PIL - Enheten för universitetspedagogik, IKT och lärande

Understanding ELF (English as a lingua franca) in university lectures

17 december 2018 10:15 – 12:00 L134

At universities worldwide, English as a lingua franca (ELF) is often used by faculty and students who often do not share the same first language. However, variations in language proficiency can lead to uneven levels of student comprehension and learning during ELF lectures unless the lecturer takes special care in their delivery of content. This workshop highlights some of the issues that can affect student learning in ELF lectures and presents findings from an on-campus study that focused on the relationship between instructor output and student uptake during lectures where ELF was used.

At universities worldwide, English is frequently used as a lingua franca between faculty and students who often do not share the same first language. This observation implies that a teacher's ability to deliver material in a comprehensible format, and that students' capacity to recognize and uptake pertinent information, are crucial for both parties to be successful.

When both the teacher and the students are engaged in teaching and learning in English as a lingua franca (ELF), defined as a contact language used between speakers who have different first languages and cultural backgrounds (e.g., Archibald, Cogo & Jenkins, 2011), chances for misunderstandings or non-understandings certainly increase.

Both groups have varying levels of English proficiency, and diverse undergraduate student groups will have varying amounts of background knowledge and experience related to the subject matter. These variations in language proficiency and knowledge can lead to uneven levels of student comprehension and learning during ELF lectures unless the lecturer takes special care in their delivery of content.

This workshop will highlight some of the issues that can affect student learning in ELF lectures, taking into account both teacher and student perspectives. Workshop activities will target macro-level features of lectures such as organization and sign-posting, as well as micro-level features including effective use of examples and reliance on student inferencing ability. The session will also present findings from an on-campus study that focused on the relationship between instructor output and student uptake during lectures where ELF was used.

Two types of data will be presented for consideration: 1) samples of transcribed ELF lectures and 2) student surveys regarding ELF lecture content and comprehensibility. Attendees will raise their awareness of various aspects of communicating via ELF and gain strategies to help improve student learning and satisfaction.

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