We are living in exciting times! As language teachers, we are in a privileged position to open up our learners to new ideas and instil important human values while at the same time teaching them a new language that will provide access to a whole new global world! Many of you are probably already aware of the notion of integrating academic content and language learning; that is, integrating non-linguistic and linguistic aims in sustainable ways that do not compromise the development of either skillset or overburden us as educators. In this blog, and especially in my ELTOC presentation with Oxford University Press on February 28, I would like to introduce you to the idea of using the same interweaving of linguistic and nonlinguistic goals in your language teaching—but in this case, the nonlinguistic goals include emotional self-regulation, intercultural competence, and citizenship.
According to the Position Paper, Global Skills: Creating Empowered Citizens for the 21st Century (2019), emotional self-regulation is the ability to recognize, identify, and understand one’s emotions and their functions. It includes an awareness of regulation strategies for managing emotions appropriately and it is a basis for well-being. Well-being involves being able to find supportive social connections and a sense of purpose. It also entails awareness of and engagement in positive physical and mental health practices.
However, added benefits surface beyond mere human contentment when teachers focus on their learners’ emotions. Recent research suggests that attending to the socio-emotional domains of the whole person enhances learning in traditional subjects and academic achievement and promotes positive capabilities in the future workplace (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Steca, & Malone, 2006; Sammons et al., 2007 Judge & Bono, 2001; Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton, 2001). This means that when we interweave well-being goals in our language teaching, we actually improve learning as well! How amazing is that! If you would like to find out more information about this marriage of well-being with language learning, what we are calling ‘Positive Language Education’, click here.
For ELTOC 2020, I am going to provide hands-on teaching ideas for developing well-being and emotional self-regulation that include, among others:
*Working with learners’ signature strengths (for a preview: https://www.viacharacter.org/character-strengths)
- Gratitude and counting blessings
- Random acts of kindness
- Finding silver linings
Intercultural competence, another element addressed in the Global Skills (2019) document mentioned above, addresses the abilities learners require to relate with diverse others. The ability to manoeuvre cultural differences peacefully and imaginatively is a survival issue to flourishing in a global world—and one that language learners in particular, must manage. Interestingly, being interculturally competent is intimately related to one’s emotional regulation. Although self-regulation includes one’s ability to look inward, recognize, and deal with one’s own emotions, intercultural competence is dependent upon being able to identify and work with the emotions of diverse others. Because emotion is most accurately displayed through the nonverbal channel of communication, my ELTOC presentation will provide hands-on ideas about how teachers might raise their language learners’ awareness of the encoding and decoding of nonverbal behaviour, and thus becoming more interculturally competent.
The hands-on teaching ideas I will share include conveying and interpreting intercultural messages via the following codes:
- Facial expression
- Vocal cues
- Space and touch
Social responsibility, both locally and globally, is at the heart of citizenship. Inextricably intertwined with advocating for the elimination of discrimination and respect for diversity, it also encompasses sustainable living practices. With that in mind, my ELTOC presentation in February will touch upon a variety of teaching ideas inspired by UNESCO’s 17 sustainability goals (https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html):
You can catch up on past Professional Development events using our webinar library.
These resources are available via the Oxford Teacher’s Club.
Not a member? Registering is quick and easy to do, and it gives you access to a wealth of teaching resources.
Tammy Gregersen is currently teaching and researching at the American University of Sharjah where she also coordinates their Masters in TESOL program. She has co-authored/co-edited several books, with three more in the press on topics such as individual differences, nonverbal communication, positive psychology in the language classroom, and language teacher education.
Tammy has presented at conferences and taught in graduate programs across the globe which deems an incredible privilege because it taps into her passions for travelling and exploring new cultures.
- Caprara, G. V., Barbaranelli, C., Steca, P., & Malone, P. S. (2006). Teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs as determinants of job satisfaction and students’ academic achievement: A study at the school level Journal of School Psychology, 44(6), 473–490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. jsp.2006.09.001
- Claxton, G. (2008). What’s the point of school?: Rediscovering the heart of education. Oneworld Publications.
- Judge, T. A., & Bono, J. E. (2001). Relationship of core self-evaluations traits—self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, locus of control, and emotional stability—with job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(1), 80–92. https:// doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.86.1.80
- Judge, T. A., Thoresen, C. J., Bono, J. E., & Patton, G. K. (2001). The job satisfaction–job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 376–407. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.127.3.376
- Mercer, S., MacIntyre, P.D., Gregersen, T., & Talbot, K. (2019). Positive Language Education: Combining Positive Education and Language Education. Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition, 4 (2), pp. 11–31.
- Sammons, P., Day, C., Kington, A., Gu, Q., Stobart, G., & Smees, R. (2007). Exploring variations in teachers’ work, lives and their effects on pupils: Key findings and implications from a longitudinal mixed‐method study. British Educational Research Journal, 33(5), 681–701. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920701582264
- Seligman, M. E. P., Ernst, R. M., Gillham, J., Reivich, K., & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: Positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 293–311. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054980902934563