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Conference strengthens language teaching

Published: 6 November 2018

Luleå University of Technology recently organized the conference Language Focus in the North in collaboration with The National Union of Teachers in Sweden. The conference was aimed at teachers and, as the name suggests, the theme of the arrangement was language and language teaching.

– We want to create a meeting place where active teachers, teacher trainers and language researchers are inspired to drive language teaching forward. Cooperation and good contact between schools and the university are important for high quality in both teacher education and language teaching at different levels. Unfortunately, language teachers from the immediate area often have to go south for competence development, but through this conference we want to do something about it by offering an interesting alternative in northern Sweden, says Eva Fjällström, one of the organizers of the conference and Research Assistantat Luleå University of Technology.

Strengthens the connection to the university

The conference lasted two days and the program content was divided between the university and The National Union of Teachers in Sweden. Eva Fjällström believes that Language Focus in the North is a good opportunity to strengthen the link between teacher education at Luleå University of Technology and the activities at the schools.

– Of course, the conference is part of the university's third task, spreading knowledge and interacting with society, while providing an opportunity for our teacher students to meet teachers and an opportunity for us who teach and research to really strengthen the link between what we do and the work in schools.

The program included everything from lectures on the brain and language learning to conversations about the benefit and the joy of learning language.
In addition to the lectures, eleven workshops were organized on different themes, which gave participants the opportunity to choose what they wanted to immerse themselves in.
Eva Fjällström's hope is that the conference participants gained wide-ranging perspectives on language and language teaching.

– We hope that the conference raises thoughts and gives the participants new perspectives on language learning and teaching. We also want to highlight practical research and show that all teachers can study their own internship to strengthen students' learning and to develop professionally.

Fills a void

Ingrid Pihl is a teacher in language in Piteå and a member of the federal board of The National Union of Teachers in Sweden. She thinks the conference fills a void.

– The National Union of Teachers in Sweden have allocated funds for arrangements that will give the members added value in terms of professional issues. This is a way to meet the needs of our members around continuing education and adequate subject knowledge. The need is high, but the supply is small in this part of Sweden, which made the choice to place the arrangement at Luleå University of Technology easy.