Report on EAQUALS Workshop Meeting

Eurocentres School, London  11th–13th  November  2010

The event was attended by Vesna Stakić who represented YALS and the ‘Tom & Emma School of English’ Belgrade

The aim of the annual workshop meeting of EAQUALS members, was to provide an opportunity for members to work together on special interest projects  (SIPs) relevant to them, which are as follows:

  • CEFR Certificates: support and training for schools, aim: to provide support and practical training to EAQUALS members interested in issuing EAQUALS CEFR-based Certificates of Achievement to students;
  • CEFR assessment tasks across languages, aim: to produce a set of templates for tasks for each level of the CEFR;
  • Framework for language teacher training and development, a continuing SIP which aims to produce descriptors for teacher training and development;
  • New technology in language teaching and training, aim: to help familiarise teachers with new technology and web-based resources and give examples of actual classroom use;
  • The Language School Manager’s Training Pack, aim: to create a training pack for school owners/experienced managers to provide introduction to managerial skills for staff and provide them with training in these skills;
  • Applying for European Projects – a toolkit, aim: to produce guidance for EAQUALS members on how to apply for EU funding for projects related to language teaching.

Each participant in the meeting had to choose one SIP they would work on and I chose the

New technology in language teaching and training SIP. The facilitator stressed that one of the main aims of the SIP was to reduce technophobia in teachers A list which included different ways of using technology in class was drawn up which included the following: interactive whiteboards, virtual learning environments (VLEs) i.e. Second Life, Moodle, free or inexpensive software for ELT, useful web resources which offer lesson plans or other ELT activities, existing technology such as mobile phones and MP3 players, social networks (Facebook, Twitter). The objective of the SIP is to create a brief user friendly guide to free/inexpensive technology available to teachers.

I also attended the launch of the Core Inventory for English, a joint project of EAQUALS and the British Council, the aim of which is to make the CEFR accessible to teachers and adult learners of General English. It lists key language points for each CEFR level from A1 to C1 and includes language points (functions, grammar, vocabulary, topics and discourse markers) at the levels at which they are considered of most relevance to the learner. This will facilitate defining objectives, writing syllabuses and planning courses.