IATEFL Diary Part 3
In part thee of our IATEFL diary, one of our trainers Richard tells you about his experiences at the conference!
Particularly memorable was a workshop I attended on Conversation Activated English in which the participants suggested the theme of the lesson – in this case travel – and their conversations on the subject provided the vocabulary and grammar for the class. In this session no materials were necessary, but many publishers' stalls occupied the exhibition hall, in the case of Pearson without a book in sight, a mark of the increasing importance of e-learning and digitalisation.
Their participation was a reminder that the spread of English is not only about teaching. By way of illustration, there were several interesting talks on the rewards and pitfalls of becoming a materials writer. Other useful sessions dealt with getting the most out of your students, an unusual way of looking at tenses, and an investigation into what stops students pronouncing in the same way as native speakers.
My own workshop focused on how telling the story behind many words could help students remember them. I presented this in the form of a Powerpoint quiz. Did you know the idiom “daylight robbery”, which describes something very overpriced, probably comes from a 17th century tax on windows? Or that Charles C. Boycott was an English landowner in Ireland whose tenants stopped paying him rent? So now, when we will not buy certain things - often as a protest against the actions of another country or region - we “boycott” them. Knowing such stories can help retain the word or expression.
All in all, I found IATEFL a great experience and would recommend it to anyone. It was heartening to feel part of a global industry whose main aim is helping us all communicate better with each other.
By Richard Mcneff
vast - (adj.) extremely big
gathering - (n.) an assembly or meeting
plenary - (adj.) fully attended by all participants
stalls - (n.) a stand for the sale of goods
spread - (n.) extend the use of
by way of illustration – (adv.) to give a specific example
pitfalls - (n.) a hidden or unexpected danger or difficulty
tenants - (n.) people who occupy land or property rented from a landlord
retain - (v.) to continue to have (something); keep possession of
all in all - (adv.) with everything considered
heartening - (adj.) making you feel more cheerful and confident
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