venres, 22 de xaneiro de 2016

Contemporary English Course

(Carmela Vaamonde, Dpto. de Inglés)

The course Contemporary English for Adult Education Staff was held in Cambridge from 26th July to 7th August 2015. It was part of the annual Teacher Campus organised by Bell English at Homerton College. It is a course aimed at experienced teachers with a high standard of English working with adult students, and taught through a series of informal lectures, seminars and workshops.

Course aims
·         To update participants on current trends in the use of contemporary English
·         To extend knowledge of idiomatic and colloquial language
·         To provide language development and practice
·         To present practical ideas and techniques for teaching the topics covered

Topics included
·         How social and cultural changes have affected modern English
·         Exploiting authentic materials for learning activities
·         Political correctness
·         Trends in lexical change and new words
·         Language change
·         Slang and idioms
·         Varieties of English

Groups are normally 10-15 people – ours ended up being a bit bigger, because apparently word got round that it was a great group to be in (it was, actually!), so some people left other groups and moved to it!

The typical timetable was two 90-minute sessions in the morning, and a more varied schedule in the afternoon – maybe another group session, a variety of workshops and cultural talks to choose from, plenary talks on Wednesdays, and some (much needed) free time on Fridays. There was also a full social programme including some excursions at weekends.

Great opportunities offered by the course
·         Sharing experiences with colleagues from different countries and different educational backgrounds. For instance, finding out how learning English is changing the outlook on life of girls in Saudi Arabia; or getting to know about the jazyková škola in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the only institutions in Europe similar to escuelas oficiales de idiomas in Spain.  
·         Experiencing the life and peculiarities of a great university town like Cambridge from the unbeatable environment provided by a real Cambridge college, and “going native” with year-round residents.
  • Not only refreshing the language, but also becoming more up-to-date with the social and cultural changes behind it: learning about media (movies, radio and TV programmes, websites – even augmented reality!) which can give a more contemporary twist to language teaching.

Some of this has been shared with the English department here:

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