15th BAAL SIG LLT Conference 2019


posted by Jürgen Kurtz, Justus Liebig University (JLU) Giessen, Germany

The 15th BAAL SIG Language Learning and Teaching will be held at the University of Bath, UK from Friday 28th June to Saturday 29th June 2019. This year’s theme will be: “Language Learning and Teaching in Different Contexts”.

The conference will encourage participants to explore how language learning and teaching happens in a variety of contexts. Traditionally, the research on language learning and teaching focused on the language classroom, mostly in the context of a handful of developed countries. However, there has been a marked difference in recent years.

Language learning and teaching is now researched in diverse contexts all over the world. One explanation for it is the status of English as a global language and the perception of English proficiency as a basic skill that increases mobility. With increased mobility, however, a new trend has been observed, in that there is an increased demand for learning languages other than English but dominant in a given context.

At the same time, the demand for language learning and teaching has led to the emergence of new forms of learning and teaching. Language teaching is no longer exclusively limited to the language classroom as learners are often exposed to multiple language sources outside the classroom. Hence, language use and learning are often intertwined.

Questions to be addressed:

  • What are the relative effects of local or context specific language pedagogies on the way of learning and teaching languages?
  • How does the use of languages to communicate affect their way of being learned and taught?
  • Why do universities provide students course contents with English medium instruction while it is not the language they speak as a mother tongue?
  • What are the differing contributions of blended learning, computer mediated communication and face to face modes to language learning?
  • What can we learn from the synergy of language learning and teaching in different settings, different linguistic contexts and at different ages?
  • How can the effective use of home languages and translanguaging contribute to language teaching and learning?
  • What do we know of language learners as language users, and the different contexts in which they use their languages?
  • In what ways can different research perspectives and innovative methodologies provide complementary views of learning and teaching processes?
  • How can new technologies (online platforms, smartphone apps, etc.) be exploited for language teaching and learning in classrooms and for autonomous learning?

Confirmed plenary speakers:

For further details, please click here. This is our contribution to the conference:

Leo Will & Jürgen Kurtz (JLU Giessen)

Hybrid learning in foreign language teacher education

TEFLhybrid@JLU (TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language; JLU = Justus Liebig University) is a newly developed project which seeks to explore the potential of hybrid learning within the teacher education program at Giessen University. A hybrid format of course delivery combines face-to-face instruction with collaborative, increasingly self-regulated, online learning in virtual space to transform and enhance students’ learning experience. Within the format, all interaction takes place in the English language (English Medium of Instruction Context).

The first course in the hybrid format is titled “Designing an EFL Textbook Unit”. Adopting a communicative language teaching perspective, the course focuses on developing competencies and skills essential to evaluating, adapting and – ultimately – creating English language learning materials. It comprises four introductory classroom sessions, followed by seven weeks of student-regulated online learning, and four final in-class sessions to give all participants the opportunity to present their materials. The seminar is based on both print and digital media with regard to the resources used, but also with regard to the products to be created by the participants. A learning management system is used throughout the process to facilitate interaction. Student learning advisors offer assistance both in technological and language pedagogical matters.

The research interest centers around the project’s possibilities and limitations as perceived by all stakeholders. A mixed-methods approach is taken by juxtaposing data emerging from questionnaires as well as from the data generated on the online platform.

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