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January 2015

E-Bulletin from IATEFL Poland keeping you informed



Peter Whiley

Welcome everyone to another bumper edition of the e-bulletin. This one, for once, will highlight the dynamic world of our Regional and SIG (Special Interest) groups, which sadly are overshadowed, to some extent, by our Annual Conferences. However, these groups are the lifeblood of the organisation, and help sustain interest in IATEFL Poland throughout the country. So, I am pleased to devote an entire e-bulletin to them. The following content will be based on reports and photographs... a good blend. As you will see, Regions and SIGs often jointly organise events. Without further ado, let’s move onto the first item, which contains a report and some pictures from the highly-successful ESP Conference in Lublin last January, organised by the impressive Joanna Rączkiewicz, and her new SIG: ESP (English for Specific Purposes).

LUBLIN ESP Mini-Conference

Dear Colleagues,

Below please find my short report of the 1st International IATEFL Poland ESP SIG Conference organised by IATEFL POLAND ESP SIG in LUBLIN and MONDIALE-Testing which was held at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin on the 16th of January, 2014.

The aim of the Conference was to introduce the methods and methodology of teaching specialised vocabulary.

The Conference was opened by Grażyna Roguska, Head of the Foreign Languages Teaching Centre, University of Life Sciences in Lublin. On behalf of the University authorities the welcoming speech was delivered by Prof. Krzysztof Gołacki, the Vice Rector for Student Affairs and Education, which was followed by opening speeches from Sławomir Nowikowski, President of IATEFL Poland, Martin Beck of MONDIALE-Testing and myself - Joanna Rączkiewicz, Head of the English-Latin Unit, University of Life Sciences and ESP SIG Co-ordinator.

The Call for Papers was answered by numerous presenters from Poland and abroad of which seven were chosen to speak at the Conference.

During the first session Geoff Tranter introduced the issue of ESP, target groups, their needs and expectations.

The Conference was divided into three blocks:

  • Block I: Devising ESP Teaching Materials
  • Block II: Teaching Specialist Language
  • Block III: Practical Methodology for ESP Classes

The Conference was attended by 180 teachers from Poland and abroad who shared their knowledge, experience and passion for teaching. Thanks to MONDIALE-Testing and a well-equipped conference room it was possible to broadcast the conference online, which was appreciated by a large number of participants all over the world. The recordings are available on the IATEFL website.

During coffee/tea breaks all our guests were able to exchange their ideas about teaching ESP, the refreshments available, or visit the new, modern offices of the Foreign Languages Teaching Centre.

The Conference ended with an open discussion over a glass of wine.

The Conference did not generate any costs for IATEFL Poland as it was sponsored by MONDIALE-Testing, a supporting institutional member of IATEFL Poland, and the room was made available for the purposes of the Conference for no charge by the ULS. The Conference also received a lot of publicity in the local media. Sławomir Nowikowski and myself were invited to the Lublin TV Studios and took part in a programme which was broadcast live on the day of the Conference. They used this opportunity to tell the viewers about IATEFL Poland, its aims, mission and role in ‘linking, developing and supporting’ English teachers in Poland. They highlighted the fruitful co-operation between the newly established IATEFL ESP SIG and the University of Life Sciences in Lublin and announced the 23rd IATEFL Poland Annual Conference which will be held on the University premises in September this year. TV Lublin's programme planners expressed their interest in the event, and declared their intention to give it some coverage.

The 1st International IATEFL Poland ESP SIG Conference in Lublin was an example of perfect co-operation between individual, dedicated members of the Association and supporting institutions (MONDIALE-Testing, University of Life Sciences in Lublin) for the benefit of the whole community of English teachers.

Joanna Rączkiewicz

Lublin ESP

Registration: the arriving delegate getting plenty of attention!

Lublin ESP

A good-sized crowd is gathering.

Lublin ESP

Press duties for IATEFL Poland’s President, Sławomir Nowikowski, and ESP Co-ordinator, Joanna Rączkiewicz,
as they are interviewed by Radio Lublin.

Lublin ESP

"A full house" – how many men can you spot?

Lublin ESP

A brave lady on the front row asks a question, but to whom?

