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Pre-sessional English language courses: university telecollaboration as a driver of Global North/South student-contact for engineers

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This paper focuses on telecollaborative links between universities in the Global North and the Global South.

In 2017 we published an ELTRA research paper on English for Specific Academic Purposes: student partnerships across borders by a team from the University of Glasgow and the Islamic University of Gaza. The research report can be found on our research pages.

One of the main authors of that report, Dr Bill Guariento, has recently published an article called  Pre-sessional English language courses: university telecollaboration as a driver of Global North/South student-contact for engineers in which he looks at how the project has developed since its inception.

This online paper discusses the potential offered by telecollaborative links between universities in the Global North and the Global South. It draws on data from the English for Academic Study Telecollaboration (EAST) project, an online pre-sessional partnership between Science, Engineering and Technology students at the University of Glasgow and at the Islamic University of Gaza.

This is an ongoing project, now in its sixth year, which has attempted to follow a critical pedagogies agenda, and is examined here from a Freirean perspective. It looks for evidence of transformative outcomes for the students involved and analyses the extent to which a 5-week online collaboration can work to empower the most vulnerable of stakeholders, and to challenge received attitudes and practices.

The paper concludes that pre-sessional English language telecollaboration that juxtaposes areas of peace and conflict can offer particular opportunities for the dialogue that, in Freire’s view (1996: 69) leads, through action and reflection, to ‘naming’ - and thereby potentially changing - the world. 

The report is freely available on the EAP for Social Justice website.

There is also a webinar recording from July 2020 where Bill and his team discuss the project. 

Bill Guariento joined the English Language team at Northumbria University in June 2020, and is keen to continue his research in the areas of identity, social justice, and intercultural competences. He has a specific interest in the development of pluriliteracies for language learners, and in exploring telecollaborative project-work with non-traditional overseas partner institutions.  

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