Free webinars for intercultural foreign language learning and teaching


  • TILA Telecollaboration for intercultural language aquisitionEnrichening your foreign language classroom with motivating on-line tools.
  • Enhancing intercultural understanding thanks to interesting collaborative tasks
  • Getting your pupils really enthusiastic for the language you are teaching

If this is what you are trying to achieve within your language classroom, then register for the free webinars that the TILA consortium will offer between 7 May and 9 June. As you may know, TILA stands for Telecollaboration for Intercultural Language Acquisition, and that is why we are concerned with offering possibilities for pupils to meet on-line in secure environments, in order for them to discover other cultures while learning new languages.

The six interactive webinars are presented by various TILA experts and will cover a wide range of topics that connect with telecollaboration in your classroom. During the webinars, that will last one hour, you can ask your questions by text chat.

The program is as follows:

7 May (15.00-16.00 CET): Telecollaboration tools
13 May (15.00-16.00 CET): OpenSim
27 May (15.00-16.00 CET): Telecollaboration tasks
28 May (19.30-20.30 CET): Teachers’ experiences
2 June (16.00-17.00 CET): Intercultural communication
9 June (15.00-16.00 CET): Organisation of telecollaboration exchanges

More information about each session can be found on the following address:

For the webinar of 13 May you can register by sending your name, your mail address, the name of your institution/employer (if applicable) to For all the other webinars, please send this information to and mention the seminar for which you wish to register.

We hope to meet you soon on-line! In the meantime, please do not hesitate to visit the TILA project website:

TILA website:
TILA blog:
TILA on Facebook
TILA on Twitter: @tilaproject

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

My Language – My English. Towards a Lingua Franca Pedagogy

Back from „Sprachen & Beruf“, Berlin, 25-26 Oct. 2012,,
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