Current Trends in Quality Language Teaching and School Management

organised by YALS Association of Language Schools of Serbia

at Guarnerius Fine Arts Centre, Belgrade, on 22-23.10.2011


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Conference Handouts

Pete Sharma:

Shelley Vernon:

Wojciech Graniczewski:

Useful links

Conference Report

Current Trends in Quality Language Teaching and School Management

organised by YALS Association of Language Schools of Serbia

at Guarnerius Fine Arts Centre, Belgrade, on 22-23.10.2011 YALS CONFERENCE 2011

Yet another YALS conference has finished and now it is time for us to summarize the things we have learnt, the fresh ideas we have got, the new friendships we have  formed and the experience we have shared.

Just like many times before, this year’s conference  – Current Trends in Quality Language Teaching and School Management  was held in Belgrade at Guarnerius Fine Arts Centre on 22 and 23 October, 2011. There were about 80 participants from Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Greece. The presenters were Pete Sharma, Shelley Vernon and Wojciech Graniczewski.

The Conference was opened by a warm welcome from Marija Pejatovic, YALS president and Tony O’Brien, the newly appointed British Council Director. For some participants this was a chance to learn that YALS joined the Regional Network for Quality Services last year.

Next was the plenary given by Mr Pete Sharma, Director of Pete Sharma Associates, part–time lecturer at Warwick University and an ELT author. The plenary was about enhancing language learning through six technologies and he also gave us practical ways of how to address the challenges. He steered us successfully through a complex maze of language  learning technologies, tapping into collective knowledge of participants and explaining only those which were new and unfamiliar.

Thanks to the English Book we had the chance not only to see but also to test the interactive white board, which, to most of us, seemed like a must have for the 21 century classroom.

In the workshop  to follow, Mr. Sharma, in a very interesting way, presented a large number of useful tips on teaching through T.E.L.L.  He did not only cover new approaches to teaching skills but also highlighted new attitudes to  dealing with  grammar  accuracy and vocabulary frequency in the light of  corpus linguistics findings.  The participants really enjoyed the chance to see a lot of new devices he brought , such as a pocket video camera and a tablet computer, and the possibility to see them in action in reality.

The next part of the Conference was devoted to young learners. The presenter Ms Shelley Vernon, founder of teaching English through games website, used her energy and enthusiasm and took us all back to childhood when we first started learning foreign languages. She gave us the chance to put on our students’shoes and to check directly how a student feels while being taught through playing.

The last session on Saturday was Drama in the classroom and again here Ms Vernon proved to have countless ideas on how to use drama and teach English while both the teacher and the students enjoy the process.

The Sunday part of the Conference was more oriented to managing a school, something we, founders of private language schools in Serbia, definitely need. The presenter was Mr  Wojciech Graniczewski ,  an expert from EAQUALS. He started his presentation with some practical ideas on how to motivate teachers and school staff to work better. While he was speaking we understood which areas of our schools need some support. In the next session he explained that  quality is such a worn-out word which has lost its significance and he showed us the way we should go if we want to improve our schools and survive the difficult times of the economical crisis.

It was a real pleasure for us from YALS to see so many smiling faces after the conference and to listen to our dear guests and participants saying thank you and it was interesting that all the present not only enjoyed the content of the conference (40.4 said it was excellent, 38.5 very good), the organization (stunning 59.7 said it was excellent, 32.7 very good) but also the beautiful venue and fantastic food!

Here are some of the comments we got in the evaluation questionnaire:

“The speakers were excellent as was everything else!”

“Very useful, very appropriate activities, motivating.”

“I am very happy to have been part of today’s seminar. It is probably one of  the best seminars I have visited  in 2011. The speakers are great. Thank you for all the efforts you have made.”

‘’ As always, YALS seminars present a unique opportunity to gain in-depth acquaintance with new trends in teaching.”

All of this gives us strong motivation to keep on walking the more difficult path and, even in these times of crisis, to continue providing  high quality teaching and be the leader in quality language services in Serbia.

And last but very important we, the organizers, wish to thank our partners – EAQUALS, British Council, ELTA and the sponsors – the English Book and Person Longman without whose support the Conference definitely would not have been such a success.

Marija Pejatović

Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović