The Fourth BUiD Current Trends in Teacher Education Conference

Dear All,

As part of the organizing committee, I am pleased to inform all that the Fourth BUiD International Conference, which will cover Current Trends in Teacher Education at the British University in Dubai, will be held on Thursday 14th May and Friday 15th May, 2015.

For call for papers please click here

For abstract template please click here

The conference website

Plenary Speakers

Professor Fatima Badry, American University of Sharjah, UAE

Topic: The cognitive benefits of bilingualism

There is plenty of evidence to show that possessing more than one language has several conceptual benefits for the individual and society. These benefits span a wide range of cognitive functions with diverse communicative and socio-cultural dimensions. In academic life, evidence shows that proficient bi/ multi-linguals tend to have higher scores in math test scores, exhibit mental flexibility, possess better memorization skills and are more creative with language. Socially, multi-linguals are said to be more perceptive to cues in their environment and possess enhanced general skills. Recent studies have even claimed that bilinguals are more resistant to conditioning and that multilingualism may delay dementia in old age. The UNDP report on human rights cites research from the US, Canada, Africa and the Philippines, showing that students in bilingual programs outperformed those taught in the second language only.

However, these benefits depend on what is meant by bilingualism.  Definitions of bilingualism range from considering a bilingual  as someone possessing an equal mastery of two or more languages in all domains, to merely being able to function appropriately in different languages in different domains.  In addition, researchers caution that to achieve beneficial bilingualism through education, education policy makers need to consider several variables in designing their programs ranging from pedagogical issues and teacher qualifications, proficiency in L1 and L1 role in the curriculum, learners’ age, to sociolinguistic, economic and political factors.  It is suggested that bilingual education programs should use “the two languages to educate generally, meaningfully, equitably, and for tolerance and appreciation of diversity” to prepare students to become global citizens by enabling them to “function across cultures and worlds” (Garcia 2009, 6).

In this presentation I will suggest that curriculum design and current methodologies combined with sociolinguistic perceptions attached to both English and Arabic in the GCC do not favor a dual language education that would lead to a proficiency level in the two languages to yield the benefits listed above. Instead the language in education policies in place are not likely to lead to the desired  academic proficiency in either language and may explain several of the academic challenges faced by high school graduates entering university.  Research in bilingualism has demonstrated that in order to develop the cognitive and academic benefits of bilingualism, bilingual education needs to foster an equal appreciation for the two languages being utilized and promote the development of academic skills in both.


Professor Fatima Badry has a PhD in psycholinguistics from the University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA. She has international teaching experience and is currently professor of linguistics at the American University of Sharjah. She has occupied several administrative positions at AUS including chair of the department of English, director of the MA TESOL program, and graduate programs director at the College of Arts and Sciences.  Her research activities span over a wide range of language, education and globalization. Her publications are in the areas of language acquisition, bilingualism, identity, education policy and globalization of higher education.
Professor Alison Phipps, University of Glasgow, UK

Topic: Conflict and Compassion:  Intercultural Language Education and the Human Ecological Paradigm

This paper present work undertaken with Professor Glenn Levine, UCI, which challenges the predominant model of language teaching, particularly at the university level, which we frame here as a performative model largely limited to functional and technicist goals (Lyotard, 1984). In this paper I aruge that  this model is no longer adequate to meet the demands of a globalized world and economic, ecological and global insecurities and vulnerabilities which are part of today’s geo-political context. Initiatives for reform, beginning in the 1990’s with the National Standards, through the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), to the proposals of the 2007 MLA Ad Hoc Committee, have remained limited in their overall impact because the pedagogical model for communicative language teaching is rooted in a structuralist model; in our work we argue that what is needed instead is a “human ecological” pedagogy based on an ecological perspective of language learning and teaching In this paper I focus on two core elements of our five-fold model: that of conflict and that of compassion.

(1) conflicts both within the classroom and in the L2 society in our mdoel are not ignored or simply smoothed out, rather transformed into affordances for learning and for the expansion of language education capabilities

(2) the fostering of compassion needed in a globalized, interconnected world in which security, sustainability, and indeed success in one’s life and profession have come to mean different things from just a generation ago. Languages play an important role in the fostering of compassion.

These elements form part of  a framework toward an approach to curriculum and teaching practice which we label “human ecological’ and offer for discussion and dialogue for a C21 pedagogy of intercultural language education.


Alison Phipps is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET). She is a member of the Creativity, Culture and Faith group in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow where she teaches languages, religious education, anthropology and intercultural education and education for non-violence. She is also Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Waikato University, Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2011 she was voted ‘Best College Teacher’ by the student body and received the Universities ‘Teaching Excellence Award’ for a Career Distinguished by Excellence. In 2012 she received an OBE for Services to Education and Intercultural and Interreligious Relations in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2013 she was awarded a grant of £2 Million by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under its Translating Cultures programme, as Principal Investigator to undertake a project entitled Researching Multilingually at the Borders of the Body, Language, Law and the State.

