++ Update ++
In the light of the current situation concerning Coronavirus across the world, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 UAS LIC conference at FHWien der WKW and it is our hope to host the conference in May 2021.
We are in the process of organizing refunds for tickets sold to date and will be in touch with further details soon. Looking forward to seeing you in Vienna next May.
“Beyond the Traditional Classroom: Teaching and Learning in ESP Higher Education“
The 10th UAS Austrian Language Instructors’ Conference (May 15-16, 2020) will address various dimensions of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) within new learning environments as well as new and innovative approaches in tertiary education.
In line with our conference theme, teachers, coordinators, materials developers and students are invited to join us and share ideas and experience through talks, workshops, poster presentations and networking.
Friday 15th May, 2020
Conference Registration 12:00 – 13:30
Official Start: 14:00
Saturday 16th May, 2020
Official End: 14:30
The conference program will include a networking dinner/social event at a city center venue on Friday evening (May 15th); participation will be included in the conference fee. Details to follow.
Friday, May 15, 2020
Teaching English as a workplace lingua franca
Most of my experience has been in corporate language training, but over the years I have also worked on various ESP projects in higher education, both in Europe and in Asia. In almost every higher education context I observed I felt that instructors, for whatever reason, rarely had the chance to really focus on the language their students would need in the future. So, for example, some instructors were required to teach students how to write academic papers, which is a very different thing to teaching them to correspond with clients and co-workers, something they would be much more likely to have to do. Some instructors taught students how to talk about engineering, rather the language of doing engineering, which again is a very different skill. Some instructors worried about teaching advanced vocabulary and grammar so that students could handle complex arguments, but left out the essential accommodation skills which would allow their students to communicate with people whose English is not as good as theirs, a common situation in an international workplace. Perhaps worst of all, I felt that few instructors had the opportunity to analyse and become familiar with the types of communities of practice that their students would need to operate in, a central tenet of any needs analysis in corporate language training. And yet these instructors were somehow required to teach the relevant language in a so-called ESP course. Researchers in ESP, workplace discourse, English as a business lingua franca (BELF), and other related disciplines, as well as many practitioners, have been discussing these issues for years. Yet the fact remains that many ESP instructors in higher education still operate in traditional classrooms where much of the focus is unrelated to the real-world communication challenges their students will meet. In this talk I would like to consider insights and perspectives from recent BELF and ESP research, as well as my own experience in corporate language training, and discuss an approach which melds these different viewpoints into something we might call teaching English as a workplace lingua franca. I am not suggesting for a moment that I have all the answers to the challenges ESP instructors face, but perhaps there are some things we can all do to make our classes more effective.
Real World Meets Course Book
Course book writers often hear that there is a need for authentic materials in the classroom in order to build on employability skills for learners. This is especially true in the area of business English. Pearson’s multi-level course ‘Business Partner’ has been developed with this concept in mind by offering lessons based on videos, newspaper articles and real-life situations. This workshop will take participants through a case study and demonstrate how these materials can be used to engage students and bring the real world into the classroom.
The role of Quizlet in vocabulary acquisition
Based on the performance of 165 first-year business students, a regression analysis confirms that Quizlet can be an effective tool to support vocabulary growth. However, the figures also reveal that out of Quizlet’s seven self-study activities, the one most frequently used, i.e. Match, is the only one which does not make a statistically significant contribution to vocabulary acquisition.
Aligning ESP courses to engineering content: a project-based example
This talk describes experiences with aligning a Master’s-level English for specific purposes (ESP) course to first-year group projects in the field of engineering methods and design. Particular emphasis will be placed on the curriculum and materials design process. In addition, selected classroom activities intended to support students in terms of project communication and in the creation of project deliverables will be presented. Initial student feedback will also be discussed.
Teaching new English research genres to doctoral students in sciences
The presentation focuses on teaching a novel, online genre of the research article highlights as part of an EAP course designed for Ukrainian doctoral students majoring in applied mathematics and physics. The paper demonstrates a linguistic and didactic model of teaching the highlights, its central component being genre analysis, which students perform under the teacher’s guidance. General implications of teaching novel EAP/ESP genres are also discussed.
