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.

Student Life: An internship with the MA in ELT: Online

Back in June, I gladly waved goodbye to Avenue campus, having spent the last few months hunkered down in its corridors hunched over my laptop, exasperated in my efforts not to write 8,000 words of waffle in lieu of a dissertation. Yet, I found myself not a month later returning to campus to start a 3-month internship with the online MA programme in English Language Teaching.

For many students of English and French progressing into teaching is the natural next step, nourished by working abroad with the British Council in their third year or taking part in language outreach programmes with local schools. However, as someone who had decidedly avoided anything to do with linguistics or teaching for fear of classrooms full of screaming, snotty-nosed children (not that many of my classes at university were much different), I was surprised to find myself quickly hooked by the programme and the work at hand.Online MA in ELT ident

I think it is fair to say that the position was somewhat undersold, with the task at hand advertised chiefly as content migration. Previously hosted on Moodle, myself and another intern were responsible for transporting the course to Blackboard. Thankfully, this turned out to be a smaller portion of the work than I’d imagined and the summer was not spent mindlessly clicking copy and paste.

The move to Blackboard presented the opportunity to refresh the course a bit, and our goal was to create a welcoming environment and try to create a sense of community and identity for the course through its online learning environment. Students and tutors of the course are based across the globe, therefore it was important to create a (virtual) space that linked them to each other and made them feel connected to the university itself too. To this end, we’ve spent time a lot of time editing videos and graphics for the course, creating personal and study support materials for the students, and exploring and testing various sites and computer programs for educational interaction.

The internship also afforded the opportunity to reflect on my own language learning at university. Skimming through the course checking for broken links and other glitches I had numerous lightbulb moments where the theories and concepts explored in the course content shed light on my experiences in French classes over the last 4 years.

Overall, the experience has been engaging and massively educational. I’ve learned a lot about virtual learning environments, teaching and education, and language acquisition, which has ignited a keen interest in an area I had previously overlooked.