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August 2014

E-Bulletin from IATEFL Poland keeping you informed

Editorial

Peter Whiley

Welcome everyone to a Pre-Conference edition of the e-bulletin – the publication that gets to the heart of the matter! In August’s e-bulletin, we bring you up-dated news from the Lublin Conference which is getting ever closer; two reports – one describing Tessa Woodward’s successful mini-tour of Poland earlier this year, and the other from Marta Bujakowska, our International Liaison Officer, who tells us about an eventful time in Bratislava, Slovakia; and I’ll outline my top 10 choices from the now completed Conference schedule. Plus, our President addresses you on the issue of our special membership offer... and I shall conclude this e-bulletin with some late, late news!

It can truly be said that this year’s programme of workshops and plenaries is both wide-ranging and impressive! Slightly extended, too... with a couple of extra slots taking us towards a later Sunday finish. So, that means you get more for your money! In my article below, I shall mention some presenters, but many deserve to be mentioned, and choosing which sessions to attend will be a nightmare, but a pleasant one, as you will have to make some difficult decisions. I am sure you will complete the conference weekend truly satisfied with a large number of workshops and plenaries, and thirsting for more.

50% lower rates on membership this year! The President explains

Tessa Woodward

Dear Conference Participants,

As you registered for this year's conference, you may have noticed that prolonging your IATEFL Poland membership or becoming a new member of IATEFL Poland required an additional click on the 1-year IATEFL Poland membership – 80 PLN 40 PLN!!! box in the registration form. It may have confused some of you, who remember that in previous years, the membership fee was included in the conference fee, and, as a result, some people may not have chosen to tick the appropriate box. The reason for separating these two payments, and including a new box in the registration form, was to attract your attention to our special offer for the participants of the IATEFL Poland Conference in Lublin, which this year is only 40 PLN, not 80. If, for some reason, you failed to tick the membership fee box, but want to join IATEFL Poland as members, you can still do it by writing to: office@iatefl.org.pl and/or paying your 40 PLN to the IATEFL Poland bank account. Remember, that as members, you can enjoy numerous IATEFL Poland benefits and become part of the largest and the most vibrant community of ELT professionals in Europe.

I wish you all a fantastic conference!

Sławomir Nowikowski
President, IATEFL Poland

My Ten "Must See Events" at the Conference

Lublin 2014

Last year, I exhaustively went through the whole schedule for the Łódź Conference, and outlined my preferences. I even came across some teachers who were following my "guide" during the Conference! Everyone has different tastes and attractions – and mine are very specific indeed: I am generally interested in Adult learning workshops, Drama and Culture-specific sessions, Business English, and Career development-based talks. I'm not a technophobe, but I tend to avoid "IT in the classroom" type workshops. I also prefer speakers like Hugh Dellar, who rely more on fine oratory, rather than those who use technological effects/powerpoints to make their points for them. So, as you can see, my choices are very specific, indeed, and I hope that all you teachers will be fascinated, but not unduly influenced, by what attracts me. Every year, I miss out on some great workshops - I hear feedback about them later from fellow IATEFL colleagues - so, please take my following top ten choices with the proverbial "pinch of salt". This is my personal (repeat, personal) list of choices, suited to my needs:

1. 13.50 (Friday) - Deena Boraie (TESOL): "Envisioning the future of TEFL by teachers all over the world" (Congress Centre)

This plenary clashes with Ken Lackman's "A new way to teach reading" which sounds fascinating. Everyone who has ever seen Ken in action raves about him, so he is a "must see" during the weekend, and I will get my chance at the Closing Plenary on Sunday. Deena comes to Lublin, as an invitee of IATEFL Poland, and like Ken Lackman, is highly regarded. Will her vision, or that of teachers all over the world, be a positive one for TEFL? It may depend on where you live and work. People used to feel threatened by technology, but nowadays, teachers tend to see themselves as happily co-existing with computers, so, what are the threats we are faced with? Will employers embrace the idea of paying teachers decent wages? Will teaching be a profession worth staying in or joining? Deena may well have some interesting answers for us.

2. 18.30 (Friday) - Plenary: Peter Medgyes (IATEFL UK): "Laughing Matters" (Congress Centre)

I have the book, "Laughing Matters", written by Peter and published by CUP, and it is excellent, full of useful and hilarious material. So, I was hardly surprised when a colleague told me recently, that this talk is an "absolute must!" I am presuming the plenary will be based on the book, but if it isn’t, that hardly matters. Peter is a first-rate speaker, who has not been to one of our conferences for some years, and the organisers astutely thought that 18.30 was a very suitable time for a humorous talk, especially with the Pecha Kucha event to follow. Yes, masterful planning, I can't wait for it!