Lublin ESP

Martin Beck (seated) and Geoff Tranter (standing), representing our sponsors, Mondiale,
give a joint presentation on: ‘What is ESP’?

Lublin ESP

A panel of experts answer questions at the conference... (from left to right): Geoff Tranter, Joanna Rączkiewicz,
the Vice-Rector of Student Affairs and Didactics, prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Gołacki,
and IATEFL Poland's redoubtable President, Sławomir Nowikowski.

Lublin ESP

Is the guy in the foreground tweeting Geoff Tranter's latest ESP joke?

Lublin ESP

Same panel, except for Grażyna Roguska, Head of the Foreign Languages Teaching Centre, taking the Vice-Rector's place.

Lublin ESP

Ah! That’s where he is! The Vice-Rector has taken to the podium to deliver some key thoughts.

Lublin ESP

The final word goes to Sławomir Nowikowski, who else?!

2014 was also memorable for the return ‘to the IATEFL fold’ of Ania Kolbuszewska, who wanted to be the Regional Co-ordinator for Poznań, and has certainly had a major impact already in the area. Below, you can read her report about Poznan’s activities, including a joint venture with Wrocław region, involving a mini-tour by the renowned Tessa Woodward.

Poznań Region

Poznan region is closing a very fruitful year with an event hosted by Szkoła Językowa UAM. A notable moment in the year came at the end of November, when around 40 participants took part in two seminars run by Andrzej Stęsik, a Business English trainer and member of IATEFL World’s BESIG Committee. Andrzej’s first presentation focused around the way to approach lexis in teaching English, and his second seminar was devoted to helping teachers develop their presentation skills.

His sessions were well-received – the feedback during and after the event was very positive, and so Andrzej will definitely be invited again to present at future regional events in Poznan.

Jointly-organised Tour with Wrocław Region

Tessa Woodward

Tessa Woodward finally managed to come to Poland for a mini-tour in 2014, which was a long-awaited event! She did not disappoint either, running two highly motivating practical workshops: ‘Thinking in the EFL Class’, which took place in Wrocław and Poznan on the 15th and 16th of March. Attracting approximately 180 teachers from the Wrocław and Poznań regions, as well as other parts of Poland, including cities as far away as Warsaw and Opole, Tessa fully engaged her audiences in tasks designed to encourage flexibility, fun, and creativity in teacher and student thinking. Tessa’s recently-published book: ‘Thinking in the EFL Class’ (Helbling Languages), was the main source for the workshop activities.

Informal feedback gathered immediately after the workshops, showed how much Tessa’s presentations were appreciated by teachers with different levels of experience from different educational sectors, who all stressed how practical and usable all the activities presented were for a wide range of class types and learner ages.

Participants at the events could buy, not only Tessa’s books, but also other books published by Helbling Languages at attractive prices, thanks to a book exhibition and sale organised by EGIS Publishing.

Helbling Languages co-financed Tessa’s mini-tour and workshops in Poland, and we greatly appreciate their generosity and help in enabling such a memorable event to take place.

Tessa’s visit to Poland was jointly organised by Wrocław and Poznan regions... and was the ‘brainchild’ of the Wrocław Regional Co-ordinator, Joanna Leszkiewicz.





2015: Ambitious Plans for Poznań

Rita Baker, a well-known trainer and coach, author of ‘Brain Power’ and a founder member of the Radical English group (http://radicalenglish.weebly.com), is in my plans to talk about her unique Global approach to teaching and learning English. She has already provisionally agreed to come to Poland in the spring of 2015 – we now need to agree on specific dates for her IATEFL Poland visit.

I am hoping to establish contacts with other members of the Radical English group through Rita, and invite them to share their ideas for radically transforming the teaching of languages to make the process more effective.

I would also like to develop closer ties with IATEFL BESIG and invite some big Business English names to present for our Poznań audiences. If you would like to contact me regarding any ideas, speakers, areas to tackle, etc, feel free to contact me at: ania.kolbuszewska@iatefl.org.pl

Ania Kolbuszewska
Regional Co-ordinator – Poznań Region

Wrocław Region and Teacher-Training SIG

2014 witnessed three IATEFL Poland workshops run by the Wrocław region, and in co-operation with the Teacher-Training SIG. The first one was the Tessa Woodward visit reported above.

