Student Life: An internship with eLanguages

We want to say a big thank you to Marcy Nguyen, who is currently studying for an MSc in Education, and recently completed a 4-month internship with eLanguages here in Modern Languages and Linguistics. Marcy has written the following blog about her experiences with us:

I received an email regarding internship opportunities from the Employability Lead of the Southampton Education School back in December. It included the opening position of eLanguages Project Assistant. With my background as an English teacher, some experience in graphic design and social media management, I found myself totally intrigued, suitable and immediately applying. Some time after the interview, I was offered the position.

As an international student relying on predominantly academic, non-colloquial language and lacking knowledge about British office culture, I didn’t expect to be able to integrate myself into the team. However, everyone was welcoming, fun and chatty and I learned a lot about the working culture in the UK through my observation. This was definitely an enriching intercultural experience for me. I hope every international student will learn from my experience that we can and should step outside of our cultural comfort zone and learn about the world.

Managing the Twitter accounts was my first task at the job. Although what I do on Twitter mostly involved following and interacting with others, tweeting about updates and online resources, I stumbled upon many hidden gems: innovative ed-tech products and services, people dedicated to education and lifelong learning and so much more. Because of this, I decided to create a Twitter account solely to connect with passionate people and discover innovations in educational technology. In a way, I am grateful for this portion of the work, even though it may have seemed a monotonous daily task at first.

I spent quite some time designing posters, postcards, headers and bookmarks as eLanguages and Prepare for Success needed a refreshed look. My goal was to create welcoming, attractive and friendly visual images for them. Dedicatedly designing the EAP Toolkit posters, and then having them put up around the campuses helped increase the publicity of the Toolkit and had an emotionally rewarding feel as well. New headers for the social media sites also created a more welcoming vibe and a sense of identity for Prepare for Success and eLanguages.

Four months of running the Twitter accounts, updating weblinks, web designs, student emails, designing posters, editing a video and modifying the Toolkits were very educational. I have learned so much more about virtual learning environments and educational technology. The internship also afforded me the opportunity to experience a British working culture, further my journey in educational discoveries and learn about the essential work behind developing and maintaining an online course and its syllabus.

Overall, the experience has been emotionally and mentally fulfilling. I extend my sincere gratitude to everyone in eLanguages and Modern Languages and Linguistics for this unforgettable part of my journey. All the best!

Thank you Marcy and best wishes for the future!

Able Linguist and Study Days this week

Globe and person
Two exciting events are happening this week in Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Southampton:

Year 8 Able Linguist day

On Wednesday 12th June, a group of Year 8 able linguists, selected by their schools from the most able pupils, with get a chance to further develop their language skills. In the morning, there is an intensive mini-project in French, German or Spanish, led by our university’s trainee language teachers. In the afternoon, the programme will allow all pupils to try a new language by attending a taster in a new language such as Portuguese, Chinese or Italian, hence developing awareness and raising interest in expanding their love for learning languages.

Year 10 Languages Study Day

On Thursday 13th June, Year 10 pupils will be attending the Modern Languages and Linguistics Study Day. In the morning, there will be workshop sessions exploring cultural topics in French, German or Spanish and pupils will be able to practise grammar and vocabulary, as well as learning more about specific country topics. In the afternoon, there will be a chance for pupils to attend an ab-initio session in either Chinese, Portuguese or Italian.

Both of these days are running from 9am to 3pm, and if you would like any further information please contact the MLL Outreach team.

Call for papers – 22nd Annual Conference of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR)

International Association for Critical Realism (IACR)
22nd Annual Conference, Nuffield Theatre, Highfield Campus, Southampton, 31st July – 2nd August 2019

‘Post-Truth’: Applying Critical Realism to Real World Problems

The term ‘post-truth’ denotes a particular form of right-wing politics and public discourse that includes intentional misleading, misinformation, and disinformation, often mediated through the strategic use of digital media (social networks or so-called ‘echo-chambers’). Its corrosive effects include undermining democratic processes and structures, and the discrediting of ‘experts’, ‘expertise’, and ‘science’ by political actors. Post-truth politics thus endangers the identification of the causes of and plausible solutions to global problems such as climate change, the rise of inequality and migration, and the understanding of their articulation and problematisation within and across states, localities, and (social) systems.

Critical Realism as a philosophical meta-theory is uniquely positioned to make a difference in this context: As an ‘underlabourer’ to both the natural and the social sciences: It pursues an emancipatory and progressive agenda; it engages with ontological questions and claims to truth, while acknowledging the fallibility of knowledge.

In this conference we aim to explore, from a Critical Realist perspective, the challenges ‘post-truth’ politics poses for society, the need for value based research, and the role, representation and dissemination of academic knowledge in the public sphere. We are particularly interested in applied research where engagement with Critical Realism improves our understanding of and the generation of solutions to real-world problems.

We invite proposals for paper sessions on the following themes:
• The role and representation of scientific knowledge, evidence and expertise in the public domain
• The value base and emancipatory potential of academic knowledge and its scope to inform policy and practice
• The application of Critical Realism to real world problems and issues
• Climate change / denial of climate change and environmental protection
• The complementarities and tensions between postmodernism and neoliberal political discourse and politics
• International politics in a ‘post-truth’ environment
• The relationship between Critical Discourse Analysis / Studies and Critical Realism
• Education, including higher education, in the context of post-truth politics
• Health and well-being in the context of neoliberal politics
• The conference will host a roundtable on the work of Andrew Collier, a distinguished Critical Realist who worked at the University of Southampton

Questions and enquiries can be sent to Sandra Dancer and Karin Zotzmann
Abstract submission:

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Southampton!
The conference organisers: Karin Zotzmann, Ivo Vassilev and Sandra Dancer