Robert Baird

Robert Baird

At the University of Southampton, I have been involved with a range of language and applied linguistics programmes. I am interested in the complex and social nature of communication and education.

Location Southampton, UK


  • Noted - thank you!

  • @WYLENLIPANGLIPANG It is there now - apologies for the delay (my fault!).

  • Great points as always, @RonaldM.Turno

  • @AriyoOlanike I hope you can let us know how that goes!

  • If you have any questions about anything so far, please post it in a comment here and we'll try to answer it in the video.

  • Yes - very much a Scouse accent. Interesting that a French accent is closer to standard English.

  • @RondaTullay I agree mostly. I used to try the technique of arriving early, setting up the computer and sometimes board, but leaving the room so that students would see the focus at the front, and sometimes I'd put a question there. I'd then walk in two minutes late and just start talking ("so, what do you think?"). I found that an equally empowering way to...

  • Good point. There are individuals in cultural groupings. I see culture as more useful as a concept that helps us consider what people are likely to have experienced (ideas of good/bad, polite/impolite, normal/abnormal) and not as a guide to what people will think or do.

  • I share your feelings about statistics very often!

  • @MurodIsmailov Hello. The ambiguity is the point here. I think Macaro sets out a defined object of study (which a researcher has to delimit and build borders around), whereas the phenomenon itself cannot be captured by the definition you mention, in my view. I have chatted to Ernesto about that, and he wasn't angry!

    The definition above is useful for a...


    I always find talks by Hans Rosling (RIP) very inspiring. This is one example, but you can see many of his talks online throughout his career, and he is a great example of somebody who doesn't try to speak in the style of a 'native speaker', but whose enthusiasm and knowledge is infectious... and what he says is...

  • Thank you for the comment, Julio! I appreciate that.

  • Interesting that you write about the importance of bodies of knowledge, and yet simply dismiss the idea of 'native speaker (English or other language)' as a false line of discussion, when it is an established research focus across disciplines (e.g. sociolinguistics, language education, and philosophy of language). Clearly some bodies of knowledge are more...

  • Another good point to link in here. The video is funny, in a way, because reactions to that kind of stereotyping are not common. That's important to remember in class, as the least likely to respond are those who feel less powerful and most marginalised. It wouldn't be funny if we reversed the roles in the video, which says something about the assumptions we...

  • Good point. I think we can analyse the processes and messages in videos like this a lot without observing this simple but very important observation.

  • Perfectly phrased!

  • It's sorted now - wrong permission box was ticked. Sorry!

  • Thank you - the issue is now resolved, but thank you for helping people find it while it was being sorted!

  • @ViniciusG.Maltarollo I'll add providing short videos with key input, and having group tasks around that, helps all students understand the content, and the teacher has a much easier time after that.

  • Thank you - I agree and thank you for making my long text easier to digest!

  • Thank you Francisco. Absolutely. This happens 'glocally' which is becoming a bit cliche now, but does emphasise the local nature of all such ideologies. Bourdieu's ideas of cultural and symbolic capital are very relevant here - and I like your point that this process can be more about symbolic affordances in your own setting (e.g. as 'an English-speaking...

  • @WanderlanSambüc I used to teach in East Asia, where the physiognomy of the ideal English speaker is, sadly, very clear and consistent (and images of the ideal international business person, the ideal international star, etc. are carried on those messages too)!

  • That's great news, Drielle... your next task is to pass that confidence and outlook to your students!

  • Thank you, Julia. Yes - I see 'accent reduction' courses and 'lose your accent' books still, and think that kind of framing should be a thing of the past... The only exception would be where everybody would take the same course (e.g. in drama school).

    Actually, now I think about it, writing instruction evolved much more to be about 'composition' and...

  • Thank you Daniela - I agree, absolutely!

  • Thank you so much Beatrix. I have enjoyed your comments, and I hope others can benefit from them (look back if you are reading this and haven't been paying attention to Beatrix!).

  • That's great to hear, Yulia. Actually, with teacher mobility, this is very frequent that the teacher is from somewhere that has a particular identity marker where they work, and I agree that it needs to be seen as the beginning of an eye-opening conversation (so they can learn from the interaction) rather than being ignored. In a similar way, students (and...

  • Good point - positive stereotypes can be just as harmful to a group dynamic as negative ones (as identities are relational - if some go up, others go down!).

  • I like that - it is a rule that shows expectations of participation, not just controls/limits.

  • I agree - we cannot do it alone. Teachers can't really equip themselves with the skills or time to focus on students, especially not in an additional language, without institutional support. As you say, equipping the teachers is just part of the picture - the institution should be preparing for their inclusion long before the students even arrive.

  • That is interesting - I find 'it depends' best describes interrupting in the UK. Sometimes it effectively shows you are listening and co-creating meaning, but sometimes you are seen as dominating and rude.

  • That's a good point there - sometimes being indirect is more polite but is less likely to be understood. I find that if you teach students regularly, they get used to your requests very quickly, whereas if you teach diverse students, it is safer to be a little more direct.

  • I agree (with another of your comments, so it's becoming a habit).

  • I think you raise some important points here, linked to the teacher's purpose (e.g. if it is the purpose to access cultural meanings and native speaker English terms, then engaging with idioms seems logical - if your aim is to teach content as clearly as possible, it seems your warnings are worth listening to).

  • I like this human approach - it is hard for them to develop unless they realise the reality of their situation, and how to deal with it in a productive and cooperative way.

  • Great suggestions, Alicia.

  • Excellent advice.

  • I don't think any of these textual mistakes would make any difference when reading aloud. And, regarding the 'however' - yes and no. However should not, if we're following strict punctuation conventions, follow a comma (nor would the same grammar forms: 'also', 'moreover', 'furthermore', 'conversely', etc., but it should be followed by a comma in this text....

  • @BeatrixIvannovita Another great comment - you're absolutely right that anything we do is only positive if it suits the context and purpose. I said something similar many times about 'technology enhanced learning technologies' which can often reduce quite advanced content to multiple choice quizzes. I wasn't very comfortable with a quiz for this MOOC, for...

  • I agree - good points.

  • I was worried when I saw how much text was on the first slides, but I then see more visually engaging material that follows.

  • I'm guessing this might be used if students had it in front of them, or if the small text were not the main focus. There is a lot to read on these slides, but, if not intended to be read in the lecture, that isn't always bad.