We're just 5 days away from our Annual International Conference and we are bubbling with excitement! We couldn't be prouder to be welcoming this year's plenary speakers, four professionals who have inspired others with their work in the field of ELT. Our first plenary speaker, Ms Marjorie Rosenberg, needs no introduction. A teacher, teacher trainer and author Ms Rosenberg has been teaching adults and university students in Austria for close to 40 years as well as holding teacher training sessions around the globe. She has written extensively in the field of business English and on learning styles. Marjorie is an active conference presenter and was IATEFL President from 2015-2017.
1. Your plenary session will focus on making lessons memorable. Which skills will the session mainly touch upon?
The plenary is divided into eight areas which I will address by discussing why I think considering these factors will make lessons memorable. Each of the concepts will also be backed up with practical examples of what can be done in the classroom and touch on the use of the four skills. There will be caveats as well as not all learners will embrace the same ideas in the same way.
2. Your follow-up session will present fun activities for adult learners. What do you hope participants will gain from this session?
As many adult learners need English for the workplace, this interactive session will show participants how to use activities which encourage their learners to communicate with each other in a variety of situations. Activities have always been popular in general English classes and adult learners enjoy the chance to relax and have fun when learning a new language. These activities are designed to get them communicating by enouraging team work, active listening and speaking freely.
3. Based on your long experience as a teacher and an author in the field of Business English, what are the greatest challenges teachers might have to face nowadays?
I think the main challenges are the incorporating of soft skills as many teachers only have the chance to read about them but not practice them themselves. Many of us teaching business English are not experts in the fields we teach but we learn from our learners. Soft skills, such as time management, establishing and maintaining rapport, running meetings, dealing with difficult people, setting achievable goals, etc. are areas we ourselves learn when we are in positions to do this. I learned a great deal as the IATEFL BESIG coordinator and then as IATEFL president and discuss these aspects of work with my students.
4. Our 26th Convention focuses on practical suggestions to solving classroom issues . Which areas of ELT do you feel could benefit the most of a more hands-on approach?
I believe very strongly in accepting the fact that we all learn and teach differently. The research I have done is in the field of learning styles and feel this is vital to both our success as educators and that of our students. We do not teach individually to each student (except possibly in a one-to-one situation) but we do need to understand the different styles and realize why students react as they do in stress situations. As we usually teach in the way we learn ourselves, we may need to stretch out of our own comfort zones and incorporate ideas that other learner types need to be able to learn. Providing a real mix of activities is vital as is tolerance for the different learners in our classroom.