SIGLTA meeting on Thursday 28th February: Setting a CEFR cut score on test instruments

SIGLTAYou are cordially invited to attend the Special Interest Group in Language Testing and Assessment (SIGLTA) meeting. SIGLTA is a postgraduate student-led reading/research group within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

The meeting is at 17:00-18:30 on Thursday 28/02/2019 in room 1095, Avenue Campus (building 65).

Abstract: Standard setting is a decision-making process of setting a cut score – a certain point on a test scale used for classifying test takers into at least two different categories (e.g. pass or fail). The standard setting process usually entails recruiting a group of panellists to complete a variety of tasks in order to recommend a cut score on a certain test instrument. In this presentation, I will discuss what constitutes good practice in setting CEFR standards for language examinations. The most common standard setting methods will be covered as well as their associated challenges.

The speaker: Dr Charalambos (Harry) Kollias received his Ph.D. degree from Lancaster University. He works as an Assessment Research and Analysis Manager at Oxford University Press. He has over 30 years’ experience in the education sector in roles ranging from teacher, teacher trainer to assessor trainer and (co)author of examination materials. With over 18 years’ experience in the assessment field, his areas of specialism include measurement analysis (pre- and post-test analysis), test material development, alignment studies, (virtual) standard setting workshops, and research studies. He has presented at several international conferences and facilitated the 12th Annual EALTA pre-conference workshop with Sauli Takala entitled “Standard setting – how to implement good practice”. His main interests are Rasch measurement theory, (virtual) standard setting, language assessment and validation, and artificial intelligence.

If you require any further information please send an email to na1y17@soton.ac.uk or lmb2g15@soton.ac.uk or see the SIGLTA Facebook page.

Next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar on Wednesday 20th February: Mental Health under Communism

TNSThe next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar will be held on Wednesday 20th Febuary from 4-5pm in room 1177 at Avenue Campus (Building 65) in collaboration with the Centre for Medical and Health Humanities. The seminar is entitled “Mental Health under Communism: Transnational Connections across the Iron Curtain and within the Eastern Bloc.” All staff and students are welcome!

Here is the abstract for the seminar:
Historians have traditionally assumed that the psy-disciplines behind the Iron Curtain, when they were not being abused for political purposes, were dominated by a topdown ‘Pavlovisation’, whereby Moscow bound scientists within the restrictive orthodoxy of theories derived from the celebrated Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. In this paper I demonstrate that researchers were far from isolated from international developments – whether in the broader Soviet sphere, China, or the ‘West’ – and appropriated a broad range of theoretical models, including some which the Party had officially banned. Antipsychotic drugs were adopted from the West and mass-produced by state-owned firms. Psychoanalysis survived underground, coming into plain sight as theories of the unconscious influenced the world’s longest-running, state-sponsored LSD psychotherapy project in Prague between 1954 and1974. New models of mind from cybernetics, human ecology and infant attachment theory re-shaped research, treatment and even state-level policy. By tracing these transnational connections this paper challenges narratives of overwhelming state control. It traces the strategies that individuals used to further their professional and personal interests, both underground and in plain sight, and the examples of psychiatrists who engaged – whether explicitly or reluctantly – in the project of building socialism as a result.

More information on Dr Marks can be found on her profile page.

Next CLLEAR seminar: Aspirations of youth, English for future life plans in a school in Catalonia

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 13th February 2019 at 4pm in Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The talk is entitled “Aspirations of youth, English for future life plans in a school in Catalonia” and will be delivered by Adriana Patino-Santos from Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Southampton. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
The implementation of English as the language of instruction to teach content, usually referred to as Content and Language Integrated Language (CLIL) programmes, is changing the lives of teachers and students alike in Spain, as they deal with a set of issues related to new forms of teaching content though their second and, in the case of Catalonia, third language. Complementing my previous research on the portrayal of liberal selves among CLIL teachers in Catalonia (Codó & Patiño-Santos 2018), this presentation explores the narratives of secondary school students who attend these programmes. Through ‘life project stories’ (du Bois-Reymond 1998) and contrasted with ethnographic information, I aim to give an account of the ways in which a group of youngsters navigate social relations and imagine future plans under the new circumstances imposed by language policies that aim to neoliberalise the Catalan education system (Martinez & Albaiges Blasi 2013). ‘Generation’, even though a debatable concept within the sociology of youth (Furlong 2013), will be brought into the discussion to show how the ways in which young people engage with English in their daily lives signal an important ongoing generational shift in Spain, product of a set of recent traumatic collective events.

