Speaker: Dr. Anna Stetsenko

Date of talk: Mar 29, 2017

Title of presentation: Agency and Commitment to a Sought-after Future: Reclaiming Activism in Research and Theorizing


Recent advances in research and theories at the intersection of psychology and education have focused on situated, dynamic and culturally mediated processes. However, these approaches rarely address the ethical and axiological dimensions of the dominant onto-epistemologies and, as a result, do not offer sufficient grounds on which to resist current marketization of science and education. This talk will discuss a broadly dialectical-transformative approach, in expanding upon Vygotsky’s project, to address this gap. This approach offers a unique worldview underwritten by an activist stance premised on ideology of equality and social justice. The focus will be on how agency and commitment to a sought-after future are indispensable constituents of theorizing, methodology, and onto-epistemology that always entail and demand activist stance.



Speaker: Dr. Peter Smagorinsky

Date of talk: Feb 22, 2017

Title of presentation: Towards a social understanding of Mental Health


Dr. Smagorinsky will discuss his most recent work in neurodiversity which takes a social perspective on “disability” and “disorder,” viewing them as relational and situational rather than fixed in pathology. This talk will center on “mental health” as both whole-body and environmental and challenge assumptions about how to construct satisfying life pathways for the neurodiverse population. (See attached flyer for full abstract.) 




Speaker: Dr. Olga Esteve

Date of talk: Jan 30, 2017

Title of presentation: "Helping Teachers to Reconceptualize their Teaching Practice through the Barcelona CBI-based Formative Model”


In the field of language teacher education in Europe, over the past years an increasing number of researchers and language teacher educators have engaged in a process for reshaping language teacher education programs in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice and promote a more meaningful appropriation of the pedagogical principles underlying the new official curricula for additional language learning. If we focus exemplarily on the Spanish region where I am based, i.e. Barcelona, this reshaping process has already had a considerable effect on teacher education programs, following the introduction of a new formative model (Esteve et al, in press). This model is based on a sociocultural perspective of language teacher development  (Johnson, 2009; Johnson and Golombek, 2016) and is carried out through an external dialogic mediation drawn both on the Vygotskian double stimulation principle, as applied by Engström (2011), and on the principles of Concept- based Instruction (CBI), as developed by Galperin (1992). During this process (student) teachers find their own pre-understandings about additional language teaching and learning when confronted with the scientific concepts related to the new pedagogical approach which also draws on Concept-based Instruction (Lantolf & Poehner, 2014; Negueruela 2008,2013): CBI for CBI.  In my presentation I will discuss how the CBI-principles are integrated into the design of the teacher education programs I have developed in the Barcelona region to prepare teachers to implement effective language instruction in schools. Details of program design and how teachers transferred and transformed what they learned in the teacher education program will be presented and discussed.



Speaker: Dr. Dwight Atkinson

Date of talk: Oct 03, 2016

Title of presentation: Homo pedagogicus: The evolutionary nature of second language teaching


Second language teacher educators tirelessly teach others how to teach. But how often do we actually define teaching? Without explicit, focused definitional activity on this most fundamental second language teaching (SLT) concept, it remains implicit and intuitive--the opposite of clear, productive understanding.

I therefore explore the definitional question "What is teaching?" in this paper. First, I establish the claim that the SLT literature rarely defines teaching explicitly or in any detail, most likely because of its technical "how-to" focus, and that this is a problem. Second, I introduce the idea of teaching as evolutionarily adaptive behavior (TEAB)--as existing fundamentally because it enables individual and group adaptation to our extremely varied and complex natural and social environments. Perhaps surprisingly in this context, TEAB is not uniquely human; therefore, third, I briefly summarize research on animal teaching to sharpen the focus on what may be special in human teaching. Fourth, I describe teaching as studied by anthropologists--as it varies across the broad tapestry of human societies and cultures. It turns out that classroom teaching is just one form, and a relatively rare and recent one, in our evolutionary past. Fifth and finally, I employ the results of this definitional exercise to examine, in an exploratory way, what happens in SLT environments, at least as I know them.



Speaker: Dr. Ken Hyland (Gil Watz memorial Lecture)

Date of talk: Sep 21, 2016

Title of presentation: International Publishing and the Myth of Linguistic Disadvantage


English is now more than a choice of language for those following an academic career; with globalization and growing managerialism in Higher Education, it has come to designate research of a high quality worthy of a place in peer-reviewed journals. Accompanying this dominance of English, however, are questions of communicative inequality and the possible disadvantages or even prejudice inflicted on L2 English-speaking academics.  In this paper I critically examine the evidence for linguistic disadvantage by a review of global publishing patterns, author attitudes, case studies and research into linguistic advantage together with my own interviews with EAL scholars in HK and analysis of journal peer reviews.  I show that while there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for disadvantage, framing this in terms of a coarse native/non-native distinction has serious problems and may serve to discourage non-Anglophone authors and perpetuate a deficit view of their writing.  The disciplinary conventions of disciplinary writing in English make serious demands on all academic writers, but these are less important than a lack of resources and research writing expertise.  So while a hindering factor in getting published, language is not a terminally decisive one.