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Winter School 2006: ’Teaching English to Young Learners’

(Subotica, 9-12 January 2006; Užice, 16-19 January 2006)

The seminars for primary school English teachers were jointly organised by the Ministry of Education of Serbia, the British Council Belgrade, and the American Embassy in 12 Serbian towns for 32 groups of  primary school English teachers. The teacher trainers for one group in Subotica and another in Užice were Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović from Valjevo and Nada Čičić from Prijepolje. The host schools Majšanski put from Subotica and Dušan Jerković from Užice, represented by teachers Maja Damnjanović and Marina Nedović respectively, did their best to make the seminars a pleasant experience. There were 41 participants in total, with different educational backgrounds and language proficiency levels.

Session plans were mostly adequate, with necessary modifications made depending on the participants’ interests. As the trainers already had experience in holding such seminars, they prepared in advance a lot of additional resources (reference books, material downnloaded from the Interent, textbooks and aids such as flash cards, picture dominoes, toys), to show different ways of using such aids for different purposes, which additionally boosted the motivation of participants. Most participant had already been teaching English to young students; however, according to their own statements, these seminars provided an added value to their methodological skills.

The summary reports showed that the majority of participants were sastisfied with the seminars. The seminar content in general was marked with 5.45 on a scale from 1 to 6, both in Subotica and Užice. Teachers said that the seminars were exhausting but still provided great satisfaction. Each session was assessed as useful, full of ideas, with dynamic trainers having a good sense of humour. In their opinion, the trainers were real professionals who finely complemented each other. The trainers received an average mark of 5.76 in Subotica and 5.80 in Užice.

In connection with future training and development, most participants stated that their priorities were continuing professional development, specific features of work with the 3rd grade, as well as of that with grades 5 to 8, new topics, regular supply of new teaching resources, international seminars, and English language brush-up seminars.

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