English in ASEAN 2015: Policy and Pedagogy

November 15, 2014
Dr. Marianne Rachel G. Perfecto ACELT, Executive Director
On 25 – 26 October 2014, the Ateneo Center for English Language Teaching (ACELT) held its International Conference at the Leong Hall Auditorium of the Ateneo de Manila University.  In this conference, the website of the Asian Corpus of English (ACE) project was also launched by the ACE team composed of  Dr. Andy Kirkpatrick (Griffith University, Australia), Dr. Wang Lixun  (Hong Kong Institute of Education), Prof. John Patkin (City University of Hong Kong) and Dr. Isabel P. Martin (English Department, Ateneo de Manila University). 

This conference-workshop aimed to provide knowledge about the role of English as a lingua franca (ELF) in Southeast Asia. The first plenary presentation was given by Dr. Andy Kirkpatrick, who talked about the three recently conducted research studies using data from ACE, and discussed the findings’ implications for the teaching of English in Asia, as well as for materials development. In her plenary presentation, Hon. Laura Q. Del Rosario (Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines) talked about the ASEAN Integration, and how this is linked with issues of mobility of education providers and students, issues of competitiveness and standards, and the issue of mutual recognition of degrees. She then presented the frameworks that the Philippines is using to address these issues. The third plenary presentation was given by Dr. Wang Lixun, who presented the different features of the ACE website, and the types of research that can be done using ACE data. Finally, Dr. Isabel P. Martin proposed a framework for teaching English in the Philippines which considers both the World Englishes (WE) and English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) paradigm and locates these in the identity and communication functions of the language.  She also presented some teaching strategies based on this framework.

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After the morning plenary sessions of both days, the participants proceeded to the workshop they signed up for. There were five different workshops facilitated by faculty members of the English Department: Teaching Text Attack Skills:  Developing More Strategic Readers (Michelle G. Paterno  and Julius C. Martinez); Empowering Learners through the English Language: How to Help Them Become Effective Communicators in Local and Global Contexts (Maria Luz Elena N. Canilao and Michael Ian Benedict P. Estipona); Writing in the 21st Century: Teaching Writing in a Multilingual and a Multicultural Classroom (Cecilia A. Suarez and Maria Concepcion B. Montenegro); Teaching the Fiction of Many Voices for the Many Voices in the Classroom (Devi Benedicte I. Paez  and Jose Mari B. Cuartero); Meeting the Challenges of Performance-based Assessment (Apricinia B. Fernandez and Irene B. Benitez).
The conference was attended by about 125 participants, coming from different places in the country -- from Benguet, Cagayan Valley, Dagupan, Bataan, Tarlac, Tuguegarao, Pangasinan, Pampanga, Dagupan, Batangas, Naga, Legazpi, Los Baños, Calamba, Metro Manila, Leyte, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao del Sur, and Cotabato.