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

Wroclaw Region and the TT SIG Event: Changes in the English language with Mark Andrews

by Anna Gałucka
Categories: Teacher Training SIG.

On November 20th, 2016, the Wroclaw Region and the Teacher Training SIG jointly organized a 5-hour event entitled Changes in the English language, challenging stereotypes and Brexit (a live lesson with 10 students of Wroclaw University of Technology followed by a 4-hour workshop). The Speaker was Mark Andrews, the Training Director at SOL (Sharing One Language) in Devon UK, who is famous for teaching live lessons at IATEFL-Poland conferences. The 61 participants had an opportunity to gain insight into how changes in the English language may affect the choice of materials and teaching methods. The workshop also focused on developing critical media skills in the face of recent events like Brexit or the presidential election in the USA. A mind-broadening comparative intercultural approach, demonstrated during the event, offered a possibility to overcome stereotypical images of cultures and develop empathy and kindness in students, who may thus appreciate both their own and other cultures.

Joanna Leszkiewicz and Agnieszka Mirowska


Mark started his session with a demonstrational lesson during which he focused on the necessity for some kind of international language so that different nations can communicate more easily. He referred to Ludwik Zamenhof and his Esperanto language, the language that Zamenhof hoped would become that common platform for communication between nations.

Mark also pointed out current changes to the English language being the result of the current politics and how the media shape the language under the influence of such events as the Brexit referendum, the general election in the USA and of people’s attitudes to those events. The importance of that connection between political culture and the language is reflected in the term „post-truth” being named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. Mark then went on to give a lot more examples of such newly formed expressions, illustrating them with newspaper headlines and notices.

The session struck a cord with my sentiments. What seems very important to me in Mark’s session is his message that by teaching a language we teach about foreign cultures, we have a chance to stress their interesting features rather than oddity, foreigness and extraeousness. We can arouse student’s positive curiosity which certainly helps contacts between cultures. Teaching a foreign language is an opportunity to promote communication with people of other cultures which is the only way to come out of our national and ethnic circles and to open up to diversity, foreign culture, customs and ways of thinking.

Agnieszka Pęcikiewicz

I really liked the workshop with its practical, inspiring ideas how to make my students talk on contemporary political and cultural issues. As a secondary school teacher I feel I'm expected to concentrate on teaching for matura exam but Mark Andrews reminded me that it's worth investing some of lesson time in discussing current issues. We, teachers of English, can or at least can try to make a difference and teach young people kindness and respect to other nationalities. The part of the workshop on the changes in grammar was really valuable - I do appreciate the possibility to listen to the interviews with the famous scholars.

Małgorzata Wiszowska

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