In June, Melanie Ellis had a workshop: ‘Towards more effective learning and teaching: assessment for learning (AFL) in practice in the language classroom’. More than 50 teachers attended the workshop, which was devoted to an ongoing process of assessing learners during the whole semester. Participants learned the key aspects of this approach and could try them out in practice on the coursebooks and materials they use with their students.

The last meeting of the year took place in November and was based upon the country, Scotland. The workshop focused on Scottish history, traditions, and Celtic heritage. The Scottish Independence Referendum at the end of September was the trigger behind the theme. Michaela Cankova from Prague ran the workshop which was attended by approximately 40 teachers. They could not only learn about difficult relations between Scotland and its mighty neighbour, but also got involved in a series of practical activities, trying out a number of approaches in teaching and materials which can be used in the classroom.

Plans for 2015 include the following:

  • A meeting based on Celtic heritage (music, dances, etc)
  • A workshop concerned with voice projection

Plus other topics, but not 100% definite just yet.

Joanna Leszkiewicz
Wrocław Regional Co-ordinator
Agnieszka Mirowska
Teacher-Training SIG Co-ordinator

Łódź Region

For a few years, I have been trying to invite teachers, both as audiences and presenters, who work in Łódż and its surrounding region, but have encountered a recurring problem. I came to realise, slowly but surely, that what we need is more than just methodological support, but help from professionals, who can tell us more about the problem areas we know from the handbooks. I tried, therefore, to combine these two sets of needs in the latest series of Łódz region workshops, by inviting as presenters, HR professionals, as well as ESP academic teachers.

The 2014 workshops

1. "Technically Speaking": Izabela Świerad (Language Centre, Łódź University of Technology)

English for Technical Purposes courses are in high demand, nowadays. This is no mean feat for language teachers, because we sometimes feel they are far beyond our scope. However, we need to face up to the challenge and make the most of our knowledge and survival instincts.

The workshop was aimed at presenting one teacher’s experiences with teaching English for Technical Purposes to students of various specialisations (ranging from applied mathematics to biotechnology), along with providing some practical activities.

A multi-media session, it used materials and films available on the Internet, useful for teaching technical language of any character. The presenter gave the audience links to varied internet resources aimed at B1-B2 level students, and discussed ways of applying them, practically.

2. "Applying for a job – practical tips": Krystyna Napieraj-Gadawska, MBA, HR practitioner

A notable success! This workshop attracted everybody’s attention. The presenter made a profile of Y generation on the job market and guided the audience through the recruitment process – CV, cover letter, and job interview - using her experience as an HR executive, to advise on what to teach (and not teach) students entering the job market. The presenter extended her workshop by 45 minutes, and even after that time span ended, the participants still discussed the issues and asked questions, which took up another 50 minutes! The workshop was conducted in English – another major advantage.

Krystyna Krzemińska
Regional Co-ordinator - Łódź Region

Radom Region

The Radom Regional group has been organising mini-Conferences for the last few years, usually in the spring, and under the banner: "Culture Lane". 2014 was no exception, and "Culture Lane 3" was very successful, providing a range of workshops to more than satisfy the participants. Here is the summary "visual style" of the event in 2014:

Culture and Language Lane Conference, Radom, the 12th of April, 2014

Radom Culture Lane 1

In this year's sessions we focused on:

  • Cultural experiences and cultural identity
  • Activities to practice pronunciation, spelling and grammar
  • Voice projection
  • Professional burn-out

There was also a drama workshop with a Bollywood dance lesson and a prize draw.

Here is a visual guide to our sessions attended by 22 people, including teachers from Ireland, Mexico and Turkey.

Radom Culture Lane 2

Peter Whiley talked about entrance tests for prospective immigrants and we wondered if "upping the stakes" and making language demands on the newcomers are morally justifiable? The workshop examined this "welcoming aspect" to immigration, and explored the experiences and problems confronted by Polish migrants to the UK in 2005. There were some testing questions, two enthusiastically competing teams, and lots of humour.

