June 2016 Seminar
MATEFL is 21 this year and our celebratory seminar was held on 25th June at Old Hunanities Block ALT, Pietru Pawl Saydon Hall, University of Malta, Tal-Qroqq.  There were three workshops during the morning: two by Jim Scrivener who led the first MATEFL seminar by a guest speaker back in 1997 and one by Alan Marsh who has been at the helm of MATEFL since the beginning.  There was a very good turnout: around 150 members including 25 new members.


8.45 - 9.00  President's Address

FIRST SESSION - 9.00 – 10.00 The Under-known Skills of Classroom Management by Jim Scrivener      

For many teachers, classroom management seems to be almost entirely about making groups, moving chairs and giving instructions. But there are many wonderful, easy-to-learn techniques (unknown or unused even by experienced teachers) that can transform a classroom by getting students engaged, interacting and really focussed on learning. You will discover some techniques you may know well – but also others that are new to you – and which have the potential to completely alter the quality of your teaching and your students’ learning. Some of the techniques we’ll look at are as follows:

  • Walking away
  • Not rubberstamping
  • Blank face
  • Devil’s advocate
  • Intentional not hearing


SECOND SESSION – 10.15 – 11.30  Grammar and the Whole Person by Alan Marsh 

For many teachers (and learners), a focus on grammar during lessons often signals the onset of a teacher-fronted explanation followed by controlled written practice of the target structure, à la Murphy. Learners often relate to such an approach, probably because it reflects their previous learning experiences. However, the (near) absence of any emotional or cognitive investment in the learning process often means that the grammar learning experience becomes disengaging: it is neither moving nor challenging. The learner is disconnected and the learning is at best superficial and short-term. In this practical, interactive talk we'll experiment with some ways in which grammar learning can involve the learner's thinking processes, emotions and experience so that grammar becomes something that isn't 'out there' but is an integral part of who we are and how we see our world(s).

 

THIRD SESSION – 12.00 – 13.15 Uncertainty by Jim Scrivener  

As ELT professionals, it feels as if we work in a world of increasing certainties. Researchers measure and quantify what we do and make proposals about best practice. Course books (and presumably their writers and publishers) seem to have worked out how best to organise learning content for the classroom. School owners and their management teams tell students that they know how long it will take them to progress through each level – and they tell teachers exactly how long they should take to cover each unit of the book. Inspectors seem to know exactly what they are looking for when they observe our lessons. So… why do I still feel so unsure about everything? This talk is an exploration of uncertainty in ELT (and the lack of it). The implications for teaching are surprisingly important and far-reaching.

 

PRIZE DRAW - 13.15 - 13.30

To close the event, there was a prize-drawing ceremony. The following prizes were given to those lucky members, present at the event, whose names were drawn:

  • Two complimentary registrations for the 5th ELT Malta Conference, courtesy of the ELT Council
  • Book prizes, courtesy of Macmillan and MERLIN Library
  • Two complimentary MATEFL 2017 memberships