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: 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.




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.)