SKA 2015 Plenary Speakers

The Slovak Chamber of English Teachers is delighted to have three excellent teacher trainers for our inaugural conference. Each one has been specifically asked to share with us as English language teachers because they are experts in their fields of interest – areas that are important to what happens in our English classrooms in Slovakia on a daily basis.

First of all, we asked Péter Medgyes to come because of his research into non-native teachers of English (NNESTs). The vast majority of us are not native speakers of English and we often feel that makes us ‘less’ in the English classroom. At the same time, native speakers of English (NESTs) – often with no qualifications or experience – are elevated to a special status simply based on their place of birth. Peter’s plenary ‘Always look on the bright side – Being a non-native teacher will address the issue.

“The bad news is that we are linguistically handicapped – there is no way we can emulate native speakers in terms of their English-language competence. The good news is that we can (a) provide a better learner model for imitation; (b) teach language learning strategies more effectively; (c) supply learners with more information about the English language; (d) anticipate and prevent language difficulties more successfully; (e) be more empathetic to the needs and problems of learners; (f) make better use of the learners’ mother tongue. The aim of this plenary is to discuss these controversial claims, with the final message that natives and non-natives are potentially equally effective teachers.” (Opening Plenary, 2pm Friday, 25 September 2015, Moyzesova sieň)

We asked Barb Hoskins Sakamoto for three reasons: we’ve seen her commitment to excellence in teaching YLs online (via Oxford University Press), we’ve seen her commitment to teacher training (via iTDi), and we’re coming to believe that the most important English teacher in Slovakia is the one teaching young learners. According to British linguist David Graddol, all the rest of us English teachers will no longer be needed in future years. Why? Because English is being taught to younger and younger children. By the time they’re old enough for our classrooms in secondary school, they will already know what we now teach our teenagers. That’s how it could be…should be. And for that reason, investing into primary English education and our teachers teaching at the primary level is vital to our future as English teachers. And so we asked Barb to come and do some training in teaching YLs. Her plenary ‘Moving beyond 21st century skills‘ will cover what we can do to ready ourselves and our students for the future that awaits us.

“The 20th century idea of education was learning content. The 21st century idea is learning the tools and skills to create content and moving education outside of the classroom to include more informal contexts. What does this mean for language classrooms, where students still do need to learn content in order to become skillful tool users and creators? What are 21st century skills, really? And, do they have any place in a language class where teachers have to prioritize what to teach because they have limited time in which to teach it? Fifteen years into the new century, researchers have had time to look at innovative teaching practices around the globe to identify those approaches make the greatest impact in preparing our students for life in the 21st century, and beyond. Their findings may surprise you.” (Saturday Plenary, 9-10 am Saturday, 26 September 2015, Moyzesova sieň)

Finally, we asked David Fisher to come show us all how to use fun, games and performance to make our classes a bit more enjoyable. We all know how difficult walking into that classroom can be some days. We face issues and situations that were never covered in our training. Using drama isn’t the answer to every problem, but it can surely help our students (and us) relax and make our lessons more fun.  David’s plenary/performance ‘We can all use theatre as a tool for teaching‘ will include us in the fun on Friday evening. And we’ll probably even learn something!

“David Fisher of The Bear Educational Theatre, Prague, combines plenary, workshop and performance. Starting with a gentle introduction on why drama can be an invaluable tool for teaching, he will move on to perform some sections of the company’s repertoire where exciting and interactive games actually feature as part of the shows. The same games can also be easily used in normal classroom situations.”  (Evening Plenary, 7-8 pm Friday, 25 September 2015, Moyzesova sieň)

Find out more about who our plenaries are and where they come from below…

Péter Medgyes, CBE, is Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics and Language Pedagogy at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. During his career he was a schoolteacher, teacher trainer, vice rector, deputy state secretary and ambassador of Hungary. He has been a plenary speaker in 45 countries and is the author of numerous articles soland books, including The Non-Native Teacher (Macmillan, 1994, winner of the Duke of Edinburgh Book Competition), The Language Teacher (Corvina, 1997), Laughing Matters (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Golden Age: Twenty Years of Foreign Language Education in Hungary (National Textbook Publishing Company, 2011). His main professional interests lie in language policy and teacher education, with a special emphasis on non-native English speaking teachers. He can be reached at (We’d like to thank Sharing One Language – SOL for sponsoring Peter’s participation in the conference.)

