Interdisciplinary Connections seminar series (Autumn): Analysing Adult Learners’ Talk About Language

Posted by jcm22 at Sep 06, 2018 12:30 PM |
14 November 2018 - In this paper we discuss the approach we took to analysing adult language learners’ talk about language in Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian lessons. Though the analysis is still in progress, we will also share some of our preliminary findings.


Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Time: 12noon - 1pm
Location: Attenborough Second Floor LR 206

Contact: Agneta Svalberg, Jim Askham


Language learning can be greatly facilitated by conscious engagement with language (EWL), where learners investigate language and discover how it works. In this recent study, teachers of adult learners of four different languages (Arabic, French, Italian and Spanish) designed and implemented ‘discovery’ tasks for their own students in order to encourage EWL and enhance learning. The students had to talk about the grammar with each other in order to solve the tasks. The students’ task interaction was recorded and observed and students and teachers interviewed. In this paper we discuss the approach we took to analysing the learners’ talk about language. Though analysis is still in progress, some preliminary findings will be discussed.
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Ideal for: language teachers and language teacher educators.


SpeakersAgneta SvalbergJim Askham

The University of Leicester offers non-credit bearing evening courses in a wide range of foreign languages (17 in 2017-18). They are very popular with members of the public, who make up more than half of the students. The qualifications and teaching experience of the teachers vary, as does the quantity and quality of teaching materials for the different languages. In that context, the issue we wanted to address was the desirability of a common pedagogic approach across the languages, which could potentially facilitate in-service training provision, and sharing of ideas among the teachers. The approach would, however, need to be evidence based (to ensure its effectiveness in the classroom) and viable from the teachers’ point of view.

Our starting point was the belief that adult learners need both to engage consciously with the structure of the language, and have opportunities to use the language communicatively. We therefore trained four teachers to design and implement tasks which encouraged engagement with language (EWL) and also provided opportunities for communicative practice.
In this paper, we will discuss how we analysed the EWL of learners of Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian while they were working on these tasks, and some of our preliminary findings.

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