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Conference reports

posted 27 Dec 2012, 11:41 by Asociación Profesores Inglés Rosario   [ updated 27 Dec 2012, 11:45 ]


2012 FAAPI Conference 

"Engaging, Inspiring, Empowering: Research on Motivation and Autonomy in ELT" 

San Martín de Los Andes, 20-22 September 2012 

Prof. Carla Raguseo, winner of the First-time FAAPI Speaker Scholarship has kindly contributed the following report: 


The
XXXVII FAAPI Conference was organized by APIZALS and took place in San Martín de los Andes from September 20th to 22nd. This conference brought together national and international EFL scholars and teachers from all over the country to share experiences and discuss issues related to motivation and autonomy in English Language Teaching. The papers and workshops were divided in sub-themes including autonomy and motivation at primary, secondary and university levels, academic research on motivation and autonomy and the variables affecting motivation and autonomy in teaching and learning scenarios that are increasingly permeated by digital technologies. 

The plenaries by Dr. Ema Ushioda and Prof. David Little provided a conceptual framework for the main themes developed at the conference, which bear cross-curricular relevance. Dr. Ushioda argued that we should approach motivation from the complexity theory, moving beyond an abstract notion of the L2 learner into a complex view of “a real person situated in a temporal, spacial and physical context”. There has been a shift in focus from a decontextualized view that only considered internal psycholinguistic processes to a sociocultural, sociohistorically situated process.

Similarly, David Little contrasted two views of learning autonomy. The first view, which focused on self-instruction, was rooted in individual and cognitive orientations; while the current one considers autonomy “a social phenomenon grounded in interaction and collaboration” i.e. autonomy does not just mean learning “on our own” but rather articulating our individual knowledge with that of others.

As we can see, current approaches converge on the importance of considering the social dimension of motivation and autonomy as central driving forces harnessing the construction of knowledge in XXI century learning environments.

These views can clearly account for most of the papers and presentations I attended which stressed the importance of generating contextualized materials for our classes, negotiating evaluation criteria with students, fostering intercultural reflection among other classroom practices related to the conference topics.

The other two plenary speakers were Dr. Mario López Barrios, who presented an analysis of FAAPI conferences over the last decade, and author Susan Wilkinson, who was interviewed by Claudia Ferradas on her literary works about Argentina (Anglo-argentine literature) and how these can be used to foster intercultural reflection in the EFL classroom.

I also attended two panel discussions dealing with CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) and the role of technology in the classroom.

Finally, I had the honor of presenting my paper “Using Blogs and Wikis to teach Writing as a Process” to a small but very enthusiastic audience, who were eager to learn and integrate digital tools into their classes.

During the conference, I was very lucky to meet some colleagues whom I had interacted with online for several years. I also had the pleasure of sharing this experience with other APrIR members who gave me their permanent support, such as Mariel Amez, Florencia Viale and Andrea Monserrat.

All in all, attending the XXXVII FAAPI Conference was a very enriching experience both at the professional and personal levels. I am aware of the great opportunity I was given by being awarded an APrIR First-time speaker scholarship grant. Therefore, I will be delighted to pass on the experience and knowledge gained at the conference to the whole APrIR community. 

Prof. Carla Raguseo


Note: If you couldn't make it to the FAAPI Conference in San Martín de los Andes, do visit their website http://www.faapi2012.com.ar/ where you will find the official photo collection and the downloadable edition of the Selected Papers of the conference. Check our own pics 


FAAPI Conference 2012










Policy Dialogues: "English for the Future" 

Cartagena, Colombia, October 1-3

Prof. Mariel Amez, who was invited by the British Council to present at the Dialogues, reports:

The Policy Dialogues  were defined by the organisers as “a forum for the discussion of opportunities, challenges and choices facing policy-makers and educators in the area of English Language Teaching across Latin America”. During three days, about 150 participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela and the UK worked together at two breathtaking venues: Santa Teresa
Hotel and The Naval Museum. The sessions included the following plenary lectures, which cast light on the latest trends and developments on the topics addressed. 


Simon Borg English and Teacher Education
Michael Carrier English and New Technologies
Janet Enever English in the Early Years
Charles Fadel 21st century skills
David Graddol English in the Future
John Knagg Improving English Learning in National Education Systems Worldwide: The British Council Experience 


The three main themes around which concurrent sessions were organised were English and New Technologies, English and Teacher Education and English in the Early Years. For each of these areas one initial workshop was held, followed by three parallel dialogues on different subthemes. These dialogues brought together one academic, one practitioner and one policy-maker presenting for about 20 minutes each, followed by about one hour of round-table discussion among the three presenters and participants (usually about 40 people), moderated by a British Council member of staff.

There were five Argentinean delegates: Claudia Ferradas, who acted as moderator for the theme English in the Early Years; and acting as presenters Cristina Banfi and Leonor Corradi (English in the Early Years), Lucía Quiroga (English and Teacher Education) and myself (English and New Technologies). In my presentation, on the subtheme Teacher Development, I tried to highlight Argentinean initiatives, particularly the positive impact of new technologies on the work of teacher associations in general and APrIR in particular, as well as networking among FAAPI affiliates. The presentation can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/9l56lng and my own photo collection at http://tinyurl.com/9bjyk6b

Scribes recorded the key points, questions and recommendations and all sessions were videotaped so as to be used as the central input for the proceedings.

In the closing Plenary Dialogue Peter Brown (British Council Venezuela) and Eric Klug (British Council Brazil) announced that in the short term an online forum would be set up to continue discussing the issues raised, in preparation for 2013, when the Dialogues will be held in Brazil under the theme English for Social Transformation.

Personally, I found the event most enlightening, as it enabled me to learn about experiences around English teaching and learning in other countries, to interact with other participants, identify their realities and the challenges they face, and to plant the seeds for future networking. I am forever grateful to the British Council for this extraordinary opportunity.

Prof. Mariel Amez


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