We have recently completed this year’s cycle of Business and Technical English courses for students from the Gorenje d.o.o. company. The cooperation between Gorenje and Lingva in the area of language education has been going on for many years and is maximally based on meeting the individual students’ needs and developing their communicative skills. Since the syllabuses included practice of oral presentation skills, students have jointly made a series of attractive multimedia projects, which have been published on our web site www.lingva.com/cafe:
We haven’t wavered in our commitment to quality! The maximum number of points awarded by YALS inspectors proved once again that we continue to work with the same professionalism and dedication, as shown before in numerous previous regular inspections ever since 2000. During the second stage of YALS inspection for the purpose of accreditation renewal inspectors Maja Gavrilović from Livingston School, Belgrade, and Biljana Barna from New English School, Pančevo, inspected and assessed implementation of professional standards, school management, as well as school premises and equipment. They held separate interviews with students, parents and teachers, and were able to see for themselves that all the participants were extremely satisfied with Lingva services and attitude. This practice offers a good opportunity for any language school to review the status of its work procedures and processes and to update and improve them in accordance with the latest developments in the field of education.
“Is the inspector coming to observe us too? Why not to our group as well?“ sighed some of Lingva‘s students on Wednesday, 1 March 2017. They were bypassed by the regular teaching reinspection for the purpose of YALS accreditation renewal. It is not customary that students are not afraid of inpectors, but this time it happened that inspector Ana Djordjević, Teaching Fellow in Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Philology of Belgrade University, engaged by YALS Association of Language Schools of Serbia as an external inspector, dispelled all the fears with her professional and unobtrusive approach to the observation of lessons held by 6 teachers in 12 groups, from preschool to adult levels. Teachers did their best to show that all their work is of exceptionally high quality and students responded with utmost interest and cooperation. A lot of enthusiasm and positive energy filled all Lingva classrooms, as well as an all-pervasive feeling that hard work always pays off in the end.
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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.
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!
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.
Three teachers from Tom & Emma School, Belgrade – Milana Papić, Jelena Mitrović, and Sofija Ljiljak-Vukajlovića visited Lingva last Thursday, 10 March, to see how LEGO® bricks and StoryStarter educational programme are used for foreign language learning in our school. They enjoyed working with our young learners on the activities designed by teacher Katarina Andrić at A2.c and B1.b levels, and they also had opportunity to familiarize themselves with the use of StoryVisualizer software, where they were joined by teacher Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović.
The exchange was two-way – Lingva teachers learned which activities the guests had applied at Tom & Emma, and that they also had positive experience in the use of LEGO® elements with older students. The joint conclusion was that these activities exceptionally boost students’ creativity, which has a direct impact on the effectivenes of language acquisition.
It was confirmed once again that short exchange visits bring a lot of benefits to both sides and that we should continue with this good practice.