Report from EATE Summer Seminar Language Learning: Learning is a Treasure

Pärnu 23-24 August 2023

The EATE Summer Seminar took place a picturesque town of  Pärnu, situated by the Baltic Sea.  Educators, researchers and experts in English language teaching gathered to explore the latest trends, metodologies and insights in education. The conference theme ‘Learning is a Treasure” encapsulated the perpetual nature of learning. The event featured a diverse range of talks workshops and discussions aimed at enhancing the teacher learning experience in English classrooms.

As I conducted two extended presentation sessions myself I had limited time to attend numerous other presentations. Nevertheless, during the 30 minute-breaks with light refreshments I engaged in several valuable conversations in the lobby.

Allow me to highlight  a few presentations:

Jennifer Uhler – From Deep Fake to Deep Learning: Madia Literacy in ELT

Jennifer Uhler’s presentation illuminated the urgent need to transitionstudents from the realm of deep fakes to deep learning. She emphasized the importance of media literacy, digital literacy and visual literacy as crucial thinking skills that can be effortlessly integrated into English language teaching at the primary and secondary levels. Jennifer introduced a year-long Media Literacy for EducatorsProgram that engaged English teachers from Poland and the Baltics. Attendeees learned about outcomes from this program including user-friendly  tools for incorporating technical and media literacies into English lessons, valueable online resources for educators and insights garnered from regional and local educational communities in Estonia. This session was truly INSIGHTFUL.

Jacek Łagun – Mixability.ed – How to Teach Mixed Ability Groups

Jacek Łagun, whose presentations I had previously missed in Poland, excuded his enthusiasm for teaching. In this workshop Jacek adressed a very common classroom challenge – mixed ability groups. His session offered practical strategies to leverage the natural variations in students’ abilities to create a comfortable learning environment.  Jacek shared personal experiperience and succesful approaches that enable both high-performimg and struggling students to thive. His infectious enthusiasm for sharing valuable insights and actionable ideas prompted teachers to consider immediate implementation in their teaching practices.about sharing his valuable insights and actionalble ideas that teachers immediately wanted to implement them in their teaching practices. This session was a lot of FUN.

Karolin Mäe – Global Education and Global Citizenship Competence

Karolin Mäe’s talk focused on the significance of global education and cultivation of global citizenship competences among students. She disscused how educators can effectively infuse  global perspective into English language teaching, enabling students to develop a broader understanding of the world. Karolin emphesized the role of teachers in fostering cultural awareness, emphaty and cross-cultural communication skills. Attendees participated in an eye-opening community-building activity. This session was REFLECTIVE

Kevin Colleary – Teaching for Democracy in the AL. Age: Knowledge, Evidence & Critical Thinking

Dr Kevin Colleary’s pivotal presentation addressed the timely subject of teaching democracy in the era of artificial intelligence. He underscored the significance of knowledge-based content instruction focused on data, evidence and critical thinking skills. Doctor  Colleary highlighted the role of teachers, regardless of subject, in shaping effective citizenship education programs, particularly in diverse democratic nation-states. Attendees gained insight into the evolving landscape of education in an age marked by technological advancements. He projected a new and critical role for educators. This session was: EMOTIONAL

The EATE Conference 2023 not only showcased the latest developments in English language teaching but also reinforced the indispensable role of educators in shaping the future of education. The presentations underscored the importance of media literacy, differentiated teaching, global citizenship education and critical thinking skills in preparing students for the challenges of the modern world. The conference left participants inspired and equipped with actionable strategies to enrich the teaching practices.

There were about 250 attendees present with over 30 talks open to join.

In one word the Conference was: FRESH

Thank you EATE for providing us with this enriching experience and a valuable and practical gift that each presenter received from the organizers   .

My gratitude also goes to  IATEFL Poland for making it all possible.

Marta Bujakowska, IATEFL Poland representative