The Architecture of Language Reconsidered: Noam Chomsky Lecture

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Chomsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today on a very rainy day in Tokyo, I had the pleasure of watching a softly spoken 85 year old man stand in front of a microphone, speaking and answering questions on such diverse topics as chimpanzees, bird songs, software programs that try to pass university entrance exams and the choice of whether to use a hammer to build a house or bash someone’s face in. The speaker was Noam Chomsky, the world’s most cited living author.

I knew I might not get to see the Chomsky lecture. Seats were limited to 700 places and they were likely to be gone quickly. It was being done on a first come first served basis. What I didn’t know was that they were available from 8 am. When a student told me this at around 10:30, adding they were almost all gone, I ran to the auditorium but of course too late. This preamble is necessary as it was only thanks to my friend and mentor Makoto Ikeda that I was able to get to see the lecture, and not only that but from a seat from which, if I had wished, I could have thrown a screwed up piece of paper and seen it bounce of Chomsky’s head.

In the language instinct, Stephen pinker (a former colleague of Chomsky’s at MIT) mentions something about Chomsky being a pencil and paper theoretician. So, despite having a very cool poster for the lecture series event and lots of screens, theses were all turned off at the start of the event. Chomsky delivered his lecture with only a few pages of crumpled notes.

Chomsky was introduced twice and then, to my surprise, stood up to deliver his lecture. For an 85 year old to make his way all the way to Japan and still be lucid enough to deliver such a deeply technical lecture was impressive, but to do it standing I thought was just downright cool. He was cool, as well. In truth, being an applied linguist myself rather than a linguist, Chomsky sort of orbits my world rather like an impressive comet. Going to see his lecture was kind of like going to a rock concert for me. I didn’t expect to enjoy it in the moment so much, I just wanted to be able to boast that I had been. It was the experience I was after.

He did raise interesting points. His citation range was very deep, mainly historical and philosophical. He talked about Darwin on language and the meaning of ‘foremost infinite’. He also quoted Galileo on the alphabet being “an achievement surpassing all recognition”. But he was also contemporary and contextual, citing an article which had appeared just that morning in The Japan Times about a machine which could pass the Tokyo university entrance exams. He did point out that the machine was pointless, saying once it got in to University it would be finished.

Other choice moments were when he said language allowed for innovation without bounds, as language can engender thoughts in others. He also mentioned Humboldt, who said language made infinite use of finite means.

Then it got a bit technical, and some heads began to nod. Chomsky was talking about X + Y merge into Z and he kept saying merge over and over again. So I decided to survey the audience quickly and take stock of the cross-cultural elements and simultaneous translations that were taking place to accommodate people from diverse linguistic backgrounds. This is a strength of Sophia University and one that makes me proud to work here. There were people doing simultaneous translations into Japanese which was being relayed by headphones wirelessly. Pretty good. But most interesting were two separate sign-language camps. People were sitting in these camps and watching signers who had a feed to Chomsky’s microphone. What made this doubly impressive was that Chomsky, as I mentioned, is a soft spoken man. His sentences contain a lot of asides and can get quite embedded. He’s a mumbler too. All of which is part of his endearing demeanour but I couldn’t help but think that Chomsky wasn’t the only impressive linguist in the auditorium that day. I especially wanted to make a point of mentioning those heroic people who made Chomsky’s talk accessible for others.

It was a very interesting talk, and I felt a great buzz to be in the presence of such a famous man who I respected (note, there are more famous people than Chomsky who I wouldn’t throw water on if they were on fire in the street – celebrity isn’t a big wow for me). Great lecture or not, clearly the Q&A was always going to be the most interesting part. Even if you evaluate it only on the purely quantitative basis of how many notes I took. Looking back over my notes, Chomsky’s entire lecture, which lasted almost exactly an hour, took up two and a half pages of my little notepad. The Q&A took up five pages.

The first question was, in my opinion, the best. A girl stood up, thanked Chomsky for the lecture and then asked him a long question basically about his view on how language is used for some ill purposes, such as propaganda or worse when people don’t speak out at all when they should. It was a heartfelt question and one which beautifully synthesised Chomsky’s two main areas – linguistics and human freedom. His answer was fantastic. He said:

“Language is like a hammer. It’s just there for you to use. You can use it to build a house or you can use it to bash someone’s head in.”

Now that I write this up I find it interesting that he used a tool as his central metaphor for language, which reminds me of Lev Vygotsky.

