This term can be loaded with both positive and negative connotations depending on your perspective and teaching context. Is it our part of our professional mandate to be social justice warriors?
Key questions will include:
- Is it our job as language educators to bring issues of social justice into the classroom?
- How do we create lessons that inspire our students to improve the social conditions around them?
- What activities can we do in our lessons that enable students to engage fully with the topic?
- Most importantly, how do we develop our own approaches to involving these types of topics in our varying teaching contexts?
If you value the potential for ELT to meaningfully involve students in global issues around us all yet are unsure of our roles as teachers in this scope, come to our PCE in Liverpool 2019 and engage with these challenges through a balanced mix of plenaries, short talks, and open space sessions, which will shape the discussions through emergent and relevant paths to us. Plus, we’ll celebrate the opportunities to connect our two SIG communities and take advantage of the networking that this event represents.
REGISTER HERE: https://conference.iatefl.org/booking.html
Here is a draft schedule for our PCE day. Bits and pieces are subject to change. We will have a full PCE program available in the new year.
8:00 – Registration @ Liverpool ACC
9:30 – Welcome to PCE
10:00 – Coordinator greeting
10:15 – Opening talk
11:00 – Session A: Short talks
11:50 – Mini-break
12:00 – Open space breakouts with Session A speakers
12:30 – Lunch
2:00 – Session B: Short talks
3:00 – Open space breakouts with Session B speakers
3:30 – Afternoon break
4:00 – Closing talk
4:45 – Wrap-up commentary
Sponsors & partners
We are privileged to include like-minded partners through various support types into our PCE. We will share their contributions to our topic and hope you value them as much as we do.
Our talks & speakers
We will begin and end our day with 30-minute talks that inspire thoughts somewhat broadly and then tie ends together. In between, part of our day includes engaging, pedagogical, practical short talks on the intersection of social justice AND teacher development. These talks will be 15 mins in length. Our speakers will also facilitate an Open Space session for a small group to talk more deeply about their subtopics (see purple areas in ‘Day schedule’).
What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding? (30 mins)
Steve Brown, University of the West of Scotland (UK)
The term Social Justice Warrior tends to be used pejoratively to mock anyone who seeks to promote equality, equity or human rights for all. This is unsurprising, given the connotations of aggression and self-righteousness that are embedded within the term. In this plenary, I argue that the promotion of social justice should not be seen as radical or extreme, but is in fact a fundamental responsibility for all teachers. The real location of extremism and aggression is, in fact, in the dominant, neoliberal ideology that drives global society, and which the ELT profession is currently complicit in promoting. 🎬Click here to watch a teaser video.
Steve Brown has worked in English Language Teaching since 1993. He started his career with VSO in Mongolia before spending several years with IH in Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary and South Africa – as a teacher, director of studies and teacher trainer. After completing an MSc in Applied Linguistics at Edinburgh University he started working in the Further Education sector in Scotland, spending over 10 years leading the ESOL curriculum at West College Scotland (formerly Clydebank College). He recently completed an EdD at the University of Glasgow, and is currently Director of Studies of the English Language Unit at the University of the West of Scotland, where he lectures in English Language and TESOL. Steve’s main interests are related to the potential for ELT to play a socially transformative role, and the impact of this on language programme design, materials development and teacher education.
A glocalized framework for English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI)
Aymen Elsheikh, Texas A&M University of Qatar (Qatar)
This talk offers a suggestion for a glocalized EMI framework that focuses on three dimensions: EMI curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher development. Specifically, the framework emphasizes making EMI relevant to the local context and culture, promotion of multilingualism, English as a lingua franca/international language rather than correctness/native-speaker fluency, and a critical stance toward imported materials and pedagogies. To conclude the talk, the presenter argues that, by bringing the global into the local and vice versa, language teaching and teacher training decisions will be better informed and more likely to contribute to a better balanced and morally sound educational experience.
Aymen Elsheikh, Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University at Qatar, received a PhD in literacy, culture, and language education from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has over 10 years of teaching experience in different countries including Sudan, Oman, USA, Qatar, and the UAE. Dr. Elsheikh’s research interests revolve around translanguaging, teacher knowledge and identity, teaching English as an international/glocal language, language teacher associations, among others. He has published and given numerous conference presentations on these topics. He currently serves as Africa TESOL’s Vice President, and he is an incoming member of the Editorial Advisory Board of TESOL Journal (2019 – 2021).
Mandana Arfa-Kaboodvand, Westminster International University in Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
Do no harm: Potential risks of teaching about social justice
In this presentation, I will argue that before providing appropriate training for the teachers, including some of the topics relating to social justice in the syllabus may lead to undesirable consequences. Besides creating awareness about the concept of social justice, the training should encourage the teachers to have sensitivity towards and knowledge about the community they work in, in the interest of the students, themselves and even the community at large. I will provide examples to demonstrate the potential risks and then accordingly discuss some possible points to be included in the training.
Mandana Arfa-Kaboodvand holds a PhD in TESOL from the University of Exeter, UK. At present she is a senior lecturer at Westminster International University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Prior to moving to Uzbekistan, she was a lecturer at Azad University, Tehran, Iran for about 17 years. Among her areas of interest are language teacher education, teacher development, language and culture and teaching English to young learners.
