Annual Conference 2012

The 2012 annual conference “BACK TO THE FUTURE: ELT PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE” was held on August 23-24, 2012 at the Humanities Faculty – English Studies Department – Visvalžu iela 4.

This was LATE’s 20th Annual Conference and the 12th Baltic IATEFL Conference.

The Conference attracted over 200 English teaching professionals from all over the world.

The Conference was a first for LATE as, thanks to the British Council Latvia, plenary sessions were streamed live through the Teaching English website. The videos are now available on-line on the British Council Latvia YouTube channel.

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

Back to the Future: ELT Past, Present and Future

Solveiga Ozoliņa of the University of Latvia opened the conference with a fascinating overview of foreign language teaching in Latvia. There followed a wealth of interesting and informative presentations and workshops on a huge range of topics.

Some of the highlights included Graham Stanley talking about innovations in language learning spaces, Philip Kerr talking about translation, Piotr Steinbrich considering challenging teenagers, George Pappas giving ten practical rules for the primary classroom, Zoltan Rezmuves discussing the building blocks of English and Mary Spratt outlining Cambridge’s new teacher development resources.

At the reception Silvija Andernovics was honoured for her outstanding achievement in developing LATE over 20 years and she announced that this year would be her last year as President.

Many thanks must go to the LATE Board and other volunteers who made the conference so successful, to Sandra Prince [British Council], Andrzej Raczowski [Cambridge University Press], Dace Miška [Oxford University Press]; Nick Goode [Macmillan]; Iveta Vitola [Pearson Longman] and Tatiana Ginzburg [Express Publishing] for bringing in such interesting speakers and all our other presenters and of course to all our members.

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


British Council


The 21st century has brought a revolution in the way people can and want to teach and learn languages. Much of this has revolved around the spaces where people choose to learn. I’ll be looking at some of these new learning spaces, from street corners to mobiles, through connected classrooms to virtual worlds.




Vocabulary is essential for communication. You can learn about structure and functions but without the building blocks of a language (the words), you cannot express your ideas. What does it mean to know a word? We explore how vocabulary is presented, what students really need to know and how we can help guide them to achieving a more versatile and useable vocabulary.




For many years, the use of L1 in language teaching was proscribed by methodologists, whilst many teachers continued to use it. Now, there is an academic consensus supporting the use of L1 in the classroom. I will begin with an overview of the arguments for using L1 in language teaching and then look at a range of activities involving translation.




Cambridge University Press has recently produced a series of new materials for teacher development. These practical materials are book or web-based, lead to international certificates and offer teachers a wide range of choice of areas, time commitment and methods for development.

This workshop introduces these materials and gives participants a chance to work with them and evaluate them hands on.

Piotr Steinbrich



In this presentation we will look at how teenagers engage themselves in the learning process. We will be particularly interested in the cognitive processes that take place in the learner’s mind. We will look at such issues as multitasking, incidental learning or gestalt reading. I will illustrate these points with a number of practical ideas taken from various coursebooks for teenagers.


Express Publishing


As the world seems to get smaller and the working environment increasingly international, English for Specific Purposes is becoming increasingly popular. In this session we will define what this term really means; what we should be focusing on in the classroom; and generally what we need to know about the subject.

Iveta Vītola, Kārlis Steģis


Exploring Technologies for Language Learning

During this workshop we will look at variety of technological possibilities and psychological aspects of using technology in the classroom. We will demonstrate how you can work with MyEnglishLab – an online resource containing practice exercises, automatic grading and instant feedback – all that leads to enriched learning, informed teaching and flexible solutions.


Express Publishing


In this session we shall focus on how to put theory into practice. Using the structure of a standard lesson, we will attempt to define what is considered “good” practice methodologically and demonstrate how to ground this practically in the world of everyday primary teaching.

Baiba Svenča

Aizkraukle Regional Gymnasium

Microsoft Tools and Their Application in Teaching

We all use Microsoft software but are we aware of the vast range of possibilities how it can be used to digitalize teaching? The presenter will touch upon One Note, Lync, Photosynth, Auto Collage, Mouse Mischief, Kinect and some other tools which, when used smartly by the teacher, can add considerably to the productivity of the learning process.




In this presentation we will look at how to tailor our teaching to the learners’ mixed levels, how to cater for different intelligence types or how to build flexibility into a lesson. Recent research shows that when learners are given choice, their learning improves. We will see how choice can be incorporated into the learning programme, first at the level of language, then at the skills plateau.




Cambridge English Teacher is run by two departments of the University of Cambridge with many years of experience and expertise in education and teacher development: Cambridge University Press and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. It offers you opportunities to develop your skills and connect with other teachers and experts in English language teaching, wherever you are in the world. Join us for an interactive workshop to find out how you can develop as a professional in a lively and accessible way.


Express Publishing


Affective factors have a significant influence on language learning and attention to affect can mark the difference between a successful and unsuccessful learning experience. CEF includes ‘existential competence’ which refers to affective factors and specifically mentions self-esteem and self-confidence. In this talk we will look at the ways to promote self-esteem and self-confidence while developing language and exam-taking skills.