She has twenty years of research experience in using creative and intercultural methodologies, including participant observation in multilingual communities, work across mobilities (international students, modern linguists, tourists, migrant communities, international NGOs) and overseas. She has undertaken work in Palestine, Sudan, Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, USA, Portugal. She has produced and director theatre and performance and worked as creative liturgist with the World Council of Churches from 2008-2011 for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation. She is regularly advises public, governmental and third sector bodies on migration and language policy.

She is author of numerous books and articles and a regular international keynote speaker and broadcaster. Her first collection of poetry, Through Wood  was published in 2009. She has published widely in the field of modern languages, tourism and intercultural studies and European anthropology as well as in the field of Higher Education Studies. She co-edits the journal and book series Tourism and Cultural Change and the book series Languages, Intercultural Communication and Education and is on the editorial board of both Language and Intercultural Communication, and Hospitality and Society. From 1999 – 2004 She was Chair of the International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC). She is a senior policy advisor to the British Council and a member of the Iona Community.

Dr. Margaret Dowens, The University of Nottingham, China
Topic: tba

Dr Christine Coombe, Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE

Topic: tba

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11th Teaching and Language Corpora Conference Lancaster University, UK – 20th to 23rd July 2014

I am pleased to announce that my next upcoming conference paper will be at Lancaster University. I will be presenting the findings of my funded research entitled “The BUiD Arab Learner Corpus: Explaining Second Language Writing Systems within a Markedness Framework”.

Conference website:

Abstract: TALC2014_abstract  Acknowledgements: This research is funded by The British University in Dubai.

TALC_Lancaster_2014 (21) (1)

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The 34th International Society for Teacher Education (ISfTE) Conference 2014, Hacettepe University

I will be presenting a paper entitled “Exploring Teacher Identity: Moving from macro to micro analysis” in the upcoming 34th International Society for Teacher Education (ISfTE) Conference, between 22-25 April, Antalya. This paper will present the second phase of an ongoing project. More information can be found from the conference weblink:

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The 3rd Inter-institutional 21st Century Skills Roadshow, 20 March 2014, from 13.00 – 17.00, at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi (ZU)

Not to miss this free seminar. On the day I will also be presenting a paper entitled Teacher Identity: moving from macro to micro analysis.  Please register if you are interested. Below you can also find the flyer

Final_Zayed_Mar_2014 Programme

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The second 21st Century Skills Roadshow, February 13 2014, from 13.00 – 17.00, at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Al Ain

Not to miss this free event. Below you can also find the flyer
Final_UAEU_Feb_2014 Programmecahngeshighlighted

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Inter-Institutional Research Roadshow

Inter-Institutional Research Roadshow_Dec_5_13 (1)

The first series of the Inter-Institutional Roadshow seminars will be hosted at the British University in Dubai on the 5th of December. The programme will be issued very soon. I will be presenting the first plenary session and below I attach my abstract:

Classroom communication: moving from macro to micro analysis

Culture and language appear to be inextricably intertwined in a complex relationship. Cross-cultural communication (CCC) and intercultural communication (ICC) is arguably the subfield of pragmatics that has become an essential 21st century skill, especially in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. CCC is concerned with verbal and non-verbal communication across cultures, while ICC refers to identity and intergroup communication. Educational research has also sought to identify whether competence in CCC and ICC can be taught and learned in instructed contexts. Though no one would dispute that meeting student needs is central to the work of educators, there are few studies that consider the role of teacher identity on classroom pragmatic development. In order to better understand the pedagogical implications of teacher identity it is a prerequisite to shift our focus from sociolect (i.e. speech behaviour at societal level) to idiolect (i.e. individual speech behaviour at micro-level). In light of this information, this session will present the idiolect of 9 language teachers in the UAE and attempt to address the following questions: 1) what are the symmetries and asymmetries of each individual’s linguistic repertoire? 2) how does one’s idiolect shape their CCC and ICC competence and how is this translated to their classroom practice? The findings will be interpreted within an ethnolinguistic framework.

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Below I attach the abstract (both English and Turkish) of my PhD student, Kenan Dikilitas’ successfully completed doctoral thesis entitled “The Impact of in-service teacher training: A case study of four novice teachers’ beliefs and classroom practices”.

