On April 01, 2021, the English Language Center at UTAS-Ibri, invited teachers from across the world to join a seminar on Contemporary Strategies in ELT. The speakers of the event Ms. Hanaa Khamis from Egypt and Dr. Luciana Kinoshita Barros from Brazil, shared their views on interesting topics, which shed light on various dimensions of ELT.
Ms Hanaa Khamis demonstrated the benefits of e-portfolios to both students and teachers in her presentation titled Collect, Reflect and Assess with E-portfolios.The presentation highlighted the strengths and functionalities of e-portfolios and shared some user-friendly online tools to create them.
She defined an e-portfolio as a collection of student/teacher artifacts in the form of documents, images, audio and video. It functions as a digital repository that can record all student/teacher products or showcase their works. E-portfolios act as self-reminders and assessment tools. She also suggested that it can well be used for formative or summative assessment purposes.
Hanaa Khamis is an ESOL practitioner and TESOL trainer who has experimented with instructional technology since 1999. Currently, she is part of TESOL Gulf Board of Directors. She earned an MA in TESOL from the American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt in 2007. Her thesis focused on communication strategies among EFL university learners in online interactions. Her research and training interests mainly include pedagogy, technology and assessment.
Another speaker who graced the event was Dr.Luciana Kinoshita Barros, who spoke on one of the major components of higher education: Initial Teacher Education. Sheintroduced the audience to Initial Teacher Education in Brazil as a Higher Education component practiced at UNIFESSPA through her presentation titled Multimodal Narratives to Motivate Student-Teachers. She puts it as an experience of a public university in the Brazilian Amazon.
Dr Luciana described “Initial Teacher Education in Brazil” as a component of higher education. She stated that at UNIFESSPA, some student-teachers learn to make multimodal narratives to share their beliefs about learning to become an English as a Foreign Language teacher. They have the opportunity to reflect on their role in the learning process and learn with each other's beliefs. According to them, free expression of their beliefs seems to contribute to the students' motivation and self-awareness in the teacher education process.
Dr Abdulsalam, the head of the English Language Centre, appreciated the efforts exerted by the Professional Development Committee, who strives hard to connect the ELC staff through webinars to the ELT dynamics across the world.
Dr. Sultan Al Ghafri, a man of many achievements heads English Language Programs at the English Language Centre of UTAS –Ibri. In his presentation, he introduced his audience to a unique realm of teaching and learning replete with interesting approaches that motivate and persuade students to become active learners. A self-explanatory title, “Student Active Learning(SAL),” centered on an active learning approach that engages students in the learning process. He believes SAL is a better way to pave the way for learners to perform learning tasks independently and understand. According to him, SAL encourages students to become more responsible for their learning by giving them the opportunity to share influence with the lecturer and become more involved in teaching-learning process.
Dr. Sultan also admitted that Applying SAL approach is challenging for teachers but essential. Teachers are expected to be innovative and customize their teaching methods and make online teaching meaningful and productive.
The English Language Centre in particular and international audience at large extended appreciation and lauded the efforts of Dr Sultan for his lofty contribution.
Dr. Ethel Reyes-Chua is presently the Dean of Emilio Aguinaldo College-Cavite, Philippines, School of Education and the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Director. In the teaching and learning process, she enjoys undertaking action research including motivational methods in teaching, reflective teaching, professional development, and other practices. She organizes and runs national and international academic workshops and conferences. Dr. Chua loves discussing her research work.
On 6th January 2021, she in a webinar discussed different Online Teaching Resources (OTRs) that will facilitate the teaching and learning process. These OTRs are categorized in these formats: (1) As Learning Management System (2) Assessment Method; and (3) Survey to motivate students in virtual learning environment. Some of these OTRs are open resources and are free of charge.
At the end of the webinar, Dr Abdusalam, the Head of Center, and Mr Faisal Shamali expressed words of gratitude and appreciated Dr. Ethel Reyes-Chua for sharing her experiences.
Automatic Negative Thoughts(ANTs) can be conscious or subconscious and occur as a response to everyday actions and events. These thoughts are overwhelming, irrational, self-defeating, and may fuel social anxiety disorder.
The English language centre at UTAS- Ibri hosted a webinar titled Managing Automatic Negative Thoughts on March 18, 2021.
Sandra Stein introduced her audience to various vital concepts that aid an individual in overcoming negative automatic thoughts.
Sandra Stein holds a Master's degree in Education in Teaching English as a Second Language. She is a senior instructor at the American University of Kuwait, teaching both English and Education courses. As an educator for thirty years, Sandra has 25 years of experience working with people with learning difficulties.
