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November 2014

E-Bulletin from IATEFL Poland keeping you informed


Peter Whiley

Welcome everyone to yet another edition of the IATEFL Poland’s e-bulletin, which will be a relatively short one covering the feedback we received from the recent Conference at Lublin. In many ways, the results confirm our views about the Conference, and what satisfied you all so much. However, nothing is ever perfect, and we take your opinions seriously, so that we can provide an even better experience at the next annual conference, which will be in Kraków in 2015. So, please read on and find out what were the big plus points at Lublin, and what were the factors we need to improve upon.

Conference Venue

Lublin 2014

97% of you stated that the venue was good or very good. Indeed, it was: bright spacious rooms, with wide corridors making it easy to move around, meant that no areas were cluttered. The concert hall was especially impressive. In January, we shall be hosting a second ESP mini-conference at the same venue, as it is a notable addition to our list of possible venues. Go to the main website to read more news about the ESP event.

Conference Packs

Lublin 2014

A mixed result here, but the key question is: what do we mean by conference packs? For many people, it means the bags, but for others, it includes what is inside them. I think the bags were attractive, light and easy-to-carry, and good for both women and men. The content is what probably disappointed conference participants. However, it needs to be stated that IATEFL does not control what is put inside them, and the days of generous freebies are long gone. That said, IATEFL will try to ensure that in next year’s packs, there will be some pens and notepads. 65% of those providing feedback did say they were happy with the packs, so the problem was not a major one, but a figure of 13% saying they were unhappy with them, cannot be ignored. Let me know what you thought of the bags and their colour.


82% of you were satisfied with the meals provided, and I thought the Saturday night feast was both plentiful and of a good quality for all present. So, this area must be considered a success.

Evening Entertainment

Lublin 2014

A record high score of 87% was registered, in terms of satisfaction with the entertainment programme, which was very pleasing for me, as I was heavily involved with it. I personally thought that Saturday night’s entertainment package of quiz – "IATEFLADA" or theatre show; followed by a concert from "Chłopcy Kontra Basia", and then, regional songs, and a disco, accompanied by lashings of food, was immensely impressive, even if some elements were not to everyone’s liking. Always a hotly-discussed topic at the conference planning stage, we do need feedback from you as to what entertainment you want for next year’s conference in Kraków. For instance, is it time for a Karaoke evening? Let me know what ideas/talents you have, or want to recommend... Contact me at: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl


92% found this aspect easy or very easy. That is a result to delight the conference organisers, and much better than in previous years.

Using the Conference Programme

Amazingly, 94% of you found this to be no problem at all. Nobody found it difficult. That’s not the usual result we get in this particular area. So, we are getting things right, obviously.

Using the Conference website

87% were happy with the website and ease of usage. Again, a very pleasing, and slightly surprising result.

Finding Your Way Around

Lublin 2014

10% found this difficult, which is, perhaps, a lower result than might have been expected, whilst only 34% stated that it was very easy to find their way around. The good use of signs may well have been a helpful factor to reduce the difficulty factor. Certainly, educational buildings are often complicated in their design, with annexes often hidden away on the campus, so it’s not always possible for IATEFL to do much about it.

Access to the Exhibition Stands

88% were satisfied with the ease of getting to them, which is a higher score than usual. Hopefully, the publishing companies were equally pleased with this aspect.

Speakers / Presenters

Lublin 2014

The most interesting foreign presenter: We had a clear winner here, with Peter Medgyes "way out in front of the chasing pack", with 30% of votes cast. He has already been invited back to next year’s conference, and provisionally agreed, so he obviously enjoyed the Lublin experience as much as Lublin enjoyed experiencing him! Will he be like Geoff Tranter and return with a second dose of humour? Peter, in fact, argued in his ‘Laughter’ plenary that coursebooks were almost devoid of humour: Geoff Tranter and I disagreed with him, but it would be interesting to know what you think – please let me know. Write to me at: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl

The runner-up was the inimitable and ever-popular Hugh Dellar, who was in top form talking about colligations. Hugh polled 50% of the votes Peter received.

In third place, came our visitors from Turkey, who repeated their workshop by popular demand. Eirini Gkora and Nazan Ózcinar Sirel presented a workshop session packed with ideas and exercises on the teaching of vocabulary, and we hope that they, like Peter, will return next year. Hugh is usually invited by his sponsors, Nowa Era, so we are sure he will also be present at Kraków.

