Book Launch of Studies and Essays on Learning, Teaching and Assessing L2 Writing in Honor of Alister Cumming, edited by Mehdi Riazi, Ling Shi, and Khaled Barakoui
Some of Prof. Alister Cumming’s former students (Mehdi at Macquarie University, Ling at UBC, and Khaled at York University, pictured here) assembled a book in his honor consisting of chapters by former students and colleagues. They invited Lourdes Ortega of Georgetown University to comment on the book; she and Prof. Alister Cumming worked together on the journal Language Learning for many years.
Book launch of The Action-oriented approach: A dynamic vision of language education (Multilingual Matters) by Enrica Piccardo and Brian North
Biodata of the authors:
Enrica Piccardo is a Professor at OISE – University of Toronto. Her research focuses on approaches to language education, plurilingualism and creativity.
Brian North is an independent researcher in language education and co-author of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Both authors are consultants to the Council of Europe and co-authors of the recently published CEFR Companion Volume with New Descriptors, which updates the CEFR.
Many people seem to be convinced that all more recent developments in language methodologies, for example task-based language teaching, are just a refinement or extension of the communicative approach. However, by seeing the user/learner as a social agent engaging in different types of language activities, mediating to (co)construct meaning and building on their language repertoire, the Action-oriented Approach (AoA) broadens the scope of language education and introduces a shift towards motivating, realistic, project-based language teaching linked to the promotion of interculturality.
This book presents the background to this current shift towards action-oriented teaching and provides a theorization of the approach. It discusses the concepts and theories that paved the way for the actional turn and explores their relevance for the way language education is conceived and implemented in the classroom. In the process, it revisits the concept of competence and discusses the dynamic notions of mediation and plurilingualism.
The book provides scholars and practitioners with a research-informed description of the AoA, and explains its implications for curriculum planning, teaching, and assessment.
Biodata of the authors:
Karen Englander is an applied linguist with a focus on the policies, practices and pedagogies that affect plurilingual scholars seeking to publish their research in English. She is a former professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico, and York University in Toronto, Canada.
James N. Corcoran is an OISE graduate, currently working as an Assistant Professor of Applied Language Studies at Renison University College / University of Waterloo. He has been an EAP/ESP/EFL researcher, teacher, and teacher educator for the past 15 years.
Synopsis of the Book:
Scholars who use English as an additional language confront challenges when disseminating their research in the global market of knowledge production dominated by English. English for Research Publication Purposes analyses the experiences and practices of these scholars across the globe and presents “critical plurilingual pedagogies” as a theoretically and empirically informed means of supporting them.
Biodata of the author:
David Richard Olson (born June 16, 1935) is a Canadian cognitive developmental psychologist who has studied the development of language, literacy, and cognition, particularly the mental lives of children, their understanding of language and mind and the psychology of teaching. Olson is University Professor Emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where he has taught since 1966.
Synopsis of the book:
Although the importance of literacy is widely acknowledged in society and remains at the top of the political agenda, writing has been slow to establish a place in the cognitive sciences. Olson argues that to understand the cognitive implications of literacy, it is necessary to see reading and writing as providing access to and consciousness of aspects of language, such as phonemes, words and sentences, that are implicit and unconscious in speech. Reading and writing create a system of metarepresentational concepts that bring those features of language into consciousness as a subject of discourse. This consciousness of language is essential not only to acquiring literacy but also to the formation of systematic thought and rationality. The Mind on Paper is a compelling exploration of what literacy does for our speech and hence for our thought, and will be of interest to readers in developmental psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and education.