Presenting the Plenaries – Part One

Vicky Loras:

I am delighted to be part of the ELTForum.sk conference! I love the enthusiasm and dedication of the organisers.
I am also very happy that I will get the chance to see Professor David Crystal in action once again! A huge thank you to everyone at ELTForum.sk – see you in Bratislava in June!

Originally posted on ELTforum.sk Conference 2015:

At ELTForum.sk, we are delighted to announce the first of our plenary speakers, who is none other than Professor David Crystal! We are honoured to have Professor Crystal as our keynote speaker at our June conference, where he will speak from his wealth of knowledge and expertise as the world’s foremost English linguist.

About David Crystal

Professor Crystal, who has been called a British ‘national treasure’, is a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster renowned for his research work in English language studies, in such fields as English language learning and teaching, clinical linguistics, forensic linguistics, language death, style, English genre, Shakespeare and lexicography. He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor.

His Writing

Professor Crystal is a prolific writer, with more than 100 books to his name. His two greatest…

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Eleven! – Tagged by @dougpete, @cgoodey and @yearinthelifeof

Not Ocean's Eleven : )

Not Ocean’s Eleven : ) (Image taken from http://www.musicland.in)

There is a great blog challenge making the rounds these days – and I have been tagged by three educators I admire tremendously (in order of tagging!): Doug Peterson in Canada, Carol Goodey in Scotland and Adam Simpson in Turkey. I have met Adam and Carol in person, but could it be 2014 that Doug and I will finally meet? I sure hope so! And I am sure it will happen in a Tim Horton’s ; )

So if you are tagged, here is what you need to do:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

11 Random Facts About me

  1. I love reading and have around 500 books, which are multiplying like crazy : )
  2. I don’t know how to drive a car, ride a bike or swim.
  3. I am afraid of earthquakes, clowns and heights.
  4. I don’t like eating watermelon or honey, and I am allergic to apples, pears and kiwis.
  5. My oldest ancestor we managed to track down and lived in the 1700s, was French.
  6. Vicky is short for Vassiliki (a Greek name), which is my maternal grandmother’s name and means of royal descent : )
  7. I became a teacher by accident. As long as I remember myself, I wanted to be a lawyer : )
  8. While my sisters were amazing ballet dancers, I loved and played basketball.
  9. My favourite philosopher in university was (and in general is) Ludwig Wittgenstein, and I later discovered that we share the same birthday.
  10. I never drink alcohol (not my cup of tea) but I love coffee, tea and coca cola and drink loads.
  11. If I were to be told that I cannot live in Switzerland anymore, I would move to a Scandinavian country or Turkey : )

Now I hope you will be patient as I answer the questions:

Doug Peterson, Canada

Doug Peterson, Canada

Doug’s Questions:

  1. When was the last time you backed up your computer? I think it was in March – unfortunately, it crashed and asked me if I would like to back it up. I wish I had done it earlier, but I managed to save the majority of my files.
  2. If you could speak any language other than English, what would it be? I wish I could speak Turkish and Finnish fluently. They have always been languages that I would love to learn. I started off with Turkish and hope to start Finnish too.
  3. Where would you go for your dream vacation? I would love to go to Corsica, because I have been told a lot and shown lots of photos by a French student of mine.
  4. Have you ever received a parking ticket? No, because I don’t drive! Ha ha!
  5. You’re in control of the thermostat.  What’s your ideal room temperature? Really warm, because I get cold easily.
  6. Have you ever taken an online course? I have – it was a 60-hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course which I enjoyed immensely, and a Grammar one too.
  7. What was the last educational conference that you attended? It was the IATEFL BESIG (Business English) conference in Prague, in November. I loved the sessions, the conversations that emerged from them – but my only disappointment was that I didn’t manage to see Prague almost at all, as I was there for only two and a half days.
  8. When was the last time you were in a public library? Very recently – it is one f my favourite places to be : )
  9. Have you ever dabbled with Linux? No ; )
  10. What would you consider to be the best photo you’ve ever taken? A sunset over Lake Zug. The colours were astounding and I was really surprised it came out that good, as it was taken with my phone.
  11. What, and where, is your favourite park? I love the parks in Niagara-on-the-Lake (well, actually the whole place : )
Carol Goodey

