2020 Elections to the Executive Committee

NOMINATIONS to serve on the SCELT Executive Committee ARE OPEN! Read the EC job descriptions.  DEADLINE: 30 November 2019

Elections to the Executive Committee (EC) of the Slovak Chamber of English Language Teachers are held every 3 years.

The EC consists of 5 members, one of whom is chosen by the others to be Chair. The responsibilities of the every-day running of the Chamber are divided among the members of the EC based on their strengths and weaknesses, and mutual agreement.

EC job descriptions are not set forth in detail in our constitution. However, after 6 years, these are most of the tasks that need to be covered and we have attempted to divide them up reasonably and logically so that each role is feasible to be managed by a SCELT member who is a full-time teacher. Candidates can run for their preferred position.

Positions on the EC are unpaid and strictly volunteer. The official Articles of the Chamber can be found here (in Slovak) for SCELT members.

Nominations are for EC candidates for the 2020-2023 term are open to all SCELT members until 30 November 2019. All candidates need to provide the following information, sent to scet.ska@gmail.com:

  1. SCELT member since what year
  2. Current teaching/job position
  3. Background/Bio
  4. Previous experience in SCELT or any other volunteer organisation
  5. Why you’re a part of the Chamber
  6. What you’d like to see for the Chamber
  7. The EC position your interested in
  8. A profile picture to share with members

Voting will take place the last week of January 2020. Members will be notified how and when to vote. Those not able to attend the General Meeting will be able to vote online.

The new EC will be come into effect 1 February 2020.



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2019 Spring Fling: What a day it was!

On Saturday, March 16, 2019, SCELT held its first one-day spring conference with Dorothy Zemach. Despite it being the Saturday after maturita week and the day of the 1st-round of elections for the Slovak presidency, around 50 colleagues from in and around Bratislava (and even from Hungary and Austria!) gathered to learn, to share their expertise, to network, and to simply have a good time together.

Thank you to the US Embassy Bratislava and the Regional English Language Office Belgrade for making this event possible.relo

us embassy flag

Interactive plenary with author, publisher, and teacher trainer Dorothy Zemach
The Chocolate Factory: Learning is the desired outcome, not just fun or entertainment.



Barry O’Donohoe (Narnia Primary School, Bratislava)
Tech tools for the classroom

Lisa Hundley (Gymnasium der Diözese, Eisenstadt, Austria) & Faith Hundtoft (English Teaching Assistant, Gymnasium Kurzwiese and HTBLA/Higher Technical College Eisenstadt, Austria) 
Pique your (P)interest

Linda Steyne (Freelancer)
What’s up with this year’s maturita?

Ľuboš Masaryk (Gymnázium Ladislava Sáru, Bratislava)
Discovery grammar learning

Mark Andrews (SOL Devon, UK, & Budapest)
Working with BREXIT in the English Language Classroom

Martin Jelinek (Brighthouse, Kosice)
Redefining Teaching Learning

Natalie Lackovic (Gymnazium Jan Holleho)
Bilingual science can be fun with CLIL!


Friends and Networking

Raffle & Closing (Thanks to Macmillan SR, Friendship, and SEVT for the great prizes!)

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Spring Fling 2019

Tentative Programme – Saturday, 16 March 2019

Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/AodsVUjSW7R160jw1

Dorothy Zemach: I’m an author, editor, teacher, and teacher trainer in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). I taught English, French, and Japanese for over 20 years in Asia, Africa, and the US. My MA in TESL is from the School for International Training in Vermont. I currently write and edit English language teaching materials and textbooks, and conduct teacher training workshops. My areas of specialty and interest include teaching writing, teaching reading, business English, academic English, testing, and humor. I’m a frequent plenary speaker at international conferences, and a regular blogger for Teacher Talk at Azar Grammar. http://www.dorothyzemach.com/

