Public Engagement

General Public

Diane Larsen-Freeman at The New School

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY 10003

Join us for a public talk by Diane Larsen-Freeman. The talk will be followed by a reception. This event is free but you are encouraged to make a donation to the New School MA TESOL Outreach Program, which supports some of the most vulnerable populations in New York City in these challenging times.

Mutual Empowerment in Challenging Times

We live in challenging times. The world is changing around us, and many of us feel that we have less and less say in matters affecting our lives. At the same time as these changes are occurring, the way that our language learners have been regarded has been similar in some ways. Even though educators are well-intentioned, learners have often been “done unto” rather than doing for themselves. For instance, they are said to need customized input to be provided for them by their teachers. They are categorized, for example as unmotivated or motivated or as having learning differences, and are treated accordingly. They are seen to be passively socialized into learning communities. Furthermore, their agency as learners is statistically concealed behind “averages,” and their success thwarted by ideologies and by the constraints of the classroom.

In this talk, I will call for a renewed respect for the agency of the language learner. This does not mean that the learner operates freely without social constraints or educational consequences, but it does mean that learners can participate more fully in the teaching-learning partnership. I think that this can be accomplished if we think in terms of affordances, rather than input; of transformation, rather than transfer; of innovations, rather than errors; and of iteration, rather than repetition. Mutual empowerment can help both learners and teachers together better cope with these challenging times.

Diane Larsen-Freeman is Professor Emerita and former Director of the English Language Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is also a Professor Emerita at the Graduate SIT Institute in Vermont and is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Her most recent books are Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics (2008, with L. Cameron), the third edition of Techniques and Principles (2011, with M. Anderson), and the third edition of The Grammar Book. Form, Meaning, and Use for English Language Teachers (2015, with M. Celce-Murcia).

Sponsored by National Geographic Learning and the MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at The New School.

Additional exhibitors: Cambridge University PressOxford University PressPearson.

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


International and Global, Education and Learning


Schools of Public Engagement, School of Languages


English Language Studies, TESOL, Education, Schools and Universities



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