Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day at Aston

Aston University is hosting a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day on Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Aston University has long been at the forefront of using CLIL in higher education, and teaching in the target language represents one of its unique selling points. Student recruitment to modern languages is above the national average. Results in the National Student Survey show almost 100% student satisfaction across all languages, and students especially mention teaching in the target language as key to their success. Moreover, employability prospects for Aston language graduates are regularly amongst the top 5 nationally.

At Bordesley Green Girls School (BGGS), an inner city school in Birmingham, 89 percent of girls study languages at GCSE and 81% of these girls report that they enjoy learning a language. A sizeable group of 28 students also study languages at AS and A2. Value-added scores for languages are the highest of all EBacc subjects in the school. Languages are at the heart of whole school improvement. The Head Teacher Judith Woodfield has indeed shown that standards have risen in all other subjects at Key Stage 3 thanks to the adoption of a European curriculum which has CLIL at the heart of its delivery. Research in the UK and internationally shows that this approach to language learning leads not only to language improvement but also to cognitive acceleration.

The results from both BGGS and AU demonstrate that the negative national trend for languages is not inevitable. Given the right approach, children from any context and at any level of education can achieve success in languages. We believe that language is a skill that can be accessed by all; its potential for inclusivity is a key strength that needs to be advertised widely.

The aims of the workshop are:

  • To present CLIL success stories internationally (Estonia) and locally at different levels of education;
  • To share your own good practice during the Show and Tell sessions
  • To network for the promotion of CLIL as a highly effective approach to language learning and of its related benefits for the individual and the society.

Plenary talks:
Peeter Mehisto  (University College London Institute of Education) – Getting concrete with CLIL

Judith Woodfield  (Head teacher, Bordesley Green Girls School) – How Content and Language Integrated Teaching Can Halt the Decline of Languages in Schools

Elisabeth Wielander (Aston University) – Something to talk about: Integrating content and language in tertiary education

Workshop with Peeter Mehisto – Scaffolding through the unavoidable gateway of short-term memory: A CLIL essential

Show and Tell Event

Programme:
9.30-10.00     Registration
10.00-11.00    Welcome and Peeter Mehisto
11.00-11.30    Coffee
11.30-12.15    Judith Woodfield
12.15-13.00    Elisabeth Wielander
13.00-13.45    Lunch
13.45-14.45    Workshop with Peeter Mehisto
14.45-15.30    Show and Tell 1
15.30-16.00    Coffee
16.00-16.45     Show and Tell 2
16.45-17.00    Closing

Register to reserve your free place at this event

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New publication: Problem-Based Learning in TESOL

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has become a popular educational approach and now has a global, multidisciplinary scope of influence. This experiential, student-centered learning approach was first piloted and developed by Dr. Howard Barrows in medical education for physicians at McMasters University in Canada from the 1960s onward. Over time, the methodology has also been adopted by other disciplines in the medical sciences, such as nursing and pharmacology. It spread further in the social sciences to programmes teaching law, sociology, business, agriculture, information communication technologies, as well as teacher education and regular classes for Grade 8–12 STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math) courses. It has even been used in police training. To a lesser extent PBL has been used in areas such as the arts, literary studies, theology, and philosophy.

Due to the multidisciplinary expansion of PBL, a variety of modes for delivery have emerged from the initial approach. However, the following factors are common to PBL whether it is used for an individual module, a course, or a programme. PBL uses tutor-facilitated, small group learning to present students with real-world problems, relevant to their disciplines. The problems require critical thinking and collaboration to resolve. In a self-directed manner, examining what information has been made available, students identify what they do and do not know about the current problem; and they focus it to a manageable scope. Then they search for additional resources and interpret them. As the PBL cycle progresses, they integrate individual knowledge into the group’s final solution to the problem. The tutor will assist with this integration and / or provide feedback on the collaborative efforts, closing off the cycle with reflective activities. In course-based PBL, several cycles will contribute to knowledge creation over the duration of the course. That knowledge will be evaluated in discipline specific ways but preferably with authentic, professionally-oriented assessments that are in harmony with the learning process.

You are encouraged to discover how PBL has been used in an MA TESOL context. Cynthia Caswell is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Linguistics by distance learning, in the School of Languages and Social Sciences. She has recently published research on the topic of PBL and TESOL. The title, abstract, and an active link to her article in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning (Vol.11, Issue 1, Article 6) follows:

 

Design and Facilitation of Problem-Based Learning in Graduate Teacher Education: An MA TESOL Case
(Cynthia Ann Caswell, Aston University)

Abstract

This exploratory, evaluative case study introduces a new context for problem-based learning (PBL) involving an iterative, modular approach to curriculum-wide delivery of PBL in an MA TESOL program. The introduction to the curriculum context provides an overview of the design and delivery features particular to the situation. The delivery approach has established multiple roles that contribute to the design and facilitation of the learning environment: lead instructors, collaborating instructors, and students as peer teachers. These roles also identify milestones on a collaborative instructional skills trajectory for professional development. In this mixed methods study, qualitative data were collected from collaborating instructors (the majority of whom were alumni) in order to illuminate the nature of successful PBL cycles and quality peer teaching, as experienced in the program. Their perspectives were also elicited on their position in the trajectory, highlighting current professional development benefits and future needs. Quantitative data on student demographics and mean GPA for coursework triangulate the qualitative results. Implications and recommendations for further research are explained.

