Opening Keynote
Professor Anne Burns, University of New South Wales
The Source of the force: Empowerment in the language classroom

The idea of empowerment in education, and in other areas of life, has been around for some time. But what does the term empowerment actually mean? How do we put empowerment into action? How do we know it when we see it? How does it affect the quality of the lives of teachers and learners in the classroom?  In this talk I will consider what is meant by empowerment and how teachers can use the idea of empowerment to create ‘a better world’ for themselves and their students.

I will argue that one of the important aspects of empowerment is to consider who is ‘the source of the force’ in the classroom. I will also argue that learner and teacher empowerment are not separate entities but that one influences the other. The talk will be illustrated with examples of ELICOS teachers I have worked with who became ‘the source of the force’ in their own classrooms.

Anne Burns is Professor of TESOL in the School of Education, University of New South Wales. She is also Professor Emerita at Aston University, Birmingham, and Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. She specialises in the teaching of speaking from a discourse perspective, curriculum development, language teaching methodology, and second language teacher education, and is particularly interested in the fields of teacher cognition and practitioner action research.

For the last seven years Anne has led the Australian Action Research in ELICOS Program, a collaboration between English Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. She is also an Academic Adviser for the Oxford University Press Applied Linguistics Series, a Series Editor for the Routledge Research and Resources in Language Teaching Series, and a Senior Consultant to National Geographic-Cengage Learning.