Italian film showing this evening (Monday 11th February) – The Conformist – Il Conformista

Italian flagWe are pleased to invite you to the next film of our Italy through its films series, featuring The Conformist – Il Conformista (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970).

Join us on Monday 11th February, in Lecture Theatre B at Avenue Campus at 6:15pm. Bernardo Bertolucci’s expressionist masterpiece is a movie that plugs post-war Italian cinema firmly and directly into the emerging 1970s renaissance in Hollywood film-making. The film is an account of the neuroses and self-loathing of a sexually confused would-be fascist (Jean-Louis Trintignant) aching to fit in in 1938 Rome, who is despatched to Paris to murder his former, anti-fascist college professor. Bertolucci combines a flawless aesthetic with a deep emphasis on composition, design, and camerawork to slowly build a devastating portrait of the kind of personality that allows fascism to flourish. The Conformist is less about drama and more about exploring the brutal truth of its antihero — and how he represents the drives that fuel fascism.

There is also a critique of the film by Corin Depper.

All welcome, free entry!

CGE Research Seminar on Wednesday 6th February: Ecological perspectives on researching multilingually: foregrounding and problematising language in an era of English-dominated scholarship

CGEThe next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 5th February 2019 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre C (room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Richard Fay from the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester and is entitled “Ecological perspectives on researching multilingually: foregrounding and problematising language in an era of English-dominated scholarship”. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
In this talk, with reference to a series of AHRC-funded research projects, and mindful of the Anglo-centric pressures within much global academic publishing, I will explore the area of research practice we term Researching Multilingually (RM-ly) and present an ecologically-framed analysis of researcher praxis vis-à-vis RM-ly. I will present these inter-related research projects and, in doing so, explore how the understanding of RM-ly has shifted over the years. In particular, there has been a move from:
a) foregrounding languages in research – exploring researcher thinking and practice regarding the use of multiple languages in research (in an institutional and global context of English-dominated research); to
b) problematising the languaging of research – exploring researcher praxis regarding their languaging of research.
By the end, I will raise a number of proposals relating to researcher education, research governance, and epistemic justice.

*RESCHEDULED* Italian film showing on Monday 18th February – The Seduction of Mimì (Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore)

Italian flagAs semester 2 starts, we are resuming our Italy through its films screenings on Monday 28th January 2019 with The Seduction of Mimì (Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore) by Italian film director Lina Wertmüller, 1972.

Join us on Monday 28th January, in Lecture Theatre B at Avenue Campus at 6:15pm. The film is a deliberately offensive one, with explicit sex scenes in it. A riotous feminist farce about the Mafia, political radicalism and gender relations in 1970s Italy and definitely not a film for the faint-hearted! A sex comedy which seeks deliberately to offend morality and good taste, this is political filmmaking at its most unruly.

Here is Sergio Rigoletto’s film critique.

As always, the film will be introduced in English by Dr Louis Bayman, and a post-film discussion/reflection with the audience in English will be facilitated by Alessia Plutino.

We are looking forward to welcome those of you interested in the event, which is free and open to all.

Next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar: ‘Just Like It Is at Home!’: Being Deaf across the Socialist Bloc

TNSThe next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar will be held on Wednesday 30th January from 4-5pm in room 1177 at Avenue Campus (Building 65) in collaboration with the Centre for Medical and Health Humanities. The seminar is entitled ‘”Just Like It Is at Home!”: Being Deaf across the Socialist Bloc.’ All staff and students are welcome!

Here is the abstract for the seminar:
The years following the Second World War and the sovietisation of Eastern Europe saw increased links between the Soviet deaf community and their Eastern European ‘brothers’. On one level, these links were institutional, with the All-Russian Society of the Deaf reaching out to equivalent deaf societies across the Eastern Bloc, culminating in the creation of an international Socialist Union of Deaf Mutes in the tumultuous year of 1968. At the same time, they were informal, familial, and grassroots, as groups of deaf people travelled across the socialist bloc and encountered people and institutions – both deaf and socialist – just like their own. This paper will explore these contacts as part of a concerted attempt to define the ‘socialist deaf person’. In the context of heightened international tensions and the consumerist competition of the Cold War, the socialist deaf community was seen as a success story worth celebrating: a group of people who had overcome the physical obstacle of deafness to become full-blooded, independent workers through the transformative power of socialism. Yet these contacts also revealed tensions, differences and misunderstandings and posited uncomfortable hierarchies between the ‘big brother’ USSR and the ‘little brother’ countries of Eastern Europe. As such, the transnational links of the late Soviet era reveal both commonalities and differences of deaf experience, and suggest that perhaps ‘socialist deafness’ was perhaps not as monolithic as its proponents might like to think.

