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Dr. Rob Evans

Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg

Zentrale Einrichtungen


Rob Evans, born in London, taught Academic English for 15 years (2004-2019) at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. He studied Russian, Czech and History in Leeds (UK) and East European History and Slavic Studies in Tübingen (BRD), obtaining his first degree from the University of Leeds. After many years in adult, further and higher education in Italy and Germany, he gained an MA and Doctorate in Education. He lived and worked in Cairo for one year (2003-2004), returning to Germany in 2004 to take up work in Magdeburg. His main research interests include biography research methods, conversation analysis and discourses of learning. Publications include "Learning Discourse. Learning Biographies, Embedded Speech and Discourse Identity in Students' Talk" (2004), Peter Lang, "L'entretien auto/biographique et les paroles" (2008), Pratiques de formations (Analyses), 55, Université Paris VIII



  Academic Career   1). Education, qualifications, research and publications I possess a Doctorate and Master in Education, both earned with the Open University. The MA Ed, which I completed in 1995, focussed on the following areas of study:         Vocational Education and Training o        Gender Issues in Education: equality and difference         Language and Literacy        Management in Education The Doctorate in Education, awarded in March 2002 by the Open University, was carried out within the general area of Language and Literacy ("Learning Discourse: learning biographies, embedded speech and discoursal identity in students\' talk. The learning discourses of German Business Studies undergraduates".) and developed out of my work in the area of Business English and Communication. My first degree (BA Hons, University of Leeds, 1977) was in Russian Studies (Language, Literature, History).  At the University of Tübingen in Germany (1977-1981) I studied East European History, Modern History of China and Japan, and Slavonic Studies (Russian Literature, Polish Language).   (a) My Doctorate in Education bore the title: "Learning Discourse: learning biographies, embedded speech and discoursal identity in students\' talk. The learning discourses of German Business Studies undergraduates". The research is ethnographic in its approach, looking at the discourses developed and shared by German students of Business Studies and Economics at the University of Duisburg in North-Rhine Westphalia. The spoken language collected in in-depth ethnographic interviews is investigated with the assistance of conversation analytical and discourse analytical methods. The coding and analysis of the language data is carried out with the aid of text analysis software (e.g TACT) and computer assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) software applications (i.e. ATLASti and NUD*IST). The study points out the social significance of meaning-making in interactive learning processes and underlines the significance of biographical narratives in the construction of coherent identities of learners in different learning environments. The research can be considered as an example of the use of a language corpus in social and linguistic research and as a contribution to current educational biography research within the tradition of life history studies, representing an important qualitative approach to developing and understanding critical pedagogic practices in the European HE environment. (b) Intercultural learning, education management and personal development in an international German business enterprise in the context of globalization tendencies and culture change in corporate management practices is one of my major research interests. The research - undertaken within the last seven years - seeks to provide a detailed ethnographic analysis on the basis of naturally occurring talk of the learning biographies and learning discourses of people in their company work environments and poses important questions about knowledge acquisition and loss in complex organizations and has relevance to the discussion around "learning" organizations and cultures of management and leadership. A language corpus of depth-interviews is analysed electronically and using conversation and discourse analytical approaches to meaning-making in context. © Intercultural communication, formation of professional identity, formal and tacit learning in educational and business organizations in the context of change management and transnational mergers are essential elements of this research and have already been addressed in the form of conference papers and publications. (d) I am currently engaged in research into the cultural identity of bilingually and monolingually educated English-speaking Egyptian university professionals and students as evidenced in their biographical narratives of learning. Extended narrative interviews form the basis of this research project.Their role within the organizations in which they develop professionally, in particular, is examined against the cultural backcloth of ingrained social and educational discourses and their pathways toward professional self-definition and development are seen as unfolding within a high-risk environment, characterised by extremes of change and conservatism. (e) Young adults entering Higher Education in an East German university after completion of previous university qualifications and/or vocational training in the post-Bologna framework of university degree studies in business/economics is a further recent research project, which includes a significant intercultural element, given that the sample of respondents is drawn from the German and international (e.g. Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese) student communities. (f) Recent research into new identity construction of young academics within a forming cultural diaspora looks at the learning biographies of academic migrants from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Research subjects are drawn from the student community as well as from working academics. In-depth narrative interviews are being analysed for evidence of crises in identity-formation against the backdrop of language substitution and with the aid of research into linguistic code-switching and narrative framing in the construction of co-narrated meaning.   General research areas Thus, my personal teaching and research interests lie in the areas of: o   Qualitative research methods (particular emphasis on depth-interviewing, interview methods generally and observation practices) o   Biography and lifecourse research o   Language, communication and identity / Gendered communication o   Learning spaces / Biographical space / Biographical memory, language and grammars of identity o   Learning across the life-course / Gendered learning o   Cosmopolitanicity and world englishes o   Critical language awareness, discourse analysis, conversation analysis and intercultural pragmatics o   Discourse of the academy and of business organisations o   Communication, intercultural communication, intercultural management o   Electronic corpora of spoken business/academic discourse     2). Course development, administration The focus of my work in the last 27 years has of course been language and vocational education in academic and business organizations. I have taught at universities at all levels (pre-degree, BA and Master\'s level) in Italy (3 years), Germany (20 years) and Egypt (1 year). For the bulk of this time my main area of work has been teaching and course development in EFL / Business English, and English for Specific Purposes (over a range of subjects, both in the natural as well as the social sciences). Within English for Academic and Special Purposes (EAP and ESP), Writing and Study/Research Skills, including an integrated approach to Communication and (academic) Presentation Skills, involving the employment of varied academic presentation formats across the entire process of academic production (notes, reports, finished dissertations, oral presentation, discussion and peer evaluation) have been at the heart of my work on materials development and teaching. Critical thinking, awareness of the working of discourse in academic practices, training in the deployment of argument and insight into the structure of academic/scientific texts are fixed elements of my university work. I have taught widely in adult education (Volkshochschule Tübingen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf), specialising in Italian Language and Area Studies courses, English Language and Medical Communication. My experience in Adult and Further Education includes also extensive experience in Industry and with official training agencies (5 years with Siemens Commercial Training in Duisburg, 10 and 9 years respectively with the international companies Klöckner & Co (Steel Trading) and StoraEnso (Paper Manufacturing). In addition, I have worked together with people in Consulting (Roland Berger), Logistics (Thyssen Haniel GmbH) and Human Resources (DGFP).   I possess experience of managing the competing and complementary demands of the development of staff, of staff-student relationships, and of student self-responsibility and I am committed to the principle of excellence in delivery of teaching programs and to the relevance of learning to the social communities it serves. These demands were always important in my work at the Universities of Napoli, Duisburg and Düsseldorf in the areas of Business English, Special Purposes and Academic English, and Communication as they are today in my work in Academic English courses for students of International Management (both BA / MA and Diploma degree courses) at the University of Magdeburg. The position which I filled 2003-2004 in the German University in Cairo (GUC) can be seen as an excellent prerequisite for this post. As Co-ordinator of the Department for English and Scientific Methods within the Language and Culture Centre at the GUC, I was responsible for:  the coordination of the work of a department with 14 full-time lecturers;  the development and implementation of all new curricula with particular emphasis on the setting up of an integrated EAP programme based on recognized international proficiency standards (IELTS) and focussed upon the acquisition of critical reasoning and systematic study skills; learning and teaching materials development (English for Special and Academic Purposes, Academic Writing, Communication Skills, English and Scientific Method, Research-paper Writing, General Study Skills, Electives); supervision of admissions, placement and course examinations; working with a dedicated examinations and assessment team to establish teaching and learning standards and measurements of accountability; the selection and employment and evaluation of the complete teaching staff; issues of equal opportunities and diversity; participation in the administration of the university; student counselling and supervision; initiation of departmental research and responsibility for staff development as researchers.



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