Keynote speakers

Below you will find more information about the keynote speakers at ELE2021 and abstracts for the lectures.

Professor Cindy Brantmeier, Washington University, St. Louis, USA

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The Scientific Side of Reading Between and Among Languages and Cultures


There is a strong relationship between scientific research on FL/L2 reading and our everyday lives, as the vast store of knowledge, experiences and culture preserved in texts is invaluable to understanding others. My empirical research has been driven by the power of reading across languages and cultures-reading authentic texts that capture the culture of the lives of everyday people, and reading domain specific texts- including science, health and medicine –so that people with different backgrounds, nationalities, and beliefs can appreciate and value one another. In this talk, I will present the scientific side of reading non-native texts as I highlight findings from empirical research on reading across languages and cultures that examines specific cognitive, linguistic, and affective contributions to FL/L2 reading capabilities. In doing so, I will discuss current models that conceptualize reading and demonstrate that practically all FL/L2 reading competencies are contingent on variation within individuals across stages of language acquisition. Throughout my talk, I will highlight UNESCO’s central mission of literacy - that literacy is a fundamental human right.

About Professor Brantmeier:

Photo of Cindy Brantmeier
Professor Brantmeier

Cindy Brantmeier (Ph.D. Indiana University) is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Global Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently, she was appointed to the post of Faculty Fellow of International Research in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research for the School of Medicine and Danforth Campus at Washington University. Since 2015, she serves as Co-editor of Reading in a Foreign Language, an international scholarly journal housed at the University of Hawaii. She was named Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northeast Normal University in China from 2016-2021. She is principal investigator in the Language Research Laboratory, where her research team conducts experiments that examine variables involved in second language reading, language research methodology, and language testing and assessment. Professor Brantmeier has extensive experience teaching Spanish and ESL/EFL in the USA, Nicaragua, Mexico, Spain, and Costa Rica to students of all ages, and she was the recipient of numerous teaching and mentoring awards, including Washington University's 2012 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. She has given invited presentations of her research across the world, including the plenary address at The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Conference on Literacy in Chile in 2017. More important than all of the above, Professor Brantmeier is the mother of two children, Anja and Gavin.

Professor Jeppe Bundsgaard, Aarhus University, Denmark

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Communicative competences and language learning in an ecological perspective: The triple contexts of participation and language learning from childhood to adulthood


A fundamental question of language education is: How can language education (related to mother tongue, second languages, and foreign languages) contribute to friendly and fair cooperation within and across places, regions and nations, ethnicity, gender/sex, and age and to a fruitful childhood, creativeness and democracy?

This presentation takes up this question in a context of eco-linguistics (Bundsgaard, Lindø & Bang 2012). The focus is on communicative competences and language education in an era of globalization, climate crisis and migration, focusing on the need for communicative competences related to communication in intra-cultural, inter-cultural as well as trans-cultural contexts.

These three prototypical contexts embrace three different and dialectically interconnected life forms and language and education practices and policies, and they encourage different processes. They are:

  1. Intra-cultural contexts: the more traditional homogeneous family and tribe (firm roles, homogenization)
  2. Inter-cultural contexts: the local, national and global democracy, administration and formalized exchange of goods (negotiation and voting, legalization)
  3. Trans-cultural contexts: the heterogeneous meeting of people of diverse cultural backgrounds in the transcultural societies of the global and local village(s) (creativeness, heterogenization)

The agents and organizations of democratic language education relate to all three types of contexts and support children and adults in developing languages and literacies related to the dominant languages and communication practices of each context: mother tongue (the language of family and friends), 'neutral' hegemonic languages (languages of the powerful), and locally and globally developed highly context sensitive common languages.

Language is a multidimensional, multimodal phenomenon, which dialectically shapes and is shaped by the mind, nature and society. An ecological literacy education includes all modalities and relates to all three contexts.

About Professor Bundsgaard:

Photo of Jeppe Bundsgaard
Professor Bundsgaard.

Jeppe Bundsgaard is Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark. His research centers on didactics of the Danish subject in the Danish Folkeskole (K-9). His focus has been on comparative curriculum studies, innovative teaching and learning, assessment, and educational use of computers. Bundsgaard developed a curriculum theory called Prototypical Situation Oriented Curriculum Logic, laying out principles for development of 21st Century teaching and learning standards. He has used this theory to study and describe information literacy and reading critically online, faceless collaboration and communication, media literacy, and other aspects of language arts curricula. He has participated in a number of projects that developed and tested innovative digital teaching designs in real life settings, and he has developed theories and instruments to study teaching and learning in context.

Professor Richard Kern, University of California, Berkeley, USA

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Technology and media in language education: Aiming beyond communicative competence


Technologies and media influence the design of communication. They also help us reflect on  rhetorical, aesthetic, symbolic and ideological dimensions of language use. In the context of today's global communication networks, language learners need more than communication skills. They need to understand how language interacts with different mediums and modes of expression, how literacy practices, genres, and norms are affected by technology, and how language use has been commodified in many online contexts. This talk will argue that technology can help educators foster learners' critical awareness of how meanings are made, framed, and transformed in various media. Such awareness is crucial to today’s learners because they face a singularly pervasive mediascape that is potentially as exploitative as it is emancipatory.

