Tatiyana Kobzina on MELTA and ELO cooperation

I am Kobzina Tatiana,a senior English teacher at Moscow State Regional University, who works in a close-knit team of committed professionals in searching for new ways to explore fresh innovative teaching techniques through professional training. I’d like to make a presentation about cooperative activities of MELTA and English Language Office US Embassy.

A number of MELTA participants have already undergone two refresher courses “Shaping the way we teach English” ( from February to June 2008 and from October to April 2008/2009)), conducted by David Fay, ELO. He is a real expert who shares his invaluable experience working directly with Moscow teachers in the program and he has a consistent approach in covering the issues of our teachers’ current concerns. He has a consistent approach in covering the issues of our teachers’ current concerns. I always try not to miss out on any opportunity to attend his workshops.

The goals of this program are:
1. To build an academic and pedagogical foundation in language teaching.
2. To improve language teaching classroom practices.

In this program participants can observe experienced, effective teachers in the classrooms as a form of professional development from all over the world. Through professionally produced multimedia (video-based). “Shaping the way we teach English” uses a constructivist, inquiry-based approach, giving teachers opportunities to adapt materials to their teaching needs.

This program includes the following items such as:
I. Approaches to Language Teaching Foundations (contextualizing language, building language awareness, integrating skills).
II. Approaches to Language Teaching: Extension: ( learning strategies, authentic materials, critical and creative thinking, assessment).
III. Focus on Learner ( individual learner differences).
IV. Teacher Development: (peer observation and reflective teaching).

Educational Department of US Embassy has initiated this program together with MELTA and Project Harmony to involve Moscow teachers in proactive cooperation together with native experts. It is a good incentive for us to get a deeper insight into the current teaching trends. Such kinds of program motivate Moscow teachers and help them to shift their attitude towards more creative teaching.

MELTA members participate in a large number of conferences around Russia where they make informative, thought-provocative presentations on a wide range of topics. The forthcoming presentations are in Kazan (in June) and in Moscow ( in September).

To say more, ‘Teacher2Teacher” workshops at the American center twice a month are of great help to Moscow teachers. They have been run by David Fay, MELTA and American Centre. This year there has been a variety of workshops focusing on the Internet technologies, teaching English through films and using comics, electionspeak, exploring culture with the help of various resources. The highlights were interesting presentations of “Shaping the way we teach English” participants in February – April 2009 where they demonstrated the knowledge they had acquired in this program. Also, PBWiki and Ning page (which have been created for this course) where there is a full program, supplementary activities, shared plans and ideas. Teachers, MELTA members can participate in various forums and share your ideas, videos and photos.

To sum up, I can say such cooperation encourages teachers to get a deeper insight into intercultural communication which is based on mutual trust and cooperation. It has made a great impact on our work with students. It enabled us to teach them to be more culturally sensitive, unbiased, not to rush to judgments, especially on controversial issues, and have a balanced outlook on current events.


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