• Besig Prague - New ideas


    Another great BESIG (Business English Special Interest Group) conference, this time in Prague, Czech Republic. 400 teachers and trainers from all over the world presenting and exchanging business training ideas and methods. It was great to meet old friends and make new ones . You can download my presentations by going to DOWNLOADS.

    There is no way I can cover all the themes of the conference but here’s what I picked up.


    Carl Dowse and Justine Arena presented a Brazilian pilot of a new online business English course at elementary to intermediate level. This business course is online

    So delegates follow the course and learn the language through the online platform.

    However, the most exciting thing was the blended learning approach with two kinds of personal support. First virtual support with live online seminars and chats and personal support from Carl in Germany and secpnd the local face-to-face support with Justine in Brazil (the delegates were Brazilian) with get togethers and brunches to encourage exchange of experience, resolve learning problems together and boost motivation. The lesson? Online learning, personal distance support plus face-to-face support really delivers the goods. It was uplifting to be part of their session and I particularly like Carl’s advice, ‘ When you’re talking to participants, respond to what they say. Don’t go straight to error correction.’


    That was one of the tasks set by Claire Hart in her MOBILE LEARNING presentation. Livestreamed from the conference. Everyone got out their mobile phones and in one minute snapped as many brands as they could. Then they had to explain what product or service the brand represented and how it presented it. Would you believe the winner snapped sixteen brands in one minute? Nice idea to get your classroom delegates away from their emails and IM’s and to use mobiles positively as teaching material.


    Far from lamenting the days of the big budget educational video, VICKY HOLLET and her students have been experimenting with making their own videos. The idea behind them is to teach a language point in a memorable fashion within 60 seconds and then to put the result on YOUTUBE. Vicky and her students use simple hand held video cameras and computer editing tools to produce a simple video using ‘actors’, graphics and cartoons to teach language differences such as ‘stop doing’ and ‘stop to do’. The activity helps embed language concepts but also encourages the use of English in group project work. Great idea!

    These are just three of over 100 presentations during the conference. You can keep up by visiting www.besig.org


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