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National Associate Lecturers in Languages Conference Part 3: my talks

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 22 May 2016, 16:40

I also gave some talks at this conference.  The first one was on the use of extracts of student assignments as a teaching aid.  The talk seem to provide for interesting discussion from the audience with suggestions of how and when they can be used.

The second talk was on the use of podcasts.  Again, there were interesting comments from the audience but perhaps it was less successful as a talk.  Perhaps it was not as clearly focused in terms of the balance between the practicalities and the principles.

The slides for the talk on student extracts are attached.

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National Associate Lecturers in Languages Conference Part 2, Stephen Bax

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 28 Apr 2016, 14:35

The second talk at the conference was by Stephen Bax, a fairly recently appointed professor at the OU.

He gave some background on his experience and interests.  He has experience of working in Arabic speaking and also studied the language. It seems that this interest in Arabic and the Arabic speaking world might become influential within the OU in the near future - I hope so as it is clearly an interesting and important part of the world.

He discussed his interest in languages more generally and referred to the mysterious language, Voynich (the name sounds Russian as "voina" means "war" but I think this is just a coincidence).  Apparently, it still has not been decoded although he has attempted parts of the manuscript.

He then referred to his role in encouraging research and referred to the important research that the OU is engaged in.  This is highlighted at http://www.open.ac.uk/creet/main/research-themes/language-and-literacies  He suggested that research is not intrinsically complicated although some of the details are.  He explained about his interest in eye movements while reading.  He referred to some very sophsticated equipment that can track these movements and showed some of the results demonstrating that effective readers move around a text rather than in a linear way.  This is quite familiar in principle from what I have read on reading as a skill but it would be useful to know more of the detail.

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National Associate Lecturers in Languages Conference Part 1, Klaus-Dieter Rosdade

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I was at the NALLC conference this weekend and found it an interesting and worthwhile occasion.

The first talk was by Klaus-Dieter Rosade.  He emphasised the joy of language learning and also argued that there is a clear link between the senses and language learning.  For example, he described how he had strong associations between smells he associated with Mexico (eg corn tortillas and beans) and the Spanish language.  At first, I felt sceptical about this as the smells are associated with countries rather than languages but perhaps there is a sensory link between certain smells and certain varieties of languages.  For example, I would associate certain smells with Qinghai province in China - perhaps chilli and mutton and different smells with Guangzhou - perhaps soya and oyster sauce and a more vegetal smell.  This might link to the different languages and varieties of Chinese spoken in these places.

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