CyTEA Annual Conference explores Teaching Challenges in a Globalized World

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Teachers from Cyprus and abroad shared experience and expertise at the CyTEA Annual Conference which took place on 18 & 19 November at the premises of the European University of Cyprus in Nicosia. The conference focused on Language Teaching Challenges in a Globalized World and gave attendees the chance to explore new approaches in teaching so as to help and aid their students develop the necessary skills required to succeed in a multicultural, globalized world.

The conference included presentations and workshops on a variety of topics, ranging from critical pedagogy and autonomous learning to CLIL and vocabulary teaching.
Conference participants had the opportunity to attend over 15 different talks and workshops, spread out over the weekend.

The organizing committee did a wonderful job setting up an event that included some of the ELT’s elite alongside many passionate university academics willing to share and exchange ideas.

Luke Prodromou explored the impact of the Internet on our classrooms, our brains and our lives and asked questions that all teachers might ask- so we can better understand what is gained and what is lost as we become more and more connected.

In his plenary Dr Prodromou encouraged teachers to take nothing for granted, but to question, in the best Socratic manner, to get at the truth behind the hype and to ask what good comes of whatever pedagogic proposals are put forward by experts, colleagues, salespeople, researchers and educational authorities. Dr Prodromou examined the generational change captured in the dichotomy digital native/digital immigrant and argued on whether it is true that ‘young people are natives of a digital world and so they think and learn differently from the past; teachers who are ‘digital immigrants’ are unable to relate to their students affinity with ICT’. As a conclusion Dr Prodromou suggested that we ought to reassess what good and effective teaching means in a digital age and how to combine what is important from the past with the tools of the present and future.

 

Michael Connolly (British Council Head of English for Education Systems in Europe) focused on Continuing Professional Development (CPD). His question “is it worth it?” was more rhetoric than pragmatic. The real question one should ask is not if it is worthy but we should not stop pursue our professional development. Participants reflected on their current professional development journeys, their professional development needs, and what might help them in the future. Mentoring, observing and being peer-reviewed as well as networking ranked high in the list.

Laura Baecher gave an excellent plenary on how technology can be used as a Professional Development and Teaching Tool. Technology is the means by which English language teachers form a global community of practice. Dr Baecher argued that we can harness the potential of connected learning to support teacher development that in turn benefits our English language learners and shared innovative, dynamic tools that sustain our personal growth and that of our students.

Dimitris Primalis conducted the closing plenary of the conference. As a Microsoft Expert Innovative Educator offered a plethora of tools and practical activities that enable teachers to intergrate 21st century skills into the syllabus. His plenary focused on how these skills can be integrated seamlessly into the syllabus with the aid of learning technology.•

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