• Practices in Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning 2017

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth; Michael Ennis, Joseph (edited by), "Practices in Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning", by Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, Ennis, Joseph Michael, Camerer, Rudi, Mader, Judith, Kroneder, M. Sabine, Anderson, Peter, Boylan, Patrick, Beaven, Ana, Bella Ozona, Jules Martin, Helm, Francesca, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017, 11 p. - ISBN: 9781527500310. - URL:

    This volume responds to the growing need for intercultural approaches to teaching and learning languages. The central premise is that the aim of intercultural language teaching and learning is to foster effective communication and effective learning in spaces between cultures in order to prepare learners for global citizenship, but that the corresponding models and methods must emerge from the bottom-up in order to meet the needs of each unique context. The book offers a collection of successful experiences rooted in praxis. It shares the activities, methods, models, and approaches which have been developed within specific contexts. Thus, it offers an example of how to adopt an “intercultural perspective” in teaching and learning. The editors and contributors share the conviction that the experiences detailed here can be informative to the realities of all readers in the same way that their own practices have been informed by others.

    2017 book

  • The International Student's Voice: can it make a difference? 2014

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, "The International Student's Voice: can it make a difference?" in FORMAZIONE & INSEGNAMENTO, v. 2014, n. 1 (2014), p. 245-264. - URL:

    While Quality Assurance and Enhancement (QA&E) practices and processes have been at the heart of the Higher Education debate across Europe for over 20 years (Harvey and Williams, 2010), Italian universities have only recent- ly (2013) begun to implement (with some resistance) compulsory external QA&E mechanisms (ANVUR)1. Any at- tempt to enhance the learning experience in HE is welcome, in particular those which promote excellence in teaching, but whether these external processes (ENQA, 2009)2 will have the desired impact remains to be seen (cfr Henard & Roseveare, 2012). Indeed, studies have shown (e.g. Greere & Riley in print, Harvey & Williams, 2010) that even in countries where such mechanisms have long been the norm and external quality processes (QA) have be- come ritualised, there is little evidence that this has translated into the creation of a quality culture, actively engag- ing all stakeholders (students, teachers, administrators and quality managers) in promoting quality (QE) (Räsänen, 2013). Indeed, while there have long been calls for the development of a quality culture ‘on the ground’ (EUA, 2006; ENQA, 2009; Vettori, 2012), the literature lacks reports of successful bottom-up practices which result in such a cul- ture. This study will present one such case study. Thanks to the election of an international student on the Student-Teacher Committee at the School of Internation- al Studies, a need to address issues specifically regarding international students emerged. As part of the EU fund- ed SPEAQ project (Sharing Practices to Enhance and Assure Quality), a micro-project was thus developed which would engage international students in identifying possible actions and initiatives to address these issues. While the project aimed to enhance the learning experience of International Students through both formal and informal QA&E mechanisms, it was hoped positive outcomes would also benefit local students.

    2014 journal paper

  • Engagement, empowerment, ownership – How to nurture the quality culture in higher education 2014

    A., Greere; Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, "Engagement, empowerment, ownership – How to nurture the quality culture in higher education" in Working together to take quality forward: a selection of papers from the 8th European Quality Assurance Forum, Brussels: European University Association, 2014, p. 38-43. - ISBN: 9789078997443. Proceedings of: 8th European Quality Assurance Forum, Gotthenburg, 21-23 novembre 2013. - URL:

    Drawing on collaboration amongst higher education institutions in nine different European countries, this paper describes mechanisms which, over the two years of the SPEAQ project, have proved effective in developing a quality-driven mentality in three stakeholder categories: students, teaching staff and quality managers. In spite of many national/contextual specificities institutions throughout the European Higher Education Area are frequently confronted with comparable quality assurance issues for which similar approaches may be adopted. This paper identifies these commonalities and details the type of actions which can empower stakeholders and enhance the quality of the educational experience. Securing the engagement of stakeholders in the quality cycle often depends on the amount of trust an institution is willing to place on their contributions and on the way their opinions are elicited, collected, analysed, prioritised and actioned throughout the institution. Facilitating stakeholder ownership of quality processes is shown to be a highly effective strategy.

    2014 conference paper

  • A Long Hard Climb – Getting from the Bottom to the Top of the CLIL Incline / Une ascension longue et difficile – comment gravir la pente de l’EMILE 2013

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, "A Long Hard Climb – Getting from the Bottom to the Top of the CLIL Incline / Une ascension longue et difficile – comment gravir la pente de l’EMILE" in RECHERCHE ET PRATIQUES PÉDAGOGIQUES EN LANGUES DE SPÉCIALITÉ, v. XXXII, n. 3 (2013), p. 30-56. - URL:

    Even in an educational system which imposes many formal restrictions, has limited financial resources and is not renowned for its success at language teaching and learning, English Medium Programmes (EMP) implementing a CLIL approach can be successful. This success depends on multiple factors: the support of management at all levels; a belief in the (added) value of EMPs; determination to identify and achieve shared objectives; an awareness in all stakeholders of what EMPs entail with particular consideration of the implications of teaching/learning in an “international” classroom; and a high degree of interaction and cooperation between discipline teachers and language teachers. Only when this cooperation is fully operational can we talk about CLIL rather than ESP/EAP running alongside the core disciplines of the EMP. This paper outlines the pitfalls, challenges and achievements of the transformation of an Italian “Laurea Specialistica” into an International English Medium CLIL Programme.

