Category Archives: language learning

13th BAAL SIG LLT Conference 2017

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

The 13th BAAL Language Learning and Teaching SIG will come together again at the University of Central Lancashire (Preston, UK) from Thursday 6th July to Friday 7th July 2017. The conference theme will be: ‘Celebrating the diversity of language teaching’.

Language learning and teaching takes place in diverse settings around the world. The variety of contexts and acronyms such as MFL, EFL, EAL and ESOL can sometimes serve to highlight the differences within this diversity rather than the commonalities. Yet despite the apparent differences such as class size, language(s) learned, age of learners and reasons for language learning, there are many shared concerns. These relate, for example, to target language use, motivation, assessment, role of L1, language learning processes and teacher education.

This conference will encourage participants to consider how the realities of these different contexts throw light upon the many shared concerns that practitioners may have, and how we might all learn from one another.

  • What does research into language learning processes tell us about the impact of pedagogy in different contexts?
  • How does the learning of additional languages affect first language development?
  • What are the shared concerns of teachers of learners of different ages?
  • How do we assess language learning in different contexts?
  • What are the challenges facing teacher education?

Confirmed plenary speakers:

Professor Victoria Murphy, University of Oxford (EAL)
Dr Chris Jones, University of Liverpool (EFL/ELT)
Professor Suzanne Graham, University of Reading (MFL).

For further information, please click here. This is what I am going to talk about:

‘Employing augmented reality for adaptive learning in and beyond the EFL classroom’  

In many EFL classrooms in Germany, teachers use (and frequently overuse) textbooks and related materials and media. In consequence, classroom discourse is often textbook- and teacher-driven, with a strong focus on form and on accuracy. Taking this into consideration, this talk reports on current research into the development of a future generation of EFL textbooks and accompanying digital materials and media in Germany. The vision for the project is to create a mobile, interactive, and adaptive learning and teaching assistance system for personalized use in and beyond the EFL classroom. The talk will culminate in the presentation of the ‘Zoom-App’, a multimodal prototype software application designed to enhance self-regulated language and culture learning by overlaying supportive digital content onto the physical textbook page.

 

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Augmented Reality in and beyond the EFL Classroom

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

The 7th International CLS Conference CLaSIC will be held at the National University of Singapore, December 1-3, 2016, hosted by the Centre for Language Studies. The conference theme is “Learning in and beyond the classroom: Ubiquity in foreign language education”.  I am pleased to note that my proposal for a paper entitled “Employing augmented reality for adaptive learning in and beyond the EFL classroom” has been accepted for presentation. This is the abstract:

“Crafting a vision of the future is a challenging task. Since future developments are difficult to anticipate, visions are often vague, deficient or even turn out to be completely mistaken. And since they evolve out of interpretations of the past and the present, they are also subjective to a large degree. Even if visions are based on powerful theoretical frameworks, backed up by solid empirical evidence, and developed in ways, they remain uncertain and controversial. How convincing and useful a vision is, however, does not depend on its predictive potential. The value of a vision lies rather in its projective power and in its potential to raise questions that already are or might become increasingly important. Taking this into consideration, this talk reports on current research into the development of a future generation of EFL textbooks and accompanying materials and media in Germany. The vision for the project is to create a mobile, interactive, and adaptive learning and teaching assistance system for personalized use in and beyond the EFL classroom. The talk will culminate in the presentation of the ‘Zoom-App’, a multimodal prototype software application designed to enhance self-regulated learning by overlaying supportive digital content onto the physical textbook page.”

German-speaking readers will find a brief video introduction to the technology and its potentials for foreign language learning and teaching on this website.

 

 

7th International CLS Conference CLaSIC 2016

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

The 7th International CLS Conference CLaSIC will be held at the National University of Singapore, December 1-3, 2016, hosted by the Centre for Language Studies. The conference theme is “Learning in and beyond the classroom: Ubiquity in foreign language education”.

About CLaSIC:
CLaSIC is a biennial conference organised by the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) of the National University of Singapore (NUS), and aims to bring together academics, researchers and professionals from Asia and beyond for a productive and meaningful exchange of insights, experiences, views and perspectives on current and future developments in foreign language teaching and learning. The conference serves as a platform for participants to report on current research and practices in foreign language education and related disciplines. Since the inaugural conference in December 2004, CLaSIC has been a resounding success, drawing researchers and professionals from all over the world. Leading scholars in foreign language education, applied linguistics and second language acquisition have featured as keynote speakers, among them Anna Uhl Chamot, William Littlewood, Richard Schmidt, Elaine Tarone, Amy Tsui, Michael Byram, Claire Kramsch, Rod Ellis and Michael Levy.

The conference theme in detail:
In the current educational landscape, learning has become a multifaceted experience that transcends spatial, temporal and cultural barriers. At many centres of foreign language learning, educators have similarly been seeking to push the boundaries of teaching and learning space to beyond the traditional confines of the school and the classroom. Learning activities and interactions are today often a combination of synchronous and asynchronous experiences, including various forms of onsite and offsite curricular activities, and virtual interactions in the digital world. Furthermore, learning is no longer restricted to print materials, as ubiquitous computing has enabled easy and immediate access to seemingly limitless electronic resources for foreign language teaching and learning. Acknowledging such trends in foreign language education, our conference theme invokes the term ‘ubiquity’ to refer to a seamless continuum of learning experiences across formal and informal learning situations, as well as technology and non-technology based learning interactions in and beyond the classroom. CLaSIC 2016 provides a platform for researchers, scholars and practitioners in foreign language education for an invigorating discourse on theoretical conceptions and approaches, research insights, and practical experiences from the various sub-fields and sub-themes listed below, as they pertain to teaching and learning in the ubiquitous age.

Sub-themes:
The Organising Committee invites proposals for paper and poster presentations on related to the following areas of Ubiquity in foreign language education (deadline for proposals: May 31, 2016):

– Learning theories and ubiquitous learning
– Formal and informal learning
– Situated and project-based learning
– Technology and ubiquitous learning
– Blended learning
– Instructional approaches and methods
– Curriculum and materials development
– Assessment and evaluation
– Study abroad and in-country language immersion
– Teacher education and development
– Autonomy, self-direction and motivation
– Individualisation and differentiation of learning
– Learning strategies and learning management
– Other topics

Keynote speakers:
Hermann Funk (University of Jena, Germany)
Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (The Open University, UK)
Shinji Sato (Princeton University, USA)
Glenn Stockwell (Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)

International Conference: Language, Learning, Technology

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

Conf Luneburg 2015 Leuphana logo

On November 20-21, 2015, the Institute of English Studies and the Center for Modern Languages at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany will host the international conference “Language. Learning. Technology”. The conference aims to explore the role of technology in language learning, teaching and research. It will highlight not only the opportunities that technology provides for language students to participate in authentic foreign language discourses, but also the educational rationales that necessarily underlie such scenarios when they are integrated into the classroom. Creative and innovative research methods for investigating the evolving  language classroom are the final focus of this conference. The conference is designed to be of interest to both researchers and educators, and to this purpose invites both original research papers and hands-on practice reports.

The conference theme revolves around the following three topics and the conference aims to explore the connections between them. Example questions given are not all encompassing:

Research Methodology: How can interdisciplinary research inform teaching and learning approaches? How can classroom-integrated research be designed effectively? How are quantitative and qualitative methods integrated in analyses to uncover the student experience? Which data collection techniques, or combination of techniques, are capable of capturing the multimodality of tech-based learning processes and learning with mobile devices?

Technology: How effectively are new media used by students inside und outside of the classroom? How do pedagogical approaches need to be adapted to incorporate technology effectively? How can technology improve students’ access to interactional opportunities? What is the efficacy of mobile apps, e.g. mobile games, for language learning inside and outside the classroom?

Language Learning: How can linguistic development be promoted through online or blended learning? What learner strategies are effective in supporting the use of technology for language learning? How do learners adapt their language use in the computer-mediated communicative context? How can technology facilitate management of mixed-ability classrooms?

Registration:
Registration fee (incl. lunch meals and coffee breaks):
Early registration (until Sept. 12, 2015): 55,- €
Regular registration (until Nov. 15, 2015): 65,- €
Cash (at the conference, if available): 75,- €

For registration and more information, please click here.