Other choice quotes which I scribbled down as close to verboten as I could manage include:

“The States don’t need a State Secret Act if people are so obedient and conformist that they don’t question what’s in front of their eyes.”

He also talked about, following George Orwell, how ideas can be supressed without the use of force by the media and their agendas, which often lie in the pockets of wealthy capitalists. The media mind-control experiment is quite sickening to behold on a global level. Especially in so-called developed nations where we have a notion of free-speech, because there are observable trends in which freedom is becoming endangered right under our noses because we are lulled into a fake sense of security. Chomsky also said:

“Our intuitions about the world are a starting point for inquiry, but we can’t rely on them.”

An excellent call for people to exercise critical thinking, starting with their own beliefs and prejudices.

As a language teacher and applied linguist though (and also wanting to keep politics out of it since that’s the theme of his lecture tomorrow) I was very happy when a fellow British member of the audience asked:
“Is there any way your theories can apply to second language acquisition?”
To which Chomsky replied:

“Well, that’s really for language teachers to decide.”

That got a few laughs, but it also confirmed something I already knew about Chomsky. He’s not a language teacher, he’s a linguist.

Also worth mentioning was the rather odd moment when a person in the audience got the microphone to ask a question and then asked if he could use Japanese. There was an almost audible groan from the audience, I could feel the prickles as people wondered “who would come to a Chomsky lecture and ask him a question if you can’t even frame it in English?” Chomsky was trying to use a special headset so he could get the simultaneous translation. There was a bit of feedback from the microphone. The audience awaited the offending question. It was asked. I really had trouble understanding it, and unfortunately I couldn’t catch what the guy asked. It seemed to be something about building a house. It seemed to be related the first question, asking about his politics. The curators were making signs to each other to move on to another question, which was done swiftly. The next question came from on of the signing groups which I mentioned earlier. The signer stood up and signed his question to the interpreter. She translated it from Japanese Sign Language into English with an effortlessness that was impressive, and the question was beautifully simple. The man just asked “Are you interested in sign language” to which Chomsky basically replied “yes”, although in a lot more words. Another question came about music and language, and that’s how the birdsongs came up. There was another question about signing and Chomsky mused “do signers dream in sign?” indicating a possible area for research. And then the questions were over and the auditorium filled with applause.

For me, the most impressive thing was that Chomsky’s lucid mind (which must have been jet-lagged as well) was able to listen to questions on such a wide range of topics, many of which outside his specialism, and answer each one with relevance and insight in a way which was truly inspiring to behold.

Sadly I won’t be able to attend the lecture on politics tomorrow because the tickets are all sold out. Despite working at Sophia I was too late to reserve my seat and, as I mentioned earlier, I almost didn’t get to watch it today either. But it was hands down a fascinating and inspiring experience. Thank you again to Makoto Ikeda for getting me the seat, thanks to Sophia and SOLIFIC for organising the event and thanks to Noam Chomsky for coming all the way out here to engage our minds.

 

 

You will be able to watch both the Sophia lectures at this link http://ocw.cc.sophia.ac.jp/

Vizualize Me

Reading Time: < 1 minute

This is a great site which takes information from your social networks and builds an infographic. It has a very neat feature in which it shows a world map of the languages you speak and the countries where they are spoken.

vizualizeme

 

 

Tokyo CLIL Workshop July 6th 2013, Senshu University

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This is a quick report on the workshop given at Senshu University last weekend. Many thanks to Stephen Ryan of Senshu for inviting us, to Kay Irie of Tokai University for her enthusiasm and support, and for leading a great panel discussion. We would also like to thank Mr. Tsuchiya at the Language Laboratory at Senshu which organised the event. We are also especially grateful to all the attendees who came and took part, it was a great day!

The slides are shown below in order of each presenter.

Makoto Ikeda – ABCs of CLIL

Richard Pinner – CLIL Demo Lesson: Factory Farming

Handout:

Chantal Hemmi – Critical Thinking in CLIL

engnet-education.com becomes UniLiterate.com

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Dear valued followers, readers and clients

Recently, due to rather irritating circumstances and a fall-out with my registrar (123-reg) I have had to move my blog to a new domain. As they kept the name and that has now been bought by another company (sigh) I have had to migrate everything to a completely new domain and come up with a new name and a new image for my language learning consultancy and blog. Thus, Uniliterate was born.

