Sara Vaghefian presented on 'The problem with English Class: Embedding as a tool for decolonisation' at the Future of English Language Teaching Conference in October 2020.
In recent years, UAL has been working towards decolonising the Arts curriculum (UAL, 2020), as well as addressing the Awarding Gap (UAL, 2015; Singh, 2017), where BAME and international students are generally graduating with lower grades than white and home students. It is widely acknowledged that some of the main issues facing international students are low confidence and the failure to acknowledge their social and cultural capital, as well as the tensions and communication issues that arise among our diverse student cohorts. What role can the Language Development (LD or “EAP”) Tutor play in addressing the Awarding Gap and creating a more inclusive learning environment for students? In this talk, I argue in favour of two related approaches to address these issues from both a systemic and pedagogical perspective: the decolonisation of Language Policy (Spolsky, 2004; Pennycook, 1998) and an embedded approach to LD tuition.
Sara explored the ways in which international (mainly East Asian) students are often stereotyped and stigmatised and suggest LP reform to address this. With reference to bespoke teaching materials she has devised forher own students, she discussed various aspects of an embedded approach to LD tuition that draws on Multimodal Literacies (Sanders & Albers, 2003) and Critical Pedagogies (hooks, 1994; Freire, 1972) to propose a more inclusive and empowering learning environment for UAL Design students.