Connect, Grow, Thrive

2021 Annual Conference workshops

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Workshop Session A (10:45-11:45)

1A  Artificial Intelligence in language assessment – What are we afraid of?

David Booth

(Kindly sponsored by Pearson Education)

Technology has revolutionised our lives. Our businesses now rely on multi-disciplinary, remotely based teams, communicating virtually. But we are still resistant to change. Whilst technology has helped us overcome significant challenges, we still do not trust it. In this talk, I will look at how technology has impacted most strongly on language testing. Replacing the tired and dated models of language assessment by ‘experts’ and replacing that with bias-free automated assessments which are more convenient and fairer to the learner. I will also look at how specific aspects of computer-based testing is changing the way we test now and in the future.

2A   What, if anything, does it mean to be authentic?

Ian McMaster

(Kindly sponsored by Spotlight Verlag)

Authenticity is everywhere in business books and articles nowadays. Leaders and other professionals are urged to “be more authentic” or “be themselves”. But what exactly is authenticity and is it always positive? In this talk, we will discuss various dimensions of authenticity in relation to both language training and leadership.

3A  From speaking to writing task

Dr. Olaf Lenders


Whether you do general language classes or special writing courses, the examples in this workshop will provide you with lessons that are self-contained and can be adapted to your course and level. Tasks include writing argumentative texts, reviews, travel blogs and podcasts.

Workshop Session B (11:45-12:30)

1B  Developing effective reading & listening skills online

Teresa Doğuelli

(Kindly sponsored by Macmillan Education)

Too often reading and listening are viewed as ploughing through long texts, understanding every word and answering the comprehension questions. Students and teachers alike can often feel very discouraged through the use of this ineffective practice. This workshop will provide an experiential demonstration of ways to promote fast, fun, easy, interactive and efficient reading and listening sub-skills at the intensive level in the classroom or online.

2B  Putting learners in the picture: visual literacy in ELT

Lynn Williams


This workshop will explore ways in which visual literacy can be meaningfully used in the English language classroom. I will share some key principles of visual literacy and encourage discussion of its role in language learning and education in general. Drawing on a range of images including photos, paintings, cartoons and graphics, I will present some sample materials I have used to trigger personal responses in learners and to generate discussion in English. I will also suggest a range of learning activities which can be prepared efficiently and demonstrate how these can be adapted for different groups and levels. Participants will have ample opportunity both to ask questions and to share their own ideas.

3B  Commas can save your life! And increase your income! - Teaching punctuation

Geoff Tranter


Punctuation is not really an issue for many teachers, especially in lower-level courses. The CEFR fails to mention punctuation at A1/A2, and, even at B1, restricts itself to “Spelling, punctuation and layout are accurate enough to be followed most of the time.” Furthermore, the predominance of emails as a standard form of private and business communication seems to have contributed to diminishing in many people’s eyes the importance of correct punctuation. However, in higher-level groups, especially ESP courses, greater emphasis is required, yet many students seem to have little idea regarding correct punctuation (even in their first language), and frequently fail to perceive the need. This workshop will show practical, easy-to-apply and sometimes humorous techniques to combat these two problems.

Workshop Session C (13:30-14:15)

1C  Climate justice, racial justice: why it matters in the English classroom and what we can do

Sylvia Goetze-Wake


The planet is changing. We have a choice: to pretend these global changes do not exist or to bring them into our classrooms. As busy ‘normal people’, let alone teachers juggling new tech and new stress, it’s much easier to look the other way. But…we know that these burning topics matter. In this workshop we’ll try to connect the dots between English teaching, our role as educators, our students' concerns, and the glaring links between the climate crisis and inequality...with the aim of creating a small but impactful classroom revolution. If you are curious about how and why, join us for a rich and meaningful exploration.

2C  How to prepare students for a computer-based Cambridge English (CBT) exam.

John Potts

(Kindly sponsored by Swiss Exams)

We’ll begin by outlining the format of a CB exam, specifically where it differs from the PB (paper-based) version, and also the various tools provided within a CB test. We’ll also establish what free and pay-for practice materials are available, and how to access these. Next, we’ll look at classroom and home-study activities to help your learners develop their language and skills, plus their study strategies and exam techniques, during their course. We’ll place a particular emphasis on the writing paper, as this is an area that research has identified as one which would frequently benefit from better CBT practices on the part of many candidates. Finally, a pdf of the webinar slides will be made available for download.