Despite the rather frustrating origins, I had actually meant to move the site or to re-brand it anyway. Previously I had focused specifically on technology and language teaching, which is still a passion of mine. But whereas engnet-education was established as a consultancy and we sold VLE implementation and training, my own professional focus was moving away from this and into new areas of language education – mainly the issue of authenticity and Global Englishes, in particular content-based learning and content and language integrated learning (CLIL).

So, this site will continue the work I established as engnet-education, but with the re-branding comes a change of theme and focus. One of the primary reasons for me wanting to move away from a focus on the use of technology in language teaching was that, as I found during my MA research and as Graham Davies himself predicted, CALL and the use of computers is not so much a separate thing in education any more. It is becoming more and more common, and indeed many people, myself included, view it simply as a tool for learning. This is certainly still interesting and still valid, but my approach is now to view technology in the language classroom as part of another field of enquiry, rather than looking at it in isolation as I was before.

So, once again I would like to thank my clients and readers and to ask you for your patience while I sort out this transition and please stay posted for more exciting developments and hopefully an improved flow of content and discussions.

Research

Reading Time: < 1 minute

This site, as any regular readers will have noticed, has been a little low on fresh updates for a while. I think I did well to get an interview with Phil Benson all about autonomy up there, but the updates and posts are in no way as regular as they used to be. This is for several reasons: starting a new job in Japan has lead me down a different and more content-orientated (CLIL) path. I now am sub-coordinator for the CLIL-Japan initiative, and I maintain the blog at www.cliljapan.org. The new direction in my work has lead to a less technology focused line of inquiry for me, although I still use technology and try to keep abreast with new developments, but this has caused an identity crisis for my consultancy work and blog. Also, I’ve become a father and of course that has kept me busy. Another big thing is that I have started a PhD in Applied Linguistics at The University of Warwick under Dr. Ema Ushioda. My inquiry is an examination of authenticity and motivation from an international perspective – a ridiculously big and broad topic that is going to take a lot of battening down. So, perhaps this goes some way to explaining the lack of recent online activity here at engnet-education. I have therefore decided to create a new category of posts, and use the site as an online research journal. Some of the work I do as part of my research journal will be made public if I think it is useful – but of course I won’t be able to make everything public sadly as it might have an effect on the data collection process.

Interview with Philip Benson – Autonomy

Reading Time: 6 minutes

 

This interview took place between Richard Pinner and Philip Benson via Skype. Philip Benson is a leading researcher and expert on Language Learner Autonomy. He is the author of several books on Autonomy and currently teaches at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. 
 

07/12/2012

RP: First, the new edition of your book. Is there anything new in there that wasn’t in the first edition?

PB: Yes, there’s a lot more. It says on the description of the new edition that there are over 300 references added. The first edition came out in 2001, and at the time I tried to do all I could to gather the most important aspects in the field from the last 30 years. But in the last ten years or so, a lot of new work has been done and the amount of research has almost doubled, all in just the last ten or so years. There have been a lot of important developments since the first edition, so the second edition brings everything up to date. There’s also a section on teacher autonomy there too, which wasn’t in the first edition. Also, in the first edition there was already a section on technology, but that’s been significantly expanded now. Obviously the technology then and now has developed a lot, particularly in things like communication and the widespread use of the internet.

RP: So well worth purchasing, even if you have the first edition. I’ll have to go on amazon, because I’m still on the old edition. When I saw you speaking at Temple University, Japan, which was part of the Distinguished Lecturer series that they offer, you dedicated a fairly significant amount of time to your definition of autonomy. Is that also something that is new in the second edition?

PB: No, actually that is work which mostly carries across from the first edition. What I’ve been doing recently is investigating the idea of capacities for control, but that definition hasn’t changed since 2001. I don’t think it’s useful to add more definitions and to keep trying to come up with new ones. Obviously, what we need to do is to drill down into it, rather than widening the definition beyond something that’s useful. I think if we are going to get anywhere then we all need to be talking about the same thing and using terms in the same way. In my definition, I refer to autonomy as “a capacity to control learning” and I’ve just been trying to further define each of those terms.

RP: So, how did you first get involved in working with autonomy?

