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Saturday 18 April
Integrating teaching, testing and technology; where angels fear to tread
with Thom Kiddle
This plenary presentation will address the areas of language teaching, testing, and digital technology, with the language teacher at the centre of the interaction between the three. We will ask and suggest answers to the questions of whether we are measuring the right things when we test students’ language; whether we are measuring in the best ways; why teachers mistrust tests and examinations; and how developments in digital technology are impacting on both classroom-based assessment and the world of international high-stakes language testing. The empowerment of teachers in terms of decision-making, competences, and confidence will be the central theme in an exploration of teacher fears and expectations of how teaching relates to testing, and whether digital technology offers solutions or threats for the classroom and beyond. There will be a particular focus on the assessment of spoken English, and we will address the question of whether inter-language mediation may be a better and more useful benchmark of linguistic competence than the traditional measurement of oral proficiency in English. With practical experiments, special guests, and insights from research and from learners, the session will entertain, challenge and engage participants to re-examine their assumptions and beliefs, and propose how we can take principled decisions, and avoid being the fools who rush in.
Marie Delaney  

Thom Kiddle has been a language teacher, tester and teacher trainer since 1997, though his involvement in teaching started much earlier in a very different arena! He was awarded the Cambridge Delta prize in 2004 as the first person to achieve a distinction in all modules of the Delta, and the IELTS Caroline Clapham award in 2011 for his MA dissertation on Language Testing. He is currently Director of Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE), involved in teacher training, organisational management and strategic development projects worldwide, including the NILE Online teacher development programmes. He is also Vice Chair of Eaquals and founding director of AQUEDUTO (the Association for Quality Education and Training Online).

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