Assoc. Prof. Le Van Canh

OUT OF WATER FISH CANNOT SURVIVE: SITUATING TESOL IN THE WIDER SOCIAL CONTEXT OF LIFE

Le Van Canh

What is TESOL context in the second decade of the 21st century? To answer this question, we need to consider how global technologies, and its global information networks have dramatically changed the way people use language in their daily lives, resulting in the emergence of new ‘literacy practices’ which did not exist before. Regretably, this has had little influence on the teaching and learning of English as an additional language in the classrooms in many countries including Vietnam. Consequently, learners do not see any relevance of learning the language to their real-life use, thereby lacking positive feelings toward instructed English language learning.

My talk locates the field of TESOL within a broad and complex social context marked by dramatic and dynamic technological and socio-economic changes that have taken place over the few last decades in many countries in the world. Drawing on different theoretical perspectives including ‘new literacies studies’, sociocultural approaches to language learning, and ecological approaches to language learning, my main argument in this talk is to insist that language cannot be separated from the social practice in which it is used, and that language is learned more effectively when learned within the context of social practices. Digital literacy as an approach to language education is argued as having a high potential for situating classroom practices in the wider social context of language use.  The suggested approach is illustrated with practical classroom activities that can be used with learners at all levels of education. Through these activities, teachers can see how to build upon out of class learning or ‘real world’ digital literacies in designing classroom learning tasks. 

 About the presenter

Le Van Canh is associate professor in Applied Linguistics at Vietnam National University, Hanoi, where he teaches and supervises graduate students in TESOL and Applied Linguistics. His research centres on Vygostkian sociocultural perspectives on teacher professional development. He has been invited as keynote speaker at several national and international conferences both within and outside Vietnam. Also, he has been serving as a reviewer for a number of professional journals including TESOL Quaterly, TESOL Journal, Teaching and Teacher Education, and Language Assessment Quarterly. His most recent publications are Building teacher capacity in English language teaching in Vietnam: Research, policy and practice (edited volume) published by Routledge and Remapping the knowledge-base of language teacher education: A Vietnamese perspective on Language Teaching Research.

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