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Teaching in English means teaching adaptations

More and more teaching in the ULB is being delivered using English as the medium of instruction (EMI), invariably with the goal of helping to prepare students for the wider world of research and industry. However, it isn’t as simple as simply translating a course that exists in French and delivering the same content in the same way.  Teaching in a second language requires a teacher to think slightly differently about what and how they teach, particularly if the students are also learning through a second language.

What level of English do the students already have?

Is it good enough to understand a lecture or write an exam?

What is the best way to teach them that bridges gaps in their vocabulary or general skills in English?

What opportunities are available in the ULB to help you to maintain and improve your level of English?

The TEA Project can help you to work through some of these questions and can guide you towards strategies and techniques that will optimise your teaching. You might be new to teaching in English, or perhaps, new to teaching full-stop. Or perhaps you have been teaching a course in English for some time but have some questions or problems that you would like to explore. We work with PhD assistants, lecturers and professors from all faculties across the university.

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Tailor-made support: language and methodology lessons to strengthen your linguistic competence and to adapt your pedagogical strategies.

Exchanges with you peers: in our workshops, you will be able to share your experiences with other teachers and learn from each other about what really works and how to put new teaching techniques into place.

Flexibility: the TEA Project team adapts to your schedule and can almost always come to your office for individual meetings.

A low-stress approach: our team recognises that it can sometimes be stressful to teach in English. Our one-to-one course ensures that you can move forward at a pace that suits you and focusing on the issues that matter the most to you.

What specifically do we offer?

Language support

We can offer personalised ‘general English’ support which covers a wide range of skills. This is based on an individualised analysis of your needs and ongoing evaluation during lessons.  This might include:

Pronunciation and fluency: personalised guidance and immediate feedback to look at specific words, stress patterns in words and sentences.

Conversation classes: conversation and debate with a native speaker (including personalised correction)

Reading: structured reading of newspaper articles, aiming to expose you to different kinds of formal written English (i.e. not simply the language of scientific articles) and thus increase your idiomatic vocabulary.

Presentation, lesson or exam practice: practise your lesson or oral exam questions beforehand with us to develop confidence and check accuracy.

Grammar: work on specific areas that you know you find difficult (tenses, the difference between ‘ever’ and ‘never’ and work on questions of grammar as they arise in context.

Vocabulary: work on specific areas of vocabulary you need for teaching in your field, or focus on areas such as ‘phrasal verbs’.

Reading and writing tasks focused on specific genres: emails, abstracts, course explanations

Collaborative correction of your abstracts, slides and articles: work together with an English teacher to get a better understanding of your mistakes.

Writing/presentation workshops: we offer regular writing/presentation workshops but can also design sessions to suit the needs of a group of teachers or researchers.

Lesson observations: get feedback on your English use in context. Observations can help to identify pronunciation errors and good and bad linguistic habits.

Teaching methodology

Whilst it is important for a teacher to have a certain level of English before starting to teach in the language, research suggests that the teaching methods used are in fact far more important and have a far greater impact on student learning. For example, a teacher-fronted approach such as lecturing is often exhausting for both teacher and students and is not necessarily the most effective way for students to learn. We will explore your teaching methodology and look at your students, their language level and how you can integrate language focused activities in your sessions that can help them to learn more effectively in English.

Course and lesson structure: we will look across your course and at individual lectures to identify ways in which your students’ language learning needs can be factored in alongside the content they need to learn. We can help you to build in interactive teaching techniques that allow students to move from being receptive (listening and reading) to productive (more speaking and writing).

Lesson observations: get feedback on how your teaching style can be adapted to ensure that students learn the content you need them to learn, whilst also learning the technical language necessary for your course.

Checking of teaching material: slides, handouts, exam questions, fiche de cours, UV entries

Assessing your students’ language level: we have tools that can help you to get an overview of your students’ level of English.

Student writing workshops: in collaboration with you, we can run writing workshops and exam preparation sessions for your students

Helping students to study in English : we can help you to prepare your students for studying in English by devising or running introductory sessions, giving tips and advice on strategies for studying in another language.

Teaching Teams

Whilst working with individual teachers, we can also work with a team of teachers on a course or in a faculty. This could address any of the issues outlined about but also covering issues such as:

EMI methodology: an outline of the theory on teaching in a foreign language both in terms of teachers and students.

Course language policy: it is important to define a coherent and consistent course language regime that teachers and students are aware of and follow as best they can.

Specific language requirements for this course: we can help you to identify where language issues are possibly holding students back.

Collaboration between language teachers and course teachers: we can help to develop teaching practices that link up the language work done by the English department and content teaching as delivered in the faculty.

Nell explains what a  ‘typical’ TEA Project session looks like….

What our participants say about us

“I feel more relaxed and confident in interactions in English, at conferences and with students”

 “Being able to have a sustained conversation in English helps me to think in English, which makes my lessons flow more easily”

 “It was great to have help correcting my slides and hand-outs; going through them in collaboration with the teacher helped me to understand my mistakes and gave me useful vocabulary and phrases for the future”

 “The methodology sessions encouraged me to try out interactive activities. I wasn’t sure at first, but the students reacted really positively and I was less tired. I find this way of teaching much more rewarding and interesting!”

 “Giving my students the opportunity to discuss key concepts in small groups pushed them to explain and debate complex ideas in English”