Improving English teaching in Luxembourg
(CS) For the fourth time, Luxembourg held an English Teachers' Day on Thursday, aimed at helping teachers of English as a foreign language in the Grand Duchy improve their skills and share their experiences.
Some 120 teachers from public schools across Luxembourg signed up to take part in the one-day event. Held by local teachers, but also experts and coaches from abroad, nine workshops shed light on topics from teaching grammar to helping students develop study skills, using acting techniques in class or teaching pronunciation.
“The objective is to create a professional learning community, drawing on local expertise but also bringing in foreign experts to enhance learning and become more professional,” said Jean Baptiste Kremer of the organising committee speaking to wort.lu/en.
Teachers also need to learn
Education Minister Mady Delvaux-Stehres and British Ambassador to Luxembourg Alice Walpole lent their support to the initiative and joined in some pronunciation exercises proposed by Adrian Underhill in his keynote speech.
Underhill, an editor at Macmillan and an English Language Teaching (ELT) consultant and trainer, explained how pronunciation has taken a back-seat in English teaching, with more attention paid to grammar and vocabulary.
However, he said that it forms a key element of learning English and needs to be an integral part of teaching. Underhill's teaching method acknowledges that some sounds in English are simply different from those in other languages and non-native speakers may not even know how to use their lips, tongue, jaw or voice to produce these sounds.
“Get to know the inner workings of your mouth,” he urged teachers. Only then can they help their students, he added.
Giving students the best start
With the average age of participants just 36, Kremer said that he is “optimistic” about the future of ELT in Luxembourg, as young teachers bring fresh ideas and new approaches. But English Teachers' Day is not just an academic event.
“It is a social event, too. People come here to meet colleagues, talk and discuss the daily realities of teaching a language. That's important,” Kremer said, especially with English becoming an ever more important language at universities around the world, the academic community, but also the job market.
“People need English later on,” he said. Together, teachers at the annual event explore how they can give their students the best start.
The event was also supported by ALEA, the Luxembourg association of English teachers, which is organising several other events over the coming months, including a talk on dyslexia in November, and several lectures on English literature early next year.
The US Embassy was also on site with a stand offering information about the Fulbright scholarship scheme, available to Luxembourg students who wish to pursue their education overseas.
Find out more about the association on alea.lu and click here to follow updates about English Teacher's Day or visit the English Teachers' Day Facebook page.