The elective sessions at ELF5 are grouped into blocks of 2/3 speakers, each with about 30 minutes to present their research.
For the first elective session of the day, I chose 3 sessions on Teacher Education and ELF.
First up was Marie-Luise Pitzl’s talk – Preparing teachers for an ELF future: What we CAN tell them. Having read quite a few articles by Marie-Luise Pitzl, I found myself quite star-struck to sitting in front of her.
Quoting Dewey (2007), Pitzl reminds us that we can no longer regard language norms as fixed, pre-determined, and tied to a particular geographical or cultural centre, and that teachers should adopt a different approach to ELT, reassessing the way we select materials, methods, and approaches to testing, and promoting a pluralistic approach to competence and a flexible view of language.
On one hand, you have a global phenomenon,
And on the other, local contexts and local conditions.
And it is thus important to raise awareness amongst teachers and teacher trainees of this sociolinguistic reality and its teaching implications.
Here, Pitzl outlines the ELF component of here teacher training course.
- Familiarising sts with core concepts (ENL, ESL, EFL, World Englishes, ELF, lang variation, variety, speech community)
- Intro some descriptive ELF findings and linking them to ELF local contexts.
- Raising awareness of what an ELF perspective might mean for ELT – shifting perspectives
- Giving sts the opportunity to try out diff cooperative teaching methods.
- Triggering reflective processes (on predominant NS models, own experience, own ideals, goals and standards discrepancies, challenges)
- Into and organizational matters
- The roles of English today – past and present developments, models for international English
- World English : Basic notions
- The ownership of English : From ENL, ESL, EFL, to ELF
- ELF description 1: Phonological characteristics – Intelligibility, the Lingua Franca Core and suggestions for teaching
- ELF Description 2: Lexico-grammatical characteristics: Processes of language variation and change (Jigsaw method)
- Implications for the conceptualization of ELF – variety
- Implications for ELT – Teaching ELF?
- ELF Pragmatics and Basic notions
- ELF Pragmatics : Negotiation of meaning and strategies for achieving understanding
- ELF Pragmatics: Correctness, effectiveness and multilingual repertoires
- ELF Pragmatics: Idioms, metaphors and metaphorical awareness
- ELF, teacher identity and communities of practice.
Activities used include Jigsaw activity (lexicogrammar, Interviews (teacher identity), Roleplays, etc.
Next up was Lili Cavalheiro on Bringing New ELT Policies and ELF to Teaching Training Courses.
Aims for teaching ELF
- To challenge the appropriateness of the NS model
- Reconsider the inner circle as no longer providing the only adequate cultural content and the need to include materials from one’s own source culture
- Critically analyse the cultural content and reflect on one’s own culture in relation to that of others as a crucial exercise.
While emphasizing the NNS teachers’ advantage of sharing common cultures and common goals with their learners, Cavalheiro reiterates Tim McNamara’s point made at the opening plenary about the inappropriacy of CEF descriptors, giving the following example:
C2 – Appreciates fully the sociolinguistics and sociocultural implications of language used by NSs and can react accordingly.
She then goes on to remind us of Seidlhofer (2011) paper on CEF’s lack of differentiation between the study of modern languages and EFL and ELF.
Still referencing Seidlhofer (2011), Cavalheiro then suggests that on a macro-level, teacher training courses should not only look at the nature of language and communication through language awareness, but also through communication strategies, intercultural communication, and sociolinguistics.
On a micro-level, we should take our teacher trainees’ context into consideration and develop a curriculum that fits into a more general framework of communication.
Last but not least, we should help trainees develop critical thinking of materials, and help them with not just what materials are being used, but how they are used.
The third presenter was Lucilla Lopriore speaking about ELF and Early Language Learning: Multi-lingualism, Language Policies and teacher Education
Early introduction of English to YLs mean plurilingualism. This means that classrooms will no longer be monolingual.
Parents want a NS teacher because they think it means their kids would pick up the ‘right’ pronunciation.
Multilingualism in Europe
The primary classroom population in Europe is mainly multilingual and multicultural.
The realities of early language learning implementation vary widely due to variety of factors:
- National language policies
- The assumption that earlier is better
- Parental pressure
- New media (access to foreign lang through the internet)
- NNS teachers
- Emerging new literacies
(Hoffman 2000, Edelenbos et al 2006 etc)
She appropriately draws the 3 sessions to a close with a quote from Henry Widdowson (2012):
‘The first step is to raise awareness of teachers that there is an alternative way of thinking about the subject they teach, based on an understanding of English as a lingua franca. We need to overhaul our descriptive systems and deconstruct our established concepts…and this involves quite a radical re-thinking about the relationship between what we know about the language and what we do with it…between the teaching and learning of the language as a subject.’