IH Barcelona ELT Conference 2009

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

Barcelona, February 6 and 7


Friday 6th

Teaching spoken English means more grammar - not less!

Plenary session
Hugh Dellar

Hugh DellarIn this session, I will be exploring some fundamental problems with the way grammar is all-too often thought about and presented to students, and reporting on what happens to students as a result. I shall then be considering ways in which a more serious consideration of how language is actually used when we speak can lead to a much more sensible, practical attitude to grammar in the classroom.

Biodata • Hugh is a teacher and teacher trainer at the University of Westminster in London. He is also, along with Andrew Walkley, co-author of the general English series Innovations, published by Cengage. He has given talks and workshops all over the world and is currently working on a new series of coursebooks.

Using (or not using?) L1 in the classroom?

Lynn Durrant

Lynn DurrantMany teachers have different opinions about the use of L1 in the classroom. It seems there is a never-ending debate about its use. Teachers try to set limits for themselves and the learners by often banning it from the classroom or insisting the learners always use L2 in learning situations. Other teachers feel it can be used actively in the classroom because it often helps learner understanding of L2. The fine line between using L1 as a learning resource and not letting the classroom become a "chat room" in the learners' own language is often hard to tread. This session aims to take a look at the when and how of L1 use.

Biodata • Lynn is Head of Primary and Secondary Training at International House Barcelona 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.

"Let's go over that one once again." Teacher Talk.

Roger Hunt

Roger HuntLanguage input doesn't just come from what's in the course book: potentially it can come from a number of sources, but one principal input source is the teacher's voice. Students often pick up on what their teachers say and incorporate this into their own repertoire of language. In this session we will be exploring some of the natural language learners are exposed to by teacher talk and the purposes of this language. We will also discuss ways in which teachers can maximise their most powerful teaching tool: their voice [ PowerPoint ].

Biodata • Roger is Director of Education at International House Barcelona where he is responsible for educational development in both teaching and teacher training. He has worked in ELT for 28 years in many parts of the world and is currently mostly involved in writing and tutoring on the IH Barcelona on-line teacher training courses. He is co-author of Fountain, Longman 1992, and of TKT a preparatory course, McGraw Hill 2008. He has published numerous articles on language teaching and teacher training.


Saturday 7th

Seven things beginning with 'M'

Plenary session
Scott Thornbury

Scott ThornburyIt's a truism that no single method is going to meet the needs of all teachers and all learners, either locally or globally. Hence, we now operate in what is called the post-method era. Yet methods formerly provided teachers with a certain sense of security, a role which perhaps coursebooks now fulfil. This security is illusory, though, if it is not grounded in some basic principles of learning and education, principles that I will attempt to identify, and which (I will argue) constitute a blueprint for a coherent approach to language teaching.

Biodata • Scott 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.

Skinning and scamming

Plenary session
Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr Most current approaches to reading in the classroom take a strong top-down approach with a focus on particular 'sub-skills'. However, recent research suggests that this may be misguided and that we should possibly re-think standard classroom procedures. This talk will consider some of the practical implications of these insights in terms of reading both inside and outside the classroom.

Biodata • Philip 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.

Teaching spoken English means more grammar - not less: the workshop

Hugh Dellar

In this practical hands-on session, we will explore the classroom implications of the ideas behind my plenary of Friday evening. This will mean reconsidering how we deal with new lexis that emerges in class, examining our own approach to boardwork, and assessing the centrality of context and co-text to the teaching of grammar. There will also be time to discuss at greater length any issues that arose from Friday's plenary.

Biodata • See above.

Long printed texts – who needs them?

Brian Brennan

Brian BrennanThis session aims to assault three of the great myths in ELT: that long coursebook or website texts are good for learners, that more advanced students need longer texts, and that we can get more out of long texts. My aim is to show that very short texts have just as much, if not more, going for them. Size does count – but not in the way we’ve been told.

Biodata • Brian 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's just co-authored Business one:one for OUP, a B1+ level coursebook with a 'How to' approach.

Changing perspectives

Gerard McLoughlin

Gerard McLoughlinIn this workshop we will look at how we can take topics from the course-book and change our learners perspective on image, culture and people, exploring YouTube clips that can enrich the classroom with student- generated materials. We'll look at typical topics and activities to help our learners explore useful websites: language and skills activities to ensure that the syllabus is met and the learners' language experience is enriched [ PowerPoint ].

