Pioneering foreign language teachers share expertise at University of Exeter conference

The country’s foremost foreign language teachers have debated the impact of innovations such as artificial intelligence on their work as part of a major academic event.

The experts – responsible for honing the skills of thousands of students around the country – gathered to share their expertise at the 25th AULC Conference, held at the University of Exeter.

Also on the agenda was how to enhance LGBTQ+ representation in language materials, how to use gender-fair language in modern foreign language teaching, and how to incorporate equity and neuro-inclusivity.

The event, New Directions for University-Wide Language Programmes: Challenges and Solutions in Innovation, Inclusivity and Community Building, was attended by more than 100 language educators from 70 universities across the UK and Ireland.

Association of University Language Communities in the UK and Ireland members heard keynote speeches from Professor Jolanta Drzewiecka, from the Università della Svizzera Italiana, on intercultural awareness; Professor Neil Hughes, from the University of Nottingham, on blended and hybrid learning in higher education; and Laura Köbis, from the University of Leipzig, on why language teachers can no longer afford to ignore AI tools.

Dr Juan García-Precedo, Director of Language Teaching and Director of the Language Centre at Exeter, said: “Language Centres provide a fantastic service to students across the University and beyond. Our responsibilities are extremely diverse and range from providing credit-rated courses to students choosing a language as an additional subject to courses which include the wider community. Those running Language Centres can adapt quickly to specific or new requirements, equipping learners with transferable skills and opening up international career paths.”