NeuroSciences Meet EduSciences Meet LangDidactics

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

evidence2015    global education

Invitation to the Webinar: “Focus on Evidence© 2015”

Date: Friday, December 11, 2015
Venue: Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany
Hosts: Kath. Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt & Freie Universität Berlin
Target group: Everyone – worldwide – interested in foreign-language education or those responsibly involved in it on all levels of the education system.
Goals: Based on five presentations (Friday, Dec 11) dealing with language-relevant aspects of e.g. memory, executive functions and literacy, delivered by internationally renowned neuroscientists, 60 experts invited from the fields of language learning and teaching, together with the five lecturers, will discuss ways to translate and transfer neuroscientific findings into an evidence-based impetus for foreign language teaching.
Format: Participants will be able to follow all presentations by virtual means – worldwide and through all time zones – as well as take active part in the discussion and offering statements via virtual seminar spaces.
Organizers: Prof. Dr. Heiner Boettger, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt; Prof. Dr. Michaela Sambanis, Freie Universität Berlin
Registration: In order to  register for the webinar, please click here.

Eichstätt   ball   global education   Fu berlin

 

Denial of Assistance: Language lessons for migrants come too late and could be more effective

by Wolfgang Butzkamm, Aachen University (RWTH), Germany

In Europe, asylum seekers are taken care of by state agencies. They get accommodation and food, but that’s about it. Some of them have been living here in Germany for almost a year and they are still waiting for a final decision about whether they can stay or will be sent back. When I first met some of them, I found that even after several months of being in my country some knew only about a dozen German words and phrases. That means, there had been only very little contact with their German neighbours.

However, church communities and other people are now becoming aware of the problem and people like me who are retired and have some time on their hands have arranged regular meetings where they try to talk to them and teach them some German.

But here lies another problem. What is the most effective way of teaching real beginners who often come to us with mother tongues which nobody knows, for instance Tigrinya? There is absolutely no doubt about it that, for beginners, a bilingual approach where the teacher can use the learner’s mother tongue (or another language the learner is somewhat familiar with) is much more effective than a monolingual teaching-learning situation where only the target language can be used. Unfortunately the latter situation is often the case as present-day immigrants often speak only one of the lesser known “little” languages of Africa. So it seems that a monolingual German-only approach (also: direct method, Berlitz method) is the only possible way. So far as I can see, this has been the policy of the German courses sponsored by the government for those migrants who were granted asylum.  Learning German this way is an arduous task and painstakingly slow. It is a sink or swim method, leaving many learners frustrated in spite of coursebooks peppered with colourful pictures.

However, the situation could be effectively remedied, even in multilingual classes. Experts would simply have to agree upon, let’s say 30 dialogues of the type found in almost every coursebook and create an internet site for each of the European languages concerned. Then an appeal should be launched to those bilinguals well integrated in their respective host countries and ready to provide the same texts in their home language, perhaps even free of charge. Teachers, voluntary or professional, could study the dialogues with their classes and act them out in groups. This would be comparatively easy, because every client could fully understand what he is doing and saying. With our social brains and our emotional expertise we are naturally born performers. Learners can enjoy team work and create moments of excellence for themselves and their audiences. Moreover, reference to the learners’ mother tongues implies an appreciation of indigenous languages and cultures.

Comprehensible input is precisely the basic condition for language acquisition. But the outmoded pedagogic approach à la Berlitz, which is still the rule in many language courses worldwide, is an outright denial of assistance. See Butzkamm & Caldwell, The bilingual reform.  A paradigm shift in foreign language teaching (2009) and www.fremdsprachendidaktik.de.

 

 

FFF Conference 2014 on Early Foreign Language Learning

posted by Jürgen Kurtz, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

The 4th German FFF Conference 2014 (FFF = Fortschritte im Frühen  Fremdsprachenlernen; Advances in Early Foreign Language Learning) will be held October 2-4, 2014 at Leipzig University, Germany. The conference will serve as a meeting place for everyone professionally interested and involved in the theory and/or practice of foreign language education in elementary schools and at kindergarten level. This year, it will focus in particular (not exclusively) on language learning research conducted in the pre-school sector, addressing fundamental questions related to adequate and efficient instruction and the transition from pre-school to elementary school. The conference will take place over three days, featuring one plenary lecture, a total of 40 presentations, and five themed workshops. For more detailed information (in German), please click here.