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The Learning Conference 2003

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Main Speakers


Keynote addresses by some of the world's leading thinkers in the field of education.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Brian Street, Professor of Language in Education at King's College, London University and Visiting Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. Prof. Street undertook anthropological fieldwork on literacy in Iran during the 1970's, taught social and cultural anthropology for over twenty years at the University of Sussex before taking up the Chair of Language in Education at King's College London. He has written and lectured extensively on literacy practices from both a theoretical and an applied perspective. In addition to writing, editing and collaborating on ten books, he has published over 60 scholarly articles and given numerous keynote addresses at major international conferences. He has a longstanding commitment to linking ethnographic-style research on the cultural dimension of language and literacy with contemporary practice in education and in development. Books include Literacy in Theory and Practice, (C.U.P. 1985), edited, Cross-Cultural Approaches to Literacy, (CUP, 1993), Social Literacies, (1995), and Literacy and Development: Ethnographic Perspectives, (ed. Routledge, 2000). He is also currently involved in research projects on academic literacies (co-ed Student Writing in the University: Cultural and Epistemological Issues, Benjamins, 2000), and on home/ school literacy and numeracy practices, (forthcoming – co-author, Numeracy Practices at Home and at School, (Kluwer).

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Ruth Finnegan, Faculty of Social Sciences, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. Ruth Finnegan, FBA, studied classics at Oxford, followed by postgraduate work in social anthropology and a DPhil on story-telling based on fieldwork in Sierra Leone. After teaching at universities in Africa, she was one of the founding members of the academic staff of the Open University (1969) where she spent most of her later career and is currently Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences; she is also an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford. Her publications include Oral Literature in Africa, 1970, Oral Poetry, 1977/1992, Information Technology, (jt ed.) 1987, Literacy and Orality, 1988, The Hidden Musicians, 1989, Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts, 1992, South Pacific Oral Traditions, (jt ed.) 1995, Tales of the City, 1998 and Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Interconnection, 2002.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. David Barton is Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK, and Director of the Literacy Research Centre. He is also on the management board of the National Centre for Research and Development in Adult Literacy and Numeracy. He is interested in all aspects of literacy and in linking research and practice. Previously, he has been involved in a series of ESRC projects on literacy in adults’ lives in monolingual and multilingual communities in England, including an ethnographic study of the role of reading and writing in the everyday lives of people in Lancaster, as reported in the book Local Literacies.

  • Common Ground Conferences Dr Roz Ivanic, Lancaster University, UK. Roz has taught English language, literacy and study skills to children and adults in Devon, London and Stockton, California. She was director of the Language Support Unit at Kingsway-Princeton College of Further Education in London. She was a lecturer in adult literacy, language and learning at Garnett College for teachers in further and higher education before joining the staff at Lancaster in 1986. Her publications include Writing and Identity: The discoursal construction of identity in academic writing (Benjamins 1998) and, with Romy Clark, The Politics of Writing (Routledge1997). She is co-editor with David Barton and Mary Hamilton of Worlds of Literacy (Multilingual Matters 1994) and Situated Literacies (Routledge 2000).  She is currently the Chairperson of the Committee for Linguistics in Education. She is an active member of The British Association for Applied Linguistics, and of the Research and Practice in Adult Literacy Group. She co-directed the Leverhulme and ESRC-funded research projects which developed the Lancaster Corpus of Children’s Project Writing. She is now working within the Lancaster node of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, based in the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre.

  • Carey Jewitt, Institute of Education, University of London, UK. Carey Jewitt studied Fine Art (Newcastle Polytechnic) before moving into research and undertaking a Masters in Social Research (University of Surrey). She is co-editor of the journal Visual Communication and has worked at the Institute of Education, University of London for the past six years. Carey’s research and writing focuses on the multimodal shaping of curriculum knowledge and practices, especially in relation to technology-mediated learning. Recent books include Multimodal Literacy (2003), edited with Kress, Multimodal Teaching and Learning, (2001) with Kress, Ogborn and Tsatsarelis, and A Handbook of Visual Analysis, (2001), edited with van Leeuwen.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Zhou Zuoyu, School of Education, Beijing Normal University, China.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Wang Yingjie, is a professor of National Comparative Education Research Center at Beijing Normal University, China. He received his PhD in Education from Beijing Normal University. He was a visiting scholar at Stanford University (1980-1982), a visiting professor at Vermont University (1988-1989), and a Fulbright research scholar at Harvard University (1991-1992). He was the dean of the School of Education of University of Macao (1993-1995), and the vice-president of Beijing Normal University (1995-1999). His main research areas are comparative education and education policy analysis. His major publications include American Higher Education Reforms and Development (People's Education Press, 1993), Implementing Basic Education in China (co-author, IIEP of UNESCO, 1994), and American Education (People's Education Press, 2001), and Building the World-class University in a Developing Country: Universals, Uniqueness, and Cooperation (Asia Pacific Education Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2001).

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Kris Gutierrez, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Her current research interests include a study of the sociocultural contexts of literacy development, particularly the study of the acquisition of academic literacy for language minority students. Her research also focuses on understanding the relationship between language, culture, development, and pedagogies of empowerment.