3. 19.30 (Friday) - Pecha Kucha (Congress Centre)

It’s back! Pecha Kucha in all its glory! The last one took place at the Warsaw Conference, and now it is returning, by popular demand. A very demanding task awaits those who present their talks. Audiences tend to expect great dollops of humour, but a PK can be serious – why not? Can you match your talk with the appropriate pictures? As with a classic comedy act, timing is of the essence... and a speaker has a strict 6 minutes and forty seconds to deliver his/her talk with 20 slides. So, I ask you all, in advance, to be supportive of this year’s presenters, some of whom may be doing a PK for the first time. My sources tell me that Geoff Tranter and Piotr Steinbrich are two of the presenters lined-up, so that should whet your appetities!

4. 10.15 (Saturday) - Hugh Dellar (Nowa Era/Cengage Learning): "Following the patterns: colligation and bottom-up approaches to grammar" (Lecture Hall 101)

As I said earlier, Hugh is one of my favourite speakers, and it's his style of speaking that I adore so much, not his content or humour. However, all three factors put together make for a powerful performer. If you observe him closely, he always uses a set of notes, but still maintains a lot of eye contact with his audience, and it appears that he hardly ever looks at his notes, but of course, he does! That takes some skill, and Hugh is a polished, experienced presenter who clearly loves presenting. Here, he will make a grammar-based topic interesting, for sure, and you will leave the room at the end feeling satisfied, just like you do having just eaten a lovely meal.

5. 11.40 (Saturday) - Anna Musielak-Kubecka (OUP): "Real Communicative experience with drama activities" (Room 04)

I have repeatedly read and heard positive comments about Anna’s workshops over the last few years, so I must finally get to see her in action for myself! With my background, any drama workshop is a major attraction to me, and as a strong believer in the power of drama enhancing the teaching of communications, the title of her session is most encouraging. I am sure that there will be many useful ideas arising from her activites, not to mention inspiration and fun!

6. 12.50 (Saturday) - Marek Kiczkowiak: "All teachers are equal, but some more equal than others" (Room 301)

In my selection of ten sessions to attend, one has to be a venture into the unknown, and this is it! The title suggests a range of things, and I hope that my interpretation of it, is correct. Is Marek talking about the talents of teachers? Or, more provocatively, is he focused on the work atmosphere of a school, and who fits in, and who doesn't? The film, "Dead Poets Society", memorably raised that very issue. It's good to remember that a lot of risk is involved when we make Conference choices. We can never guarantee what to expect from workshops and plenaries – and sometimes, we can end up disappointed. Hey, but that's life, so be brave and follow your instincts. You will be enlightened and satisfied most of the time.

7. 18.30 (Saturday) - AGM (Lecture Hall 101)

I have to attend the AGM, as I am on the Executive Committee as the Newsletter Editor, but it is surprisingly enjoyable, and we mix business with pleasure, holding part of the Prize Draw in-between business slots. It is really pleasing when the room is full, and many of you get to see "who is who" in IATEFL Poland, and have the chance to learn something about the organisation. So much work goes into an event such as the Lublin Conference, and the running of IATEFL Poland in general; you should attend it, and be prepared to get more involved. We need new blood, new ideas, new inspiration in order to move forward purposefully. It should not just be what IATEFL can offer you, but what you can offer IATEFL!

8. 10.10 (Sunday) - Ida Baj: "Changing Cultures: discussing migration in the ELT classroom" (Room 203)

At 12.30 on Sunday, my workshop is titled: "Changing Culture: Testing Times", and this sounds similar to Ida's. However, my workshop will deal specifically with the issue of language tests for immigrants, whilst Ida's will be concerned with settlement and integration within a new culture, via the usage of poetry, so there probably is a vast difference between the two. I first met Ida at a Culture Lane Conference in Radom, when she took part as a panellist on a panel discussion, which I chaired. So, she is a "culture buff" in a big way, and I was quick to promise her that I would come to her workshop. Her session will be a good warmer for mine. Do feel free to come to both, and enjoy a large dollop of culture!

9. 11.20 (Sunday) - Geoff Tranter: "Smiles and More :) – Humour as a teaching resource for everyone" (Lecture Hall 101)

An IATEFL Conference without Geoff Tranter would not be the same! He would be sorely missed. This will be "Humour 5" in the series of humour workshops he has presented to us over the years. His message is always the same: you can all use humour in the classroom! I agree: and his workshop will most definitely arm you with a variety of helpful and hilarious material to use in your classrooms. No need, though, to try to write everything down - he goes too fast for that – but, Geoff is very trustworthy, so he will send you his materials, if you send an e-mail to him and ask him to do that. So come and relax at his session and enjoy fully the humour he lovingly passes onto us.

