Our teacher development workshops, offered in co-operation with The Study Rooms, cover a range of topics. Each workshop lasts 2-3 hours. The following topics will be explored in the workshops we will be offering in 2021. Dates and fees will be announced soon.
- Critical thinking in English Language Teaching
Most teaching professionals will agree upon the importance of encouraging students to think critically. However, when it comes to regularly incorporating critical thinking skills into English Language teaching, and especially at lower levels, most teachers are at a loss. This workshop will look at how to make sure that lesson objectives progress systematically from lower to higher order thinking. It will go on to emphasize the importance of giving students ‘take away’ skills that can be applied outside the classroom and beyond the scope of language learning.
- Feedback: the most effective way of improving learners’ writing
In this workshop, we will demonstrate and evaluate a range of different options for giving feedback on students’ writing, from summative comments to formative feedback during the process of writing. The focus will be on making feedback more specific and more helpful, with a view to helping learners improve their written performance, rather than merely evaluating the outcome. Participants will get the chance to provide feedback on students’ writing at a variety of levels, using a variety of methods, and will get feedback on the feedback they provide!
The workshop is especially useful for teachers of exam classes, from bb1 level and above.
- Helping learners with listening
Recent research into second language listening suggests that effective listening is strategic, i.e. presupposes the implementation of conscious strategies on the part of the learner for planning and processing the listening task. This workshop will focus on the problems learners have with listening and review the types of strategies to be used in dealing with them. Classroom activities focusing on strategic listening will be demonstrated and participants will get the chance to design activities and lessons based on listening material from the coursebooks they are currently using.
- Developing skills for the 21st century
21st Century skills development is often paid lip service to in coursebooks and publishers’ catalogues, but understanding of the nature of these skills and their relationship to language teaching and learning remains limited. This workshop will look at exactly what 21st Century skills are and how they can be incorporated into the ELT classroom. There will be a focus on how teachers can utilise their coursebook materials to encourage students to think critically and develop independent learning skills
- How (not) to teach one-to-one lessons
One-to-one lessons normally differ from group lessons both in terms of the materials to be used and in terms of management and methodology – and yet, a lot of teachers simply do on a one-to-one course exactly the same things that they do in the classroom. In this workshop we will explore the differences between these two teaching contexts and demonstrate techniques that are more appropriate to one-to-one teaching. Participants will get the chance to design one-to-one activities and lessons and evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches to teaching one-to-one.
- Creative exam preparation classes
There is more to exam preparation than just teaching to the test! In this workshop, we will be looking at principles of teaching exam classes using methods that ensure not only that the learners will pass the exam, but that they will keep developing their language skills and have some fun in the process. Techniques will be demonstrated that are suitable for different types of exam prep classes and exam taking skills will be focused on extensively.
- Using grammar for communication
For many teachers, grammar lessons involve mainly the analysis of rules and examples and the completion of endless, tedious written exercises. In this workshop, we will explore ways of presenting and practicing grammar that go beyond the dry recitation of rules and we will demonstrate activities and techniques that can be used to teach grammar in a more creative way, ensuring that learners can use, rather than recite, the rules.
- Integrating language skills in communicative activity sequences
This workshop will outline principles of skills integration (based on realistic and pedagogic skills sequences( and discuss the advantages of integrating skills in the classroom. Examples of different sequences of activities integrating listening, speaking, reading and writing will be demonstrated and participants will get the chance to design their own integrated skills lessons for different levels and types of learners, depending on their own teaching context.
- New uses for traditional techniques
Traditional techniques such as dictation, copying and drilling are often (and, perhaps, rightly) considered outdated. In this workshop we will examine ten such techniques that have been with us for more than a hundred years and explore ways of making them more relevant to students’ needs and more fun. Participants will get the chance to adapt coursebook materials and devise their own activities based on new interpretations of these ancient techniques!