Carol Goodey

Carol’s Questions:

  1. What do you most enjoy about blogging? I love writing, and I love the comments – they make me think and I learn tons from them.
  2. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, would you like to? Which one? I don’t, but ever since I was little, I wanted to learn how to play the piano.
  3. How far do you travel to work? How do you travel? I used to commute a lot for my work up until I opened my new school, but now I commute very little, to some company classes. I take the train (takes 13 minutes)!
  4. What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? The interaction with the students and the fact that there is a whole variety of cultures and ages: one hour I am teaching a four-year-old, the next an adult!
  5. What was the first thing you ate today? Coco Pops! That healthy ; )
  6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why? Canada, because I terribly miss it!
  7. What month next year are you most looking forward to? Why? July, because my baby sister is getting married!
  8. What meal do you prepare most often for friends? Roasts and salads.
  9. What was the last movie you saw? What did you think? I saw Night on Earth and I loved it! It is five stories happening in a taxi, in five different cities, on the same day : ) It was in English, French, Italian and Finnish.
  10. What three things do you like to have with you when working? My tablet or computer, so I can check in on social media in the breaks, tea and lots of coloured pens!
  11. What do YOU think about reality TV shows? I don’t watch any, because I don’t have a TV : )
Adam Simpson

Adam Simpson

Adam’s Questions:

  1. I am aware of the phenomenon called ‘twerking’ but I don’t really know what it is. Do you? Would you explain it to me in one sentence? Some form of dance? *hides*
  2. The Soviet Union still exists. Why does this make you happy / sad? It does?
  3. What did you eat for dinner last night? Farfalle bolognese with tons of parmesan cheese.
  4. I’m new to this planet. Tell me what a dog looks like. It’s the cutest animal ever, with four legs and you can keep one at home!
  5. Go to YouTube and basically surf around until you find a song that you’ve never heard before. Share that song with us here. I just typed in the letter h and got Happy by Pharrell Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM
  6. The 60s or the 70s? Why? The 70s – I was born at the end of this decade of awesome music – The Clash is one of my favourite bands.
  7. Invent a word for something that doesn’t have a word to describe it. Share your word and description here. Now that is really hard!
  8. Would you prefer to be that guy from ‘Memento’ who wakes up and can’t remember the previous day, or that guy from ‘Groundhog Day’ who wakes up to exactly the same day over and over again? I haven’t seen either, but the second seems more appealing ; ) I’d be scared not to remember.
  9. Go to this YouTube video. Be honest, how long did you last? Two minutes! Ha ha!
  10. What are your thoughts on becoming one of the first Mars colonists? If there are books and chocolate, I’m going!
  11. Based on the way things are going, which language should we learn to be a good world citizen by the year 2030? A lot of people say Chinese. Perhaps?

Here are the bloggers I’d love to see take up the challenge, if they would like to:

  1. @yitzha_sarwono
  2. @theteacherjames
  3. @Chieka_slw06
  4. @Priscilamateini
  5. @rosemerebard
  6. @leoselivan
  7. @michaelegriffin
  8. @AnneHendler
  9. @JosetteLB
  10. @FLCasella
  11. @tamaslorincz

And my questions for them would be:

  1. If you were not an educator, what line of work would you imagine yourself in?
  2. Which person in ELT would you like to meet in person and why?
  3. What new activity / hobby would you like to start?
  4. Which is the best book you have recently read? Why?
  5. If you could change one thing in the world, what would that be?
  6. Which is the nicest destination you have visited so far and why?
  7. If you decided to write a book, what would it be about?
  8. What is your favourite song this period?
  9. What is your favourite and least favourite food?
  10. Which is the next conference you plan to attend?
  11. With whom from the PLN was your first meeting in person? What was it like?

