Paul Slater’s main areas of interest relate to the teaching of English as a second, foreign, or additional language. Paul teaches on a number of teacher education modules on the MAs in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and TESOL with Information and Communications Technologies (TESOL with ICT), on the Diploma in TESOL, and on the School of Humanities’ undergraduate programme.
Paul’s primary area of interest is the investigation of how and why technology can be used to the field of English language teaching (ELT). In his modules he works with experienced and trainee teachers to explore the ways in which technology can be integrated into the curriculum to support learners, and to support teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD). Paul’s interest in ELT materials extends beyond the digital into coursebook design and evaluation, and the diverse range of materials and tasks which teachers are now using in class.
Two areas of research interest are in relation to language teacher education. The first is the role that media technologies can have in supporting teacher reflection. Paul has explored how access to recordings of their lessons affects teachers’ ability to reflect on their teaching, and how the mode used by a teacher to record their reflections influences the reflective process. A second area relates to teachers’ use of materials. While the coursebook remains key in English teaching, many teachers now supplement their lessons with digital materials. Paul is researching which materials teachers choose to use and how they are using them
Actively involved the world of ELT, Paul co-organises conferences and events, is on the editorial review board of an international journal, sits on validation boards as an external. He also has experience as an external examiner, has co-supervised two PhDs in the area of educational technology and ELT, and has worked with various organisations to improve the quality of English language teacher education. In addition to his work in the ELT field, Paul is also interested in graphic novels and comics. He co-teaches a module on the language of comics, and was co-curator of the first two Graphic Brighton conferences.
Having graduated from the University of Sussex, Paul taught English in the UK and internationally. On his return to the UK he completed the RSA diploma in the Teaching of English as a Foreign language to Adults (DTEFLA), and then the MA in Media-assisted Language Teaching (MALT) at the University of Brighton. Following a period as a Research Fellow, Paul became a lecturer on the MALT MA which he went on to course lead.
My teaching has been influenced by a variety of factors but primarily how I have been taught, my experiences teaching, feedback from learners, and studying pedagogical theory. 'How I like to teach' raises questions about the fundamentals of education and why people learn. I agree with Jon Dron that “there is nothing humans love more than to learn” so I design and deliver the courses I teach in a way which support learners’ intrinsic motivation. My approaches draw from the fields of both cognitivist and sociocultural learning theory.
My experiences as a learner initially determined how I taught, but having started to teach I began to understand the challenges and opportunities of dealing with diversity in classes. Working with a broad range of nationalities and in different countries also clarified the need to carefully consider contextual factors when I teach.
The opportunity to reflect on my experiences as a learner and teacher came when I studied on language teacher education courses at Certificate, Diploma and Master’s level. Working on teacher education courses I have been able to explore and research models and theories of education from educational theorists such as Dewey, Freire, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner. The combination of my experiences as a learner and teacher, my study of pedagogical theory, and the educational research I have done has led me to design and teach my courses around the following principles:
I have a longstanding interest in educational technology. This is an area where some of the discussion can be oversimplified with claims that technology will either kill or revolutionize education, or that all technology is neutral and therefore ‘just a tool’. Drawing on Feenberg’s Critical Theory of Technology, I believe it is possible to build the understanding of the ecology of a learning context which is required if appropriate decisions about the use of technology in that context are to be made. On this basis I have been able to integrate the use of technology into the modules I teach in ways which I believe have been beneficial to students.
Slater, P. (Forthcoming) Mode, multimodality and reflection. In: Mann, S. & Walsh, S Revitalising Reflective Practice: a data-led, dialogic and collaborative approach to professional development. London: Routledge.
Co-organiser of Different Voices with the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign (IATEFL) Pronunciation Special Interest Group (PronSIG) at the University of Brighton.
Organised Interfacing with public space: embodied language learning with mobile technologies delivered by Paul Driver at the University of Brighton.
Co-curated Graphic Brighton: Drawing in the Margin at the University of Brighton.
IATEFL Conference, Manchester. Co-presented a paper on the use of blogs to facilitate reflective practice for in-service language teachers.
Co-curated Graphic Brighton 2014 at the University of Brighton.
The Wizard of Oz and the Cultural Imagination conference. Co-presented a paper on the representation of Dorothy in graphic narratives.
Cine-Excess VIII ‘Are You Ready for the Country: Cult Cinema and Rural Excess’ conference. Presented a paper on death and horror in the southern swamps.
Co-curated the Quality in Teacher Education (QuiTE) annual seminar, London: Maintaining standards in TESOL in the face of changing market forces.
IATEFL Conference, Brighton. Co-presented a paper on the use of digital video to promote teacher reflection.
Co-curated the QuiTE annual seminar, London: Voices of International Teachers and Students of English: Language and Identity.
Co-curated the QuiTE annual seminar, London: International Students in Higher Level TESOL Training - Expectations, Needs and Standards and a presented a paper on the postgraduate student experience.
Co-curated the QuiTE annual seminar, London: Continuing Professional Development for TESOL: You and Your Teachers.
Adamson, R., Dwyer, N. & Slater, P. (2006) Interactive whiteboards in practice: a case study. In: Making teaching more effective: The learning and teaching conference 2006. Brighton, University of Brighton. pp.51-55.
Slater, P. & Varney-Burch, S. (2001) Multimedia in Language Learning. London: CiLT.96
Scholarly or industry-specific esteem
External panel member at Study Group, International Study Centres, Approval Event for the Academic English Skills (AES) Programme.
2009 - the present
Member of the editorial review board for the International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (IJCALLT).
External examiner for the MA in Educational Technology and TESOL, School of Education, University of Manchester.
Committee memberof the Association for the Promotion of Quality in TESOL Education (QUiTE).