technological, intercultural, pedagogical and organisational concerns for the successful integration of telecollaboration practices in language education.

Target languages: English, French, German and Spanish.

The TILA Consortium:
The Netherlands: Utrecht University (Coordinator); Berlage Lyceum in Amsterdam; 3D Learning Experience Sevices (3DLES)
United Kingdom: University of Roehampton; The Godolphin and Latymer School in London
Germany: Steinbeis Transfer Center Language Learning Media; Gymnasium Saarburg
Spain: Universidad de Valencia; IES Clot del Moro
France: Université de Paris 3; Collège La Cerisaie
Czech Republic: Palacky University

Associate partners: 42 institutions from the Netherlands, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Portugal and Italy


Interpreting in Virtual Reality

EU Lifelong Learning Progamme,
Project 511862-2010-LLP-UK-KA-KA3MP

Das Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Sprachlernmedien ist Partner in dem von der Europäischen Kommission geförderten Verbundprojekt IVY („Interpreting in Virtual Reality“).

Ziel  des Projektes ist die Entwicklung einer virtuellen Trainingsumgebung für das Geschäfts- und Kommunaldolmetschen sowie für Kunden von Dolmetschdiensten.

Um dem wachsenden Bedarf an flexiblen Trainingsmöglichkeiten für die Ausbildung von Geschäfts- und Kommunaldolmetschern zu begegnen, wurde in dem Projekt IVY: „Interpreting in Virtual Reality“ eine Online-Trainingsumgebung entwickelt.

In der 3D-Welt von „Second Life“ lassen sich Umgebungen und Situationen gestalten, in denen  Nutzer mit einem sogenannten Avatar repräsentiert sind und miteinander interagieren und kommunizieren können. Diese Funktionen wurden in IVY für die Schaffung von „Trainingsräumen“ genutzt, in denen praxisnahe virtuelle Szenarien mit unterschiedlichen Explorations- und Übungsmodi sowie einem reichhaltigen Reservoir an Dolmetschmaterialien zur Verfügung stehen.

Zielgruppen: Dolmetschtrainer, Dolmetschstudenten, Dolmetschdienste, Kunden von Dolmetschdiensten

Sprachen: Englisch, Deutsch, Französisch, Griechisch, Hebräisch, Polnisch, Russisch

University of Surrey (GB)

Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza (Polen)
University of Cyprus (Zypern)
Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Sprachlernmedien (D)
University of Bangor – (GB – Wales)
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (D)
Bar Ilan University – (Israel)


IVY – Flyer

The IVY project has been funded with support from the European Commission.The project information on this website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


icEurope – Intercultural Communication in Europe
Web Collaboration and E-learning in the English Classroom

icEurope is a Comenius multilateral project (142672-LLP-1-2008-1-DE-COMENIUS-CMP), funded by the European Commission from Dec 2008 until Jan 2010. The project was coordinated by the Chair of Applied English Linguistics, University of Tübingen and involves five other partner institutions from Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Turkey. The aim of icEurope was to explore the method of “web collaboration” (aka telecollaboration or online exchange) for authentic and interactive intercultural language learning.

icEurope combines 3 main strands for research and development:

  • intercultural communication and intercultural competence development
  • second and foreign language learning research with a focus on English and English as a lingua franca (ELF)
  • web technologies, e-learning and CALL, i.e. computer assisted language learning

Within icEurope, the project group has been investigating theoretical and methodological synergies between these three strands to create learning, teaching and training materials with a focus on intercultural language learning through web collaboration.

For more information, visit the icEurope website and the icEurope Moodle.

The icEurope project has been funded with support from the European Commission.The project information on this website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.



“BACKBONE – Pedagogic Corpora for Content and Language Integrated Learning”  is a European project funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP KA2 Languages 2008-2010).

BACKBONE developed web-based pedagogic corpora of video-recorded spoken interviews with native speakers of English, French, German, Polish, Spanish and Turkish as well as non-native speakers of English as a Lingua Franca.

Interview topics range from culture and region to education and health, business and technology. Interview transcripts are pedagogically annotated with regard to thematic, grammatical and lexical properties relevant for language learning and teaching.

BACKBONE Pedagogic Corpora
Links to the interview video/sound recordings, complementary websites and ready-made  interview-based learning modules provide further pedagogic enrichment.The pedagogically annotated and enriched corpora are available free of charge and can be accessed in a variety of pedagogically motivated search modes via the BACKBONE Corpus Search interface.

The BACKBONE corpus tools – Transcriptor, Annotator, Virtual Resource Pool, Corpus Management Tool, Corpus Seach – are available under a GNU General Public License  for customized BACKBONE-type corpus creation.

For more information about the BACKBONE corpus tools and the BACKBONE partnership including reponsibilities and credits, please visit the official  BACKBONE website.

The BACKBONE project has been funded with support from the European Commission.The project information on this website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.