Keywords:  teacher education, TESOL, problem-based learning (PBL), knowledge creation, collaboration, diversitz

Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/ijpbl/vol11/iss1/6/

Symposium: Can Languages Have an “Afterlife”?

Symposium at Aston University in Birmingham, December 7th, 2016

language-shiftLanguage shift is rarely a wholesale abandonment of a language by its speakers but a complex process normally taking place over two to three generations. In some cases language shift can lead to the development of successor lects. During the 19th century, for example, Romani speakers in the process of shift to English consciously retained a repository of words and phrases to be implemented into their English, thus forming a distinct variety of English called Anglo Romani. Another language where a conscious preservation of at least a repository and the development of successor lects took place during a process of shift is Western Yiddish in contact with Dutch and German in the first four decades of the 20th century. Funded by the British Academy a one day symposium will take place on December 7th (10 am to 4 pm) at Aston University in Birmingham.

Confirmed speakers:

Sarah Bunin Benor (Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles)
Yaron Matras (University of Manchester)
Anne Pauwels (SOAS, London)
Jakob Wiedner (University of Oslo)

The event is free of charge. Please register by 15/11/2016 under:  lss_researchsupport@aston.ac.uk

Elite multilingualism: A critical dialogue from a theoretical and empirical standpoint

Multilingualism picElisabeth Barakos (Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Aston University, member of the Language Education subgroup of CLaRA) and Charlotte Selleck (Lecturer of English Language, University of Worcester) co-organised a panel on “Elite Multilingualism” as part of the Sociolinguistics Symposium 2016 in Murcia, Spain. The panel, which brought together international scholars working in the fields of applied and sociolinguistics, specifically focused on the notion of ‘elite’, i.e. the conceptualisation and evaluation of multilingualism as something that adds social (or material) capital, prestige, privilege and access to resources, within the complexities of a globalised economy. Given the current celebratory discourses about linguistic diversity (emanating, for example from organisations such as the EU) and the multilingual turn in education and applied linguistics (McLaughlin 2016, May 2013), it is timely and necessary to critically engage with what multilingualism has come to mean in different social settings and for different social actors.

Traditionally, research has dealt with often minoritised, underprivileged multilingual speakers vs. the dominant, monolingual speaker, ideologies of native speakerness and standardness, the role of global English as well as monolingualism as a language ideology. There is, however, only scarce engagement with multilingualism as an ideology of and for the elite, and its link to the creation of hierarchies and social inequities (De Mejia 2002).

This panel therefore aimed to introduce the concept of ‘elite multilingualism’ to disentangle the paradoxical situation of valuing some types of languages more than others. In a European context, Jaspers (2009: 19), for example, speaks of the ‘prestige’ or ‘pure’ multilingual – referring to the upwardly mobile, highly educated, higher socioeconomic status learners of two or more internationally useful languages. On the other hand, there is ‘plebeian’ or ‘impure’ multilingual – a term referring to the use of various (regional or minority) language varieties by a mostly urban, largely multi-ethnic, very often poorly educated working class across Europe. As Sonntag (2003: 8) argues, elite is not something monolithic or static; rather, she claims that “different elites draw on different capitals to acquire and retain their elite status”.

From a critical sociolinguistic perspective, this panel aimed to de-naturalise mundane understandings of ‘elite’ multilingualism, both from a theoretical and empirical standpoint, through the following set of questions:

  • What counts as ‘elite multilingualism’? How is multilingualism as a kind of power regime taken up in these different spaces? Which type of multilingualism counts?
  • Are certain languages favoured by ‘elite’ learners? How are other, less frequently learnt languages and their speakers positioned?
  • Does multilingualism bring about new forms of inequalities, hierarchies and stratification? Who benefits from multilingualism and who is marginalised by it?

Such questions should help understand the mobilisation of multilingualism as sources of investment, means of instrumentalisation for specific social actors and social groups and as an ideology that brings about issues of inequality. The questions also pay attention to multilingualism as some kind of existing language order or language regime that is based on processes of selection, hierarchisation, inclusion and exclusion.

The introduction to this panel, which charts some conceptual premises of eliteness and multilingualism as well as outlines the panel participants’ papers, can be found here (includes audio):

Barakos_Selleck_Elite Multilingualism_Panel_Intro

If you would like to know more about elite multilingualism, Elisabeth can be contacted on e.barakos@aston.ac.uk. See also her Aston staff profile for Elisabeth’s other research interests, talks and publications.

Conference: Translation and Interpreting in Multilingual Contexts

This conference taking place on February 19, 2016, at Aston University was organised by the Department of Languages and Translation Studies (LTS) , with the support of the Centre for Language Research at Aston (CLaRA), and brought together international scholars from varied disciplines to talk about a wide range of topics, including “Rethinking the Translation Continuum”, “Official multilingualism and translation in NGOs” and “Legal Translation and Multilingual Lawmaking in the EU”.

For more information about the programme, go to the conference website.
TransMultilingual-AstonUni-19Feb2016 1
Prof Rainier Grutman (Ottawa) and Prof Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff)

Prof Rainier Grutman (Ottawa) and Prof Loredana Polezzi (Cardiff)

Educational Conference

On Friday, February 26, Bordesley Green Girls’ School is hosting an Educational Conference focussing on CPD at primary and secondary level where CLaRA member Prof Urszula Clark will be the keynote speaker and will also present a session and a workshop on Language Based Pedagogy.

For more detailed information about the programme, please go to the website.

Conference at Bordesley Green