PB: Well initially it was through technology and my involvement with CALL. Basically, in one of the places I was working they decided to set up a self-access centre, and because I was into computers they asked me if I wanted to be involved in that. When I first started working in autonomy, I suppose I was initially approaching it from a self-access viewpoint, but of course the more I got into autonomy, you know it developed and there is a lot more going on.  I have a background in CALL. Back in the 80s and 90s CALL was about creating programs or applications for language learning. But now, CALL also features an aspect of globalisation –of how people are using technology socially now. Technology has really advanced, so, it used to be that you would look at a program and think “how can I make this better for language learning?” and you would develop the software. But now, you can’t possibly create anything as good as what there already is. You couldn’t create anything better, than, for example YouTube.

RP: So you initially got into autonomy as a natural progression of your interest in technology’s use in language learning? That’s really interesting because that’s quite similar to me in fact, I initially started this blog to be all about CALL and technology, but now I’m more interested in technology and motivation, particularly authenticity and motivation, which I suppose YouTube is a good example of authenticity. In your lecture, you mentioned that there are of course strong conceptual links between autonomy and motivation…

PB: Yes…

RP: … and you said that when students ask you, or you know, say that they would like to write their thesis on the link between autonomy and motivation, you usually advise them not to do it!

PB: Yes, well. I think the thing with autonomy and motivation is that, as you say, there are some strong conceptual links there and in fact there is often an overlap in the terminology. I mean motivation, it was really Deci and Ryan, when they proposed Self Determination Theory, autonomy is a component of that. What they argue is that motivation is dependent on three things; autonomy, competence and relatedness. They talk about autonomy as a kind of freedom. In my breakdown of the term “capacity” in the definition of autonomy, I talk about freedom as being part of the capacity for control, and that’s obviously an aspect of autonomy but I think they are slicing the cake differently.

RP: So when they talk about autonomy in Self-Determination Theory they are talking about the freedom to be able to choose what they learn rather than being forced, say, by having to do a compulsory course?

PB: Yes, I think so. So I think that we are in agreement there, but for me autonomy is about more than just freedom as well, there are other things that we look at when we study autonomy.

RP: Right, I see. I’ll have to bear that in mind when I work on my PhD because my tutor is Ema Ushioda, and she was primarily concerned with autonomy and then she got into motivation research through that.

PB: Yeah. Well, as I say there are strong links between the two, but as I said in the lecture at Temple, there is a widespread problem in Applied Linguists in terms of defining abstract concepts, such as autonomy and motivation.

RP: And I’m foolishly trying to tie up three of them in my research. Sounds like I need to do a lot more reading. Do you have any new books coming out in the near future?

PB: Yes, actually, a few things coming out soon. At the moment I am working with sociocultural theory. There is a new book coming out, which is one I’ve co-edited with Lucy Cooker. It’s called The Applied Linguistic Individual: Sociocultural Approaches to Identity, Agency and Autonomy and it’s part of the Studies in Applied Linguistics series published by Equinox. It’s going to feature chapters from experts in the field of sociocultural theory, such as people like James Lantolf and Martin Lamb. One of the criticisms some people have levelled against autonomy research was that it was too individualistic. This book aims to bring the importance of the social context of autonomous learning out. It’s an examination of how individuality is conceptualised. So that’s been really interesting to work on and the book is coming out at the start of next year. The other book that I’m doing is called Narrative Inquiry in Language Teaching and Learning Research which is published by Routledge in the Second Language Acquisition Research Series. I’ve co-authored this book with Gary Barkhuizen, and Alice Chik.

RP: So you’ve been very busy recently I take it?

PB: Always busy. But in terms of current research, right now I’ve been looking at a lot of what happens outside of the classroom. Again, going back to YouTube, there are thousands of people out there it seems who are using YouTube for language learning. If you look at the comments below the videos, it seems very clear that a lot of these people are practising their second language skills, and there is evidence of them using YouTube for development. Now, there are lots of people doing what we call “translanguaging” which is things such as  a Chinese star speaking English in an interview, or an American singing a song in Chinese in Taiwan. And if you look at the comments on there, there is a lot of evidence of language learning taking place. There are people commenting about accent or pronunciation, sometimes aspects of grammar. This is a project that I am currently working on at the moment.

RP: That sounds very interesting. Well, thank you so much for your time and for the very interesting conversation.

PB: Ok, thanks very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CLIL – Content and Language Integrated Learning

Watanabe, Y., Ikeda, M., & Izumi, S. (Eds). (2012) CLIL: New Challenges in Foreign Language Education. Vol. 2, Tokyo: Sophia University Press.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The field of CLIL has become a great passion of mine in the last few years, particularly since moving to Japan and working with Sophia University in Tokyo. Under the guidance of Dr. Makoto Ikeda, I have been finding myself more and more involved with Content and Language Integrated Learning and finding that the approach fits well with my existing teaching beliefs and practice.

