English as an International Language

19 – Reflective Practice – Thomas Farrell

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The self-styled ‘bad boy’ of language teaching, Thomas Farrell, dropped by my office to take about self reflection. What do we do in the classroom and, importantly, WHY do we do it? Who are YOU as a teacher and what do YOU bring into the classroom?

 

Start adding this reflective practice regularly to your professional life and you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make to your personal and professional development.

Also a good lesson about having a safety net. I recorded this with my fancy MICs but the recordings failed for some reason, so this is based on my phone back-up recording. Phew….

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11 – Too old to learn? The Critical Period – Heather Marsden

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This episode, I speak to University of York’s Heather Marsden about the controversial Critical Period hypothesis. This theory suggests that there is a limited age at which we can learn a second language, after which it grows increasingly difficult. Anecdotally, we assume this to be true – kids are sponges for language while older people struggle – but what does the research say about this?

This episode is simply a bite-sized introduction to a much larger topic, so I encourage you to search around for other perspectives on this subject.

Heather Marsden @ University of York

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Noob glossary:

L1 – first/native language

L2 – second language

input – any exposure to the L2

interference – where the L1 grammar, vocab or pronunciation affects or negatively influences L2 production

 

08 – English as a Lingua Franca in the ESL classroom – Martin Dewey

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[This episode follows up on issues first covered in episode 4 with Jennifer Jenkins.]

English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is a perplexing thing. It’s not an approach. It’s not a methodology. It’s a perspective. So there’s nothing for teachers to really get solid a grip on. This can get frustrating for teachers and can leave us more confused than enlightened.

In this episode, Martin Dewey of King’s College London towels off this slippery subject with a classroom perspective. Rethink how much attention we give certain language aspects in our classes, moving away from the native speaker norm, focusing on how students adapt their speech for the specific situation.

M’Kay…

Due to the time difference, I was up at dawn for this Skype interview so I was a little sleepy and, yes, I do say “curriculums” at one point!

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Further reading:

V.O.I.C.E  – Vienna Oxford International Corpus of English

“Understanding English as a Lingua Franca” on Amazon

“Exploring ELF” on Amazon

Martin Dewey’s Research

Jennifer Jenkins on Amazon

04 – Questioning the Native English Norm in English Teaching – Jennifer Jenkins

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English as a Lingua Franca – ELF – is English as a shared language (usually) between non-native speakers.

As English becomes more and more globalised, we question whether the Native Speaker model should be the goal in the classroom. Prof. Jennifer Jenkins first broached this idea back in 2000 and was met with excitement and resistance.

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