Launching a Practical ELT Journal: ELTI

If you’re not able to get to our annual conference, we’ve got a solution for you: the English Language Teaching Ideas Journal. It’ll come out a few months have the conference, but what we’ve put together for you ‘live’ will be on paper for you to use. We’re pretty excited about this new venture with the Department of Language Pedagogy and Cultural Studies in Nitra!

Learning together, Teaching together

In cooperation with the Department of Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Studies of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (Slovakia), Slovenská komora angličtinárov/the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers (SKA) is pleased to announce the launch of a new annual English language teaching journal. ‘English Language Teaching Ideas’ (ELTI) will be an annual online publication of practical articles (by our conference speakers and others) published for our members.

SKA invites you to submit an article for the first issue of ELTI. The klis
publication is going to be peer-reviewed and published electronically, with an ISBN. The first issue will be kindly edited by our colleagues at our partner institution – the Department of Language Pedagogy and Intercultural Studies at the Faculty of Education (KLIS), Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra.

The purpose of the publication is to record and compile practical ideas which have worked well in your English language classes and bring them to your colleagues…

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Under the Auspices…

If you haven’t heard the news yet, we’ve got a friend in high places! And we’re grateful for his support. Even if it’s just moral support, it’s better than none 🙂

Learning together, Teaching together

We are pleased to announce that our first prejav3_cconference will be taking place under the auspices of the President of the Slovak Republic, Andrej Kiska. We are grateful for his support!


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Getting them to read!

Interview by Marja Juhola

In this age of computer games, YouTube and non-stop internet, getting children to sit down and pick up a book or a magazine to read can be a struggle. One private language centre in Malacky, Slovakia, decided to try and put together a project to get their YLs reading. We (SKA) spoke to Andrea Chabrečková (AC), the school owner and director, to find out more.

SKA: What was the aim of the project?

AC: This was just an experiment. Firstly, we wanted to show kids that reading could be fun, interesting and challenging. We also wanted to boost children’s self-confidence and we did! From a language learning point of view, reading is an excellent way to consolidate new language as well as to learn new vocabulary.

SKA: So tell us how you went about it.

AC: First we chose a selection of language learning magazines aimed at young learners (Friendship, Hello!, Hello Kids!, Hurra!). Children were encouraged to order 3 issues of the magazine that suited their age and level best. Each week over a 4-week period 2 questions for each magazine were published (FB, school noticeboard), and the children were encouraged by their teachers to answer them. Teachers could help but not give them the correct answers. Answers were put in a box provided for this purpose. In order to win a prize at the end of the 4 weeks, they needed to have answered all 8 questions.

10155965_1133048560044762_499626239588902916_nSKA: What did parents say about having to pay for the magazines?

AC: Most were happy to do it. As an extra incentive, we also offered a “prize” for the parents: the winning children received a discount for a course next semester. This helped to motivate the adults too!

SKA: How would you evaluate the project?

AC:  It was a great success! It created a positive competitive atmosphere at school with 10171115_1132924360057182_5555829486358692270_n99% of our children participating. There was always a lot of excitement in the corridor when new questions were published. I believe we achieved our main aim: to get students enthusiastic about reading and to show them that they are able to read and understand a foreign language. Using material that was up-to-date and relevant certainly made it more interesting for them.

SKA: What advice would you give to schools/teachers who might want to try something similar?

AC: I would definitely recommend it. It is important to have the support of teachers and parents. We need to teach children by example: if we are enthusiastic about reading, children will follow!

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Summer learning opportunities

Want to know what webinars and online courses are available this summer? Vicky Papageorgiou has put them all in one place!


Summer is ahead and soon most of us will find some time to relax and spend time with the family. It is also a great opportunity for professional development, with all this free time in our hands, if we want to learn something new or to deepen our knowledge in a subject, acquire some new skills.

MOOCs and webinars are available in abundance and they are generally free or for a small amount of money if you are asking for a certificate. I have compiled a list for June, July and August that I think you might find helpful. I am sure there are a few more out there, so feel free to let me know and I will update the list.

In the end of the list, I am also including some self-paced MOOCs which, in other words, do not start at a fixed date but you can jump…

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Recap of Interesting Resources and Blog Posts – May 2015

Compiled by Marja Juhola.

Yet another month has gone by and it is time for our round-up of all things ELT.

Professional Development Events

  • Eltforum is coming up next weekend. If you haven’t registered yet, you’d better get a move on as the registration ends today!
  • The Call for Speakers for our own very conference is on! The deadline for proposals is 15 June 2015 so you still got a bit of time to get yours in. 11205143_1625249801052643_1672374314206441420_nParticipant registration is also now open – Early Bird until 5 July!
  • The Teachers of English in Austria are planning their next conference – ELT Frameworks in Graz, Austria in April 2016. Get your speaker proposal in! FB event page and more info here.
  • Announcing the Call for Papers for the fourth edition of The Image Conference!
    This time in Munich on 5th December – who’s going?

