Languages for Specific Purposes – A talk to kick things off

Last week at the 2015 AULC Conference in Cambridge, Martin Kantus, David Tual (@AngloFLE) and I gave a talk entitled “What’s so special about LSP? (Languages for Specific Purposes)”. Martin and David teach languages to engineers in the language unit of the University of Cambridge, whilst I teach medical French here in Manchester.

The idea of this talk was to try and provide an overview of the literature in LSP, discuss the state of LSP provisions within UK language centres, share some of our experiences as tutors and course leaders, and generally speaking raise interest in LSP.

2015 AULC Conference

In a nutshell, it seems to us that the current upwards trends in so-called ‘non-specialist’ language teaching are creating a very fertile terrain for the development (in some cases, the re-development) of LSP provisions. We were very pleased to see the interest generated by our talk and were surprised to discover how many universities had, or had had, some form of LSP provision.

The next step is to gather in one room teachers, course leaders and policy-makers in order to get the ball rolling in our language centres. The demand for specialist language teaching is there, there is a surprising amount of expertise around, and the national HE context seems particularly favourable to the  development of LSP provisions. Now it’s up to us to get together, establish a road map and set the pace for this promising field in language teaching.

Interested in getting in touch and participating in a future LSP event? Get in touch. Lots more details as soon as I have them.

“You should blog about that”

That’s what someone said to me yesterday, and I think it’s very good advice.

As you might have guessed from the small number of blog posts I’ve put out in the last couple of years, I can’t always think of things to blog about. Or more accurately, I rarely think that the things I do or talk about over lunch are worth blogging about. And so yesterday, over lunch, I was describing to someone (if you need to know, it was @eljeejavier) a clever little app I’ve been using this semester to save myself a few precious minutes with handling audio recordings. “You should blog about that” was the answer. I think that’s a good answer. I like it. I am going to blog about that.

Things to blog about

In fact, when I think about it, there are a number of small things, tech tips for the most part, which I think I could blog about. I’ve made a quick list off the top of my head and that makes three potential blog posts to write already. Sounds like a good start, doesn’t it?

I might give a name to this series of blog posts. I think I’m going to call it “Teacher Tech Tip”. It’s hard to pronounce but it has three Ts in it, which makes it a bit catchy.

You can expect the first post soonish.

Talking about Quizlet at #LLASconf14

So the 7th LLAS biennal conference took place last week in Southampton, and just like last time it was a really good opportunity to meet people I knew and people I didn’t, all working in, near or around languages in HE. I can’t get bored of attending LLAS events as they really help putting my job in perspective: I get to see the national picture, discover what other practitioners are up to, get feedback on my own practice through the stuff I present. If you work in languages and have never attended one of these, I urge you to register for the next one. It’s the second best medium for professional development I have found (second only to Twitter, of course).

So this year again I talked about the work that the French team at @UoMLangCentre have been doing with Quizlet on our general and medical French courses. I should really give credit to @simonjhowells77 for pointing us in the direction of Quizlet in the first place. If you have read my previous blog post, Quizlet is an vocabulary app which we’ve been using for collaborative work in the classroom.

The slides are below. If you’ve any questions or comments, please use the box below.