We proudly announce that we have saved two more walnut trees – the seventh and the eighth – from cutting, together with their scops owlets, which kept hooting for help in our lush green, so fully walnut-and-linden-scented Valjevo! Look at our latest news reports illustrated with LEGO bricks, and published with LEGO StoryStarter program, with the little help from our teacher Katarina Vićentijević.
What more can you wish for than have a sunny day to walk your dog or play volleyball, and finish the day feeding your pet and having a round of the mobile phone games. Or have a fantastic day at the seaside spoiled by and ugly witch and her sister to be saved by the most handsome prince in the world and to be kissed by him at the end only to wake up and realise it was just a dream … Or have another dream in which you fight a terrible battle against some soldiers to, it’s hard to believe, actually save a witch who has just treated you with a lunch, but again your dream gets interrupted; this time by the rattle of breakfast plates. We presented all of this with Lego bricks and turned into comic strips with LEGO StoryStarter program and a little help from our teacher Ivana Lazić.
Immediately before summer holiday, as planned in the Lingva’s Annual Teacher Training and Development plan, the topic of our 24th in-house workshop, held by Director-of-Studies Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović on 24th June, was Speaking Assessment Standardisation, as a sequel to earlier workshops on the same topic held on 15 October and 14 december 2010.
As in the previous workshops, the first part of our session was dedicated to familiarizing with CEFR speaking overviews and descriptors. In contrast to the event in 2010, when the second part included watching and discussing filmed samples of CEFR-calibrated oral production as part of a CoE-EAQUALS project, this time video clips of Cambridge English Examples of Speaking Tests were used first to identify the CEFR levels on the basis of the given speaking criteria and then to analyse which particular features of students performance indicate each specified level. The third stage involved studying the examiners’ commentaries on students performances and comparing them with our own.
The workshop proved to be very useful, especially in providing a much clearer picture of the performance required of students at each particular level and clarifying what each of five speaking assessment criteria – Range, Accuracy, Fluency, Interaction, Coherence – actually implies. Once again it was concluded that we have to be very careful not to be overly demanding when assessing lower level students and that students should not be penalized too much for mistakes as long as they do not impede understanding.
Here is one more beautiful day in this month full of certificates and awards! 19 of us, plus buddies, sisters, brothers, mums, dads, grannies, grandpas, auntie and uncles, as well as our teachers, have gathered at the big Lingva’s classroom to celebrate excellent results of Cambridge English Young Learners’ Exams on the Starters, Movers and Flyers levels. Starters were the best this year, with almost all winning 14 or 15 out of the total 15 Cambridge shields. Movers and Flyers almost reached them, earning 5 shields each in most of the language skills. Our best skill is speaking and we are ready to chat with friends from all over the world, in Valjevo, other places in Serbia, and other countries and show them how well we can use our English.
Our adult students Natasa Simjanovska, Jelena Davidovic, Natasa Damnjanovic, Stanko Markovic and Radisa Jovanovic, from General English group B1+/a, supported by teacher Ivana Lazic, prepared some interesting news for us about topical events this spring in our country, town and language school Lingva. We can read about some good and some not-so-good events, such as a case of mugging in Valjevo and a traffic accident in Pirot, paying homage to actor Dragan Nikolić, but also about a wine festival in Valjevo, and especially about how finely tuned and cooperative their language group is, especially when they discuss varous issues, and how fond they are of their teacher Ivana.
A dilligent group of Lingva students of Technical English at B2.a level from the Gorenje company has recently given presentations on a miraculous graphene material, for which two scientists, Geim and Novoselov won the Nobel prize in Physics in 2010. Graphene caught attention of several groups of scientits in Serbia as well, and Novak Đoković has been using racquets reinforced with graphene, which makes them lighter and more durable than rackets used to date. Vesna Kosovec, Dalibor Andrić, Vasilije Andrić and Vlada Petrović have made interesting presentations in which each of them, from their own perspective, pointed out countless advantages of this material of the future.
In March this year Lingva Business English students at C1.b level from Gorenje took part in the multimedia project “What Helps My Team Learn Better“, one part of which refers to giving a presentation about a hobby or topic they are personally interested in and designing activities that will engage the most frequent multiple intelligences of the group in the best possible way. All of these student-made English learning activities are aimed at extending the scope of the given course syllabus with additional language practice, closely tailored to the needs of students. The diligent students did their best!
The best singers for us are Ariana, Selena, Shakira and Taylor. Ariana has the nicest voice and Selena is the most beautiful without makeup. Taylor is fitter than Ariana and Shakira is the fittest.
Not only do we like football but we play it as well. Our favourite players are Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s muscles are bigger than Messi’s, Messi’s muscles are bigger than Neymar’s, but Neymar is taller than Messi, and Messie is more popular than Ronaldo.
Our favourite basketball players are LeBron and Curry. LeBron is older, stronger and taller than Curry, but Curry is better at basketball than LeBron. Curry is the best player in the world.
We made these beautiful posters with the help of our teacher Ivana Lazić.
Exploring the information about famous Serbian historical figures, together with our teacher Katarina Andrić, we found out many diverse interests and occupations of, first of all, Milutin Milanković, who explained why and how ice ages occurred in the geological past of the Earth, and which climate changes can be expected on it in the future, as well as even more famous Nikola Tesla, who created one of the world’s first wireless remote control and wanted to produce free electrical power for the whole world. We also described two men of letters – Vuk Stafanović Karadžić, whose parents named him Vuk („Wolf“) so that evil spirits would not hurt him and who had such an excellent memory that he was able to write a book of over 100 lyrical and epic poems he memorized as a child, and Ivo Andrić, Croatian by origin, who in his youth was a member of several South Slav organisations that opposed the Austro-Hungarian occupation, and who became 1961 Nobel prize laureate in literature “for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country”.
In accordance with the needs analysis of Lingva English language teachers, the 23rd in-house workshop was dedicated to writing assessment. A similar workshop was held On 18t February 2011 with some of the teachers attending both of these events.
Being one of the two most elusive and difficult areas for assessment, besides the speaking skills, since no black-and-white criteria can be set as in the case of listening, grammar and vocabulary, language teachers always appreciate efforts to practice assessment and marking. It is also beneficial for our language school to improve quality and consistency of writing assessment in order to ensure unifed and fair school assessment procedures for young adult and adult groups.
In the first session, teachers brushed up their knowledge of overall CEFR written assessment criteria and then familiarized themselves with the relatively new Cambridge Writing Assessment (sub)scales, first of all four subscales referenced to CEFR level descriptors: Content, Communicative Achievement, Organisation and Language. Special attention was given to clarifying the meaning of specific criteria in each of the subscales. In the second session, teachers were given samples of written students work at B1 and A2 levels to rate them individually and in pairs, which was followed by the whole group discussion. On this occasion, too, agreement was the highest in rating the language, while communicative achievement marks required more harmonizing.The session was ended by agreeing on the exact sets of criteria that will be used uniformly by all teachers for progress test and final exam assessment at each of language proficiency levels.
The workshop was prepared and facilitated by Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović. The next workshop, which will focus on speaking assessment standardisation, will be held in June.