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					                          Winter Republic Seminar 2012
               By Danijela Serafijanovic, The Eighth Grammar School, Belgrade



This year's Winter Republic Seminar for English teachers, organised and supported by The
English Book and OUP Serbia, was held in Belgrade (Prva ekonomska škola) during the
winter holidays. 229 participants from all over Serbia attended the three-day seminar in two
                                                                   groups (January 9-11 and
                                                                   January 12-14).       The
                                                                   seminar was held by three
                                                                   renowned OUP teacher
                                                                   trainers: Gareth Davies,
                                                                   Peter Redpath and Zoltan
                                                                   Rezmuves.

                                                                   Each day of the seminar
                                                                   started with a plenary
                                                                   session,       which     was
                                                                   followed      by        three
                                                                   workshops        and        a
                                                                   feedback session at the
                                                                   end.       The topics were
                                                                   varied and most teachers
                                                                   obviously found them very
                                                                   interesting and motivating,
as they took an active part in all the workshops. It was an opportunity for the participants to
discuss their classroom practice, exchange ideas and get some practical teaching tips from the
trainers. Personally, I must admit that I used some of the ideas as soon as I got back to
school on Monday morning and was happy to discover that they really worked.

On the first day, Gareth Davies warmed up the participants with his opening plenary on critical
thinking.The interest of the teachers was aroused by the catchy title „What do you think?“ as
well as the questions and real life situations discussed at the session. Peter Redpath gave us
the opportunity to try out different techniques of introducing vocabulary, which was both useful
and enjoyable. In his workshop, Zoltan Razmuves dealt with the cultural content in the
classroom and gave both theoretical background and some original practical ideas connected
with the topic. Another interesting session followed – Gareth Davies talked about teaching
receptive skills and gave examples of different methods and activities.

The second day started with Peter Redpath's plenary on what we really teach when we teach
vocabulary followed by his workshop on exploiting texts for this purpose. Zoltan Razmevus
gave us an insight into the role of arts and culture in learning English and Gareth Davies
finished with Reading for Success, a workshop packed with practical tips on how to make the
most of the reading activities. At the feedback session which ended the second day , Mr Tony
O'Brien, the new director of the British Council addressed the participants.

   Zoltan Razmevus started the third day with a plenary on the roots of language vs. cultural
imperialism. It might not sound exciting, but Zoltan captured our attention and made us all feel
better about being non-native speakers of English. He actually managed to bust the myth of
the native speaker as the authority and role model for non-native speakers. Later, in his
workshop, he raised some controversial issues about CLIL, its benefits and possible pitfalls.
Two memorable workshops followed: Peter Redpath talked about storage, retrieval and memory
and Gareth gave us
some practical ideas
for listening activities.

The third day ended
with       the     final
feedback        session
during      which    the
participants
discussed            the
highlights of each day
and       even made
some posters on the
topic.     At the end,
they were pleased to
receive              the
certificates and leave
the     seminar    with
enriched experience
and fresh ideas to be used in the classroom.

                                            ‫٭٭٭٭٭‬



Danijela Serafijanovic holds a BA in English language and literature from The Faculty of
Philology at Belgrade University as well as CPE certificate and SITT teacher training certificate
issued by The Ministry of Education. She has been teaching English in both public and private
sector since 1994. So far she has held workshops within several teacher training projects
supported by ELTA (Towards Better Understanding 1, 2, 3, 4, TKT Tour Round Serbia 1 and 2,
BC Tour around Serbia ). In October 2010 she became the Project Manager of the project
Towards Better Understanding. She has been a member of ELTA board since May 2010 and
the Vice President of the association since April 2011.



‫٭‬Photo courtesy of The English Book, www.englishbook.rs

				
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