Summer Meeting 2019

The LT CoP concluded its third year of activity with a well-attended meeting in the Summer Term on 6th June. The meeting was opened by Professor Katja Strohfeldt-Venables, T&L Dean responsible for Quality, who supported the event and encouraged the community of language teaching professionals to continue to engage with the Scholarship of Language Learning and Teaching and share their knowledge and practice both internally and externally.

After considering, in the Autumn and Spring meetings, the notion of the SoTL in a variety of language T&L environments and professional stages of development, we finished the year by showcasing examples of work carried out in different departments, which demonstrated the influence of SoTL on students’ learning.

These are brief summaries of the presentations and links to the slides with a short reflection by presenters on their participation in the event.

Inclusion in language teaching materials, Raúl Marchena Magadán (MLES)

This presentation will explore ways in which we, as language practitioners, can make the materials used in class (more) inclusive and representative for all. Inclusion, as many describe it, is a basic right and the language classes should be a space where students embrace everyone regardless of race, age, gender, disability, religious and cultural beliefs and sexual orientation.

Creative engagement – Veza Canetti’s “Der Fund”, a German text transformation project, Mag. Elisabeth Koenigshofer (MLES)

A classroom often allows little space to engage creatively with different media and foster student’s soft skills. Therefore, in 2018, I decided to involve students in a creative learning project based on Veza Canetti’s short story “Der Fund” (The Discovery) based on a more holistic learning approach focusing on individual learning. Students were asked to engage with this unknown text creatively in order to make it accessible to others despite a potential language barrier. The project aimed to make students aware of their language skills, appreciate their creativity and link their university learning to employability skills. The project’s outcome was led by student interest while I was involved as a guide and facilitator for the group.

“The event was an opportunity to see the scope of work we conduct in various departments, often unaware of each other. I presented my project on Veza Canetti’s short story at the New Perspectives of Language T&L at the University of St Andrews in 2018, but it was good to get feedback and suggestions for further development from UoR colleagues. I think the LT CoP is a vital platform for generating ideas and creating partnerships. Events like this help us to grow and thrive as a community”.

Re-evaluating L2 listening pedagogy (English, but applicable to other languages), Dr Jane Ward (ISLI, IFP)

An extensive review of the literature as part of my PhD research revealed that current L2 listening teaching methods are lacking in their effectiveness. Little research has rigorously investigated L2 listening and so, to date, there has little evidence to support a re-evaluation of current inadequate teaching practices. My research was the first large-scale investigation into students’ listening difficulties and the results highlighted the notion that their needs are not being fully met by current teaching methods. This implies that listening teaching methods and materials should be re-evaluated, and this project was a first step towards doing so.

“I felt privileged to be able to present at this event, and to share ideas and research with colleagues I don’t see regularly. The Language Teaching CoP provides a platform that buzzes with energy and enthusiasm and is a great motivator to reflect on and review our current practices”.

From module design and scholarship to publication, Alison Nader (ISLI)

This presentation will show in a very practical, step by step way how designing a new IWLP French module became the basis for a conference presentation and publication in a peer reviewed journal. The presentation will give Teaching intensive staff the opportunity to reflect on how they might integrate scholarship into their daily working life, when they may have a small fraction or no time at all allocated to scholarship in their workloads.

“Putting together my own presentation gave me some time and space to develop my ideas on how a teaching practitioner can engage with scholarship. The event was a great opportunity to bring together language professionals from across the university. I enjoyed the varied programme and the chance to talk with colleagues”.

The Summer Meeting was brought to a conclusion by the presentation from our keynote speaker, Professor Suzanne Graham (IoE):

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – why it matters and how we might nurture it, Professor Suzanne Graham (IoE)

This presentation considers the role of research and scholarship in language teacher development and classroom practice. It outlines a project designed to bridge the divide between research, scholarship and the classroom, including a focus on eight principles of language teaching and learning. It concludes by considering some of the barriers and drivers to bringing about changes in teacher beliefs and practices and the place of scholarship in that process.

 “It was wonderful to see so many enthusiastic colleagues at the LT CoP Summer Meeting and to learn about the fantastic work that is being done to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning in modern languages. I came away with a clear sense that colleagues have a good understanding of the two main areas I addressed in my talk – why such scholarship matters and how we might nurture it- but hope that I offered some additional food for thought!”

The event concluded with informal conversations and an exchange of ideas.

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