Today’s plenary speaker, Aneta Pavlenko, set a blistering pace as she took us through the Bilingual Mind. It was stimulating and entertaining but my note-taking could not keep up to her. I may have to buy her forthcoming book to really get to grips with her work but her presentation contained many fascinating insights on how our L1 shapes our way of seeing the world. So a French speaker focuses on the shape of an object whilst the Japanese speaker focuses on the materials. French is a noun-class language and Japanese is a classifier one. Aneta elaborated the linguistic effects on cognition in terms of colour, number, and motion and discussed avenues for future research.
Today, I experience the conference equivalent of speed dating. During the poster session I stood by my poster and waited for people to look at it and ask me questions or make comments on it. It was disconcerting when people passed by without saying a word but those who did stop had some very pertinent questions and comments.
Which British dish would you use to teach English and culture in a digital kitchen? This question was posed by Paul Seedhouse in his presentation on a pervasive digital learning environment. In the work he presented today students of French had the opportunity to make French dishes in a digital kitchen which gave feedback on their culinary performance. Task-based learning was brought to life as the students followed the recipe and produced what Paul assured us were very tasty deserts. The next stage of the project is to produce digital kitchens in other languages with dishes which are in some way representative or typical. Hence, the need for British dishes for the English digital kitchen. Porridge is very traditional but doesn’t need a variety of culinary techniques to prepare it so the lessons would be very short. How about shepherds pie?
Today certainly gave me food for thought. I saw many interesting presentations and gained insights into the education systems of many countries including Mauritius and Colombia. Tomorrow my focus shifts on to testing and assessment as I will be spending the morning in a series of sessions dedicated to the topic.