The pre-season seminar was held on Saturday 6th July at IELS in Sliema. The seminar was very well attended, in fact it was a record attendance with more than 130 members including 35 new members plus the committee and the presenters. All the workshops were full to overflowing and the feedback was extremely positive for all workshops. Well done and thanks to all the workshop presenters for their contribution of time, energy and effort, to the committee for their help in ensuring that everything ran smoothly and to the members who gave up their Saturday morning to invest in their professional development. I am sure all who attended will agree that it was well worth it.
The workshops were as follows:
First Session: 9.30 - 11.00
Alan Marsh: Language Practice Summer Cocktail After a brief look at the purposes and underlying beliefs of teaching approaches which espouse language practice activities, we’ll enjoy a cocktail of oral language practice activities that engage learners personally, emotionally or cognitively - and sometimes all three together!
Caroline Campbell: Lesson observation: a form of professional development or a source of distress? This workshop will give trainers, mentors and teachers an opportunity to explore the important role that lesson observation plays in CPD. We will discuss and analyse teachers’ perceptions of lesson observation as well as different observation methods and feedback types. This session will help trainers/mentors reflect on the lesson observation strategies they use to monitor teaching. It will also encourage teachers to embrace the importance of lesson observation as a tool to improve their practices and skills.
Jean Sciberras: Creating Engaging Reading Tasks Course books nowadays have a myriad of prepared reading tasks for inexperienced and experienced teachers. But what do you do when you come across an interesting piece of topical authentic material that you’d like to use in class? How more engaging is a task specially prepared for/by a particular group? This session will give you ideas on how to go about creating your own reading tasks.
Natasha Fabri: Using the Interactive Whiteboard Effectively: Beyond the Classroom How IWBs and online tools can bridge the gap between the 4 walls of the physical classroom and the real world. Practical ideas and Q&A session on how IWB can be useful, relevant and improve class performance. This workshop is suitable for those who are still unfamiliar with IWBs and would like to delve into the use of technology in the classroom.
Second Session: 11.30 - 13.15
Alan Marsh: Going Blank: Vocabulary Rescue Strategies Learners cannot realistically hope to learn all the vocabulary they need to communicate in English - there are far too many words. So we try and teach them strategies for getting their ideas across despite not knowing the precise words. Yet so often they forget these strategies or simply do not use them. Why? In this session Alan explores some innovative ideas for helping these learners to notice and internalise these strategies, so that when it comes to speaking - whether in real life or in the oral components of exams - they are never lost for words.
Caroline Campbell: Language Tool Fair: An exchange of classroom tools, ideas and activities. During this workshop I will share some of my own favourite classroom tools, activities and ideas and I will invite you to do the same. We will use this time to exchange what works best for us teachers in the classroom. Start thinking about it now! By the end of this ‘language tool fair’ we will be more inspired and enriched teachers.
Johnna Grech and Zarah Towell: Classroom Management 101 “I already know that!” “That’s not what my last English teacher taught me!” “I’m not interested in this topic!” You can probably add to this list of student declarations and you know how they disrupt the atmosphere of your lessons. What do you do when your students chatter in Italian, display boredom or arrive late? Let’s pool our experience and learn some new techniques in handling classroom issues that can make or break the learning experience. Justyna Szewczyk: What is Glottodrama and how can it help our students? The concept of linguistic competence stresses correct grammar and lexical rules, the concept of communicative competence stresses the capacity of understanding and producing effective statements. Glottodrama combines verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication. Students of foreign languages are similar to actors wearing “scenic costumes” to indicate character. While wearing them they experience frustration but also gratification and increase their self-esteem. The pedagogic paradox of glottodrama is that the student, while acting, rids the “artificial way of acting” that marks him when speaking a foreign language.