What do you think of when you hear the word “research”?
Many people who are not based in a very academic setting (e.g. a university) hear the word “research” and immediately think that it will be boring, dry, confusing, esoteric, irrelevant to “real life”, or that it will take them forever to read and understand a research publication. Of course, sometimes research is like this — but it doesn’t have to be!
I work for a publisher and a key part of my role is to help our teams integrate research findings into ELT courses, materials, methods and approaches. I’m also a teacher trainer and do my best to ensure that I’m up-to-date with research findings from applied linguistics, so that the recommendations and guidance that I give teachers are sound and likely to genuinely benefit teaching and learning. My own experience is valuable, of course, but there are also many things I can learn from others, and research is particularly valuable when it leads me to question my own long-held beliefs, ultimately strengthening, changing or adapting them in the face of new evidence.
One of the challenges I face on a daily basis is how to make research interesting and engaging for the people who need or want to apply research to their daily practice, and who tend not to enjoy reading long academic texts which are often only published in journals, behind a paywall that is prohibitive for most teachers. There are many alternative ways of sharing research findings. This blog series is a collection of some of my favourites.
One way researchers can share their findings is through live or live-streamed mini-presentations.
Last summer, inspired by the innovative format of a 10-minute plenary presentation that I gave at a conference in Spain earlier that year, I decided to hold a series of similar mini-events to share key insights from applied linguistics research that could be applied to the work that my colleagues and I do every day (designing, publishing and supporting teachers in using ELT materials).
I called these short presentations “Pedagogy Pop-ups”, and the principles were simple:
- just 10 minutes long, easy to fit into a coffee break;
- purpose is to share interesting insights from research and how they relate to our practice;
- no audience participation required;
- no slides.
There were five pop-ups in the series, of which three were video recorded. You can watch these videos here:
- Everything you always wanted to know about teaching pronunciation* (*but were afraid to ask)
- What works in technology-assisted language learning?
- What 10 things do you need in order to learn a language?
Enjoy, feel free to share, and look out for the next post in this series…
P.S. Some weeks after writing this post, I discovered a similar short-format research presentation: the Three-Minute Thesis.