Last year I taught a class entitled “Approaching Literature from Historical, Cultural, Social and Linguistic Perspectives” as part of a CLIL curriculum for non-English majors at Sophia. I then contributed a chapter a book which deals with CLIL in the Japanese context. My chapter was entitled “Unlocking Literature through CLIL: Authentic materials and tasks to promote cultural and historical understanding.

The book is:

Watanabe, Y., Ikeda, M., & Izumi, S. (Eds). (2012) CLIL: New Challenges in Foreign Language Education. Vol. 2, Tokyo: Sophia University Press.

Here is the English and Japanese abstract for the book.

 

Chapter 4: Approaching Literature through CLIL (Pinner)

This paper outlines the role of authentic texts, in this case works from English literature, in teaching students who attended a course entitled “Approaching Literature from Historical, Cultural, Social and Linguistic Perspectives” at Sophia University in the autumn semester of 2011-12. The paper will outline the aims of the course and the students who participated. Following that I will provide the definition of English literature that was used in the course, following which there will be a discussion of the nature of English literature and the role of authenticity. I will examine the way the course was designed and taught using a CLIL methodology, and explain how assessment was conducted and the students’ reception of the course as well as providing a broad analysis of the success of the course in reaching its aims. Of particular note, I will examine the problems faced by non-English major students when approaching authentic texts from English literature and the strategies employed to help students to gain a better understanding and enjoyment of the texts. In the conclusion section, a summarised list of Dos and Don’ts is provided to outline the main practical tips regarding the selection of authentic materials and designing a course around them.

本章では、アカデミック・イングリッシュ2で英語文学の専門内容を担当したPinnerが、その授業実践を振り返って報告している。いかにCLILの考えを取り入れた授業展開がなされたかについて詳述されているが、中でもオーセンティックな教材の使用法について追求している。オーセンティック教材とは、最初から語学教材用として作られたものではなく、実際の世の中で触れられるものを教材として使用するわけだが、ただ「生の」教材を使えばいいというのではなく、いかにそれを意味ある目的のための活動として取り入れるかが重要であると指摘している。

 

I will be explaining further about CLIL and authenticity in later posts on this site. I have also been writing about CLIL on the www.cliljapan.org website.

Phil Benson – Autonomy Lecture at TUJ

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I attended the lecture given by Professor Phil Benson as part of the Temple University Japan Distinguished Lecture series. Previously I have attended a talk by Ema Ushioda in the same series and I always find them to be of interest. The first three hours are free, but for a small fee of 12,000 yen you can attend the full weekend of workshops. Sadly, due to work commitments I was only able to attend the first three hours. What follows is a breif description of Professor Benson’s lecture.

Phil Benson is a leading expert in the field of learner autonomy, and he literally wrote the book on it.

 

Professor Benson works at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Benson started off the lecture by talking the difference between learner autonomy and autonomous learning about what he had identified as the six different definitions of autonomy.

Learner Autonomy Autonomous Learning
Independence from teachers or teaching materials Learning by yourself (naturalistic)
Independence from teachers Learning by yourself (self-instruction)
Initiative in learning Self-initiated, unpredictable learning behaviour
Responsibility for learning Self-directed learning, learners make decisions.
A capacity to control learning Learning that displays a capacity for control.

Benson’s own definition is the last one in the table, that learner autonomy is “a capacity to control learning.” He then went on to expand on this and to break the components of capacity and control down into how they relate to the learner and their context.

What is a capacity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When talking about the word desire he explained that he had purposefully avoided the term motivation because of what he termed to be a widespread problem in the field of applied linguistics in defining abstract concepts. He went on to explain that Autonomy suffers from the same issues, i.e. that short definitions tend to be too broad and all encompassing, whereas longer definitions exclude too much. He acknowledged the overlap between authenticity and motivation, but joked that when students wanted to write their dissertations about the links between autonomy and motivation he usually discourages them from doing so because it would be too much of an abstract set of concepts.

Benson then explained what he meant by control. He had done a meta-analysis of the research in order to see how the word control was used in relation to language teaching and learning. This lead him to arrive at the following categorisation, which he explained whilst pointing out similarities with the term capacity, although the two do not map perfectly onto each other, he noted.

