My IATEFL BESIG Adventure

Here I am at Sao Paulo international airport waiting for my plane to get to Madrid and then, another plane to Munich.

I left my house in Montevideo 8 hours ago.

Why spending a whole day travelling?

Nine years ago I sent an email to the BESIG coordinator at that time. I wanted to submit a proposal for the annual conference, but I wanted to deliver my talk from Montevideo, Uruguay. He talked to the conference organizers and I ended up deliveringy a talk using an Adobe Connect platform. I have been presenting at BESIG conferences since then; always from Montevideo, my hometown.

This year I am presenting as well, but this year is different.I am attending my first ever IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference.I am so excited!!

During these years, I have been part of the BESIG online team. We organized simulcasts of the conferences, online conferences, online workshops, online debates, the BESIG World Blog and many other activities.

Together with other BESIG members and committee members we organized lesson plan competitions, we designed online courses for TESOL EVO, selected applicants for different scholarships and endeveoured many other interesting initiatives.

I feel part of a truly innovative and global community of business English  teachers.

What else can I say ? I am proud to be part of this community and I am really looking forward to attending my first IATEFL BESIG Annual Conference face to face.

I saw a beautiful sunrise in Madrid

Now, I am in Munich. I arrived at the hotel 30 yours after leaving  my home in Uruguay.

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Spoken Fluency

Spoken Fluency

We all know how important English is nowadays. In order to function effectively in the global economy, non-native English speakers must be able to communicate, collaborate and operate successfully in the global lingua franca—English.

Here you can find an article about how companies are using English nowadays

For most of our business English students, the idea of “knowing” a language means being able to converse in that language. It is safe to presume that for most of them speaking is the most highly valued skill. They need to be able to interact in English, spoken interaction is vital.

In interactive activities participants act as speakers and listeners with one or more interlocutors and together they construct, through the negotiation of meaning following the co-operative principle, conversational discourse.

Reception and production strategies are employed constantly during interaction.

There are discourse strategies and co-operation strategies, concerned with managing interaction such as turn-taking and turn-giving, framing the issue and establishing a line of approach, proposing and evaluating solutions, recapping and summarising the point reached, and mediating in a conflict.

“Most researchers agree that fluency in speaking involves smooth, automatic production. However, evidence from spoken corpora suggests that fluency in dialogue also involves attention to the linking of speaking turns to create mutual ‘flow’. “

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMichael McCarthy’s current research involves the creation and analysis of spoken learner corpora in connection with the English Profile project, with special reference to the development of spoken fluency. He is co director (with Ronald Carter) of the 5-million word CANCODE spoken English corpus project, and the one-million word CANBEC spoken business English corpus.

A full list of Mike McCarthy’s publications is available here

He is delivering a webinar for IATEFL on Saturday 22 February 2014, at 3:00 GMT. You can check your local time here

‘Spoken fluency revisited’

Teaching and assessment systems typically consider fluency in speaking to be one of the factors that determine a learner’s competence and level, especially at higher levels.

Furthermore, examination systems, alongside level descriptors in systems such as the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), frequently mention fluency in speaking and attempt to define it and set tasks to assess it. Most researchers agree that it involves smooth, unhesitant production, and that being able to produce language automatically is a key element in being fluent. However, evidence from spoken corpora suggests that fluency also involves a repertoire of interactive items, and attention to linking what you say to what other speakers say in dialogue to create a kind of mutual ‘flow’. How do we achieve this sense of interactive flow, and what sorts of things do learners need to master to achieve smooth dialogue? This talk reports on corpus research for the English Profile, an interdisciplinary research project aimed at a better understanding of what earners know and can do at different levels in English. The English Profile considers the interactive dimension of fluency to be a “fifth skill”, over and above what we normally consider to be speaking skills.  

 

To join the webinar please go to http://iatefl.adobeconnect.com/mikemccarthy/

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room
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Scott Thornbury – Interlanguage Fossilization, no way out?

5000805527_16f0f001c1_zAs most of you know, Scott Thornbury was born in New Zealand. After studying in London, he moved to Egypt where he taught English for 10 years. Now, he lives in Spain and has been living in Barcelona for almost 30 years.

Why am I mentioning this?  Almost four months ago, Scott started writing a new blog – The (de-) fossilization diaries – where he’s recording the vicissitudes of a new journey on which he embarked –  the ‘de-fossilization’ of his Spanish.

bifericeras

 

To fossilize means to become rigid, fixed, so is it possible to “de-fossilize” something? Can fossilized errors be overcome?

A couple of years ago, Scott Thornbury wrote an article to answer a question from a teacher: How can students overcome fossilized errors?

You can read it here

 

At the IATEFL Webinar on November 30, he will be sharing his experience on this challenge of ‘de-fossilizing’ his second language (Spanish)

‘Fossilization: Is it terminal?’

When:  November 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm GMT – You can check your local time here

Where: Click here

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

  • Ensure “Enter as Guest” is selected
  • Enter your name and country
  • Click “Enter room”

To take better profit of this opportunity, you can read Fossilization: is it terminal, doctor?.

See you online!!