Changing the Course: Interpreting and Elaborating Scientific Texts Aided by ICT

Rigoberto Castillo


Changes to the pedagogy of foreign languages (FL) have taken place with the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). These changes provide instructors with opportunities to become meaning facilitators and designers. This article presents the rationale behind the pedagogy for a university course to enhance FL for academic purposes. It refers to three editions of a course with around 15 students each, native speakers of Spanish who self-assessed as being in an A2 to B1- English proficiency level in the scale of the Common European Framework of Reference. They came equipped with disciplinary knowledge in education and needed to build the state of the art of their research proposals. They submitted an account of up-to-date literature and research reports. The course, aided by ICT, helped them search, find, understand and integrate to their projects valuable literature available in English and in Romance languages. Students drafted their research interest in English and prepared an oral presentation. The needs of the FL learners were better served for they were directly connected to what they do at the university, which is, among other things, to determine the quality and authority of the sources and therefore interpret and assess texts related to their field of expertise. The article proposes moving away from a focus on language to a focus on problem solving and presents strategies, procedures, and ICT support. The article problematizes the issue of proficiency defined in terms of the type of problems language users could solve to meet their needs rather than in terms of language level.


academic writing, genre, ICT, Strategic Language Learning, syllabus design, university

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