Implementing 21st century skills in EFL, ESL curricula in higher education institutions
In a state of a market driven economies and societies, higher education institutions, staff and career centers face an increasingly high pressure and demand for a higher employability of graduates. To meet this demand, universities experiment and implement different techniques that will enable such thing through the integration of essential skills in the course content. The purpose of this article is to elaborate on the relevance of the implementation of the essential skills in ESL classrooms at South East European University in Tetovo. The paper aims to advocate for a greater need for integration of essential skills in ESL/EFL classes. The paper will elaborate on the ways essential skills can be implemented within curricula at higher education institutions offering course in English as mandatory or free elective course for undergraduate students. The paper aims presents a proposition to ways, methods, success stories in the integration and implementation of essential skills in the education process of ESL students as well as provide feedback on the ways students perceive such integration and the way it advances or challenges their already existing skills. Through a questionnaire previously disseminated to students of Academic English class, this paper exemplifies the correlation between students’ pre-existing skills and their perception to how the Academic English class advances their essential skills. The paper will conclude with an elaboration of the need for a greater inclusion of essential skills into Academic English classes.
Using Self-Directed Learning to support students in reaching their learning goals
EFL teachers need to be aware of the fact that language classes have become more heterogeneous regarding language levels, learning types, professional backgrounds, native languages and cultures of students. To meet the standards of excellent teaching practice, teachers are required to employ strategies that allow for this heterogeneity and at the same time keep students motivated.
The self-directed learning (SDL) approach embraces and reaches the diversity in the classes as it provides students with the opportunity to take initiative and responsibility for their learning progress. They can select their own learning goals and activities and pursue them at any time, in any place and using any materials and tools they want, guided and supported by their teacher.
E-learning utilizes electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside the university classroom. As such, it seems to be the perfect complementary approach to the study process as it enables students to find and use learning materials around the clock and choose learning tools that support their individual learning style. It also facilitates a constant exchange between learners and teachers for regular feedback, which considerably enhances the students’ motivation.
The combination of SDL and e-learning allows students to be completely autonomous regarding the choice of their learning goals, materials and activities with the teacher assuming the role of a facilitator and guide rather than the role of a lecturer.
The workshop aims to facilitate the participants with the tools that are needed to effectively lead students through the SDL process and support them in reaching their individual learning goals.
Together we will take a brief look at key assumptions teachers need to take into considerations in adult learning, which will lead us to Self-Directed Learning and the different stages of the approach. In a next step, we will discuss the importance of the teachers’ guidance for the students and different ways of supporting the learners. Then, after a short introduction to some useful (e) tools, we will design a short SDL unit that concentrates on wine-related language and examine it from the teacher’s as well as from the student’s perspective. Finally, participants will see examples of SDL work by students from the “International Wine Marketing” program at the University of Applied Sciences Burgenland that might serve as inspiration.
At the end of the workshop, participants will have a basic understanding of the advantages of the SDL approach for students and for teachers, of the different steps in the SDL process, and of the assessment of SDL work. Ideally, each of the participants will have created a short unit that can be incorporated in one of their classes.
Developing 21st Century Professionals with TED
It’s a big bad world out there and it’s a place where if you want to not just survive but succeed, you have to have the necessary skills and knowledge. With 3 billion non-native speakers of English in the world, it is undeniably the lingua franca of the world, but students don’t need to just be able to communicate in English. It needs to be so much more than that. They need to be able to do everything in English. Referencing National Geographic Learning’s Keynote series, in this practical session we’ll explore how we can use TED Talks to help develop the skills and knowledge students really need to get ahead and be successful 21st century professionals.
Using Virtual Reality in teaching English to engineers: the Erasmus+ Project IBEEVR
This contribution will present the conceptualisation and preliminary results of the ERASMUS+ Project IBEEVR, which aims to design one of the first English for Specific Purposes courses to systematically integrate Virtual Reality scenarios. The target audience of this course will be engineering students at tertiary level.
In our talk, we will present findings from a needs analysis regarding English for engineers conducted in five European countries, as well as provide an overview of the resulting curriculum, syllabus and materials.
