The 15th International Symposium and Book Fair on English Teaching begins today and will benefit anyone wanting to gain a greater understanding of the direction in which second-language learning is going and schmooze with some of the big-wigs in the English-language learning field.
"We have invited speakers from all over the world — the top scholars in the field," said David Dai (戴維揚), President of the English Teacher's Association, ROC (中華民國英語文教師學會).
The second largest symposium of its kind in the world, this year's theme is "border crossings," and will feature 20 commissioned papers by mostly international scholars on the theme. Local scholars and teachers will also have an opportunity to talk about their ideas.
"There has been a worldwide paradigm shift [in language teaching]. The teaching methodology, teaching materials, even assessment have all changed," said Dai.
According to Dai, border crossing needs to take place at three levels. The first is local, and revolves around making English in Taiwan more useful to all levels of society. Related to this is a shift in focus away from teaching general English. This has led to the increased popularity of English for special purposes.
A third element of border crossing is to make language learning more integrated. Dai uses the work of the respected scholar Neil J. Anderson as an example of how a more integrated approach to language learning can provide a better understanding of a student's language competency and demonstrated proficiency.
According to Dai, all the issues presented in the papers are important to Taiwan because of the government's recent policy to make English an official language by 2008.
What: 15th International Symposium and Book Fair on English TeachingWhere: Jian Tan Overseas Youth Activity Center (劍潭海外青年活動中心), 16 Zhongshan N Rd Sec 4, Taipei (台北市中山北路四段16號)When: All day today, tomorrow and SundayInformation: Informative English and Chinese Web site with details on invited speakers, the venue and contacts at www.eta.org.tw Admission: Open to the public, but membership to the association must be purchased (NT$1,500). Refer to Web site for details.