Biodata • Gerard has been a teacher and teacher trainer for over 18 years in different contexts around the world. He currently works as a CELTA and DELTA trainer at IH, Barcelona and is the author of iTalk a coursebook for Bacchilerato and has written teacher books for Platform. He is currently the TESOL co-ordinator for Barcelona.

Helping children to speak

Alistair Jones

Alistair JonesChildren need to start developing their Englsih speaking skills as soon as they start learning English. This talk will present a framework for incorporating more oral work into class and practical techniques and activities that help children use more spoken English.

Biodata • Alistair 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, and school-wide behaviour management. He is a regular speaker at teacher training events and has co-authored YL multimedia courses for IH Net Languages (English 4 Kids) and OUP (Clever Kids). He is currently writing online primary material for Macmillan ELT.

Connect! Communicate! Collaborate! Social Networking for Learners and Teachers

Graham Stanley

Nicky HocklySocial Networking (Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, etc) and online publishing (blogs, wikis, podcasts) sites make connecting, communicating and collaborating with learners and colleagues easier than ever. In this session, we will be looking at practical ideas for teachers allowing the integration of these tools safely with learners of all ages.

Biodata • Graham spends half of his working life as a teacher of English at the British Council Young Learner Centre in Barcelona, Spain and the other half as Project Manager of the British Council's Learn English Second Life for Teens project, building a 3D self-access centre for 13-17 year-olds in the virtual world.

Reading texts: milking them for more

Vicki Anderson

Vicki AndersonMost course books provide quite interesting reading texts, but what do they actually use them for? Not that much... in many cases, and certainly not for detailed comprehension.

In this talk we will look at texts from several current popular course books and at ways to maximise their use.

Biodata • Vicki Anderson has been an EFL teacher for more than 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, and is currently co-ordinating a project to update the tests and exams in IH Barcelona.

Easy, fun, meaningful tasks with technology

Tom Walton

Tom WaltonIt isn't as easy as it might seem to find tasks involving technology that are quick and easy to set up; that are fun; but, at the same time, will afford opportunities for real language learning.

In this session, we will look at three such activities using a digital camera (or camera-equipped mobile phones) that can be done at levels Lower-Intermediate and above; with learners aged 12+; that could also involve a class blog; and that can be used even by teachers with very little technical knowledge [ PowerPoint ].

Biodata • Tom is webmaster at IH Barcelona, believes that technology should only be used in the language classroom if and when it leads to more, better language learning, and is a very keen, very amateur photographer.

Planting the seeds for early reading and writing (4 to 7 year olds)

Rosie Burke

Rosie BurkeReading and writing are both very complex processes which many teachers have to deal with without having any real idea about what the children can be expected to do at this early age. Pre-writing and pre-reading tasks are often forgotten in our classes while we concentrate on the oral skills. How do we know when children are ready to read and write?

This session will look at activities that can help us develop early learning skills in the EFL classroom with Very Young Learners. We will be looking at ways to explore the world of letters and words which may make a lasting impact on the learners.

Biodata • Rosie has been working in the Barcelona area for the last 30 years as a teacher and teacher trainer. She has worked at IH Barcelona, IH Sabadell and was Director of her own language school for many years. She now works freelance and in the last year has visited Jordan and Egypt to give talks on teacher training programmes specializing in Young Learners. She is also a Cambridge ESOL presenter and examiner with many years experience.

Pronunciation for Spanish speakers

Jane Kirsch

Jane KirschWhy is it that most Spanish learners seem to make the same pronunciation mistakes? This fun and interactive workshop will identify which areas teachers should focus on and offer some practical tips and activities to help their students.

Biodata • Jane is a teacher trainer based in Barcelona and is a tutor on both TEFL certificate and Young Learner extension courses. She is currently studying for her PhD in Education at the University of Nottingham, specialising in CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning). In her free time she loves cheering on Espanyol, her favourite football team, and going snowboarding.

The Road To Production: the importance of the receptive stage

Jade Stevens

Jade StevensThis session will look at the importance of having receptive stages before production. Practical activities will be demonstrated through ‘loop input’ using volunteers as Beginner students. Teachers will then have the opportunity to investigate the theory behind this approach particularly with Primary YLs, and discuss the benefits of using such activities in the classroom.

Biodata • Jade has been teaching EFL for about nine years and he has worked in Bahrain, Bulgaria, Burma, and Barcelona. He has never worked in Baku, Bilbao, Brazil or Brighton: it’s not a ‘B’ thing. He does quite like the idea of Brazil though. Jade is also a CELTYL trainer and really does like teaching children.

