Annual Conference 2018

LATE’s Annual Conference was held on the 23rd and 24th August 2018 at Riga State Gymnasium No 1, Raina Bulvaris 8.

The Conference Title was: Educating Today’s Learners for the 21st Century World: Competence-based Teaching and Learning.

Read the Programme.

Prof. Vita Kalnbērziņa, University of Latvia

Using Literature and Films in Language Testing: lessons from the State English language Olympiad

The paper will examine the papers developed for the student assessment of the English language Olympiad in 2018, compare the written student performance levels and collect feedback on the teacher reaction to the materials presented.

Tatiana Ginzburg, Express Publishing

Myths and Challenges of the 21st Century Teaching and Learning

With the current pace of change in knowledge creation, technology, and labour market, there is an increasing pressure globally to reform education. Various opinions have been voiced on how different learners of the 21st century are from those of the old, and the 21st Century Learning paradigm has been enthusiastically embraced as the guiding framework. We will look at some of the beliefs about today’s learners and teachers as well as some popular misconceptions about the framework among classroom teachers revealed by the survey in 2017.

Tatiana Ginzburg, Express Publishing

Skills for the 21st Century Primary Students

A foreign language class has always been more than just about vocabulary and grammar, but never more so than today. Balancing thorough developmwent of skills with the 4Cs (Cooperation, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity) and ethical/value education while providing age-appropriate content is a real challenge. We will see how it is addressed in I Wonder – a new primary series by Express Publishing.

Dace Miška, Oxford University Press

Classroom Resources for 21st Century Skills from Oxford in 2018

The presentation will give an insight into latest Oxford University Press resources for supplementing coursebooks with 21st Century skills practice.

Dace Miška, Oxford University Press

4 Cs of Competence-based Teaching

In this workshop participants will look at 4 Cs of the 21st Century Skills (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity) from the Teacher’s perspective and will have hands-on practice with adapting traditional exercises for competence-based learning situations. Attention! Active participation from participants will be required.

Robert Buckmaster, Buckmaster Consulting, LATE

Report on the British Council Summer School

This presentation will report on what happened at the British Council Summer School “Coping with Competences” held on the 15 – 18 August at Priekuli Technical School.

Irina Surkova, Riga Secondary School No 34

Incorporating 21st Century Skills into Classrooms

This workshop is prepared for teachers who are wondering how they can incorporate teaching of 21st century skills into their classrooms. Common skills to most classifications of the 21st century skills are distinguished: collaboration, skilled communication, real-world problem solving and innovation, knowledge construction, self-regulation, use of technology for learning. It is also demonstrated how they can be elevated to higher levels of competence. One of the skills is chosen to show how to plan instruction that includes opportunities for students to practice such a skill, as well as an evaluation guide. Learning activities are offered for teachers to train the skill and, then, reflection questions and activities on how they can create their own activities and incorporate their knowledge into the classroom.

Phil Warwick, Pearson

How do we bring authenticity to a world full of screenagers?

When nearly everyone is a digital resident, spending an increasing amount of time living in a virtual world it can be both challenging and frustrating trying to engage our students with 20th century approaches to English language teaching. In this session we’ll look at what authenticity really means in terms of teaching methodology and how to practically incorporate it into our lessons to make them more relevant and motivating to today’s teenagers.

Phil Warwick, Pearson

Bringing the course book to life

Students bring their own learner styles and motivation into the classroom and quite often there isn’t a smooth fit between what’s on page 24 and who’s in room 3. We need to create an environment that encourages engagement and creates contexts that get the communication bubbling and stimulate collaboration, this isn’t so easy when there’s a range of ability in the classroom and they’re all using the same course book. With these points in mind it is obvious that we need to be selective and adaptive with the material and use it creatively to fit the needs of our learners. This session will look at some simple tasks and activities that will allow us to do exactly that.

Inna Burova, Riga Classical Gymnasium

Cooperative approaches to increase students’ autonomy and critical thinking

In language learning, students develop not only language skills, but also other competences, which are necessary in real life. Cooperative structures help students to develop independence, leadership, ability to share the responsibilities and critical thinking. The workshop is going to show the concrete examples of cooperative structures. It is all going to be about how to make students participate, involve and think.

Liene Zvirbule-Jankova, King’s College British School of Latvia

Practical examples of American and British education systems

My workshop will contain practical examples and ideas for teaching and learning in the 21th century. These methods are acknowledged and used in American and British education systems.

Robert Buckmaster, Buckmaster Consulting, LATE

Coping with Competencies Panel Discussion

A panel discussion on how to cope with the new curriculum. The panel will answer questions from the audience about how to best implement the new curriculum.

