Keynote Speakers


Vijay K Bhatia

Vijay Bhatia is the CEO and Academic Director of ESP Communication Services. He is also the founding President of the LSP and Professional Communication Association for Asia-Pacific. He retired as Professor from the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong. Some of his recent research projects include Analyzing Genrebending in Corporate Disclosure Documents, and International Arbitration Practice: A Discourse Analytical Study, in which he led research teams from more than 20 countries. His research interests include Critical Genre Analysis, academic and professional discourses in legal, business, newspaper, and promotional contexts; ESP and Professional Communication; simplification of legal and other public documents; intercultural and cross-disciplinary variations in professional genres. He has more than 150 publications to his credit, which include journal articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and individually written books. Two of his books, Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings and Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based View, are widely used in genre theory and practice. He has made over 200 conference presentations, over 70 of which were keynotes or plenaries. Vijay Bhatia’s webpage

PLENARY LECTURE: “Critical Genre Analysis as Interdiscursive Performance:  Implications for Higher Education”

Analysis of academic and professional genres in the past thirty years or so has focused largely on discursive practices and largely ignored the real world contexts in which they are embedded, practiced, and exploited. In all these analyses, the focus has often been on the discursive output, written as well as spoken. However, very little effort has been invested in studying critical interdiscursive performance in real-life situations as distinct from discursive output.

In this plenary talk, I would like to develop some of the critical aspects of genre theory to study interdiscursive performance as a resource for the study of academic and professional practice in the context of higher education today. Drawing on the notion of interdiscursivity, I will make an attempt to demystify some of the key aspects of academic and professional practice, thus suggesting an informed approach to the design and implementation of
specialised English programmes.


Nick Byrne has been Director of the Language Centre at The London School of Economics and Political Science since 1999. He is a member of the Higher Education
Academy and a National Teaching Fellow and Deputy Secretary of CercleS – the European Confederation of Language Centres. His articles have appeared in the THES, Linguist, CILT Higher and he has given papers at a range of language conferences. In 2009, he received the Institute of Linguists‘ award for his 20-year contribution to promoting languages in higher education.  The LSE Language Centre

PLENARY LECTURE: “The ongoing challenges for university language centres in a flexilingual world – collaborative solutions as a way forward.”

My practical rather than theoretical contribution to the conference will highlight the issues, demands and challenges for higher education language providers. I shall address and focus on the key issues of maximising the linguistic potential of students, in particular UK undergraduates who still enter the global job market with noticeably fewer language qualifications than their fellow EU and international students. During the presentation I shall highlight some key stages in the implementation of language policy developments at national, regional and institutional levels. I shall be showing the latest facts and figures relating to language uptake, and the reasons behind this. It will become clear how important a role university language centres in the UK and Ireland have been playing up to now, and how this role will increase. Although numbers have declined in the number of students who are taking a honours degree in a language, the numbers of students who are taking a language as an assessed module in their degree has grown sharply, as has the number of students choosing to pay to do a language course as an extra-curricular activity. The language needs of undergraduates have therefore become not only an educational issue but also a marketing tool.

I shall also look at the training needs of academics who do not have English as their first language, but who are nevertheless increasingly obliged to operate in English both in English and in non-English speaking countries. This is a growth area for language centres, and one which could act as a way of further embedding language centres as a valuable resource in the infrastructure of the parent university. Using the example provided by the Fiesole Group (EUI Florence, LSE, Humboldt Berlin, Collège d’Europe, UPF Barcelona, CEU Budapest, University of Copenhagen, Trinity Dublin), I shall indicate the strategies institutions need to develop to ensure that that potential pitfalls in language, pedagogy and intercultural areas are minimised when dealing with students. I will therefore consider the extent to which institutions need to extend existing hybrid support (linked linguistic, intercultural and pedagogical training) to provide a pan-European model of good practice in the field of continuing professional development. It is here that low-cost collaborative structures can help create common materials and raise the profiles of the institutions involved.




Russell Stannard is the founder of A website that offers free step-by-step videos to help incorporate technology into their teaching. It is visited by more than 300,000 teachers a year and won the British Council ´Technology ´ award and the Times Higher ´Outstanding Initiative´ award. Russell currently lectures part-time at the University of Warwick on the MA in ELT and is also a NILE associate trainer. The rest of the time he works freelance and presents all over the world and is especially known for his work on feedback and developing student’ s fluency. Russell Stannard’s blog

PLENARY LECTURE: “Tools that have really impacted on my teaching and learning”

This talk will focus on the key tools that Russell has used to impact on his teaching and learning. These tools are simple to implement but can have a huge impact on areas such as developing fluency, feedback and reflection. These key tools are also commonly used for flipped classroom teaching. This will be a practical talk, full of real examples from his own students, revealing simple but very powerful technologies that ANY teacher could learn to use. A session not to be missed.


libor stepanek

Libor Štěpánek is Assistant Professor in English and Vice Director for ICT and Internationalization at the Masaryk University Language Centre. His broad international academic and teacher training experience include EAP presentations; EAP writing; critical thinking; videoconferencing; ICT-enhanced learning; and intercultural communication, but his main academic interest lies in the Creative Approach to Language Teaching (CALT). He is an author and co-author of a number of materials, online courses and publications, such as Oral Presentations or Grada´s Academic English. Libor Štěpánek’s blog

PLENARY LECTURE: “Blind Men and an Elephant: What is creativity for?”

Creativity has recently become a phenomenon we cannot escape. Apparently, it makes economies grow, societies prosper and cultures flourish. Even universities are called to nurture creativity and become places “where students and teachers engage in creative thinking and learning by doing” (Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation in Europe, 2009). The discrepancy between the current glorification of creativity and its centuries-long neglect from most academic disciplines has caused us to raise the question “What is creativity for?“.

Taking a multidisciplinary approach I argue that despite the seeming lack of interest among pedagogical heoreticians, it is extremely beneficial to understand the deep nature of various types of creativity in order to provide good teaching and to generate motivation for learning. Using Csikszentmihalyi´s metaphor of the Indian story of blind men and an elephant for the current state of research-based knowledge of creativity I will touch upon diverse approaches that have been used to study and understand creativity, such as social–personality (Krouwel, Csikszentmihalyi), pragmatic (De Bono, Robinson) and psychometric (Guilford, Torrance) concepts, in order to show the elements and links they may share. A number of practical examples of activities that combine authentic and adapted materials, synchronous and asynchronous, ICT-enhanced and traditional techniques will illustrate the wide range of possible applications to teaching creative methods have. Finally, a confluent view on creativity may help us not only see the “elephant” in its complexity, but also identify areas where we can improve and broaden our individual teaching styles in order to be able to adapt our practice to the diverse needs of our students.

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