International House Poland: Teacher Training Day @IH_Torun

IH Torun has held a training day every spring since as far back as any member of staff can remember. However, this year the city of Torun played host to a Poland-wide mini conference in the form of the IH Poland Teacher Training Day: IH schools were invited from around the country, with attendees coming from as close as Bydgoszcz  and as far as Bielsko-Biala as well as a representative from IH World.


Throughout the day seven individual workshops were held, ranging from practical ideas for warmers and fillers, through ideas on how to free yourself from the photocopier, to more in-depth methodology workshops on learning styles and developing receptive skills.

In addition, there were two plenaries: a Q&A session with a panel of ELT experts, including Mike Cattlin from IH World, as well as a live plenary direct from Boston (USA) with Catherine Mazur-Jefferies – the co-author of National Geographic’s new Reading and Vocabulary Focus series. and a former teacher of IH Torun. You can check out the series here:

So, what did each workshop entail and what did the attendees get out of them? Find out below.

Reviewing and Demonstrating Learners’ Progress
by Anthony Ash (Senior Teacher at IH Torun)1897874_741414059226513_8964912267068868078_n

This workshop brought together theory on revision and assessment and put it into some practical in-class activities to help demonstrate to our learners
what they have already achieved and what they need to work on. You can read more about this workshop and watch a video with the presenter by following this link:

Revision Warmers
by Peter Clayton (Senior Teacher at IH Bydgoszcz)

This workshop demonstrated and equipped teachers with eight activities for revising language – from grammar to vocabulary – and building up nice class warmers. A lot of the ideas were adapted from Penny Ur’s 5 Minute Activities (Cambridge University Press) and others came from elsewhere, including some of Peter’s own. What the staff really benefited from was having the activities demonstrated in front of them: it’s one thing to read about it in a book, it’s another to see it carried out before your very eyes.

Here is a PDF containing a few of Peter’s ideas with pictures to help clarify the instructions: Revision and Warmers

Freedom from Photocopies
by Tim Brombley (DoS at IH Bydgoszcz)

Most teachers can fall into the trap of becoming over reliant on worksheets and photocopies. This is particularly true of Newly Qualified Teachers who use photocopies as a crutch to help them get through their lessons. However, you need to ask yourself: what do these worksheets really bring to the lesson? Is their pedagogic value really that high or would learners be better off doing a more communicative, worksheet-free activity? In this workshop Tim equipped the teachers with an armour of ready-to-go activities which free them from the dreaded photocopier. The activities ranged from jigsaw reading, through question formation, to storytelling.

Jazz Chants
by Lisa Wilson (ADoS at IH Bydgoszcz)

This fun and interactive workshop gave a bit of a musical twist to the day with the use of fantastic Jazz Chants. They are very effective with Young Learners, who find them fun and helpful when remembering language. As Lisa pointed out in the session, one of the main reasons to use them is the simple fact they make boring drilling much more fun – why drill when you could drill and sing at the same time? They also aid the development of natural speech.

You can find out more details on Jazz Chants and Lisa’s session following this link: Jazz Chants


Listening Up! Reassessing the Teaching of Listening
by Glenn Standish (DoS at IH Torun)

The main message of this workshop will come as no surprise to anyone reading this who has completed DELTA: the way teachers are trained to deliver receptive skills lessons on pre-service courses is flawed. The session showed teachers how the CELTA approach fails to really help learners develop their listening skills and got them bashing out ideas on how to adapt coursebook activities so that they could make use of more authentic skills development exercises in the classroom.


Motivating Students to Write
by Mike Cattlin (IH World Inspector and CELTA Assessor)

Mike recognises that Product Writing is not only well-covered by pre-service training courses but widely-used by teachers of all levels. Product Writing doesn’t need any form of introduction from the newest of NQT’s to the most experienced of educators. However, Process Writing often takes a back-seat in writing lessons and even totally avoided by some teachers. This is probably due to teachers not completely understanding how writing as a process works. Mike’s workshop not only provided insight into the writing process but also provided teachers with a range of fun activities to use in class for generating ideas in preparation for Process Writing.

Learning Styles
by Kate Smook (Assessment and CALL Coordinator at IH Bielsko-Biala)

Kate’s workshop provided a very informative overview of the various theories of learning styles out there. The input started with the usual suspects i.e. Neil Fleming’s VA(R)K System: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic learning styles. She later moved on to the more complex theories of learner, such as Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model.

While this all sounds very theoretical, the session was not too heavy on the theory side and in-between the models Kate provided some outstanding activities for in-class use. These activities helped the teachers to discover their own learning style as well as equipping them with ready-to-go activities to help their learners.

The workshop was based on Marjorie Rosenberg’s Spotlight on Learning Styles book published by Delta Publishing:

Like To Know More?

You can find out more about IH Torun’s Teacher Training Days as well more about the school, its teachers and its activities at:

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