The Language Learning Framework. Mark Critchley (Durham University)
Supported by the British Academy, this project has formulated a common design framework for language courses that is consistent with the Common European Framework (CEFR) in those languages most commonly taught by AULC member institutions. This provides a University IWLP with a reference framework based on guidance on recommended input study hours to design language courses of different formats, durations and intensity (contact hours) to progress from one CEFR band to the next. This will also allow better transitions and comparison between courses, allowing both learners and employers to understand learning achievements. This project is entirely consistent with the recent findings of the British Academy Born Global project, and is complementary to the UNILANG certification scheme.
The framework consists of tables offering guidance on best practice for design of language learning courses to allow learners to progress through CEFR levels by undertaking language learning courses through an Institution-Wide Language programme in a UK Higher Education institution. This includes courses delivered for credit or in the evening, over a single semester or over the full academic year, with fewer or more weekly contact hours. The tables have been developed through consultations and discussions with 44 individuals in 19 Universities and are being published initially via the AULC website in November 2017 to act as a reference, that University language centres can use or not according to their own individual local circumstances. This paper will summarise the project and act as stimulation for further discussion amongst practitioners.
Enhancing employability through the integration of linguistic diversity awareness in the syllabus: The case of Arabic. Dr Rasha Soliman (University of Leeds)
In an ever-changing and a competitive world, language graduates need to be aware of the diversity of the languages they are learning in order to succeed in a variety of work contexts. Linguistic variation is an inevitable aspect of every language which leads to questioning the concept of the ‘Native Speaker’ (NS). In the last two decades, linguists and language teachers started to have a broader view of the language form they choose to teach. This started with the concept of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) which views English language teaching in a more globalised way rather than limiting it to one variety of English. Although ELF has been researched, discussed and encouraged in the field of ELT, still the resources and approaches on how to introduce language variation is quite limited (Davies & Patsko, 2013).
In the field of Arabic language teaching, the diversity is much greater than most languages. Students of Arabic graduate to find themselves in a job market that requires broad understanding of different Arabic varieties spoken and written around the world. While it is unpractical to teach different varieties, raising awareness of the variation is plausible and can aid their comprehension of different forms (Soliman, 2015) and therefore enhances their employability. This talk will present work-in-progress which looks at how to integrate awareness of Arabic variation into the syllabus taught at different proficiency levels at University. The talk will give practical examples from Arabic but the principles can be applied to other languages.
Davies, K. S., & Patsko, L. (2013). How to teach English as a lingua franca (ELF). Voices Magazine, 2017, from https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-teach-english-lingua-franca-elf
Soliman, R. (2015). Arabic Cross-dialectal Conversations with Implications for the Teaching of Arabic as a Second Language. University of Leeds, Leeds.
Duolinguo versus Utalk: selecting appropriate software to support IWLP learners. Billy Brick (Coventry University)
IWLP tutors often recommend students specific digital resources to support their learning. Two of the many products available include Eurotalk, recently rebranded as Utalk, and Duolingo. This paper will compare the two products with reference to Rosell-Aguilar’s (2017: 253) framework, which includes criteria for consideration under the four following sub-headings: Language Learning, Pedagogy, User Experience and Technology. Although there are similarities between the two apps, there are important differences which this paper will highlight. They are both available on all major PC and mobile platforms and offer learning materials that address the four skills, at least to some extent, and incorporate elements of gamification. In terms of tutor tools, Duolingo is far more sophisticated than Utalk. Tutors are able to set up virtual classrooms and assign homework to learners in Duolingo for Schools, whilst the tutor tools available for Utalk are basic, but currently under development. Duolingo is free of charge whereas Utalk is available for a small fee in app format, or for an annual fee for an institutional license, which is uniquely delivered via the Shibboleth library system, making administration very easy. Another important difference is the number of languages each app offers. Whilst Duolingo focusses on approximately 30, Duolingo boasts of more than 130. Duolingo also incorporates web 2.0 community collaboration features in the fields of crowd-sourced translations and developing new language learning materials, whilst these features are unavailable on the Utalk platform.
A Language tutors’ digital experience tracker: Understanding our needs and unlocking our potential. Marion Sadoux (University of Oxford)
For the past two years JISC has been piloting a Student Digital Experience Tracker which enables HEIs and Further education colleges to analyse and compare their students’ experience of the use of digital technologies for learning against a benchmark made of an increasing number of similar institutions and to shape policy accordingly. The University of Nottingham Ningbo China was involved in both pilot projects which showed a high level of student satisfaction directly traceable to their Language learning experiences.
The HE language teaching community has often been identified as early adopters of digital technology to enhance learning both in and out of class and work done in Institution Wide Language Programmes has often been flagged as a strong driver within Universities (see Worton review). The reality on the ground is, however, more patchy and many Institution Wide Language Programmes continue to struggle to make significant harmonious breakthroughs, let alone capitalise on the potentials of reinventing pedagogy for a digital world. At a time of unprecedented challenges and uncertainties brought about by a crisis in funding and instability related to Brexit, paying more attention to our digital learning strategies and implementation plans may seem a luxury – yet this an area where collaboration and joined up thinking could play a particularly important role. The aim of this presentation is to initiate such a dialogue within the AULC community.
Reviews in translation project: Pedagogy and student engagement. Dr Catherine Xiang and Dr Peter Skrandies (LSE)
In recent decades the grammar-translation method has been seen as an outdated pedagogy and given little attention in MFL teaching, however, we would like to argue that translation can be a useful and accessible tool for MFL learning and teaching.
The project named ‘Reviews in Translations’ proposes a new assessment task for students learning Mandarin and German at degree level and Japanese at certificate level through collaboration between the Language Centre and LSE Review of Books, an online book review blog housed in the Communications Division. Students will translate book reviews drawn from existing Review of Books published content – three reviews relating to different academic disciplines will be available for review each term in Mandarin and German; three reviews will be available across both terms for Japanese.
In this presentation, we will share 1) the process of and reflections on a translation project conducted by LSE students who selected and translated an English book-review into their target languages (Chinese, German, and Japanese). 2) The advantages and challenges of using translation tasks in the teaching of higher level language learners will be assessed and evaluated. And 3) how the project contributes school level collaboration and student engagement.
Modern technology in the language classroom. Alicia Sanchez Requena (Sheffield Hallam University)
In recent years, information and communication technologies have taken a leading role in the communicative process. This has had an impact in people’s life who are continuously interacting with electronic devises. Thus, audiovisual media has become the principal means to receive information, and nowadays, not only do societies rely on TV or computers but also on mobile phones and tablets. In the present research, it is believed that this technological revolution can also make a huge impact in teaching foreign languages (FL).
This paper examines the effect of the technique of intralingual dubbing (where students replace the original voices of actors in video clips) on Spanish oral production. There are two main aims. The first is to provide objective evidence to support the hypothesis that the use of intralingual dubbing can enhance students’ speed, intonation and pronunciation when speaking spontaneously in Spanish as a foreign language. The second is to create a teaching and learning toolkit on the subject for other teachers. To this end, a total of 94 students aged 16–19 with a B1–B2 level of Spanish dubbed videos in several stages. In addition, 28 teachers received training on dubbing activities and five of them implemented the activities in their classes with a total of 26 students. The data is triangulated qualitatively and quantitatively. Results confirm that the main hypothesis serve as evidence to support the theoretical justification for the inclusion of active AVT techniques in FL speaking classes.