Ideas for the Classroom

  • A great idea for a classroom or even a school corridor! How would our students complete the sentence ‘I wish I had the courage to…’ We’re sure we’d learn a lot.
  • Teaching idioms? This is great!
  • Do you always start you class in the same way? Time for a change? See here for 12 ideas.
  • Some more warm-up ideas here.
  • If you’ve ever had to teach a lesson about clothing, Naoko Araki Amano has some brilliant ideas for getting students engaged, and talking and writing!


End-of-Year Stuff

Interesting Reading/Watching/Listening

  • What do they say about hindsight? If you could write a letter to your younger teacher self, what would you tell yourself? What would you have wanted to know?  Joanna Malefaki got just that idea and she and some other colleagues from around the world have written that letter.
  • The latest issue of a FREE journal (pdf download): the Malaysian Journal of ELT Research. Table of contents: pg 9 (published by Malaysian English Language Teachers’ Association).bad-grade
  • In case you missed this week’s Am TESOL Free Friday Webinar- 15+ Digital Writing Tools & Resources Download the pdf and access the bookmarks!  and find all 200+ video recordings here. And if you want to find out about many of the excellent FREE ELT webinars that are available out there, join Webinars for English Teachers.
  • If you have dyslexic students, you may find this webinar recording interesting: Judit Kormos and Joanna Nijakowska: Successful inclusion for dyslexic students in the English language classroom. If you have dyslexic adult students, Jenny Harris’ blog post has some good ideas and links to more info.
  • Our sister organization in Austria, TEA, has just posted the spring issue of their magazine, ELT News. It’s chock full of excellent and practical articles. Check it out?before
  • According to the Global Language Monitor, as of January 1, 2014, there were 1,025,109.8 words in the English language. That was 17 months ago. There are more now and here they are!
  • Erasers? Good or bad? Read this and see what cognitive scientist Guy Claxton thinks.
  • Our sister association in Serbia has its newsletter out.
  • Doug Lemov believes great teachers are made, not born, and his ideas are transforming education. Listen to what he has to say.
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1st SKA ELT Conference – Call for Speaker Proposals!

We’ve got a conference! The call for speakers is OPEN and all English language teachers are invited to submit proposals for practical 45-minute workshops on ideas that they’ve used and which have worked with their students. Come one, come ALL!

Learning together, Teaching together

Conference poster

The Slovak Chamber of English Teachers (SKA) is excited to invite English teachers from Slovakia, central Europe and around the world to share their expertise at its inaugural ELT conference the 25th and 26th of September 2015 with Péter Medgyes,Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto and David Fisher at the Faculty of Arts, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia. (Registration for participants starts 1 June 2015.)

Call for Speakers

We at SKA believe that both teaching and learning are collaborative processes. We learn from each other, as well as learn better together. Our teaching can also be better informed by sharing our experiences, our insights, our wisdom, and our challenges with each other.

And so, we invite YOU to share those practical tips and insights in teaching English that you have learned and used with your students and in your classrooms. We’d like to hear what you have discovered works with…

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Recap of Interesting Resources and Blog Posts – April 2015

Compiled by Marja Juhola


Ladies and Gentlemen, ELT colleagues of all ages, presenting the Slovak Chamber 11037576_1620837291493894_9162396100143125120_oof English Teachers’ very first call for speakers for its inaugural annual conference in September!

Submit your proposal for one of the 4 areas we’re focusing on this year, and maybe you too will be able to say: yes, I was there when it all began! Everything you need to know is here. Conference date: 25-26 September Where: Filozofická fakulta UK v Bratislave Deadline for submissions: June 15

We are also very pleased to introduce Ilona Kvietocek Sostronek, SKA’s new membership secretary. Welcome a  board!

Teaching Ideas

  • In this post, Adam Simpson considers what to do when faced with making gap fills that we find in books more meaningful and how to inspire some creative thinking when completing them.
  • Great pron help here from Adrian Underhill.
  • Looking for some conversation starters for your B2+ learners? Graham Hendrey’s got some great ones on his Pinterest page! Check it out!
  • The question our students should be asking themselves: “Am I working hard or hardly working?” Check out Vicki Hollett’s latest video!
  • If you thought using TED Talks in your classroom would be a bit tough, think again. Andrew Gaun Jones has done a bunch of the planning for us!
  • FREE RESOURCE! online ELT magazine, complete with articles, interviews and podcasts. Check out the EFL Magazine!
  • “I Wish my teacher knew” – here’s a way to both practice the ‘I wish’ structure and gain insight into our students lives.
  • 57 Ways To Sign Off On An Email – a useful post if you teach email writing.

