Saturday 2 September 2023
Opening plenary (09.30–10.30)
Natasha Costello: L is for learner: Teaching from the learner’s perspective
Sharing stories and insights from over 20 years of teaching, this talk will focus on the importance of considering the learner’s perspective when planning lessons. Putting yourself in your learner’s shoes can help you create classroom activities which encourage participation and interaction. This approach is particularly relevant when teaching English for Specific Purposes where learners need to practise the language skills that they will need in their daily work. Natasha Costello used this method to develop the real-life, scenario-based activities in her recent book, co-written with Louise Kulbicki: Practical English Language Skills for Lawyers: Improving Your Legal English.
Natasha Costello LLB, PGCE (HE), solicitor (non-practising) is an independent legal English teacher based in Paris, France. She teaches legal English to French lawyers and university law students. She is also a Board member of EULETA, the European Legal English Teachers’ Association.
Costello, N., & Kulbicki, L. (2023). Practical English language skills for lawyers. Routledge.
Workshop Session A (11.00–11.45)
A1 Olaf Lenders: Talent or grit?
There are slogans used both in sports and language learning: “no pain no gain”, “use it or lose it”, “practice makes perfect”. Are these just slogans or is there something in it for language learning? Good language learners, i.e. people that have acquired a second language to a high degree of proficiency, are often praised for just having “a talent for languages” while a “lack of talent” is used as an excuse by learners for not making a considerable effort. If you believe the PR for Angela Duckworth’s best-selling book Grit there is a “formula” for success. So can we all become “good language learners”? I will argue that there are strategies to support language learners to become more proficient.
A2 Samvidha Srinath: Educational activities and games in the English language classroom
Educational activities and games are an essential part of English language classrooms. They encourage students to use the target language and practise pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. They can provide a welcome break from the more serious parts of learning a foreign language and help students have fun in the learning process. In this talk, Samvidha will talk about why educational activities and games are important for English language classrooms and share a few activities that can be immediately used in class. These activities can be used across all age groups, but may have to be adapted to suit the target age group. The ideas can also be used as a springboard to generate new ideas.
A3 Dr Carol Waites: Teaching writing skills to today’s adult professionals
More than ever, writing is important in the professional context, and yet, it often seems to be dealt with superficially in textbooks. But in the working world today, people are expected to write in English, and to be quite adept at it. To add to the confusion, there is a noticeable cultural difference between styles. Advice from websites can vary quite substantially, depending on context. How can we best help our students? This workshop will illustrate some of the differences and suggest remedies for teachers to get their students up to speed, to become successful, independent writers, availing themselves of artificial intelligence and other tools.
A4 Ian McMaster: Working in international teams – what can we do better?
More and more people have to work in international teams, both face-to-face and virtually. Such teamwork can be stimulating and inspiring but it also often involves the challenges of different working styles and cultures. And these can create increased potential for misunderstandings and even conflict. How can team members and leaders best prepare themselves for such situations? Through the use of critical incidents, Ian will encourage workshop participants to develop effective strategies to meet the challenges of international collaboration.
A5 Dorinda Maio-Phillips: Independent teachers: What’s your line?
Sharing and enriching our teaching: roundtable discussion, inviting all to share their experience and ideas. The following three topics are proposed: 1. What’s your line? Do you specialize in a particular area? How can we network to find correct data and sources of material? 2. How do we find new students? Do we need to “market” ourselves? How do we target the right people? 3. On a more general subject, how can we support older adults and/or slower learners?
Workshop Session B (13.00–13.45)
B1 Laura Kennedy: English for interviews: Going beyond strengths and weaknesses
How do we help students prepare for interviews in which they will be expected to answer in-depth questions in English about their experience and attributes? In this practical workshop, we will look at ways of working with higher-level students to develop and enhance the language they use for speaking about themselves. We will also try out strategies we can use with our students to help them describe their achievements. This workshop will be useful for teachers who work with experienced professionals but also has something to offer teachers of young people starting their working lives. There may even be a chance for some self-reflection!
B2 Yuval Shomron: Time to rhyme
Anyone can write a poem. From A2 onwards students can begin to write simple rhymes with a little help. When their imaginations are ignited, their humour or emotions begin to flow. Combining writing tools and encouragement will unleash the amateur wordsmith hidden in every student. Even beginners can write greeting card messages, WhatsApps, or other short scripts.