Barry O’Donohoe: I moved from Ireland to Slovakia in January 2013. I have been working at CZŠ Narnia, Bratislava for the past six years. During my teaching time in Slovakia, I have taught English, Science and I.T to prvý and druhý stupen students. barry.odonohoe@narniaba.sk
Faith Hundtoft is an English Teaching Assistant at the Gymnasium Kurzwiese and HTBLA/Higher Technical College Eisenstadt in Eisenstadt, Austria. She has been teaching part-time in schools in the state of Burgenland since October 2017, functioning as an English language resource and an American cultural representative. Raised in Los Angeles, Faith holds a BA in Linguistics and German Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She will move back to the United States after the 2018/2019 school year and pursue a career in translation. In her free time, she enjoys watching cooking shows and drawing.
Linda Steyne has lived and taught in Bratislava for 28 years. She’s taught at all levels of the state school system and worked on a variety of projects for MPC, ŠPÚ, and NÚCEM. She’s the current and founding chair of SCELT. lsteyne@gmail.com
Lisa Hundley is a full-time English teacher at the Gymnasium der Diözese in Eisenstadt, Austria. Additionally, she has taught Business English courses at the bachelor’s and master’s level at the Fachhochschule Burgenland/University of Applied Sciences in Eisenstadt. For more than twenty years, her career has taken her to classrooms and English departments in the United States, Austria, Slovakia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her current location in Europe has allowed her to continue growing with our vibrant regional community of educators via conferences, workshops, and social events. Born and raised in Washington State, U.S.A., Lisa holds a BA in German from Washington State University as well as an MA in TESL and an MA in German/Applied Linguistics from Penn State University. lisa.hundley@bildung.gv.at
Ľuboš Masaryk: I am a secondary school English teacher and a doctoral student at the Faculty of Education, Masaryk University in Brno. I have been teaching English for about 8 years, both private and state schools. In my dissertation I focus on approaches to the teaching of grammar.  lubos.masaryk@gmail.com


Mark Andrews has been working in Eastern and Central Europe for over 30 years now as a teacher trainer in ELT. He worked for the British Council as an ELT consultant for 12 years in Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary and co-ordinated the IATEFL-Hungary Culture and Literature Special Interest Group for 5 years. He is a big supporter of teacher associations in this region. He is training director at SOL and teaches on summer schools in Devon, Serbia and Slovakia. maarkandrews@gmail.com
Martin Jelinek: Graduate of Georgetown University, Washington D.C., in Sociology and Human Resources, and University of Presov, in Linguistics, Slovakia. Martin has a vast portfolio of international training and consulting knowledge, which he gained through devising and leading trainings and development projects for managers and their teams across Europe, The Baltic States and the Middle East. Martin specializes in input language analysis, public speaking, communication protocol and presentation skills specifically in English and across cultures. After his return from Honduras in 2010, where he was in charge of the newly open English Department at the Laureate International Universities, UNITEC, he has been active as an Oral Examiner for Cambridge, and has been selected as one of 100 teacher trainers worldwide with Macmillan Education, UK. Martin regularly delivers talks, webinars and workshops for teachers and language coaches of English internationally. office@brighthouse.sk
Natalie Lackovic: Natalie, born and raised in a multilingual family, surrounded by Australian and Slovak nature and a great lover of languages. For the last decade she has been teaching science (biology) and English in grammar and vocational schools and loves working with teenagers and motivating young learners. lackovic.natalie@gmail.com
Peter Barrer teaches at the Department and British and American Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava. Born and educated in New Zealand and Australia, Peter has lived in Slovakia since 2009. Asides from teaching courses on the history, societies, and cultures of the English-speaking world, he also translates from Slovak into English. peterbarrer@gmail.com
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IATEFL Hungary 2018

by Juraj Streďanský

The annual IATEFL Hungary conference in Budapest, held 5-7 October 2018, was a weekend to remember. To see that bunch of motivated, enthusiastic, kind and helpful professionals at work was an experience in itself, let alone the content of the presentations.


It was a two-and-a-half-day ride where, once it got in motion, jumping off the roller-coaster was a challenge, despite the beautiful sunny weather behind the windows. With 8 sessions at a time, the event did’t leave much to wish for – it covered everything from presentations on results of scientific studies, given by the researchers themselves, to sessions on CLIL, from gaming as a learning tool to ESP, from communication and community-building in classroom to theory and practice of Gothicism.

20181006_140551Let me elaborate on my personal highlights.

