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 Job Opportunities in Ireland with German Language Skills: Information and Networking Event

Thursday 6 February 2020

In cooperation with the German Embassy Dublin and the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce, UCD Applied Language Centre and UCD Career Services Centre hosted a very succesful information and networking event on job opportunities with German language skills in Ireland. Students got the chance to find out where German language skills can take them with first-hand insights from corporate and public officials and benefitted from networking opportunities over a German brunch in the UCD Global Lounge.

EALTA 2019 conference

31 May - 02 June 2019

The 16th European Association of Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) conference 2019 was hosted by the Applied Language Centre in UCD over the June Bank Holiday weekend (May 31-June 2). The event was attended by 220 participants from 34 countries. The plenary speakers, Talia Isaacs, Detmar Meurers and Michael T. Kane delivered outstanding plenaries on critical developments in language testing and assessment. The pre-conference workshops, SIG meetings and parallel presentations were of a particularly high standard and covered changing aspects of language testing and assessment such as classroom based assessment, language testing for migrants, eye tracking studies and much more. Speaker videos and slides will soon be available on the EALTA website (http://www.ealta.eu.org/).

Eaquals International Conference 2019, Madrid, Spain

April 11th - April 13th 2019

The annual Eaquals International Conference takes place in April each year and is open to all, members and non-members alike.

Attended by delegates from over 30 countries, the conference attracts directors and owners, academic and business managers, language teachers and those involved in course and assessment design.

Fiona French, our Academic English coordinator, attended this year’s EAQUALS International Conference, which took place in Madrid. There was a wide range of speakers from around the world, reflecting the now global (rather than formerly European) nature of the organisation.

The presentation topics ranged from such diverse areas as Measuring digital marketing success to Developing life skills and learning through play. The more practical ones from the Academic English programme’s perspective included, using the CEFR for Course Design and Assessment, peer collaboration, and an overview of the LAP framework (a new Academic English teacher competencey framework being developed by EAQUALS). The LAP is a particularly useful new document as it recognises the differing demands and competencies between language teaching for general purposes and language teaching for tertiary level academic study.

A conference highlights was an all day Perfomance Management workshop, led by Maureen McGarvey from IH London. Maureen related theories of management structure and best practice to the language teaching context. She did this with clarity and humour, in a relatable and helpful way.

Fiona was also fortunate enough to have a 1:1 meeting with Lou McLaughlin, EAQUALS Executive Director.  Currently, only about 10% of EAQUALS accredited institutions are language centres. The meeting reassured us, as the academic English programme prepares for EAQUALS accreditation, the EAQUALS organisation recognises our specific context and can thus assess and advise us accroding to the criteria in relation to our own programmes.

UCD Applied Language Centre coordination of English Language modules at BDIC and Chang’an University 

Since September 2018, Dr Alex Runchman, Senior Applied Language Teaching Fellow at UCD’s Applied Language Centre, has been coordinating English language modules at Beijing-Dublin International College (BDIC) and on the new dual degree programme in Civil Engineering Infrastructure between UCD and Chang’an University, Xi’an. Both projects represent a significant extension of the ALC’s involvement in UCD’s international partnerships and offer the potential to develop lasting relationships with colleagues in China.

BDIC has made a significant investment in English this year. The team of international English teachers has grown from just 6 in 2017/18 to 16 this year. New modules have been introduced at Stage 2 in Academic Writing and Communication Skills (designed by Dr Stergiani Kostopoulou last summer) and English for Specific Academic Purposes. With a focus on the productive skills of writing and speaking, both of these modules aim to equip students with the language and study skills they need in order to complete a degree through the medium of English. The first introduces students to the process of academic writing – from generating ideas to synthesizing source materials to editing – while the second gives students the opportunity to produce a research essay in their own discipline. The interactive teaching approach to both modules helps students to develop critical thinking skills and to build the confidence they need to participate in seminars and give academic presentations. It is hoped that these developments in English provision will be reflected in improved IELTS scores and graduation rates.

At Chang’an University, the English team currently consists of six Chinese teachers and two international teachers. In future years, more teachers will come onboard. The Stage One modules are Introduction to University Studies and IELTS Preparation; at Stage Two, students will take the same modules as at BDIC. Working with Chinese teachers has presented opportunities for teacher training: Dr Runchman has held two successful training sessions so far and, hopefully, teachers will come to Dublin over the summer for further workshops. The teachers are enthusiastic about learning communicative task-based approaches, and the students are responding well. There is potential for extending the provision of teacher training to teachers from other Chinese universities.  

The modules will be reviewed and adapted at regular intervals according to the students’ and teachers’ needs. The longer-term plan is that they will provide a broad template for how English is taught on UCD’s international partnership programmes over the coming years.

UCD Applied Language Centre

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