A warm welcome awaited members at NATECLA’s 2018 National Conference in its 40th year. We had a thought provoking two days.
NATECLA started as a grass roots movement when ESOL (ESL) teachers and organisers across the UK met to review the BBC’s programme to teach immigrant women at home. Teachers were concerned there was little published material, or a curriculum, or system of accreditation suitable for learners settling in the UK. The available funding was limited, sporadic and uncertain.
NATECLA immediately created a travelling exhibition of materials, published catalogues of resources and then encouraged new curriculum developments. In the 1980s and 1990s it worked to establish the difference between ESOL and adult literacy and EFL. The good work and passion of members of members over the years means the organisation is now listened to and consulted.
Workshops offered diverse opportunities to take away highly practical tips and techniques along with a 3 minute per person Teachmeet and the Ruth Hayman Charity pub quiz in the evening.
The venue was in central Birmingham at the Aston University conference centre, we were treated to great food and accommodation for the weekend, a great place to relax too.
ESOL to Apprenticeships: Effective practice when supporting progression by Alex Stevenson from the Learning and Work Institute
Alex explored with us the benefits and opportunities created for ESOL learners and their employers by the Government’s apprenticeship reforms, and why it is important they don’t miss out. It provided us guidance on effective practice when supporting transition from ESOL learning to apprenticeships based on research findings and new resources developed by the Learning and Work Institute.
A good interactive session where practitioners working on modern apprenticeship could air their views.
Approaches to teaching ESOL literacy students: What can we learn from SLA research? with Ann Cowie
Ann presented recent research showing that non-literature learners of English process language differently from literate learners. We explored the implications of this research for teaching ESOL. Much discussion followed regarding teaching strategies that might be more appropriate for non-literate learners of English.
Feel the fear, do it anyway: Internal speaking assessment for beginners with David Parry
We explored internally assessed qualification, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of this method of assessment honestly including strategies for preparing learners for all modes. A great interactive power point presentation and resources.
Supporting ESOL learners to employment by delivering ESOL in a vocational context with Diana Muallem from Gateway Qualifications
All members shared a delicious birthday cake after the annual general meeting in celebration of 40 years of NATECLA.
There was an excellent resource exhibition with stalls set up by Gateway qualifications, Trinity qualifications, Ascentis teaching organisation, English Teaching Professional, ESB and The Education and Training Foundation. We all came away loaded up with promotional literature and new information that will help in our teaching and learning practices.
Inspiring keynote speakers
Dr Philida Schellekens – The ESOL Quiz: What do we know about ESOL and our learners?
A key area of her expertise is language learning in the context of work and vocational training, which has led her to become familiar with medical equipment servicing, aircraft hangars, and soap making.
Before the conference Dr Philida Schellekens had emailed a ESOL quiz with specific questions about ESOL learners. The main part of the keynote speech was reflecting on the answers, which were quite surprising as many practitioners had various concepts about their learners.
Silvana Richardson – Making learning visible to ESOL learners and their teachers.
Silvan Richardson is Head of Teacher Development at Nell Educational Service. She looked at quality in teaching and learning. This was a very helpful reminder to us all.
The Teachmeet on Friday afternoon was an enjoyable session with practitioners volunteering to speak for 2 minutes to share their best tip for encouraging learning outside the classroom.
Ruth Hayman Pub Quiz Evening
On the Friday evening we all came together to participate in the Ruth Hayman Charity fund raising for ESOL students to follow courses of study. The Ruth Hayman Trust provides educational grants to adults who have come to settle in the UK and whose first language is not English.
We divided into groups of 6 and took part answering questions on music and films – as NATECLA was 40 years old this year, much of the quiz related to questions regarding topics from 40 years ago. I am pleased to say my group came joint first, and it was an enjoyable evening for all participants.
NATECLA Branch Updates
There are now NATECLA branches in the Midlands, London, East of English, South West, Yorkshire and Humberside, North West and Scotland. So take a look at the NATECLA website and see where your nearest branch is located.
NATECLA - Encouraging new members
You can view NATECLA’s teaching resources page on their website.
If you teach in the ESOL setting NATECLA is a great useful organisation to belong to. I have been a member of the Midlands branch for many years and the new colleagues I have met from all over the United Kingdom have been. It allows me to catch up on the latest teaching and learning practices and it is always helpful to meet up on a yearly basis at the conference.
Steph Taylor is a freelance further education educator and has worked in offender learning, secondary school and with training companies. Steph's research has been in developing teaching and learning in offender learning, developing mentors and in how to engage disengaged learners.
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