IH Barcelona ELT Conference 2008

2008 English Language Teaching Conference for teachers of English to Adults, Children & Business students

Barcelona, February 8 and 9, 2008


Friday afternoon

The use of stories in the classroom

Plenary session
Andrew Wright

Andrew Wright will be contributing a plenary session on Friday and a workshop on Saturday. Both plenary and workshop will focus on the use of stories in the classroom.

Biodata • Andrew Wright is an author, illustrator, teacher trainer and storyteller. As an author he has published many books including, 'Creating Stories with Children', Cambridge University Press, 'Games for Language Learning', Oxford University Press, '1000 Pictures for Teachers to Copy', Longman Pearson. As a teacher trainer he has worked in over 30 countries during the last 30 years, as a storyteller and storymaker he estimates that he has worked with over 50,000 students in the last 15 years.

He loves doing practical things and he loves creating things and loves being close to people and he believes that language teaching allows him to do and be just that.

Philip KerrThe paradox of inter-cultural competence

Philip Kerr

The paradox of inter-cultural competence is that however much we may desire to foster its development in our students, that development will never be complete. That is not to say that it is pointless to incorporate inter-cultural elements into our teaching programmes – quite the opposite! Every stage of the language learning process can be informed by inter-cultural considerations. This talk will explore what inter-cultural competence is (and is not), why it should be a central part of any educational programme and will finally look at a range of simple and straightforward classroom materials and activities that can nudge learners towards the intangible grail of ICC.

Biodata • Philip Kerr worked for many years for the International House organisation as a teacher, teacher trainer and director of studies. After working in Morocco, Spain, Belgium and England, he found himself back in Brussels, where he devotes most of his time to writing educational materials. His most recent publications include the coursebook series Straightforward and Inside Out.

Lynn DurrantMaking teenagers speak – you must be joking!

Lynn Durrant

Getting teenagers to participate in class, stay motivated and confident is not easy. If they are to talk meaningfully in the foreign language classroom they must have something they want to say. They must also have the appropriate support so they feel confident enough to want to participate. The teacher needs to take responsibility for adjusting tasks and topics so that they relate to learner interests and be prepared to limit expectations of what the learners as individuals and as a group can achieve.

This session will look at some task types aimed at creating participation via integration of skills, a clear build up and emphasis on the speaking skill.

Biodata • Lynn Durrant is Head of Primary and Secondary Training at International House and has worked as an Educational Consultant for Cambridge University and is a Celtyl Assessor. She is also a Celta and Celtyl Tutor. She has given seminars and conferences in Europe, Asia and South America as well as various courses at Universities on training for teachers, trainers and Directors of Studies. She has co-written a series for Secondary State School and at the moment she is working on the second book in a series for “Bachillerato” for McGraw Hill Publications.

Saturday 9th February

But what do we mean by grammar?

Plenary session
Michael Lewis

Opinions are sharply divided: learners often ‘like learning languages but hate grammar’ while some teachers believe ‘you can’t speak a language without knowing the grammar’. Over 30 years attitudes to, and even the content of, EFL grammar has changed considerably. I will survey different views and make suggestions – both positive and negative – for current best practice. Be warned: many traditional elements – rules, invented examples, transformations – will come in for severe criticism, while previously unrecognised patterns are prioritised [ .pdf ].

Biodata • Michael Lewis has over 30 years experience in ELT. He has written some 30 books including student materials for both general and business English and several well-known books for teachers including The English Verb, The Lexical Approach, Implementing the Lexical Approach and Teaching Collocation. He has lectured in over 30 countries and given guest lectures in many universities. He is semi-retired and now attends more lectures than he gives, although continues to study language and makes occasionally appearances to talk about his recent work but now has more time to devote to his other interests – cricket, opera (he wishes he had been a Verdi baritone) and the history of ideas.

Scott ThornburyWhat do language teachers need to know about second language acquisition?