Using a mini-corpus to generate language practice materials
This talk will describe activities I have created for sentence-level scientific writing practice in the context of biotechnology. With the help of a self-made “mini-corpus” of relevant journal articles, I have identified vocabulary and phrasing structures typically used in this genre, and then used translation and paraphrasing tasks to provide focused practice of these items. While my activities are specific to a sub-field of biotechnology, the flexibility of this approach should allow it to be transferred to any ESP writing context in which ample target language exists.
Implementing Learning-Oriented Language Assessment (LOLA) in an Austrian tertiary setting
Learning-Oriented Language Assessment (LOLA) is a student-focused approach to instruction; however seldom practised in the Austrian tertiary sector. Courses are generally test-led, whereby language is learned to achieve a grade, rather than to hone a useful life skill. In this interactive talk I will introduce LOLA, discuss how it can be implemented, its advantages and disadvantages for both students and teachers, and to conclude, consider whether it is a suitable approach for our classes.
A Case for the Future: Teaching Transhumanism in a UAS English Ethics Class
Traditional English language instruction has been challenged as being redundant, resulting in fewer English courses and reduced quality of classes. We first identify three common claims of proponents of reduced English teaching as not based in fact before outlining a future pathway for professionalized UAS English classes: advanced content-knowledge and domain-specific English class that more than before focuses on the specific characteristics and education circumstances of UAS learners.
Saturday, May 16, 2020
English in students’ lifeworlds: research findings and implications for ESP
We all know that English is more than just a foreign language for most students and that it is an integral part of their lifeworlds. While we suspect that this must have an impact on their English language learning, we usually don’t know what students do outside our classrooms. At the same time, language learning is clearly a life-long process and doesn’t stop at the classroom door. So, what is it that Austrian students actually do in English and what role(s) does the language play in their daily lives? Where do they encounter and use what kind of English, for what purposes and to what extent? What relations, if any, are there between using English in different contexts and individual language proficiency? It is questions like these that I will turn to in this plenary address. By reporting on recent research in areas like English in Europe, Language Policy and Planning, Extramural English, Content and Language Integrated Learning and English-Medium Education, I will aim to provide a detailed picture of what we know about the status, functions and roles of English in the lifeworlds of our students. Special focus will be placed on what these studies tell us about the potential of such diverse English practices for learning English for Specific Purposes.
We are not teaching business English; we are training leadership
This session will examine the role of the business English teacher and how, in reality, what is being developed is leadership competence. This will be based on the key premises that leadership is a soft skill that cannot exist independently of communication and a leader’s style of communication is their style of leadership.
Positive Psychology activities for the Business English Classroom
Research has shown that a positive attitude can improve productivity, creativity and health, and that certain interventions can increase positivity. These interventions can also be used in the business English classroom to increase proficiency of English while helping students become more successful in their private and business lives. The activities include the use of speaking, writing, listening and reading exercises that reflect positivity.
Building virtual bridges between Austrian and Russian students
This talk presents a cross-border project set up by UAS Campus02 Graz, Austria and Polytechnic University Perm, Russia, engaging students from both countries in an online collaboration. Students are asked to hold online meetings and simulate business-related negotiations. We will demonstrate how we set up the project, share our experiences and show that connecting students from different cultural backgrounds is of mutual benefit to all.
From coursebook-based to task-based Business English
Although coursebooks are integral to many classrooms, the following thoughts might cross teachers’ minds: “This coursebook isn’t relevant to my students’ needs”, “I want to reduce the role of the coursebook”, and “I’d like to try more task-based learning, but don’t know how”. This talk will help you start integrating task-based language learning principles into your English classes.
Breaking down walls: Extramural vocabulary learning practices and their perception
While language learning has traditionally been restricted to classroom settings, Extramural English is interested in approaches to foreign language learning outside classical teaching settings.
This longitudinal study investigates extramural vocabulary learning practices of 200 English major students over the timespan of one year. Participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire on their extramural vocabulary learning practices. Additionally, selected interviews with 20 participants were conducted.
