sexta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2010

Interview - Penny Trigg - British Council

IATEFL stands for the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language and it holds the International Annual Conference & Exhibition, which is attended by around 1500 ELT professionals from more than 70 countries. The 44th IATEFL Conference will take place April 7-11, and two teachers were chosen (not me, unfortunately) to participate for free and write about it, after winning the Roving Reporters Competition. I invited Penny Trigg, from the British Council, who was one of the judges of the contest, to tell us about it and about her career.

Tell us something about your backgorund, education and experience and your current job at the British Council.
Penny -
I studied History at university (twice), I taught English for two and a half years a long time ago and, since then, I’ve worked at the British Council in the UK, supporting various projects and programmes. At the British Council, I support English Teacher Development Networks – which means things like the ELTeCS email discussion lists, training opportunities for teachers, that sort of thing.

I believe you have contact with teachers from different parts of the world. What are the main differences and the similiar things among some countries regarding ELT?
Penny -
That’s a big question – and I’m not an expert. What has struck me particularly are the similarities: the frequency with which teachers express concern for their students, the way teachers are always pressed for time, and the way teachers often feel that educational policy is imposed on them. (This is very true of UK teachers too.) One big difference that I’ve noted is that teachers can feel they are regarded very highly in some countries, but in other countries, their peers feel much less appreciated. And it seems it’s not connected with how much money teachers earn.

How do you see the future of ELT?
Penny - This is an even bigger question, and I’m going to recommend you read David Graddol’s ‘English Next’ for an expert view!

Tell us about the Roving Reporters Competition, which has just chosen two people to attend the IATEFL Conference 2010 and write about the event.
Penny - The Roving Reporters’ competition started in 2003, I think. Over 100 people applied this year from almost 40 countries from across the globe. The criteria are laid out in the competition guidelines. We’re looking for teachers who have the communication skills to bring the IATEFL conference to life for their fellow teachers, whatever their teaching context. So the successful Roving Reporters manage to combine awareness of the many varied concerns of teachers as well as the ability to reach out through their writing. The Roving Reporters this year are Elena Oncevska, Republic of Macedonia and Hanaa Khamis, Egypt. You can follow them in IATEFL Harrogate Online, which will be launched on 1 March. Keep an eye on the IATEFL website and the Teaching English website for the announcement.

Tell us about the IATEFL Conference 2010.
Penny -
The 2010 IATEFL Conference will take place in Harrogate, Yorkshire – and online, of course. Thousands of teachers participate, face to face and online. The IATEFL website will launch the Conference programme very soon, and then you’ll be able to read all about the presentations and workshops. IATEFL Harrogate Online will provide opportunities for everyone to follow these, via uploaded videos and discussion forums.

Have you ever been to Brazil? What do you know about our country?
Penny -
I’ve never been to Brazil – sad, isn’t it! I know that there are some amazing artists, designers and architects in Brazil (although I can’t name names), and I know parts of Brazil are colder than we in the UK might expect. I think the first things that come to mind when you say ‘Brazil’ to most British people are: football, carnival, the Amazon.