Thank you Doug, Carol and Adam! And thanks in advance to those bloggers who choose to take up the challenge!

Presenting the ELTForum.sk 2014 Conference – Call for Speakers

Vicky Loras:

Last June I couldn’t make it – but I followed it through social media, and the conference was a huge success! Next June though, I am going to be there and I am also honoured to be part of the conference social media team.

Join us there! Have you got an idea to share? A project you are working on that we could learn from? Fill in the speaker proposal…and see you in Bratislava!

Originally posted on ELTforum.sk Conference 2015:

eltforum.sk Proposal FormAll of us here at ELTForum.sk are delighted to announce our Conference, which will take place in Bratislava, on June 6 and 7, 2014, at the Ekonomická univerzita v Bratislave. And here is where you come in: we want you to be part of it! Have you got an idea for a talk or workshop? Fill in the proposal form and join us on the two days of the conference. More details to be announced soon!

The Conference Theme: Building Blocks of ELT: Language, Learner and Vision

Teaching is like building a house. We dream a little, we draw up the plans and we prepare the necessary materials. And then the hard work begins. The foundations we lay are set in hope and enthusiasm, but often with sweat and sometimes with frustration. However, without solid foundations, our work is a waste of time and effort and, ultimately, what we…

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A roving reporter’s first visit to Hungary

Originally posted on IATEFL-Hungary blog:

My First Visit to (IATEFL) Hungary – Vicky Loras

Several months ago, I was checking my Facebook status and I saw that IATEFL Hungary had just put out a call for submissions for their October 2013 Conference. I “liked” it and shared it on my page, then went on to do other things but I was still thinking about it. I had seen the great things the IATEFL Hungary group had done the previous year at Eger and I was so impressed. So I just returned to the page again, submitted a proposal and crossed my fingers!

A few days later, Norbert Galik, the Vice-President messaged me to ask if I would like to be one of the roving reporters! I was thrilled to be part of such a great team. Educator friends of mine had also submitted proposals – some months later, my proposal was accepted so it was…

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The Loras Network interviews Claudia Buzzoni (ELT Consultant for Macmillan Education)- Speaker at the 1st International Loras Network Workshop

Originally posted on Eugenia Loras:

Loras Network (L.N.): Claudia, thank you so much for giving us this interview. We are so excited that you will have a presentation at our 1st Loras Network Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism!

Claudia Buzzoni (C. B.): Thank you! I’m really looking forward to speaking at your workshop next month. It’s a topic that’s close to my heart as my oldest daughter is just starting to put together her first sentences in both Swiss German and English.

L.N.: Claudia, we met you as the representative for Macmillan Publications. Can you tell us a few things about yourself and your work?

C. B.: I’ve been with Macmillan Education for the past three and a half years. I work closely with a wide range of private and public school teachers throughout the country, helping them to select and implement different teaching materials. Outside of work, I’m studying linguistics and German and…

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The Loras Network interviews Dr Muhammad Aslam Sipra – Speaker at the 1st International Loras Network Workshop

Originally posted on Eugenia Loras:

Loras Network (L.N.): Dr. Sipra, we really appreciate this interview you are giving us. We are delighted that you will present at our 1st Loras Network Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism.

Dr. Sipra: Thank you very much for inviting me to this interview. I feel very honoured to be one of the speakers of the Loras Network Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism.

L.N.: Initially, we would like to ask you what drew you into the field of education.

Dr. Sipra: Frankly speaking, I never thought of joining the field of education or teaching. I joined the teaching profession with the intention that I would quit this job as soon as I get any managerial or administrative position. As the time went by, I worked hard in this profession and gradually started enjoying university teaching. Presently, I can’t think of any other job and teaching is my passion now.

L.N.:

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The Loras Network interviews Alex Rawlings – Speaker at the 1st International Loras Network Workshop

Originally posted on Eugenia Loras:

Loras Network (L.N.): Alex, we would like to thank you very much for this interview. We are also very happy that you will be presenting at our 1st Loras Network Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism.

