Presentations 2017

Motivation and vision in the language classroom: Helping students to ‘taste’ their L2 future in classroom talk

Speaker: Dr Magdalena Kubanyiova

This talk draws on latest research on L2 motivation which has identified students’ future visions of themselves as successful L2 users as key in motivating their present efforts in language learning. We will reflect on one of the pedagogical principles that this finding has generated, namely, that students are unlikely to desire their L2 future, unless they have tasted it (Dörnyei & Kubanyiova, 2014). While creative ideas on how to achieve such ‘tasters’ in the language classroom are abundant, many require additional material, time or human resources that are not always available to all language teachers. By using data excerpts from actual L2 classrooms, the aim of this presentation is to demonstrate that sometimes subtle changes in the way we use language in teacher-student interaction can have powerful consequences for L2-relevant futures that our students are enabled to experience. We will reflect on what these findings may mean for our own professional development.

Why we write: a process approach to L2 written communication in context

Speaker: Theresa Federici

This paper looks at an approach to language teaching that enables written communication to take a greater role within the language classroom. The approach focusses on the process of effective communication rather than the final product; enabling learners to think beyond the classroom and place greater emphasis on genuine communication. By adopting Enquiry-Based Learning in the form of individual projects, students are responsible for the research, direction, and outcomes of their own work. Feedback is delivered at regular intervals and from many sources thus encouraging learners to think about their audience, thus creating a focus on appropriate register and style, coherence and clarity, accuracy and range. By moving away from the safety of written work marked only by the teacher, students develop a greater sense of authorship and take greater care in their work. The approach empowers students to develop their L2 identity, to move from classroom learners to genuine communicators in the TL and as such enables the development of professional and transferrable skills. Students’ confidence is increased by the approach, acquisition of lexis, grammar, and syntax are also facilitated as students direct the content of their writing within the parameters of the EBL project. By bringing writing into the language classroom as an essential component of communication, students experience a shift in perspective that encourages them to become autonomous and independent learners and communicators in their L2.

“Interlinguistic mediation as a tool to learn Spanish as a foreign language: the case of/for Pedagogical Translation”

Speaker: Adolfo Sánchez Cuadrado

Interlinguistic mediation, both written and oral, plays a role of its own when using a foreign language in today’s society where speakers often face multilingual situations and need to carry out tasks between languages. Therefore, the monolingual approach to teaching languages prevalent in the last century has to give way to interlinguistic activities in the language classroom, since students have to be trained in this skill as much as in the others. However, this methodological revision needs to be implemented by taking into account the recent developments in both Language Teaching and Translation Pedagogy, so that translation can finally overcome the stigma of being related to former methodologies. We will explore the potential of pedagogical translation as a tool to teach languages from three different perspectives: as a communicative task, as a textual activity, and as a communicative/cognitive strategy. Although an emphasis will be placed on the English-Spanish pair, all methodological principles and techniques outlined can be easily adapted for other language combinations.

“Lend your eyes to a friend: audiodescribing video clips in the language class”

Speaker: Marga Navarrete

Audio description (AD) is a type of audiovisual translation (AVT) used for making video content accessible to blind and visually impaired viewers. In this AVT mode, an additional narration is inserted into the audiovisual product, in between the dialogues of the original soundtrack, and describes information transmitted visually. This typically includes actions, facial expressions and scenery.

However, AD as a didactic tool in Foreign language Learning (FLL) is an innovative area that has received very little attention so far, despite its significant potential for language learners. Furthermore, over the last few decades many experts in applied linguistics have shown a growing interest for the study of fluency, pronunciation and intonation. They believe these skills need special attention in FLL, and they have highlighted their relevance for the improvement of oral skills, since working on these areas is essential for learners to become competent in the language they are studying.
With these ideas in mind, we have designed an experiment with university students of Spanish as a foreign language with a proficiency level of B1 (CEFR). We will introducing some of the tasks carried out by students and the methodological framework used to study the enhancement in pronunciation, intonation and fluency of the learners.

Academic Writing in a Second Language

Speaker: Dr Kerry Tavakoli, University of St Andrews

Writing may be seen as the greatest challenge for many students, especially when writing in a second language. Traditional approaches to second language teaching place the emphasis on grammar, and fail to focus on the fluency and automaticity needed for writing coherent and cohesive academic discourse. This presentation considers the social nature of writing, and advocates an approach where interaction between the writer and reader is developed through communicative classes, where carefully led discussions and debates promote language acquisition and a greater understanding of the content.