B3 Jane Kaskova: How to provide meaningful feedback while testing speaking skills
Sponsor: CEL-Cambridge English Languages
Feedback is an essential part of every learning process. Often without knowing, teachers gauge learners’ speaking performance differently, providing imprecise feedback based on their experience or intuition. This talk will focus on key principles of how formative feedback should be provided and outline its framework so both teachers and students can benefit from it. Jane will cover the factors she relies on while providing feedback to the learners: 1. Ask your students how they feel about feedback and how they would like to receive it. 2. Focus on key criteria taken from the international tests: IELTS and Cambridge English. 3. Provide examples while giving feedback. 4. Prioritize feedback. 5. Use different techniques for providing feedback.
B4 Anna Bennett: Real-life skills for language learners: Navigating the path to success in a rapidly changing world
Sponsor: Trinity College London
Developing the skills needed for a rapidly changing world is crucial for career success, personal growth, innovation, and lifelong learning. By prioritizing skill development, individuals can prepare themselves for whatever challenges and opportunities the future may bring. Throughout this workshop participants will explore practical tasks that reflect real-world situations and enable students to develop employability skills and make progress in both education and the workplace by enabling them to navigate through their life and professional transitions. Throughout the workshop reference will be made to Trinity ‘s English Language and Communication Skills exam suites which can help young people be more career-ready, and help adults develop the skills needed to remain relevant and successful in the workplace.
B5 Group: Barbara Althaus, Guy Walker, and Sylvia Goetze: ESP courses at a university – not always what you expect!
Sponsor: University of Lausanne
In this panel discussion with several University of Lausanne language teachers, you will have a chance to hear about the range of courses they have developed involving English for Specific Purposes. What were their reactions when they found out who they were teaching? How did they design a course and find materials? What were the joys, challenges, and surprises encountered? Whether for teachers or staff, technical or academic English, they have seen a lot – and look forward to interacting with you during the Q&A time of this session.
Workshop Session C (14.45–15.30)
C1 Group: Nicola Webster, Sandra Gianinazzi, and Marco Abbondio: A bag of lexis
A guide to travelling around the British Isles, visiting a variety of cities and places, covering everyday topics and experiences. The aim is to give students the tools to cope with the ups and downs, ins and outs, and the ifs and buts of life as well as their field of work. It is designed as an engaging and fun way of following topics required by the curriculum, in our case healthcare, but applicable to other fields. All this without leaving the classroom!
C2 Stephen Lander: AI in ELT – what can it do?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) software like ChatGPT and DALL-E can generate original text or graphics on virtually any topic. These tools will be introduced and their limitations and potential dangers discussed. Then the workshop will explore how the tools might be used to support and enrich language teaching and learning.
C3 Rachael Harris: Learning strategies: Why, what, & how
All too often learners are told to go away and learn what they’ve studied in class, or teachers assume that by covering material in class, students are learning it. Rarely do teachers, and even the students themselves, consider HOW they are learning this information. By consciously teaching learners the strategies they need to learn we are developing lifelong independent learners. In this active workshop we will look at examples of WHAT learning strategies are and WHY they are so important, especially for weaker students, and then go on to discover the strategies behind fun, student-based activities that you can use in any class.
C4 Sylvie Dolakova: Dyslexia in English lessons
Talk (75 min.)
Are you struggling to support children with dyslexia in your English lessons? Our special workshop is here to equip you with the practical tools you need to help these learners excel. Join us as we define the common challenges dyslexic children face in English classes and explore a range of engaging activities designed to improve their reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and memory skills. From pre-reading techniques to fun games, we have everything you need to help children aged 5–12 thrive. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover tips and tricks that really work! Come and unlock the potential of your students with dyslexia. Note that this workshop will run for 75 minutes.
C5 Judith G. Hudson: Experiments with flipping CELTA courses
Short teacher training courses such as CELTA are often criticized for being stressful and not keeping up with research findings on learning. The traditional structure has dominated for the past 50 years with few changes. Since 2019 we have been exploring alternative ways of providing increased preparation time within the four/five weeks by flipping the input sessions to become extended home activities. This has not only provided longer and better lesson preparation time but also reduced stress for participants who often fail to perform well due to cognitive overload, lack of sleep, and general meltdowns. Although our course samples are not large, they have already shown considerable advantages. This talk intends to explore uncomfortable thoughts on how, why, and what we focus on, and also provide some ideas on how subtle changes can be made.