L.N. : Alex, we first saw you in a BBC video, being presented as the UK’s most multilingual student, with a total of eleven languages. Can you give us some background as to how and why you learned so many languages?

Alex Rawlings (A.R.): Languages started off as a hobby for me and quickly turned into a passion. I speak Greek from childhood and studied French and German at school, but that never felt like enough! There were so many people out there in the world that I wanted to talk to, and I didn’t want to restrict them to those I had a common language with. I picked up some language courses from…

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Feat No 14: Our 1st Workshop on Bilingualism and Multilingualism in Language Learning and Families

Vicky Loras:

Join us for our 1st Workshop on Bilngualism and Multilingualism in Zug, Switzerland!

Originally posted on Eugenia Loras:

As a parent, I have been in doubt and under pressure when raising my children initially bilingually and later on multilingually. And there have been times that I have had to:
– study hard on the topic,
– invest in resources,
– be loyal to a plan or method,
– commit to a schedule,
– exchange feedback with other parents with similar experiences,
– accommodate ideas to our family life and all that… while trying to make it as pleasant as possible for everyone involved.

As a teacher, I have been encouraging language learning and teaching an additional language to a monolingual speaker or to an already bilingual one for almost eighteen years. And there have been times during that role that I have had to:
– study hard on the topic,
– learn through numerous experiences of teaching all ages and all levels,
– invest in resources,

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Journals and Magazines – PD in Focus 5

Snapshot of Icha Sarwono's article for ETAS Journal, Switzerland

Snapshot of Icha Sarwono’s article for ETAS Journal, Switzerland

Another very important aspect of professional development is reading and writing for educational journals and magazines. Almost every teaching association in various countries around the world has one, be it a paper journal or online or even an online newsletter, which is shorter. Some associations offer the journals included in the membership fee, which can be very helpful – however there are also magazines that do not belong to associations but are related to language teaching, like Modern English Teacher and English Teaching Professional, to name a couple.

Reading:

  • Why is it so important to read them? Well first of all, to learn from them. So many colleagues share loads of teaching ideas in their articles, which we can adopt and adapt in our own classes. They can keep you feeling inspired and motivated for the next class!
  • It can also make us think critically, because we cannot possibly agree with everything written. We can choose what fits our classes and our methodology and  use it accordingly.
  • Some articles focus on research or other theoretical issues and can help teachers enrich their knowledge, or even help them with their studies, as many educators continue their studies.

Writing:

  • Share your ideas with other educators! Write for journals and magazines – it helps you to also practise your writing skills. A lot of educators reading your articles might then contact you to give you feedback on your writing, for instance how much it helped them, or any kind of feedback, which is also welcome. Then you can see what you can continue writing about, what you can improve and so on. Just try doing it!

From Zug to Belgium – A BELTA Webinar

BELTA Belgium

BELTA Belgium

Today was the day of the first webinar for BELTA Belgium, a great new association for English teachers in Belgium and everywhere, in fact! BELTA was founded by James Taylor, Mieke Kenis, Ellen de Preter, Guido van Landeghem and Jurgen Basstanie. You can read more about the foundation of BELTA and also watch the launch event here.

I was asked to do the first webinar for BELTA, which I accepted with great joy and honour. The topic was Professional Development for Now and the Future: A Guide to 2013 and you can watch the slideshow below:

I have also created a PDF file with the most useful links.

BELTA Presentation – Useful Notes

Here is the link with the recording of the webinar, which will also be published on the BELTA blog, Facebook and Twitter.

A huge thank you to BELTA and everyone who was there (including my parents!), in the Adobe Connect room and to my sister, Eugenia, who was there in the same room as I was, cheering us all on (and also helped me find a title to this blog post)!

A screen capture of the webinar (Photo by Roseli Serra)

A screen capture of the webinar (Photo by Roseli Serra)