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Teaching inspiration from IATEFL Liverpool April 2019

John Pill from Lancaster University presented the question ‘What does authenticity in assessment mean?’ to the 30 attendees. Soon we were engaged in a lively discussion concerning this topic. What do you want to test: language or the ability to discuss? Should writing be more focused on social context i.e. writing for someone else to read it? Could reading be integrated in all testing instead of it being marked as a separate skill?

http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/people/john-pill(884fb0da-ea3f-480e-8762-488329c74245).html

 

Sian Morgan and Andrew Kitney representing Cambridge English showed the importance of involving real world situations in testing and assessing and set the attendees to work by letting us create authentic writing tasks in smaller groups.

https://tea.iatefl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/PCE_2019_Flyer150219.pdf

 

Dana Gablasova also from Lancaster University surprised me with incorporating a computer-aided approach to language testing. Copora is a computer analysis of language which processes a large amount of language, annotates grammatical structures and identifies patterns in language. These databases can be extremely useful in constructing tests or as examples of genres. A truly eye-opening experience so see this huge collection of gathered language and in which ways corpus can be useful for TEFL teachers. I recommend you check this out!

http://lancaster.academia.edu/DanaGablasova

http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/

https://www.trinitycollege.com/site/?id=3329

 

Bachman and Palmer presented test usefulness in validity, impact, reliability, practicality and authenticity. To use your colleagues as resource experts is in my opinion a sound way to develop tests. We discussed how you can find a good balance between authentic testing and the practicality of it. Which components are needed to measure direct skills? How could integrated testing of productive skills take place? One by one valid questions especially in the light of current new ideas on testing and evaluating. New ideas are popping up around the globe which I believe to be a very good development but not a very easy job to tackle. The current systems of testing and evaluating are well rooted in society!

 

https://mylumberroom.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/bachman-palmer-2010-language-assessment-in-practice-part-1/

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Teaching Inspiration at NCE

by Andrea Lutz, secretary SBE

It was quite a long and early journey coming all the way from Breda but I was pleasantly surprised to recognise the conference location, hotel the Reehorst in Ede. I have fond memories of the time I was there together with all the ambassadors of the Education Cooperation(OC); putting up a fight to strengthen the position of teachers. Anyway, enough about that. I received a warm welcome from the staff and proceeded to the lower floor to find the publisher’s market and of course Myrna and two other board members of the English section of Levende Talen: Marlise and Daniel, who I joined to man our own stand.

Shortly after the visitors were asked to proceed to the main hall. I truly enjoyed the vibrant young Zarka Kreusova who managed to step in for the original guest speaker Silvana Richardson who was unfortunaly hindered. She made it clear for all present that teachers have different learning needs just as learners do.

Zarka presented a few publishers who have developed personalised learning tools. I was particularly intrigued by the self-assessment tool of the British Council which leads you to tailor made teacher development courses. More about this subject in the article of Amy Klipp.

There was no time to linger because a skype connection was realised with the winner of the Herman Wekker Prize for Best reporter: Melle Karschagen. He currently resides in London and is obviously neck deep into the whole Brexit debacle. His mother in law was there to receive the price and he felt honoured to receive this prestigious award. To read the full report please see: https://nationaalcongresengels.nl/melle-garschagen-wins-herman-wekker-prize/

During a pleasant coffee/tea break, where lots of lovely nibbles were provided, members of LT  and other interested teacher were encouraged to discuss reaching matters. All our visiting members received a proper British decorated 16GB USB-stick with some content of interest as a token of appreciation for supporting our organisation.

Soon it was time to find our allocated rooms to our workshop/lecture of choice. My scheduled speaker didn’t turn up so I joined another workshop which turned out to be a jewel. Geoff Tranter shared with us an eye-opening approach to teaching language. He explained how he guided his group of engineers through their own learning needs by letting them make a choice which subject they wanted to know something about. Then asking them what they already knew about it and what they would like to find out about the topic. He then offered a variety of texts(reading/listening/watching) to let learners find the answers to their questions and in this manner establish personalised sub-tasks. To use learner’s assignment texts as basis for language work and be transparent about the purpose of what and why they were taking these steps guaranteed an effective language course.

Find out more: https://www.fremdsprachenzentrum-bremen.de/2243.0.html

 

During the lunch break I interacted with several publishers and organisations present at the exhibition and talked to potential- and existing members of how we could realise a working learning community through the English department of Levende Talen.

If you have any ideas, please mail me: secretaries.engels@levendetalen.nl

 

In the sub-plenary I joined Jasmine Bloemert’s workshop. Through several interactive assignments she pointed out that there are different approaches to getting students interested in reading. This topic was directed at secondary school students and therefor had less relevance for me since I work in vocational education.

Want to know more? https://www.rug.nl/staff/j.bloemert/research

 

The last workshop was presented by Kirsten Waechter who put us straight to work by letting us partake in several fun activities which encourage learners of lower levels to speak more freely. Giving these learners a change to get positive feedback on their speaking activities and so create motivation is directly useful for my own students; in my classes there is a wide variety of proficiency and creating confidence in speaking can be especially challenging.

Discover more:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirstenwaechter73823563/?originalSubdomain=de

 

 

To finish this most enjoyable day the guests were asked to join in a discussion with the plenary speakers Zarka Kreusova, Jasmine Bloemert and Alex Warren about how we see our own learning pathways after all the inspirations of the day.

 

Personally I would recommend NCE to all TEFL teachers and teacher educators!! See you in 2021!

https://nationaalcongresengels.nl/