Annual Conference 2011

This year’s conference was held on the 25th and 26th of August 2011 at the Education and Information Centre of the City of Riga, Kanieru iela.

It was LATE’s 19th Annual Conference and the 11th Baltic IATEFL Conference.

You can see photos and read the conference abstracts below, as well as visit the pages for previous conferences.

This year’s conference attracted 195 participants and presenters from Latvia and beyond.

The conference was formally opened by HM Ambassador Andrew Soper and the opening plenary was given by Rob Lewis of the British Council.

Publishers were represented by Dace Miška [Oxford University Press]; Craig Huxley and Tatiana Ginzburg [Express Publishing]; Piotr Steinbrich, Karlis Steģis and Iveta Vitola [Pearson Longman].

There were many workshops and other presentations on a variety of topics [see below] so participants were spoilt for choice. There were also plenty of new books to look at and buy at the booksellers’ and publishers’ stands.

At the Annual General Meeting the British Council ran a very popular tongue twister competition and there was wine and pizza to finish.

The popularity of the traditional book sale at lunchtime on the second day just goes to show that print is not dead.

Late would like to give warm thanks to all the conference organisers, the presenters, exhibitors, sponsers and participants for making the conference a great success.

Below are some conference photos and the presenters’ abstracts [arranged in no particular order].

Rob Lewis

British Council

Making yourself a better teacher

There’s an ever-increasing emphasis on qualifications and certificates to prove your standard as a teacher. This is obviously no bad thing, but you don’t need to take a formal course to continue to develop. This session will look at simple but effective approaches to professional development for teachers.

Craig Huxley

Express Publishing

Teaching the Digital Natives!

Advanced computer literacy is a default trait of our students. E-books serve as a unique tool to motivate students to study English at home. The speaker will discuss how students can take advantage of the features e-books offer, enabling them to study on their own in a motivating digital environment.

Karlis Steģis

Pearson Longman

The challenge of classroom digitalisation

In the 21st century using digital products has become almost as important as breathing and eating. Digital world is something that your students are familiar with and can relate to. Do you sometimes fear using some of the new digital products, because you feel your students are much better at technology? In this workshop we will have a look at how easy and convenient it is to be digitalised, how you and your students can benefit from using technology.

Vita Kalnberzina and Silvija Andernovics

University of Latvia, LATE

Toxic Grammar in Brighton

The presentation will report on ideas provoked by the 45th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition – 15th -19th April 2011 in Brighton and its website that offers the presentations online. We will also discuss in detail 2 plenary presentations: Sue Palmerís ‘Toxic Childhood‘ and Catherine Walterís ‘Should we be planning How to teach Grammar.’

Selga Goldmane

Cēsu State Gymnasium/ Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (Vidzemes Augstskola)

Online videos: change from speaking and listening to cineliteracy

The presenter will discuss the issue of using short online videos to develop students’ language skills and how these can eventually lead to a better understanding of visual images. Some ideas have been taken from the Learning Technologies for the Classroom course and developed further to promote visual or cineliteracy.

Evija Latkovska and Evija Latkovska

University of Latvia

Comics: Fun and Educative

Storytelling is one of the first skills which appeared in an ancient human society in order to provide communication between the tribes. It was essential to share stories, tales, myths, and simple occasions, as they had an educative meaning and passed from generation to generation. Comics can support stories with images, allow space for storytellerís creativity and make storytelling become an exciting activity!

Craig Huxley

Express Publishing

Career Paths: leading you towards success

Career Paths is a series of books designed specifically to help professionals and students develop the English language skills they need to succeed in a professional environment.

Career Paths, suitable for learners for levels A1 up to B1, integrates the four skills needed (listening, speaking, writing, reading) in each and every lesson in order to utilise the multiple pathways through which one can easily master the English language.

Tatiana Ginzburg

Express Publishing

Two birds with one stone: developing emotional intelligence while preparing students for exams

Over 2000 years ago Plato said that all learning has an emotional basis. Managing ones emotions is critical for the success of both students and teachers. Currently emotional intelligence is a topical issue in the real world of business and professional employment. However, contrary to the obvious need to help school leavers develop EI, upper-secondary school teachers find themselves focusing mostly on preparing their students for final exams. In this talk we’ll revise the basic notions of EI and look at the ways to resolve what seems to be a conflict of interests.