More information on Dr Shaw can be found on her profile page.

Italian film showing on Monday 10th December – Divorzio all’italiana – Divorce Italian Style

Italian flagWe are pleased to invite you to the next film of our Italy through its films series, featuring Divorzio all’italiana – Divorce Italian Style (Pietro Germi, 1961).

Join us on Monday 10th December, in Lecture Theatre B at Avenue Campus at 6:15pm. The film looks at the “persistence of antiquated and stubborn moral and social codes (the honour of the Latin male) in the face of situations in which they have become hopelessly outdated: Don Ferdinando Cefalù cannot stand his wife but instead of demanding the modernisation of local custom and of the law (divorce was only legalized in Italy in the 1970s) he prefers to adopt a hypocritical respect for tradition (legislation on crimes of passion goes back to the Fascist era and was not repealed until the 1980s) and settle with the status quo. The all’italiana of the title, therefore, refers to the co-presence of backwardness and modernity, each of which are exploited by the characters when it suits them.” (From: Directory of World Cinema: Italy, edited by Louis Bayman, Intellect Books Ltd, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central,
https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/soton-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1057951.

There is also a critique of the film by Elena Gipponi.

Pre-screening introduction and post-showing discussion in English, all welcome, free entry.

Next CLLEAR seminar: The political economy of language education research (or the lack thereof): Nancy Fraser and the case of translanguaging

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Monday 10th December 2018 at 5pm in Room 3031, Building 7, Highfield Campus. Please note the change of day and time from usual. The talk is entitled “The political economy of language education research (or the lack thereof): Nancy Fraser and the case of translanguaging” and will be delivered by David Block Allen, ICREA Professor in Sociolinguistics from the Departament d’Anglès i Lingüística, Universitat de Lleida – Catalonia, Spain. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
This paper problematises the politics of language education research with regard to social injustice, which is not only cultural, but also material. Its starting position is that most language education research today is, following Nancy Fraser, recognition-oriented, in that it takes on culture and identity-based injustices such as racism, gender bias, religious bias and LGBTQ-phobia. It does not, however, have much to say about more economic and class-based injustices – redistribution issues – and it does not draw on the political economy literature essential to any attempt to explore such issues. The paper develops these arguments and then applies them to a specific area of language education research which has become popular in recent years, translanguaging. It concludes that while translanguaging research may deal with recognition issues, in particular ethnolinguistic racism, it is not likely to alter in any way the underlying the current capitalist order which is causing deep and profound damage to the social fabric of societies worldwide and surely is the most likely cause of the poverty in which many translanguagers live. Language education research thus needs to work at the level of recognition, as it already does, while also taking on redistribution issues.

CGE Research Seminar on Wednesday 5th December: From English language learners to Intercultural Citizens: Chinese student sojourners development of intercultural citizenship in ELT and EMI programmes

CGEThe next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 5th December 2018 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre C (room 1175), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Will Baker from the Centre for Global Englishes at the University of Southampton and is entitled “From English language learners to Intercultural Citizens: Chinese student sojourners development of intercultural citizenship in ELT and EMI programmes”. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
The notion of global or intercultural citizenship has become prominent in international higher education and EMI (English medium instruction). The goal is to educate students for successful interaction in intercultural situations across multiple communities from the local to the global. However, most discussions are at the theoretical level and there is insufficient empirical evidence documenting the extent to which experiences of students in international universities actually leads to the development of intercultural citizenship. To address this gap this research explored Chinese students’ (the largest group of international students in the UK and a major group of ELT learners) experiences before, during and after study-abroad (SA). Data was collected from students (n = 253) via questionnaires, interviews and a focus group in the UK and China. Findings demonstrated generally positive attitudes towards intercultural citizenship and intercultural citizenship education. Furthermore, many participants reported developing an increased sense of identification with intercultural citizenship as a result of SA. However, understanding of intercultural citizenship was often superficial and no students reported any formal intercultural citizenship education either in preparation for SA or during their time in the UK. Moreover, a number of students either rejected or withdrew from the idea of developing an intercultural identity due to negative impressions of intercultural experiences. We argue that these mixed findings are unsurprising given the lack of opportunities to prepare for or reflect on intercultural experiences. Furthermore, the absence of intercultural citizenship education is a missed opportunity in ELT and EAP provision.