Dr Melanie Gobert
IICEDubai2017 Keynote Speaker
Abu Dhabi Men’s College, UAE
As a Keynote Speaker, Dr Melanie Gobert of Abu Dhabi Men’s College, UAE, will look at the impact that reading and English proficiency can have on higher education in foreign universities due to the impact of globalisation at The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Dubai 2017 (IICEDubai2017).
Dr Melanie Gobert is on the General Education Faculty at the Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi Men’s College. She is a past president of TESOL Arabia, and she was Editor of Perspectives, the TESOL Arabia peer-reviewed English Language Teaching journal, from 2009 to 2014. She has co-edited Current Issues in Reading, Writing and Visual Literacy: Research and Practice (2015) published by Cambridge Scholars. She has also published and presented widely in the region, including “Taboo Topics in the ESL/EFL Classroom in the Gulf Region” in Intercultural Communication with Arabs (2014, Springer) and “Research-Based Solutions to Gulf Arabs’ Reading Challenges” (in press) in Teaching English in the Arab Context: Challenges and Practical Classroom Applications (Cambridge Scholars). She has two upcoming chapters, “Accommodation in ESL” and “Realia”, in the new Wiley Publications A to Z of Assessment and A to Z of English Language Teaching. She edited the student edition of From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi by Mohamed Al Fahim (Makaram Publishing, 2011). She has also published “Grammar Correction in ESL Writing Classrooms” in Cultivating Real Writers (HCT Press, 2010) and “Key Findings from Research and Implications for the Classroom” in Cultivating Real Readers (HCT Press, 2010). She was a featured speaker at the 2nd World Congress on Extensive Reading held in Seoul, Korea, in 2013, and she presented on “Language Learner Literature and Identity” at the Excellence in Language Instruction: Supporting Classroom Teaching and Learning Regional TESOL International Conference at the National Institute of Education in Singapore, in December 2015.
Keynote Presentation | Reading: A 21st Century Skill in Higher Education
It is assumed that reading is a basic, core skill in the range of skills needed to be a 21st century thinker and that all students have acquired this skill before embarking on higher education (Kivunja, 2014), yet research in the United Arab Emirates shows that the average Emirati student has read only 4 books a year compared to her/his Korean peers (40 books), and the average Emirati family only has 20 books in the home compared to the average British home, which has 203 books. In fact, research in the USA from the ACT college placement tests shows that about 50% of high school graduates lack the necessary reading skills to adequately commence college. In the USA and Europe, many of these students are language minority students. In addition, more and more English-medium colleges and branches of English higher education institutions are opening abroad in non-English speaking countries. English proficiency has also become a graduation program requirement in more and more foreign universities due to the impact of globalization. Add to that the impact of electronic media on education and the impact of the retrieval of information from the Internet on the human brain, higher educational institutions are often left with a deficit in the college-preparedness of incoming students. A result of this, particularly for many English-medium overseas colleges and universities, is that the teacher is paid to read and summarize the content for underprepared students, thus impacting the standard of the graduates of the university and the university’s reputation. This talk will look at some of the causes and effects of this phenomenon and discuss some research-based solutions.