Out-of-class English language learning: a whole of college approach?

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Date: 8th May 2019

Time: 11:20 – 12:05

Room: Parkview 2

Presented By : Dr Phil Chappell,  Professor Phil Benson and Professor Lynda Yates 

Type “reasons to study English in Australia” into any search engine, and the chances are high that you will be referred to web pages that extol the virtues of quality language education, opportunities to work while studying here, and a vast range of social and recreational activities readily available, all with the underlying premise of a life abroad immersed in the English language. Indeed, Australia is the third most popular education destination in the world, attracting students from all parts of Asia, the Americas, Europe and beyond. Research indicates the realities of a temporary sojourn in Australia for English language students are quite different to what many may imagine. Data from student surveys show high satisfaction levels with experiences in their English colleges, however, the same cannot be said for life away from the college. Our research shows that students typically have a geographically confined setting in which they spend most of their time, and the social networks within these settings often limit the students’ opportunities to use, practice and learn English. In this workshop, participants will examine case studies of international English language students and focus on identifying key themes related to out-of-class English use. The focus will then be on developing a range of strategies to support students’ English language learning out-of-class. We will conclude by discussing the question posed in the title of this workshop – should this be a whole of college approach, where everyone is responsible – teachers, student services, academic managers, accommodation coordinators and so on? If so, what responsibilities can we assign to each department? If not, whose responsibility is it? Participants can expect to gain greater understandings of the complex lives of international English language learners away from the college, and greater understandings of a range of support strategies for improving opportunities for out-of-class English language learning.