Technology debated at EUK conference

November 18, 2013

The use of technology in teaching and the' sacred cows' of ELT instruction were among the debated topics at the annual English UK Teachers' Conference in London last week, while a new research support scheme was unveiled.




A plenary session at the English UK Teachers' Conference


The one-day event, which attracted a record 265 attendees, featured 27 elective training sessions between the opening and closing presentations.

In the opening debate, Russell Stannard, an associate trainer at NILE, praised the benefits of using online tools to give feedback on students’ work, while in the closing plenary the more sceptical Hugh Dellar, a teacher and teacher-trainer at the University of Westminster, warned that the “race to a technological teaching future detracted from discussion of wider underlying principles in the classroom”.

Meanwhile, Silvana Richardson, Head of Teacher Development at Bell, attempted to debunk some widely held ELT principles, such as minimising students’ use of mother tongue and encouraging learners to ignore or guess new vocabulary when learning.

Huan Japes, English UK, Deputy Chief Executive for Professional Services, said, “It’s been a fantastic day, and putting such different views on at each end of the day has worked fantastically well and generated a real buzz and lots of debate.”

At the conference, a new scheme was unveiled to provide practical support for English UK member classroom teachers interested in undertaking research projects.

The Action Research Award Scheme, delivered by English UK and Cambridge English Language Assessment, sponsors of the conference, will see organisers choose up to six projects from individuals or pairs of teachers after the submission deadline in January. Participants will be supported in their research projects, receive expenses to attend special workshops, will present findings at next year’s conference and have the papers published in Cambridge English’s Reseach Notes.

“We know there are people out there who are interested in doing action research but are wondering how to proceed. With this scheme, we’ll provide support and guidance, and make sure the research gets into the public domain and the hands of other EL teachers at the end of the process,” said Japes.

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