Scholarbits

Alex Ding Centre for Excellence in Language Teaching, Univeristy of Leeds, UK Jenna Bodin-Galvez; Bee Bond; Kazuki Morimoto, Valentina Ragni; Natasha Rust; Rasha Soliman The Language Scholar, The University of Leeds, UK In this short piece, we, the editorial team of the Language Scholar along with the Director of the...

Engaging students in the learning process of a second language can be challenging and the tutor always needs to find new tools to enhance motivation for learner engagement in and outside the classroom. Starting from our linguistic and journalistic background, we started to create an e-magazine in Italian language (dealing with Italian topics, current affairs in Italy, etc.) with the active involvement of the Italian class students from Upper Intermediate to Proficiency level (B1 to C2). The Italian e-magazine is created within the Department of Languages at Leeds Beckett University to allow students to develop academic skills and to embrace a topic-based linguistic challenge of authentic materials. The students have been deeply engaged in research, reading, discussion and writing in Italian and the results of this experiment have been significantly impactful. The practice of the four skills has resulted in an enrichment of the vocabulary, a development of accuracy and the creation of group works with exchange of opinions. The experience has shown how the flipped classroom experience and the independent learning can interchangeably inform each other. All these activities led to:

  • Developing motivation
  • Stimulating interest and curiosity
  • Engagement in research
  • Flipped learning
Students became active participants in planning and delivering learning activities. They have developed and produced tools in a learner-centred approach, showing a great interest in the idea and a significant improvement in their learning process. “The important practical contribution of the students represents the strength of their engagement in the study of the target language and the involvement in writing as a tool for learning and development” (Ferris D., 2008). It has become clear that this project is going to grow more and more thanks to the enthusiasm of our learners and the support in the group work.

In this position paper Antonio Martínez-Arboleda presents his Ártemis 2016 project of audio-visual digitisation of poetry, providing links to some of the 30 poems and 30 mini-interviews of the videos of the Open Educational Resources (OER) collection “Las flechas de Ártemis” (“The Arrows of Ártemis”). Antonio discusses the educational rationale behind this initiative and suggests a framing for 21st Century poetry that accounts for the old and the new in the Age of Technological Eversion. Some principles are advanced for the development of strategies to support learners, as they encounter the videos of this collection.

This light-hearted contribution, inspired by the tradition of doggerel or nonsense verse, employs an unlikely tone and text-type to play with (or perhaps send up?) the ‘serious’ topic of grammar teaching. It doing so, it grants the academy permission to gently mock itself and its preoccupations, with the aim of weaving play, humour and a healthy dose of self-reflection into academia’s (arguably self-perpetuated and self-justifying) mythology of a ‘weighty institution’ which not only does not easily laugh at itself, but which can also on occasion rob its own raison-d’être, Intellectual Curiosity, of its two best friends, Laughter and Lightheartedness.

UKAT* 2017 @ Leeds Trinity April 5th and 6th The purpose of this short report is not to wave any flag for personal tutoring, nor to press people to undertake even more work in this area. It is simply to highlight things I learnt at the recent conference and to...

This article uses an auto ethnographic framework to describe the process through which a sociologist redefines her own identity after starting to teach Spanish as a foreign language in the UK.  The core of this experience hinges on the concepts of identity and language, and how one defines the other. The first section highlights the difficulties trying to integrate into British society which results in a redefinition of the concept of identity.  The second part addresses the importance of examining emotions when analysing such experiences and invites the reader to consider the role that ‘difference’ plays as a fundamental source of integration.

In this contribution Fruela Fernández shares his poem Una paz europea (Pre-Textos, 2016) and reflects on how the poem came about as a part of his personal history. Sarah Hartley then discusses the translation she produced of the poem (A European Peace), which is also provided. Hartley focuses on the intercultural dialogue underpinning her encounter with Fernández’s poem and its rendition into English.

In this video, Dr Matthew Treherne, Head of School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds, talks about the importance of scholarly activity in language teaching.

Carolin Schneider, who manages the self-access centre at the University of Leeds, interviews Professor Marina Mozzon-McPherson, Professor of Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching at the University of Hull. The interview gives a brief introduction to language learning advice, its origins and potential for the current educational landscape and future.

In this video Antonio Martínez-Arboleda discusses his assessed video task for Year 1 students learning Spanish as part of their BA which he piloted in 2015/2016 at the University of Leeds with post A-Level students (B2.1 CEFR). This presentation focuses on some of the educational values informing the design of the task, on the integration of the task in the programme and on the support provided to students. At the end, the viewers are invited to comment on the task, particularly on the proposed assessment criteria.