  • Prof. Andreas Kazamias, Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA, and Professor Emeritus, University of Athens, Greece. His area of specialization is Comparative Historical Studies of Education with particular reference to Euro – America and the Eastern Mediterranean. He is the author or co-author of many books and scholarly articles, among which are “Tradition and Change in Education”, “Politics, Society and Secondary Education in England”, “The Quest of Modernity in Turkey”, and “ Education and the Structuring of the European Space”. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) from the University of Bristol, England, and he is an associate member of the Academy of Athens.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Gella Varnava-Skoura, Department of Early Childhood Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece.

  • Common Ground Conferences Assoc. Prof. Ambigapathy Pandian is an associate Professor and Joint Director, International Literacy Research Unit at the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang Malaysia. Dr. Pandian has been the Chairman of the National and International Literacy Conferences organised in Penang, Malaysia. He has researched and published books and articles on English and Malay Literacy in Malaysia. Currently Dr. Pandian is researching and co-authoring a book on Global Englishes with staffs from RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. He is a serving member of the Tamil School Committee in the Penang Education Consultative Council.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Mary Kalantzis is Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. She has been a part time Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chair of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Ministerial Advisory Committee and a member of the Australia Council’s Community Cultural Development Board. She is the author or co-author of a number of books, including: A Place in the Sun: Re-Creating the Australian Way of Life, Harper Collins, Sydney, 2000; Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Routledge, London, 2000 and Productive Diversity, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1997.

  • Common Ground Conferences Prof. Sarah Michaels is an Associate Professor of Education and Senior Research Scholar of the Jacob Hiatt Center for Urban Education at Clark University. A sociolinguist by training, she has been actively involved in teaching and research in the area of language, culture, multiple literacies, and schooling. Her current research focuses on the intersection of language, culture, and learning in school and community settings, as they play out in an after-school Science Investigators Club for at-risk middle school students. She is also currently involved in rethinking teacher education so that it focuses central attention on "Accountable talk" and "teacher research" — supporting teachers as theorizers, curriculum innovators, and educational leaders who use the tools of ethnography and discourse analysis in asking and answering their own questions. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College and a Ph.D. in Education (Language and Literacy) from the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Common Ground Conferences Richard Sohmer is a Research Associate at the Hiatt Center for Urban Education at Clark University. He is the founder and co-designer of the Investigators' Club, an after-school science program for inner-city middle school students. He is co-Principal Investigator of a Spencer Foundation major grant, "Socializing Motivation and Academic Efficacy: The Power of a Practice". Building on his work as a Renaissance musician and professional housebuilder, he is interested in the architecture of intersubjectivity via apprenticeship structures. His current research focuses on documenting the principles and practices that promote intersubjectivity and successful science learning in the Investigators' Club as well as the apprenticeship of teachers new to the I-Club practice. Sohmer holds a B.A. from St. Johns College, and a Ph.D. in Discourse and Mind from Clark University.

  • Common Ground Conferences Pippa Stein, Department of Applied English Language Studies, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Pippa has specialised in the teaching of English as a Second Language to primary and secondary students since 1980. She has worked on a number of different NGO teacher education projects, including the Schools' English Language Research Project, based at the Centre For Continuing Education at Wits. In 1985, she started SPEAK, an ESL curriculum innovation project in Soweto. Pippa has published multi media classroom learning materials including story tapes (My Drum Story Tape and Read Story Tape 1 & 2) and television programmes, (she co-scripted the successful SATV series for teenagers Turn On to English). Her research interests are in literacy, genre and the teaching of writing and she is currently registered as a M/Phil-Ph.D student at the University of London. She also teaches ESL Methodology to post-graduate teacher education student.

  • Common Ground Conferences Denise Newfield is senior lecturer in the School of Literature and Language Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She developed and leads the interdisciplinary Masters in English Education programme and has been instrumental in setting up Media Studies as an undergraduate programme. Her main research interests are teacher education, curriculum development, literature teaching and learning, multiliteracies and the implementation of multimodal pedagogies in teaching and learning in historically disadvantaged schools and at tertiary institutions.

Conference Host:
Prof. Gunther Kress
, Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

Common Ground Conferences Brief Biography
In the past Dr. Kress has served as Dean of Communication and Cultural Studies (South Australian College of Advanced Education), Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and social Studies (New South Wales Institute of Technology, Sydney), and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (University of Technology, Sydney). Currently he is Head of Culture, Communications & Societies, London Institute of Education, University of London. Dr. Kress is the author of over twenty-one books and numerous articles. His books have been translated to both Spanish and Italian. Among his best known works are Social Semiotics, Polity Press/Cornell University Press, 1988 (with Robert Hodge), Reading Images: A Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge, 1996 (with Theo van Leeuwen), and most recently Before Writing: Rethinking Paths into Literacy, Routledge, 1996. Professor Kress has concentrated his efforts on the question of postmodern literacy. He is especially concerned with the way children make meaning in the media environment of today.
Current Interests
The English curriculum; pedagogy; subjectivity; social semiotics; visual semiotics, semiotics of materiality/multimodality; representation and communication, ie "Literacy"; Media and Cultural Studies