I. Umbrella Gathering in Smolensk http://www.eltrussia.ru/articles_62_179.html
Russia’s Xth annual Umbrella Conference, a by-invitation-only event, brought together ELT leaders from all around the country, most of them founders of the nation’s 58 English-language Teachers’ Associations, principal administrators and methodologists in premiere Russian universities and schools. The theme of the conference “Getting an "A" in Autonomy” was very popular, as was evidenced by the standing-room-only crowd of nearly 300 teachers. The 320 conference participants, who spent 2 ½ days brainstorming and strategizing, praised ATES (Ekaterina Mashurova - President, Elizaveta Mazhar and Yuliya Tarasenkova – Vice Presidents) for excellent organization and attention to the needs of the participants. They deserve our kudos!
The work of three teams has brought to fruition three DVD-ROM projects, all on subjects of key interest in the Russian ELT community today.
1. “Busting Myths in Testing and Assessing”
Under Prof. Mariya V. Verbitskaya' s guidance, a group of experts is working on a DVD- ROM that will help you answer all questions about EGE and bust numerous myths about standardized testing. The three rubrics (for teachers, students and parents) will provide you with reliable information and answers to frequently asked questions. The DVD-ROM will also contain the “Manual on Testing” by famous TESOL President Christine Coombe. The DVD-ROM is expected in June and will be distributed through associations.
2. “Sharing Best Practices of the Access Microscholarship Programs”
Access DVD- ROM project unites all 50 teachers from 21 Access sites. The results of the project amaze everyone – students from low income families show miraculous results. In an attempt to reveal the “secrets of success” the project participants decided to share their best practices with all of you. The project leaders are Svetlana Sannikova (CHELTA President) and Nataliya Fomenko (ELO Assistant). 1000 copies will be created and distributed through teachers' associations at the end of the academic year.
3. “Developing New ESP Policy and Models for the Russian ELT Community
This challenging project unites teachers from non- linguistic departments of universities and focuses on new models and policies in ELT for those who major in Math, Science, and IT. The project’s integral part is getting statistical data from various employers to find out English language needs on-the-job. The objective data will help you make language training more relevant to real-life needs. Please ask your friends, former students, and relatives to fill in the questionnaire at the link; it will take them only 10 minutes: http://virtualexs.ru/cgi-bin/exsurveys/survey.cgi?ac=5966
The working group created Google Docs where samples of lesson plans, syllabi, success stories and ideas are contributed with an idea to create a DVD-ROM on ESP Best Practices and autonomous learning. If you feel like taking part in this project, don’t hesitate to write to Elena Lubnina at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Getting Across Borders
Umbrella Gathering participants discussed Thomas Santos’ appeal “Get Across Borders!” Our colleagues in various countries of the world are unaware of the Russian ELT history and achievements, methodological breakthroughs and routine practices as practically nothing has been published in English. We are looking for experts and specialists who would be interested in two smaller scale projects:
1. It would be very useful to create a database of Russian teachers, experts’ publications in English on any ELT or EFL Methodology issues – we could start placing this info at http://www.eltrussia.ru site. This will be the first step to make Russian achievements in ELT better known in the world.
2. Russian teachers are encouraged to describe in English all aspects of the Russian ELT world – pre-service, in-service, teaching various aspects – all what you take for granted but what has never been presented in English.
II. Road to NATE
Please mark your diary for May 24-26, 2012. The XVIIIth NATE - Russia International Annual Conference “Rivers of Language, Rivers of Learning” will take place in Yaroslavl http://www.eltrussia.ru/articles_14_198.html Attending NATE Conference you can get a year's worth of professional development in just 3 days!
If you plan to present at NATE, join eltrussia-ning.com where Toni Hull offers her guidance in preparing good presentations.