Sunday, October 9, 2016

IATEFL ESP SIG Athens 2016 - Impressions

A very interesting convention relating to teaching English for Specific Purposes. In the first plenary, Dr. Anna Mauranen pointed out that English is a Lingua Franca and how important it is to have a language to communicate internationally. She also showed survey results on how people from different countries "adapt" English combining it with their own language and expressions.

The next presentation I attended was Task-Based, topic- centered learning in ESP by Vesna Kovasevic from Serbia. I had already met her last year in Athens at the TESOL convention, she is an excellent ESP teacher with wonderful ideas. She presented her students' project and described the way she helps them to create their own presentations - commercials and essays/ reports in real life situations.

I then attended Teaching academic writing, critical thinking and autonomy through one draft by Sofia Valanis, lecturer at IST college. The presentation itself was lesson on how to write academic essays with examples, but the discussion that followed was very interesting, with people teaching in China, Abu Dabi and Europe having a say on cultural awareness and the conclusion was that different cultures do not always support autonomy and expression of personal opinions and one has to be careful on how to approach the students.

The next plenary was about preparing our students for their working lives in English - what is correct and incorrect language and again cultural awareness, stereotypes and multicultural communication skills. Ian Badger is an Author and instructor of business and medical English.

The workshop that followed was about helping students perform well in interviews, which was fun and very practical and useful. There were some wonderful insights on how to react and how to prepare. Joan Macphail and Angeliki Apostolidou are owners of The Tartan Epsilon

I have also met Elis Kakoulli Constantinou from Cyprus whose talk was about Technology and ESP . She is currently working on her master's degree in this field and talked about using technology in teaching (e-learning platforms). In fact she is planning to have an e-learning course about teaching ESP in the beginning of the new year and I will keep in touch. She has definitely a lot of ideas to share.

Day 2 begun with Profesor Almut Koster of Business Communication, University of Vienna, discussing teaching of ESP as training and education. She presented her surveys and a lot of examples and videos of lessons and analysed the challenges a teacher and a student has to face.

Right after, Will Nash from University of Sheffield presented the IAT(Inform / Analyse / Transfer) Model for ESAP and divided English teaching into two categories (Academic for Studies and Academic Professional)

I then attended the second workshop of Joan Macphial and Angeliki Apostolidou on CV's - we talked about different kind of CV's and I mentioned them the Europass type and had a discussion of the use of each type.

The next plenary was by Dr. Pascahlis Chiaras , lecturer at IST College and one of the Organisers of the convention who talked about technology and ESP classroom, flipped classrooms, e-learning advantages and disadvantages.

All in all it was an interesting convention, but with few participants (maybe due to the price?). The only problem in my opinion was lack of organization (the times of the talks were constantly changing).

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