Tuesday, March 20, 2012

RESIG Pre-conference event

I have been following the yahoo group for Research Special Interest Group (RESIG) over recent months with great interest. It’s a great chance to get in on conversations about research and research articles, and is organized nicely so over a week. They have great events including upcoming things with Dick Allwright, Anne Burns, and Zoltan Dornyrei.

So yesterday was RESIG day. The whole day was anchored to the theme of Teaching as Researching. The distinction between research that is non-pedagogic (i.e.: doesn’t necessarily fit in with our usual classroom work) and that uses regular classroom activities as data generation. The sessions three main speakers were Richard Smith, Sarah Mercer and Ema Ushioda was inspirational. I had pages of notes, most of which pertain to ideas for dissertation possibilities which is great. It was also great to hear from other post-graduate researchers Yasmin, Ana, and Paula who produced a mini-newsletter for the conference. Big ups! (and Nellie too!)

I was inspired (despite looking a bit asleep in the photo above) by the talk of new genres of writing, new ways of presenting research, and the emphasis on teaching as research, rather than researching teaching and learning. Smith talked in lay man’s terms about how teasing out learner feedback, and investigating it and intervening before measuring the impact of this. This teasing out of issues, and the process of problematizing the feedback was interesting and we had hands on experience of doing so.

He also problematized the student satisfaction / scorecard questionnaire that we are all so familiar with. This tool, that is so often used by schools / management to get insight into the training/class room, does lack depth. Smith engaged with issues in his own context at Warwick Uni.

Sarah Mercer talked about getting student narratives, and using these learning histories, in Graz, to inform planning and benefit the relationships we have with our learners. This example of ‘teaching as research’ uses students’ work, written at home about themselves to inform not only on language needs but also into a broader piece of research.

Rounding off was lovely Ema Ushioda who took us through the process of doing i-statement analysis, which contrasted with Mercer’s more holistic analysis to data. I-statements (not a new kind of designer sunglasses from apple) are a way of categorizing informant/student data. Again, it was good to have the change to have a go at doing this procedure. This would have been useful for systematizing my data analysis.

The noisy drama people next door, wow they sounded like they were having a hoot.

After a work meeting, and a nice meet, and remeet with lots of old faces from around the network. So many people whose names I knew but faces were unknown….bit embarrassing at times, but still very nice…. it was on to the North Star ELT Karaoke night with Nick Turner and briefly managed to shout buckfast at singer and pop start (and spy) Shell Terrell. We also got to see Jim Scriv, the Peach, Petya Pointer and many of the PLN / ELT Chat folk. Was fun but needed to eat…

Haggis for breakfast – yum!!


  1. A very important topic.Its really very important to get our these learning histories..

  2. Thanks very much for your kind comments about the event and IATEFL Research SIG activities in general, Edward.

    We've now put powerpoints and other materials from the event online here:


    , plus a link to your blog post!

    all the best