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Seminar on Language Learning

ICE would like to draw attention to an upcoming seminar presentation in the Language Centre Series that ICE Core Member Sarah Catherine Boye will be co-presenting.

Title: The Art of Reading Minds: Personal Construct Theory and Investigating the Language Learning Classroom.

Presenters: Dr Andrew Littlejohn, Dr Ishamina Athirah Muntassir Gardiner, Dr Sarah Boye

Date: 4th February 2020, Tuesday

Time: 12.00 – 1.30 pm

Venue: Room 1, Level 2, UTH Building

Abstract (Research on going)

In the second seminar about the on-going research project on language learning in Bruneian classrooms, we present the innovative research methodology adapted to investigate how learners and teachers perceive the language classroom. The aim of the project is to examine causes of success and failure in English language classrooms. The method employed in this project emerged from personal construct theory in the field of Psychology in the 1960s. Since then, repertory grids have been widely used in many areas of social science research and increasingly in educational research but they have not been used to research language teachers’ and learners’ constructs of the language learning classroom. We explain the rationale for adopting this methodology for the language learning classroom before moving on to a demonstration of how repertory grids can be used to explore the views of learners and teachers. Please come and join us for another hands-on workshop of “brain-picking” as we demonstrate how personal constructs are elicited from grouping ‘elements’ which can offer insight into how learners and teachers make sense of their classroom environment. We will finish by showing how the grids are coded, grouped and clustered into charts for data analysis. (Research funded by a LC/SHBIE faculty block grant)


Dr Andrew Littlejohn is Associate Professor of English Language Education and Deputy Dean (Research) in Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE). He is an international authority in materials design for language teaching and author of numerous papers and textbooks for school-based English Language Teaching, mainly published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr Ishamina Athirah Muntassir Gardiner is a Lecturer at the Language Centre, UBD. Her research interests are in phonetics and phonology, pronunciation teaching and ELF. Her recent publications include papers in the Routledge Handbook of English as a Lingua Franca, the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary English Pronunciation, the Journal of International Phonetic Association, and Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, as well as chapters in several edited volumes.

Dr Sarah Boye is a lecturer at the Language Centre. Her research interests include intercultural language education, English Medium Instruction in HE, and language teacher education. She has recently published chapters on the topics of pronunciation instruction and intercultural competence and language awareness, the latter co-authored with Michael Byram in the Routledge Handbook of Language Awareness.