- Effective correction and feedback: respect and sensitivity
This workshop will explore and demonstrate appropriate ways of correcting learners’ oral and written production in different stages of the lesson and different types of lesson. The focus is on making informed decisions about whether, what, when and how to correct as was as on involving learners more actively and effectively in correction and feedback activities.
- How to manage a virtual class
Effective class management is a fundamental set of skills all teacher need; it includes managing teacher talk, managing interaction, setting up and giving feedback on activities, managing time, etc. In this workshop we will review good practices in class management with a focus on applying management skills in the online classroom as effectively as in the physical classroom.
- Assessing learner performance online
In the last few months most teachers, including those who resisted educational uses of ICT before, have had to teach most, if not all, of their classes online. When it comes to assessment, though, the majority of teachers are at a loss how to measure student progress reliably using online tools. In this workshop, we will demonstrate versatile techniques for online assessment and testing and give participants the chance to design their own assessment activities using readily available, free online tools.
- Developing learners’ active vocabulary
Vocabulary is often presented incidentally and practiced sporadically and as a result students may often form some idea of the meaning of new words but are not necessarily able to use them. In this workshop, we will be exploring different ways of presenting, practicing and recycling vocabulary. A variety of techniques will be demonstrated that can help make vocabulary learning fun and participants will get the chance to design vocabulary activities that they can use with different levels of learners.
- Adapting materials to develop intercultural competence in the classroom.
Published materials have changed substantially in an attempt to be more culturally diverse in relation to their content. However, some traditional representations of ‘culture’ through texts, images, questions, etc tend to create a false sense of ‘otherness’ in addition to leading to boring discussions in class. In this workshop, we look at ways in which coursebook activities can be easily adapted not only to help learners practise their skills and produce interesting conversations, but also explore the boundaries of ‘culture’.
- Fostering learner independence
The goal of teaching can be defined as making the teacher redundant, not really in the sense that what can be learnt will be learnt and therefore teachers will not be needed anymore, but rather in the sense that teaching should empower learners to continue learning on their own. This workshop will demonstrate specific techniques and activities that will encourage learners to take responsibility for their own learning so that they continue learning outside the classroom, during and after the course.
- Rapport, discipline and class management
Success in language learning is dependent, among other things, on the quality of the relationship between learners as well as their relationship with the teacher. In this workshop, we will explore issues related to rapport and demonstrate ways of managing a class so that there are no psychological barriers to learning. Participants will analyse a number of teacher and student behaviours and reach conclusions about how to establish and maintain a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning.
- Teaching reading without reading aloud
To help learners develop appropriate reading skills, we need to do away with the belief that teaching reading involves reading texts aloud and/or analysing all the words and structures in the text. In this workshop, we will demonstrate how different reading purposes and different genres of text require different approaches to reading. We will also demonstrate techniques and activities aiming at developing appropriate skills and strategies for effective reading at all levels. Finally, participants will get the chance to design the own reading activities based on texts from their coursebooks.
- Improving learners’ pronunciation
Whereas it would not be realistic, or even desirable, to expect that learners should develop a “native” pronunciation, systematic teaching of pronunciation features does contribute significantly to both speaking and listening. In this workshop, we will outline the main features of a systematic pronunciation teaching programme and demonstrate activities and techniques that integrate pronunciation work with the rest of the syllabus at different levels.
- Communication games and activities online
Online teaching is here to stay even after the Covid-19 pandemic, whether as an alternative or as an additional resource. Whereas most teachers have found ways of using online classrooms to do most of the things they used to do in physical classrooms, some find that it is not as easy to use games and communicative activities online. In this workshop, we will discuss how to adapt a variety of communicative activities for online use and demonstrate a number of games and communicative activities that can more easily be implemented in an online environment.
- Using portfolios and can-do statements creatively
Twenty years after the first implementations of learner portfolios as part of the CEFR project, portfolios are becoming quite common not only as an assessment technique but also as a learning tool. In this workshop, we will discuss the nature of portfolios and their role in learning and assessment and we will demonstrate ways of using portfolios creatively at different levels, with a view to encouraging learners to take responsibility for their own learning.