Rob Lewis

British Council

Teacher Toolkits

What is in your teacher toolkit? What is a teacher toolkit?! All will be revealed in this workshop: you’ll see lots of practical ideas to use in the classroom from an example toolkit, and you will be encouraged to think about and share ideas from your own.

Tatjana Kunda

Riga Secondary School No 63

Year 12 and the CEFR: Assessment of Writing Skills

The presentation aims at familiarising teachers with the CEFR writing scales in the context of Year 12 examination in English. It is intended to help teachers understand the levels and demands of the examination, raise their awareness of the criteria used in the assessment of the writing tasks as well as provide practical advice on improving their students written performance.

Dace Miška

Oxford University Press

New Oxford iTools for your Digital Classroom

Interactive whiteboard material doesn’t have to be complex in order to fulfil your classroom needs. New Oxford iTools has been created to support you; even more, it is easy-to-use and provides a wealth of options for your classes. In this hands-on workshop we will explore how to use new generation Oxford iTools and how it can help you and your students.

Natalja Gorohova

Teach Success: teach Business English and Skills at schools

The talk explains how you can make your high school classes more meaningful by teaching Business English. Help to build a strong foundation for the future success of your students by teaching the soft skills, such as the basics of networking, negotiating, and communication. Empower your students, make what you teach relevant and use.

Ligija Kolosovska

Using Learning Technologies (ICT) for Developing Writing

While computers and the Internet are widely used for developing reading skills and practising grammar, writing is the aspect taught and practised mainly using traditional means of paper and pen.

This workshop, based on the British Council teacher development course materials, introduces participants to the topic of using learning technologies in teaching writing and of how they can be integrated into lessons.

Charles Goodger

Action song modules older learners

More and more pre and primary school teachers are discovering the pedagogical power of language-learning action song modules; however when learners reach puberty, their enthusiasm for singing and miming may wane as they become self-conscious and lessons are more grammar-based and less fun. Here Charles Goodger will present some techniques for teaching original action songs suitable also for older learners on themes such as climate change, water conservation and the importance of agriculture.

Iveta Vitola

Pearson Longman

Communicative language teaching and testing in primary classrooms

Children’s early language learning experiences will greatly affect all future learning.

The communicative task-based approach is especially valuable since young people are motivated by and tend to perform best on tasks which directly reflect their own experiences of teaching/learning. During this workshop we will look at various activities how to motive young learners, the role of assessment and the ways how to encourage positive self-evaluation.

Ligija Kolosovska

Kraslava State Gymnasium

Using Learning Technologies (ICT) for developing writing

While computers and the Internet are widely used for developing reading skills and practising grammar, writing is the aspect taught and practised mainly using traditional means of paper and pen.

This workshop based on the British Council teacher development course materials introduces participants to the topic of using learning technologies in teaching writing and of how they can be integrated into lessons.

Silvija Kārkliņa

Public Service Language Centre

The Lingu@net project

The necessity to have access to the language resources is great as it reduces the teachers preparation time and improves the quality of teaching. The site where the digital resources are collected in one place is developed by Lingu@net project. Lingu@net World Wide is a multilingual, online resource centre for foreign language learning.

It provides information about, and links to diverse online resources from around the world relating to the learning and teaching of any modern foreign language.

Lingu@net World Wide is based on the idea that if you are learning or teaching a language you could be interested in relevant resources in any language you understand – not only the resources you can find by searching in your mother tongue.

This talk will explain the basic principles of the web site and its use for the teachers and learners.

Piotr Steinbrich

Pearson Longman

Speaking volumes, talking sense

For many, speaking is the most important skill of L2 competence. We rarely say things like Do you write in English? or She can understand three foreign languages. Therefore, developing speaking in learners should be central in the learning process. In this talk, we will look at what speaking in a language really amounts to, how speaking-in-the- classroom differs from real-life-speaking and what sub-competencies we need to develop in the learners so as to make their oral production a worthwhile experience.

Piotr Steinbrich

Pearson Longman

Aspects of Culture

Culture in ELT is viewed as an integral part of the syllabus that focuses on factual information or artistic achievements. In this talk we will go beyond those aspects and demonstrate that culture is in fact interwined with language at virtually any level. Along these lines, we will offer some activities that foster the development of culture competence as integral part of learners overall communicative proficiency.

