Welcome to the English page!
As representative for English on the national board of Språklärarnas riksförening, I am very pleased with the interest you show by looking us up. I will strive to make it worth your while.
The purpose of this page is to provide English language teachers of all levels of school, primarily in Sweden, with useful resources, information and current news, for example of upcoming events and publications. Concerning useful links for English teaching, there is a special page for that purpose, see “Länkar. Engelska.” Adjacent to this page you can also find a short profile of me “Engelskansvarig i styrelsen.”
As I, and Språklärarnas riksförbund believe in collegial exchange we are grateful for the contribution and input of our members. In other words, should you wish to contribute to this page or if you have comments, do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. /Eva Zetterberg Pettersson
IATEFL: Our Partner Association
Språklärarnas riksförening is an associate of IATEFL (International Association for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) which organizes teachers of English to students of all kinds, levels and ages. Supported by the British Council and based in the United Kingdom IATEFL has a global membership and a large number of associate organizations around the world. As representative for English on the national board I serve as liaison officer to IATEFL which means that I am responsible for maintaining contact with IATEFL. As I believe that IATEFL has much to offer the members of our association I have taken the initiative of forming an interest committee, consisting of some five members. In the year that has passed we have taken turns to review some aspect of the materials that IATEFL publishes and we have engaged in discussion over various issues. A selection of our exchange can be consulted on this site. Click on the titles below to read the texts.
IATEFL Glasgow 2012 Jeanette Clayton (in English)
Digital Literary Kalle Larsen (in Swedish)
Action Research Eva Zetterberg Pettersson (in Swedish)
The Annual Conference — Liverpool Online
The international IATEFL conference and exhibition 2012 took place in Liverpool between April 8 and 12. The program offered sessions on a wide variety of topics related to the teaching of English: Applied Linguistics, Business English, English for Academic Purposes, Leadership, Learner Autonomy, Learning Technology, Materials Design, Research, Teacher Development, Testing, Young Learners, etc. Liverpool Online offers a range of events: filmed sessions and workshops, interviews with speakers, comments by reporters as well as fora for discussion in which online participants may take part. Since the number of events is large, however, the online conference does not cover them all.
Among the filmed events there are a few that are recommendable. First of all, there is a plenary session on Tuesday April 9 by David Crystal, the famous and charming professor of linguistics whom most teachers of English have come across. In 2008 he published, for example, a work on texting. Quite appropriately, given the location, Crystal deals with the language used in Beatles songs, in his talk “The world we live in: Beatles, blends and blog.” April 10 Deniz Kurtoglu Eken focussed on an often neglected issue: the well-being of teachers in the workplace of the school. The following day Jun Liu took a look at current trends in the ELT field and uses the present to predict the future. Intriguingly, he revealed “six abilities” a language teacher needs to face the future. The same day an event called the “Nesta Failure Fest” featured (secret) guests who revealed their worst teaching moments — and the insights they gained from them. The program promises that: “(t)heir stories will make you laugh, cry and learn.”
The session are available in an archive for you to watch at your leisure. Why not watch one or more with your colleagues at work, during a meeting? It may very likely lead to an interesting collegial discussion.
David Crystal’s opening plenary is more than a lecture: it is a performance. Witty, wise and warmly humorous he guides and enlightens us on linguistic “blends” as illustrated, for example in the line “the world in which we live in” from a Beatles song. As teachers we of course recognize the grammatical error: there is an “in” too many and most of would cross out the one at the end. But there is more in it that meets the eye, Crystal points out.
What is at work in cases of blending, Crystal says, is a clash of two alternative grammatical structures “the world in which we live” and “the world which we live in.” In this particular case, the music demands the extra “in”, but otherwise, where the words are not accompanied by music, usually in spoken language — but today also in blogs — the blend occurs when the speaker,/writer quite unconsciously, changes his mind about which formulation to use, right in the middle of speaking/writing. In other words, it is not a question of mistake, but rather the consequence of our (everybody’s) limited working memory.
Why does Crystal bring this issue up in the context of English language teaching? Well, blends occur frequently in the language of learners, Crystal says, and teachers need to be aware of the fact in order to deal with it them in a pedagogical way. To begin with we need to realize that these blends often are a sign of students’ process of learning, of progressing. Thus, instead of dismissing them as “mistakes”, which might well inhibit the student form trying to use the construction again, we should devote a little bit of time to explaining the structures, enabling students to better grasp them. We also need to bear in mind that, after all, blends are a natural feature of any speaker’s language — even professor Crystal’s own.
What is “Teaching Unplugged” or “Dogma for EFL”?
Leafing through the program for Liverpool Online I came across these terms, hitherto unknown to me, and they triggered my curiosity. Having viewed Luke Medding’s session “Unplugged and Connected: Where Ideas Meet” (link below) and done some basic googling I discovered an approach that believes in stripping teaching down its bare essentials: interaction and the process of learning. The method seems to date back to the early 2000s and more specifically to an article by Scott Thorbury “A Dogma for EFL” which, in Medding’s words “argued that over-use of published materials was stifling the very communicative approach they are designed to drive.” For a bibliography see here: Scott Thornbury.
In essence, then, dogma teaching, obviously alluding to dogma film-making, is a learner-centered, communicative approach that uses a minimum of material, basically only for stimulus. In other words, Communication and the learning process of the students is at the center of the classroom. For an example of what a dogma lesson can be like see: Luke Medding.
The session from Liverpool takes dogme teaching into the future as it describes a successful synthesis with some basic internet tools, thus challenging the idea that dogme teaching cannot, or should not, be combined with technological. Such tools are appropriate as a complement to dogme teaching, Meddings suggests, as they allow students to communicate better and with the world beyond the classroom at that. To view the session: Unplugged and Connected.