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto earned her secondary English teaching certificate and her us embassy flagMA TESOL degree in the USA, and has taught English and ESL in the US, and EFL in Japan. An EFL teacher and teacher trainer since 1985, she has conducted workshops throughout Asia, the USA and Latin America. She has experience teaching for all ages in many different environments; schools and universities for 30 years. Barbara is co-author of one of the world’s best-selling textbook series for children learning English, Let’s Go.  You can often find Barbara online working with teachers around the world as one of the Directors for International Teacher Development Institute ( on her award-winning blog, Teaching Village, or on her new blog, Teaching Children English. (Barb’s participation in the conference is being covered by a US Small Grant from the US Embassy in Bratislava.)

David Fisher is the founder and director of The Bear Educational Theatre, Prague. He has lived and worked in the Czech Republic since 1990. His theatre specialises in performing educational shows in English, directly in schools. LOGO_OXFORDThe aim is to entertain, but more importantly to motivate students in their English studies. David is also a professional actor and has played in several cinema and TV films, including Dune, Joan of Arc and A Knight’s Tale. (We are grateful to Oxford University Press for sponsoring David this year.)

Workshops: CPD and 90 minutes of laughter therapy

The final two workshops we’d like you to know about are from two entirely different categories: continuing professional development (CPD) and using humour to teach. We’re thrilled to have both of them.

George M. Chinnery & Gergo Santha

What’s in it for me? A complete guide to RELO for teachers (CPD) Friday, Workshop A

The Regional English Language Office (RELO) for Central and Southeastern Europe, based in Budapest, offers a range of programs and resources for both teachers and learners of American English and culture. During this session, participants will be introduced to RELO’s teacher exchange programs, some of our teacher training programs and grant opportunities, as well as a wealth of free books, journals, games, mobile apps, and audiovisual materials for educators and students.

George is the Regional English Language Officer (RELO) for RELO ChinneryCentral and Southeastern Europe, based in Budapest. Prior to that, he was Assistant Professor of Faculty Development at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. Outside of the government, he has also taught, trained and administered language programs in academic and corporate and settings, including the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and the McDonald¹s Corporation. George has been an English Language Specialist, a Senior English Language Fellow, a Shriver Peaceworker Fellow, and a Peace Corps volunteer, and has worked in Turkey, India, El Salvador, Russia and Romania, as well as in the U.S. His professional interests include the creative integration of technology in language teaching.

RELO Assistant SanthaGergo is the Regional English Language Office Assistant. He supports the Regional English Language Officer (RELO), whose portfolio includes 17 countries in the Central and Eastern European region. He tracks grants and RELO projects region-wide. He assists with the coordination and administration of a wide range of programs by the US State Department’s Office of English Language Programs including, but not limited to, the English Language Specialist Program, the English Language Fellow Program, the English Language Microscholarship Program, the E-Teacher Scholarship Program, the “American English” webinar series, and in the distribution of materials and resources for learners and teachers of English. He provides assistance to local English language competitions, and delivers presentations at national and international conferences in the region.


And 90 minutes with Péter Medgyes learning how to use ‘Humour in the ELT Classroom’, Saturday, Workshops D & E)

dinosaur-1-400-216x300Humour is the yeast of life and the best medicine. This workshop invites participants to express their views on the role of fun and laughter in ELT, and share their ideas and experience with the rest of the group. Whenever the dialogue creaks to a halt, I’ll throw in activities meant to be funny AND linguistically useful.






Workshops: Young Learners – part 3

The last, but not least, of the young learners workshops on offer at SKA 2015!

Júlia Stehliková (British Council, Slovakia)

Pair work for young learners? Why and how? Julia Stehlikova(YL: absolute beginners) Saturday, Workshop G

Is pair work possible in the YL classroom? Is it a good idea for children to work in pairs? Is it relevant? This workshop will focus on the advantages of doing pair work with primary learners and explore ways of introducing it to our YL classroom, while bearing in mind the potential problems. We’ll look at some hands-on activities to take straight to the classroom which will help us master pair work with our young students in the future.

