Tuesday 4th April
0900-1020 Opening Plenary by Gabriel Diaz Maggioli
Empowering teachers through continued professional development: frameworks, practices and promisesThe notion that language teachers need ongoing professional development opportunities should be considered a harmless platitude. Yet, as the field stands now, most of our colleagues are not provided with such opportunities as parts of their jobs. How is it then that we hear so many wonderful tales of exploration and discovery? Teachers have taken upon themselves to build these growth opportunities. In this plenary I will share some stories, and weave the plots of new stories to come by presenting a “state of the art” hawk eye view of professional development and recommending potential ways in which colleagues can help colleagues learn and develop.
17:25 - 18:30 British Council Signature Event
Language for ResilienceSpeakers: Syrian Refugee Stakeholders. Moderated by Mike Solly.
The British Council has the pleasure of inviting you to attend the follow up to our report launch of ‘Language for Resilience’. The report examines the role that language can play in enhancing the resilience of Syrian refugees and host communities. The ‘Language for Resilience’ report was commissioned in response to the unprecedented effects of the Syrian refugee crisis and brings together information gathered though interviews with refugees, host communities and those working to support them, with lessons learned from past and on-going British Council language programming in conflict and post-conflict areas. Key practitioners and Syrian refugee stakeholders will share their thoughts on the role of language in enhancing the resilience of individuals and communities affected by crisis.
Wednesday 5th April
0900-1000 Opening Plenary by Sarah Mercer
Connecting minds: language learner and teacher psychologies
Language learning is a deeply social and emotional undertaking for both teachers and learners. In this talk, I wish to reflect on the fundamental role played by psychology in the learning and teaching of foreign languages. Far from being an optional extra in the teaching and learning debate, we will see just how crucial an understanding of psychology is, given that people and their relationships lie at the heart of the teaching/learning interaction. While teaching materials and specific methodologies remain vitally important, it is impossible to reap the full benefits offered by such resources without those involved being psychologically in a facilitative frame of mind.
Together we will consider some of the foundations of a healthy psychology in the language classroom for both teachers and learners. We will assume a socially situated understanding of psychology that challenges the division between cognition and emotion as well as the emphasis on the individual in isolation. We will focus on the centrality of social relationships, especially the connection between teachers and learners, and the role of perception in engagement with contextual opportunities. We will cover diverse aspects of psychology such as beliefs, emotions, sense of self, agency and engagement. Specifically, we will consider how we can help learners to connect mentally and emotionally to their language learning and how we can support teachers to ensure a positive level of professional well-being in their jobs. In sum, this talk aims to focus our minds on what matters most in language education: The people.
Thursday 6th April
0900-1000 Opening Plenary by JJ Wilson
ELT and social justice: opportunities in a time of chaosIn this plenary, I will look at the arguments for including social justice issues in ELT classrooms. I will summarise the literature, referencing major theorists such as John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and bell hooks. I will also examine relevant ideas and movements: critical pedagogy and conscientização; participatory teaching/learning; problem-posing and dialogic methods; “poor man’s pedagogy”; service learning; and “the banking method” versus education as the practice of freedom. Moving from theory to practice, I will then show ways in which teachers can include social justice issues in the classroom. These activities include drama, poetry, images, community projects, and so on. I will conclude with some remarks about professional development and the concept of education for social justice. I will stress that the ideas in this talk are not a methodology or a recipe for becoming a better teacher. They are a “way of being”. Each idea, each activity must be made afresh, re-created every time the teacher steps into the classroom.
Friday 7th April
0900-1000 Opening Plenary by Jane Setter
Where angels fear to tread: intonation in English language teachingIntonation is one of the earliest acquired aspects of speech; the crymelodies of infants are influenced by the intonation of their mothers, and very small toddlers are able to use intonation to indicate turn taking patterns in play conversations before they can form words. It plays a vital role in successful communication in English, as it does in other languages. If this is true, why is intonation neglected in English language pronunciation teaching, and how can it be taught effectively?
This presentation takes the audience into the seldom-navigated region of intonation in English language teaching, focusing on the role of three main elements: tonality, tonicity and tone. Drawing on material from a number of different sources, we explore the role of intonation in English, and look at which elements are teachable, which are learnable, what resources are available to the teacher and the learner, and how intonation might be approached in the English language classroom and as a self-access learning activity. Expect a multimedia, audience participation experience.
1310-1410 Closing Plenary by Imtiaz Dharker
Over the moonImtiaz Dharker will read from her new Glasgow poems as well as Over the Moon. These are poems about music and feet, church bells, beds, café tables, bad language and sudden silence. In contrast with her previous work written amidst the hubbub of India, these new poems are mostly set in Britain, where she has built a new life with – and since the death of – her husband Simon Powell.