A “Glocal” Community of Practice to Support International ELT (English Language Teaching) Students in the UK: Project BMELTET

A “Glocal” Community of Practice to Support International ELT (English Language Teaching) Students in the UK: Project BMELTET

Marina Orsini-Jones, Abraham Cerveró-Carrascosa, Kyria Rebeca Finardi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8921-2.ch016
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This chapter reports on the project ‘Blending MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) into English Language Teaching (ELT) Education with Telecollaboration (BMELTET)'. BMELTET aims to foster reflection on ELT with a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) MOOC blend. It promotes the engagement of international students based in the UK and studying on a Master's degree in ELT, with students and staff based in universities in Brazil, China, and Spain and with the participants on the MOOC from all over the world. BMELTET aims to debunk the myth of the ‘native speaker' as the ideal teacher of English language, thus decolonising ELT through dialogic online intercultural exchanges in a safe ‘third space'. Data were collected via two online surveys, the analysis of the ‘live' Zoom exchanges, and focus groups with self-selected groups of students. This chapter reports on the impact that BMELTET had on the international students involved in it.
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General Background

Coventry University’s strong internationalization ethos and commitment to ‘intercultural and international engagement’ is one of the pillars of the university group strategy (Gearing, 2015, p.6). This commitment is validated by the fact that, for 6 years running, Coventry University has been rated the best university in the UK for providing students with international experiences, according to the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) (from 2015-2016 to 2020-2021), even in the year of the lockdown caused by the pandemic (2020-2021).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Telecollaboration: This term is associated with language learning and teaching carried out online and at a distance and, in the context of this chapter, it is used interchangeably with COIL and VE.

EFL: English as a Foreign Language.

Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL): Online collaboration between students and staff in different geographical locations/countries in the world to discuss common topics of interest through an intercultural lens.

TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Third Space: A fertile ground for intercultural and decolonised encounters in Higher Education.

MOOC: Massive Open Online Course. These are freely available for a certain period of time worldwide (some require payment from the moment one joins).

Blended Learning: This definition is becoming more flexible. It is used to indicate a mix of face-to-face and online learning experiences, but post COVID-19 pandemic it is not easy to define a synchronous live session, so the blend can now include various types of online experiences now and might not include a face-to-face element.

CoPs: Communities of practice as groups of people willing to knowledge-share for a collective reflection on how to improve learning through practice and situated learning. CoPs are underpinned by a social-collaborative learning model.

E-CIC: Electronic Classroom Interactional Competencies are the competencies teachers in general, and English Language Teachers in particular, need to develop to become competent in the synchronous online learning and teaching environment.

VE: Virtual Exchange.

ELT: English Language Teaching.

BoRs: Breakout rooms are virtual seminar rooms where students/participants can carry out tasks in smaller groups while on Zoom.

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