Laura Rupp was travelling abroad. “In August 2015, I participated in the 8th International Conference on English as a Lingua Franca in Beijing. This year the theme of this annual conference was ‘Pedagogical solutions’. As English is increasingly used as a means for international communication amongst non-native speakers, a question that concerns English linguists and language teachers these days is whether we can continue to teach English in the traditional way or whether learners need additional skills, such as understanding and appreciating variation in English and being able to accommodate their English accent to other non-native speakers. The conference hosted numbers of interesting talks, amongst others, on the intelligibility of non-native accents of English and how to implement classes on language awareness in the English curriculum; issues that are also informative to methods of English language teaching in our department. With the conference being held in Beijing this year, it was good to hear many perspectives from countries in Asia.
Next to the academic interest there, the World Championships Athletics happened to be held during the same week of the conference, and I was very lucky to be in a place in the world to see Dafne Schippers run her 100m and 200m races. In addition to this, the Beijing authorities had taken precautionary measures against the smog because of the pending grand Parade (the commemoration of the end of the second World War between China and Japan) on 3 September 2015, so the conference and the championships were held in bright blue and clear skies.
I attended the conference as a participant in the research project ‘Linguistic Diversity on the International University Campus’, led by Professor Jennifer Jenkins at the University of Southampton and Professor Anna Mauranen at the University of Helsinki. Other universities participating in the research are Monash University (Australia), Shantou University (China), Siena University (Italy), University of Malaya (Malaysia), and Waseda University (Japan), and Zaragoza University (Spain). Next year (2016) we will report on the results of the research at the 9th International conference on English as a Lingua Franca in Helsinki, and afterwards I hope to be able to make recommendations regarding English language teaching and English policy at the VU.” [Lees meer…]