Making Grammar Fun

David Gatrell

David GatrellLearners tend to regard grammar activities as a necessary but dull part of the lesson, involving the memorization of rules and the completion of meaningless gap-fill exercises. Yet learning grammar can be a fun, stimulating, and engaging process. In this session, teachers will try out a range of practical classroom ideas, catering to all levels, ages and learning styles, designed to change learners' attitudes to grammar and make it a fun part of any lesson.

Biodata • David has been teaching English to adults and teenagers since 2001. He has taught for the British Council in the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Spain, and is currently involved in teacher training, materials writing and teaching at the British Council Bonanova Young Learner Centre in Barcelona. David holds the Trinity Diploma in TESOL, and is an accredited trainer and materials developer for Promethean interactive whiteboards.

Tuning in to teenagers?

Andrea Hasapi

Andrea HasapiThis workshop is intended for teachers new to teaching teenage students. It is not suitable for experienced teachers of this age group.

Much published teaching material fails to match teenage students' interests and sense of maturity, with students asked time and again to perform in ways they find alien or meaningless. In this workshop we will initially identify criteria in the evaluation of materials; these will be exemplified by reference to some popular published material, after which we will work in groups to further develop these criteria.

Biodata • Andrea is a CELTA and CELTYL trainer with IH Barcelona. 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. She has particular interest in the psychology of young learners.

Easy as pie: a new view of discovering your students' needs and teaching to meet these

Jane Blackwell

Jane BlackwellIt is generally agreed that we should teach that which our students need, but this can be difficult with a room full of individuals as it can be hard to get a clear picture of each student, or to do anything meaningful with the results. In this talk I will describe a simple but effective new way of incorporating a student centred approach to discovering your students’ needs and preferences; we will also be looking at what the students themselves had to say about all this.

Biodata • Jane is a teacher and teacher trainer at IH London and previously worked in Barcelona and Thailand. She is currently taking a Masters in TESOL at the University of London and is particularly interested in the integration of student interests and needs in the classroom via feedback loops and needs analysis, as opposed to the delivery of a pre-set formula considered the best medicine for all comers.

In the wrong level

Andrew Walkley

Andrew WalkleyThis practical talk discusses reasons why teachers and students complain about classes not being the right level. With reference CEF and exams I will raise the question of whether coursebooks genuinely meet the needs of students at different levels and how teachers may on occasions make matters worse. I will then look at aspects of teacher development and give some practical suggestions as to how teachers can provide for different levels in one class.

Biodata • Andrew has 17 years experience in teaching EFL in Spain and the UK. As a teacher trainer, he works at the University of Westminster, where he's developing a series of blended learning training courses. He has written the coursebook series Innovations with Hugh Dellar published by Heinle (a part of Cengage Learning) and an online teacher training course Teaching Lexically for Ed2go.com/ELT Advantage. He is currently based mainly in Spain, working freelance and writing coursebook and teacher training material.

Listening - a learner centred approach

Vaila Goodridge

Vaila GoodridgeHow can I help my students understand a difficult listening? How do I know if my students have really understood what they've heard? What can I do if they don't? How can I use a listening text to improve my students' grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation? These are just some of the questions this talk will address.

Biodata • Vaila has taught both children and adults in Peru, the UK and Lebanon and is currently teaching at Merit School, Barcelona. She writes for Netlanguages and is involved in writing a series of coursebooks. She did the DELTA at IH Barcelona and regularly presents in-house teacher development workshops.

Up close and personal: making language memorable

Usoa Sol

Usoa SolIt is part of the human condition that we can remember something that has happened to somebody far more than a theoretical rule. So, how can we use this to our advantage in the EFL classroom? How can we make language learning motivating and memorable for our teenage students?

In this session I will demonstrate some activities I have used with my teenage learners that deal with language from a more "personal" approach and which contribute to the students' easy recall and recycling of language. Activities will range from live listening and "guess who?" to anecdotes and holiday photos. This will be a very practical session and I hope to provide useful tips which are ready for use in the classroom.

Biodata • Usoa started her experimental teaching at ICCIC Language School 5 years ago. Since then she's specialised in teenagers. Her interest in languages has led her to three extended stays in Beijing, which have helped her further develop as a teacher, because learning Chinese from scratch has increased her understanding of the difficulties students have when dealing with English. Usoa got her DELTA from IH Barcelona in June 2008. She's currently working full-time at Sant Gregori School in Barcelona, teaching primary, ESO and Batxillerat, but she still returns to ICCIC to give teacher training seminars and help with teacher development.


Previous IH Barcelona ELT conferences

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


The 2015 conference