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Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Students’ Association
Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Students’ Association

CTLSA Conference Talk Series

The CTLSA Conference Talk Series offers a venue for students to share their research in an informal, welcoming, and interactive setting. CTL students typically share their work by presenting before or after a conference as a way to practice and get constructive feedback from graduate students and the community at large.  Each talk is usually around 20 minutes long with a 10-minute period for Q&A, feedback, etc.If you would like to present at the CTLSA Conference Talk series, please do not hesitate to contact us at oise.ctlsa@gmail.com

Conference Talk

Digital literacies and interculturality: Engaging language learners in critical dialogues

International students and newcomers to Canada who attend English language programs often express the need to learn about “Canadian” culture. Although culture is an important aspect of the language classroom, cultural concepts need critical and careful exploration (Galante, 2014). Prominent educational organizations suggest that cultural and intercultural dialogues should be encouraged in educational settings (Council of Europe, 2001; ACTFL, 2006; UNESCO, 2009), but many teachers feel unprepared to engage students in intercultural dialogues. The purpose of this presentation is to describe a digital literacy project that can integrate interculturality in adult EAL classrooms. Using Fowler & Blohm’s (2004) notion of critical incidents and Bennett’s (1993) developmental model for intercultural sensitivity (DMIS) as theoretical frameworks, the project explores learners’ issues with cross-cultural adaptations and/or misunderstandings that emerge from cultural differences. Freire’s seminal concept of critical literacy (1970) was also used to offer a foundation for the analysis of the relationships among learners and the community. Learners were required to openly express their ideologies, beliefs, values, cultures, and identities during a 4-month EAL program, which culminated with the production of YouTube videos with stories that portray their trajectories. Data gathered through videos and discussions indicate that, when communicating with people from diverse cultural backgrounds in Canada and/or other countries, learners could identify cultural differences, accept that cultures may have distinct worldviews, and express empathy towards others. This literacy project is an example of how intercultural sensitivity can be integrated into language programs—particularly, but not exclusively, among adult learners.

Engaging teacher candidates in intercultural competence activities in EFL class preparation: Experiences from action research in Colombia

In Colombia, teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) with intercultural lenses has become important in the last few years because of the Colombia Bilingüe 2014 2015 mandate curriculum for the schools. Teachers have tried to use different approaches in their classes since this document was released and institutions have encouraged initial teacher education programs to incorporate some kind of intercultural competence approaches in their English methodology courses. In this paper, the presenter will describe how teacher candidates from a Colombian University draw from collaborative action researcher approaches in order to understand how an intercultural approach to teach English in the classroom would engage students in discussing topics of Colombian culture and others. Teacher candidates and students engaged in different lessons in which learning about music and arts from different cultures was the core of the teaching pedagogy. The practicum coordinator and a critical friend gave suggestions to the lessons and along with the student’s feedback, the teacher candidates were able to create materials and lessons that were more relevant to the students’ interests. Preliminary results showed that (1) the high school students from the practicum program feel more engaged in the lessons because they have learned more about their own Colombian culture as well as other world cultures while practicing the acquired English language skills and (2) the teacher candidates have learned how to value students’ feedback to prepare the lessons.

Constructing trainee-teachers' identity through post-teaching reflection in a CELTA course

This paper reports on a study investigating the identity formation process of trainee-teachers during a part-time CELTA in Ontario, Canada. It draws on the conceptualization of learning to teach as a process of becoming a teacher rather than viewing teacher learning as the straightforward acquisition of knowledge, skills and techniques.

In recent years, the centrality of teacher’s identity in the teacher learning process has been increasingly argued in educational research (Gee, 2000). A growing number of teacher education researchers now view the process of learning to teach as the process of becoming a teacher – “[l]earning to teach – like teaching itself – is always the process of becoming: a time of formation and transformation, of scrutiny into what one is doing, and who one can become” (Britzman, 1991, p. 8) – rather than the simple acquisition of competence in a range of skills and techniques (Danielewicz, 2001; Clarke, 2008). Working from this new paradigm, this paper investigates the identity formation process of trainee-teachers in a part-time CELTA course in Canada by analyzing the post-teaching written reflection narratives of their teaching practice lessons. By engaging with questions designed to stimulate reflection on what they were doing and who they wanted to become, trainee-teachers discursively constructed their English language teacher identities and developed a sense of who they were as an English language teacher in the context of the CELTA course. Implications about the language teacher learning process and the role of reflection in language teacher education programs are drawn.

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