Tag: English

‘Close reading, codes and interpretation’ – booking open and line-up confirmed

Booking to our one-day symposium on ‘Close reading, codes and interpretation’, hosted by the Language & Communication is now open.

book message cloud shape Book here.

When? 9 am-7 pm, Tuesday 13th June 2017
Where?
Room H116, Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, London, NW4 4BT

In some reckonings, ‘close reading’ is now around 90 years old, having been inaugurated in I. A. Richards’ Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) and Practical Criticism (1929). The close reading of texts has become arguably the central activity of the humanities and close reading is carried out across different levels of education and through a number of disciplines. As its practitioners recognize, procedures of close reading can become ossified into routine practices of code identification rather than active interpretation.

This day symposium seeks to ask what ‘close reading’ is like now, how it is exercised in education in different contexts and how it might differ from or resemble ‘codes’ of reading. It features papers by teachers in Higher Education, Further Education and Secondary Education, including:

  • BARBARA BLEIMAN (English and Media Centre): ‘Close reading in Secondary English –  practices, problems and solutions’
  • BILLY CLARK (Middlesex University): ‘Pragmatic inference and reading processes’
  • PAUL COBLEY (Middlesex University): ‘The magic of codes: semiotics and close reading’
  • LOUISA ENSTONE (Darrickwood School): ‘Is it time to stop pee-ing? A grassroots study into teaching reading and essay writing at Secondary’
  • MARCELLO GIOVANELLI (Aston University) and JESS MASON (Sheffield Hallam University): ‘Whose close reading?: emphasis, attention and cognition in the literature classroom’
  • ANDREA MACRAE (Oxford Brookes University): ‘Close reading as process and product’
  • JON ORMAN (University of Hong Kong): ‘Thick description and/as close reading: some language-philosophical reflections’
  • ADRIAN PABLÉ (University of Hong Kong): ‘Interpretation, radical indeterminacy and close reading’
  • STEFAN PETO (Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys): ‘Close reading at the chalk-face: strategies and observations in Key Stage 3’
  • JOHAN SIEBERS (Middlesex University): ‘Only the furthest distance would be closeness – semantic anarchism, close reading and academic practice’what-reading

Cost: £10 flat fee (includes lunch and refreshments)

For further details, please email Billy Clark b.clark@mdx.ac.uk or Paul Cobley p.cobley@mdx.ac.uk

Symposium on Close Reading in Education: 13th June 2017

The Language and Communication Research Cluster is pleased to announce its upcoming whole-day symposium on Close reading, codes and interpretation.

In some reckonings, ‘close reading’ is now around 90 years old, having been inaugurated in I. A. Richards’ Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) and Practical Criticism (1929). The close reading of texts has become arguably the central activity of the humanities and close reading is carried out across different levels of education and through a number of disciplines. As its practitioners recognize, procedures of close reading can become ossified into routine practices of code identification rather than active interpretation. This symposium seeks to ask what ‘close reading’ is like now, how it is exercised in education at different levels and how it might differ from or resemble ‘codes’ of reading.

The symposium will include presentations from academics as well as teachers in secondary education.what-reading

When? 9 am- 7 pm, Tuesday 13th June 2017

Where? Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, London, NW4 4BT

The day will also include the launch of the undergraduate magazine Mesh and of the volume Critical Humanist Perspectives: The Integrational Turn in Philosophy of Language and Communication, edited by Adrian Pablé (Routledge, 2017).

More information and a full day schedule to follow.

Last date to register for free teachers conference

illc_2016_speakers_mosaic

Our free conference for English teachers (mentioned in our previous post) is just under three weeks away. The last date to register is next Monday, 31st October.

This will be a really fun and useful event. Teachers always respond positively to the opportunity to step outside the classroom to exchange ideas,  to hear about current research, and to consider how to apply some of these ideas in class. Some of the sessions will focus on developing specific resources and activities for class.

This year, the conference takes place the day before the NATE (National Association for the Teaching of English) post-16 conference, New Directions in Post-16 English, which is also being hosted at Middlesex.

If you can spare two days, why not come to both? If you’re already coming to one, maybe you could take an extra day to attend the other event.

You can find out more and book for the Integrating English conference here:

Fourth Integrating English Conference for Teachers

and for New Directions in Post-16 English here:

New Directions in Post-16 English

There is also a blog for the Post-16 conference here:

Post-16 conference blog

Hope some more teachers out there can join us.

Contact me if you have any questions about this.

Thinking About English

ba-english-middlesex

Our BA English programme at Middlesex takes a broad and inclusive view of English, encompassing all of the very wide range of activities which have been thoughts of as part of the subject and not assuming sharp boundaries within or at the edge of English.

There are several different things which helped to encourage us in this direction. For me, it began in discussion with students who seemed more open to this inclusive approach. Some of them approached me and asked why our programme didn’t seem to have much ‘lang-lit’ work (‘like we did at school’).

Thinking about this led to work exploring the current situation at school and at university with Andrea Macrae and Marcello Giovanelli. We worked on two research projects funded by the Higher Education Academy. These involved discussion with staff and students at schools and in universities, a workshop at Middlesex exploring these topics, and we produced two reports based on this (available via the Integrating English site).

Andrea, Marcello and I then set up the Integrating English project, which aims to promote this broad, inclusive view of English, and to help teachers and students at school by providing access to research ideas and other resources. We organise conferences for teachers (the fourth conference takes place at Middlesex on the 11th of November, the day before we host the National Association for the Teaching of English post-16 conference). We also run a website for the AQA awarding body called The Definite Article, where we publish digests of research papers and other resources.

This academic year is a very exciting one for us as we have launched our new degree which reflects this thinking about English. It’s very early to judge things but we have had a great time working with our new students so far and we’re looking forward to exploring ideas about English with them.

We’ll post more thoughts and resources on our thinking about English here, including some from events where we discuss this (Andrea, Marcello and I have been invited to give three presentations on our view of English this year). To start with, here are the slides from the presentation I gave at the Futures for English Studies seminar at the Open University in September:

Billy’s presentation at Futures for English Studies, Open University, September 2016

We’d love to carry on the discussion here so please comment or get in touch if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

Looking for inspiration on PhD topics?

If you are looking for inspiration for a PhD topic in English, here’s what our current PhD students are up to.

In a recent round table discussion, our current PhD students discussed with each other their doctoral projects. I was impressed both by the fascinating topics and novel approaches but also by the interesting questions our students asked each other.

Here are the topics of some of our current research candidates in language, linguistics and literature:

  • Kick the bucket1000-59719058_thumbnail-744x635

How can you teach English idioms to learners of English as a foreign language? Salim proposes that this should be done through the medium of learners’ home culture.

  • Do you say ‘napkin’ or ‘serviette’?

Narmina is looking at the factors that affect choices between synonyms.

  • This government is a parasite

Are some metaphors easier to understand than others? Ramona explores the (different) systems through which we process metaphors, employing Relevance Theory.

  • Neoliberalism promises meritocracy, upward social mobility, and individual freedoms. Surely it’s a good thing, then!

Tatjana explores the subversion and containment of neoliberal ideology in Black British fiction from the 80s to present day.

  • Do you change the way you speak when addressing ‘foreigners’?

Kyu looks at how speakers adjust their language when they understand their interlocutor as a member of the same or a different culture, employing approaches from pragmatics.

  • ‘If you spoil Star Wars for  me, I will Imperial March my way over to you.’

Do we employ semantic or pragmatics processes to understand ‘imperial march’ in this tweet? Benoit argues that Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory are in fact complementary perspectives and help us understand the semantics-pragmatic interface.

Can’t wait to see how all these projects evolve!