Júlia has been teaching English for ten years, during which she has taught a wide range of courses for young learners, teenagers and adults from four to sixty four. In September 2014 she joined the British Council as a teacher for classes of all age groups. Before that she spent three years at International House Bratislava working as the YL (Young Learners) Coordinator. She’s a certified Cambridge English examiner for young learner exams YLE Starters, Movers and Flyers, and has completed an International House World Organisation course in teaching young learners and teenagers IHCYLT. She’s interested in YL teacher training and development.

Sue Barfield (USA)

Integrating Roma culture into English language learning through Children of the Sun (YL-teens: A1-B1) Saturday, Workshop G

Sue will present teaching strategies that promote better understanding of Roma culture, using her two new tri-lingual (Slovak, English, Roma) children’s books (Children of the Sun) based on a Roma folktale and illustrated by Roma students. All participants will receive free copies of the books, audio CD and Teacher’s Manual with additional classroom lessons.

Sue is Professor Emeritus at Montana State University-Billings. She has been an educator for over 42 years, including teaching and guidance counseling in K-12 settings and nearly 20 years in teacher education at the university level. She has twice been a U.S. Fulbright Scholar; first for the Ministry of Education in Chile and again for the University of Prešov in Slovakia. Since 1990 Sue has conducted program evaluations for dual language/immersion programs in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Chinese. She has also been a Principal Investigator, Project Director, and Faculty Advisor for several U.S. Department of Education grants that increased the number of Native American teachers in Montana. Having visited, and often worked or presented in, over 35 countries, her area of interest is the integration of culture into English language learning.

And a 90-min Friday workshop with Barb Hoskins!

Creative teaching for 21st century learners (Friday, Workshops A & B)barb

There’s a lot of talk these days about including 21st century skills in language classes. What are these skills, and do they have any place in a language class where teachers have limited contact time, and the priority is, still, to teach English? In our workshop, you’ll learn teaching techniques to help your learners become strong English users and also critical and creative thinkers. By making every moment of class time count, you can help your students succeed – on exams and in future jobs. You can build both the traditional four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and the 21st century 4Cs (communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking) in every class.


Workshops: Drama – part 2

Here are the last of the drama workshops on offer at the end of this month in Bratislava.

Jasmina Milicevic (Serbia)  

Jasmina photoDare to be different (drama: A1-A2) Friday, Workshop B

The workshop will present how a creative process in an ELT classroom can result in a whole play or sketch tackling some problems teenagers face in their everyday lives. We will be using different drama techniques in the workshop e.g., forum theatre, improvisation, etc. At the end of the workshop the groups of the participants will hopefully present their dramatic view of the solution to a problem given to them.

Jasmina is a primary school English teacher of students aged 7 to 14 . She also leads the school English Drama Club, putting on several plays dealing with different topics students meet in their everyday lives (ecology, bullying, stereotypes, discrimination vs. tolerance, being different, etc.)

Martin Jelinek (Slovakia)

Whatever you say, say it right (drama: B1-C1) Friday, Workshop Amartin jelinek

This workshop takes you through methodology and practical examples of natural and cross-cultural acquisition of language skills needed for a high-standard as well as unbuttoned daily communication. It is aimed at all kinds of students, whether business people or spoilt teenagers. The whole workshop is based on current ways of acquiring a foreign language, that is, through slogans, social media statuses, lyrics, Instagram, Facebook, eCards, and so on…It is basically playing with English words, creating catchy slogans, sayings, using modern smartphone apps (subliminally applying grammar rules).

Martin has 15 years of experience and has worked for private and state language schools as well as universities. His company Bright House Language Institute offers seminars and training for teachers, managers, public speakers and business people specializing in speech delivery, public speaking, communication protocol, presenting, reporting and English for specific purposes. His last overseas placement took him to Honduras, where he taught ESL classes at Unitec, Laureate International Universities and was voted the Teacher of the Year for 2010 by the school council. Besides running his own business, he works as an assistant lecturer at the University of Presov, Institute of English and American Studies, where he teaches Speech Communication and Language Competence and is also an active Cambridge Oral Examiner.

And one 90-minute practical workshop with David Fisher!

Having fun while teaching – should we do it? (Saturday, Workshops F & G)001portretj

A Swiss student once told a teacher, ‘Please, Mr Jenkins, we have been laughing for five minutes now, I think we should learn something.’

