Presymposium Workshops

Technology for Teaching
Jill Boggs, Department of Education, University of Oxford, England

Although technology is not a magical solution to the challenges of teaching, many will agree that it has much to offer. The key is in learning to maximize the benefits of technology while working around its weaknesses. Students of all ages are naturally drawn to activities that capture their interest and imagination and engage them in learning, and the Internet provides an endless resource of such activities. But how can these activities be used for effective learning and teaching? In this workshop, teachers will examine some new technologies and review research-supported ways of using technologies for language learning.

First, we look closely at a variety of apps and websites that teachers can use when preparing lessons for students of different ages and English abilities. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various apps and consider how they can be used for teaching in a way that will maximize language learning – focusing on reading, writing, listening, speaking, and vocabulary skills.

Next, we look at how technologies can enhance learning both in and out of the classroom, and we discover what teachers need to consider when incorporating technology into lessons.

We conclude by discussing how marking digital work differs from marking pen-and-paper work. This discussion also includes a consideration of the unique challenges of creating rubrics for digital work. 

Sustaining your development as a language teacher through classroom action research
Anne Burns, Professor of TESOL, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Action research is part of a movement in language teacher education that encourages teachers to sustain and increase their professionalism by reflecting on and investigating their own local teaching contexts. Action research takes the perspective that teachers, in combination with their students and other colleagues, are best placed to notice, investigate, and address issues and challenges in the classroom. The processes of action research can be conceptualised as a dynamic and spiraling cycle: The issues arising in the classroom inspire teachers’ research, which then feeds back into teaching practice. The research model adopted in action research typically consists of four stages: planning an intervention, acting by carrying out the intervention, observing the effects of the intervention, and reflecting on the outcomes and understandings. The last stage evaluates the findings and considers the insights gained by teacher-researchers as the basis for further action. 

In this workshop, I argue that doing action research is a powerful way for teachers to sustain their professional development. The workshop is aimed at English language teachers and teacher educators who are interested in finding out more about action research and want to begin some action research in their own schools or classrooms.

I help you find a focus for your research, develop research questions, and identify ways of finding evidence about what impact the research is having. You also have opportunities to share your ideas about language teaching and learning with other teachers and develop some new ways to understand what goes on in your classroom. 

Moving from competent teacher to confident teacher when implementing integrated approaches at all levels of English language teaching in Vietnam
Rosemary Orlando, Institute for Language Education, School of Arts and Sciences, Southern New Hampshire University, Hooksett, New Hampshire, United States

Many English language teachers in Vietnam receive in-service training and learn new ways in teaching but are then unable or unwilling to implement their newly acquired ideas once they return to the classroom. One of the challenges teachers face is lack of confidence in themselves and their skills as English language professionals. It is important for teachers to reflect on their current teaching practices to identify and correct problems: What would they like to change about their teaching and what changes can they realistically implement? Is the teacher simply the deliverer of the curriculum? Or is the teacher a co-creator of the course material? Teachers often search for answers to these questions alone and in isolation.

Some Vietnamese teachers of English believe a more Westernized view of teaching is best, while others want to stay with the safe, comfortable way they have always taught. There is no, one best practice in the teaching of English. Some methods may be more effective than others, but they should be viewed within the context of the educational setting. 

This workshop equips teachers with effective teaching tools, practical ideas, and activities that they can implement in their own classrooms in Vietnam yet at the same time view themselves as part of a larger, interconnected global network. You complete a variety of tasks and participate in interactive discussions sharing ideas and knowledge gained from their years of teaching experience in your school and classroom settings. 

Exploring innovation and change in English language education: Curriculum innovation and teacher change
Lillian L. C. Wong, Centre for Applied English Studies The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Innovation and change in language education has been of interest for both educators and researchers for many years. Driven by professional dissatisfaction with the status quo in local contexts or, increasingly, by the imperatives of quality audits and external course assessments, questions concerning the design, implementation, and maintenance of innovation and change are, perhaps more than ever before, of central concern to teachers. 

This workshop provides guidance on curriculum innovation and renewal, insights for facilitating teacher change and teaching innovation, and recommendations on how you can empower yourself in the design, implementation, and maintenance of innovation and change in your English language teaching and learning contexts.

First, we explore the processes of change and adoption of innovation and discuss factors both facilitating and hindering curriculum innovation and teacher change. We discover the characteristics of different stages of innovation adoption, noting that the decisive factor for successful change lies with the teachers who implement changes in the classroom.

Next, you draw on your experiences and the theoretical perspectives on curriculum innovation and teacher development and use group work, discussion, sharing, and Q&A to examine your own teaching contexts and practices for initiating innovation and change. Working in groups, you learn the process of curriculum design and innovation for modifying or developing your own curriculum plans. Each group presents its plans then the groups evaluate each other’s plans, identify pros and cons and come up with suggestions for refining or improving them.