10. 13.45 (Sunday) - Ken Lackman: Closing Plenary: "CAT: A framework for Dogme" (Congress Centre)

I said earlier that I wanted very much to see Ken Lackman, and this plenary gives me my chance. Most of you are probably aware by now that Dogme generally relates to a dislike or avoidance of using coursebooks. Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury are seen as the two main protagonists of Dogme, but judging from Ken’s title, maybe he is joining their ranks, and trying to give Dogme a more socially acceptable status, by providing a structure for it. We shall see if I am right. Dogme appeals to me, as I try to use coursebooks in a minimal way, but they do have gems in them, too, and that should not be forgotten. So, enjoy the last teaching session of the Conference – it could be a very powerful and memorable one!

"IATEFLADA" Quiz (educational version of "Familiada")

Room 101: Saturday the 13th of September, at 19.15

ONE TEAM OF TEACHERS NEEDED! (Compete with the ELT Stars!)

We have the Stars: Jeremy Day, Hugh Dellar (Captain), Jola Ziemba, Anna Musielak-Kubecka, and Geoff Tranter. We have the sponsors – Nowa Era. We now need you to come forward! 5 teachers in a team. You can apply as an individual, or as part of a team (perhaps 5 teachers from a specific town/city). Let me know ASAP. write to: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl. No preparation needed – just smart minds! Try to beat the ELT stars! It will be fun, and a vivid experience for contestants, with better prizes than you would get on "Familiada"!

Reports

In March, Tessa Woodward came to Poland to the cities of Wrocław and Poland, to conduct her much-heralded mini-tour. Read the brief report here to get a flavour of what happened.

Tessa Woodward's Mini-Tour of Poland

by Anna Kolbuszewska, Joanna Leszkiewicz, IATEFL Poland Regional Co-ordinators

Tessa Woodward

March, 2014, was the month of a great event – the long-awaited visit of Tessa Woodward. On invitation from IATEFL Poland, Tessa Woodward ran a series of highly-motivating practical workshops titled: "Thinking in the EFL class", which took place in Wrocław and Poznań on the 15th-16th March, 2014. The workshops attracted audiences totalling approximately 180 EFL teachers from the Wrocław and Poznań regions, as well as other parts of Poland, including cities as far away as Warsaw and Opole. Teachers who attended the workshops represented all types of schools - state and non-state, primary, secondary and tertiary, as well as private language schools.

Tessa Woodward as an excellent and very experienced speaker, as well as a teacher-trainer, fully engaged the audience in tasks designed to encourage flexibility, fun, and creativity in teacher and student thinking. Activities used in the workshop all came from a book recently published by Tessa: "Thinking in the EFL Class" (Helbling Languages). Informal feedback gathered immediately after the workshops, showed how much Tessa's presentations were appreciated by teachers with different levels of experience, and teaching in different educational sectors, who stressed how practical and usable all the activities presented were for a wide range of class types and learner ages.

Participants of the events were offered the opportunity of buying, not only Tessa's books, but also other books published by Helbling Languages, at attractive prices, thanks to the book exhibition and sale organised by EGIS Publishing.

The events took place thanks to Hebling Languages, which co-financed Tessa's visit and workshops in Poland.

Tessa Woodward's workshop 1

Tessa Woodward's workshop 2

Tessa Woodward's workshop 3

Tessa Woodward's workshop 4

In June, Marta attended a conference in Bratislava, Slovakia... at which, the guest of honour was Professor David Crystal. Read her warm report and see some pictures to find out how much she enjoyed the experience.

eltforum.sk - English Language Teaching Forum
6th-7th June 2014 at the University of Economics, Bratislava, Slovakia

by Marta Bujakowska, IATEFL Poland's International Liaison Officer

IATEFL Poland and two Slovak teachers' associations have been trying equally hard to start collaboration for some time now, and the latter two organisations have finally managed to merge, which simplified some of the procedures and allowed IATEFL Poland, officially, and on paper, to sign an agreement with SKA Slovakia in Bratislava, during the ELT Forum on the 6th-7th June, 2014.

ELTForum.sk 3

I had the privilege to be the first delegate to represent IATEFL Poland at a Slovakian conference. Over 400 participants attended the ELT Forum, a really high number, if we consider the size and population of Slovakia! All the sessions were divided into: plenaries, talks, and workshops. The keynote speaker was Professor David Crystal, IATEFL UK's famous patron, who talked about "The Future of Englishes". I had heard the session before, but... Professor Crystal does not repeat himself! He seems to have an ability to flow with time, and he does it in a very gentle, yet fast way. Once you manage to follow the Professor’s way of thinking, there are no hiccups, no turbulence, just a smooth process of learning starts to happen. You may even feel relaxed and listen to the talk as if it's a friendly chat about the English language or rather Englishes. It also gave all of us a nice break from technology, which recently seems to have completely dominated ELT conferences, presentations, and even workshops. I, personally, highly appreciated this talk, as it was so easy to follow, was especially pleasant because of the Professor's clear speech and listener-friendly pace, which left time for a little reflection here or there. The Professor and his wife, Hilary, also provided us with what I would call "intellectual entertainment" and a good laugh at the same time, in the evening: "The Language Players" showing us how much fun we can have with the English language.