Straightforward 2nd Edition Teaching made simple

In this session we will take a look at the new edition of Straightforward which has built a reputation on its pick-up-and-use practicality and reliability. Much of the content has been updated and made more relevant for today’s students and teaching methods. We will look at the ways teachers and students can use the new online component Straightforward Practice Online.


Express Publishing


Using readers in the ELT classroom exposes students to authentic material and expands language awareness. Literature encourages interaction, as the texts can be effectively exploited for discussions and sharing feelings or opinions. The use of classroom readers also serves to educate the whole person by examining values and attitudes in literary texts which relate to the world outside the classroom.



Training for successful presentations

This talk looks at how to prepare students for presenting by considering all the stages- before, during and after their presentations and supporting both language and skills development that students need to deliver presentations in English.

Larisa Gončarova

Baltic International Academy

Designing Materials for ESP

The aim of the presentation is to demonstrate how a challenge in teaching ESP – the lack of specific teaching and learning materials – may be approached. The presenter teaches ESP for the students of psychology and would like to show her ways of designing materials and creating tasks through which the aims of the course are realized.

Piotr Steinbrich



Teachers preparing their learners for various language examinations are often faced with all kinds of dilemmas. Probably the most vital decision one has to make is to strike the balance between language- and exam-orientated tasks. In this talk we will show that in fact one doesn’t have to exclude the other and that exam preparation can go hand in hand with language development.



Writing with young learners

This session will provide you with practical activities and ideas for writing in the EFL classroom with primary students. The talk will you through the writing process, will look at some writing principles and examine how they are put into practice in order to teach and engage promary children to write more effectively and autonomously.

Gordon Poad and Krista Burane

Cap-a-Pie Associates Ltd

Dramatic Enquiry -Theatre, Role and Thinking across the Curriculum

In what ways can Drama help to develop the learning and thinking habits needed to thrive in changing times? Drama, used in combination with the Philosophy for Children approach can offer teachers an engaging learning strategy that can be deployed across the curriculum. Gordon Poad and Krista Burane share theory and demonstrate practice developed through a recent partnership project.

Ginta Makulēna

Riga State Gymnasium No.3

‘Memory Is The Diary That We All Carry About With Us’ (Oscar Wilde)

The question is – how to escape cramming by heart new vocabulary items, dialogues, texts instead of it using a large variety of practical exercises which can help you improve memory. Why encoding should be done with ease? What is a working memory capacity? Test and practice memory span!

Baiba Kačanova

Liepāja Raiņa Secondary School No 6

Teaching English Today and About 100 Years Ago

In the presentation I am going to introduce teachers with the situation in English teaching in Latvia about 100 years ago. There will be given an insight in the situation of that time and the ideas people believed in and how it might be connected with nowadays and what might be useful for teaching English now.

Natalja Gorohova


Boardroom to Classroom: Lessons From Design Thinking

I will give the revised version of my IATEFL Conference 2012 presentation. As an MBA and a Business English teacher, I will focus on how General English teachers can use the latest business thinking to make their classes more engaging. In particular, I will address modern Creative Thinking and Design Thinking methods and show practical applications of these in ELT.


British Council

Gamify Your Classroom

Gamification is using game design techniques and game thinking to enhance non-game contexts. Used well, it can make the classroom more engaging for learners. In this workshop, I’ll be looking at some practical ways teachers of young learners, teenagers, and adults can use gamification, with or without technology, to spice up their classes.

Rita Skara-Mincāne

University of Latvia

Meet Crazy Animals and Other Activities for Your Young Learners

Games have always held a unique place in children’s learning. The workshop will give the participants the opportunity to explore traditional and modern games used for teaching English to young learners. Besides discussing the benefits and challenges of using games in lessons, the workshop will give the participants the chance to browse the pages of the booklet Crazy animals and other activities for teaching young learners published by British Council.

Plenary Panel Discussion

Moderated by Indra Odiņa

University of Latvia

Findings of Practising Teachers’ Research

Plenary panel discussion will provide an opportunity to hear about practising teachers’: Liene Lāce, Sidija Kalnciema, Irina Klišāne, Olga Krukovska, Jūlija Sergijenko and Margarita Ščadrina research. Panel discussion will help the audience further clarify and evaluate their positions regarding specific issues or topics being discussed and increase their understanding of the positions of others.

Jelena Miloš

Riga Secondary School No 95

Rea Vovere

Jaunjelgava Secondary School

Online Videos and Songs in Teaching Listening to Secondary School Students

The workshop consists of two parts presented by two teachers of English who have researched these themes in their Diploma Papers for graduating from the University of Latvia in 2012.

The authors will share their experience by demonstrating practical ideas on using online videos and songs in EFL lessons as a source of authentic English which improves students’ listening skills.

Lilita Rubīne

Riga Children’s Palace Language School

Combining Learning and Playing in the Primary English Classroom

Using drama activities and play provides a meaningful learning of the foreign language involving the emotional experience of the young learners as well as their whole bodies. The presentation contains dissemination of some hands-on activities from the Comeniuss-Grundtvig course “Let’s teach by playing in Ely, England 2012” appropriate for the primary English classroom.