10987647_1609027109341579_1960597502971913432_oProfessional Development

  • Good advice for new teachers by Crissy Smith: “The truth is there is no master’s degree or advice that can compensate for experience. With every new year and new crop of students, new challenges will arise.”
  • TESOL Quarterly March issue is available here.
  • A Coursera course on supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing.
  • NILE Online offers tutor-led online courses for language teachers. Check out their website for further info.

Interesting Stuff

11146552_1619187628325527_3835727134240681012_nConferences and events

  • Coming to Tuzla in June: the 3rd TETA BiH Conference! Click here to register.
  • ELTForum is coming up in June – register here.
  • Educafe has opened in BA – check it out!
  • Banska Bystrica, Kosice and Bratislava teachers, you’ve got a real treat coming this month: Carol Read! Carol is great with YLs. She’ll be doing workshops on Creativity and communication through story and drama AND How to succeed with projects. Registration required! Banska Bystrica: Wed 13. 5. 2015, 1-4pm Kosice: Thurs 14.5.2015, 9-12 Bratislava: Friday 15.5.2015, 9-12


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Film in Action Competition

A great project to join in with our students!

Film in Action


To celebrate the publication of Film In Action we are delighted to announce a film-making competition in which your school can win the following fantastic prizes:

  •  A license for Camtasia Studio 8 which helps you create professional videos easily  (value 250 US dollars).
  • A licence for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 which allows you to edit, organise and share digital images  (value 150 US dollars).
  • A signed copy of Film in Action.

Your students are almost certainly creating their own videos and short films with their mobile phones outside school. We think it’s a fantastic idea to bring this creative video and film-making into the language learning classroom. In Film in Action there are lots of activities which encourage students to create their own videos. To help you get your students creating short videos in your classes our competition uses an activity from Film In Action in which students have to…

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Recap of Interesting Resources and Blog Posts – March 2015

Compiled by Marja Juhola

Clocks are going forward this weekend and it is Easter next week. This can only mean one thing: spring is officially here! Before we forget all about March, let’s have a look at what’s been going on this month.


  • SKA is now officially an IATEFL Associate! Hurrah!blue IATEFL associate
  • IATEFL is holding its annual conference in Manchester in April and although we can’t make it this year, we’ll definitely be following all the excitement online!
  • At the end of Feb, SKA hosted Rakesh Bhanot for a teacher’s workshop on ‘Teaching more than grammar’ in the English classroom. Thanks for teaching us to THINK about what and how we teach, Rakesh!




Lesson ideas and material

  • A lesson plan from Anna Breslavskaya based on a famous song by Shania Twain. A good conversation starter on the topic of shopping and money. Suitable for intermediate+ | B1, B2 levels.
  • Kieran Donaghy has a book out on using film in the classroom from his new book.  Info on the book, free activities and useful links can be found here.1959899_1602603686650588_3521425606653882745_n
  • Are you really sure you don’t want students using their mobile phones in your class?
    Tekhnologic has come up with these seven ways they can use them productively.
  • Engames has created this blog post to focus on the mistakes that students frequently make with the present simple and continuous tenses. There are online quizzes, a game and a worksheet.
  • Have you seen these free resources over at BBC Learning English? Lots of fun and helpful too!
  • A spring poem writing activity!
  • FREE resource from Adam Simpson, ‘Using Games in the Language Classroom‘.
  • Kahoot – A great game-based blended learning response system – create quizzes online and test the class using mobile devices, laptops, on desktop computers.


Interesting reading – professional development


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The 22nd IATEFL Slovenia Conference or How a sauna can help ELT ideas to soak in

By Lýdia Machová

You know how they say that turning an ‘I’ into a ‘we’ turns ‘illness’ into ‘wellness’? Well, in real life, it doesn’t quite work out that way. From the 5th to the 8th of March, IATEFL Slovenia held its annual conference at Terme Topolšica – a spa and wellness centre in the hills of northern Slovenia. Unfortunately, amid the ‘we’ of 60 speakers and 200 participants, I was ill. I participated as much as I could, but as you read on, you will understand why I was so disappointed to miss out on so much of what this conference had to offer.

My expectations were high as I set out for the conference. First, Lyn Steyne (a friend and chair of the Slovak Chamber of English Teachers) had reacted to the news of my proposal’s acceptance with the words “You lucky dog!” Then the organizers kept posting interesting things on the Facebook event page, including pictures of the hand-made presents we would all find in our welcome bags. Finally, there were the highly unusual offerings in the program, things such as a paraffin hand bath during an interactive chatroom. I can tell you it got me curious. But it wasn’t until I arrived at the venue that I understood just how amazing this conference would be.

Terme Topolšica

Set in beautiful mountainous surroundings just one hour from Ljubljana, Topolšica makes a perfect place for a friendly conference of this type. Not too big to get lost, not too small to get bored, and most of all with cosy thermal pools and an enticing wellness centre under your nose.