Plenary session
Scott Thornbury

And, does knowledge about second language acquisition (SLA) improve teachers' day-to-day teaching? I'll address these questions, by first presenting a potted history of SLA, including some of its more recent (and I think more interesting) developments; by reflecting on my own professional trajectory as a theory "fashion victim"; and then by attempting to explain how theory and practice might (or might not) interrelate.

Biodata • Scott Thornbury used to direct the DELTA program at IH Barcelona and now teaches on an on-line MA in TESOL for the New School Unviersity, New York. He is the co-author of 'The CELTA Course' (CUP) and series editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Teachers.

CLIL for teens and adults

Fiona Mulcahy

CLIL and CBL has emerged as a popular and integral part of EFL teaching today. The primary classroom is now incorporating new content into the lessons. But how can we include adults and teens? Can we teach them History or Social science?

From my experience teaching CBL to young learners, the students found the lessons enjoyable, different and interesting. Therefore from this feedback I have developed several lessons to teach teens and adults. These lessons were a success therefore in this session I will be demonstrating how content based learning can be introduced to any age group. I will demonstrate and explain the various stages in the lesson and use video clips of students taking part in a variety of activities which lead to a final project.

This is a session which will inspire teachers to try something different and have fun with new topics.

Biodata • Fiona Mulcahy has been teaching EFL for nearly seven years. She is currently working as assistant director of studies at St. James' in Mairena, Seville and has been working in the school over the past four . She has also taught in Ireland, The UK and Germany. She has a DELTA and CTYL (Cambridge Certificate in Teaching Young Learners) and has published in htlmag.co.uk.

Rules and Examples – how do learners acquire grammar?

Michael Lewis

I shall give a (I think totally general) rule of English grammar, and defy participants to make any sense of it. I shall then discuss a few traditional EFL 'rules' from the perspective of the almost complete uselessness to learners of such 'rules' and, worse, the intimidating effects they have on many learners. I shall then argue that it is natural examples – and lots of them – which are most likely to ensure acquisition. En passant, I will pillory invented examples, whether produced spontaneously (and therefore with a good excuse!) by teachers, in textbooks, where there is no excuse, and, worst, in published grammars and grammar practice books, where the practice is deplorable. I shall draw on, and comment very favourably on, John Sinclair’s recent collection of papers Trust the Text and Michael Hoey's Lexical Priming: A New Theory of Words and Language.

CLIL for young learners

Borja Uruñuela

In this session we will look at how to teach English through Science and other subjects in an effective, participative and enjoyable way. We will explore a wide variety of practical activities and we will also consider some important aspects of CLIL such as aims and requirements to learn the target language through content. This session is aimed at CLIL teachers who want to take a step into further oral practice and language teachers who want to introduce content into their lessons.

Biodata • Borja Uruñuela is the director of studies at St. James (Seville). The last few years he has been involved in bilingual projects and has developed and implemented a content and language programme at St. James. He is a teacher trainer and he is also the author of the Busy Bugs Bank 3, 4, 5 & 6 published by Macmillan ELT.

Grammar drawings

Jamie Keddie

In this workshop, which will be useful for teachers of all levels and ages, we will see some original grammar-based activities which exploit a fantastic piece of classroom technology – the pencil.

Biodata • Jamie Keddie is a Barcelona-based teacher. He has just completed a resource book for Oxford University Press on the use of image in language learning and teaching which is to be published in late 2008. He writes for OneStopEnglish and has also had articles published in Modern English Teacher, The Guardian, English Teaching Professional, IATEFL Voices and Humanising Language Teaching, as well as writing a blog.

The use of stories in the classroom

Andrew Wright

>> Making stories [.pdf]
>> Creating stories [.pdf]
>> Responding to stories [.pdf]

Alistair JonesLearn Through Play (8-11 years)

Alistair Jones

Children learn by playing and doing. Short practice activities help children learn language points and provide an excellent source of motivation. This practical talk includes a demonstration of over thirty tried and tested language practice games.

