Saturday, 9 July 2016

Engage, Enhance, and Energize - Sharing info and links from ETAI's 7th International Conference

At the beginning of July, I had the pleasure of attending the 7th International ETAI (English Teachers’ Association of Israel) Conference in Ashkelon.  

To be honest, I was a little concerned that the content of the conference sessions would be directed towards school teachers, therefore not relevant to my online teaching. However, when I discovered that Marjorie Rosenberg was one of the plenary speakers, I renewed my membership and registered. The conference slogan was ‘Engage, Enhance, Energize', and it successfully delivered all three E’s.  I came away inspired and motivated. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from some amazing educators and participate in an excellent international conference.

In this post, I'll write a few words about the sessions that I attended and share useful links related to the speakers, their work, and further information about the content of their talks.

Andy Curtis - President of TESOL International

Enhancing Effectiveness Through Contextualization

Andy’s keynote talk was thought-provoking and inspiring. He spoke about the importance of context in teaching.  He made the case that where we do what we do is at least as important as - and possibly even more important than - who does what to whom, in the language classroom. Andy is a wonderful speaker and a natural-born anthropologist.

Related links:  

Penny Ur OBE - Retired English teacher, teacher trainer, author and ELT guru

Enhancing Language Learning: The Primary Goal

In Penny’s plenary, she shared valuable insight into the art of effective language teaching in schools. Her advice was clear and understandable, informative and extremely down to earth.  She challenged many of the traditional myths concerning classroom teaching techniques, like the effectiveness of group work, and checking homework in the classroom.

Related links:

Hugh Dellar - Teacher, teacher trainer and author

Making the Leap from Grammar to Lexis

Hugh gave a hilarious and brilliant plenary about the importance of teaching 'lexically'. He suggested a number of practical ways to successfully teach lexis and gave many examples of why traditional teaching methods don't work. It was an inspiring and entertaining session.

Related links:

Hugh Dellar - Teacher, teacher trainer and author

Language-focused teacher development

Hugh’s keynote talk focused on how teachers need to develop their language awareness on an ongoing basis, in order to effectively respond to students' language needs in the moment.  I found Hugh's sessions particularly relevant to my style and method of teaching. I came away feeling confident about what I’m doing in my online classes, and motivated to continue developing my materials and lessons to teach students 'lexically'.

Related links: (Test your awareness of word frequency)

Dorothy Zemach - Author, publisher, and teacher trainer

Teaching Study Skills

A superb session looking at the importance of teaching students how to study. Dorothy demonstrated useful techniques for teaching and practicing academic study skills. This should be an obligatory workshop for all teachers and parents.  

Related links:

Marjorie Rosenberg - IATEFL President, teacher, teacher trainer and author

Engaging and Fun Business English Activities

I thoroughly enjoyed Marjorie’s lively, and extremely engaging workshop.  We participated in a variety of NTP (no teacher preparation) activities suitable for Business English groups. Marjorie asked for feedback and gave examples concerning how the activities could be adapted to suit any class.  I must admit after Marjorie’s inspiring workshop, I found myself yearning for the energy and interaction of a group class again.

Related links:

Marjorie Rosenberg - IATEFL President, teacher, teacher trainer and author

Making Lessons Memorable

Marjorie’s closing plenary was a treasure trove of practical lesson ideas.  She shared activities and tips for creating fun, relevant and engaging lessons.  She highlighted activities for different learning styles and explained their methodology. I hope to add the PowerPoint presentation of the plenary at a later date because it contained a tremendous amount of information.

It was a memorable plenary to end an excellent conference with.

Related links:

I would like to thank everyone involved in organising this conference, I can't imagine the amount of work that goes into planning such an event here. And a special thank you to the local and international speakers for sharing your wisdom!

Feel free to comment, your feedback is always appreciated.  If you are a Google+ member please comment below.  If you're on Facebook please message me there and you can always send me a message via my website: Talk2meEnglish.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Wix - Building My Own Website

I am rather proud to announce that I have just finished building my very own website.  

About a year ago, I decided, that in addition to my blog, I needed a website.  I wanted to have a calling card for my business and a website for my clients.  I wanted to clearly define and promote the courses that I offer, and provide an easy to use online booking system.  

Initially, I thought it would be worth investing money and paying a professional to create the website, then I discovered how much they charge.  I did some research and learned that there were a number of website building platforms, I chose WIX.  From the reviews, Wix is user-friendly, it offers a free plan, gets the most online searches, has a good selection of designs, and a mobile editor.  For anyone thinking about building a website, the mobile editor is absolutely essential.  It enables you to preview how your website is viewed on a mobile device.  What works on a computer screen often does not work on the screen of a tablet or a mobile. It is crucial to be able to edit the mobile view and check in advance that your design works on different devices.

Mobile View Of My Website

I must admit that although Wix is very user-friendly, building the website was not as easy as I thought it would be. To my great disappointment my first attempt was a scruffy disaster, it looked extremely homemade.  I became frustrated and gave up.  About two months later, I returned for a second go.  I watched tutorials, read 'how-tos' and with a lot of trial and error, grasped how to add, remove and adapt each element on each page. This time, I found a more suitable design and things just fell into place.  

There are so many tiny details that need to be thought about when creating a website. Choosing the design and colour scheme is the fun part, adding the content is more challenging. It is necessary to have a very clear idea of your brand, your niche, your clients' requirements, your prices and what exactly you are offering.  When I started my blog I began fine tuning my business; the process of creating my website has taken this a step further.  I can honestly say that Talk2Me English is no longer just a teacher's blog, it is an established business and it feels great!

I'm sure that the website still needs some work doing to it.  I plan on adding a video or two at some point, but for the meantime, I can finally go back to sleeping at night.  

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate any feedback.  If you are a Google+ member please comment below. If you're on Facebook please message me there and of course, you can always send me an email: