Comenius in Canterbury
I want to share my experiences from an English course entitled : ”Methodology and Language for Secondary Teachers” held from 21st July to 3rd August 2013 at The University of Kent at Canterbury in England. The 2-weeks course was totally founded by European Union. It is a Lifelong Learning Programme- Comenius mainly to organize trainings for teachers of English and other teachers who teach in English in private institutions. You need an intermediate level (B1) level and above to participate in this course. The European Union Programme is consantly realized by such projects as Comenius, Gruntvig, Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus. We as teachers can make our qalifications and language competence higher.
If you want to take part in any course that will interest you, you have to choose a proper one and fill in a form which is on Internet page of National Agency of Lifelong Learning Programme- A Foudation of Development in Education ( www.comenius.org.pl). There are various courses like ”Creative Methodology for the Classroom”, ”English for Teachers”, ”Dealing with difficult learners”. All the courses are organized by Pilgrims- English Language Courses (www.pilgrims.co.uk, pilgrims.pl). They can give you an opportunity to improve your own English, while at the same time offer you a range of options for teaching secondary school learners more effectively. You could be also encouraged to re-assess your 'teacher beliefs and attitudes' in the light of current trends in methodology.
Programme of the training activities:
Ways of presenting and practising grammar and vocabulary.
Using music, story, pictures and drama in your teaching.
Ideas for encouraging learner independence in the class.
Dealing with ''difficult behaviour ''.
Dealing with different learning styles.
Dealing with mixed level classes.
Work on pronunciation.
Using texts for different purposes.
Teaching through fine arts.
Ideas for assessment/testing.
Blended learning and using on-line resources.
Elements of CLIL- Content and Language Integrated Learning.
Adapting and supplementing course book materials
Introduction to THE Silent Way
The course aims to provide the participants with state of the art theories and practises in teaching secondary students. The teachers in my group were from Germany, Austria, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary and Holland. The training activities day by day were from 9.00 a.m to 15.30 p.m in a group of 13 people in a form of workshops. We were shown new methods and techniques of teaching, ways how to motivate students, how to be creative and imaginative. We had an occasion all the time to improve our English because we were in an international company. Besides this we could check and develop language skills due to the fact that there were a lot of conversations. We could also exchange our opinions on ways of teaching for example vocabulary, grammar, disruptive behaviour, mixed ability classes and even educational system in Germany, England, or Spain. The atmosphere was very pleasant and our professor had a great sense of humour. In the afternoons we had seminars (not compulsory) which were inspiring for example Scottish evening. During it there was a presentation of Scotland and we also had an opportunity to learn Scottish dances and tried Scottish whiskey called Teacher. The course included a full programme of Afternoon and Evening cultural and educational activities plus guest speakers. I had also an occasion to go sightseeing in Canterbury. I saw the famous Cathedral where in 1170 Thomas Becket was murdered. There is also The Canterbury Tales Museum- a step into medieval Canterbury and accompany Geoffrey Chaucer and his characters on their magical pilgrimage from London to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Moreover, I had a chance to take part in a historic river tour by boat with a guide in Canterbury. The trips are a great opportunity to get to know about fascinating history, culture, traditions (travelling broadens your mind- I agree). Canterbury is not far away from London so my friends from Poland and I decided to go to London for a trip. I saw London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey,Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, National Gallery and some huge parks. I was totally impressed by London itself and its climate. ''When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life'' -Samuel Johnson , I could then feel what does it mean in reality expecially in Oxford Street.
As a summary, I honestly can highly recommend the Pilgrims courses. Now I am more confident, creative, knowledgeable teacher. I teach more effecively and use a lot of new trends in methodology. I have a lot of materials such as language riddles, quizes, games, songs. I know how to teach through fine arts, drama. I can recommend a book ''The Mixed Ability Class'', Julie Tice, Richmond Publishing and ''Challenge To Think'' Mario Rivoluci.
The course was not only a very useful and necessary experience but also a great, unforgettable adventure.
MA in English. A graduate from English Philology Institute in Płock and Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczno-Ekonomiczna in Łódź. Agata is a teacher in Secondary School in Góra Kalwaria with 8 years of experience. She is interested in travelling especially to English speaking countries and warm ones like Turkey and Greece.