Keynote Speakers
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Jean-Paul and Marie-Françoise Narcy-Combes

Keynote Address:
Local Eyes for Global Vision:
Can human intelligence and technology help?

Neurophysiology tells us that we see what we have been programmed to see and hear what we have been programmed to hear. The interplay of our emotions, which triggers our cognitive responses to facts and events, largely escapes our conscious control. Basically, we can say that we process what is new according to the way we have processed things so far. Ledoux states that if neurophysiological processes are universal, individual responses depend on the history of the individual. Theoretical knowledge about the processes of acquisition of a new culture and language (C2 and L2) is universal and useful, but the applications are local and specific as well as being conditioned by the social and cultural environment in which learning takes place. Some kind of mediation is necessary to help to bridge the gap between what individuals make of what they see and hear and what the events mean for their interlocutor(s). There is a gap between C2 and L2 acquisition theory and learners’ beliefs, which means that it is necessary to take these beliefs into account and provide mediation to bridge that gap. ICT both enables greater and easier interaction between people of different cultures and languages and facilitates learning. However, without some form of mediation and some form of metacognition, intercultural misunderstanding and inadequate acquisition might prove to be the rule. This presentation will describe some of the ways of tackling this problem, focusing on task-based learning and the development of flexible systems offering valid alternatives to traditional classroom activities in order to foster learners’ epistemological responsibility and a capacity for lifelong autonomous learning.

Byram, M. & Flemming M. (1998) Language Learning in intercultural perspective. CUP, England.
Ledoux, J. (2003) Neurobiologie de la personnalité. Paris :Odile Jacob
Narcy-Combes, J.-P. (2005) Didactique des langues et TIC: vers une recherche-action responsable. Paris : Ophrys.
Narcy-Combes, M.-F. (2006) La Communication interculturelle en anglais des affaires. Rennes : Presses Universitaires de Rennes.
Zarate, G. & Gohard-Radenkovic (eds.), (2004) La reconnaissance des compétences interculturelles: de la grille à la carte. Paris, Didier.

Marie-Françoise Narcy-Combes is a full professor at the University of Nantes where she is involved in the coordination of the Applied Languages Department. Her main teaching fields include business English within this department as well as pre-service and in-service language teacher training. She has published two books: Precis de didactique des Langues (published by Ellipses in 2005) provides a task-based approach to language teaching methodology and applied linguistics; and La communication interculturelle en anglais des affaires (published by les Presses Universitaires de Rennes in 2006) links language learning and culture learning through raising learner awareness.

Jean-Paul Narcy-Combes is a full professor at the University of Paris 3 (Sorbonne nouvelle). He lectures in Applied linguistics and language teaching (mainly epistemology and research methodology) and is in charge of courses of English for students in language studies. His research focuses on learning systems and tasks in a context where ICT plays an increasing role and where L2 cannot be dissociated from the culture and the disciplinary knowledge of its speakers. His theoretical and practical position is described in his latest book, Didactique des langues et TIC, vers une recherche-action responsable published by Ophrys in 2005 and followed up by articles in journals such as ALSIC, CALL, Le Français dans le monde and Les Cahiers de l’APLIUT.