The ABC of ELT

IH YL conference round up.

Last weekend I was away at the IH young learners conference. It was a great weekend and I really enjoyed meeting everyone from so many different schools and hearing all their words of advice.

Helping teacher to get Set up (not upset)
A great talk by Diana England looking at both her different approaches to helping students get read for a new term, level or coursebook. Considering my experience of changing different course books it was very interesting to see the experience of a different school. Where as our school seams to do a methodology refresh course, some self discovery (via the handbook) and a joint lesson planning season to compare styles. Where as Diana’s took a much more guided approach where teachers have to answer some general questions about the course and provided a info sheet with past teachers experience of teaching the course.

Getting inspired and then sharing it!
I particularly enjoyed Carroll’s talk on sources of inspirational and how to spread inspiration around. There is even a online concept map with IH YL recommends. It was great to see a teacher of 20 years experiences so enthusiastic about teaching.

Digital Literacies
The various talks on tech were very useful, from considering the importance of teaching digital literacies, to how to set up a wiki space and a whole host of useful websites and apps in between. I already plan to use some of them today with some of my groups! It was also very useful for my next project [helping students to blog] and has given me some further thoughts to chew over in the next few days and weeks.

21st Century Challenges to YL
Wes from BKC Moscow gave a great summary of the various changes in YL teaching and also comparing schools where they had made a dramatic or minor difference. It was interesting to see that in general an approach where new technology or ideas were radically and completely implemented saw massive results.Where as a haphazard let’s give it a go and see what happens lead to less of an impact. [issues discussed; Very YL, YL exams, Interactive White Boards, Computer Labs, and Media integrated text books]

A bookless world [not Dogme!]
Despite the name that did hint at Dogme the present quickly dismissed any link and it became clear that this was not about material light, conversation driven, emergent language teaching [though some of that may have been true]. Instead it looked at a personal experience of teaching a group where the coursebook didn’t last the whole year and the teachers made the decision to use completely self created resources. The end result was higher retention rates, parental approval, continued for the whole of the subsequent year, and parents even commenting that their children learnt more during that period than before.

What’s your USP?
A great sharing session on unique services that different schools offer. Even better each groups discussions were recorded so they should appear on the IH World Organisation website for any IH School to view. The most interesting part for me was the

Music beyond the gap fill
Andy’s talk on music [Beyond the gap fill] had some particularly good resources and ideas for how to use music as discussion prompts, ideas for creative expression through art, analysing phrases and even philosophy within music, and finally predicting what type of music it will be based of a photo of the artists or other prompt.

Dyslexia [check out the page at the top]
Finally there was my presentation. In all honestly my head was so overcast with worries and adrenaline that I made the classic mistakes, started too quickly, forgot points and had to go back to restate them etc. Despite this I received several positive comments afterwards which made me feel much more positive about the whole thing. In fact I was even approached about doing the whole talk again online in an online workshop for IH. After some initial hesitations I agreed. So watch this space for more details.

The social side of the whole weekend was great as well and Prague was certainly a picturesque location to host the event. Despite only getting to walk through the town at night to and from various meals I still managed to take some photos.

The downside has been that I’ve returned to Dnipro with a full blown cold accompanying me. Oh well, back to the daily grind!

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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