Language, issues, attitudes, humour – their roles in raising awareness
Joan Macphail, Cambridge DELTA assessor (Greece)
Language can affect or direct us, through discourse features and implicature. Connotations associated with certain ‘buzz’ words can incite, excite or annoy us. How can we explore our own assumptions or biases and why should we? Does it help to bring humour into the mix? Considering some of the ‘issues’ raised, we look at the phenomenon of polarisation and consider alternative positions that can be adopted. As professionals are we obliged to address such issues? Considering the Ifs, Whys and Hows – how could we encourage and develop student awareness of social issues?
Joan Macphail was a teacher, teacher-trainer, to mother-tongue and foreign learners of English and Director of Studies with the British Council in both Yemen and Kuwait. In Athens she was tutor and Course Director for DOTE and DTEFLA courses. She tutored SAT English candidates and helped to prepare them for US university entrance for many years. She directs The Tartan Epsilon, producing educational English language apps : www.easingintoenglish.com. Now retired, she continues as Delta2 assessor for Cambridge University.
Becoming a social justice warrior: representing discriminated ethnicities positively
Sergio Iván Durand Sepúlveda, Universidad Veracruzana & Benémerita Escuela Normal Veracruzana (Mexico)
ELT materials are not only pedagogical sources, they actively build a vision of reality, thus reproducing, legitimising and perpetuating certain hegemonic discourses. Even if injustice and inequalities are denounced in some of these materials, discriminated ethnicities are commonly represented as helpless, vulnerable, passive entities confirming the current status quo. During this short talk, I will expand on how through teacher development we language teachers can become professionals who confront, implicitly and explicitly, these passive constructions and build through our teaching practice and material design strong, active, combative representations of such discriminated ethnicities in order to give them their voice back.
Sergio Durand has been involved in ELT for about 12 years. He lives and teaches English in Xalapa, Mexico at Escuela Normal Veracruzana and lectures English Literature at Universidad Veracruzana. He holds degrees in English and French (Universidad Veracruzana) and an M.A. in Humanistic Studies (ITESM). He has also been a teacher trainer, materials writer and speaking examiner. Besides, he was the 2018 IATEFL Latin America Scholarship winner.
How to sensitively tackle gender-based issues in challenging contexts
We’am Handan, British Council (Palestine)
The first way to promote social justice in the classroom is to build a community of conscience. Sparking an open and uncensored conversation about social change in a male-dominated society that often marginalises women’s voices is challenging. It means delving into the unfamiliar. In this talk, I will explore methods I use with my students, both male and female, to get them to critically engage with gender-based issues here in Palestine. I will demonstrate how social issues such as woman’s rights and inequality can be sensitively tackled in the ELT classroom, especially in challenging contexts where these issues are critical.
We’am Handan is an English teacher working at the British Council in Palestine. She has been a teacher for almost five years, with experience in teaching teens, general English and business English. She holds a Bachelor Degree in English Literature and Translation. She also holds a Certificate and Diploma in teaching adult learners (CELTA and DELTA) from Cambridge UCLES. We’am is passionate about teacher education and continuing professional development. On the teacher educator front, she has recently been involved in supporting a new large scale teacher education initiative: ‘Teaching for Success’. In this role We’am is responsible for providing technical support to 14 groups, 210 English teachers, in Gaza and the West Bank. She is also involved in the design and use of monitoring and evaluation tools to ensure the impact of this initiative is captured.
From the ground up: integrating criticality into initial teacher training
Rose Aylett, CELTA/Trinity CertTESOL tutor (UK)
Today, the ability to think critically is recognised as a key twenty-first century skill, however critical thinking is often omitted from the syllabi of initial teacher training courses, e.g. CELTA. To promote social justice in education, we must start by teaching both teachers and students ‘how to think’ instead of simply ‘what to think’ (Altan, 2010). This talk will illustrate a number of ways in which the speaker has successfully integrated critical pedagogy into her initial teacher training courses, through careful selection of materials, timetabling and encouraging reflection on the kind of teacher candidates would like to become.
Rose Aylett is a freelance teacher, trainer and Celta tutor, based in Liverpool, UK. She has been working in ELT for 15 years, predominantly across North Africa and the Middle East. She is currently working towards an MA in Professional Development in Language Education, with a focus on the integration of global issues within teacher training. In 2017 she set up ‘Pop-up Teacher Training’ and now delivers training at conferences and teacher development events worldwide. Find out more about her work via her website: www.pop-uptrainer.com.
The global injustice of English Medium Instruction in low income contexts (30 mins)
Lizzi Milligan, University of Bath (UK)
In this presentation, I will argue that leaving learners and teachers to sink or swim in English medium classrooms in low income contexts is a global injustice. Drawing on current and recent research in Rwanda and Cameroon, I will highlight some of the key challenges facing teachers and learners in these contexts and, using Nancy Fraser’s theory of social justice, consider how this contributes to an unjust education system. I will also show that is very rare to find any recognition of such challenges in language-in-education policies or teacher training curricula. The presentation will invite us all to think about the ways that we can all be social justice warriors in advocating for greater support for these children both in learning English and learning in English.
Lizzi Milligan is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Bath. Her research focuses on educational inequalities and the gaps between education policy and practice in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recent research projects (funded by DFID and the British Council) have explored the pedagogical potential for language supportive materials in Rwanda and the impact of English Medium instruction on learning in Cameroon. Her current research, funded by an ESRC new investigator grant, focuses on girls’ barriers to learning in English Medium schools in Rwanda. Her work uses innovative mixed methods combining national statistical analysis with in-depth qualitative approaches to exploring teacher and learner experiences.
2018 – Personalised teacher development – is it achievable? (joint with LAMSIG)
2017 – unLimiTeD PD with Technology (joint with LTSIG)
2016 – The Teacher’s Voice