IATEFL Poland - Ustron 7th-8th February 2009 by Justyna Magdalena Wieczorek
A Report on a Regional Conference
During the last weekend of winter holidays for Silesian schools
(7th- 8th of February) I had the opportunity of participating in the 43rd IATEFL Silesian Meeting in Ustroń in the Beskidy Mountains. The topic of our “mini-conference” was “Teaching The English Our Students Need And Want!” Our special guest and presenter was Marianne Raynaud from Grenoble in France, the author of QualityTime-ESL: The Digital Resource Book.
Doing so much with students’ brains
The workshops began on early Saturday afternoon. First Marianne introduced herself to us. She is a really lovely person, full of joy and always smiling. Apart from that, she has so much experience! We listened to her stories when she talked about her students, and I’m sure that some of us could not believe what she had done with her students’ brains. A lot of information about our delightful speaker and loads of materials can be found on her website: http://www.qualitytime-esl.com.
But let’s start from the beginning. We were given handouts (50-page booklets in fact!) necessary for our workshops, and then the show—in the positive sense of the word—began! Some people, including myself, were taking extensive notes. These are some of the key words we put down: podcasts, mental gymnastics (for the students), Internet, projectors, computers, presentations… Maybe some of our readers might think, ”My God, what is so unusual about computers??? Nowadays every teacher should be using them!” I agree—but the way Marianne presented her knowledge and experience, the way she stimulated us to use these modern tools, was really fabulous!
Everything is possible with any kind of student
Before I could never believe that students, who are afraid of talking in English at the beginning of a course, might make their own films—in English! But I saw it, with my own eyes and started to believe that everything is possible with any kind of student. No matter how old they are and how difficult it is for them to learn the English language, they can do it. Everything is possible! I am sure of that after these two days in Ustroń.
On Saturday evening our meeting with Marianne took on a more informal tone. We were all sitting around her laptop, joking, laughing together and watching professional films made by her students. On Sunday, after the final workshops, we drew lots and had fun with the lottery prizes. Among the prizes were several copies of Marianne’s digital resource book on a DVD. Unfortunately, the weather was gloomy—it rained on both days, and it was veeeery cold!
The workshops ended, we exchanged our e-mail addresses, and… now we just have to look forward to our next “mini- conference” in Ustroń!
Justyna Magdalena Wieczorek