The first session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series I was virtually held by Department of Foreign Languages, Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) on 13 June, 2020. The keynote speaker was Dr. Gerhard Leitner, an emeritus Professor of English linguistics at the Department of English of the Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany. In his talk titled “From the ‘best [British] English’ to ‘Englishes’ and challenges for English Language Teaching”, Prof. Leitner chronologically reviewed through the main existing models of spread of English and touched upon a paradigm shift from World English into World Englishes across time.
Dr. Behrooz Azabdaftari, an emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Tabriz University, Iran was the keynote speaker of the 2nd session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series I on 11 July, 2020 who delivered his talk on “Halliday's Transitivity in EFL Context.” The speaker made a distinction between transitivity in its traditional sense, being a grammatical feature, and the concept of transitivity in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), which is concerned with the mental processes involved in expressing life experiences. Drawing upon Vygotskian epistemology, the speaker argued that the mental processes underlying the verbal structures are basically affected /determined by socio-cultural/historical factors.
The third session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series I was held virtually by the Department of Foreign Languages at Tehran University of Medical Sciences on 12 August, 2020. The keynote speaker was Dr. Javad Gholami, an assoc. Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Department of English at Urmia University, Iran. In his talk entitled “Principles of Instructed Language Learning and their Embodiment in EFL classes in Iran”, the speaker reviewed a spectrum of theories and models pertaining to instructed language acquisition and provided their down-to-earth practical representations in the actual contexts of EFL classes in Iran.
The 4th session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series 1 entitled “Academic Literacy Development in EAP Classes” was virtually held by the Department of Foreign Languages of Tehran University of Medical Sciences on 23 November, 2020. The keynote speaker was Dr. Amir Zand-Moghaddam, an assoc. professor of applied linguistics at Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran, who elaborated on the concept of academic literacy, its underlying components as well as its process of development in EAP classes. The perceptions of university lecturers and students at 10 Iranian universities towards the construct of Academic Literacy were also elaborately compared and contrasted.
Dr. Neomy Storch, a professor of Applied Linguistics at the School of Languages and Linguistics, University of Melbourne, Australia was the keynote speaker of the 5th session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series I on 5 December, 2020 who delivered her talk on “Collaborative writing: promoting learning opportunities for language learners.” Addressing the issue from various perspectives, the speaker primarily questioned the conventionally perceived and practiced separation of writing and speaking tasks in language classes, arguing that such a dichotomization could neither be realistic nor pedagogically beneficial. She also talked in favor of collaboration during entire writing process arguing that having a sense of collective ownership for the text under construction has a very positive impact on group dynamics and individuals’ motivation to contribute to the group’s collective objectives.
The 6th session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series I (2021) which was hosted by the Department of Foreign Languages of Tehran University of Medical Sciences on January 9, 2021 was attended by over 300 professors, researchers, and students of applied linguistics from several countries. The keynote speaker was Dr. James P. Lantolf, Greer Professor Emeritus at the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A., who delivered his talk on “Crisis in SLA: Cognitive ~ Social Divide and What to Do About It.” He expounded the crisis in terms of the relationship between cognitive orientation and the socio-cultural perspective, and proposed a potential solution grounded in Vygotsky’s theory of general psychology.
The 1st session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series II entitled “The Cognitive and the Social Gap in SLA: A Sociocognitive Way out of the Maze” was virtually held by the Department of Foreign Languages of Tehran University of Medical Sciences on 13 February, 2021. The keynote speaker was Dr. Mehdi Riazi , a Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, who following up on Prof. Lantolf’s talk in the previous webinar expounded the sociocognitive theory / approach to Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Studies from various vantage points and proposed another way out of the ‘epistemological maze’.
Professor James P. Lantolf from the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A. was the keynote speaker of the 2nd session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series II on 10 April, 2021. In his talk titled “The Theory ~ Practice Crisis: Second Language Acquisition versus Language Education” he gave a brief history of the origin and evolution of the crisis related to the gap between SLA theory/research and educational practice in the realm of general applied linguistics. Drawing upon Vygotsky and his initiative of unifying theory and practice in psychology, he suggested a similar path in SLA, reaffirming the resourcefulness and potentialities of the Vygotskian approach to SLA.
Dr. Bronwyn T. Williams, a professor of English at Louisville University, U.S.A. was the keynote speaker of the 3rd session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series II on 08 May, 2021. In his talk entitled “Constructing Literate Identities: Genre, Response, and Student Writers’ Perceptions of Agency,” the speaker extended the notion beyond the conventional conceptualization of Literacy (i.e., an ability to read and write) to include a perception of agency, which can crucially affect how people respond to writing situations. He also touched upon some strategies for addressing issues of genre across disciplines, including questions of audience, authorial position, and style.
Dr. Ken Hyland, a professor of Applied Linguistics at University of East Anglia, U.K. was the keynote speaker of the 4th session of TUMS Applied Linguistics Webinar Series II (2021) who delivered his talk on “Working with Writing: Understanding Texts, Writers, and Readers”. He gave an all-encompassing picture of writing and its predominant teaching approaches. Five types of knowledge essential to writing were enumerated: Content knowledge, System knowledge, process knowledge, Genre Knowledge and Reader Knowledge. Then three approaches to writing were expounded: Focus on Texts, Focus on Readers and Focus on Writers. Professor Hyland concluded his talk with some explications on mixed genre portfolios and audience analysis.
Dr. Ramin Kordi, Vice-Chancellor for Global Strategies and International Affairs at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, clarified a new educational model. “Internationalization needs well-organized training, knowledge and experience exchange with all universities cooperation’’ he explained.
Introducing the principles of international marketing;procedures,necessities & strategies was presented by Dr. Shabani and Dr. Hosseini Moghaddam.
The third day sought the notion of Health Tourism presented by Dr. Naili, Deputy Minister of Bilateral and International Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Health and Medical Education.