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Teacher trainers and educators conference in Vienna, 4-6 March 2005

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  • colin mackenzie
    (Apologies for cross-postings) Dear list members, The IATEFL Teacher Trainers and Educators Special Interest Group is delighted to announce our next conference
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 2004
      (Apologies for cross-postings)

      Dear list members,

      The IATEFL Teacher Trainers and Educators Special Interest Group is
      delighted to announce our next conference � to be held jointly with the
      VHS in Vienna, 4-6 March 2005.

      �Conference Title and theme: Quantum Leaps in Teacher Education?

      In recent years, debate in teacher education appears to have centred
      around a cluster of key issues such as autonomy, reflection, the use of
      IT, teacher development, teacher thinking and beliefs, the role of the
      native speaker, appropriate methodologies and teaching cultures.

      Have we experienced any quantum leaps in teacher education in this
      time? If so, what are they? And what is the future likely to hold? Is
      another paradigm shift around the corner, or should we expect a return
      to more conservative approaches to language teaching?

      The conference will take a critical look at current practice and
      possible future developments in teacher education.

      Plenary speakers:

      Henry Widdowson, University of Vienna (Austria)

      Kari Smith Oranim, Academic College of Education (Israel)

      Peter Medgyes, Deputy State Secretary in the Hungarian Ministry of
      Education (Hungary)

      Call for papers � submission deadline: 10 January 2005

      Both the Call for Papers and the Registration Form are available in
      electronic format from the TTEd SIG website:


      We do hope to see you in Vienna!


      Nicky Hockly

      IATEFL TTEd SIG Co-ordinator

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • b.wilkinson@languages.unimaas.nl
      Dear all I was very interested in your message, Graham (Mon 29 Nov). As a consequence, I read the whole of Rod Bolitho s article, and find it difficult to
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 2, 2004
        Dear all

        I was very interested in your message, Graham (Mon 29 Nov). As a
        consequence, I read the whole of Rod Bolitho's article, and find it
        difficult to agree with some of his argumentation about the pyramid
        structure (with applied linguists and academics at the top and classroom
        teachers at the bottom). There are so many implied assumptions and
        non-sequiturs that he almost knocks down his own case during the first two
        pages. However, the article is now quite old (1986) and perhaps does not
        reflect reality in many places, where theory and practice are integrated to
        varying degrees. My own training in applied linguistics did indeed encourage
        us students to engage in understanding how theory could 'advise' practice,
        and perhaps more importantly how reflection on and analysis of our own
        practice could lead us to theoretical insights. It was valuable that all
        student participants had to have a minimum of five years practical
        experience before having a chance of being accepted on the programme, and we
        were requested to bring samples from own teaching experiences to the course.
        (In passing, I note that Rod Bolitho's article was originally given at a
        conference in Hong Kong partly organized by one of my fellow students of the

        Yet, Graham's questions are interesting. Taking just one question for the
        moment: How can one go about integrating the reading of theory into personal
        development and practice? For me, it works both ways, one by skimming
        through some journals (at least the few I can afford to buy - our library
        has no ELT/Applied Linguistics, since the institution is not aimed at these
        disciplines - or get via the internet), and then finding something of
        interest that seems to match a situation or context I also encounter (the
        link may be vague). More commonly, though, I find it stems from practice: an
        interesting encounter in the learning situation (not always classrooms here)
        or a chance comment from another teacher (not necessarily a language
        teacher) can lead me to look for theoretical thinking behind it. Indeed,
        because I work a lot with learners and researchers (in non-language
        domains), it is much more likely that I find interesting theoretical
        insights from other domains which then lead me to think how might this apply
        to language development.

        Over the years I've picked up ideas and theories from psychiatry, business
        studies, economics, even aviation which have caused me to reflect on my own
        development and then use in language teaching. I suppose that learning
        somewhat unsystematically from a wide variety of domains is what we may call
        experiential learning. Sometimes I find it so interesting that I look up the
        theoretical background in the domain (mostly I must admit I don't). One
        example from practice: I was coaching a corporate banker several years ago
        whose job was essentially to decide on whether to grant credit or loans. We
        ran several role plays based on real confidential information that he
        provided. I played the company asking for the loan. What was fascinating for
        me was how the banker could look at a mass of figures and see the patterns
        within the figures without having to make any calculations at all. He used
        his experience of the patterns to make his credit decisions. When we reverse
        role-played the exercises, there was no way I could 'see' the patterns - so
        I could 'play him' so to speak. The value of patterns in learning made me
        then think about how we form patterns and use them to make decisions in
        everyday life: the pattern of vehicles on the road to make split-second
        braking or acceleration decisions; or the pattern in a student's performance
        or paper to rate it globally - we 'just know' that it's a pass or it isn't.
        I was led into theories of pattern recognition, 'chunking', and others in
        cognitive psychology, (which I could relate back to my earlier studies too),
        and this led me to think more about the instructional design of tasks,
        especially how you present information to students (studying disciplines
        other than language) so that it stimulates pattern recall. In this case, an
        incident from classroom practice led to theorizing which led to insight in
        instructional design.

        Returning to Graham's question, integrating theory into personal development
        does demand conscious effort, especially questioning why or how something
        works (or doesn't). Ordinary (and extraordinary) classroom experiences count
        for an awful lot, but may not be very meaningful and 'learningful' unless we
        reflect on them. Among the wh-type questions we may ask ourselves, those
        about which context and which cultures will also be important.

        Any reactions?

        Bob Wilkinson

        Bob Wilkinson
        Maastricht University Language Centre
        e-mail address: b.wilkinson@...
        homepage address: www.languages.unimaas.nl <www.languages.unimaas.nl>
        Conference on Integrating Content & Language, Maastricht: 28 June-1 July
        See updated ICL page: http://www.unimaas.nl/icl/

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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