This workshop by David Fisher of The Bear Educational Theatre, Prague, will introduce a number of fun drama-based activities that can be adapted for classroom teaching at different levels. It will also open a discussion about the role of fun in the classroom. When is having fun ‘legitimate’ and helpful? Can it become a distraction from the real process of learning? Where are the boundaries?



Workshops: Teens/Adults – part 2

Introducing the rest of the teachers offering excellent training in just 3 weeks!

Mike Harrison (UK)

mike harrisonWhat has Swiss cheese got to do with language teaching? (teens/adults: B2-C2) Friday, Workshop C

Incorporating visuals with text can aid understanding – infographics, graphs and diagrams are used in business, science and the media to help us understand things. But can presenting information and thoughts visually help us with our and our students’ development in the language classroom? This workshop will analyse some decision making models, including the Swiss cheese model, SWOT analysis and the superficial knowledge matrix, and look at how they can be used by teachers and students to work on language skills and reflective practice. Participants will be invited to work hands-on with the models – so bring pens, paper and imagination!

Mike is an English language teaching professional who has been involved in the field since 2004. He has taught in Spain and the UK, and written material for teachers and learners. As a materials writer he has worked with the British Council, Cambridge English and BBC Learning English. He was one of the producers behind the BBC Learning English Learning Circles project. He is interested in using images, videos and sound in the classroom, and blogs about ELT-related things at He has presented at various conferences in the UK and Europe. Outside of the language classroom, his interests include photography and swimming (although not at the same time!)

Elena Kovacikova (UKF – Slovakia)

Different learners in your English class (teens/adults: A1-A2) Friday, Workshop BElena Kovacikova

Discussions on teaching learners with specific needs are more and more in the center of attention as the number of inclusive pupils in our schools is higher every year. This workshop aims to provide practical tips on how to teach English to learners with learning difficulties within an approach suitable for everybody in the classroom. English lessons can be beneficial and comfortable for every learner without a feeling of being different and at the same time to the teacher’s satisfaction

Elena (MA, Music and ELT; PhD, ELT Methodology – Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra) has officially taught general English to very young learners, young learners, teenagers and adults and English for specific purposes. Since 2012, she’s been a teacher at the Department of Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Studies at the Faculty of Education in Nitra. Her field of interest is and has always been didactics and she constantly feels the need to broaden her horizons in teaching different learners. She has co-authored several English textbooks for pupils (3rd and 4th graders) – That’s us 1 and That’s us 2 published by Priroda (2012) – and the soon to be released Cool English School by Taktik.

 Frank Prescott (IATEFL Hungary)

frankprescott2Using fieldwork for language learning (teens/adults: B2) Saturday, Workshop C

Fieldwork can be a great way to get learners involved in finding out about the world around them and also engaged in using and learning authentic English. This workshop will look at some actual examples of the use of fieldwork in a teacher training course and in classes of young adults in a Budapest university. Participants will be asked to consider different approaches for carrying out fieldwork projects, what principles a good fieldwork task needs to take into consideration, and come up with an idea for a possible project in their own learning context.

Frank studied English at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, graduating with an MA degree in 1988. In 1993 he received a PGCE in English from the University of Heriot Watt. He has been teaching English ever since, first in secondary schools in Edinburgh, and since 1997, in the Department of English Applied Linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He completed his PhD in Language Pedagogy in June 2014, focusing on the experience of first-year students learning to write at university. Since 2011 he has been an active member of the organising committee of IATEFL-Hungary and is presently one of the four representatives for IATEFL-Hungary on the Cooperation in Teaching Associations (CITA) Erasmus+ Project which began in 2014, involving members of teaching associations from Hungary, Lithuania (LAKMA) and Mallorca (APABAL). The project aims to promote the mutual development and modernisaton of teaching associations in Europe.

This next two are for the those of us who want to use a bit more technology in our classes. There is limited space for this and sign up is required.

Eddy Moran (UK)

eddyMashups: Combining Web 2.0 technologies to produce interactive language learning activities (teens/adults: all English levels) Friday, Workshop A

This workshop will show participants freely available Web 2.0 technologies that can be combined in web pages called “mashups”. The workshop will begin with an explanation of what Web 2.0 is and then move on to materials authoring. The specific resources used will be selected from Rich Internet Applications ( Two RIA tools will be demonstrated and practiced: audio dropbox and mashups. Youtube videos will also be embedded in the mashup. Participants will create their own materials using these resources and this will be followed by discussion of the strengths and limitations of these technologies for language teaching.

