ELT Experiences

Experiences of an English Language Teacher

This Year’s BELTE – 20 October 2012

Leave a comment

Study Group © 2012

Study Group are re-organising the BELTE (Brighton English Language Training Event) for 20 October 2012 with some very well known guests and speakers such as Luke Meddings, Hugh Dellar, as well as Martin Parrott to name just a few.  This training event, which is entirely free for attendees, takes place the entire day between 10am and 5:30pm.  It is a wonderful opportunity for teachers wishing to attend workshops and talks provided very experienced teacher trainers or well respected individuals in the ELT profession.  All participants will receive a certificate of attendance to include in their professional portfolio.  Last year, certificates were either emailed or posted.

I have attended the previous two conferences (2010 and 2011) and each time I was incredibly surprised by the number of teachers attending as well as those big names in ELT giving talks.  I am looking forward to attending another talk on Dogme ELT by Luke Meddings and I am unsure whether to attend a talk by Hugh Dellar or Martin Parrott.  Nonetheless, the conference schedule is available online and is quoted below.

10.30 

‘Producing and Using Authentic Listening Materials’Ian Badger [Harper Collins]Ian travels widely as a consultant and trainer for international companies helping to improve the effectiveness of their communications. He spends a lot of his time running face-to-face training in Finland, France, Germany and Russia. A previous director of studies and a teacher trainer who regularly presents at international conferences, he has authored: ‘English for Business: Listening’ (ELTons 2012 nominee) and ‘English for Life: Listening’ [Harper Collins] co-authored ‘English for Business Life’ (Heinle/Cengage) and ‘Everyday Business English’ and ‘Everyday Business Writing’ (Pearson).
An interactive session in which we will explore ways of producing and then using authentic listening materials for our learners to help them cope with the challenges they meet in their everyday life, studies and work. We will compare these ‘tailored’ materials with published listening materials and discuss our experiences of working with authentic and also ‘scripted’ material including unfamiliar accents, grammatically ‘incorrect’ and not conforming to standard patterns of usage learned. 

‘What Happens When we Unplug?’Luke Meddings [Delta Publishing]Luke was a co-founder of the dogme in ELT movement with Scott Thornbury. Their book, Teaching Unplugged, [Delta] 2009 and won a British Council ELTon award for Innovation in 2010. In 2011 he co-founded the round, an independent e-publishing collective, with Lindsay Clandfield. Their first book, 52: a year of subversive activity for the ELT classroom was published in 2012.
Unplugged teaching focuses less on a ‘top-down’ approach to teaching based on published materials, and more on working bottom-up from the lives and language of the people in the room. This interactive session uses hands-on activities, role play and classroom feedback to explore the theory and practice of Dogme ELT. 

‘The Power of the Image’Paul Dummett [Cengage Learning]Paul is a teacher/writer based in Oxford whose early career includes being DoS and course designer at Godmer House School. His interest in Business English led him to focus on task-based teaching and ESP. He delivers courses to professionals and has authored skills, business and General English titles, including Life [Cengage Learning].
We live in an age where images play an increasingly important part in everyday communication. This talk explores the relation of image to other forms of communication and explores ways in which we can use photographs in class-based teaching. Many of the examples are taken from National Geographic content and photographs from Life. 

‘3Fs-Foster Fluency Faster’Paul Seligson [Richmond ELT]Paul has been ‘TEFLing’ worldwide for over 30 years and is well-known for lively, highly practical training. A CELTA assessor, publications include English File [OUP], and from Richmond ELT, Helping Students to Speak, Kid’s Web 1-5 and Essential English 1-5; a shorter new course for young adults. He works freelance from Brazil.
Highly practical, focusing on ‘teachering’ [well-established teacher tactics which look pedagogically good but are often dinosaurian, limiting and hindering fluency especially at lower levels] this lively talk offers simple pragmatic alternatives including defining fluency, strategies, eliciting, L1 use, ‘syllabus reduction’ to make space for fluency, recording vocabulary, reading aloud, transcript analysis, correction and a 30-point check list. 

‘Inspired Courses with Online Resources’Peter Newman [Macmillan English Campus]Peter, a member of the Macmillan English Campus team, spent a number of years as an ELT teacher in France and Spain before going to work in the lifelong learning unit of the European Commission.
Online resources are all well and good, but can they tie in with what you actually teach in class-and with minimal effort? This session will look at options for combining online resources for both learners and teachers to give your classes an edge, inspire your students and make your life easier. 