Workshop Session D (16.15–17.00)
D1 Laura Wilkes: A beginner’s guide to podcasting: Three steps to start recording
Podcasts are great for engaging and supporting language students, teachers, or managers. However, often the biggest challenge in podcasting is getting started. In this workshop, we will look at the steps and decisions you need to make to record your first episode. This workshop is ideal for teachers, trainers, or school managers who would like to try creating a series of episodes but are unsure where to start. In this workshop, Laura will share the best practices she has learned from producing the TESOL Pop podcast that has helped the podcast reach thousands of teachers worldwide. By the end of this talk, attendees will have a framework that they can take away to help them plan and record their first episode.
D2 Laura Hudson: What it’s earth – incorporating sustainability education into EAP classrooms
Sponsor: National Geographic Learning
Teaching English is no longer just teaching English. We must also prepare students with the skills, values, and knowledge to contribute to a global society. With examples from National Geographic Learning titles, in this session we’ll explore how we can incorporate education for sustainable development into our classes, and in doing so truly prepare our students for their futures.
D3 Cecilia Nobre: Seeing is believing: Maximizing the benefits of video-based peer observation for ESP teachers
In this session, we will explore the potential of video-based feedback to maximize the benefits of peer observation in ESP contexts. Using practical examples and strategies, we will investigate how video can effectively facilitate peer observation and feedback. Our discussion will also focus on how to provide constructive feedback based on video observation, encouraging reflection, and identifying areas for improvement. We will explore various technological tools available for recording and analysing video-based observations, including their benefits and limitations in ESP teacher development. By the end of the session, participants will be armed with practical techniques and insights for using video to enhance peer observation and feedback in ESP teacher professional development, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
D4 Choreanne Frei: Needs analysis in in-company settings
Analysing your learners’ needs can be a daunting task in in-company settings, particularly when learners are told they will have to learn English as part of a company’s further training programme. Also, the needs described by the sponsor may not be the needs of the learners, and needs may change quickly. However, to plan a course, we need to have reliable data. In this workshop, we will look at both formal and informal ways to collect data and when this should be done, and we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different methods.
D5 Kristy Kors: Getting the message across: Mediation in the EFL classroom
Sponsor: Express Publishing
Mediation is one of the four modes of communication organized under the CEFR model. It is an essential element of everyday communication in today’s ever-more pluricultural and plurilingual society. In an effort to emphasize the crucial role of language in the social perspective, educators are integrating mediation in the language learning process. This presentation will focus on the latest CEFR Companion Volume mediation perspective and its value for language teaching. It will highlight the purpose, the activities, and strategies of mediation as well as its practical application in the EFL classroom, helping learners and teachers build connections and improve communication through the co-construction of meaning.
Barbara Althaus, Guy Walker, and Sylvia Goetze are experienced teachers who have been involved in the creation and delivery of one or more ESP courses in a higher education context. They all currently work at the University of Lausanne Language Centre and a surprising point they have in common is that they all lived and worked in Japan.
Anna Bennett is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer. She is Head of Product Support (English Language) at Trinity College London Italy and her expertise lies in implementing technology-based pedagogical techniques that foster the acquisition of language skills and equip learners with what they need to excel in real-life situations.
Sylvie Dolakova is a teacher trainer focusing on working with children aged 3–15, (with over 25 years’ experience), specializing in teaching English through art and stories. She publishes materials for children (Pearson ELT Award – best innovation), presents at conferences and webinars, she was an ELT consultant (NILE, Norwich, British Council etc.).
Choreanne Frei is a teacher, trainer, and presenter with 25 years of ELT experience. Her interests include teacher development, Business English/ESP, learner autonomy, developing language skills, coaching, and everything digital. While she enjoys the comfort of things tried and tested, she likes to explore almost anything outside her comfort zone.
Rachael Harris teaches EFL literature, and current affairs to young learners and teens in a French lycée where she is also Special Educational Needs Coordinator. She is joint-coordinator for IATEFL Inclusive Practices and Special Educational Needs SIG. She is a lifelong learner, passionate about learning theory, connection, and belonging, both in and out of the classroom.
