First Foreign Language Teaching International Conference

Author: Rooweither Mabuya

The South African Centre for Digital Languages Resources (SADiLaR) in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal together with the Durban University of Technology, the Confucius Institute co-sponsored the first Foreign Language Teaching International Conference in Durban.

The conference, under the theme: Foreign Language Teaching Mobility: Towards Globalisation, created a platform for stakeholders from far and wide to share their research and pedagogies to broaden and diversify the teaching of foreign languages and cultures in the quest for promotion of global mobility.

The keynote address was given by UKZN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, who spoke on African Universities, African Languages and the Transdisciplinary Method: A Decoloniality Project.

Professor Mkhize examined the role of languages in society, colonialism, education and gender that he believes is intricately woven in Indigenous Knowledge Systems and highlighted the importance of knowing one’s history especially the fundamental principles of Ubuntu in order to ground the education system on the African continent.

SADiLaR held a pre-conference workshop which was an Introduction to Digital Humanities and Voyant Tools. The workshop was aimed more at students to introduce them to text analysis tools for data analysis in their research. The Centre of Text Technology (CTexT) as a SADiLaR node also facilitated another workshop at the conference. The CTexT team held an introductory to Austhumato Machine Translation workshop which was aimed more at language practitioners, researchers and lecturers. The preconference workshops were both quite a success as delegates were interested in knowing more ways on how to use or apply Digital Humanities in their research.

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