Student Disconnect in Scientific Writing
Experience has shown a disconnect between what is taught in the classroom and what students produce within the context of academic writing. While students appear to understand the building blocks of academic writing, they lack the ability to combine all the relevant aspects into coherent and cohesive argumentation. This research aims to explore the importance of critical self-reflection in the learning process by aiding students in identifying strategies to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Case Studies for Business English
Business English / ESP course design should focus on activities that give students opportunities to interact and use language communicatively. Case studies provide an excellent platform for improving communication skills and applying theory to practical communication scenarios. Their benefits as learning tools are well documented. This workshop will explore how a case study can be used to generate activities that develop students’ understanding and communication of business tools and strategy.
Digital Peer Review in the ESP Classroom: Designing Feedback Prompts for Students
In the 21st century, peer feedback is a crucial strategy to enhance learner development, particularly in blended learning. The purpose of this workshop is to assist ESP teachers in designing digital feedback prompts for writing tasks. After a short overview of the theory, we will share our experiences gathered in several university courses. Participants are encouraged to bring their own writing tasks and prompts to the workshop to develop and discuss with colleagues.
Developing Reading Skills for Technical English
Focused work on reading skills in the classroom is not only essential for helping students get the most out of texts, but also to help them eventually transfer features of well-written texts to their own writing. This is especially important for ESP students because in their professional lives, they will read a variety of technical texts. In this talk, I will illustrate the techniques I use to help students develop their reading skills.
Rethinking the Evaluation of Engineering Students’ Academic Writing: an SFL Approach
Analyses of text using systemic functional linguistics can be very effective in revealing recurring linguistic issues, but are extremely time-consuming and thus unrealistic for instructors with high workloads.
This talk presents a compact register analysis, concise enough for instructor use, yet potentially able to highlight overlooked linguistic problems. Its use to analyse postgraduate texts is described and collected data suggest textual cohesion and academic style present greater challenges to student writers than selecting appropriate specialised lexis or tense use.
International, Cross-disciplinary & Collaborative Online English Course
This talk describes the process of planning, building, implementing and developing an international, cross-disciplinary, collaborative online course as a joint effort of English teachers from Finland and a foreign partner university. The focus of the course is on developing the students’ listening and speaking skills in English, their cross-cultural communication competences, and 21st century working life skills. The course has now been running for 4 years with 4 different partners.
Hello, have you eaten? – Speaking English, a cross-cultural challenge
Speaking English in today’s multicultural and ever-growing English-speaking community is becoming increasingly complex. Acquiring cross-cultural competence with respect to using spoken English should, therefore, be made a priority in English classrooms. It is, for example, considered appropriate to use downtoners like ‘quite well’ ‘pretty good’ in job interviews in Australian culture, while upgraders like ‘very well’ and ‘very good’ are perceived to be more appropriate in some other cultural contexts. The use of seemingly unimportant words like pretty and very can, thus, have serious consequences as an applicant might be perceived as incompetent/ modest or arrogant/ competent depending on the cultural context. Small talk situations similarly pose cross-cultural challenges since answering what appear to be straight-forward questions such as ‘Hi, how are you?’ or ‘Did you have a good weekend?’ is actually not so simple. Both questions are to be understood as formulaic utterances rather than genuine questions. In fact, the latter question is actually a statement (‘hi’) and does not inquire about a person’s wellbeing while the first question requires a routing answer such as ‘Yes, I did, thanks’ rather than a truthful elaboration of all activities one engaged in on the weekend. Thus, in this talk, cross-cultural challenges when speaking English around the globe will be discussed and ways of approaching this topic in the classroom will be shown.
New learning environments: how to survive your own teaching
What does it take for teachers to stick it out in teaching in ever-changing learning environments? Is it clever students? Excellent teaching methods? Fantastic colleagues? A brilliant school system? A matter of personality perhaps? And what can you yourself do to carry on teaching forever – and with ever-increasing enthusiasm! Come and join, share some great ideas: energise the teacher in you!
A How-to Guide for an ELF Mini-collaboration across Borders
After meeting at the 2014 Conference, we decided to run an inter-cultural Swiss-Danish collaboration. Key was a short timeframe (6 weeks) and a straightforward task (writing an international CV), while developing real-world communication skills in an ELF context. This workshop will first describe our low-tech beginnings (emailing) to our more recent use of skype, which mirrors societal developments in the business and academic worlds. We will present and discuss a general framework adaptable to (almost) any teaching context.