    2013 journal paper

  • Learning from the Learners: a student centred syllabus in preparation for the real world 2012

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, "Learning from the Learners: a student centred syllabus in preparation for the real world" in QUALITY ASSURANCE REVIEW, v. 4, n. 1 (2012), p. 50-60. - URL:

    In order to meet the demands of our interconnected world, many universities have embraced the concept of internationalisation, offering international programmes in many discipline areas. At the same time, European universities have been grappling with introducing all the necessary changes to meet with the Bologna requirements. At the level of both programme and syllabus design the focus has often been on specific knowledge and understanding and the setting of very laudable learning outcomes including professional competences and skills. How Language Learning/Support can play an important role in achieving these objectives and outcomes and in particular how a student-centred “professional syllabus” can be developed to meet future needs of the student is the focus of this talk. Language Learning/Support on International or Foreign Language Mediated (FLM) Programmes, whether credit-bearing or not, needs to meet three main needs: Language for Academic Purposes (LAP) e.g. the mechanics of academic discourse, writing abstracts/dissertations, making presentations etc; Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) focusing on technical language, in particular terminology; and in addition to this more “traditional” kind of language support, Language Learning should also develop those language and communication skills and competences which will enable them to work effectively and efficiently in a professional working environment thus enhancing student employability. To answer this multifaceted challenge, the language teacher needs not only to know what the programme and individual course learning outcomes are and to work in close and constant collaboration with the content teachers (essential prerequisite) but also have some form of contact with the professional world of the specific content domain. One ideal source of up to date and relevant knowledge of this professional world is the students themselves. The Language syllabus can include “professional” tasks based on student feedback and authentic materials, provided either by current students following internships or alumni who are in contact with teachers. This invaluable input provides insight not only regarding technical aspects, but more importantly the text types most commonly found, the types of communication skills most frequently called for, the functional language (complaints, troubleshooting, requests etc) not always catered for in published LAP or LSP materials. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, by using students and alumni as informants to create their own “professional syllabus”, motivation, that all-important ingredient in successful language learning, is greatly enhanced.

    2012 journal paper

  • Student driven CLIL: letting the learner lead the way 2006

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, "Student driven CLIL: letting the learner lead the way" in British Council ELT Conference 2006: Current Trends and Future Directions in English Language Teaching, London: British Council, 2006, p. 96-101. Proceedings of: British Council ELT Conference 2006: Current Trends and Future Directions in English Language Teachi, Berlin Spandau, 17th-18th February 2006. - URL:

    The materials used in many ESP courses are chosen and elaborated by the teacher. Inviting students to select and elaborate materials is a technique which embraces many of the principles of several approaches currently popular in ELT: TBL, CLIL, learner autonomy, language awareness, input-interaction, co-learning, peer teaching. In the project described, students are required, either individually or in groups, to prepare various activities for use both in the class and as part of ranging from a short presentation to a student led seminar, from reading and listening comprehension exercises to a linguistic analysis of a text. Students reported that the tasks require them to prepare texts/topics in much greater depth than if they were doing exercises from a text book or prepared by the teacher. They also find this active participation in shaping the course content highly motivating, not least because they are curious to see what other groups prepare.

    2006 conference paper

  • Trentino Through Translation in an EFL Context 2006

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, "Trentino Through Translation in an EFL Context" in O. Palusci, S. Francesconi (edited by), Translating Tourism: Linguistic/Cultural Representations, Trento: Università degli studi di Trento, 2006, p. 155-170. - ISBN: 9788884431271. - DOI: 10.15168/11572_64924

    Despite the fall from favour of translation in many foreign language programmes at university level, other than those specifically focused on translation skills, and the fact that translation is frowned upon by many language learning theorists, this paper illustrates how translation still has an important role to play in more vocational language degree courses. Both as a language and cultural awareness exercise and also as a skill in itself, not least, learning how to manipulate language and how language manipulates meaning.

    2006 chapter

  • About English: introduzione alla lingua inglese 2004

    Riley, Catherine Elizabeth, About English: introduzione alla lingua inglese, Roma: Carocci, 2004, 294 p. - ISBN: 9788843028788

    Conoscere una lingua significa conoscerne gli elementi base e capire come questi interagiscano per dare significato a ciò che si dice e scrive. Si parte dal presupposto che la "Language Awareness" è essenziale non solo per una conoscenza approfondita di una lingua, ma anche come prerequisito basilare per un efficace e proficuo studio di essa. Lo studente è accompagnato, con l'ausilio di attività guidate, in un percorso che parte dai singoli suoni per arrivare a parole e frasi, spesso attraverso un confronto fra l'inglese e l'italiano, evidenziando i più comuni problemi riscontrati dallo studente italiano. Il cd rom contiene esercizi e consigli per ulteriori letture in lingua inglese.

    2004 book