Tuesday 14 May
1800 - 2030 | Venue TBC
Changing Englishes and teachers' conceptions of English
Christopher J. Hall
Teachers of English often find it hard to reconcile their understanding of the ever-increasing global
diversity of English with their assumed role as providers of its 'correct' forms. This seminar, adapting
content from a British Council-sponsored online tutorial for ELT professionals in higher education, is
designed to encourage teachers and teacher educators to become aware of, and reflect on, their own
conceptions of English forms and functions. For example, do they see English as having essentially
one correct set of forms, to which learners should aspire? Or do they conceive of it as a globally
distributed set of variable forms which serve its various functions more or less effectively?
In the session participants use a self-assessment tool and responses to a set of ‘data prompts’ on
global English usage to help them understand and interrogate their own orientations to the language.
Feedback is given with reference to a continuum of beliefs about English, from ‘monolithic’ to ‘plurilithic’
conceptions. Four dimensions of the continuum are used to unpack the conceptions underlying
participants’ responses: (a) ontological: to what extent is the conception true?; (b) ethical: to what
extent is it fair?; (c) political/economic: to what extent is it sustainable?; and (d) professional: to what
extent is it helpful for learners?
New ways of considering the social and cognitive nature of languages are presented, and participants
are engaged in a debate about the nature of English forms and functions, with a view to encouraging
practitioner-driven reform of grammar teaching and testing practices. Participants are encouraged
throughout to share their ideas and reach their own conclusions.
Inspiring teachers: State school teachers of English in China and Indonesia who generate long term motivation
Learning a second language (L2) beyond early childhood is almost always a long haul, requiring
extended effort inside and outside classrooms over many years. How important are teachers in
creating and sustaining people’s motivation to learn languages? How do teachers inspire their
learners? And how did they learn to be inspiring? These are the questions Martin Lamb is addressing
in an ELTRP project in China and Indonesia and which will be talked about in this presentation.
Most research into L2 motivation has focussed on the learners’ own characteristics (e.g. are they
integratively or instrumentally motivated?). Recently some studies have looked at teachers’
motivational strategies, that is, their deliberate attempts to boost learner motivation in class. However,
very little attention has been given to the notion of ‘inspiration’, of changing a learner’s relationship to a
subject area such that they are stimulated to invest effort in learning it outside the classroom, over the
The presentation will report the findings of a survey which asked learners in the cities of Guangdong
and Jakarta to nominate and describe an inspiring English teacher they had had in their state school,
to say how they had inspired them and what they did as a result. The second part of the presentation
will then focus on the nominated teachers themselves. Short video extracts from
interviews and clips of their teaching will be shown, in the hope of identifying how they came to be
‘inspiring teachers’ in the often very challenging circumstances of national state school systems.
Who is this for?
All English Language teachers - EFL, ESOL, EAL - from newly qualified to experienced.
1800 – 1815 Welcome and refreshments
1815 – 1900 Changing Englishes and teachers' conceptions of English with Christopher J. Hall
1900 – 1915 Comfort break and refreshments
1915 – 2000 Inspiring teachers: State school teachers of English in China and Indonesia who
generate long term motivation with Martin Lamb
2000 – 2030 Networking reception
Every seminar is free of charge.
However places are limited.
The British Council Seminar Series takes place across the UK, including once a month in London. The seminars are intended to provoke debate and discussion on current issues in English Language teaching and can contribute to the continuing professional development of English Language teachers based in, or visiting, the United Kingdom.
Every seminar is free of charge and includes the opportunity to network with fellow ELT practitioners.
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