Danny Singh – An achieved English teacher and team-building coach based in Rome – gave us an insight into his method combining laughter yoga, interpreting from gibberish, and a few other hard-to-briefly-describe kinesthetic activities. Certainly, a creative approach to the matter which reminded me of the importance of movement while experiencing a new language, making the learning process feel much closer to real life.


Andy Cowle – a Black Cat Publishing trainer – reintroduced reading as a learning tool for the young generation of the 21st century. Takeaways & surprising facts: youngsters still do read, maybe even more than they ever have; there has probably never been as much written (and therefore read) communication in the history of mankind as there is today. The only challenge poses our ability to show the kids and teens that book-reading is fun, exciting and certainly not a forgotten pass-time of their grandmas, and thus using their reading habits to our advantage.

Peter Sokolowski – a Merriam-Webster (the American Standard dictionary) representative – gave a talk on something about the importance of which we tend to forget – lexicography. With today´s use of online dictionaries of all sorts – and a great tool they are, indeed – the identity of the publisher and the labour hidden behind the lists of (hundreds and hundreds of) thousands of vocabulary items becomes close to invisible. We were reminded of the beauty and the smell of books, though not of fiction, which contain everything what our beloved English consists of. … And I had the chance to meet one of the authors of my favourite dictionary in person – simply exciting!


A weekend well spent, time greatly invested… Seeds of wisdom, new contacts, and motivating activities were planted, and I have been harvesting the fruits ever since.

I would not miss the next year’s event for the world!


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A Poem: The Red Life Belt

At our last conference, SKA2017: UKF Nitra, we held a poetry contestEach participant may submit one original poem […] directly related to either the theme of the conference or something specific learned at the conference.

The theme of last September’s conference was ‘Lifelines & Life Skills’. The lifeline theme, with a dark red life belt, ran throughout most of the conference materials and was also on the conference bag.

We had numerous entries, but one stood out.

The Red Life Belt by Jana Zrníková

Your swimming begins to slow down.
The banks are steep, it seems you’ll drown.
The darkness drags you down,
Into the deep.
You doubt you’ll see another dawn.
Your limbs heavy, your voice is wan:
“I don’t have the strength.”
You weep.

Open your eyes, lest water kill.
Look! Do you know rescue? You will.
Someone throws a red life belt.
Hold tight.
Open your eyes, take a deep breath.
Now you’re safe, no drowning, no death.
Just light.

Then someone asks you: “Want to fly?”
You’d love to, you want to try.
Towards the sky, you slowly rise,
Not sure if you can trust your eyes.
For nevermore is the world a muddle.
And those dark waters are only a puddle.


What were you thinking when you wrote the poem? Where did it come from? 

I was thinking mainly about the teachers. Many of them are burned out. However, there was no one who would have thrown them a ‘life belt’. Your article [ed. note: SKA Chair Lynda Steyne’s welcome in the conference booklet] was a great inspiration for me:

“This year’s theme ‘Lifelines & Life Skills’ was born out of a trip to IATEFL 2017 Glasgow. While there, I noticed the life belts on posts along the river, ready in case anyone fell in. It made me think of our own Vážsky Canal in which several people drown every year because there is no way up of its steep concrete walls. There are no life belts or even stairs. And I thought that that’s how it often feels for us, teachers: we’re in over our heads, the challenges are overwhelming, there’s no way out, and we feel like we’re drowning. There is no one to throw us that life belt.  Life is much the same for our students once they leave our classrooms.

“So, this year, we wanted to focus on finding good life belts and developing real life skills. We have teacher trainers from all over Slovakia and Europe who have come to share their survival strategies – to help us out of that deep water so neither we nor our students drown.

“When we leave here, it is our hope that each of us will take at least one ‘life belt’ that we can share with an overwhelmed colleague and one life skill to help our students be ready for the real world outside out classrooms. We share because the more we help each other, the farther both we, as teachers and human beings, and our students will be able to go.”

I realized that it’s not only teachers who feel this way but also people of other professions and what’s more – even students! We have all experienced such moments in our lives. We all sometimes feel like we’re walking in the darkness (or swimming in dark waters) without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But then someone touches our shoulder from behind and shows us that the light was always there, and we were just looking in the wrong direction.  So, my wish for everyone who got lost in the darkness was to find that light – to find something that would brighten their days, to find their sun, to find, and more importantly, to accept the help without feeling ashamed.