Radom Culture Lane 3

Marlena Apanowicz's workshop on kinesthetic activities to get students to speak, learn pronunciation, and produce accurate spellings and grammar was lively and energetic with plenty of activities which you just could not do sitting down: and the next session kept us going too, with Małgorzata Gumińska showing us how to look after our precious voice. At the end of the session, we sang together and we were a pleasure to listen to – seriously!

Radom Culture Lane 4

Małgorzata Zdybiewska took us down the "culture lane" again, exploring the activities which can help our students understand the surrounding world and construct their own cultural identity.

Radom Culture Lane 5

The final session was devoted to a "darker" aspect of our profession – teacher burnout. We learnt how to identify factors most likely to lead to it and discussed if there is any institutional support which teachers can get. We ended though on a more optimistic note, by taking part in a drama workshop based on an Indian myth, and dancing away to music straight from Bollywood films.

Radom Culture Lane 6

Magda Zawadzka
Regional Co-ordinator - Radom Region

Kraków Region and Teacher Development SIG

Report regarding the activities of IATEFL Kraków Region
and the Teacher Development SIG in 2014

In 2014, IATEFL Kraków Region and Teacher Development SIG started their joint activities with two workshops conducted by Patricia Callan, an American based in Stuttgart, Germany, an active member of IATEFL BESIG, and an enthusiastic Business English teacher.

Her first workshop, titled: ‘Activities for learning vocabulary and expressions useful in a business environment’ was organised in co-operation with Uniwersyteckie Centrum Nauki Języków Obcych Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego (Foreign Languages Centre of the University of Rzeszow) and took place on the 14th of January, 2014, at the University’s premises at Zalesie campus in Rzeszów. The ninety-minute workshop attracted about 25 academic teachers of English. The feedback was very positive.

The other workshop titled: ‘Activities for learning vocabulary and expressions useful in everyday communication’ was organised in co-operation with Gama-Bell College in Kraków, and took place at the College's premises on the 18th of January, 2014. The ninety-minute workshop attracted about 20 teachers of English, including some native speakers. At the end of the session, some of the participants presented their own favourite activities for learning vocabulary and everybody was eager to exchange opinions and share their best practices.

On the 11th October, 2014, IATEFL Kraków Region, in co-operation with the British Council, organised a workshop on IELTS examinations titled: ‘IELTS – opening doors and creating opportunities for students worldwide’, conducted by Marcin Piechota.

This 90-minute workshop provided 25 attendees with updated detailed information on IELTS – a reliable test of real life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation. It also demonstrated a selection of exam tasks and assessment criteria.

In November, 2014, IATEFL Kraków Region and the Teacher Development SIG invited Geoff Tranter to come to Poland with his workshop on: ‘Using Humour in the Language Classroom’. Geoff has been working in further and adult education, both in Britain and in Germany, for many years, whilst humour, especially humour as a learning tool in the classroom, has been a hobby of his throughout his professional life.

On the 28th of November, 2014, he ran a workshop in Rzeszów, organised in co-operation with the University of Rzeszów, and the following day, he ran a workshop in Kraków, organised in co-operation with Gama-Bell College. Altogether, there were about 80 people present. They all agreed that humour creates a good, positive and motivating atmosphere in the classroom. According to Geoff, though, humour can also be used to promote learning – for example, to support vocabulary acquisition, and can certainly help with grammar practice. It can also be useful for intercultural work and for promoting a more creative approach to language learning, whilst helping learners to develop language awareness. The participants looked at a number of sample exercises that could be used at all levels, and in all teaching situations, – and just as important – we all had lots of fun!

Maria Cyrankowska
IATEFL Kraków Region Representative,
IATEFL Teacher Development SIG Co-ordinator

Szczecin Region

Szczecin Region organised an annual event on March the 15th, 2014, in association with the Collegium Balticum, which provided the venue. It was the Szczecin Region’s second event, and the number of participants increased considerably – about 60, compared to 20 in 2013.

The first presenter, Geoff Tranter, is popular indeed, and well-liked by teachers. His presentation on humour naturally evoked warm applause. One could also observe teachers furiously scribbling notes on how to use humour in their everyday work with students.

The second speaker was Sławomir Nowikowski, IATEFL Poland’s President, who talked about the Association and encouraged participants to join it. Everybody present received advertising materials (notebooks, calendars, etc) – all related to IATEFL Poland’s Conference in Lublin.

