In times when “fake news” and polarising commentary that aim to manipulate our understanding of global events and social groups are easily distributed, the need to critically evaluate an overwhelming volume of information is omnipresent. This can be challenging for those communicating in L1 environments, but for our learners, developing the confidence to question information presented in a second or other language can be tantamount to successfully navigating daily life, work, and study. Furthermore, as educators, we bear the responsibility of using, supplementing, and creating resources that effectively practise language outcomes using meaningful content, but also shape the environments in and attitudes about which our learners do so. In this talk, we will navigate how information is often presented (and manipulated) using examples ranging from texts, images, and video we may use as materials. I will highlight the significant impacts these resources can have on our perceptions of identity, especially when used within the dynamics of our language learning contexts. Finally, we will explore ways in which we as teachers can develop our critical approaches to language learning resources, as well as equip our learners with the confidence to decipher information and express themselves.

About the Speaker: 

Tyson Seburn is an EAP instructor and Assistant Academic Director of International Programs at New College, University of Toronto. He holds an MA Educational Technology & TESOL from the University of Manchester. His main interest focuses on exploring identity and its various impacts on teacher development. These include an EAP discussion group, #tleap (bit.do/tleap); his blog, 4CinELT (fourc.ca); and his role as Coordinator of the IATEFL Teacher Development Special Interest Group committee (tdsig.org). He is the author of Academic Reading Circles (The Round, 2015) (http://arc.fourc.ca/).