I am course leader for the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and the MA TESOL and Creative Writing. I am also the Senior Tutor in the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies.
I was educated at Goldsmiths College, University of London (German and Education 1980) and the Institute of Education, University of London (MA TESOL 1991). I then went on to teach German and French at Secondary schools in Newham, Camden and Haringey for 10 years and have been at the University of Westminster since 1991.
Initially I taught and co-ordinated German on the Institution Wide Language Programme (IWLP) and the BA Modern Languages degree. I have also taught and co-ordinated English for Academic Purposes at various levels. Until September 2006, I was the Programme Director for the Institution Wide Language Programme. During the 2006/2007 academic year, I coordinated a research project on the International Student Experience at the University of Westminster which was funded by the Quintin Hogg Trust.
Formally a member of the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies Languages Special Advisory Group, I am now Co-Director with Professor Debra Kelly of the London Region Network for Languages Project which delivers CPD to language teachers in Primary and Secondary schools. After a competitive bidding process, Network for Languages London has been awarded £600,000 by the Mayor’s London Schools Excellence Fund to deliver training to language teachers in a number of London boroughs.
I teach two of the core modules on the MA TESOL and MA TESOL and Creative Writing degrees.
Current Developments in Language Teaching considers different approaches and methodologies for language teaching. It takes a historical approach to this and also looks at the most current methodologies. Additionally the module considers individual differences in language learning and how this impacts on classroom management and language learning and teaching. Following from this, the benefits of learner autonomy and how this can be encouraged are looked at and this is coupled with a critical appraisal of learner strategy training.
The second core module I teach is Language and Learning: Description and Analysis. This module focuses on research into second language acquisition and to what extent this informs language teaching. The module also touches on first language acquisition and the extent to which second language acquisition mirrors first language acquisition. The psycholinguistics processes involved in language acquisition are discussed in the module where cognitive and linguistic approaches are contrasted.
I also run the dissertation module for the above two degree programmes.
On the undergraduate programme I teach the Psycholinguistics module which is an option module taken by students from the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies and also from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures.
I am the module leader for a Teacher Training module at undergraduate level. This module looks at the components of language, how to teach the four skills and has an element of microteaching. This module is popular with students who are considering a career in teaching and also with exchange students who are doing teacher training courses at their home universities.
My research interests include multilingual education, first and second language acquisition and learner autonomy.
In 2000 I published the Multilingual Challenge (Via Afrika, Cape Town). This book was commissioned by Via Afrika which is the biggest publisher of education books in South Africa with the purpose of addressing some of the problems teachers in post-Apartheid South Africa faced when, having been accustomed to monolingual student bodies, were confronted with multilingual classrooms.
I am also interested in learner autonomy in language learning and in education in general and how knowing how to approach learning can enhance outcomes.
I am a member of the British Association of Applied Linguists.
I collaborate with the Havana University of Medical Sciences (Cuba) where I deliver training courses for English language lecturers who work in the medical schools. I have been delivering training courses in medical schools in Cuba since 2002.
This is a selection of publications, more can be found on WestminsterResearch, our online research repository.
Laufer, Michelle (2000) The multilingual challenge. Schools with a view . Via Africa, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 9780799416473
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