Monday, December 24, 2007

The First Year

The very first Teacher's Forum was graciously hosted at Alshati Language and Training Center. Our first meeting was to bring teachers together to decide about just what the forum should be, create an agenda and brainstorm ideas about what English teachers in Libya wanted and needed. Our main mission at the first meeting was to set an agenda for future gatherings. It was decided that Tripoli's language schools and centres would take turns hosting the forum. We also decided at that time that the host would also get to choose their topic and design their program. We hoped that we would be able to get together monthly and though that unfortunately didn't happen it should be noted that we have met 6 times over the course of this first year and that is something that should make us very happy because that means that we have made a wonderful beginning for the future of English language learning and teaching in Libya.

We all eagerly attended the next meeting which was hosted by the Academy of Graduate Studies in Janzour. They chose the topic 'Speaking' and everyone enjoyed participating in small discussion groups and later each group presented what they had learned; each group focusing on different aspects of speaking.

The next meeting was hosted by AlSafwa English Language Center, in Benashur. It was a productive meeting in which all participants eagerly shared their ideas and knowledge about the topic of 'CLT - Communicative Language Teaching' and discussed ways to encourage students to use the target language using this approach to teaching.

Another host during the year was the British Council who's chosen topic 'Writing' was presented as a workshop by Duncan Perrin, the British Council's teaching manager. Everyone who attended took part in various writing activities using different methods, some of which included dictation, using our imaginations, and a game of sentence prompts. It was often light-hearted fun and was enjoyed by all. In speaking with quite a few of the teachers afterwards it was found that many of the writing ideas that were brought up by Duncan were put to use in the classroom.

Yethreb Institute hosted a forum during the summer. The topic was 'Tactile & Kinesthetic Learning'. A brief introduction of just what the topic was about was given and was then followed by a presentation of different activities that could be used in all levels of learning. Participants shared their own ideas about using games and activities with their students as well and discussing ideas of how to get students (and teachers) over feeling silly about playing while they learned.

Finally, it seemed only fitting that we were back to where we had begun a year ago at Alshati Language and Training Center for the last meeting for 2007. The topic for the meeting was 'Language Acquisition; Interference with the Mother Tongue'. A presentation was given and was followed by small group discussions about the various questions pertaining to the topic. Later everyone enjoyed presenting what they had discovered in their groups and debating over their findings.