Rita BAKANIENĖ: Workshop “Student-Centered Teaching: Classroom Practice”

On 26 April 2017, Vilnius Martynas Mažvydas Pregymnasium, as an institutional partner of the Lithuanian Association of English Language Teachers, invited lower secondary English language teachers to a practical workshop “Student-Centered Teaching: Classroom Practice”.

The presenters, senior teachers of English Rita Bakanienė, Eglė Bridikienė, Skaistė Poniškaitienė, Lina Spalvienė ir Renata Žemaitienė, shared their experience gained on a training course at the Lewis School of English, Southampton (UK) which they attended as part of Erasmus+ KA1 project “Every student is an individual: personalized teaching in the classroom” (No. 2016-1-LT-KA101-022977).

The presenters introduced such student-centered techniques as eliciting, scanning, popping, concept-checking and gaining consensus, highlighted their advantages in the classroom, presented example activities that could be adapted in any classroom and shared their experience of using the techniques with their students. The presenters reminded the participants of the significance of learning by doing in the student-centered classroom, introduced some possible activities and elaborated on their possible extensions.

After the break the presenters spoke about the most important principles of differentiation in the classroom: frequent student interaction, assessment and task worthiness. The presenters elaborated on every principle, emphasized how they can be taken into account in the classroom as well as gave the participants practical tasks to try designing differentiated teaching material and tests. The workshop finished with activities focusing on the use of songs and videos. Diverse possibilities were reviewed and the participants willingly took on the role of students in order to try different activities for themselves.

Even though the presenters had raised a really challenging aim for themselves – to present the information from a five-day course during a four-hour workshop, the participants seemed to be actively involved and engaged up until the very end of the last session. We were happy to share our knowledge and classroom experience with the colleagues from Vilnius, Kaunas, Visaginas, Širvintos and even Brno (the Czech Republic). We hope that in the future we will have more teacher-to-teacher workshop where we will be able to learn from each other in a friendly, learbner-centered environment!