Ms Sandra, in her session, focused on scientifically sound methods that help manage ANTs: The positive posture method and the four-step method designed by Dr Daniel Amen to recognize ANTs, determine the kinds of ANTs, different ways to challenge the ANTs and turn them into positive thoughts. She also mentioned the pivotal role of self-awareness and self-development in eliminating negative thoughts.The takeaway of the session was rich and informative. The tips shared were well received by the audience and they extended their heartfelt appreciation.
The English Language Centre lauded the efforts of Ms. Sandra Stein and the Professional Development Committee for sharing an informative session on ANTs.
The recent pandemic times have compelled the education sector to seek new teaching methods to instill confidence and sustain learners' interest. Dr.MobinaRahnama delivered an exciting talk on Online Motivation on 18.2.2021. The English Language Centre, UTAS-Ibri, hosted the webinar for the ELC staff.
DrMobina holds a Ph.D. degree in TEFL/TESOL and she is a researcher as well. Her writing credits include authoring many papers and a book on English language teaching and feedback. Her main areas of professional interest are feedback, teacher education and teacher development.
Dr.Mobina emphasized the dire need for meaningful lessons and a conducive learning environment for the online teaching model. She was upright enough to state that chaotic, unsupportive, meaningless classes cannot boost motivation; they nip the zeal and inner drive in the bud and make learning monotonous. She also shared five quick tips with teachers to motivate second language learners. Dr.Mobina opined that teaching English to international students is a daunting task for an English teacher and it becomes inevitable for the language teachers to double their efforts since learners may constantly resort to their native language or the official language of the country or area where they live.
She concluded her talk with a hopeful note that the opening scene of endless English chatting and discussion among our learners does not have to be a dream. When these tips are put into action, we can watch it become our reality!
The English Language centre commended the efforts of the speaker and appreciated the contribution of the passion of the Professional Development Committee team.
The professional development Committee of The English Language Centre at the UTAS-Ibri, hosted a webinar on Deconstructing Media and Decentering Perspectives: Teaching Media Literacy in the EAP Classroom.
The speaker, Professor Anastasia Jean, shared perspectives on teaching media literacy in the EAP classroom.
Professor Anastasia Khawaja (she/her) is an ESL senior instructor at INTO USF and an adjunct professor in the humanities and English departments at The University of South Florida. Her research engages with global peace education and breaks the binary understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict by exploring language use and language representation.
Professor Anastasia Jean made the audience conversant with different teaching media literacy methods for EAP (English for Academic Purposes) students. Her talk underlined the techniques of challenging students to deconstruct various media pieces from all over the world. She also explained how practicing this deconstruction can also help to decenter one side of a story and encourage students to understand multiple perspectives from intellectual and cultural standpoints.
She emphasized that the approaches mentioned are helpful in classrooms with students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Prof Anastasia’s talk was novel and was a new platform for the interested. Her interaction with the audience was fruitful, engaging and brought many new aspects of media literacy to limelight.
The English Language Centre thanked Prof Anastasia for her commendable efforts for her interesting talk.
The English Language Centre at the UTAS-Ibri hosted a webinar titled, What About Writing?, on January, 26, 2021. Professor Stephen Krashen shared many interesting views from “ Secrets of Writing,” a paper published in Research in Language and Education: An International Journal (RiLE).
Prof Krashen has published 540 articles on a wide range of topics related to language acquisition, neurolinguistics and bilingual education. He is the most frequently cited scholar in the field of language education. Many of his publications are available for free download at sd.krashen.com and some of them are posted on ResearchGate. He is best known for the Comprehension Hypothesis, which states that one cannot acquire language by speaking or writing or by studying grammar rules but by comprehensible input, that is, through listening and reading.
He shared various secrets of writing with the language teachers. He confessed that he owes the wisdom he retains, to the great writers like Peter Elbow, Kurt Vonnegut, Neil Simon, Ernest Hemingway, Irving Wallace, Robert Boice and many others. He expressed his interest in sharing his wisdom with a profound belief that it will contribute to the knowledge base in Research in Language and Education.
Some of his research-based observations like more writing will not result in better writing form; writing form results from reading, writing can help us solve problems and make us smarter revision is the core of “the composing process;” recognizing that something is wrong is the invitation to revision and progress. Encourage incubation. : Daily regular writing, which means daily regular blocks and progress, made the audience ponder their teaching styles and methods.
The speaker believed that those who read more, write better, spell better, have larger vocabularies, better grammar and more acceptable writing style. He was of the profound belief that writing made people smarter and mentioned that revising should be given utmost importance as it forms the core of the composing process.