Using an Online Comic Generator (teens/adults: all English levels) Friday, Workshop B

This workshop will demonstrate the use of an online comic generator ( and discuss ideas for the use of short comic strips in the teaching and learning of English with particular attention to adolescent learners.  Participants will learn how to produce their own comics while discussion will focus on task and materials design.  No technical expertise is necessary.​

Eddy has been teaching for more than 30 years (in Japan, Taiwan, Dubai and the UK) in most of the contexts EFL teachers encounter including general English in language schools, ESP in companies and government training centres, and EAP in universities. He has an MA in Media Technology for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a PhD in CALL (both from Newcastle University). Currently, Eddy is a lecturer in TESOL at the School of Education in Stirling University specialising in CALL, SLA, and Methodology.

Workshops: Young Learners – part 2

Introducing a few more of the teacher trainers coming to do YLs workshops…

Sylvie Doláková (CZ)

Sylvie DolákováEnglish from the very first word (YL: absolute beginners) Saturday, Workshop D

Do you know how to start teaching English to (very) young learners from the first moment? You don‘t want to or can’t translate every word, but will they understand an English-only approach? And how can they learn about their progress? This workshop will provide some practical tips for working with young beginners in a way they (and you) will enjoy.

Sylvie is a freelance and university teacher in the Czech Republic teaching English in kindergarten, primary school, and now as a teacher trainer. She’s designed many games for teaching English to children aged 4-10, as well as published in books and CDs of English games and activities for children.

Anica Đokić (ELTA Serbia)

Let’s celebrate! (YL: A1-A2) Saturday, Workshop Hanica dokic

It is a perfect time to get ready for the upcoming holidays! Halloween’s coming in a month, Thanksgiving in two, Christmas in three, and there is a celebration that can be in the spotlight throughout the year – our students’ birthdays. This workshop will offer a variety of practical activities that can be used in our classrooms with young learners. Chants, games and new vocabulary worksheets based on the themes of these holidays are going to be presented and practiced in an interactive way.

Anica has been an EFL teacher for 10 years. She graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia. She works in a primary school in her hometown, Novi Sad. She has been an active member of ELTA Serbia since 2006, as a board member, regional coordinator, and teacher trainer. She has also participated in a number of conferences throughout Europe. Her fields of interest are teaching young learners and teaching unplugged.

Eva Reid (UKF – Slovakia) 

eva reidCulture in English lessons (YL: absolute beginners) Saturday, Workshop H

This workshop focuses on socio-linguistic, pragmatic and non-verbal competences in English language teaching to young learners. Slovak and English components are compared. By games, role plays and explanations we will cover the following competences: greetings, onomatopoeia, gestures, and pragmatic phrases and cultural knowledge.

Eva is an assistant professor at Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. Her specialisation is developing intercultural communicative competences in English language education and teaching English to gifted children. Her monograph “Intercultural Aspects in Teaching English at Primary Schools” was published by the Peter Lang publishing house. She is also the author of three English language school books for primary school children.

Daniela Clarke (Macmillan SK) 

Chalk and Cheese: Teaching mixed ability primary Daniela Clarke photoclasses (YL: all English levels) Saturday, Workshop F

In this seminar we will look at the challenges teachers face when teaching classes with mixed learning abilities. We will look at why classes have mixed abilities and at activities that can help the teacher find a balance to keep the strongest and the weakest pupils on board, addressing the needs of a wide range of learner abilities, sensory learning styles and levels within the class.

Warmers and Coolers for Young Adults/Adults (teens/adults: all English levels) Saturday, Workshop D

In this workshop we will explore a number of short, enjoyable and communicative activities used as warmers to wake up, motivate and enthuse learners, and consider how coolers can be used effectively to wrap up and close a lesson. The warmers and coolers demonstrated in the workshop are versatile, and can be used in teaching both language and skills for all levels and abilities, with a view to making learning not just more fun, but also more productive.

Daniela is a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer. She has been involved in ELT since 1997, mainly in the UK, where she taught a range of students from young learners to adults, and trained and coached teachers. She has cooperated with Macmillan both as a teacher trainer and author. Daniela currently lives and works in the Czech Republic and presents regularly at ELT conferences in Central and Eastern Europe.

