Reported by Ivana Grujović
YALS Conference 2018 – From the Heart of England: Teaching Revisited took place at „Gvarnerius“ – Centre of Fine Arts in Belgrade on 24th November, 2018. The Conference was divided into two main parts, one being the exchange of experience gained through the application for Erasmus Plus programme, held by Ljubomir Vasojevic, the head of Blackbird Language School, which is participating in the programme, and Mike Hogan, the representative of York Associates, the partner organisation, who talked about their experience as course providers in Erasmus + programmes. The other part of the conference was held by the teachers of Blackbird Language School who held workshops and exchanged the practical ideas gained through the project. Blackbird Language School became a partner organisation of York Associates after the mobility, as a result of good cooperation in the project itself.
In the first session, Mike Hogan talked about ways of applying for Erasmus Plus programme, and their experience in the field. The session was marked as very useful by the participants, pointing out that the session provided good examples of practice and the insight into the courses York Associates provide.
The second session was held by Ljubomir Vasojević. In the engaging and useful session, as it was marked through the evaluation questionnaire, Ljubomir presented the experience he gained with his team through Erasmus Plus programme, providing all the steps they took that led to the success of the project.
As the sum-up, participants were exposed to Panel discussion in which they could ask any questions to the presenters and to Maja Gavrilović, as a former coordinator of successfully completed YALS 2017 Erasmus Plus project. The participants of the seminar showed interest and enthusiasm for the future projects. Panel discussion was led by Marija Pejatovic, YALS President.
The session titled What Do We Mean by Culture? that followed was led by Mike Hogan, and it dealt with the importance of cultural awareness and the ways it can affect the communication. The participants gave positive feedback considering the presentation, the importance of the topic and effectiveness.
In the second part of the Conference, four teachers from Blackbird Language School, exchanged useful ideas and ready-made activities that teachers could use in their lessons. The first session was held by Milena Sredojevic and Marijana Ćendić and the topic of the presentation was Enliven Your Lessons, in which the presenters showed new ways of engaging students. The workshop was marked as highly useful and the ideas as applicable for the lessons.
„Practical, classroom ready!“
„Blackbird presenters were well-prepared, organized, enthusiastic and creative, yet speaking from immediate experience and generously shared their expertise with us. Thank you!“
The second session was held by Ivan Petrić and Ivana Grujović, with the accent on the usage of technology in the lessons. In their presentation The New Use of Technology, the presenters showed the usage of several applications and led the participants step by step through them. The presentation left good impression on the participants, who were engaged and interested in the activities, and the presentation was marked as very useful and practical.
„I like that they showed us the actual websites an went though options/commands.“
„Plenty of useful apps/websites that can be used for teaching“
The overall impressions of the seminar were positive, with the accent on good organisation, choice of topics and well prepared speakers.
„Very useful workshops with lots of practical ideas. Great info on how to take part in Erasmus plus.“
„Good speakers, well organised seminar.“