ACE TEFL and The Study Rooms Teacher Development weekend: Focus on Language Skills

ACE TEFL and The Study Rooms bring you a teacher development weekend on March 20th-21st, with a workshop on each of the four skills. All workshops will be led by Alexander Makarios and George Vassilakis. You can choose to take part in one or more of these workshops, which will be held online.

The fee for each workshop is 20 Euro. Discounts are available for those who choose to participate in all four workshops and for groups of teachers from the same school. To register, please fill in the form here.

Workshop 1: Focus on Writing – Saturday 20 March at 2 pm EET

How do I give feedback on students’ writing? Do I correct their mistakes for them? Do I let them correct one another’s mistakes? How many mistakes should I highlight? Do I wait for them to finish their writing first? How do I give positive feedback?

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.

Workshop 2: Focus on Listening – Saturday 20 March at 4.30 pm EET

Most learners find listening difficult, complaining that the speakers speak too fast, or do not speak clearly, or do not know what they are talking about! Teachers are often at a loss how to help: we replay the recording, pause, replay again, but is there anything else we can do to help learners listen more effectively?

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.

Workshop 3: Focus on Reading – Sunday 21 March at 3.30 pm (EET)

In many schools, a reading lesson typically takes the following form: teacher reads text aloud – students ask questions about “unfamiliar words” – teacher explains words and sets comprehension task – students do comprehension task. The result is, more often than not, that the students are able to answer the questions asked about the text they have thus ‘’analysed” in class, but remain slow and inefficient when it comes to reading new texts on their own.

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.

Workshop 4: Focus on Speaking – Sunday 21 March at 6 pm (EET)

We’ve all taught students who are so afraid of making mistakes that they rarely say more than three or four words when asked to participate in a conversation; or students who memorise useful expressions and sound like books when they talk; or students who seem willing and able to speak, but make so many mistakes they are virtually incomprehensible. 

In this workshop, we will explore ways of developing learners’ fluency by using language practice activities focusing on grammar, lexis and pronunciation in conjunction with communication tasks that ensure learners can use their knowledge of the language systems appropriately when communicating orally. Techniques and activities appropriate for various levels will be demonstrated and special emphasis will be placed on effective management of speaking tasks and activities.