3C  Building a new normality:  which approach to virtual teaching best suits your context?

Carol Waites


When we return to a new normality, what can we keep from our recent virtual experience and transfer to our future teaching? This workshop identifies different types of online teaching approaches adapted to different geographical constraints, differing client needs, and different teaching contexts and constraints. We will consider theoretical models for online teaching such as ADDIE, Salmon’s five-stage-model, Bloom’s revised taxonomy. The virtual teaching models include:
- a virtual classroom model, which replicates the face-to-face teaching mode with a virtual webinar tool,
- hybrid or blended models with a substantial e-learning component, and
- fully online with an e-learning platform.

For each model, we will consider the tools, the features, the weighting and the various evaluation approaches.

Workshop Session D (14:45-15:30)

1D - Oxford Test of English:  four skills, three levels, two hours, one test

Sam Tinkler

(Kindly sponsored by Oxford University Press)

The Oxford Test of English is the new online general English proficiency test, developed by OUP and certified by the University of Oxford. It covers A2-B1-B2 on the CEFR in a single assessment. The Oxford Test of English is faster, easier and more flexible to manage than traditional language proficiency tests. Available all year round, students can choose which modules they want to take in any combination. Adaptive technology and randomization provide a unique, personalized experience for each Test Taker. Find out today about this exciting new option for your students.

2D  Finding joy in unfamiliar teaching territory: lessons learned from COVID-19

Andrea Magee


From classroom teaching to online teaching; a leap for many of us, but a huge opportunity to learn too! Find out what lessons I learned teaching 7-11 year-olds online, returning to the classroom and managing to find joy in such unfamiliar territory. To truly embrace joy in education, recent times have proven it to be more important than ever to keep things simple, and exchanging ideas with other teachers can make all the difference. This workshop will give participants a joyful insight into easy, effective strategies to stay motivated and adapt to whatever unexpected change may be thrown our way!

3D  Extended speaking activities (and the importance of planning)

Jon Hird

(Kindly sponsored by Macmillan Education)

This session, which will be useful for anyone who uses, designs or writes speaking activities, considers the importance of a pre-task planning stage in classroom speaking activities and looks at research evidence, including that of the speaker, of how this can result in significantly increased fluency, complexity and grammatical accuracy. We will look at how, based on the principles discussed, a simple planning stage can, and perhaps should, be integrated into just about any classroom speaking activity. Along the way we will listen to and briefly assess students undertaking a classroom speaking task.

Workshop Session E (15:45-16:30)

1E  Let's talk about dialogues

Lee Shutler

(Kindly sponsored by Hilderstone College)

They're in all coursebooks, often as inauthentic as it is possible to be, and often used to present a piece of language. This workshop will explore ways of making dialogues fun and useful - for both language and fluency. We will consider ways to exploit coursebook dialogues as well as producing and performing our own. The aim is on practicality so that when you see a dialogue in your coursebook, you are ready to rock!!

2E  Becoming a ‘teacherpreneur’

Jo Gakonga

(Kindly sponsored by ELT-Training)

I never saw myself as being self-employed as a teacher, as having my own business, but somehow, what started as a hobby with has become a major part of my income and a great amount of fun. I’ve learnt a bit as I’ve gone along and in this talk, I’d like to share ten top thoughts about being a ‘teacherpreneur’ in case you fancy doing something similar!

3E  Promoting productive skills - but how?

Özgen Bagci Cervo

(Kindly sponsored by Goal Testing)

In this practical and interactive session, we will discuss the changing nature of language teaching and share innovative ways to improve learners’ speaking skills by giving specific examples to illustrate what these strategies look like across different grade levels. We will also provide ideas for monitoring ongoing progress and for giving the kind of meaningful feedback that encourages and enables learners to boost their performances. Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to engage in a hands-on activity to create their own speaking assessment tool to take back to their classrooms.

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