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Abstracts



Dr. Joan Kang Shin
Catching Up to the 21st Century: Are We There Yet?

We live in a rapidly changing world, one that is increasingly interconnected, and our next generation of English learners need to learn skills that will enable them to successfully communicate and collaborate across borders and cultures. When teaching how to use English as an international language, it is important to integrate specific 21st century skills to help them succeed in this technology-driven and global century. This presentation will answer the questions: What are 21st century skills and how can we build 21st century educational systems? It will give educators an opportunity to reflect on their own application of 21st century skills institutionally and consider what is needed to improve their preparation of students with both English language skills and the skills needed for success in this century.

John Hughes
Critical Thinking - Bridging the gap between school and university

Students are expected to think critically for their university studies and businesses look for the qualities of a critical thinker as part of their recruitment process. So at what stage do we – as teachers and educators – start to prepare students with critical thinking skills? In my presentation, I’ll argue that teenage and young adult students need to develop these skills not only for their future education and careers but also in order to deal with the immediate demands of internet-based information in English. In particular, we’ll consider how the development of key critical thinking skills can improve English language learning through the use of texts and problem-solving activities.

Anne Burns
New concepts in language teacher education for the 21st century

In ELT public education settings, reforms to improve the quality of teaching often aim to address ‘deficits’ in teachers’ classroom English and teaching methodology. However, these approaches can lead to a mismatch between the ‘deficit-based’ thinking of many reforms, and what research indicates about how teachers actually learn. This presentation suggests new concepts for ELT teacher education, based on notions of pedagogical content knowledge and knowledge-for-teaching, to develop “professional confidence” and to improve teaching. The concept of “confidence” can be applied for teachers 1) to develop greater assurance in using English in classrooms; and 2) to use “familiarity” with prior knowledge and their classrooms to learn more about classroom methodology.

Thomas Henry Rassam Culhane
"Mumkin!": National Geographic's sustainability explorer shares successful environmetal education ideas and optimism for a future bright with possibilities!

National Geographic explorer and Environmental Sustainability and Justice Professor Thomas Henry Rassam Culhane graduated from Harvard and UCLA, spent a decade teaching "at risk youth" in the ghettoes of Los Angeles and moved to Cairo Egypt to work on urban ecology issues. After travelling through the Middle East as an educator with a solar powered musical band, creating musical environmental road shows, he helped to create the Wadi Environmental Science Education Center for youth education, creating programs using hands-on science and engineering (STEM) and music and video production techniques to help kids create and communicate about environmental solutions. He then turned his attention to urban poverty and environmental degradation and founded a non-profit organization in Egypt and Germany called "Solar CITIES" ("Mudun Shamsi") which started as an initiave between the craftspeople of old Islamic Cairo and the Zabaleen trash recyclers. Solar CITIES, which is now funded by National Geographic and various embassies and foundations, uses innovative techniques to teach people in schools and in poor areas in more than a dozen countries, from Africa to South America, how to provide their own energy and fertilizer and food using sunshine and organic garbage and local materials, providing food and energy security and eliminating the problems and diseases caused by urban wastes. As an Arab-American professor at Mercy College NY, Rassam Culhane has brought both his vision of a sustainable future and his service learning students of sustainability to Palestine where an ongoing partnership with students from different countries is evolving to create an urban ecology that can "meet the needs of the present without diminishing the opportunities of the future". When Rassam Culhane is asked if today's youth can solve our environmental and health problems he enthusiastically says, "Mumkin!"; yes we can! Practical but enthusiastically optimistic, Rassam Culhane says, "we actually have all the technologies and solutions, and today's youth are ready to put them into practice; as educators with hands-on, interdisciplinary and multimedia production techniques, we can now share solutions and knowledge with them in the most effective ways and inspire and empower them and support them. The future looks bright ahead."