AULC conference 2015 #aulc2015

Last week I attended the annual conference organised by the Association of University Language Centres in the UK and Ireland (AULC). The conference programme was quite diverse again this time.

My colleagues and I presented how we use digital resources with students and teachers (presentation on parts: one and two), and I attended various other sessions.

My colleague Lucile has also blogged about the conference – a very interesting read!

If you are interested in teaching Mandarin, there will be an event for you in June: Chinese teaching in the Western world.

And we all like OERs, so have a look at Cambridge University’s Language Learning Resources.

Session notes: Promoting language and intercultural competence through blogging

  • blogs as ‘formal public spaces’
  • desired outcomes: language competence (writing skills) and intercultural awareness
  • three types of blog in this project: course blog for collaborative learning, personal blog for independent learning, project blog for specific topics or tasks
  • expectations that tutor  gives feedback to help with improvement of phrases and cultural awareness
  • benefits: improved communication skills – more opportunities to write, closer connections within cohort
  • blog needs to be integrated into classes – teacher guidance essential – time implications!
  • students should be encouraged to learn from each other – outside class as well
  • Byram‘s Model of Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) model
    • attitude
    • knowledge
    • skills of interpreting
    • critical cultural awareness
    • skills of discovery and interaction

Session notes: Languages for specific purposes (LSP)

The presentation can be seen on Benoît Guilbaud’s website.

  • LSP is not just something that happens for English
  • it’s about teaching the target language for academic and/or professional purposes: ‘specific purpose that group has in common’
  • LSP teaching needs to look at the wider context, not just work. For example, an engineer needs to also be able to talk to cleaners, clients, and at social occasions.
  • differentiating LSP: there is an infinite number of ways to do this, e.g. subject areas, different levels of complexity or specialisation, different audiences
  • subject areas have shared skills, so teachers don’t necessarily need to know the subject area in detail – teaching role is more that of a facilitator
  • socio-cultural dimensions need to be part of teaching
  • students can learn from each other as they share the same subject – and the teacher can learn about the subject from them
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