Biodata • Alistair Jones is the Centre Director of Cambridge School, Granollers where he worked as Head of Young Learners from 1998 to 2004, with a range of responsibilities including YL academic policy, course development, teacher training, school-wide discipline and behaviour management. He is a regular speaker at teacher training conferences and is the co-author of IH Net Languages YL courses, English 4 Kids, English 4 Teens, and also of Clever Kids, a CD-ROM published by OUP.

A student-centred learning approach to Academic English

Pete Redpath

What is meant by a student-centred learning approach to Academic English? What are its benefits? We will examine two sets of Academic English materials, Skills in English and English for Specific Academic Purposes, which adopt this approach, pin-pointing the ways in which they are student-centred. Practical examples from these materials will illustrate how Academic English skills can be developed through a student-centred approach.

Biodata • Peter Redpath has been working in ELT for many years. He is a teacher, teacher trainer and an author. He has taught adults, children and trained teachers and teacher trainers in the U.K., Spain, Austria, Germany, Australia, India, Vietnam, Qatar, Libya and the UAE. He lives in Santiago de Compostela. As a freelance teacher trainer he does a lot of travelling.

Roger HuntCommunication in the classroom

Roger Hunt

Communication in the classroom: "The imparting or exchange of information, ideas or feelings" – or is it? Communication has been going on in classrooms for decades now – or has it? For example, do we teach grammar via communication or because grammar is there and needs to be taught regardless of communicative needs. And how do listening and reading comprehension questions facilitate communication? After all these are things that students do in examinations. In this talk we will be adding to the more traditional syllabus in an attempt to bring it into line with communicative realities [ .pps ]..

Biodata • Roger Hunt is Director of Education at International House Barcelona.

Gerard McLoughlinThumbs up in Brazil

Gerard McLoughlin

Language and body language: is it OK or a no-no? Come to this workshop and find out. We'll look at ways to learn about the world while at the same time about language in context.

Biodata • Gerard has been a teacher and teacher trainer for over 16 years in a variety of teaching contexts. He is based in Barcelona, where he is a teacher trainer for International House. He is the author of iTalk, a coursebook for Bachillerato students, and has collaborated on the teacher component of Platform (an adult level course book).

Mark OrmerodDefine it! Compensation Strategy 1

Mark Ormerod

When speaking, good communicators do not allow any holes in their linguistic knowledge to hold up the conversation. Instead they employ compensation strategies to get their message across, miming and/or defining the words they don’t know how to say. In this practical session, we demonstrate a carefully staged sequence of activities that can greatly help learners (from beginners to advanced) develop their defining skills and thereby improve their fluency. These activities have had a positive repercussion on the amount of English my students speak in class. They have also provided us with meaningful and memorable language input and revision games, as well as offering some ideal solutions for keeping fast finishers usefully occupied.

This session is designed for teachers of teenagers and adults.

Biodata • Mark has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and EFL materials writer since 1989. He currently teaches at International House, Barcelona. He is the author of the holiday workbook series, Holiday Time (Macmillan ELT) and co-author of the new six-level primary course, Find Out! (Macmillan ELT).

Mark OrmerodMime it! Compensation Strategy 2

Mark Ormerod

Good communicators, of all ages, invariably make good use of facial expression and body language to clarify and reinforce their meaning. In this session, we look at why, when and how teachers might integrate mime activities into lessons. We shall demonstrate a selection of non-threatening activities which are not only suitable for the kinaesthetic learning style of very young pupils, but also for improving the communicative competence and confidence of reluctant, moody teenagers!

This session is intended for teachers of learners aged 8 to 18.

Vicki AndersonThe listening skill: testing or improving?

Vicki Anderson

Understanding others is an essential part of communication, so we teachers are all aware of the importance of practising the listening skill in class. However, most students don't seem to share our enthiusiasm - I know I hated "listening" in my Spanish class and never heard anything! Perhaps this has something to do with the way use CDs and comprehension tasks, effectively turning listening into a test for students (though with the best of intentions..). But we don't need to. This workshop will look at practical and easily applicable ways to help students overcome their negativity about listening in class and improve their ability to understand natural spoken texts [ .pdf ].