Workshops: Drama – part 1

Using drama in ELT is old hat for some folks but a brave new world for others. We’ve tried to put together a variety of practical workshops for you, ones we’re sure you’ll enjoy too. They cover the full range of ages and language levels. Here are  4 of them.

Tomáš Andrášik (CZ)

TAndrasik1Impro(wise) to improve (drama: B2) Saturday, Workshop D

Bring theatre improvisation to your classroom and empower especially communicative competence of your students. Simple, extremely engaging, motivating and spontaneous exercises that will energize. Practise vocabulary or tenses, learn how to rhyme, and simulate natural language use in authentic situations. Real training for real communication. This workshop requires active participation.

Tomas spent several years working with children and teenagers, he is former secondary school teacher of English, civics and psychology. Outside the university he currently works as a trainer, instructor and coach in organizations. He co-operates with IMPRO INSTITUT, Outward Bound – Ceska Cesta and he is an actor trainer in Horacke divadlo Jihlava. At the moment, he is a postgraduate student in methodology of foreign language teaching and he conducts research on using drama and theatre improvisation as a tool in personal and social development and foreign language teaching.

Dragana Andrić (Serbia)

Liven up your lessons with drama (drama: A1-A2) Saturday, Workshop EDragana Andrić

The texts our coursebooks mostly consist of might not always be motivating enough. Using a different approach could make a great difference. Drama-based activities, presented in this workshop, could bring the characters from those stories to life and immerse the students into the fictional world of the story.

Dragana has been teaching English in a state school for more than 15 years. She has worked with students aged 7 to 15. She is a member of ELTA and SEETA teachers’ associations. She completed Special Education and Differentiated Instruction in the Context of TEFL Teaching course with the AEI – American English Institute, University of Oregon. She is highly interested in Learning Technologies, Using drama in ELT and Special Educational Needs.

Mona Arvinte (Romania)

mona arvinte 2Knowing me, knowing you…let’s act together and be true! (drama: B1) Saturday, Workshop H

Drama activities can sparkle the class, reduce stress and monotony and bring everything back to life. This workshop is aimed at demonstrating this by showing a few practical ideas suitable to motivate students, create confidence in speaking, promote learning and language acquisition in a more creative and engaging way. I expect participants to take an active part in this workshop and be fearless in trying out new experiences related to drama use in the ELT classroom. I am mostly keen on using role-play and improvisation techniques, so let’s pretend! “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”

Mona has been teaching English to children aged 10 to 14 since 2001 in her hometown, Targu Frumos, Romania. She wants to get them speaking English, so she uses all sorts of techniques to provide interaction through communicative activities. Drama is one of them. They are encouraged to explore English through imagination and creativity, as well as other forms of communication, such as movement, dance, action and role-play.


Sharka Dohnalova (CZ)

Multisensory drama for teaching literature and history (drama: B1) Friday, Workshop CSharka

This workshop will lead you through a historical period and a life of a person living in the said period in one famous story. We will go from your personal experience to the experience of the historical time period and the experience of the particular character. At the end of the workshop you should be able to understand the period and the life and the motives of the literary character.

Sharka has been teaching English since 1993. In 1998 she started teaching at JAMU and studied a course of Drama for English teaching organised by the British Council (a 3-year course). Since 2007 she has been teaching at the Faculty of Education at Masaryk University in Brno focusing on VYL and YL, Drama, and Phonetics.




Workshops: Teens/Adults – part 1

Another of the workshop categories this year, because so many of us teach in secondary schools and language schools, is teaching teens and adults.  Here are just four of what’s on offer in just three weeks’ time.

Candy Fresacher (Austria)Candy2008

Finding your students’ strengths: The job interview (BE: B2) Friday, Workshop B

At any time, it is great for your students to be able to tell others about what they do well. Through the topic of a job interview, this can be the first step. This workshop will explain more about what kind of strengths students might have and look at the VIA Strengths which can give your students more ways to look at themselves in a positive way and get experience to prepare them for the job interview.

Candy, an American living in Austria for the past 35 years, has been teaching at various vocational colleges in Vienna for the past 23 years. In the past years she has become involved in teacher training as part of her position on the board and as Chair of TEA (Teachers of English in Austria). She has also edited their ELT News, a journal designed to disseminate information about new teaching trends and ideas to teachers of English in Austria and abroad. She has presented in Beijing, Manila, USA and throughout Europe as well as published a number of articles including, for example, in the online site Humanizing Language Teaching.

