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Last month, three members of staff from Modern Languages & Cultures represented the Department in this year’s edition of the Innovative Language Teaching and Learning at University Conference – known as Innoconf16, at the University of York. This year’s conference under the theme ‘Enhancing Employability’, included presentations of case studies and projects on innovative ways to enhance employability through the teaching and learning of Modern Foreign Languages, including English as a Foreign Language.

Dr Jocelyn Wyburd delivers the plenary address at Innoconf 16

Dr Jocelyn Wyburd delivers the plenary address at Innoconf 16

Nelson Becerra, Lecturer in Latin American Spanish Language & Culture, presented his project entitled ‘Linguistic and cultural student exchange using email and Skype – Learning about student life abroad / Preparation for the Year Abroad’. Mr Becerra stressed how this project not only aims to improve all four language skills and prepare students for their time in a foreign country, but furthermore assists with the development of soft skills for future employability such as communication, collaboration, task and time management, intercultural awareness and digital literacy.

Ana Bela Almeida (Lecturer in Portuguese), in collaboration with Dr Idoya Puig (Manchester Metropolitan University), delivered a paper on the Litinclass research project and website. This project, co-created by Ms Almeida, aims at developing new materials and methodologies for the teaching of foreign language through literature. Ms Almeida stressed how of a focus on literary texts in the language class can foster intercultural awareness and encourage reflection on diversity and inclusion.

Nelson Becerra gives his paper on the use of Skype during the year abroad

Nelson Becerra gives his paper on the use of Skype during the year abroad

Ana Reimão, Lecturer in Portuguese, described how she used Twitter to develop students’ digital literacies and encourage independent learning. Her poster presentation foregrounded the potential of social media in promoting collaboration between students in and out of the classroom and enhancing the language learning experience.

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