Schedule, Teachers' Day 2019


24 September 2019

View schedule as PDF (under construction)


8:45 - 10:30 Keynote: Gianfranco Conti 
Strategies for maximising and optimising the use of curriculum time by working with human forgetting rates (A3 3: Aula)

Language teaching is often a race against time: in the very little contact time available, teachers must secure their learners’ retention and automatization of a wide range of vocabulary, structures and skills sets. To best tackle this challenge, modern foreign language (MFL) teachers must have as thorough as possible an understanding of the key cognitive hurdles that language teaching and learning pose to their students. After raising the audience’s awareness of how finite and transient human information processing is in a foreign language, the speaker will argue that many common curriculum pedagogic practices work against effective L2 learning. He will explain why and propose a range of curriculum design procedures and instructional strategies based on research in cognitive load and human forgetting rates which may strengthen retention and accelerate the onset of fluency.

10:30 - 11:00 
11:15 - 13:00
1.Gianfranco Conti:Patterns first: teaching language in chunks (Bldg. C5 3, Room 4.08)
Single-word teaching slows down the onset of fluency, as the human brain’s ability to process information simultaneously is limited to four or five units at any one time. Hence, teaching multi-word units or chunks of vocabulary rather than discrete words makes much more sense, as it makes language processing and learning easier, especially for students with a less powerful working memory. Moreover, words rarely occur in isolation in oral or written discourse; rather, they are usually involved in a complex network of patterns and relationships. In particular, a distinction is made between lexical patterns (collocations) and grammatical patterns (colligations). The facilitator will advocate an approach to language teaching which puts the learning of collocations and colligations first and views spoken and written fluency as the ability to effortlessly retrieve and assemble routinised chunks of language in real time in the attainment of a wide range of communicative goals. A range of instructional strategies and techniques designed to enhance the retention of chunks will be presented and discussed in the process.
2.Louise Carleton-Gertsch:Making English relevant for students (Bldg. C5 3, Room 1.20)

Today, everyone is talking about the importance of lifelong learning. But how can we instil this mindset in our students if they all they do is cram for the next test? How can we get students to want to improve their English rather than having to do so? In this talk we’ll be looking at ways of motivating students, by personalising learning, making activities more relevant and giving students more control. To this end we’ll be looking at a wide range of authentic and engaging materials and tasks, including digital options.

3.Geoff Tranter:Motivating Learners to Acquire Effective Listening Techniquesfileadmin/upload/fachrichtung/anglistik/dateien_fr_4.3/teachers_day/2019_16th/Presentation_on_Listening_Geoff__Tranter_TD_2019.pdf (Bldg. C5 3, Room U13)

Teachers often complain that their classes never want to listen to the recordings they take to class with them, and they always have problems listening to authentic texts. But is that not surprising when you consider that there is only one place in the world where up to 35 people have to listen to the same text, which incidentally they have not been able or allowed to choose themselves, at the same time, without being able to stop the recording, often without any idea why they are listening apart from the fact that they know that the person playing the recording is probably going to ask questions afterwards and will undoubtedly expect one or two of them to come up with the same answer that that person already decided is the correct answer! How motivating is that? If our aim is to train listening skills, the first priority must be to create a positive attitude on the part of the listeners by putting them in the same kind of context and situation that they are in when they listen to any kind of spoken text outside the classroom. Then there is a higher degree of probability that the listening skills that they possess in their own language can be transferred to the second language.

This is the starting point for a workshop in which authentic listening texts will be used to train authentic listening skills using authentic listening activities.

4.Joannis Kaliampos:Leveraging digital affordances to make language learning stick (Bldg. C5 3, Room 2.09)

How can you integrate digital technologies in your language classes productively to create cultural artefacts, participate in target language discourse, develop identities, and make an impact on one’s community? We will explore these questions in the workshop using the example of Teach About U.S., an open access blended-learning platform that hosts intercultural language projects on sustainability and political science with a special focus on American studies. We will review and try out hands-on examples of digital task formats and easy-to-use Web 2.0 tools (e.g., YouTube, online glossaries, chat and forum, online quizzes, blogs, social media). The workshop will also provide participants with sample learner texts from previous project cycles exemplifying how the aforementioned tasks and tools can be implemented and evaluated in your classroom.

All presented curricula and accompanying materials can be used free of charge on the platform itself as well as in the form of printable handouts.

5.Owain Llewellyn: Sustainable Learning: How can we create autonomous readers? (Bldg. C5 3, Room 2.06)

Have you ever heard someone say they don't like reading after being forced to at school? Owain will look at applying techniques to encourage learner autonomy by addressing the following:

  • Establishing just what interests students in terms of topics, genres and styles. He will argue that an approach similar to that used in marketing can be applied to an educational setting.
  • The importance of choice and encouraging learner autonomy. He will showcase activities for this in a classroom setting.
  • How to effectively embed reading in meaning, context and language scaffolding. Both high- and low-tech methods will be explored.

The session will explore and share a range of practical ideas, including how modern technologies can encourage reading motivation, and how the issue of motivation in reading is approached in a different sector of education. The focus will be on concrete materials and practical ideas that teachers can use in class with students in grades 8-10.

6.Christine Ringwald: “Does everyone understand?” How formative assessment can support student learning (Bldg. C5 3, Room E20)

“Does everyone understand?” While most students stay quiet when a teacher asks this question, a few answer “yes” and the teacher continues as it seems that learning has occurred. However, the test results at the end of the unit show a lack of understanding of course content among some students.

In order to prevent similar situations, formative assessment – also referred to as assessment for learning – can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students prior to the final examination and, on this basis, to adjust instruction and improve student learning throughout the teaching unit.

This workshop aims to provide participants with (1) background knowledge on the purpose and potential of formative assessment, as well as (2) techniques and tools to check student understanding, to enhance learning, and to develop students’ own “learning to learn” skills (peer- and self-assessment).

13:00 - 14:00 
WORKSHOPSSecond Round (See First Round [above] for descriptions)
14:15 - 16:00 
1.Gianfranco Conti:Patterns first: teaching language in chunks(Bldg. C5 3, Room 4.08)
2.Louise Carleton-Gertsch:Making English relevant for students (Bldg. C5 3, Room 1.20)
3.Geoff Tranter:Motivating Learners to Acquire Effective Listening Techniques (Bldg. C5 3, Room U13)
4.Joannis Kaliampos:Leveraging digital affordances to make language learning stick (Bldg. C5 3, Room 2.09)
5.Owain Llewellyn: Sustainable Learning: How can we create autonomous readers? (Bldg. C5 3, Room 2.06)
6.Christine Ringwald: “Does everyone understand?” How formative assessment can support student learning (Bldg. C5 3, Room E20)
16:00 - 16:30Join us again in the Aula and win great prizes!


View schedule as PDF (under construction, not yet available)

Location: Saarland University

Keynote and event "home"Bldg. A3.3 (Aula)
WorkshopsSee above


Book exhibition

Building A3 3 (Aula)


(See university map)