Special Interest Groups

The Association currently has four Special Interest Groups (SIGS).

The intention is that these groups meet ‘virtually’, using JISCmail, and during AULC general meetings. It is expected that events organised by these interest groups will arrange talks and demonstrations to be held as part of the AULC general meetings. They will report back to the Executive Committee via their convenor. For further information please read:  Defining principles for a SIG and SIG meeting within the AULC.

Management

Convenor: Mark Critchley, Durham University (mark.critchley@durham.ac.uk)
JISCmail email list: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/aulc-management

About the Management and Teaching SIG

The group can meet “virtually” using the JISCmail email list: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/aulc-talk.

This is a sublist of the Association of University Language Centres and focuses on issues of language centre management and administration, teaching, language advising and research in a variety of learning environments (self-access, virtual or classroom).

Meetings will generally be held as parallel sessions during AULC AGMs. Extra meetings can be arranged as the group decides.

 

Objectives of the SIG

  1. To gather data on aspects of good practice in the areas of marketing, human resource management, customer care, resources, quality control, finance, facilities etc, with a view to providing an information service to members
  2. To encourage and promote good practice in language teaching, advising and learning
  3. To inform and apply research into teaching, advising and learning
  4. To share and disseminate information about events which are relevant to the context within which language centres operate

These objectives will be achieved through:

  1. Discussion and exploration of effective ways to exploit resources in a variety of learning environments (e.g. the self-access centre, the electronic environment, the classroom)
  2. Reflection on the professional roles which develop within an ever-changing language centre environment
  3. Interaction with other SIGs in the Association of University Language Centres
  4. Collaboration with existing professional organisations and projects
  5. The organisation of regular meetings and visits to colleagues at language centres

Teaching and learning

Convenor: Andrew Grenfell, Newcastle University (andrew.grenfell@newcastle.ac.uk)
JISCmail email list: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/aulc-tls

About the Teaching and Learning SIG

The group can meet “virtually” using the JISCmail email list: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/aulc-tls.

The aim of the SIG is to help members share and improve their knowledge of technical matters and language learning resources.

Meetings will generally be held as parallel sessions during AULC AGMs. Extra meetings can be arranged as the group decides.

 

Prime areas for this group

  1. Technical innovation
  2. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)
  3. Broadcasting – radio, television, satellite – digital technology, etc.
  4. Language laboratories – analogue, digital and related technologies.
  5. Missed recordings – opportunities to obtain vital radio & TV recordings (Under ERA licence)
  6. Information about new products and technologies
  7. Copyright & licencing issues including negotiation with publishers
  8. Monitoring possible changes in legislation affecting television & radio recording
  9. Cataloguing and database methods and technologies
  10. Staff development

Useful resources

Professional development

Convenor: Chiara Cirillo, University of Reading (c.cirillo@reading.ac.uk)
Jiscmail email list:  https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/aulc-profdevelop

About the Professional development SIG

Objectives of the SIG:

1. To provide a forum for discussion on areas of professional development for teaching and learning support staff of AULC member institutions

2. To promote and exchange good practice in the area of professional development for teaching staff of AULC member institutions

3. To facilitate collaborative networks in the area of professional development among teaching and learning support staff of AULC member institutions

4. To raise the profile of teaching staff of AULC member institutions

5. To support the advancement of scholarly activity in the area of professional development for teaching and learning support staff of AULC member institutions

These objectives will be achieved through:

  • Collecting and sharing information about the profile of teaching and learning support staff, existing CPD activities taking place within AULC member institutions, and needs of members in these areas, through the UCML/AULC Survey and other tools
  • Promoting and facilitating reflection, discussion and sharing of good practice in the area of professional identity, professionalization and CPD for teaching and learning support staff within AULC member institutions, through on-line discussion groups or face-to-face (regional) meetings
  • Encouraging and facilitating sharing of resources and expertise in the area of CPD for teaching and learning support staff within AULC member institutions, through on-line repositories, face-to-face (regional) meetings and institutional visits
  • Encouraging and facilitating collaborative projects in the area of CPD for teaching and learning support staff within AULC member institutions, through identification and sharing of funding sources
  • Developing collaboration with other AULC SIGs, existing professional bodies and projects aimed at raising the profile of staff of AULC member institutions

 

Language for Specific Purposes

Convenor: David Tual, University of Cambridge (dhpt2@cam.ac.uk)
Language for Specific Purposes website

Inter-culturality

Co-convenors: Sonia Cunico, University of Exeter (S.Cunico@exeter.ac.uk) and Katarzyna Lanucha, University of Cambridge (kl333@cam.ac.uk)
JISCmail email list: http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/aulc-intercultural

About the Interculturality SIG

Purpose

A number of language centres and language programmes already deliver courses and other activities related to intercultural competence and communication.  These are often responding to different circumstances, and are being developed independently.   At the same time, Universities are promoting internationalisation and the concept of the global graduate, often aligned to global citizenship and inter-cultural awareness.  There is also no real common understanding as to what inter-cultural competence means in the context of language centre strategies, and how it is taught and measured, nor are there many teachers well trained in such approaches.  As a result, there is a hotchpotch of approaches to inter-culturality, but with an opportunity for language centres to seize the initiative and present ourselves as the natural home within and around which to develop such institution-wide strategies, with languages at the core.  The SIG endeavours to support member institutions in their responses to this situation.

Main questions to consider

  • There is an inherent separation between inter-cultural competence and inter-cultural communication, and language learning in its current form.  There is a disconnect in understanding of, and approaches to, inter-culturality (IC).  The SIG could explore ways to deconstruct this separation through application of new discourse, linking to the multi-cultural language classroom.
  • We aim to keep separate the work of the SIG and IC as taught at a programme level (e.g. MA, BA programmes).  However, modules and short courses can (and should?) be included in our scope.

     

  • We need to develop an intellectual rationale for inter-cultural competence and communication as a key soft skill.
  • We need to consider learning outcomes and modes of measuring achievement that are meaningful rather than symbolic.  We need to better understand how to effectively assess inter-cultural learning.
  • We need to be able to articulate how various inter-cultural awareness activities fit in to this intellectual rationale (both formal and informal).
  • We need to link approaches to inter-cultural learning as currently practised in language centres, EAP/EFL programmes and degree programmes.
  • We need to explain the relationship between terms such as “international”, “inter-cultural”, “multilingual”, “global” etc., and between “citizenship”, “awareness”,” competence”, “skill”, “intelligence” and “literacy”– first of all for ourselves(!)
  • We can promote the benefits of the development of inter-cultural skills, directly linked to institutional strategies for equality, diversity and inclusivity, as well as re-defining aspects of internationalisation (e.g. the “global graduate”)
  • We will need to link teaching strategies and resources to available research (as a repository)
  • We need to develop a clear set of “course” descriptors that allows us to carefully manage learner expectations, and to better promote such courses to those who will most benefit.
  • We have a need for in-house training – for our own teachers, for wider University staff, and for students

Initial terms of reference

The SIG has an initial focus on three primary objectives:

  1. a) To build a repository of research information and articles in the field that is relevant to the above ambitions, and of interest to AULC members;
  2. b) To develop an intellectual rationale for inter-cultural competence and inter-cultural communication, and its relationship with language learning, and extend from this to a rationale for how this can be integrated into the range of activities delivered and facilitated by language centres and language programmes
  3. c) To develop resources and materials to educate and train language centre teachers in delivery of inter-cultural learning outcomes.  This may include creation and sharing of some materials and resources.

These priorities are considered to be those that will individually help each of us in our own planning, in our own Universities. (It is important to bear this in mind – we cannot expect to solve the whole problem, but a SIG is a good way of sharing strategies to solve our own problems individually and collectively).

Interculturality SIG minutes