‘EAP Grammar: Moving the Focus from Tense to Syntax’Terry Phillips [Garnet Education]Terry has been in ELT for more than 30 years as a school owner, manager and consultant, training teachers and management in more than 20 countries. A well-respected speaker on the ELT circuit, he has published, with his wife, more than 150 books including University Skills in English, Progressive Skills and The i-test [Garnet].
Tense choice is a key area of complexity in everyday language use in English. But EAP teaching requires changing the main focus onto syntactic structures such as the complex noun phrase. This session will show how teachers can both use existing skills and develop new skills to teach EAP grammar effectively. 

11.45 

‘The Challenge of Chunks’Frances Eales [Pearson]*Frances is a teacher and DELTA trainer who has taught in the UK and many other countries. She was a writer on the Cutting Edge series and has recently written three levels of Speakout, a course developed in conjunction with the BBC. She has a particular interest in developing speaking and listening skills, in task-based learning and the use of authentic video in class. She currently lives and works near Brighton.
As teachers, we are generally confident about teaching individual words and probably also two-word collocations. But what about longer fixed and semi-fixed phrases of the kind that are highlighted in course books as ‘useful language’ or ‘key phrases’ or ‘functional phrases’? We know that such phrases can make a huge difference to learners’ fluency in speaking but how do we encourage learners to use them appropriately and accurately? This workshop adopts a ‘back to basics’ approach to offer some enjoyable, practical ideas for focusing on phrases. 

‘Translation: Tackling the Taboo’Hugh Dellar [Cengage Learning]*Hugh is a teacher at the University of Westminster and has been teaching since 1993, mainly in London but for three years in Indonesia. He gives TT and development talks globally. He is co-author of the Innovations series and co-wrote the recent Outcomes series [Cengage]
For too long, translation has been taboo in many classrooms. This blanket ban stems from both native speaker dominance and a failure to appreciate the many benefits translation can offer, resulting in a de-skilling of teachers-particularly non-natives. In this taboo-busting talk, I will explore the uses [and of course, abuses] of L1 use in class. 

‘Getting the Most out of Mental Imagery in the EFL Classroom’Jack Scholes [Helbling Languages]*Jack has a first degree in German and Russian, a PGC in Education and EFL, and is also a Licensed Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, having studied under Dr. Richard Bandler, the co-inventor of NLP.
With over 40 years’ experience in ELT, around the world including in England, Germany, Nepal, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, He is now a freelance trainer, ELT specialist, and author of 12 books including The Coconut Sellers in the Helbling Readers Series.
Mental imagery is one of the most powerful, effective and necessary tools for teachers. This talk will explore new ways to enliven and enrich your classroom with motivating activities using mental imagery that help your students learn more effectively, enhance their motivation and strengthen self-concept.   

‘Top Tips for Success with IELTS Teaching and Learning’ Louisa Dunne [IELTS]Working for the British Council in France, Louisa provides academic support and advice to English teachers in HE and secondary institutions who are preparing learners for a variety of tests. She has had many years’ experience teaching all ages and levels in a variety of educational contexts. Also a Cambridge examiner, she has worked for the BC in various locations [e.g. Egypt, Nepal, Japan and Portugal before France].
Discussing their own experiences of preparing students for IELTS, participants will look at common pitfalls for candidates taking language tests and how these could be avoided. We will also consider the possible challenges faced when preparing students for IELTS; Louisa offers some useful tips and presents some online resources for IELTS. 

‘Grammar, Correctness and Language Evolution: What not to Teach’Martin Parrott [CUP]*Martin began teaching English in mainstream comprehensives and at the Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle in London after many years working in ELT [International House, BBC, Universities of London and Bristol]. Now freelance, he maintains an interest in grammar, teacher education and educational management. Grammar for English Language Teachers [CUP] win the Duke of Edinburgh English Speaking Union prize 2000; the second edition was released in 2010.
What is ‘Standard English’? How is English changing? This talk looks at what should or should not be included in classroom materials and in reference materials for learners and teachers. You will be invited to study and comment on examples of language use and I will be honest about decisions I have made. 