Biodata • Vicki Anderson has been an EFL teacher for nearly 25 years. She still teaches regularly as well as being a teacher trainer on CELTA, DELTA and oposiciones courses for Secundary and EOI teachers. She is the co-author of 3Sixty5 (iT's Magazine) and Grammar Practice Activities Pre-Intermediate (Pearson Longman). Vicki has given many workshops and focused particularly on testing and pronunciation.

Brian BrennanBad rules, new words

Brian Brennan

A look at some misleading grammar rules that are still given in coursebooks. Then, a look at new lexis in English and moving towards what criteria we might apply when deciding whether we should teach them [.pdf].

Biodata • Brian Brennan is Language Training Manager at IH Company Training, BCN. He's taught in Spain, Greece and Britain. His work is now largely in the area of Business English, and has included writing Internet-based courses, teacher training, materials creating and course designing, developing competence-based descriptors for the European Commission, oral examining for Cambridge ESOL, reporting for publishers, review writing for Modern English Teacher and translating for the Sitges Film Festival. So his flat is a real mess. Oh, and he co-authored Business one:one for OUP, a B1+ level coursebook with a 'How to' approach.

Jane BlackwellWhat are your students thinking? Do you ever ask them?

Jane Blackwell

How often do you ask for feedback from your students? How do you do it? And what do you do with the results? This workshop is concerned with finding out what our students think about our approaches to teaching, the materials we use, the atmosphere in the classroom, and the types of activities we ask them to engage in. Including a variety of ideas for practical ways of getting feedback without embarrassing yourself or your students [ .pdf ] !

Biodata • Jane Blackwell currently teaches at International House Barcelona, and has previously worked in Thailand, Russia and the U.K.

Andrea HasapiOnce bitten… twice shy?

Andrea Hasapi

Last year I suggested reading a story together with my 11 year-old students. I had high hopes, thinking they'd respond enthusiastically, after all, everybody likes stories, right? Imagine my surprise, when the children said that that was the last thing they wanted to do …! This session aims to look at the reasons children, and sometimes adults, don't welcome the prospect of reading a book in the English classroom, and to go on and explore ideas on how to make the learners' experience of using stories and readers in the classroom a more positive one.

Biodata • Andrea is a CELTA and CELTYL trainer. She has an MA in Materials Development for teaching English, and is interested in exploring ways of encouraging learners to become independent readers, as this is one of the ways to also help them become independent and autonomous learners.

Ben GoldsteinThe Image of English

Ben Goldstein

Despite English's status as a lingua franca, language courses, schools and materials are still marketed using anachronistic images of 'Englishness' and targeted at purely aspirational audiences. Such contradictions are highlighted using examples from different sources: advertising, film and news media, in which the native speaker model retains real power in a globalised world that at the same time undermines it.

Biodata • Ben has taught English for over 15 years in Spain, currently as an online tutor at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona. He has also worked for the British Council in Hong Kong and is currently writing a Council-run online teacher training course in Latin America.

He has a first class BA degree in English, an MA in English and American Studies, as well as a TEFL Diploma (DELTA). He is the coordinator and principal author of Richmond's adult English course Framework. He has given talks and teacher training and methodological workshops in conferences throughout the world. With respect to ELT, his main interests lie in encouraging intercultural awareness and the use of image in teaching materials.

There's more than one way to fill a gap

Nigel Balfour

Gapfills are often solitary, uncommunicative activities. With a bit of thought and preparation they can be made a bit more interactive and f-u-n, involving students negotiating meaning (and discussing form) with one another, making the whole process more productive (and memorable). The workshop contains practical ideas for adapting materials and will be very 'hands-on'!

Biodata • Nigel Balfour is a teacher and teacher trainer who has worked in Thailand, Japan and Oman, as well as Spain. He's taught many types of classes, in different contexts. He chose this workshop as busy teachers are often looking for new ideas that they can adapt to suit their own circumstances.


Previous IH Barcelona ELT conferences

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002


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