Where do we go from here?

It’nizke-tatry-turisticke-trasys been almost a month since roughly 20 English teachers gathered together in Bratislava’s Old Town for the first official meeting of the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers. The purpose of that gathering was to discuss where we as ELT (English language teaching) professionals in Slovakia are headed, where we’d like to be in 3 years’ time, and how we’re going to get there.

There were many ideas – 3 long pages of them – but when all was said and done, the ones that were deemed the most important (in the order in which we’d like to see them happen) are as follows:

  1. Put together a database of all English teachers in Slovakia. We’re already working on this and if you haven’t filled it in yet, you can do it now. The database will be an ongoing project as new English teachers enter the field almost every day.  The database will be used to find out where we’re at as English teachers, and what type of training we’re interested in (and need) so that we can get it. It will also be used to inform English teachers about ELT events, such as the annual eltforum.sk conference.
  2. Publish an e-newsletter for English teachers in Slovakia. For now, this blog is taking this role, but this is not everything we’d like to do with a newsletter. We are looking for the following:
  • writers, editors and even photographers
  • teaching ideas, activities and lesson plans
  • educational coursebook, resource book, software, technology and even website reviews
  • educational tech ‘how-to’ articles
  • student exchange/stay programme, teacher training course, and ELT conference reviews and recommendations
  • reflections on teaching, teachers, learners and education in general
  • short (and practical) research articles
  • anything for the building up, encouraging and training of us all (e.g. does anyone draw cartoons?)

3. Create a working forum of English teachers for the purpose of networking, teacher development and training. This takes 2 forms: in real life and online.

  • Real life forums (TeaChambers) will meet once every 4 to 6 weeks, most likely on a Friday afternoon, in various regions. These will be informal gatherings at cafés to discuss an ELT issue decided on earlier. Every other month or so, these gatherings will meet in a more formal setting (i.e. a classroom somewhere) for teacher development with a SCET member teaching or sharing. The more formal gatherings will cover everything from the new ‘odvody’ requirements to class management to how to use ICT.

SCET – Bratislava has already set a date for their next TeaChamber: Friday, 8 February. SCET – Kosice is planning their first TeaChamber for later this month.

  •  Online forums are a bit more of a challenge. Those of us on Facebook already use the English Office to share ideas and ask questions concerning grammar and such. But not everyone’s on FB, so we have a colleague who will be creating an online forum that all members of the Chamber will be able to easily use. We’ll let you know when that’s up and working. It will be linked to the official SCET website which is also in the works.

4. By 2016, be actively advocating for (lobbying for, speaking on behalf of) English teachers in Slovakia. This would include working with the following institutions:

  • university English departments on developing better English teacher training programmes
  • MPC (Metodicko-pedagogické centrum) on quality further education for English teachers
  • ŠPÚ (Štátny pedagogický ústav) on feasible quality curriculum design
  • The Ministry of Education

This is the beginning of a tough journey, but we know the direction we’re going. We’ve set some goals along the way and we’ll do our best to reach them. We’re looking forward to travelling this road together.

If you’re an English teacher in Slovakia, this is your chance to join with other ELT professionals who’ve decided to Stop Complaining and Enjoy Teaching. Join us!

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