This study investigates the potential impact of in-service teacher training (ISTT) on trainees‘ beliefs and classroom practices in the short and long term. A case study was carried out that involved four-week training based on theoretical knowledge about markedness theory. First, the trainees were observed to identify their existing grammar teaching practices. Second, they participated in the training. Thirdly, they were interviewed and observed to reveal the impact both at cognitive and practical level. Finally, six months later they were interviewed and observed again to see the extent of the impact of the training. The observations after the training provided insights into how the trainees transferred what they learnt from the ISTT into their grammar teaching practices. The interviews revealed a number of themes that could account for the motives of the teacher change and development. The observations provided concrete evidence for the pedagogical changes the trainees experienced, particularly in their instructions, materials, and approaches to grammar instruction. By contrast, the interviews revealed the various dimensions of change and development in the trainees after the ISTT.
The study mainly found that knowledge-based training has the potential to deeply influence the trainees and enable concurrent cognitive and practical changes after the training identified in the observed lessons. Secondly, it was found that the trainees implemented what they learnt in the courses observed, while in the unobserved ones they reported that they were inhibited by the contextual constraints, which led to failure to reflect the cognitive change. Thirdly, it was revealed that the trainees maintained the changed beliefs and grammar teaching practices even in six months observed in practices and clearly verbalized in the interviews. Finally, the theoretical knowledge acquired made it possible for the trainees to experience pedagogical changes in their grammar instruction of marked structures, which they can generalize to the other courses.
The study presents a number of critical implications for in-service language teacher training: (i) knowledge-based training supported by hands-on language awareness activities could lead to conceptual change in trainees, (ii) the delivery mode of the trainings should inspire trainees to teach in a new way rather than prescribe them for a particular way of teaching, (iii) trainees should engage in relevant language teaching activities using the new knowledge acquired to create pedagogical connections to their own teaching, (iv) for a conceptual change in trainees, pre- and post- training monitoring activities should be designed, and follow-up support should be provided for long term changes.

Bu araştırma, hizmet içi öğretmen eğitiminin (in-service teacher training (ISTT)) katılımcı öğretmenlerin inançları ve sınıf içi uygulamaları üzerinde kısa ve uzun vadedeki olası etkisini incelemektedir. Durum çalışmasında belirginlik kuramının (Markedness Theory) kuramsal bilgi yönüne dayanan 4 haftalık bir eğitim uygulamıştır. Durum çalışması, 4 aşamadan oluşmuştur. İlk olarak, katılımcı öğretmenler var olan dilbilgisi öğretme uygulamaları belirlenmek üzere gözlemlenmiştir. İkinci olarak, eğitime katılmışlardır. Üçüncü olarak, hem bilişsel hem de uygulama düzeyinde eğitimin etkisini anlamak için kendileri ile görüşülmüş ve gözlemlenmiştir. Son olarak ise altı ay sonra eğitimin etkisinin kapsamını belirlemek için görüşme ve gözlemler yeniden yapılmıştır. Eğitimden sonra yapılan gözlemler, katılımcı öğretmenlerin hizmet içi öğretmen eğitiminden kazandıklarını dilbilgisi öğretme uygulamalarına nasıl aktardıklarına dair bakış açıları sunmuştur. Görüşmeler ise öğretmen değişim ve gelişiminin altında yatan dürtüleri derinlemesine açıklama imkânı veren bazı konuları ortaya çıkarmıştır. Gözlemler, özellikle dilbilgisi öğretimine yönelik yaklaşımlar, malzemeler ve öğretim yöntemleri ile ilgili olarak öğretmenlerin yaşadığı pedagojik değişimler için somut kanıtlar sunmuştur. Görüşmeler ise hizmet içi öğretmen eğitimi sonrasında katılımcı öğretmenlerdeki değişim ve gelişimin değişik boyutlarını ortaya çıkarmıştır.
Araştırmanın ana sonuçlarına göre bilgiye dayalı eğitimin katılımcı öğretmenleri geniş ölçüde etkileme ve eğitimden sonra hem bilişsel hem de uygulamaya dönük değişimleri sağlama potansiyeli bulunmaktadır. Araştırmadan elde edilen bir diğer sonuç da katılımcı öğretmenlerin gözlemlenen derslerde öğrendiklerini uyguladıkları yönünde olmuştur. Diğer taraftan, gözlem yapılmayan derslerde bağlamsal sınırlamaların kendilerini engellediği ve bunun da bilişsel değişimi yansıtmalarını olumsuz etkilemiş olduğunu belirmişlerdir. Araştırma, katılımcı öğretmenlerin sonraki 6 ay içinde bile değişen inanç ve uygulama yöntemlerini devam ettirdiğini de ortaya çıkarmıştır. Bu durum, uygulama da gözlemlenmiş ve görüşmelerde de belirtilmiştir. Son olarak, kazanılan kuramsal bilgi, katılımcı öğretmenlerin belirgin yapıların (marked constructions) öğretiminde pedagojik değişimler deneyimlemelerini ve bunu öteki derslere de yöneltebilmelerini mümkün kılmıştır.
Bu çalışmanın hizmet içi öğretmen eğitimi açısından bir takım önemli sezdirimleri bulunmaktadır: (i) pratik dil farkındalığına yönelik etkinliklerce desteklenen bilgiye dayalı eğitimin, katılımcılarda kavramsal değişime yol açabilir, (ii) eğitimlerin verilme biçimi katılımcıları buyurgan yöntemlerden ziyade yeni bir öğretme şekli uygulama konusunda yönlendirmelidir, (iii) katılımcılar, kendi öğretme yöntemleriyle pedagojik bağlar oluşturmak amacıyla kazanılan bu yeni bilgiyi kullanarak dil öğretim etkinlikleri uygulamalıdırlar, (iv) katılımcılarda kavramsal değişim için eğitim öncesi ve sonrası izleme etkinlikleri oluşturulmalı ve uzun dönemli değişimler için devamlı destek verilmelidir.

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