Fantastic news! The team at DEREE (The American College of Greece), who hosted ELF7 in September, have just posted videos of the plenary talks and some of the colloquia! (This includes ELF Pron’s own Laura Patsko presenting in a colloquium on the application of ELF principles to the classroom – scroll down for the video link!)
We cannot say it strongly enough – these videos are really worth taking the time to watch.
One of the reasons we started this blog is because all too often, serious academic research and debate in the field of ELF is difficult for teachers to access because it is only published in journals which many of us working outside university contexts simply cannot afford to subscribe to. But those using English every day, whether as a lingua franca or for other purposes – teachers, learners, users of English everywhere – need to be part of the discussion.
These videos provide a wonderful opportunity to hear some of the brightest minds in sociolinguistics, language policy and teacher education talking about their work and their attempts to answer the many fascinating questions being asked about the uses of English (alongside other languages) in the world today.
We welcome questions and comments – leave them below this post or get in touch with us via the menu on this page.
Plenary: “ELF and the Pragmatics of Language Variation” (Henry Widdowson)
For most linguists, Professor Henry Widdowson probably needs no introduction. If you haven’t heard of him, but you follow a communicative approach in your classroom, then you’ve definitely been influenced by his work, whether you’re aware of it or not. I’ll leave it to Wikipedia to enumerate his various contributions to the field of linguistics, his professorial roles, his publications, etc…
He gave a terrific plenary presentation at ELF7 in which he explained some links from the past to the present in terms of linguistic enquiry. He referred to several key publications from past decades (Labov 1969, Halliday 1970, Grice 1975, Sinclair 1991), outlining the continuity which is so evident when we look back over the years, and highlighting the critical significance that ELF study has for language and language learning in general.
One of my favourite soundbites from this session:
“Why do learners not conform? Why are they so irritatingly perverse not to do what they’re told?” (said with a smile!)
He argues that one answer to these questions might be simply that they’re using English together with their own language in order to achieve some pragmatic ends. The reason for their ‘abnormality’ is perhaps that they’re trying to use the language in what is actually quite a normal way, i.e. to adapt form to function!
Without further ado, here’s the man in action:
Plenary: “Critical Language Testing and ELF: How can one help the other?” (Elana Shohamy)
Professor Elana Shohamy is another prominent linguist who needs little introduction. Again, I’ll let another website fill you in on the details, but in brief: she’s a big name in language policy and language testing, having written extensively on these topics and on multilingualism, ideology and linguistic landscapes.
Her plenary was thoroughly entertaining, thought-provoking and insightful – one of the best I’ve ever seen at a conference. I’ve used two quotations from this presentation as soundbites in the ELF7 mini-series coming up soon on this blog, so I’ll say no more about her talk here, but let you get on with watching it!
Here she is…
Plenary: “Towards a Transformative ELF-Aware Education: Challenges and Opportunities for Teaching, Learning” (Nicos Sifakis)
If you’re a teacher, trainee teacher or teacher trainer and interested in the link between ELF and teacher education, then you should definitely be aware of Nicos Sifakis’ work. He’s written numerous articles on teachers’ awareness of and attitudes towards ELF and is co-leader of this fantastic project (with Yasemin Bayyurt), aimed at “educating in-service teachers of English as a foreign language on issues regarding aspects of English as an international lingua franca and implications for teaching and learning”.
In his plenary, Nicos talks about this project and about his view that awareness of ELF principles can help teachers become more autonomous and raise their own and their students’ intercultural competence.
Nicos was also kind enough to be interviewed by ELF Pron during the ELF7 conference about how he became interested in ELF and what he feels are important issues for teachers to get to grips with – you can read the transcript here.
Colloquium: ELF in the Curriculum: Moving from implication to application (5 talks, convened by Martin Dewey)
- Sonia Moran Panero talks about engaging with students’ metalinguistic discourse.
- Laura Patsko (ELF Pron’s own!) presents her experience of introducing ELF into a pre-service teacher training course at her school (the Trinity CertTESOL). Her talk begins just after 24 minutes (you can start the video automatically at this point by clicking here).
- Inmaculada Pineda Hernández presents a practical case study on ELF for science and technology.
- Melissa Yu talks about re-constructing teaching theory: critical perspectives on reproduction, resistance and the unexpected.
- Alessia Cogo talks about negotiations in business ELF: between users and textbooks.
Colloquium: ELF-aware teacher education: theory and practice (a wide range of talks and speakers – some 3 hours’ worth! – convened by Nicos Sifakis and Yasemin Bayyurt)
Colloquium: ELF-aware classroom practices and teaching materials: Issues and new perspectives in ELT (Aya Matsuda, Lucilla Lopriore & Paolo Vettorel, Melissa Yu, Enrico Grazzi, Kurt Kohn – convened by Lucilla Lopriore and Paolo Vettorel)