International Association of Teachers of English
as a Foreign Language IATEFL Poland

4th International IATEFL Poland ESP SIG Symposium REPORT

by Anna Gałucka
Categories: English for Specific Purposes SIG.

ESP SIG Conferences traditionally take place in Lublin in mid-January.

The 4th International IATEFL Poland ESP SIG Symposium organized by IATEFL Poland ESP SIG was held at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin on 13th -14th January, 2017.

English for Specific Purposes is becoming more and more diversified in order to meet specific language needs in professional and academic contexts, and in view of the workplace-oriented nature of ESP, there needs to be great emphasis on practical teaching approaches. That was the background to the 4th IATEFL Poland ESP SIG Symposium, which had as its motto: “Practical Training Strategies in the ESP Classroom”.

The first three IATEFL Poland ESP SIG conferences held in 2014, 2015 and 2016 gave practitioners the opportunity to present best-practice examples of their teaching, and proved to be a successful forum for spreading innovative ideas on materials, methods and media as well as creating networks. The aim of the 2017 conference was to take this approach a step further and concentrate on effective strategies for classroom work.

The Conference was opened by Professor Halina Buczkowska, Vice Rector for Student Affairs and Education at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin. The opening speeches were delivered by Andrzej Obstawski, Vice President of IATEFL Poland and Joanna Rączkiewicz, Head of the English-Latin Unit, University of Life Sciences in Lublin and ESP SIG Co-ordinator.

The Symposium lasted two days and 25 presenters from Poland and abroad (Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey, Egypt ) gave talks at the Symposium.

The Symposium began with a PCE run by Geoff Tranter from Technical University, Dortmund, who presented ‘A Practical Approach to Preparing Your Next ESP Course’.
Successful preparation of such a course is a challenge, both in terms of content and in terms of methods. The aim of this practical workshop was to give practical advice as to how teachers should approach such a task.

During the Opening Keynote Speech entitled ‘Five Misconceptions Teachers Have about Teaching ESP’, Geoff Tranter addressed the teachers who are wary of taking on ESP courses in the belief that it would involve far more preparation than standard general English courses. Nothing more misleading.

On Saturday morning Professor David Little, Trinity College, Dublin in his Plenary Session on ‘Writing for ESP Proficiency’, gave an online presentation straight from his study in Dublin, in which he combined insights from literacy research with practical examples taken from primary, post-primary and adult classrooms to argue that continuous writing tasks are an obvious way of achieving high levels of ESP proficiency. 

The Conference was attended by over 100 teachers from Poland and abroad whose knowledge, experience and passion for teaching were shared during 24 sessions. Thanks to the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, our main sponsor, and a well-equipped conference room the Symposium was able to be streamed.

As in previous years, Joanna Rączkiewicz was invited to the Lublin TV studio and Radio Lublin, which created a fabulous opportunity to familiarize viewers with the aims, mission and role of IATEFL Poland in ‘linking, developing and supporting’ English teachers in Poland.

During the coffee/tea breaks, all our guests were able to exchange ideas about teaching ESP or planning their future professional lives, whilst at the same time enjoying drinks and snacks. On Friday evening, everybody had the opportunity to enjoy an atmospheric concert of Jadwiga Malinowska and Piotr Kiliański.

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

Joanna Rączkiewicz, ESP SIG Co-ordinator,
Sławomir Nowikowski, Lublin Region Representative
Geoff Tranter, Committee Member

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