IATEFL Liverpool 2019 is expected to be an amazing event where language educators all around the world meet. The conference and exhibition will be taking place at the ACC Liverpool, with some sessions developing at the Jurys Inn Hotel, which is on the other side of a pedestrianized plaza.
Our co-founder Armanda Stroia has been selected to deliver a talk about a very insightful topic: Language teaching to make a difference: soft skills in action. We’re sure that you’ll enjoy this topic. Here’s the summary for further information. See you soon!
The so-called ‘soft skills’ or ‘transversal skills’ (Malik, Suhandi, Permanasari 2017), mostly focused on higher education, are not yet clearly crystallized in research for young language learners. Thus, there is a critical need for tools and teaching materials that would help educators to change the preconceived ideas of soft skills as extra skills, not teachable, not measurable, not important.
This talk aims to examine why should language teachers develop soft skills in primary and lower-secondary classes and how can they practically achieve this goal. First, I will outline the theoretical background behind the latest ELT trends supporting soft skills (social and emotional learning, neuro-cognitive science, whole brain teaching etc.). Then the talk will explore the best practices to embed soft skills into daily language teaching, with a focus on critical and creative thinking, communication and negotiation, work ethics. For example, why not develop responsibility and a goals-oriented mindset by providing students with learning checklists so that they can become responsible for keeping track of their progress? Why not exploit the potential of digital apps and vocabulary games with social impact to develop empathy and sensitivity to global issues like poverty, hunger? With platforms like freerice.com supported by United Nations World Food Programme for each correct answer, rice is being donated to children from underdeveloped countries to help reach zero hunger and thus make a difference in their lives. Participants will take home a range of practical activities and tools that can help them enhance both language and soft skills.
Finally, I will illustrate some meaningful and practical learning activities designed by blending social and emotional learning with real-life tasks and language aims, according to the core principles of what I love to call the INSPIRE framework: I- Involve pupils (through Project-based learning, Whole brain teaching, Total Physical Response etc.), N- Nurture their social and emotional Needs, S – Spark their confidence and Self-management skills (as decision making, critical thinking, willingness to learn, self-discipline), P – Prepare pupils for life with authentic problem-solving tasks, I – Ignite their Independent learning mindset, R – Raise awareness on Responsible interaction (cooperation, conflict handling, tolerance, intercultural skills), E – Empower pupils through values (empathy, eco-friendly attitude, acting ethically etc).