Gareth is an English language teacher, ELT materials author and intercultural communication trainer, currently working for the Language Centre at the University of the Arts London (UAL). He also teaches filmmaking short courses at the Beijing Academy of the Creative Arts. He has taught in a range of ELT contexts in Spain, the UK, Afghanistan and China. Particular areas of pedagogic interest are authentic source materials, video (viewing and production), classroom dynamics and intercultural competency. As an ELT author, he has written for varied purposes in different media e.g. British Airways (English for Air Cabin Crew), BBC Learning English (video and radio series, course book and online materials), course books with ELT publishers including Macmillan Education (Language Hub B1+). He was a producer for (British Council / BBC) for its founding years.

28 September | 10:45 a.m. | Zoom

Improving online communication and interaction: multi-modal production & purposeful reflection

At my language centre, the digital delivery of live classes has negatively impacted on the quantity and quality of student interaction and spoken communication practice. This talk outlines 2 strategies we have developed in order to counter this ‘digital silence’: 1. Exploiting other modes of communication, particularly visual (image, video, writing) and 2. Focusing on intercultural and interaction competencies.

In particular, these strategies are used to support small-group speaking activities that are staged to include pre-task planning and post-task reflection. By finding ways to add purpose to the pre-/post-task stages, and with a clear focus on interaction skills development, we have seen a significant improvement in student engagement and performance, such that breakout rooms are much less likely to break down.