Mark Andrews (SOL – UK)

What’s in a name? The power of vocabulary choice (teens/adults: B1-C2) Saturday, Workshop H

‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’? Apart from teaching grammar, English markteachers have the opportunity to develop young adults’ linguistic and cultural awareness. By working with texts and pictures on a topic which is relevant to everybody living in Europe today, not only does a learner’s vocabulary range increase and their reading and critical thinking skills improve, but potentially they are able to interpret the information they hear with more clarity and respond to it with more humanity. Participants in this workshop will actively work with materials on current events learning how to use such materials with their own students.

Mark has been living and working in Central/Eastern Europe for 35 years, 12 as an ELT methodology teacher and advisor with the British Council (Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic, & Hungary) and 15 as a teacher trainer at the Department of English Applied Linguistics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He is a big supporter of IATEFL-affiliated associations in the region and coordinated the IATEFL Hungary Culture and Literature Special Interest Group for 5 years. He is now a teacher trainer, EFL teacher on student courses, and course and materials developer for SOL (Sharing One Language). He’s taught summer schools every year since 1991, and this year has taught in Serbia, Finland, Slovakia, Croatia, Montenegro, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and England. He also taught the 2014 and 2015 SO(U)L camps in Slovakia. When he’s not doing ELT things, you’ll find him swimming in lakes, the sea, rivers, pools or wherever.

Angelos Bollas (Greece)

angelos bollas

An image Is worth… all language skills and systems (teens/adults: C1-C2) Friday, Workshop A

This workshop focuses on different ways through which teachers can exploit images in class to help their learners develop all language systems and skills. By the end of this workshop, teachers will have explored different activities for a variety of levels and ages through a series of hands-on tasks in which they will experiment with and evaluate the effect of tasks with images. Emphasis will be given on tasks with images that help learners prepare for language exams.

Angelos (Cambridge Delta, MA ELT) is based in Greece, the UK, and online. He is responsible for learning technologies and teacher training at an educational institution in Greece. He is interested in online education and CPD, as well as pre- and in-service teacher training. In his free time, he blogs, participates in and co-moderates #ELTchat weekly discussions on twitter, and connects with language educators around the world. He is an iTDi Blog contributor and is @angelos_bollas on Twitter. 

Louel Ross Calleja (CZ)

Language correctness: Black and white? Or a myriad shades of gray? Louel Ross Calleja(teens/adults: all English levels) Saturday, Workshop F

Most of us believe that error correction plays a crucial role in boosting our students’ developing linguistic system. For this reason, we painstakingly remind them to avoid using ‘Czenglish’ expressions as much as possible. But has it ever occurred to you that, maybe, just maybe, some of the items we have been stubbornly and categorically referring to as ‘errors’ may actually be part of a vast gray area of acceptable – if unlikely – language?

Louel is a former medical biologist/university lecturer of biology who realized that his heart did not belong in a science laboratory but in a language classroom. Originally from the Philippines, he has been teaching English in the Czech Republic since 2008. He currently teaches a wide range of advanced courses – conversation, general English, business English, CAE and FCE preparation courses, as well as English for Specific Purposes. He says that although teaching so many different courses is very demanding in terms of lesson preparation, his “inner geek” loves it as it gives him plenty of opportunities to learn new things. He also says that by making the classroom a venue for intercultural dialogue (he is proud of the fact that he has taught students of 25 different nationalities), he has gained a deeper insight into his students’ psyche.

Workshops: Young Learners – part 1

One of the workshop categories this year is teaching young learners. As we’ve already said, teaching little ones is going to become more and more important with each passing year and so we hope to encourage and equip our colleagues who teach primary-aged kids with the tools they need.

There’s a wide variety of teacher trainers coming from all over, so we think you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs. Here are the first 4 we’d like to introduce.

Dana Hanesová (UMB, Slovakia)

dana hanesova“What shall I do when …?” (YL: A1-A2) Saturday, Workshop E

This workshop is for anyone teaching young learners at primary schools and who has any questions about what to do if /when … In the first half,we will share together our experiences/ hindrances/ issues/ questions/ doubts about our own English teaching. Thus several support groups will be formed around certain issues. Then, using various innovative approaches and also video presentations of how real teachers have dealt with some of the issues in their teaching, real solutions will be found. DVDs (and methodological notes to go with them) will also be available.