13.00 Lunch break: snacks available 

14.00 BELTE EXPERTS: Q/A panel in Main Hall
Hugh Dellar chairs a panel of Terry Philips, Martin Parrott, Jack Scholes, Frances Eales and Rachael Roberts answering your ELT questions in a knowledgeable, but entertaining way. 

15.30 

‘Stifling the Grammar Yawn’Diana Hall and Mark Foley [Pearson Education]Diane has been working in ELT for over 25 years as teacher, trainer, writer, editor and publisher. With an MA in Applied Linguistics, she is currently an Associate Lecturer at the Open University.
Mark has also been in ELT for a similar period, teaching, training examining and materials writing in the UK and Spain. They have co-authored MyGrammarLab and New Total English plus many other titles for Pearson.
Why do many students find grammar boring? In this workshop, we will look at making grammar-learning more interesting, challenging and effective, using examples from MyGrammarLab which combines book-based and on-line materials. Additionally, we will look at how new technology can help keep track of student progress. 

‘Spelling Myths and Enchantments’Johanna Stirling [The Spelling Blog]Johanna is a freelance ELT consultant who works as a teacher/trainer at Norwich Institute of Language Education [NILE] and authors, edits and presents for CUP. Having recently written Teaching Spelling to English Learners she runs the Spelling Blog and may be addressed as ‘The Spelling Queen’.
Get ready to challenge some myths about English spelling and the way we teach it. Open your mind to new skills and arts that can transform weak spellers of all ages into better spellers. Watch boring mechanical practice go up in puffs of smoke as new and enchanting techniques and activities appear before our eyes. Motivating magic that all teachers can perform! 

‘How can Assessment Support Learning? A Learner Oriented Approach’Lee Knapp [Cambridge esol]Lee, a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is Development Manager UK for Cambridge esol exams. With an MA in Applied Linguistics, he has been involved in ELT since the early ’70s: teaching in the German state sector, management training and consultancy in the Gulf and, in the UK, organisational development roles in FE, the private language-school and financial services sectors. He is the co-author of Write for Business [Longman].
This talk summarises and locates Learning Oriented Assessment [LOA] within the assessment landscape. LOA brings together notions of summative and formative assessment with learning located at the heart of the process. We will explore how assessment data can be used to profile and monitor learner progress, inform teacher decision-making and enable learners to engage in focused self-study. 

‘Language, Motivation and Opportunity’Martyn Clarke [OUP]Martyn has taught English at all levels for over twenty years in more than fifteen countries, from one-to-one to classes of eighty. He has written course books, designed teacher development programmes, run webinars and is fascinated by the way people learn: academically, professionally and personally and how they can be supported at individual, local and systemic levels.
Communicative language teaching needs to be precisely that-communicative. But, encouraging learners to speak can be a challenge. This practical session explores the elements of language support, motivation and opportunity and their impact on creating an environment in which learners feel comfortable speaking. We will be analysing a variety of activities both teacher-produced and published [OUP English File 3rd edition]. 

’12-14 Minutes of IELTS Speaking hell?’Rachael Roberts [Macmillan Education]Rachael now spends most of her time writing, most recently the CD ROM and practice tests for Ready for IELTS, as well as IELTS Foundation Second Edition [Macmillan]. She also works in the UK as an examiner, teacher and teacher-trainer and has extensive experience abroad, resulting in her interest in producing materials for IELTS, particularly at lower levels.
Many students seem to find the Speaking exam the most challenging part of IELTS. As an examiner, it is very obvious which students have been well prepared (or not!) In this session, we will look at practical activities and techniques to help students develop their awareness of typical discourse patterns and language needed in the three stages and become more confident and fluent speakers.

Keep an eye on tweets with the hashtag #BELTE for further information.  Last year, there were some special prizes for the first 200 teachers that arrived at the BELTE Conference, so get in early to possibly claim a prize (if they are doing the same thing as last year).  I look forward to seeing my network in Brighton in October.

What talks would you like to attend?  What talks would you like to see in next years BELTE?  Did you attend last year’s BELTE 2011?  If so, what did you think of it?

Answer in the comment section below.

Advertisements

Author: Martin Sketchley

I have been an English language teacher for over 10 years both abroad and now currently in the UK. I am highly interested in teaching to young learners, professional development and curriculum development.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s