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  • Making Tangible Progress from Intangible Domains April 7, 2021

Saudi TESOL Online Event
ELT: Making Tangible Progress from Intangible Domains
April 7, 2021

For this coming spring event, Saudi TESOL addresses the seismic shift that has occurred in ELT and in so many other disciplines and work environments, where we now find ourselves operating almost exclusively on-line. Whether or not one regards this as inevitable or irrevocable, history may well note that the global proliferation and predominance of the virtual classroom has surely come so far and so fast at this juncture in history, that it is of now and will be, at a minimum, on a parallel with the "face to face" from this point onwards.

Whatever our individual preferences or opinions, we have to accept and hopefully embrace the undeniable current learning and teaching status quo, where digital environments are and will be our unnatural and unexpected habitat for at least the foreseeable future. Despite spending its formative years on tactile plains, our industry's immediate and likely long-term future lies on intangible platforms, which are our profession’s current life-line and real and ready means of support. Rather than standing by as bemused and motionless onlookers, the industry must make tangible progress from here onwards. We must not be merely spectators at our industry’s sudden complete turnaround or even partial demise, but rather we must become the active spearhead of its metamorphosis and rejuvenation.

The industry endures, it will survive, but what will allow us to stretch our wings online, to thrive? How can all aspects of ELT, in this brave nearly-new world, go on to make progress commensurate to that already undoubtedly made in the physical zone, where we have indeed found comfort and perhaps at times an overblown sense of self-satisfaction? These thoughts on the future of our profession form our theme.

The event will be held on Zoom on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Registration is free of charge and open for all Saudi TESOL members.

For registration, click here

If you are not a Saudi TESOL member yet, click here for complimentary membership. Sign-up is quick and easy and once you are a member, you may register early for events alongside other privileges.

Peter Lucantoni has had a long career in English language teaching,teacher training and management, in Europe and the Middle East, and is now based in Cyprus. He is the author and co- author of a range of popular coursebooks for students, including Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language, and Introduction to English as a Second Language, both published by Cambridge University Press. He is currently co-authoring From Teacher to Trainer with Matt Ellman. Peter is Professional Learning and Development Manager for Cambridge University Press, and regularly speaks at ELT conferences and trains teachers internationally in both the public and private sectors. His main interests are in teacher education and transitioning teachers into trainer roles.

A template for Successful Training Sessions

Novice teachers are often given ‘lesson shapes’ such as Presentation-Practice-Production or Test-Teach-Test to support their lesson planning in the early part of their careers. But novice teacher trainers don’t have these kinds of templates to work from, and the result is often training sessions that lack impact. In this session I’ll introduce a model for planning successful teacher training workshops, based on my work with trainee trainers, and show how you can apply it to your own training sessions, or use it to support colleagues taking their first steps into teacher training.

Lubna Omer of the ELI (KAU) has a Masters in English Language following CELTA and DELTA certification from the University of Cambridge .She is a certified teacher trainer and also the coordinator of the Curriculum and Testing Section at the ELI on the Women’s Main Campus. Whilst having always enjoyed language through reading and writing, she has more recently found eloquence and confidence in public speaking. She is passionately involved in empowering learners to become better English writers and speakers. Lubna’s interest in materials' writing and her teacher training responsibilities have afforded her the unique opportunity to explore strategies that facilitate and enhance learning.

Leveraging the Limbo of Online Teaching

The presentation will commence with an overview of the ‘good, bad and ugly’ aspects of our online teaching scenario. As ELT practitioners delving progressively into more and more complex online teaching scenarios, we have gone through learning curves steeper than those of our learners. However, we have emerged as more confident learners and teachers in the process. The presentation will focus on those tiny triumphs that we might have ignored in our frenetic navigation of these learning curves as online teachers. Whether it be innovative techniques of formative assessments or virtual self-access centers for students, online teaching has revealed new vistas for us as EFL teachers. The session will also touch upon challenges that might hinder the successful implementation of these strategies and suggest solutions to overcome them. The presentation will conclude with the myriad possibilities of leveraging these techniques for further facilitating the teaching and acquisition of English Language in the future.

Dr Maha Al-Shahran is the Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Public Education & General Director of the Center for English Language

Teaching English through DTPs: Madrasati as an Example

The mass closure of schools and universities, due to COVID 19 pandemic, has encouraged education systems all over the world to provide alternative solutions for schooling, and use all possible measures, to ensure the continuity of education in times of crisis.

The Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia has rushed to face the outbreak of the pandemic since February, and developed contingency plans, awareness campaigns, and immediately shifted to distance learning to 6 million students in its pursuit to leave no one behind. Among the distance learning solutions provided to students was a Digital Teaching Platform (DTP), called Madrasati. Teachers developed or reinforced their technological skills to deal with the situation. However, Language teaching through DTPs requires specific skills that needs to be addressed. Therefore, in this session teaching and engaging students in a unique language teaching experience through Madrasati will be discussed.

Michael King

Michael began his career with graduate and post graduate qualifications in Economics and Education, working in secondary school systems in Australia and the UK. He switched to Teaching English as a Second Language and obtained his CELTA and DELTA and has worked as a Senior Teacher, Teacher Trainer and Teaching centre manager for the British Council in Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan Brazil and Spain.