Developing e&m-learning materials (not just) for students of engineering
Using the „Online Extensions“ to the multimedia language learning program „TechnoPlus Englisch“ for Business English and Technical English as well as the „TechnoPlus VocabApp“ as examples, this talk will focus on how both experienced as well as inexperienced teachers / materials developers can use an authoring tool such as the „e&mLearning Publisher“ (emLP) to produce e&m-learning materials for various different target groups and use in a blended learning setting.
Developing Workplace Communication Skills for IT Sector in English
With IT sphere being on the rise worldwide, the need for effective communication between the specialists from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds can hardly be overestimated.
In this talk I will share some practical ideas of how to enable learners working in IT industry use clear and context-appropriate language to have their job done.
New standards in friendliness and politeness in students’ emails and forum posts
Emails and discussion forum posts can be regarded as an indispensable means of communication between students and their ESP professors. The analysis of 200 students’ emails and 200 posts on Moodle discussion forums demonstrates that students tend to write more informally by simplifying the structures, avoiding formulaic phrases and using less polite and more direct linguistic forms. This talk aims at drawing attention to the new standards in style and language of e-communication in ESP setting.
In defense of the traditional classroom
In recent times the traditional classroom has become a much-maligned target. But, in the rush to embrace the digital we should take a moment to reflect on what the classroom ‘really’ offers the students. And how it is still the most valuable tool in education.
Why is the classroom is still the best place to cement learning?
Why is the classroom is the best place to assess real language competence?
And why is the classroom is still one of the best laboratories there is for learning a language?
Helping us square the circle, of giving them what they say they want and what we know they need.
The case for the classroom maybe clear to us, but we need to convince others before it is misguidedly removed from modern teaching.
Online-supported teaching: Two good practice examples
This poster presentation looks into two different uses of digitally-supported tools in tertiary L2 training. On the one hand, it outlines the classroom use of Moodle to give peer feedback and on the other hand, it draws some conclusions on a 4-week MOOC on international negotiations. The aim is to share some teaching experiences gained with particular focus on the preparation and evaluation phase.
Coaching: a way to break through the motivation barrier with in-company ESP learners
Teachers in charge of company-sponsored ESP courses often struggle to break down students´ negative preconceptions about learning English. These motivation issues can be tackled by employing coaching models such as GROW or HELP, which enable the learner to identify any deep-rooted obstacles that prevent them from progressing. A successful case study will be described, where a coaching-based approach led not only to increased language competence, but a true hunger for further learning.
Digital multimodal composing in ESP
The presentation shows the use of hypertextual communication demonstrated by ESP students, focusing on the types of hyperlinks and the purpose they have in strengthening the argumentation in short essays written on asynchronous discussion forums.
A limited number of Early Bird places (for non-speakers only) will be available from 01.11.2019 until 14.02.2020.
If you plan to submit a speaker proposal, please do so by the deadline of 10.01.20 (see submission link below). Speakers should register for the conference between 01.02.20 and 28.02.20 by which time you will have been informed whether your proposal has been accepted, in which case you will qualify for the speaker rate (see below).
All prices include attendance at our evening event on Fri.15th May.
- Early Bird rate: EUR 65 – available 01.11.2019 – 14.02.2020
- Speaker rate: EUR 35 – available 01.02.2020 – 28.02.2020
- Standard rate: EUR 75 – available 15.02.2020 – 30.04.2020
Registration for our conference will be handled by XING events. Please note that you do not need to have a XING account to register.
Ute Smit is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Vienna. Her research focuses mainly on English in and around the classroom in various educational settings. Her publications deal with CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), EMI (English Medium Instruction), ELF (English as a lingua franca), teacher beliefs and language policy. Ute was a co-founding member of the AILA Research Network on CLIL and Immersion Education. She is presently a board member of the ICLHE (Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education) Association and part of the leading team of the interdisciplinary research platform #YouthMediaLife.
Evan Frendo is a British freelance trainer, teacher trainer and author based in Berlin, Germany. He has been active in Business English and English for Specific Purposes since 1993, mostly in the corporate sector. A frequent speaker at conferences, he also travels regularly in Europe and Asia to run courses or to work as a consultant. You can find more information at www.e4b.de.