After the opening plenary on Thursday by Slovenian teacher and teacher trainer Mojca Belak, we spent a very nice evening getting to know each other and even presenting pieces of our cultures – the best of our food and drinks. I really loved this idea; it made the whole conference much less formal and much friendlier. There were speakers from as far away as Australia and from such exotic places as Azerbaijan. Being the only representative from Slovakia, I made sure no one left that international slovakiaevening without learning the most useful phrase in Slovak: “strč prst skrz krk”J. And so we talked the evening away munching on Austrian cookies, Bosnian cakes, and even our famous Slovak Snehulky candy. Of course, there was Slovenian wine and Rakia (with a sample from each Balkan country) to wash it all down.

As pleasant as this little intercultural chit-chat was, it was not the highlight of the first day of the conference. That came at 10 p.m. when the hotel pool opened its gates exclusively for the conference participants in order to have the first ever plenary talk given in a swimming pool! Yes, you read that right. While soaking in Topolšica’s warm thermal waters, in the cool night air of 4°C, and with a full moon shining above our heads, we listened to Mark Andrews’ words echoing around the pool. What an unusual, unforgettable conference setting that was! Mark reminded us of what we, water and the stars have in common and gave us a plenary with a real difference – just as the conference booklet had promised.

mark's plenary

The world’s first Pool-enary with Mark Andrews and 65 active participants! Photo courtesy of Grenville Yeo

The conference continued at full strength on Friday morning with four talks or workshops running simultaneously. If some participants thought the Thursday plenary in the pool too ‘normal’, then they were surely surprised by the second delivered by Erika Osváth from Hungary – she put on a baseball cap in front of the full plenary room and showed us a piece of her rapping talent! She gave us indisputable proof that rhymes and rhythm make learners remember better. Why indisputable? During her morning plenary, we all jointly created a short rap song relevant to the conference, and you could hear participants humming it later at dinner. Another unforgettable workshop was given by Jean McCollister together with her special teacher assistant, her dog. She showed us how bringing a well-trained dog into the classroom can enhance the learning process and help students learn such things as irregular verbs or prepositions.

The first day packed full of inspiring talks and workshops ended with yet another opportunity to get together and have some more fun – competing in a pub quiz. With 25 teams of five, everybody had the chance to test their knowledge, learn something new, and get a little less serious (which happens as you lip sing a pop song, drink beer quickly and eat chili peppers). The most knowledgeable, the most resilient and perhaps the luckiest among us won great prizes, including a trip to London. Wouldn’t you drink a pint in one go or eat several chili peppers to get to go to London for free?

lydia's wkshp

Lydia’s workshop on autonomous learners

Saturday was just as rich in interesting ideas and tips for English teachers. There were 20 more talks/workshops to choose from (one of them mine on helping our students be more autonomous), two more plenaries and, let’s be honest, eight very tempting saunas. That’s what made this conference even more pleasant than the talks themselves – if you felt a little too full of ideas for an hour or two, you could easily sneak off and let the those ideas sink while getting a massage with red oranges or a honey treatment after some time spent in a Finnish sauna.


On the walking tour

For those who felt the need to get outside and move around a bit in the fresh air, the organizers prepared a walking tour which included the place where the German forces finally surrendered at the end of the World War II in 1945.

To get us all moving after two days of sitting in conference rooms, the organisers came up with a great idea: a disco! And, although English teachers definitely do know how to have fun on their own, it was even more fun with a professional dance trainer who taught us how to shake it until we made it. And so we danced the last night away.

There was so much to learn, to gain from this conference, a lot to remember and a lot to return for in future editions of the IATEFL Slovenia conference. Unfortunately, I must say that the life-lesson I learned was somewhat different from other participants’: ‘sweating out’ a cold in a sauna does NOT work. Seriously, do not ever try it or you’ll get an even worse flu-like cold which will keep you in bed for several days. I don’t think have to stress how sorry I felt as I lay in my bed to be missing out on much of the coziest conference I have ever been to.

If you ever get the chance to go to IATEFL Slovenia’s annual conference, pack your notepad for interesting ideas, your swimsuit to enjoy the nice extras of the conference and don’t forget the vitamin C! With this in your bag, you will be in for an unforgettable, most pleasant, friendly and indeed cozy ELT conference.



Lýdia is a freelance interpreter and PhD student of Translation studies at Comenius University in Bratislava. She teaches lessons of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting as well as advanced English. She has several years of experience teaching in language schools and as a private tutor. Her greatest drive in both life and work is the belief in autonomous learning, which has helped her master several foreign languages and keeps her motivated to continue learning. She is currently studying, teaching and completing her dissertation in Krakow.

The Executive Committee of the SKA would like to thank our sister association, IATEFL Slovenia, for hosting Lydia as our representative and putting on a brilliant conference.


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