Annual Conference 2019

LATE’s 27th Annual Conference was held on the 22-23rd August at Riga Teika Secondary School, Aizkraukles iela 14, Riga, Latvia.

The conference was entitled: Competence Based Teaching and learning: Challenges and Opportunities

This was the next event in our series ‘Educating Today’s Learners for the 21st Century World: Competence-based Teaching and Learning’.

Read the Programme.

Keith Kelly (British Council)

Soft skills – a bridge between content CLIL and language CLIL

While many language teachers may not be able to offer a specialist content subject in English as a foreign language, they can teach language while developing skills which are useful for students to use in their content classrooms. This plenary will explore areas of the content curriculum which offer skills for teaching and learning language.

Keith Kelly (British Council)

Soft skills – a bridge between content CLIL and language CLIL

This workshop will examine a range of cross-curricular skills and explore the general academic language which accompanies these skills. These skills and language are useful for the language curriculum but are also essential for the content curriculum. Participants will carry out tasks as students, discuss them as teachers and take them home to try out in their own classrooms.

Lauren Anderson (U.S. State Department, English Language Fellow in Riga)

Using Content and Language Objectives in the classroom

In this session, participants will learn how to use the competencies/standards to create content objectives for the classroom. Teachers will use tools and references to break down the standards into clear goals: what do we want students to know and be able to do? What are the building blocks needed to help them achieve these goals? How will their skills transfer to other application? The content and language objectives focus the teacher’s lesson plans and become a daily part of the classroom. They provide the basis for formative assessment and give students ownership of their progress.

Lauren Anderson (U.S. State Department, English Language Fellow in Riga)

The Workshop Model and the Student-Centered Classroom

In this session, participants will explore the language workshop format. Teachers will use lesson templates that are designed to ensure a gradual release of responsibility and maximize the amount of time students spend listening, speaking, reading and writing in the target language. Teachers will plan to incorporate strategies such as writer’s workshop, book clubs, reader’s theater, inquiry circles, and class meetings. They will analyze rubrics designed to measure progress toward the standards based on process and product.

Lauren Anderson (U.S. State Department, English Language Fellow in Riga)

Developing Content Based Instruction Units with Technology

Participants will learn about the planning of content based units that allow students to practice 21st century skills. They will learn about planning for student projects and evaluating outcomes. Teachers will learn ways to access authentic documents in English to promote higher order thinking and communication skills.

Daniela Clarke (Macmillan)

Tradition or Innovation? Which way to go in the ELT classroom?

With new trends in ELT continually emerging, should we move away from the traditional teaching methods towards new teaching approaches? This talk will first elaborate on some of the most common challenges teachers face in the modern ELT classroom. I will then share some teaching ideas taken from a range of new approaches, and consider how these can help overcome the challenges outlined. Daniela Clarke is a teacher, teacher trainer and ELT writer. She has been involved in ELT for over 20 years, mainly in the UK and the Czech Republic. Her teaching experience ranges from young learners to adults of all language levels and competences, and her teacher training experience covers training on the Trinity Cert TESOL and Exam Assessors Courses. Daniela currently works as a teacher trainer and an ELT consultant, and presents regularly at ELT conferences in Central and Eastern Europe. She is especially interested in the theory of learning, motivational teaching strategies and tactile learning.

Daniela Clarke (Macmillan)

Energising Teens with Games, Music and Video

Have you run out of ways to keep your teenage learners motivated and engaged? This interactive talk offers ideas for using games, music and video in the ELT classroom. You will walk away with flexible activities up your sleeve that require little or no preparation, and can be integrated into day-to-day coursebook lessons.

Vita Kalnbērziņa (University of Latvia)

Development of the new secondary school curriculum: Optimal B2 Level versus Advanced level (C1), curriculum versus syllabus

Tatjana Kunda

State Examinations in English: Discussion of Results and Recommendations for Preparation

The session will provide an overview of the results of state examinations in English, focusing on strong and weak areas in candidates’ performance. It will also give an insight into the most essential aspects of assessment in Year 9 and Year 12.

Iveta Vitola (Pearson)

A Competence Based Approach to Teaching and Learning English

During this practical hands-on session we will look at the ways how to work with the 21st century learners to give them everything they need to achieve their goals in the wider world. In order for a learner to successfully learn and internalize the language skills, it is important to encounter each skill in a variety of contexts. We will look at different task types where the learner can explore the possibilities of use of any given language skill. Teachers will get a package of ideas for task types and activities to achieve the mastery of 4Cs, 6Cs and seven essential 21st century skills the new competence-based teaching curriculum requires.

Inguna Melne

60 days after

Some ideas what to do after the national exam to keep students interested and busy. Planning ahead, challenging students to be teachers and working on character development.

Rasma Mozere (University of Latvia)

Nurturing Transversal Skills in the Framework of Text and Context

Although for most of the English language teachers the importance of students’ vocabulary enrichment is a self-evident truth, it may be useful to view it in terms of the 21st century skills, transversal skills in particular. The competence in identifying and evaluating language use in context is a tool for anyone, student or professional, seeking to solve vocabulary issues and thus improving one’s English language proficiency in communication.

Madara Salmane

Project-based learning and communication skills

This workshop will provide an insight into how project-based learning can be used in the classroom to develop students’ ability to work in groups and use English for active communication during the lessons, not only for completing separate activities.

Lauris Puķīte (University of Latvia)


Writing is one of the main English language skills that the students in high school have to learn in order to use the language efficiently, as writing has an important part in the everyday life of most of the people, especially writing using modern technologies. The aim of the Diploma Paper was to examine how Google Docs word processor could be used to improve essay writing skills in Grade 10 and to provide practical suggestions on how to use Google Docs for essay writing. A case study was the chosen method of research; it was concluded that Google Docs are a promising tool for English essay writing that the students also approved.

Aļona Hamicka (University of Latvia)

Storytelling for Developing Intercultural Competence in English Lessons in Grade 2 in Hong Kong

The aim of the research was to explore the influence of storytelling on the development of learners’ intercultural competence in lower primary school in Hong Kong as well as give practical recommendations on how to include intercultural competence in English lessons. The research includes a case study involving 34 pupils and eight practical lessons as well as interviews and questionnaires from English teachers.

Tatjana Ginzburg (Express Publishing)

Implementing CLIL in a primary classroom

‘To CLIL or not to CLIL’ is no longer a question. The very fact that the acronym has become widely used by language teachers as a verb means CLIL is firmly in the educational mainstream. At the same time, there are still a number of concerns expressed by both content and language teachers. We will review the main components of CLIL, its principles as applicable to teaching young learners and see how those can be implemented by a language teacher.

Tatjana Ginzburg (Express Publishing)

Technology and learning in a language classroom: getting the balance right

Technology has been enthusiastically embraced by teachers and educational authorities worldwide. Although traditionally the first argument for using it is expectations of ‘digital natives’, it has numerous advantages: it facilitates autonomous learning, it offers immediate access to information, it is a life skill students will need. At the same time, as with any tool, there is danger in relying too much on it. Educators, psychologists, and parents have been expressing concerns about the effectiveness of technology in the classroom as well as the impact overuse of it has on students. We will be looking at some ways technology can be used as one of essential tools to enhance the learning and facilitate the teaching in a balanced way.

Daira Ruta Morusa

English and Technology Hand in Hand: Digital Tools for the ESL Classroom

Utilizing digital resources, students learn how to improve their digital competence while improving their English language skills. Furthermore, teachers can easily differentiate online activities and lessons to accommodate various student ability levels. This workshop will introduce English teachers to resources such as Quizlet, TED-Ed, Randall’s ESL, and others. These sites offer students opportunities to improve vocabulary, listening, grammar, and reading.

Sandra Kalniņa (University of Latvia)

Critical Thinking and Competence Based Teaching and Learning

The presentation will focus on the necessity of developing critical thinking skills. It will be an attempt to link together Competence based teaching and learning, critical thinking and media literacy. Active participation is expected.

Ieva Jansone-Pīlāce (Wattsenglish Baltic)

How to teach English to children of Z generation

Wow! Materials are changing the way in which language is taught to children of pre-school age and in the first few years of primary school. They draw on the very latest psycholinguistic knowledge and are tried and trusted all over the world.
The method introduces, practises and consolidates new knowledge and skills through experience-based learning and emotional memory and motivates children learning through games and activities which are closely related to the way children learn their native language.

Iryna Lebid (Uman College of Education and Humanities- Ukraine)

Let’s Teach Outside the box!

Teaching and learning competencies are impossible without developing creative and critical thinking in the 21st century. And the best ground for them is literature, music and art which touch our souls, arouse empathy and light the spark of curiosity! What is more: don’t forget about humour in your classroom! Join the session and try everything yourselves!

Rita Skara Mincāne and Inta Augustāne

Watch and Use!

We will share our experience of using popular TV shows in our English lessons in secondary school. We will demonstrate hands-on activities and discuss how they can be integrated not only to improve language skills, but also the 21st century skills.

Irina Surkova

Use of Technology for Learning

Technology is a powerful tool for promoting and supporting all 21st Century Competencies. To realize the potential of technology in the classroom, it is important to distinguish between learning to use technology, and using technology FOR learning. The most important thing to remember about using technology for learning is that the technology itself must be in the hands of students.

Janis Zeimanis (Riga State Gymnasium Nr 1)

Writing for the Year 12 Exam

Writing as one of the core components of the Year 12 exam annually ranks among the skills with the greatest challenge for the students. This session will focus on the most common pitfalls in exam tasks and will provide some tips how to help them score higher.