CLERA has a broad range of researchers and research candidates working in many different areas of language education. Each month, we feature one of our researchers to learn more about them, their work and their interests. Our Researcher of the Month for September is Dr Raquel Medina, Head of Spanish. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (US) and joined Aston University as Head of Spanish in 2006, after working for 12 years at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (US). She is the author of Surrealismo en la poesía española de posguerra (Visor, 1997) and co-editor of Sexualidad y escritura (Anthropos, 2002). She has published on contemporary Spanish poetry, women writers and cultural studies. Her current research focuses on the representation of Alzheimer’s disease in film, fiction and non-fiction narrative, and poetry, and emphasizes how cultural texts have the power of creating, sustaining, and changing meanings of AD.
On behalf of CLERA and InterLanD (School of Languages & Social Sciences), Dr Urszula Clark hosted the second annual conference on the topic: ‘How Does Language & Literacy Work?’ on 17th May 2014. The conference continues the ground breaking collaboration begun last year between University researchers, providers of continuing development programmes in teaching English as an additional language and teachers across the primary and secondary sectors.
The conference aimed to:
- Make the workings of the language system explicit in order to appreciate the role language plays, in constructing knowledge across all learning areas.
- Build understandings about the patterned ways meanings are made within and across genres so that educators are able to develop students’ language resources to understand and produce those genres.
- Enable participants to understand and use the differences between spoken and written language, both as a teaching and a learning tool.
This year’s keynote speakers were Caroline Coffin, Professor in English Language and Applied Linguistics at the Open University, UK and Claire Acevedo, Freelance Education Consultant and Teacher Educator. There were also a series of workshops run by Dr Garry Plappert and Dr Urszula Clark, Aston University and Lee Donaghy, Park View Academy, Birmingham.
During the conference, there was plenty of opportunity for discussion of a range of issues in the field.
Feedback was positive. One delegate said, ‘This has increased my knowledge about functional linguistics. It has been an excellent opportunity to learn from a wide variety of professionals.’ Another delegate said, ‘Really excellent again, thanks so much for being so welcoming. I would definitely come again in 2015 & beyond!’
Many thanks go to Dr Urszula Clark for organising the conference and to all the speakers and delegates who gave up a warm, sunny Saturday to attend.
This morning, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages launched its ‘Manifesto for Languages’, calling on “all political parties to make general election manifesto commitments to boost language learning”. The call for stronger commitment to MFL teaching and learning is supported by many major businesses, organisations and universities whose role in improving British language skills is said to be crucial, and the manifesto calls for “a commitment to maintaining and developing UK expertise in modern languages and cultures in university language departments”.
At the same time, the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) is calling on all universities to make “a GCSE A*-C grade or equivalent in a modern foreign language a pre-requisite for admission to undergraduate programmes in any discipline” in order to contribute to the development of “global graduates”.
(All quotes from the THE article “University role ‘crucial’ for languages recovery“.)
The APPG’s manifesto is receiving widespread press coverage today; follow the links to some of the reports:
British Council: “The APPG launches the Manifesto for Languages today“
The Independent: “Lack of foreign-language skills ‘threatens the UK economy’“
CLERA held a one-day conference on 14th May 2014 aimed at bringing together researchers and English language professionals to share current approaches to reflective practice. The event was led by Dr Fiona Copland, Director of CLERA, School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University.
We were delighted to welcome many well-known researchers as speakers at the event. The opening plenary talk was delivered by Professor Thomas S.C. Farrell (author of Reflective Language Teaching: From Research to Practice). Other invited speakers included Dr Nur Kurtoglu-Hooton, Aston University; Dr Sue Wharton, Dr Steve Mann and Sarah Banks, University of Warwick; Dr Jane Spiro, Oxford-Brookes University; Dr Fiona Farr & Dr Elaine Riordan, University of Limerick.
During the conference, there was plenty of opportunity for discussion of a range of issues in the field, from practical approaches to reflective practice to researching it effectively and evaluating it critically.
The conference was attended by 60 delegates comprising of Masters and PhD Research students, EAP tutors and lecturers in English Language Teaching from across the country.
Many thanks go to Dr Fiona Copland for organising the conference and to the British Council for sponsoring this event.
The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We call this cultural relations.
Fiona Copland and Sue Garton have coedited an ELT Journal Special Issue on Teaching English to Young Learners which was published in July and is available at http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/current
CLERA has a broad range of researchers and research candidates working in many different areas of language education. Each month, we feature one of our researchers to learn more about them, their work and their interests.
Our Researcher of the Month for July is Wine Tesseur, a Marie Curie Researcher at Aston University. She holds an MA in Germanic Languages from KU Leuven (Belgium) and an MA in Translation from Lessius University College (Belgium). She is currently working on her PhD at Aston as part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network TIME (Translation Research Training: An integrated and intersectoral model for Europe). Her PhD deals with translation policy at Amnesty International.
Click here to read her profile.
Twilight CPD session: How to be OUTSTANDING in the Secondary MFL Classroom at Aston University 10th June 2014
Due to the successful event held on 11th February 2014, CLERA ran a repeat session aimed at Secondary school Modern Foreign Language (MFL) practitioners. The course was attended by Class Teachers, MFL Co-ordinators and Heads of department from across the West Midlands and even as far as Essex.
The aim of the event was to help practitioners to think about what an OUTSTANDING lesson in MFL is and how it is achieved. Gemma Riley, Assistant Principal at Sidney Stringer Academy in Coventry, delivered this practical session with her colleague, Andy Compton who gave some suggestions on how to use iPads in the MFL classroom. Their school was recently awarded ‘Outstanding’. They shared resources, lesson plans and ideas with the delegates.
Many thanks go to Gemma Riley, Andy Compton and to the delegates for making this CPD session such another great success.