8 August 2009

Announcing our upcoming Plenary Sessions!

Come see them at our 28th Annual Colloquium on November 6th and 7th!

Penny Ur

Plenary: English as a Lingua Franca

It is estimated that there are now in the world over two billion English speakers of whom the majority speak it as a second or foreign language. Indeed, English is now used more as a lingua franca for various functions of international communication (business, research, diplomacy etc.) than it is used intra-nationally for communication with each other by its native speakers. And most educated people in the world today (at least outside the English-speaking countries) are "English-knowing bilinguals": they speak their own language(s) for home use, and English for international communication.

There are various interesting implications of this development for English teachers which will be discussed this talk. I shall address questions such as: Is there such a thing as an ELF standard of language use in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation? How does the development of ELF change our teaching goals? Does it make any difference to the function and prestige of the 'native' or 'non-native' English speaking teacher? What is the place of the culture of the English-speaking peoples in the teaching of ELF?

Workshop: Teaching Large Heterogeneous Classes

What is a large class? What is a heterogeneous class? What are the problems we encounter when we have to teach classes that are both large and heterogeneous?

In this talk I will begin by attempting to define what is meant by 'large' and 'heterogeneous', and then go on to list some of the main problems -- but also the advantages! -- that we encounter when trying to teach them.

As with many educational problems, there are no easy solutions. We could, perhaps largely solve them by preparing different tasks to suit different groups within the class; or by preparing several texts at varying levels of difficulty, as suggested by some methodologists. But most of us have neither the time nor the money to invest in such elaborate preparation, let alone the time to check the results later.

In this talk, I shall be proposing and discussing a series of practical teaching principles, illustrated by practical procedures, that involve very little (or no) extra preparation, that can make our job teaching large heterogeneous classes easier, and that go some way towards bringing about more effective learning.

Penny Ur's Bio

Penny Ur was educated at the universities of Oxford (MA), Cambridge (PGCE) and Reading (MATEFL). She emigrated to Israel in 1967, where she still lives today. She is married with four children and five grandchildren. Penny Ur has thirty years' experience as an English teacher in primary and secondary schools in Israel. She has recently retired from the headship of the M.Ed program in foreign-language teaching at Oranim Academic College of Education, but continues to teach M.A. courses at Oranim and Haifa University. She is interested in all aspects of language-teaching methodology, but in particular issues of fluency and accuracy in language teaching, language-learning activity design and the implications for teachers of the development of English as a lingua franca. She has published a number of articles, and was for ten years the editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. Her books include Discussions that Work (1981), Five Minute Activities (co-authored with Andrew Wright) (1992), A Course in Language Teaching (1996), and Grammar Practice Activities (2nd Edition) (2009), all published by Cambridge University Press.

Plenary & Associated Workshop by Jamie Keddie

Jamie Keddie

Plenary: Materials World

In an ELT context, what does the word materials mean to you? In this highly practical talk, I will be examining the richness of resources that are available to the modern language teacher. By dissecting six of my favourite lesson plans, I would like to share some thoughts on some essential lesson-planning skills which are often overlooked.

Workshop: Grammar Drawings

When a learner draws a piece of language, that language is suddenly brought to life and made memorable. In this workshop, which will be useful for teachers of all levels and ages, we will see some original grammar-based activities which exploit a fantastic piece of classroom technology - the pencil.

Jamie Keddie's Bio:

Jamie Keddie is a teacher, teacher trainer and writer who has taught in Spain and Germany. In 2008 he set up TEFLclips.com, a site dedicated to the possibilities for YouTube and other video-sharing sites in the classroom. He has written many articles on a number of subjects including grammar, image and the use of corpora in language learning. He is the author of Images in the Resource Books for Teachers series published by Oxford university Press. Jamie blogs at www.jamiekeddie.com.