by Dana Mezei
November 26th was a celebration day for the members of ELTA-Rhine gathering together for a long-awaited event: the ELTA-Rhine/ ELTAU workshop in collaboration with Express Publishing, the event sponsor. Organised in a hybrid form, at the Haus der Universität in Düsseldorf as well as on Zoom, the workshop welcomed 25 participants, 5 of them attending it online.
The event debuted with Kristy Kors’ short talk on “How to Enhance your ESP Learner’s Employability” and highlighted highly-relevant present-day aspects that allow one to get, do as well as keep a job: knowledge, a high level of communicative competence, emotional intelligence and social skills. These key elements are key in the preparation of Express Publishing materials for teaching English for Specific Purposes, drawing on realistic situations in which authentic language is produced, and leading to higher learning motivation, more creativity and an easy adaptation process for the trainers. Kristy Kors has a BA (Hons) from Leeds Metropolitan University and a CELTA, she has been an ELT consultant for Express Publishing for several years, and is their representative for Germany. She has a rich experience as a teacher of English as a foreign language, and is an active presence in seminars and workshops, sharing ideas on latest methodological advances.
The highlight of the day was László Németh’s workshop on “Making writing `lit` again”, which placed the focus on the importance of digital literacy in the design of materials and lesson plans for the English class in order to develop life competencies: social responsibilities, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, learning to learn and, last but not least, critical thinking.
POV: it was a `lit` opportunity to reveal 21st century English `on fleek` and Laszlo `slayed` it!
The participants in the room as well as those online were kept actively involved through pair and group activities showcasing methods in which the new and the old teaching practices can be successfully blended together and incorporated in the classroom. Any language learner’s interest would be captured by activities such as “Tell My Story” – a pair guessing game, in which participants have to fill in the gaps of a simple life-story text, a relevant GTKY starter! `Nonseum` took language use to new standards of digital literacy, with hashtags and tweets enabling the expression of ideas and creativity. Other activities revolved around the use of memes in the classroom in order to check understanding, allow for text comprehension, creativity as well as critical thinking and digital literacy. Another captivating activity was the `Shopping Troll-ey` aimed at opening learners’ perspective onto real and fake news and what trolling means. The day concluded with a group project that allowed participants to bring together all the ingredients of the day in a project on a social-media based classroom. Over three hours of work, yet not a second of boredom, as the participants were completely immersed in the learning about new perspectives and the creation of lesson ideas for everyone to take away.
An aspiring professional in the field of education and language teaching, László Németh was able to enthuse the audience with his inspiring, creative approaches in teaching English to the present-day `generation Alpha` learners and not only. He has been in the committee of IATEFL – Hungary since 2016 and President since January 2022. His main research interests lie in authentic classroom materials, educational technologies as well as teaching life competencies and transversal skills. He has gained a vast experience working with various age groups in both the private as well as the public sectors. Pursuing a PhD in Multilingualism at the University of Pannonia, he made his name as a university lecturer and freelance English teacher, materials writer and educational consultant.
Why join events organised by your local ELTA? This event, just like others, was a great learning experience, as well as an opportunity for networking. You get relevant hours of inspiration, enjoyable breaks for networking and catching up, a great dinner follow up to let all the new ideas sink in and, why not, this sense of belonging to the wonderful, lively and warm community of ELTA.
Dana Mezei started on the road of EFL in 2003, out of passion for English and working with students. She has been a constant presence in conferences and workshops, and obtained the educational degrees available in the public school system in her country of origin, Romania. She is an experienced ELT trainer and learning coach, building her professional path to meet the challenges of present times.