Annual Conference 2023

LATE’s Annual Conference 2023 “Empowerment through Teaching and Learning” was held on 24th-25th August at Riga State Classical Gymnasium, 38 Purvciema Street, Riga.

Conference Programme

You can download the conference programme here.

Paul Brummel CMG, British Ambassador, Inga Linde, LATE President and Zane Matesoviča, Director British Council Latvia

Speakers and Abstracts

Elizabeth Beer, Pearson, Helping our students succeed with Future Skills

In an ever-changing world marked by a rise in sophisticated technology, teachers must equip their students for life’s journey not only with language, but also with Future Skills. But, what are Future Skills, and how can we introduce them to our English lessons? In this interactive session, we will answer these two questions, by providing practical examples and classroom activities.

George Kokolas, Express Publishing Positive Education for beginners

Laima Takere, Riga Secondary School No 49/LATE, The Highlights of IATEFL conference (April 17-22, 2023)

What is IATEFL? The main highlights of the conference. The key issues discussed in the world in this year about teaching and learning English, some practical tips to use in lessons.

Anita Auziņa, University of Latvia, Excellence Is a Habit

The aim of this talk is to encourage English language teachers to create a well-grounded picture of their teaching competence and experience, and motivation to develop professionally as a teacher in close and active cooperation with students, other subject teachers, working life and other stakeholders. It is also an invitation to apply for the Excellence in Teaching in the English Language Award “Ekselences balva 2023” organised by the University of Latvia, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art and the Latvian Association of Teachers of English.

Dace Miška, Oxford University Press, Using Graded Readers for Extensive Reading

Graded readers are designed to provide vital support to learners, enabling them to receive the benefits of extensive reading. This session explores some practical considerations of using graded readers and introduces some tips and activities to develop good reading habits.

Sandra Kalniņa, University of Latvia, Reading Nests – Opportunity for Literacy Development

This presentation will look at the Reading Nest as a physical and mental environment and describe activities and experiences gained from organizing the work of Reading Nests. The presentation is based on the Reading Nest project which aimed at creating, developing and investigating inspiring supportive reading environments in cooperation of teachers’ teams in Estonia, Finland and Latvia during 2021 – 2023.

Madara Vīre, Valmiera State Gymnasium, Desuggestopedia Activities to Reduce Students’ Speaking Anxiety in Form 8 English Lessons

The aim of my bachelor’s Paper was to examine if Desuggestopedia activities are effective in the reduction of Form 8 students’ foreign language speaking anxiety. The author worked closely with these students and observed their reluctance to speak English during lessons for two years.

Elizabete Oldermane, Cesis City Secondary School, Differentiated Instruction in a Mixed-Ability Classroom to Improve Grade 4 Students’ English Writing Skills

As schools are becoming more inclusive, every classroom is becoming more mixed-ability, and teachers need to find ways to adapt to each student’s needs. In my experience, learning writing skills is the most difficult for students. Therefore, the aim of my research is to investigate the impact of differentiation on the improvement of students’ writing skills in a mixed-ability classroom.

Emīlija Jaunbirze, Riga State Gymnasium No. 3, Extensive Reading for Enriching Students’ English Vocabulary in Grade 10

Vocabulary is the foundation of language, but students often lack the vocabulary to express their opinions; extensive reading is a possible solution to this problem. Implementing extensive reading in English language lessons provides multiple benefits for the students which are described in my bachelor’s thesis.

Gabriela Ozoliņa, Riga State German Grammar School (German teacher), Enhancing Students’ Speaking Skills through Debates in German as a Foreign Language Lessons in Grade 9

In my bachelors’ thesis I studied the need to prepare grade 9 students for the new form of the state exam that is similar to a debate. The presentation contains information about the use of various debate elements in German lessons that can help improve specific aspects of speaking skills.

Robert Buckmaster, Buckmaster Consulting/LATE, Ten Perennial Problems and their (possible) Solutions

In this talk I will discuss ten problems which always seem to be with us and suggest possible solutions for each one.