Dana studied teaching English as a foreign language both at Comenius
University in Bratislava and Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica, where she has been a teacher trainer since 1993 and now serves as an associate professor. In 2010 she also became involved in teaching English at the primary level. Her main research interest is ELT methodology, including CLIL, with various age groups of learners. Dana has written 5 books and about 100 studies, some focused on shifts from ‘teaching facts’ to ‘teaching to think’. She loves to experiment with various innovative teaching methods and to apply her findings in her teaching.

Barbi Bujtás (Hungary)

Let some Minecraft in! (YL: A1-A2) Saturday, Workshop G

Barbi Bujtas
Photo courtesy of Mike Harrison

If you teach young learners, most probably you have heard about (or played) Minecraft, a cult game popular with most of our learners. In my experience, merely uttering the word Minecraft opens doors to those little ones in our classes who seemingly cannot pay attention to school lessons: the multitaskers for whom a traditional exercise is just not engaging enough, the ones who often get the ADHD label, the ones who cannot grasp the concept of English as a means of communication, etc. I will share some ideas that have worked for me and transformed the meaning of language learning for my students.

Barbi is a freelance EFL instructor in Balatonfüred, Hungary. She has been teaching for 15 years in various teaching environments from one-to-one to high school, depending on local demands. Her professional interests are Dogme, ICT, engagement, materials design, and teachers’ communities.

Eva Balážová (Slovakia)

eva balazovaScaffolding for speaking in CLIL (YL: A1-A2) Friday, Workshop C

English at CLIL lessons is a means for achieving a content goal. Both CLIL teachers and CLIL students use English for reading, listening, writing or speaking about the content. However, young CLIL learners can rely only on their A1 – A2 English language proficiency. The workshop shows a series of practical scaffolding activities that help children to speak in English with confidence.

Eva has devoted her broad teaching and teacher training experience to professional teacher development. She studied English at Matej Bel University as well as completing ELT methodology courses in Exeter and Oxford. She’s also an approved Oxford Teachers’ Academy trainer. Eva has considerable expertise in reading skills and reading literacy development and worked as an Oxford University Press ELT Consultant and speaker for eight years. Currently, she runs her own educational project Lingua Credo in Zvolen.

Jana Chocolata (CZ)

Primary CLIL: English naturally (YL: bilingual primary), Saturday, Workshop F

Would you like to combine what you normally do in class with your pupils with English and turn it into a meaningful input? In this workshop, a series of activities will be presented to give participants an idea of a purposeful and enjoyable use of English in their P.E., Maths, Arts, Music and other classes.

Jana has been teaching English for almost 20 years and is currently a teacher trainer at the Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Education, Masaryk University in Brno. She has taken part in a number of national and international projects, e.g. CLIL do škol, Dystefl and Neflt. Her research focus is on pre-service teacher education and in teaching young and very young learners.

Launching a Practical ELT Publication: ELTI

In cooperation with the Department of Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Studies of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (Slovakia), Slovenská komora angličtinárov/the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers (SKA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new annual English language teaching publication. ‘English Language Teaching Ideas’ (ELTI) will be an annual online publication of practical articles (by our conference speakers and others) published for our members (and our sister associations’ members).

SKA invites you to submit an article for the first issue of ELTI. The klis
publication is going to be peer-reviewed and published electronically, with an ISBN. The first issue will be kindly edited by our colleagues at our partner institution – the Department of Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Studies at the Faculty of Education (KLIS), Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra.

The purpose of the publication is to record and compile practical ideas which have worked well in your English language classes and bring them to your colleagues who would like to try out some new ideas in their own classes.

Therefore, we seek previously unpublished articles from English teachers and teacher trainers which reflect current theory and practice in English language teaching and which present practical ideas and recommendations that readers could apply in their classes with their students. In addition, we welcome short Classroom Activities articles which introduce an instance of a particular, possibly original practice/technique the author has used successfully in their English language class: a warm-up activity, a long-term project…

Articles should be submitted as email attachments with the subject line “ELTI publication” to by December 6, 2015.

We are excited about partnering with KLIS on this new project and look forward to what our ELT colleagues have to share!

Formatting and guideline information can be found for download here.

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