Plenary: “Teaching Humans”

We teachers are often puzzled and disappointed when a meticulously-planned lesson flops. Or we feel impatient with our learners when they don’t react the way we think they should: “She never does her homework”; “They think I can’t see them texting under the desk all lesson”; “They say they want more speaking, then nobody will say anything!”; “He’ll never pass the exam – he just doesn’t try”, “Why is she always so awkward?”

The theme of this seminar is common human characteristics and how teachers can work with them rather than fight against them. The world over we find people who are inquisitive but easily distracted, competitive yet lacking in self-control, needing to be part of a group while also needing to show individuality. We will look at human traits such as these in terms of learners – how they affect learning and classroom behaviour. Techniques and activities will be explored that can be used with all sorts of classes … as long as they contain humans!

Workshop: “Words, Words, Words”

There are so many words in English! There’s so little time to teach them. So how can we maximise the learning of the vocabulary we do teach? In this interactive workshop we will explore ways to fast-track what we’ve taught into the long-term memory. We will explore a range of engaging classroom activities and techniques that can be used with any class. And you may even update your own English!


Johanna Stirling is a freelance teacher, trainer, materials writer and presenter. She is also the author of several books for Cambridge University Press and the writer/publisher of the award-winning Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners. Johanna is an Associate Trainer at NILE (Norwich Institute for Language Education), where she manages the NILE Online teacher development courses.