Jana Zrníková is in completing her Masters in Teaching English Language and Literature at the Department of Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Studies at Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia. She comes from the village of Ľubochňa and spent a few months in Dublin. Since graduating from Milan Hodža Bilingual Grammar School in Sučany, she has taught EFL at the Private Bilingual Grammar School in Ružomberok. As a translator, she’s worked for several companies, as well as working on English-Slovak and Slovak-English translations in Hong Kong and Austria. Her fields of interest are primarily in multisensory approaches in teaching, teaching through emotions, and psychology. Her focus is in finding ways to make English language learning more effective and enjoyable for learners. She hopes to continue her research as a doctoral student. Jana is also a great fan of historical fiction and fantasy books, and hopes to publish her own stories in the future.

Editor’s note: Thank you, Jana!

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Useful tips on how to build rapport when you’re not John Keating from Dead Poets Society

Excellent insights for all of us!

Cecilia Nobre ELT Blog


“ Consciously, we teach what we know; unconsciously, we teach who we are.” Hamacheck (1999, p.209)

I recently watched a video on social media that blew my mind and got me thinking of how important establishing rapport with our students is. You might have seen the video of a teacher in the US who uses a personalized greeting with each student before they get in the classroom ( if you haven’t watched it yet, it’s here).

I would have loved to be one of his students. He truly shows he cares about his pupils.

He goes on and says “we pride ourselves on high expectations and in meaningful relationships.It’s more than a handshake, it’s about impacting the student in the most positive way.

Never underrate the values of relationships, with anyone.

So what can a gesture like that teach us? Do we have to teach a morning routine…

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SKA 2017 UKF Nitra

We’ll be in Nitra this September. What about you?

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…from the heart of Europe.

by Evka Lange

It is a great honour for me to be the member of SKA. It has changed my life a lot since I’ve became part of this (still quite unknown) group in Slovakia. I am a passionate teacher and I have been studying without any gap year for 25 years. I´m always looking for the ways how to get better, improve my teaching skills and be the best teacher for my students.

This year I got the opportunity to be the official representative of SKA at the 11th international conference in Prague. Furthermore, I got the opportunity to have my workshop there and represent SKA in the Czech Republic.DSC_0018_1

I have a great family which is with me in all my crazy ideas and plans, so we went there with my husband and two kids.

The topic of the conference was Ideas from the heart of Europe, and it was held on the 9th – 10th September in Prague. The programme of the conference was really rich, and it covered nearly all the actual areas of English language teaching. The opening ceremony took place at Charles’ University in Prague what gave the conference a great grave beginning. Šárka Dohnalová had a really hard and responsible work to start this great event. But she involved all the audience in her plenary, and we were suddenly dancing and moving and dealing with serious topic through other – friendlier way.DSC_0016_2

The chosen workshops were really catching, and it was difficult to decide which one to go for. I tried to attend as many workshops as I could. I met really great people there, the same crazy about teaching than me. I liked that we were there from all the Europe and we felt the same passionate and happy to be there and share our experience with each other.

The organization of the whole conference was really good and there is no doubt that Libuše Kohutova and her team are doing great work for English language teachers in the Czech Republic. I am not going to write here about hospitability of the Czech and the beautiful evening programme they prepared for us as it is something what just belongs to this friendly and open nation. You just feel like at home whenever and wherever are you with them…

My workshop was aimed at teaching students with learning disabilities. I enjoyed my workshop a lot as it was my first workshop abroad. I felt really nervous before it and I felt a big responsibility to do it the best I can. I was happy to share my ideas and experience with the teachers who are dealing with the same problems as I do. The audience was great, and they helped me to enjoy this workshop and make it an unforgettable moment for me.

Although that I got lost in Prague every time I walked from the hotel to the place of the venues and back…My family found me and also, I had a time to enjoy the beauty of the wonderful city.

I want to say big THANK YOU to SKA and the Czech association (as well as to my family) that I could be there this year and learn that teaching is something you should feel FROM YOUR HEART. Only then it has a meaning 🙂

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