30 May–New Year’s Resolutions follow-up

Well, it’s been a few months and I think it’s a good time to check in on our New Year’s Resolutions! Hopefully those of you who were with us in January can make it again and give us an update about how it’s been going. I think my change had a good effect on my student evaluations, but we’ll see if their exam scores have improved!

Related to this, one of the things I really like about summer is the chance to kind of step back and get a bunch of crazy ideas for the next year (not to actually do them all, but just to think about problems and solutions). Action research is a good way to test your hypotheses and this article has a good framework for getting started: Four steps to conducting action research in the classroom. After our updates, we’ll brainstorm some of the issues we’re facing in our own classrooms and methods of researching them using Dr O’Byrne’s advice.

Hope to see you in the Fitting Room on 30 May at 8pm!

28 March–ELT Springboard’s Next Meeting

Hi again everyone! I’m looking forward to our next meeting in two weeks and I think I’ve got something everyone has an opinion on: TEACHING GRAMMAR. It’s an old article, but many of the issues in Grammar, Power and Bottled Water (Thornbury, 1998) are still with us. Some questions for you to consider while you read:

  • Who “owns” the teaching material we use in our lessons? Academics? Publishers? Teachers? Students? What difference does it make?
  • To what extent have things changed in the last 20 years? Are your coursebooks structured by grammar, notions, tasks, other?
  • How do you structure your lessons when you don’t use a coursebook?
  • How far do you agree with Thornbury’s characterisation of the teaching in the section “Class struggle”?
  • Have we arrived in “Post-grammar”? Do you teach grammar in your lessons? When and why?

I look forward to discussing these topics and others with you on 28 March at 8pm in The Fitting Room (right next to the Bern train station). Please leave a note in the comments to RSVP. See you soon!

24 January–New Year, New Ideas

Happy New Year to you all! Our next ELT Springboard meeting will be on 24 January in The Fitting Room (in Welle 7, adjacent to the Bern bahnhof). I look forward to seeing you there! The evening’s topic will be New Ideas. Please RSVP in the comments so I know how many people to expect.

Task 1 is for you to bring in one or two new ideas that you would like to introduce to your professional practice in the new year. We’ll discuss the ideas with each other and hopefully we’ll be able to talk about them with someone who’s done something similar or can help us find resources to ease the way. By talking about them with others, we’ll also build accountability and have someone to follow up with later in the year.

Task 2 is to give a short report on some professional development that you have done recently. This can be anything from reading a book or attending a webinar to taking a course or doing a degree. There is a great professional development opportunity in Zurich on 21-22 of January: the ETAS (English Teachers Association of Switzerland) Annual Conference. Plenaries from Sarah Mercer and Jeremy Harmer on Saturday; Herbert Puchta and Carole Robinson on Sunday. Click here to read the programme and click here to learn more about ETAS. I’ll be going both days and I plan to talk about one of the speakers or workshops at the ELT Springboard meetup.

If you’re taking the train on Saturday morning, get in touch and we’ll ride together! Otherwise, see you on the 24th!

Free TELC examiner training 28 January 2017

There are some limited places available at the TELC examiner training event which will take place in Fribourg from 10:00-18:00 on 28 January. The School of Management Fribourg (Haute Ecole Gestion/Hochschule für Wirtschaft) is training me and some of the other teachers to be TELC examiners. There are extra places available and our English language TELC coordinator, Marc Matter, has kindly opened them up to other teachers. If you attend the training, not only will you be eligible to assist us in Fribourg when we test our students, but you will also be able to complete the TELC examiner training at any other level just by completing an online supplemental module.

Here are the prerequisites and requirements:

Experience teaching English at levels A2, B1, B2 and C1 (a total of at least 450 lessons) and at least a C1 level of competence in English, familiarity with exam formats (find examples here:  http://www.telc.net/pruefungsteilnehmende/ sprachpruefungen.html<http://www.telc.net/pruefungsteilnehmende/sprachpruefungen.html>  ), familiarity with telc’s rules and regulations for examinations: http://www.telc.net/agbpruefungsordnung. html<http://www.telc.net/agbpruefungsordnung.html>, familiarity with the GER and activity/action-oriented approaches.

All participants are required to have worked through the corresponding online module dual-level examiner training prior to the training day. Furthermore, those examiners who have never had a telc examiner license are also strongly advised to work through the A1 to C2 Introduction for examiners. These online modules are available at https://campus.telc. net/?lang=en<https://campus.telc.net/?lang=en> . If you have never participated in a telc training session, you have to register to use these online modules (“register now”).

Please inquire directly with our TELC coordinator by 22 December if you are interested. In the interest of protecting him from spam, I don’t want to post his email address here. Instead, I ask you to visit the directory page at HEG Fribourg and use the link under his name, Markus Matter.

Use our calendar and never miss a meeting!

Hi everyone!

We want to make these meetings accessible for as many people as possible, but we also know how some nights just don’t work. With that in mind, we’ve decided to try meeting on alternating Tuesday and Thursday nights, usually the last week of the month. Because that’s maybe not the easiest thing to remember, we’ve gone ahead and put all the dates until June in a calendar. You can add the ELT Springboard calendar to your calendar app by using this link. Or you can check the calendar here or in the stickied post at the top of the page. Hope you can make it to our next meeting on 24 January!

Next meeting–29 November, 8pm!

The next ELT Springboard meeting is scheduled for 29 November at 8pm and we will meet once again at The Fitting Room in Welle7. I look forward to seeing you there! Please RSVP in the comments if you can so we know approximately how many people to expect.

This month I’d like to discuss an interesting article I found from Dr Gianfranco Conti, Five mixed messages that have severely damaged modern language education. As you read the article, think about the myths and how they relate to your personal experience: how aware are you of these myths as you teach, do you agree with Dr Conti’s assertions, what (if anything) do you do to challenge these myths? I’ll bring some discussion questions on the evening, but the article should provide plenty of food for thought on its own. See you soon!