Andrzej Obstawski
Regional Co-ordinator - Szczecin Region

Silesian Region

The Fiftieth IATEFL Silesian Region Meeting

On the 22nd of March, 2014, at the Foreign Languages School ‘LOGMAR’ in Rybnik, a one-day language training session was held for teachers of English, organised by IATEFL Poland. The meeting was led by Michaela Čaňková from Prague - a teacher, teacher-trainer, and writer specialising in Cultural Studies and Literature Methodology for secondary school teachers and students. The main topic behind the training was: ‘Language and Culture in one bag’, and the main goal was to find the possibilities of linking the two - language and culture - in an attractive light. The event was mainly addressed at IATEFL members, but some external teachers were also present.

Silesian Region Meeting

The meeting commenced at 10 a.m. and lasted till 3:30 p.m. At the very beginning, a member of staff from the Logmar School welcomed us kindly, and with smiles on our faces, we firstly tried to get to know each other, as some of us had never met before. We then conducted a short discussion and we tried to find the answer to the question: ‘What is culture in actual fact, and what are our associations with it?’ Following this, in small groups, we worked with the iceberg model of culture, referring to our experiences at the same time. Everyone was so active and plenty of interesting ideas were mentioned. Next, Michaela introduced the topic of Easter. She compared culture with religion and showed us some games and activities for our students, that were, of course, connected with the upcoming festive time.

Silesian Region Meeting

At 12, there was a break. Tea and coffee were served for us. The organisers ordered some pizza, and we spent some time having lunch together, talking, and laughing. After half an hour, the meeting continued and we touched upon various and important issues. Michaela demonstrated further creative activities, and we shared ideas on how to teach foreign language learners about animals and what kind of materials are the best to use. Our guest speaker presented some English songs that can be used during lessons; and we saw short movies as well. It was very noticeable that everyone was so excited about the meeting and every person was trying to be active.

Silesian Region Meeting

Next, came literary texts and the poems of well-known and great authors connected with the English culture, whilst we were reminded of the most popular fairy-tales in the world. We had to analyse and interpret them, and it was such a great experience to work in a way that our pupils will be required to do. Furthermore, we learnt some new techniques of working with texts, and Michaela reminded us of some relevant, but sometimes forgotten literary terms. Finally, we talked about Scottish culture and we exchanged ideas on how to work with biographies, and what kind of methods to use in the teaching process.

Silesian Region Meeting

The whole day in Rybnik was perfectly organised. There were so many great activities, a big amount of new teaching ideas, and no time for boredom. Everyone was so pleasant and helpful to each other, ensuring a warm, receptive atmosphere, and indeed, we spent a lot of time trying to learn from each other by sharing trusted methods and ideas.

I would like to say thank you to everyone, especially to those people who were engaged in the whole process of the event’s organisation, and, of course, to Michaela, who found the time to join us, and to prepare a perfect meeting for us.

One of the participants,
Aleksandra Laszczak


So, folks, as you can see, 2014 was a memorable year for IATEFL, with Regions and SIGs active and vibrant. The only event for which I have little information, was held by Rzeszów Region, in conjunction with the Business English and Teacher Development SIGs at the Universytet Rzeszówski, in September, 2014. It was a meeting devoted to 'Fostering students' self-esteem'.

I hope this review has opened your eyes to what goes on around the country in the name of IATEFL Poland, and makes you keen to be involved in the organisation of such events, or even, as speakers. If you look at the list of SIGs and Regions on our main website, you will see what vacancies still exist for co-ordinators. You are welcome to apply to become one. If interested, please contact our Regions and SIGs Liaison Office, Joanna Leszkiewicz, at: joanna.leszkiewicz@pwr.wroc.pl - she will be happy to answer your queries/discuss any vacant positions with you.

Stand by for the next e-bulletin which will bring you some updated news about this year's Kraków Conference, and let you know what our International Liasion Officer, Marta Bujakowska, has been doing on her travels. Meanwhile, within the next couple of months, the Post-Conference Newsletter will be on its way to your home address. So, keep in touch, and please use the main website for the latest news.

All the best for a prosperous and fruitful New Year,

Peter Whiley
Newsletter Editor

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