Inguna Melne

Riga Waldorfscholl, University of Latvia,
SIA “LittleMore”

Dare Your Creativity! Start From Scratch!

Nowadays a lot of ideas can be found on the internet as well several ways of teaching are provided in the course books. What about reserves boiling inside the teachers? Is everything brought out? It’s time to build up our creativity folders from scratch with the first grade and store all the ideas one has had in mind.

Philip Kerr

Macmillan Education

The Wonderful World of Word Associations

Research into how words are organized in the brain provides useful insights into how we could approach the teaching of vocabulary. Drawing on this research, I will suggest a range of activities for practice and recycling activities. These fun and communicative activities require zero or minimal preparation and can be used with any set of words.

Nellija Eglite, Kristine Politere

NAF Language School

Movement in Language Learning

For the past couple of years we have been incorporating regular teaching materials with active physical movement. Practice made it clear that any learning material can go hand in hand with movement.
We are willing to present ready-to-take material and ideas-a new look to teach all four skills by movement.

Rita Kursīte, VISC

Natalja Gorohova, Freelance

Silvija Andernovics, LATE

Glimpses from ITEFL Glasgow 2012

Three representatives of Latvia will share their impressions of the conference each from their own perspective – a presenter, a participant and an organiser. You will get a deeper insight into the conference days through some videos and photos.

Ina Evardsone

Riga State Gymnasium No.1

Gunta Krīgere

[Aizkraukle District Primary School]

What Does CLIL e-course Offer to Teachers?

Workshop will offer participation in a CLIL lesson. It will give short insight into possibilities CLIL offers to learners and teachers from the point of view of a subject and a language teacher.
We will tell about the e- course prepared by British Council and share our experience.

Solveiga Ozoliņa

University of Latvia

An Overview of Foreign Language Teaching in Latvia (1919-1990)

The presentation deals with foreign language teacher training problems at different periods of history of Latvia, prevailing methods of teaching, some issues of text book writing and materials design. The author’s findings are based on the study of archive materials, textbook analysis and interviews with teachers and learners of different generations.

Gaida Haritone

Zvejniekciems Secondary School

Gunta Krūmiņa

Riga Jugla Secondary School

Iveta Vītola


The Primary Language Classroom – Challenges and Solutions

During this workshop we will equip you with ideas and practical teaching tips how to make learning English an enjoyable experience not only for teachers and students but also for their parents. Teachers with experience in teaching YL will share their ideas how students can absorb language through action, games, songs and stories and introduce the online support material prepared for teachers and guidelines for parents.

Vita Kalnbērziņa

University of Latvia

Perils and Pleasures of the Use of Media in Language Teaching

The most popular medium of language teaching has long been the written medium: we all use books, we expect pour students to read and write, the spoken medium is often a challenge, as recordings and presentations take time to prepare and depend on different technical devices. Lately we have had to add visual media and social media to our array of language teaching tools. This has brought both enjoyment and new challenges, which will be discussed during the workshop.

Rasma Mozere

University of Latvia

Grammar Problems Solved!

Something new has come to make teaching and learning grammar more engaging – MyGrammarLab! Working in a group or individually, each learner has an opportunity now to practise grammar in the way that best suits their needs through a unique blend of book, online and mobile resources, providing as much practice as necessary to ensure that each grammar point is learnt and appropriately used in the context of real communication.

Robert Buckmaster

International House Riga

Adding Value to the Learning Experience

What is the teacher’s role in the classroom? How does the teacher best contribute to the learning encounter? Often a teacher ends up ‘teaching the materials’. This talk will show how a teacher can plan a lesson and make the teacher-students – learning material interaction learning-centred rather than teacher or materials centred. The talk will be illustrated by real-life examples of how to use materials more effectively.


Public Service Language Centre


Development of sustainable environment for language learning within the lifelong learning framework is of the utmost importance for individual growth and society on the whole. Thus, the terms: “multilingualism”, “Common European Framework of Reference”, “synchronization of language acquisition levels” and “effective cross-border communication” have gained importance in our society.

Project “EU- Everyplace” tackles the much needed issue of cross-border communication and teaching of Less Widely Used and Widely Taught Languages (LWULT) in a 40 lesson module which is organized on an interactive ICT platform, but can be also used independently by learners and teachers.

The pattern can be well taken for learning and teaching any language in a quick manner for the purposes of multilingual communication to reduce the barriers at the cross-cultural issue level.

Indra Odiņa, Rita Skara-Mincane

University of Latvia

Are We Ready for Online Courses?

The experience of conducting and participating at online British Council English Global products: TeachingEnglish – TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) Essentials and TeachingEnglish – Primary Essentials will be shared.
The online versions can more readily cater for dispersed audiences or groups of participants with widely varying time commitments who cannot easily meet face-to-face. The participants interact with each other and are led by an online tutor who moderates discussions and develops learning points, etc., but there are also several challenges to face.