I am very happy to announce that I will be chairing a panel discussion that will focus on Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) in the upcoming IATEFL conference. The discussion will take place on Saturday, 11th April 2015 (time and location, TBA).
Our panel aims to bring together perspectives of TEYL from a variety of contexts around the world. The panel members will share their experiences from TEYL projects in Greece, Norway, Uruguay and Switzerland. In doing so, we expect to contribute to ongoing debates regarding the introduction of English Language Teaching in primary education settings (e.g., the Primary ELT debate in IATEFL 2014, the Applied Linguistics Special Issue on Age in Second Language Learning, and the ELT J Special Issue on TEYL). More importantly, we are looking forward to a lively and stimulating discussion with the audience on the common themes and challenges associated with TEYL in diverse settings worldwide.
The panel members
While modesty forbids me from speaking too highly about the panel chair, I consider it a privilege to find myself among a brilliant group of language educators and researchers with extensive experience in TEYL. In the panel, you will hear from:
- Magdalena De Stefani (Universitad ORT, Uruguay) will share her experiences on introducing English at pre-school level in Latin America, and address the question of age in TEYL;
- Vicky Loras (The Loras Network, Switzerland) will share her insights on how Project-Based Learning can be effectively used with young learners, drawing on her experience in Switzerland and Greece;
- Juup Stelma (The University of Manchester, UK) will draw on data from Norwegian primary classrooms to explore the connections between classroom-based language learning and the ways in which children make sense of the world;
- Maria Muniz (Leicester University, UK) will discuss the role of English language certification in Uruguayan primary schools;
- Achilleas Kostoulas (The University of Manchester, UK) will talk about the implementation of a large-scale TEYL project in Greek primary education, and will problematise the political implications of Primary ELT.
The discussion has been allocated 65 minutes by the IATEFL organising committee. We will divide this in two parts, as follows: In the first half of the discussion, each of the panel members will share experiences from the settings where they are professionally embedded, in a series of five-minute presentations. Each presentation will be followed by one or two questions by other panel members.
In the second part, I will briefly recap, in my capacity as panel chair, some salient themes and questions that emerged from the presentations, and then the floor will open to the audience for questions and comments. The central idea on which this panel discussion is premised is that we are not attending in an expert capacity, to dictate how teachers should engage with TEYL; rather, it is our hope that we can pool our collective experiences with the audience participants, and reach soe understandings by comparing our overlapping perspectives.
So, if you happen to find yourselves in IATEFL this April, please join us. I promise it’s going to be interesting!