Other speakers also collected a good number of votes, and in fact, presenters outside of the top 5, gathered 27% of the overall vote - nearly as many as our winner, Peter Medgyes, which suggests you were pleased with the performances from the vast majority of our foreign presenters.

Lublin 2014
The Most Interesting Foreign Presenter% of votes
Peter Medgyes30%
Hugh Dellar15%
Eirini Gkora and Nazan Ózcinar Sirel13%
Catherine Walter10%
Ken Lackman5%

The most interesting Polish presenter: The good news with this result was that nearly as many participants voted for this category as for the best foreign speaker, which does not usually happen. There was also a wide spread of votes, with the speakers outside of the top 7 polling 40% of the overall votes. Clearly, a wide range of presenters had a lot to offer, and this led to a competitive contest.

In first place, came Hanna Kryszewska, with her classic assortment of ideas/exercises that work in the classroom, a choice of topic that was certain to prove attractive to relatively fresh and inexperienced teachers. I heard that teachers left her presentation well-armed with ideas to use in their teaching. As I recall, it is the first time that Hanna has topped this particular poll, so special congratulations go out to her.

Lublin 2014

Hanna garnered 14% of the poll, just 2% ahead of the runner-up, Grzegorz Śpiewak, who was concerned with selecting our teaching content to meet the needs of 21st century learners and building learners’ higher order life skills – "through, with, and in English!" One of the first life skills I was taught in Polish was, "when in need of urgent help - don’t shout out for the Police, but for the Fire Brigade!". I’m not sure if Grzegorz was covering such an aspect of life skills, but his plenary clearly impressed his audience.

One percentage point behind Grzegorz In third place, was Radek Krzyżanowski, who, on an early Sunday morning, embraced the question of what adult students really need. Ironically, in some ways, this was similar to Grzegorz’s topic, as Radek questioned existing "recipes" for success, whilst the former queried the value of "modern course concepts".

The Most Interesting Polish Presenter% of votes
Hanna Kryszewska14%
Grzegorz Śpiewak12%
Radek Krzyżanowski11%
Monika Cichmińska7%
Beata Budynska6%
Anna Musielak-Kubecka5%
Alicja Gałązka5%

How did you learn about the conference?

Always a question that prompts various answers, but on this occasion, 50% answered that their source of knowledge was the IATEFL Poland mailing list, which includes the e-bulletins, of course! So, perhaps our ways of conveying information to you are improving. Only 12% found out about the conference via our website, which was a slightly surprising result. Announcements at work were responsible for a 14% poll, and friends as sources amounted to 13%.

Feedback Conclusions / Future Ideas

Lublin 2014

The IATEFL Executive Committee were delighted with the innovative ideas given to us as part of the Prize Draw competition, and intend to not only implement some of your suggestions in next year’s conference, but also post them on our main website. The concept of having one or two speakers, who are not necessarily teachers, is an attractive one, enhanced by the success of two psychologists at this year’s event, and we shall pursue this refreshing idea next year. Some of you suggested voice projection workshops, and we have taken note of that.

We would also like to have a slot on the conference programme for first-time speakers, when they are presenting at the same time and not in competition with more experienced figures which could be daunting.

Also under consideration are short presentations – 5-10 minutes, which may be based on one specific teaching idea. We do not think that every presentation need be 60-90 minutes long.

Lublin 2014

The proposal to hold brainstorming sessions, where each participant brings along and shares one prepared idea, is another worthwhile venture.

Under consideration also, are financial packages/rewards to encourage teachers to bring friends to the conference and join our organisation. As yet, we have not made any firm decisions on that, "but watch this space", as the saying goes.

The guided tours around Lublin worked magnificently, in term of the numbers taking part, and we shall endeavour to prepare something similar, but even more special, at Kraków.

Finally, to catch up with IATEFL UK and other organisations, we are hoping to have some online sessions streamed/transmitted live from Kraków, but we need technical help with that, and negotiations are ongoing. We want people who do not come to the conference to realise what they are missing, you could say, or conversely, to feel that they are part of the proceedings!

IATEFL Poland strives very hard to provide you with excellent services and events each year, and I personally commend the organisation for its continued innovation and determination to serve up the best for its members. You deserve such efforts!

Peter Whiley
(Newsletter and E-bulletin editor)

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