Dace Miška

Oxford University Press

Oxford Reading Circles

Reading Circles is the award-winning formula for natural, enjoyable discussions in English that encourages students to interact based on a reading story. This workshop introduces Reading Circles, shows how reading circles work and how to use this approach in English classes to develop reading, listening and speaking skills.

Jeļena Jurčenko

Baltic International Academy

Culturally Competent Learner: Application of Intercultural Approach at Tertiary Level

Modern language learners need to develop intercultural communicative competence in order to successfully function in a culturally diverse society.

The speaker shares her experience of teaching ESP in bilingual environment to students majoring in culture and presents the ideas how to help students discover their own culture in relation to other cultures by creating students’ cross-cultural awareness.

Galina Taranina

Riga Anniņmuižas Secondary School

The Culture Shock intellectual game

Cross-cultural interaction is one of the fastest growing areas of language study. The ‘Culture Shock’ intellectual game is a good way to stimulate students’ interest and desire to learn English language through world culture.

The game successfully encompassed 3 qualities:

  • awareness of both own and others culturally-induced behaviour;
  • ability to explain one’s own cultural standpoint;
  • ability to understand foreign cultural standpoints.

Inna Pivovare

Riga Classical Gymnasium

Portfolio as a Tool of Self-Evaluation and Self-Assessment

The workshop will focus on the question how to use Portfolio assessment in process Portfolio which documents students’ growth over time toward a goal.

Much is spoken about design and development as well as the purpose and assessment criteria. The presenter will focus on advantages of Portfolio assessment to evaluate students’ performance; several self-evaluation forms are offered for observation.
During the workshop teachers will be able to visualize the students attitude towards Portfolio work (CD materials).

Craig Huxley

Express Publishing

Differentiated Instruction: Make the Difference in the Life of a Child!

When it comes to teaching, one size does not fit all. Every child is unique. It is imperative that schools foster every child’s individuality through differentiated instruction.

Differentiated instruction does not change what is taught, but how it is taught. Students should be provided with multiple pathways to learning the same content, and are thus given equal opportunities to acquire knowledge.

Toropova Daina

Riga English Grammar School

New Ways of Using Old-fashioned Dictation

You may remember dictations from your schooldays when the teacher read you the text, dictated it, and then read again so you could check through. The picture begins to change if you ask yourself:
Who gives the dictation and who to? Who controls the pace of the dictation? Who chooses or creates the text and the form? Who corrects it?

Karlīna – Anna Vīksna

AFS Latvia

The Impact of Intercultural Education on the Future of Young People

The concept of intercultural education has been around for quite a while however, the actual impact of long term intercultural experiences has not yet been fully recognised among the educators of young people. This workshop aims at gaining a deeper awareness of the opportunities, impact and research on the intercultural education.

Baiba Svenča and Inta Ozola

Aizkraukle Regional Gymnasium, Zaķumuiža Primary School

Opportunities for teacher training with the British Council online courses

“Primary Essentials” is an online teacher training course for primary school teachers of English who want to develop their teaching skills.
The course “Teaching English – Learning Technologies for the Classroom” teaches how to use WEB 2.0 resources (wiki, blog, podcast) and the social communication platforms (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc.), to create lesson plans using new web tools.

Beāte Kaupasa

Grammar School of Nordic Languages

Idioms, Multiple Intelligences and Different Learning Styles – What’s in Common?

Each of us learns and remembers things in a different way. There are students with different learning styles in every classroom and this is what teachers have to keep in mind to be successful.
During the workshop the audience will have an opportunity to be students learning English idioms using audial, visual and kinaesthetic approach. The workshop is based on H.Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory.

Robert Buckmaster

International House Riga

Being the best teacher you can be!
This presentation will present a simple framework for personal continuing professional development and then make practical suggestions in a number of areas [including teaching reading and writing, teaching articles and questions] which will immediately improve your teaching.

Rita Kursīte


Before the New School Year Starts…

Last year great changes were promised in the field of foreign language teaching, but in spring it turned out that our country still cannot afford introducing the 1st foreign language as a compulsory subject in Form 1. What are the possibilities, what kind of support and what in-service training courses are offered to the English language teachers by the National Centre for Education? The speaker will try to clarify the present situation and answer the questions of the listeners.