We’re pleased to announce that we’ve got 3 great plenary speakers for the annual conference this June: Penny Ur, Ken Wilson and Chuck Sandy (see the post on Chuck here).
Penny Ur has thirty years’ experience as an English teacher in elementary, middle and high schools in Israel. Now retired, she has taught M.A. courses at Oranim Academic College of Education and Haifa University. She has presented papers at TESOL, IATEFL and various other English teachers’ conferences worldwide.
She has published a number of articles, and was for ten years the editor of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. Her books include Discussions that work (1981), Five minute activities (co‑authored with Andrew Wright) (1992), A course in language teaching (1996), Grammar practice activities (2nd Edition) (2009), Vocabulary activities (2012), and A course in English language teaching (2012), all published by Cambridge University Press.
Ken Wilson is an author and trainer. He has written about 30 ELT titles, including a dozen series of course books. His most recent course material includes Smart Choice, an American English course for OUP. He is also one of the team of authors who wrote New Standard English, a course for China which takes learners from primary to college level.
His first ELT publication was a collection of songs called Mister Monday, which was released when he was 23, making him at the time the youngest-ever published ELT author. Since then, he has written and recorded more than 150 ELT songs, published as albums or as integral parts of course material. There are sixteen of Ken’s original songs in the Smart Choice course.
He has also written more than a hundred ELT radio and television programmes, including fifty radio scripts for the Follow Me series, thirty Look Ahead TV scripts and a series of plays called Drama First. He also contributed material to Extr@ English, an ELT sitcom commissioned by Channel 4.
For many years, Ken was artistic director of the English Teaching Theatre, a company which toured the world performing stage-shows for learners of English. The ETT made more than 250 tours to 55 countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Ken lives in London with his wife Dede and three cats and works in a shed at the end of his garden. He divides his time between writing and training. He blogs at http://kenwilsonelt.wordpress.com.
Penny Ur – The communicative approach revisited
The communicative approach has been the accepted basis for foreign language-teaching methodology for some time. Its introduction brought about many healthy changes; but often enthusiasm for its principles has caused ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’: many useful and learning-productive procedures and principles have been discarded by methodologists in the quest for ‘the communicative classroom’.
In this talk I shall plead for a more balanced approach, and suggest that our teaching should be based on general pedagogical principles rather than on a particular methodology.
Ken Wilson – Ten ways to get your students to DO something
English language materials are bursting with good content and ideas for skills exploitation. To get the best out of them, you need to engage your students’ interest. This isn’t always easy, especially if they are at the end of a long, hard week or ‘aren’t in the mood’.
At times like this, you need to challenge them, make them curious and encourage them to be imaginative. Sometimes you simply have to find out what they’re good at or even give them responsibility for what happens in the class.
In this talk, I will suggest ten ways that you can engage their interest and access their knowledge. Maybe you can show them talents they never knew they had. It’s all there, waiting to be exploited.
Penny Ur – Technology in the classroom: Tools to be used cautiously, critically and selectively
We are often urged to use the latest digital hardware and software in the classroom: the assumption being that it will improve teaching and learning – or, conversely, that not using it will demotivate and deprive learners of learning opportunities. But how true is this assumption?
In this talk I will look at the use of computerized tools in language learning in the light of my own experience and some relevant research studies, and try to examine critically their contribution to the English teaching/learning process.
Ken Wilson – Can my students really improvise in English?
This workshop is for people who like the idea of giving their students a chance to improvise and ‘be creative’, but worry that improvisation activities will be too demanding for them. We will try out a series of simple activities that will result in astonishing feats of creativity by your students. Most of these activities are self-regulating, which means that students are only required to say things that they CAN say, so you can use them with students from elementary level onwards.