Judith G. Hudson, an Australian/Swiss English teacher and trainer since 1976, enjoys trying out new ideas especially in flipping face-to-face short teacher training courses. Her special interests are helping teachers feel more comfortable in promoting pronunciation, using Cuisenaire rods, and generally helping teachers become the best teachers they can be.
Laura Hudson has been working in ELT for 25 years. She started her career as a teacher/teacher trainer and worked in Austria, Germany, and Denmark before moving into publishing in late 2004. She has spent 16 years working in the German, Swiss, and Austrian markets and joined the National Geographic Learning team in January 2020.
Jane Kaskova is an experienced ESL teacher, trainer and assessment professional. She was active with a large Cambridge centre in Ukraine, before joining the CEL-Cambridge English Languages centre in 2022, in multiple professional roles. She is CELTA certified, combined with a master’s degree in Economics, and has a NILE diploma in “Prepare your students for IELTS”. Jane has delivered teacher development courses on topics such as train the trainer, professional development, and helping learners to prepare for exams.
Laura Kennedy is based near Lausanne but is originally from the UK. Before training as an English teacher, she worked in corporate and not-for-profit communications in Switzerland and the UK. She now specializes in business English, helping her students communicate better in the workplace, and in exam preparation classes.
Kristy Kors has a BA (Hons) from Leeds Metropolitan University and a CELTA allowing her to study different types of teaching methodological approaches. She taught English as a foreign language for several years before joining Express Publishing as an ELT Consultant. She now participates in seminars and conferences around the world, conducting teacher training sessions where she shares her research and ideas on the latest methodological advances. She has also been an oral examiner for various world-renowned International exams for the past five years.
Stephen Lander is British and has been an ETAS member almost since its foundation. He has worked in the UK, Spain, and Switzerland as an EFL teacher, translator, and information technologist. In the past, he has been ETAS Publications Chair, Web Chair, and Branch Contact for Basel.
Olaf Lenders can’t believe that he’s been teaching English, ICC and Dutch and German at universities in Germany and Holland for more than 25 years. For the past one and a half decades he’s been teaching engineering and journalism students at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University in the romantic stretch of the Rhine valley.
Dorinda Maio-Phillips is originally from London, England, Dorinda came to Geneva in 1968 and never looked back. After many years working in industry, she then decided to teach children at home when the Cambridge YLE exams came out. Now officially retired, Dorinda still has a few students and a lively coffee club for those who want a conversation class.
Ian McMaster is a business communication consultant, author, and journalist. He was editor-in-chief of Business Spotlight magazine from 2001 to 2021 and is a former coordinator of IATEFL Business English SIG. His latest publication (with Bob Dignen) is Trainingsbuch Business English – Kommunikation und Zusammenarbeit in internationalen Teams.
Cecilia Nobre is an experienced English language teacher, teacher trainer, and materials writer. Her interests include reflective practice, video for reflection, and continuing professional development. She is a co-author of Using Video to Support Teacher Reflection and Development in ELT and is currently pursuing a PhD in Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick.
Yuval Shomron has 48 years teaching experience. He manages his own school in Canton Schaffhausen, which caters mainly to adults. He has travelled widely and has presented workshops and talks in 12 countries. He is currently the President of ETAS.
Samvidha Srinath is a university student at the Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW and is studying to teach teenagers English, French, and German. She is CELTA certified and among other things her interests include learning new languages, like Korean and Japanese.
Dr Carol Waites has taught writing skills to international staff in Geneva for over 20 years. She is a qualified proofreader and editor, as well as Publications Chair for ETAS.
Nicola Webster, Sandra Gianinazzi, and Marco Abbondio: Manchester born, Nicola Webster (former book review editor for ETAS) has been teaching English in Ticino for over 25 years, 10 of which have been in the field of healthcare. Nicola, together with her English teaching colleagues Sandra Gianinazzi and Marco Abbondio, developed their presentation project based on the lexical approach.
Laura Wilkes is the Co-Founder and Presenter behind the TESOL Pop podcast. Laura has been teaching English and training teachers since 2009 in Guangzhou, Macau, Hong Kong, and to educators worldwide online. Her interests include utilizing technology and multimedia to create engaging and accessible professional development for educators.
Dignen, B., & McMaster, I. (2023). Trainingsbuch Business English – Kommunikation und Zusammenarbeit in internationalen Teams. Haufe.
Mann, S., & Nobre, C. (2023). Using video to support teacher reflection and development in ELT. Equinox Publishing Ltd.