Teachers' Forum

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Teachers' Forum:
principles, policy and content

Who is it for?

It is for anyone interested in current developments in culture in ELT, in extending their studies or going in a little deeper than the coursebook. Broadly speaking this breaks down into two audiences:

  • Teachers who want some background on cultural methods in the classroom, learn how to produce materials for themselves and find some interesting reading
  • Trainers searching for materials for PRESETT and INSETT and college students looking for resources for diploma projects

The Teachers’ Forum hopes to balance the needs of these two main audiences and to somehow please both. Below we have divided the sections into the more practical teacher-centred and the more theoretical - but of course this is not an absolute division.

 

Teachers’ Forum policy

A forum was originally a place where people who had goods to sell, and for those looking to buy (perhaps what they had never thought of). This later extended to the exchanging of views and it became a centre for debate. This is precisely the atmosphere we are trying for on these pages - a ‘meeting place’ (if not a market) for ideas, approaches and material.

 

We hope to develop awareness, skills and understanding of the approaches to culture-in-language teaching currently being introduced, as well as anticipate the future and take a long-term view of the needs of teachers and trainers. Intercultural approaches seem foremost among these and are highlighted. These approaches focus on the ’inter’, what happens between cultures e.g. communication, interpretation and exchange, rather on the individual cultures themselves. This can mean, for instance, taking a perspective from outside normal cultural categories (e.g. Poland and the UK) so as to look at both equally with the aim of facilitating a full communicative cultural exchange as well as developing the learner in a wider educational sense. FLT is particularly well-suited to do this.

We hope to provide background for teachers and trainers who wish to extend their study as well as an opportunity to publish their ideas.

 

What is on the Teachers’ Forum?

A collection of articles, reports, activities, discussions and so on from a variety of approaches, with direct links to many more found elsewhere both on the site and outside. It is forms a permanent ‘library’ and is designed to complement the main British Studies Web Pages but remains firmly a part of it. The Teachers’ Forum is updated incrementally as new material becomes available. The emphasis is practical - more academic work, with fully refereed papers - can be found in BC Poland’s Network magazine.

 

In the How to … section a number of items have been developed (including some from work done by participants on summer schools e.g. How to … conduct interviews and How to … do basic fieldwork) with the aim of providing a series of guidelines to give some background to techniques often demanded when students are required to do project work.


Who contributes to it?

Ordinary teachers, trainers, invited contributors, conference participators, members of the British Studies Web team and writers of articles published elsewhere which we have been given permission to reprint.

A number of items are by teachers from their direct classroom experience many of which are based on diploma works written for the Studium Podyplomowe Kształcenia i Doskonalenia Nauczycieli Języka Angielskiego supported by CODN and the University of Łódź: see - Culture in the classroom - a sharing of practical experience from postgraduate diploma projects. These include taking trips to the UK, handling project work, preparing for special events, running task-based sequences of lessons, linking literature to culture, making use of specific sources (e.g. magazines), and so on.

 

Exploring Methodologies: language and culture, a new BC Poland Culture in ELT activity, will also be using the forum as a place to locate its training materials and develop the links between culture and language methodologies. If you have done some work with students in your classroom or some research and would like to share your experience, present your results, or comment on what you find here … you would be welcome.

 

 

Contents
About us

Here you will find Introduction, What’s new telling you what items have appeared in the last six months, and Featured archive articles where we select one of our articles (or authors) and give it a special introduction because we think it is especially valuable..

 

More practical - teacher-centred

A sharing of experience

Journal and magazine links:

  • The well-known and popular World of English magazine with its archives
  • Essential UK a BC site for UK language assistants with plenty of cultural materials and links for the classroom

From the BS webpages - activities and articles from the main BS Web Page collections on:

Reviews from a cultural angle:

  • Websites - the reviews focus on websites of general value allowing teachers and students access to large numbers of other links. Very good for projects
  • Coursebooks - and also books of cultural activities - looked at critically from a cultural rather than language perspective


More academic - trainer-centred

Intercultural reader

A good start for culture methodology (especially for diploma students) with the following subsections:

·         Rationale

·         Terminology

·         Methodology

·         English as an International Language (EIL)

·         Ethnography

·         Theoretical background

·         Central and Eastern European coursebook projects

·         Interculturalism

There is also a link to the BC Poland Cultural Studies website for academic researchers

Culture in colleges - culture is taught in many different ways in training colleges - here we give some illustrative examples e.g. from Łódź, Zamość and Białystok


Academic corner
  • BS articles - these are mostly from master’s theses on popular culture e.g. Oasis and the films of Peter Greenaway

  • Conference reports - from a variety of conferences and sometimes including the papers presented e.g. the British Studies conference New Directions, New Opportunities in Puławy


Reviews from a cultural angle:


  • Books with cultural themes connected to language teaching e.g. Language and the Internet by David Crystal
  • Coursebooks - and also books of cultural activities - looked at critically from a cultural rather than a language perspective

Culture in FLT - a variety of articles from a variety of perspectives including several from Alan Pulverness

Journal and magazine links:

  • the British Council BS journal BS Now and its archives
  • Network - the academic journal of the BC and its archives

 

The Future
The Teachers’ Forum will be expanding, especially it is hoped with work by practising teachers in the area of culture in the FL classroom. If you feel you have something to offer and would like to submit a paper for editing we would be interested to hear from you. The Teachers’ Forum is as good as its contributors - if you feel something is missing or do not like something - the forum is an open and flexible space … make your contribution

Produced in Poland by British Council © 2003. The United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.