Tag Archives: budapest

OUP Intensive Teacher Training Course, Budapest

To all those teachers who attended OUP’s summer intensive course and conference in Budapest last week, thanks for taking part and for all your positive comments about the sessions. As promised, you can have another look at the slides from all of my various sessions below.

Preparing to Speak

I gave this session to the secondary and adult groups. This was the one with the bit about ‘My grandmother always says’ – I think that particular idea deserves a blog post of its own. I’ll get to work on that next week. The session description reads like this:

In the first part of the session we will look at preparation strategies: looking at topics, vocabulary and exam tasks. We will also focus on effective practice procedures that help students improve as they practise. We will then consider the question of how to deal with grammar mistakes in speaking and consider some practical and engaging classroom practice activities that help students improve their spoken accuracy.

Recycling and Precycling Materials

I only did this session once – unfortunately. Recycling involves turning spent materials into something else; ‘precycling’ on the other hand involves reducing and re-using. I tried to apply these principles to the ELT classroom, thinking in particular about those lessons in which we try to revise, review or go over materials again – perhaps because we are substituting for a colleague. Much of the content of this session comes from a webinar that I did a while back about one-off lessons. I decided to pre-cycle a lot of those ideas 😉 The session description:

This session will look at some practical techniques for breathing new life into teaching materials and ‘squeezing more juice’ out of the coursebook. We will consider effective techniques for recycling materials – ideal for situations when you would like to revise, or if you have to cover for a colleague and need a stand-alone revision lesson. We will also find out what ‘precyling’ is – and look at some ways to apply it to the English teaching classroom.

Plenary talk: Getting the Hares back in the Race

I first did this talk at the IATEFL conference in Liverpool earlier this year and only about 25 people came :(. Anyway, I was really happy to get the chance to reprise it in front of a much larger audience. I added one new slide – the photograph of Darren in front of the BID board in Széchenyi tér in Pécs. The talk description went like this:

I have two types of teenage student. First, there are the tortoises. They feel slow and awkward. They need patience, encouragement and support. The second type are the hares. They are happy with their level of English – in fact, they are in a kind of comfort zone. They can speak well in class – when they feel like it. They watch films and TV series in English outside class without much difficulty. They like and value English. They just don’t want to spend time studying English in class. They would rather sleep!

Does that sound familiar? If so, here are some questions to consider. What is the best way to work with teenagers like this? How can we get them out of their comfort zone? Is there any way to help them rediscover their appetite for learning English? How can we get them back in the race?

Conference session: Back to the Future

Let me tell you a secret. I had been planning to do this session without any Power Point slides at all, just as a way of reinforcing the point I made in-session about the importance of resisting the temptation to allow technology to dictate what happens in our classes. In fact I didn’t even have a presentation prepared, just some typed notes and ideas for activities. Then, while having breakfast (!) on the morning of the conference, I saw that I could segue from the DeLorean sports car in Back to the Future to the Twin-Steer Car drawn by one of my students. By the time I’d had my second cup of tea, I’d decided to build the whole session around the Twin-Steer Car, and to use examples of students’ work (previously posted here on the blog) to introduce the activities. So in the end there was a Power Point – but it was very much a last-minute thing. The session description went like this:

Retro: taking yesterday’s trends and fashions and giving them a modern twist. In an era of breathtaking technological innovations in education, is there still room for retro in the English teaching classroom? This session will offer some practical teaching ideas inspired by the classrooms of yesteryear, but tweaked to appeal to the teenagers of today.

Feedback and comments welcome, as ever. Good luck with the tanévkezdés!

OUP Course and Conference, Budapest

Summer is finally over, but it’s been one to remember. As usual, OUP’s four-day intensive course and conference for teachers in Budapest at the end of August is the sign that the new school year is upon us, a warning bell of sorts for us to make plans and get prepared for the much-awaited (dreaded?) becsengetés. It’s always an encouraging sign to see how many teachers are willing to devote the last few precious days of August to professional development. It’s a real sign of commitment. Either that, or teachers are just desperate to get out of all those boring start-of-year staff meetings and fire-and-safety presentations. 🙂

A sad note this year was the news of the death of Headway co-author John Soars, whose materials have been extremely influential here in Hungary as well as around the world. Many teachers signed a card of condolence and paid personal tribute as well. One teacher wrote “Once I was a  Headway student; now I am a Headway teacher.” Few ELT coursebooks can have had such a sustained impact and influence. May he rest in peace.

The course itself was as good as ever. As well as morning sessions for the various groups, there were also afternoon plenaries. My own plenary was an updated version of the ‘Gates and Bridges’ talk. As promised, you can access a pdf copy of the slides here:  Gates and bridges Budapest

The conference on the last day was on the topic of images and videos. The keynote speaker was Images author Jamie Keddie, who gave two fantastic plenaries. I’m already looking forward to trying out a few of his ideas in class.

Good luck to everyone for the new school year!