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Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom
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Gemma Williamson - Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom

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  • 1. Reducing asymmetrical power relations in the language classroom<br />Using technology as a strategy to empower learners in a foreign language EAP environment<br />
  • 2. Background<br /><ul><li> Teaching English at a University in France
  • 3. Mix of French native speakers and native speakers of Mandarin
  • 4. Limited class time
  • 5. Inflexible curriculum with pre-chosen topics and activities
  • 6. Focus on learner presentations and conversation classes
  • 7. Motivated learners</li></li></ul><li>Issues<br /><ul><li> Lack of learner engagement in the course due to lack of ownership(?)
  • 8. Lack of interaction between French and Chinese learners</li></li></ul><li>Aiming towards a classroom where:<br /><ul><li> Interaction is varied and multidimensional
  • 9. Awareness-raised around identifying goals, specifying objectives, identifying resources and strategies needed to achieve goals, and measuring progress
  • 10. Willingness to grow individual learner awareness and develop learning strategies
  • 11. Activities and tasks reduce classroom divide
  • 12. Learners are able to question the role of input texts and tasks, trial alternative strategies, and seek feedback on their performance</li></ul>Source : van Lier, L. (2001). Constraints and resources in classroom talk: Issues of equality and symmetry. In C. Candlin & N. Mercer (Eds.). English language teaching in its social context. London: Routledge. (pp. 90-107)<br />
  • 13. How could the power structure(s) move towards balance within the constraints? <br />Many ways. Our focus is on…<br />
  • 14. …The role of technology<br /><ul><li> Can be employed in classes to help equalize relationships between; learners and learners and learners and teachers
  • 15. Useful for the scenario as can be additional and complementary to the curriculum
  • 16. Using technology can provide extra possibilities for language production and practice</li></li></ul><li>Some thoughts…Technology can be used for the creation of personal learning environments; addressing both learner autonomy and use of technology<br />Retrieved 3 October 2010 from http://encouraginglearnerautonomy.blogspot.com/<br />
  • 17. Pros<br /><ul><li> Use of technology can remove obstacles that silence many students in traditional classrooms e.g. accents, introversion, cultural differences
  • 18. Ability to create identities e.g. heteroglossia (Oxford, Massey, Anand. 2005:245)
  • 19. Access to vast amounts of information (Casanave, 2004:213)
  • 20. Providing learners with more input and output than in the traditional classroom enriching the quality and efficiency of learners work (Casanave, 2004:213)</li></ul>Sources : Casanave, C (2004) Controversies in second language writing (pp.211-223). Ann Arbor; University of Michigan Press. <br />Oxford, R., Massey, R. & Anand, S. (2005). Transforming teacher-student relationships: Toward a more welcoming and diverse classroom discourse. In J. Frodensen & C. Holten (Eds.), The power of context in language teaching and learning (pp. 249-266). Heinle: Boston.<br />
  • 21. Cons<br /><ul><li> Technology alone won’t change power imbalances
  • 22. Politics associated with use of technology
  • 23. Hardware and software distributed unequally among the world’s populations
  • 24. Teachers and learners are often uncomfortable with the use of technology
  • 25. Technology tends to have a global identity</li></ul>Source : Casanave, C (2004) Controversies in second language writing (pp.211-223). Ann Arbor; University of Michigan Press. <br />
  • 26. And so? <br /><ul><li>Consult, discuss, and evaluate</li></ul>learner’s and teacher’s attitudes to technology before introducing this to the classroom<br />
  • 27. Conclusions<br /><ul><li>Technology can be a useful tool to balance power structures, if used correctly
  • 28. Keep in mind that some cultures and learners prefer the teacher in an authoritative role </li></li></ul><li>If we, as teachers, can’t be forward thinking and motivated about the use of technology, how can we expect learners to be? <br />

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