Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Tighten your BELTE in 2010

The location of the BELTE 2010.

I was fortunate to attend the BELTE (Brighton English Language Teaching Event) 2010 on Saturday 22 October 2010; the event was (I was led to believe) only in it’s second year.  The BELTE really was great preparation for the IATEFL 2011, which will also be hosted in Brighton next year at the Brighton Conference.  The event was located at Bellerby’s College and it was tucked away next to the train station.  I met various other teachers who had trouble finding the college and we strolled around for quite a time and then bumped into other teachers looking for the location.  Fortunately, I had my iPhone and Google Maps to hand so we were able to locate the school and arrive in time for the opening of the event.

After signing in for the event, I received a goody-bag full of marketing material and a stick of Sussex DoSA (Brighton) Rock.  The Sussex DoSA is a great association organised by various Director of Studies on the South East coast which arrange CPD courses for EFL Teachers, Managers and stakeholders.  Although they work at competing private language schools, they share experiences, provide opportunities for teachers to develop and meet on a regular basis.  Nonetheless, I met various students on the MA ELT course from the University of Sussex, some members from the Sussex DoSA Group that I knew and was also pleased to see so many familiar faces from LTC Eastbourne.  From entering the premises of Study Group, I went into the main hall and saw many many publishers, book sellers and various businesses.  For a few minutes, I was quite shocked how popular this event was.  The Mayor and Mayoress of Brighton even arrived to provide a speech and declare the event officially open.

Mayor of Brighton beside the manager of Study Group.

After the various speeches, the event was officially open and I decided to choose the workshops to attend and have a quick coffee.  I quickly chose Theresa Clementson (who is also on the MA ELT course) who has co-authored the English Unlimited series, published from Cambridge University Press, as well as Adrian Underhill, author of Sound Foundations from Macmillan Publishers.  The third workshop that I wished to attend was related to Culture in our Classroom organised Gill Johnson.  The first two workshops that I attended were really very good and contributed to my current teaching methodology.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the third workshop but, from what I hear, it was very very good.  Further information about the speakers and guests of the BELTE 2010 are available to view here.

Theresa Clementson
This talk provides practical ideas for ensuring we teach ‘real’ English by basing lessons around transferable communicative goals and language drawn from authentic sources. You will be given a solid framework of lessons that enable learners to achieve real-life communicative outcomes in class. Theresa has been involved in ELT for over 20 years, teaching and developing materials in Spain and the UK. She is a team-member of authors on English Unlimited, a new general course book [CUP, 2010]

Adrian Underhill
There need be no mystery or fear in teaching pronunciation, but rather success and fun! Experience an approach that enables learners to discover the muscles that actually make the pronunciation difference. This approach eliminates time taken on habit formation and repetition and liberates the body to work with the ear. Integrates sounds, words and connected speech into all aspects of language work, and offers multiple benefits to speaking, listening and reading. See if you agree!   Adrian is a freelance ELT consultant and trainer, working mainly on staff and organisational development. He is Series editor of Macmillan Books for Teachers, author of Sound Foundations, advisor to Macmillan English Dictionaries and past President of IATEFL. Current interests include applications of complexity theory and systematic thinking to learning, and improvisation in teaching.

Adrian Underhill and his happiest moment with a phonemic chart.

As detailed above, the two speakers were very good and the aim for each workshop was maintained.  It was quite interesting to be in a room of an author who had written various books.  Adrian Underhill demonstrated various pronunciation activities to assist in raising students’ awareness of phonetics in the classroom.

The fellow ELT Professionals that use Twitter.

The event would not have been anything had it not been for the fact that I was able to meet some fellow twitterers (or are they called twitters or twitts?).  I was able to meet some fellow like-minded people that I follow at the BELTE this year.  These included; @harrisonmike, @pysproblem81, @CallieWallie1, @Amandalanguage & @BCseminars.  I believe @CallieWallie1 and @Amandalanguage both travelled four hours to get to the event in Brighton and really commend them on their effort to get there.

I was able to get my hands on a new book and met up with BEBC (as they had a book stall there).  The book that I bought (and shall be reviewing on my blog in due course) is “Online Teaching” by Nicky Hockly with Lindsay Clandfield.  I met up with John Walsh (the MD) and the lovely assistant.  Fortunately, BEBC were offering a 20% discount on all the book titles and was keen to get a decent book; hence the prompt buy.  BEBC are also on Twitter, known as @Books4English.

Overall, it was great meeting other people and it really opened my eyes to the ELT Community in the South East.  It would be great to meet everyone at the upcoming IATEFL in 2011.  I shall finish this blog post off with a photo of those aforementioned twitterers/twitters/twitts on the steps of the infamous BELTE Building.


  1. Fab write-up, Martin! Very nice photos too =)

    If you're wondering about Twitter terminology, I found a great article in ELT Professional by Nicky Hockly, with a few of the terms for people on Twitter people (tweeple, twitterati) and even a word for a drunken tweet! (A dweet, since you're wondering ;o) ) Nicky did say in the article that you use these terms if you want to make it look like you need to get out more!!

    Gill's session was quite good, with ideas about using culture in the classroom (might have to buy her book now…)


    Mike =)

  2. webefl

    Underhill's webinar – well worth a look


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