Welcome to my blog on the 45th meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics which is being held in sunny Southampton. The day started with an excellent plenary by Rosemarie Tracy on multilingual resourcefulness. Using several case studies from Germany she showed that despite the negative attention multilingualism received from the press and policymakers it can be a positive challenge to the brain. She presented examples from research conducted with young learners and older citizens who emigrated from Germany to the USA more than 50 years ago. It made me realise that older people rarely feature in conference presentations as young learners or university students tend to be focus of the work under discussion.
Do you know any TESOL celebrities? I was intrigued by the concept so I went to see the presentation on TESOL celebrities and Twitter given by Richard Badger and Goodith White. Before the session I speculated with colleagues as to who these celebrities could be. I managed to guess two of them correctly but two of the six names mentioned where unknown to me. So, here is the list: Jeremy Harmer, Stephen Krashen, Scott Thornbury, Larry Ferlazzo, Peter Travis and Nik Peachy. The analysis of the different uses of Twitter and how the authors used it was very interesting. I may consider a move to Twitter once my blogging duties are completed.
The packed programme includes sessions through until 6pm so I can’t record every session I attended. Highlights include the session on understanding teachers’ beliefs with a view to improving classroom practice given by Suzanne Graham and Denise Santos. They coped admirably when technology let them down and discussed the importance of using methods that encouraged teachers to reflect not only on their own work, but that of other teachers and research evidence. Angela Mary Gayton’s presentation was interesting if a little depressing. She explored attitudes to second language learning by speakers of the “global language”. The view that second language learning was not really necessary was expressed by secondary school pupils, teachers and school management. Modern foreign languages appear to be at risk of being squeezed out of the timetable.
Right, I’ll be back tomorrow with Day 2.