About Professor Kern:

Photo of Richard Kern
Professor Kern.

Rick Kern is Professor of French and Director of the Berkeley Language Center at the University of California at Berkeley.  He teaches courses in French linguistics, language, and foreign language pedagogy, and supervises graduate teaching assistants.  His research interests include language acquisition, literacy, and relationships between language and technology. He is Associate Editor for Language Learning & Technology and Editor of the Teacher’s Forum section of L2 Journal. Professor Kern has most recently published Screens and Scenes: Multimodal Communication in Online Intercultural Encounters (Routledge, 2018), co-edited with Christine Develotte, and in 2015 he published Language, Literacy, and Technology (Cambridge UP). Earlier books include Literacy and Language Teaching (Oxford UP) and Network-Based Language Teaching (Cambridge UP) with Mark Warschauer.

Professor Debra Myhill, University of Exeter, UK

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Re-Imagining Grammar


This keynote will consider traditional views of the role of grammar in the teaching of writing, and will offer an evidence-based re-framing of grammar, as a creative and cognitive resource for teaching this new theorisation through reference to a set of pedagogic principles which embody the approach, and practical classroom examples. The presentation will also consider how this re-framing of grammar as choice supports the development of metalinguistic understanding for writing, developing greater agency and autonomy in learner writers.

About Professor Myhill:

Photo of Debra Myhill
Professor Myhill.

Debra Myhill is Professor of Education at the University of Exeter, and Director of the Centre for Research in Writing. Her research interests focus principally on aspects of language and literacy teaching, particularly linguistic and metalinguistic aspects of writing, and the composing processes involved in writing. This research is inter-disciplinary, drawing on psychological, socio-cultural and linguistic perspectives on writing. In 2014, her research team was awarded the Economic and Social Research Council award for Outstanding Impact in Society. Over the past twenty years, she has led a series of research projects in these areas, in both primary and secondary schools, and has been involved in commissioned research or advisory roles for policy-makers and examination boards. She is the author/co-author of several books including: Talking, Listening, Learning: Effective Talk in the Primary Classroom (Open University Press), Using Talk to Support Writing (Sage), The Handbook of Writing Development (Sage), Writing Voices: Creating Communities of Writers (Routledge) and Essential Primary Grammar (OUP). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and President of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction. In 2014, she served on the Education sub-panel for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), assessing the quality of UK educational research.

Dr. Shannon Sauro, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

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"I identify as a fan, like, since the beginning of time": Incorporating Fanfiction into English teacher education in Sweden


Fanfiction, defined as stories that reimagine or reinterpret existing stories, characters and universes found in other texts and media (Jamison, 2013), represents a means of bridging extramural language learning and use (Sundqvist & Sylven, 2016) with formal classroom-based language teaching and learning. Understandably, one of the challenges in transporting practices from the digital wilds (Sauro & Zourou, 2019) into formal educational contexts is ensuring that such activities still maintain a level of authenticity.

Accordingly, this talk examines the six-year implementation and iterative redesign of a pedagogical fanfiction project embedded in an English teacher education course at a Swedish university. This fanfiction project was initially designed as a means to bridge the divide between language and literary learning often found in language teaching (Paran, 2008; Sauro, 2014) and was developed as part of a required course in the teaching of literature and creative writing for future Swedish secondary school teachers of English (Sauro & Sundmark, 2016).

In response to student feedback and analysis of student learning, the fanfiction project has been revised each of the six years it has run. Revision included not only change in the selection of source texts to better capture students’ popular culture interest (i.e. from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, to Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, to Rowling’s contemporary Harry Potter series) and knowledge but also the increasing incorporation of fan input on task design, in class writing activities, and identification of examples of fanfanfiction to analyze and use as models for writing.

About Dr Sauro: 

Photo of Shannon Sauro
Dr. Sauro.

Shannon Sauro (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) is a specialist in technologically-mediated language teaching and learning and second language literacy.  Her areas of research include the intersection of online fan practices and language learning and teaching, and the role of virtual exchange/telecollaboration in language teacher education. She has trained teachers of English in both Sweden (at Malmö University) and the United States (at the University of Texas at San Antonio). Shannon is editor of the books CALL for Mobility (with Joanna Pitura), The Handbook of Technology and Second Language Teaching and Learning (with Carol A. Chapelle), and of the special issue on “CALL in the Digital Wilds” of Language Learning & Technology (with Katarina Zourou).  She is active on two European-funded projects: Fanfiction for the Teaching and Application of Languages through E-Stories (FanTALES) and Evidence-Based Online Learning through Virtual Exchange (EVOLVE). Shannon is a past president of the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) and is currently communications officer for UNICollaboration, an international organization for virtual exchange.


Published May 2, 2021 8:28 PM - Last modified June 23, 2021 12:53 PM