ELTForum.sk 2

Two outstanding plenary sessions were run by Slovak trainers: Gabi Lojová, based at the Comenius University in Bratislava: "More Enjoyable, More Effective, and More Focused on the Learner", and Maggie Kubanyiova, based at the University of Birmingham: "Motivating Language Teachers through Vision". Both sessions, one focusing on the learner, the other on the teacher, were truly inspirational.

Due to my teaching experience which has varied a lot over the years, with some particular areas of interest that come and go, I decided to attend a workshop with the modest title: "Songs, Rhymes, and Games in the YL Class", run by Beatrix Price, our Hungarian colleague. I haven't taught young learners for some time, but as I am thinking of going back to this age group soon, I was looking for fresh inspiration. It was a very wise choice. Again, with no technology involved, we had a lot of fun doing the activities, and having teachers' conversations between them, to understand the needs of young learners in the modern world.

Lydia Machova, a young Slovak teacher, gave a talk: "The Autonomous Learner 2.0", a topic that is placed very high on my priority list. She skilfully shared five ideas which helped her introduce and maintain her students' autonomy. The use of technology helped us a lot and was fully justifiable.

ELTForum.sk 4

Agnieszka Kruszyńska, from Poland, was presenting at the same time, and I thought of attending her session. However, having known that she was coming to IATEFL Poland's Lublin conference with a presentation in September, I decided to wait for that, and give priority to a person whom I may not have an opportunity to see in the future.

Alex McNeish's workshop: "Thinking: The sixth skill", not only gave me very practical ideas that I am using now, in Ireland, teaching teenagers in a summer language school, :) but also showed the difference between an answer and the answer we often require from our students. Alex has also shared a beautiful thought one of his students had shared with him: "between black and white there is no grey, there is a rainbow."

As far as organisation is concerned, I noticed some interesting points there.

  • The introductions were brief and kept very simple, yet efficient.
  • All plenary speakers received flowers/gifts as a gesture of appreciation,
  • The food was provided on the spot, which some participants appreciated, and some did not, and it was all vegetarian :),
  • There was a round-table with speakers at the very end, where we all had to share a little reflection on the conference input, which I found challenging, but at the same time, a great round-up and a reminder of the whole event,
  • All the commercial sessions were kept within one slot,
  • The conference programme was very handy, simple, easy-to-follow, and with an innovative layout.

I like to think of every conference in one word which describes my overall impression. On this occasion it would be: "unpretentious". Our Slovak colleagues made me feel very much at home. Thank-you, SKA Slovakia :).

ELTForum.sk 1

Late, late news

Guided tour of Lublin. For those of you wishing to embrace the joys of Lublin: - the atmosphere of the beautiful Old Town, the fascinating places to see, and, at the same time, learn about its history - we have arranged a free, special guided tour of the city for you on the Friday evening (12th September) from 17.00-18.30. There will be two groups - a Polish-speaking group and an English-speaking one. Register for the walk, on arrival at the Conference venue. Uwaga! There's a limited number of places.

The BAND!!! Yes, on the Saturday evening, at the Congress Centre, following the meal at 20.15, there will be a famous and notable Polish rock band on hand to entertain you. Blockbusters "Chłopcy Kontra Basia" have agreed to make the Lublin Conference the complete experience for you, and be the stars of a lovely package of entertainment we have lined up. Music, quiz, theatre, Pecha Kucha, guided tour of Lublin, - it's a fantastic list of events to complement the educational character of the conference.

Ultimately, of course, one of the best ingredients of any conference is supplied by you, the participants: I am referring here to the social contacts we make, and the wonderful people we meet. New friends await you!

Finally, the news many of you have been waiting for!!! On the 8th of August, at 6.30pm, Charlotte Elisabeth Cagnol was born! Beth is a proud mother: after many years of trying, she has finally made it! Her story could be the basis of a good novel, and her dream has come true. Congratulations, Beth, and happy husband, John, from all of us at IATEFL Poland. I guess we won’t be seeing you, Beth, at Lublin, but you will be there in spirit!

Good to end on a happy note... See you all at Lublin... May you all rejoice meanwhile with your delightful kids.

Peter Whiley
(Newsletter and E-bulletin editor)

THERE IS STILL TIME FOR YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE!
(go to our main website and click on the Conference link)

All articles, news items, queries, etc. send to: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl
E-Bulletin Editor: Peter Whiley, Layout and design: Mariusz Bartosik
www.iatefl.org.pl