BIODATA. Grzegorz Śpiewak, Ph.D., graduate of University of Essex (MA) and  University of Warsaw (Ph.D). Teacher of English, consultant, project manager, teacher trainer, conference speaker, author. Former lecturer and deputy director for English Teaching & CLIL at Warsaw University. Currently affiliated with Macmillan Education (Head ELT Consultant for Central & Eastern Europe), as well as with The New School, New York (tutor on MA TESOL), DOS-ELTea – an independent teacher development centre (founder & president), and deDOMO Education (project leader and head author). An Honorary President and advisory board member of IATEFL Poland.

PLENARY.  How to maximise our impact on students’ language learning?

In these times of increasing pressure on maximizing effectiveness, often understood as students’ test scores, it is becoming more and more important to seek teaching strategies that can make significant difference, really and truly. That’s just what this session aims to achieve. The good news is that there’s been a lot of research in recent years that points at where we could – and should – be looking as modern ELT professionals, to maximize our impact on learning and make this impact visible to our students. The topic of ‘impact’ is inspired, among others, by the research by John Hattie and others into types of pedagogical strategies and actions that (do not) yield a positive outcome on learning. In my plenary, I intend to review key findings from this research, to argue a crucial point: research evidence supports the vision of modern education as an activity founded on a positive relationship between teacher and students. The cornerstone of such a relationship is teacher’s credibility, a sense of direction and purpose, and an open communication with learners about their progress, areas for improvement, and optimal strategies for accomplishing short- and long-term goals. On a practical level, this sort of approach calls for systematic re-evaluation of existing methods, activity & exercise types, and ways of exploiting them in the foreign language classroom.

WORKSHOP. Maximizing impact behind classroom doors: the HOW

In the workshop, I shall demonstrate a number of activity types that require little preparation and  are often directly related to the material included in a modern coursebook. In particular, we’ll look at how to prepare an impactful class, how to begin it, how to build an effective task sequence and how to evaluate its impact on our learners. The idea is to anchor the solutions presented very firmly in top-quality teaching material – and persuade you that the techniques are applicable and transferable with minimum effort and maximum effect.