Nadežda Polianoviča, Riga Classical Gymnasium

Investigating vocabulary learning strategies

Vocabulary knowledge is one of the key factors influencing foreign language learning and acquisition and can either facilitate or slowdown the development of the four language skills. The aim of the workshop is to review various vocabulary learning strategies and to discuss how and why to do Action Research in teaching. Participants of the workshop will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the ECML project “Action research communities for language teachers” and join the ECML project group “Investigating vocabulary learning strategies”.

Irina Grinevska and Marina Barbašina, Riga Secondary School 34

Metacognition and Learning

Metacognition is a useful mechanism to enhance student learning, both for immediate outcomes and for helping students to understand their own learning processes. The interactive workshop will explore metacognition strategies in EFL classroom.

Rita Skara-Mincane and Inta Augustane, Valmiera State Gymnasium, Riga State Gymnasium No.3

Cooperate and Participate!

The workshop will deal with trends in environmental education in English lessons.
We will share our experience offering activities to raise discussion on civic education issues as well nature protection.

Alexander Sokol, TA Group

Thinking as a Key Competence in the 21st Century World

Thinking is reflected as a core competence in the new Latvian curriculum. Each teacher of English is expected to contribute to the development of learners’ thinking. What does it actually mean? Is it enough to just continue using “modern” materials that claim to cater for all possible requirements of the 21st century world or are there gaps publishers are unlikely to seal? And if it is the latter, what can a teacher do?

Alexander Sokol, TA Group

How does it feel to be a student in the thinking classroom?

Come and experience what a thinking classroom looks like when you are a learner. This hands-on workshop will put you in the learner’s shoes and help you make a decision on the amount of thinking you would like to bring to your classes.

Alexander Sokol, TA Group

Thinking in the classroom: show me what I can do!

A thinking classroom is extremely interesting but also rather challenging for both the teacher and the learners. Please come if you really believe in thinking and are ready to make an effort. You will look at various materials for the development of thinking, get advice on where and how you can start and learn about the options for further professional development in the field.

Robert Buckmaster, Buckmaster Consulting

Writing: Still a Key Competency in the 21st Century

The aim of this workshop is to consider writing, from letters to words, to collocations, to sentences, to paragraphs and complete texts.

Participants will consider how to better teach writing and the options for giving feedback.

Sylvie Dolakova

English with Dyslexic Children

Can we help dyslexic children in lessons of English? Yes, if we start long before they are diagnosed with dyslexia! In this workshop we will define some of the problems and introduce a range of activities suitable for the children. Pre-reading techniques, game-like activities that promote better reading and writing skills, and memory games designed for children aged 5 – 10.

Jeff Grīnvalds, Riga State Gymnasium No 2

Teaching English in Latvia: What I Learned

After teaching English at various institutions, I want to reflect and share what I have learned about Latvian students and their strengths and weaknesses. I will reflect on methods of teaching that have worked for me with the hopes that others can take away new ideas for their classrooms.

Rita Kursīte and Ināra Dimpere, VISC

The new foreign language curriculum and subject programs – changes in the documents that have taken place since the previous LATE conference and our future perspectives

The presentation will explain why and what changes have been made in the curriculum and how, if and when they will influence the English language teachers’ work in future. It will also give an insight into the role of the European language portfolio in the implementation of the new curriculum.

Sarah Ellis, Examinations Expert, Cambridge Assessment English

Digital resources for teachers and learners

The session will provide a quick overview of some of the free resources available for both teachers and learners on the Cambridge English website. It will introduce the Cambridge English digital framework for language teachers and have a look at some of the free resources and training materials available to help teachers develop digital competencies and more confidence in using digital tools in and out of the classroom.

Ināra Dimpere, VISC

Developing Self-Regulated Learners

Recently, the focus in education has been shifted from WHAT schoolchildren learn to HOW they learn. The aim of the workshop is to prepare to teach cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies and reflection thus developing self-regulated learners. The participants will try out think-aloud modelling and various reflection tools.

Lidija Mitrofanova, Tatjana Kunda, VISC

State exam in English – discussion of results and recommendations for preparation

  1. Results of the centralised exam in English 2018
    Analysis of exam results in reading, listening, language use, writing and speaking. The presentation will focus on strong and weak areas in candidates’ performances.
  2. Preparing for an exam in English 2019
    Preparing for an exam can be stressful and time-consuming, but it does not have to be. What are the best and worst ways to prepare for an exam? Knowing how to properly prepare by doing a couple of simple things ahead of time, students can ensure that they are confident and ready for anything that comes up on the test.
  3. Assessing Writing Performance
    The presentation will focus on useful tips on how to increase band score by fulfilling the requirements of the marking criteria. What are essays actually designed to test?
  4. Assessing Speaking Performance
    Marking the full speaking construct is subjective and more complicated than making ‘right-wrong’ decisions. In this part of the presentation we will concentrate on a number of questions. What components of the spoken performance are measured? What level is each test-taker expected to achieve? How can speaking assessment scale be used during classroom speaking practice? What feedback did we receive from interviewers, assessors and test-takers?