Registration is closed for this event
May 19th, 2021 10:00 AM through 11:30 AM
Online event, link will be provided
Event Fee(s)
Guest Price £ 0.00
Member Price £ 0.00


The purpose of this event is to highlight the role of language in higher education learning, focusing specifically on academic speaking. Given that higher education pedagogy has become more interactive and dialogic, there are high demands on students in terms of their spoken language skills. Students are expected to engage in academically productive dialogue with staff and peers in their disciplines.  Drawing on the concepts of oracy (speaking and listening) and English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), we will explore the central role language plays in developing conceptual and disciplinary knowledge and in collaborating with peers both inside and outside the classroom. We will invite participants to reflect on their own beliefs about the importance of language in developing disciplinary understanding and fostering peer interaction.

The session will be facilitated by Dr Patrick Baughan, Dr Karen Gravett and Dr Namrata Rao, the conveners for this network, and managed by colleagues at SRHE.



10.00-10.05        Introduction and Virtual Housekeeping Points

10.10 - 10.35      Guest Paper 1 – Oracy skills in higher education               

Dr Marion Heron

10.40– 11.05      Guest Paper 2 – The role of English as a Lingua Franca in peer-peer interaction         

                Dr Doris Dippold

11.05 – 11.25     Online Q&A and Discussion (Speakers and Delegates)

11.25 to 11.30    Concluding thoughts




Guest Paper 1.   Oracy skills in higher education

The term oracy has been used to distinguish the skills of speaking and listening from literacy skills (reading and writing) and is a vital tool for thinking and communication.  The Oracy Skills Framework (Mercer et al, 2017) identifies a range of spoken skills required for successful communication in diverse educational, social and professional contexts.  Yet despite the centrality of oracy skills to developing disciplinary understanding, there is little focus on these skills outside the compulsory school sector. Oracy skills are also key graduate outcomes, representing the new cultural capital (Doherty et al, 2011), as competence in speaking and listening provides access to workplaces through a knowledge of ‘regimes of talk’. In this presentation we will explore ways of embedding oracy skills more explicitly into the curriculum and participants will be invited to reflect on their pedagogical and assessment practices.


Doherty, C., Kettle, M., May, L., and Caukill, E. (2011). Talking the talk: Oracy demands in first year university assessment tasks. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 18(1), 27-39.

Mercer, N., Warwick, P., and Ahmed, A. (2017). An oracy assessment toolkit: Linking research and development in the assessment of students' spoken language skills at age 11-12. Learning and Instruction, 48, 51-60.


Guest Paper 2. 

English as a lingua franca (ELF) research in higher education and business settings has a long tradition, proposing that ELF communication is characterised by strategies for adapting to speakers of other varieties of English (Jenkins, 2011). However, the results of ELF research have not yet been translated into HE pedagogical principles or practices. Given the linguistically diverse HE context, peer to peer interaction provides an ideal space for developing ELF communication skills. In this presentation we will explore  how a pedagogy rooted in ELF principles will benefit native as well as non-native speakers of English, and ensure HE students develop transferable skills for future professional interactions in which team work is the norm.  Participants will be invited to consider ways of incorporating an explicit focus on ELF skills into their teaching and assessment practices.

Jenkins, J. (2011). Accommodating (to) ELF in the international university. Journal of Pragmatics43(4), 926-936.




Dr Marion Heron is Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, University of Surrey. She has a background in applied linguistics and has published in the areas of classroom interaction, dialogic pedagogy, academic speaking (oracy) skills and teacher education. Her work in educational linguistics focuses on the role of language in conceptual development and educational strategies to support and develop students’ language proficiency. She works with staff on developing awareness of their own classroom language, classroom interaction and developing educational dialogue in classroom interaction. @MarionHeron65   @LLL_research  @SurreyIoE

Dr Doris Dippold is Senior Lecturer in Intercultural Communication, University of Surrey. She has a background in applied linguistics and researches in the areas of language and technology. She has published in the areas of classroom interaction, internationalisation of higher education and language in human-computer interaction. Her work on internationalization of higher education focuses on the contribution of language to the relationship between all actors in the linguistically and culturally diverse classroom. Issues of language and ELF feature in her Futurelearn MOOC “Communicating with Diverse Audiences”. @roadtobabel   @LLL_research   @SurreySLL

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