Tatjana Kunda, National Centre for Education (VISC), State Examinations in English 2022/2023: Discussion of Results

During the presentation we will focus on the results of Year 9 and Higher Level examinations in English. What lessons can be learned? How can we help our students prepare for these exams?

Beāte Kaupasa and Daiga Brasliņa, Grammar School of Nordic Languages, “To be or not to be?”

Sharing duties makes teachers’ work easier. We will share our experience of teaching an English advanced level course as a team, sharing themes and groups. We will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of such team work and draw conclusions after the experimental year and share ideas for the next school year.

Ivars Dominiks Zeps, Sigulda State Gymnasium, Self-directed learning in development of speaking skills for high school students

I will discuss the year-long pilot of my self-directed speaking skills improvement project carried out with Year 11 and Year 12 students, providing tools to prepare for examination monologues. The main topics are how to implement self-directed learning in high school classroom, applying it to speaking skills and my victories and failures in the process. My materials will also be freely available.

Noora Mahmassani, Liepaja University, English Language Fellow Program U.S. Embassy in Latvia, Teaching for Tolerance: Strategies for Multicultural Classrooms

Working with multicultural and international audiences requires excellent cross-cultural competencies from the instructor and from learners alike. This workshop will focus on how strategies from the field of second language learning can be applied to diverse groups to encourage tolerant, peaceful, and open dialogue. Participants will receive practical tools for the successful facilitation of group work, discussions, and classroom teaching with diverse audiences to enhance their overall job satisfaction, productivity, and ability to positively impact students’ lives.

Rita Skara-Mincane, Valmiera State Gymnasium, Inta Augustane, Riga State Gymnasium No 3, The Engage Study Activate Method in English Lessons

We will share our experience of using the Engage Study Activate method of sequencing activities in our EFL lessons. We will demonstrate easy-to-use and even easier to adapt activities to motivate students to participate and learn modern languages. Participants will experience some traditional tasks which we have tried to modernize by encouraging playing with words, chunks of language and videos. 

Yuliia Horbachova, Valmiera Pārgauja Primary School, A Happy Mindset in Teaching

I will consider some important factors that affect our life and the level of happiness. I will look at how to help kids staying more positive, focused and involved and how to use mindfulness approaches in teaching as a way of better understanding ourselves.

Diana Bolgare, “Freelance “Diana’s Language Coaching”, How to Become a Poet during Your English Drama Class

This workshop teaches you how to use simple and powerful techniques to unfold your students’ creative potential during your English Drama Classes. We will do the “5 Words in Shade and Light” exercise and use the acronym technique to unlock one’s Inner Poet.

Inguna Melne, Riga State Gymnasium No 1, If they can – we can

In this era of change, teachers are afraid of AI, but students appreciate it. Chat GPT chat is a tool that students would like to use in almost every assignment, and questions arise as to how useful it is and whether we should fight it. In this workshop we will discuss how teachers can use it to prepare for lessons and reduce preparation time.

Noora Mahmassani Liepaja University, English Language Fellow Program U.S. Embassy in Latvia, Positioning Learners as Knowers Using Information Gap Activities

This session will demonstrate how to empower your students to use their growing English language abilities as a vehicle for collaborative problem-solving. Participants will gain hands-on experience using a range of text, picture, and game-based information gap activities where students possess the knowledge and information their classmates need for success.

Robert Buckmaster, Buckmaster Consulting/LATE,The English Noun Phrase

In this workshop we will explore the English noun phrase and look at some tasks we can do with our students to help them understand the complexities of the noun phrase and use it effectively.

Jennifer Uhler, Regional English Language Officer, U.S. Embassy Tallinn, From Deep Fake to Deep Learning: Media Literacy in ELT

Moving our students from deep fakes to deep learning is urgent for success in learning and in life. Visual literacy, digital literacy, and media literacy are essentially critical thinking skills that can easily be woven into primary and secondary school English language teaching classrooms with little to no preparation. This presentation will provide an overview of a year-long Media Literacy for Educators Program for 100 English teachers from Poland and the Baltics and share outcomes of teacher learning, including easy-to-use tools for integrating technical and media literacies into primary and secondary school English lessons, free online resources for teachers, and insights from these regional – and local Latvian – communities of practice.