He highlighted the importance of encouraging incubation and was in line with Wallas and Poincare that incubation requires “ the working of the subconscious mind” and explained how creativity results from engaging in the composing process and progress. He labelled the different phases as: write, block, break/incubate/dissolve block, and then write some more and run into more blocks.
Prof.Krashen concluded with a thought-provoking observation that stated that the “regular” aspect of daily writing is a good writer's secret. He responded to many interesting queries and appreciated the interest showed by the audience.
The ELC staff was thankful to Professor Krashen for introducing them to the secrets of writing and were expressed their interest in knowing more.
The ELC head of Centre appreciated the efforts of Professional Development Committee for organizing the event that had many takaways for the ELC staff.
Professionals with commendable language skills are always sought after. The clarity in communication at the workplace is an essential prerequisite for the smooth functioning of a system.
The English Language Center of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences – Ibri, conducted a five-day English language training programme titled 'English for Workplace,' for UTAS-Ibri professionals. A five-member team volunteered to offer English language training from January 3, 2021, to January 7, 2021.
Dr. Mohssen Amiri, Ms. Heba Gul Qureshi, Ms. Maria Saleem, Ms. Anuradha and Mr. Dennis Primne Corbita conducted two-hour online sessions on speaking and writing skills. The focus was on formal communication, email netiquette, formal and informal vocabulary development and report-writing skills. The programme was well received and much appreciated. The sessions generated interest among the participants and there were requests for similar courses.
The head of the English Language Centre, Dr. Abdulsalam Maktoum Ali Al Manthari, awarded certificates to the presenters and participants and lauded the efforts of the team.
Research skills enable people to identify a problem, collect informational resources that can help address the problem, evaluate these resources for quality and relevance and develop practical solutions.
The ELC Research and Consultancy Committee conducted a webinar on January 7, 2021, titled Importance of Research and Research Projects: An overview.
The English Language Centre faculty Dr. Priya M.V and Mr. Jabez Syam shared the presentation during the webinar.
Dr. Priya underlined the significance and role of research in academics and society at large. She emphasized the twin roles of academics at universities: teach and research. She listed the themes identified for research: English Language Teaching, Linguistics, Translation Studies and pedagogy during the presentation. She also highlighted that the teaching commmunity should take the lead to encourage students to be research-oriented and create awareness among the undergraduate students.
Mr.Jabez introduced the audience to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation(MoHERI)) and shared the procedures and themes to research on, to be eligible for RG and URG. He explained how the Research Grant Program encourages amateur and seasoned researchers to develop research proposals that edge the knowledge-based economy from various dimensions. He also stressed the role of faculty mentors in shaping the potential students' research-based careers.
He also provided details about the funded projects and stated that the project's total budget was capped at OMR 1500 and mentioned that it should not exceed one academic year.
The ELC Research and Consultancy Committee awarded Dr. Priya and Mr. Jabez Syam certificates of appreciation and lauded their efforts for conducting an informative webinar.
Academic research is concerned with abstracting from explicit problems and contexts to develop generally applicable theories that help us understand the world. The focus of academic research is often concerned with broad-based questions, which provide solutions to various situations and contexts. Academic researchers reflect on the inferences of innovations to refine knowledge that will stand the test of time and apply to various situations.
As an initiative to encourage academic research, the English Language Centre Research and Consultancy Committee at the UTAS-Ibri organized a webinar on Thursday, January 7, 2021, titled 'Writing High-quality Research Proposals.' The webinar covered a discussion on the fundamental considerations in writing a research proposal, including its purpose and the elements.
Dr. Lyzyl Lopez-Banuag shared her views on three objectives: identifying a researchable area in the field aligned to English Language Teaching, critically analyzing the elements of a high-quality research proposal and studying the criteria and standards for writing a high-quality research proposal.
A rich exchange of technical know-how on the essential elements of high-quality research proposals such as: writing the introduction and rationale, literature review, research questions, scope and limitations, and the research methodology was thought-provoking and sparked interest in the audience.
Dr. Lyzyl Lopez-Banuag is the Head of the Center for Teaching and Learning of Philippine Normal University in Mindanao. She is also a faculty of the Graduate Studies and Teacher Education Research in PNU-M. Her passion for research is evident in the number of conferences where she shared her studies in the Philippines and abroad.
The ELC Research and Consultancy Committee awarded Dr. Lyzyl Lopez-Banuag a certificate of appreciation and acknowledged her efforts.