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.

Backbone

BACKBONE


“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.