Controlling What?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Benson, autonomy has moved a long way from being synonymous with self-access or self-study. For him the autonomy debate is much more of a conceptual question which relates directly with what approach is used in class and how teachers and learners interact in and around the classroom. However, he acknowledged that much of the work on autonomy focuses on adult education and his current research at the Hong Kong Institute of Education has brought him into contact with teachers who work at schools with young learners. He sees no reason why autonomy should be limited to adult education.

He also quipped that in many ways the teacher is seen sometimes as the enemy of autonomy because they impose what is learnt on the students, preventing them from choosing themselves. Benson advocated that ‘control over the learning content’ or learners having a choice of what is learnt is central to autonomy. For me, this is what made the session very relevant to my own research into authenticity. Benson’s ideas on the need for interest and choice in the content being used for language practise strongly coincide with my own on authenticity (see Pinner 2013)

Benson also talked about who controls the learning, and how there are many constraints on autonomy. He mentioned a recent study he had done (Benson, 2010) where teachers had attended an autonomy training seminar, but said after that they could not initiate such a methodology in their own class because they thought parents would complain, despite the fact that no parent had ever previously complained about such an approach. Finally, Benson talked about how students learning experiences of constraints of autonomy are all mediated through teacher. Despite pressures from the government and the department heads all influencing the teacher, the students’ experience of this all comes directly from the teacher and thus teachers are usually seen as the ‘enemy’ of authenticity.

This led the session onto a discussion about teacher autonomy. Benson said that teacher autonomy may be an unuseful [sic, un-useful as in not very useful but not useless] phrase because it is very different conceptually from learner autonomy. Unfortunately in the three hour session there was not enough time to get into detail about this, and this was another reason why I wished I could have attended the full weekend session.

Overall this was a really enlightening session and I took a lot away which I think will be useful in my research. I gained a better and updated view of what autonomy is and how it is being researched today.

References

Benson, P. & Voller, P. (Eds.) (1997) Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning. London: Longman

Benson, P. (2001) Teaching and Researching: Autonomy in Language Learning. London: Longman Pearson

Benson, P. (2010) ‘Teacher education and teacher autonomy: Creating spaces for experimentation in secondary school English language teaching’. Language Teaching Research, 14 (3), 259-275.

Pinner, R. S. (2012) “Unlocking Literature through CLIL: Authentic materials and tasks to promote cultural and historical understanding” in Watanabe,Y.,Ikeda,M.,&Izumi,S. (Eds). (2012) CLIL:New Challenges in Foreign Language Education. Vol. 2,Tokyo:Sophia University Press.

Expanding our Horizons

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Engnet-education has been providing eLearning specific consultancy and training since its creation in 2008. In that time we have worked with various clients in England, Scotland, Ireland and Japan, as well as presenting research at international conferences in Europe and virtual seminars attended by people from all over the world.

However, since moving to Tokyo our services have become more diversified and we have adapted to new experiences and challenges, adding more strings to our bow in terms of the types of training, research and consultancy we can provide. For this reason, engnet-education will be undergoing a face-lift in order to reflect our now more diverse offerings. This means that we will now offer the following services:

Training

  • Pre-Service and In-Service Teacher Training
  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
  • Materials Development
  • Adapting Authentic Materials
  • Using Literature in the Language Classroom
  • Motivation in the Language Classroom
  • Building and Evaluating Language Tests
  • Doing Action Research
  • Integrating Technology
  • Conducting International Virtual Exchanges
  • Interactive Whiteboard Training
  • Using Virtual Learning Environments

Research

Our research has previously focused particularly on Computer-Aided Language Learning (CALL) and eLearning. Now, we will be concentrating our efforts more in the field of CLIL, with a specific focus on the use of Literature in language teaching. In particular, engnet-education will focus on materials, specifically authentic materials and their motivational role in the classroom.

 Materials Development

In addition to teacher training and research, engnet-education offers materials development services. We have written language quizzes, text book materials, lesson plans, language tests and assessment criteria, marking rubrics as well as designing and implementing online materials for websites or SCORM compliant items for VLE systems. You can see samples of these plans in the materials section of the site.

VLE implementation

The diversification on engnet-education does not mean we will cease to provide our old services. We still offer full and partial VLE implementation and consultancy – from initial choice and development, project management, training, populating, piloting and presentation.