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Academic explores challenges of learning English for overseas students

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December 17 2015

The challenges and solutions to helping overseas students learn English as a second language were explored by a Glyndŵr University academic in Saudi Arabia.

Dianne Excell, honorary visiting fellow at the Wrexham institution, was one of only four women to present a paper at the Recent Advances in Computer Systems conference at the University of Ha’il.

Subtleties: Some Challenges in Achieving Second Language Fluency Using Computer-Aided Translation Tools in Education examined the development of computer-aided translation tools.

It also asked whether these tools are effective enough to help students learning English as an additional language (EAL) to achieve academic success at all levels.

She was also asked to give a two-hour workshop on ‘Mandatory Continuing Professional Development’ for the tutors in the English Language Skills Department.

Dianne said: “This was a mutually wonderful opportunity to meet fellow teachers and realise that we share similar difficulties in teaching second-language students, despite major cultural differences.

“I was able to draw on examples from the British School where I worked, where several students arrived from Saudi Arabia with very little English

“Several of the Saudi tutors were relatively new to teaching and they had many questions about the problems of learning English and useful approaches and strategies to help students to overcome the barriers.”

The visit also provided Diane with a cultural experience throughout her stay in Ha’il, she had to wear an abaya (long black overdress) and hijab (head scarf) when outside her hotel room, as is required by Saudi regulations.

Glyndŵr University’s Second Language Centre was established in 2007 and provides courses to students, staff, businesses and the general public.

New language courses for the general public are starting in January 2016. The provisional schedule is German and Chinese on Tuesday 6-8/9pm; Italian on Wednesday 6-8pm; Spanish on Thursday 6-8/9pm.

For more information visit the language school website or email languages.foreign@glyndwr.ac.uk

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