2020. An unusual year. But not even the Coronavirus pandemic could stop one of Austria’s main events in the English language teaching calendar: the English Teachers’ Day (ETD) at the PH Vienna.
So, on 2ndDecember, over 100 participants gathered online on Zoom – their morning cups of tea or coffee on their desks. After all, there has to be some kind of advantage in this current situation – even if it is just staying comfy at temperatures of -2 degrees outside.
A warm welcome
was extended to all the participants by Mag.a Elisabeth Paulhart – responsible for the organisation of the ETD - and the PH Vienna’s vice dean (Vizerektorin für Lehre, Forschung und Internationales), Mag.a Dr.in Evelyn Süss-Stepancik, both stressing the significance of the English Teachers’ Day which aims at making our professional lives easier. Even more so in these times. Against all odds we all have successfully gone digital – and so has the English Teachers’ Day! Even key elements such as our beloved book fair and the raffle have. You can still browse the digital book fair by accessing https://padlet.com/etd2020/bookfair.
Screenshot: Digital Book Fair
We were lucky
enough to have Jamie Keddie, winner of the ELTon award in 2009 and founder of Lessonstream, as this year’s keynote speaker. His passion for teaching and love for storytelling inspired all of us to embrace story and by doing so include the most interactive type of text in our lessons. Keddie argued for the use of short, meaningful and unremarkable – i.e. every-day – stories and encouraged us to allow for very personalised meaning-making as well as letting our students see a little bit of ourselves.
Screenshot: Keynote - Jamie Keddie
Screenshot: Keynote - SMILE
The concept of story based language teaching
was later on taken up by a large variety of workshops, each demonstrating possible practical realisations. One workshop elaborated on the idea of digital storytelling, building on the fact that teens are confronted with digital stories all the time and even create them themselves on social media. Others chose a hands-on approach and invited the teachers to create videos or involved their participants in an interactive storytelling to solve the mystery of a pile of money and a black hole. And yet others provided valuable input on the significance of reading in class and the use of digital media. At the end of the day everyone came back together to share a moment of thrill during the online raffle.
Because if there is one thing we have learned from this year, it is that being and working together in a community is nothing that we can take for granted.
THANK YOU to all of the organising team, the speakers, the sponsors and the participants for your time and passion!