He took on an Americas regional Examinations and Assessment brief while in Venezuela, then moved to China as Director Exams Operations where he worked extensively with the Chinese Ministry of Education on English Assessment solutions. As Director Exams and Assessment in India from 2015 he managed the introduction of Computer Delivered IELTS as well as online writing marking and video conferenced speaking tests.

In September 2020 he took up his current role as Director Examinations and Assessment for KSA, Kuwait and Bahrain, with a brief to lead on British Council Assessment Solutions work in the MENA region.

Online Assessment: Tangible to Intangible

I’d like to talk about trends and challenges in assessment over the last year in response to “pandemic constraints”, posing the question has Covid pushed assessment systems somewhere new? .I’d then like to comment on some of the issues arising from a shift from face to face to online learning.

I’d then like to share some findings from a vey recent British Council report on Online Professional Development for teachers in MENA.

And finally to identify support networks and communities of practice that can offer resources and support in these challenging times.

Dr Peter Watkins has been involved in teacher education for many years and currently works at the University of Portsmouth, UK as a a Principal Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics, where he is Subject Leader for MA programmes, contributing to the MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL in particular. His main research interests relate to teacher education and materials writing and his publications include Teaching and Developing Reading Skills (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Extensive Reading in ELT: Why and How? and Extensive Reading for Primary in ELT (both Cambridge University Press, 2018), Learning to Teach English(Delta Publishing, second edition 2014, first edition 2005), and The CELTA Course (co- authored with Scott Thornbury, Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Helping Learners to Read Online

Reading remains a crucial skill. The range of text types we read has expanded and we are now more likely than ever to do a high proportion of our reading from a screen, rather than a traditional paper source. So, is the skill of reading changing? And how best can we help our learners to read effectively, particularly in online environments? This talk will briefly outline how reading contributes to overall language development and how learners can be encouraged to read more. We will review some of the recent research into print vs digital reading and will then ask what it means for us as language teachers. The talk includes practical, easy to use, classroom activities, which demonstrate how teachers can apply the insights from research in their own classrooms.

Nicky Hockly is the Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E. She is aninternational plenary speaker, and regularly trains teachers all over the world, both f2f and online. Nicky has written several prize-winning methodology books about new technologies in language teaching. Her most recent books are Focus on Learning Technologies (2016) and ETPedia Technology (2017), and she is currently working on a second edition of Digital Literacies (2013; forthcoming 2022) and a new methodology book for Cambridge University Press. Her research interests include blended and online learning.

Ensuring a Brighter Future

Educational institutions have faced multiple challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has foregrounded the need for schools and universities to provide robust pedagogically-sound online and blended opportunities to their learners, not just now, but from now on. This plenary looks at how educational institutions can take a strategic approach to creating online and blended learning, to ensure the brightest possible future for their teachers and learners.

Mark Hancock is a teacher, trainer, and author of many ELT titles including Pronunciation Games and English Pronunciation in Use Intermediate (both CUP). His self-published collection PronPack 1-4 received the 2018 ELTons award for innovation in teacher resources. His latest books are PronPack 5: Pronunciation of English for Spanish Speakers (Hancock McDonald ELT) and Mark Hancock’s 50 Tips for Teaching Pronunciation (CUP).

Mark co-founded the teaching website: www.hancockmcdonald.com

Mazes, Maps, Rhymes and Raps: Pronunciation Made Practical

Pronunciation teaching can be a joy – it doesn’t have to be all complicated theory and difficult symbols. This is equally true whether you are teaching face to face or online. With a playful and experimental approach, it can be a part of the lesson that your students look forward to most. In this workshop, I will explain that pronunciation hybrid - it is both skill and system, and involves both speaking and listening. This means that teaching and learning it is both physically and mentally stimulating. We will then go on to try out a number of very different types of activities which work perfectly well in an online environment, sometimes even better than in face to face contexts. By the end of the session, participants will be in a position to create their own versions of the activities, so that they can adapt the ideas to match their own learners’ needs.

Damian Williams is an author, writer and teacher trainer based in the UK. He has workedin Russia, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, UK, Argentina and Brazil.He has written several major books for Pearson, including the most recent global coursebook Roadmap. He also works as a Cambridge Delta tutor and examiner. His current interests lie in exploiting the urban linguistic landscape as a language learning resource and developing skills through course materials.


Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire: Adapting Materials for Effective Online Lessons

One of the biggest challenges we've faced over the last year as materials writers is ensuring that the materials we create for online use still bring the same levels of interest and inclusion that they do in a face-to-face setting. In this workshop, I will first outline the main challenges we face when writing materials for the online classroom, what works, what doesn't work, and how we can adapt them to ensure meaningful and interesting lessons. I will also demonstrate some useful digital tools we can use with online lessons in mind. Participants will then be given the opportunity to put this knowledge to use in creating some of their own materials for online use.


King Abdulaziz University

English Language Institute

Building 535

P.O. Box 80200

Jeddah 21589

Saudi Arabia

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