Rhodes University hosted the fourth Networking Teachers’ conference from 10-12 July this year. This conference, a collaboration between the Eastern Cape English Educators’ Association (ECEEA) and the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA, happens once every two years. This year’s theme was ‘Creativity and Imagination in Language Teaching’, which formed the foundation of the whole programme.
The main aim of the conference are to grow English teachers’ professionalism through creating networking opportunities in order to enable them to improve the levels of English proficiency among learners in their classes. A total of 115 speakers, teachers and education officials from Bizana to Uitenhage attended the conference.
While most things ran smoothly, a bad bout of the flu and an unfortunately silent response to the call for the “Swap Shop” presenter meant that the programme had to be altered a little. Despite this, the conference still elected a new executive committee and put in place firm plans to meet their broad aim of teacher networking in the future.
In particular, the idea of the swap shop was emphasised, and a flyer urging teachers to share and give away copies of classroom materials that they had developed which had worked in their classrooms. These could be a worksheet which helped learners develop a particular aspect of language (pronunciation or spelling, or vocabulary building or a grammar exercise), or a language game, or ideas on how to teach a particular text (visual or media text) or genre (such as drama, poetry, short stories or novel), or an experiment in using all the languages of their learners in the English classroom.
Read on for a comprehensive report on the conference by Monica Hendricks
1. Monica Hendricks and Prof Yvonne Reed of Wits University, the opening speaker
2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, and 24. Conference delegates
3 and 11. Ms Caroline Grant of the British Council, our keynote speaker
4. Monica Hendricks, giving the welcoming address in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Badat
9. Ms Thapelo Lekena, one of the session Chairs
10 and 21. Prof Yvonne Reed of Wits University, the opening speaker
15. Prof Yvonne Reed, Ms Caroline Grant of the British Council, the keynote speaker, and Ms Deb Avery, a British Council-sponsored workshop presenter
20. ECEEA Executive Committee, from left to right: Additional Member: Mr Mqakelana (Sterkspruit), Assistant secretary: Mr Mbuqe (Mt Frere), Treasurer: Mr Setsubi (Mt Fletcher), Additional Member: Ms Tyalimpi (Queenstown), Additional Member: Mr Mkosi (Butterworth), Secretary: Ms Lekena (Mt Fletcher), Vice-President: Mr Sefelane (King Williams Town), President: Mr Fumba (King Williams Town), Additional Member: Prof Hendricks (RU), not present.
22. Ms Audrey Seobi, a conference speaker