Seven participants from Roxas City, Capiz were given the rare opportunity to attend the “First Philippine International English Language Conference” held from 31 January to 1 February 2009 at the SMEX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City Philippines. The conference was organized by the British Council Teacher’s Club with Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, and the British Alumni Association.
These participants included six college students and one English Instructor of Filamer Christian College in Roxas City. Said college students come from the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in English and at the same time members and officers of the newly-organized association named as Filamer Association of Majors in English or F.A.M.E. They are Nicole Ledesma-Asombrado, Jonabel Dela Cruz, Dulce Kristina Morales and Jeru Denaga who will finish their studies this March 2009. The other two are Don Sasu and Cel Shama Cabarles, all AB sophomores. Mrs. Ferlee A. Fernando-Soquiño was the only faculty of FCC who attended the British-sponsored conference, who also serves as the adviser of the student organization, FAME, and In-charge of the school’s Speech laboratory.
The conference theme was “English Language in Use: Classroom and Workplace”. The plenary had focused on four main strands namely:
- Language Teaching and Curriculum Development
- Varieties of English
- New Technologies in English Language Teaching
- English in the Workplace
Furthermore, the topics discussed for the breakout sessions included the following:
- Bridging the gap between English taught in the classroom and English needed in the workplace
- Varieties of English and their impact on language learning
- English Teaching methodologies
- Cross Cultural Communication and English
- Needs of the industry and their effects on life-long learning
- Mode of teaching and learning: on-line English teaching
In line with the international dimension of the conference, the British Council invited an international roster of English language specialists who have done the plenaries:
“From the classroom to the workplace: Trends and issues in language course design”
David Nunan is currently the Chair Professor of Applied Linguistics and Director of the English Centre at the University of Hong Kong. Prior to this, he was Director of Research and Development, NCELTR, and Coordinator of Postgraduate Programs in Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He has published over 100 books and articles in the areas of curriculum and materials development, classroom-based research, and discourse analysis.
“World Englishes: Implications for language learning and language teaching”
Kingsley Bolton is Professor of English Linguistics at Stockholm University, where he lectures on language and society and world Englishes. He has published books and articles on sociolinguistics, Asian Englishes, Hong Kong English, Chinese pidgin English, and Chinese secret societies.
“Learning Technologies for the English Language Classroom: Reflections on the pedagogy behind the use of learning technologies”
Mina Patel is an ELT consultant with the Ten Education Consultants, a Malaysia-based consultancy firm that provides consultancy and training in the area of English language teaching for companies, institutions and Ministries of Education in the East Asia Region. She also heads the Research and Symposium Strand of the Regional Access English project of the British Council currently being implemented in 9 countries in East Asia.
“English in the BPO: Issues and challenges“
Jane Lockwood is the head of the English Language Centre at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, having previously headed the Centre for Professional and Business English at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Jane has a PhD in curriculum development and evaluation processes for communication training in workplaces and is the author of the Business Processing Language Assessment Scales (BUPLAS) assessment tool.
The conference was directed at those involved in the teaching of English, including teachers, trainers, supervisors, inspectors, and college students majoring in English; those responsible for educational management, training and strategy; academics in the field of education; and trainers in the BPO sector. It has also offered an exciting opportunity for ELT professionals to share and discuss ideas. The conference attracted more than 900 participants from different countries, making it the biggest English language conference in the Philippines thus far.
Indeed, AB-English students as well as the English teacher from the College of Arts and Sciences of Filamer Christian College were fortunate to have been exposed to such kind of learning experience.
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