There is always so much that words can encompass when it comes to rendering the full extent of the enthusiasm and genuine delight that the Teaching English to Adults seminars have inspired us with. I will most definitely try, however, to present you with my own ? perhaps subjective ? take on the proceedings. I hereby invite you to take a trip down memory lane and follow the ?yellow brick road? to the enchanted realm of a series of brilliantly carried-out sessions on teaching English. All right, take a mental breath and jump on board!
Approximately four months ago, the ?36 for Oxford?, the teachers to have attended the course were anxiously and full-heartedly beginning their journey through the shared knowledge, past experience and ever new ideas regarding the methods and strategies of turning the learning process into a pleasant, efficient and long-lasting one. Under the guidance of a highly skilled teacher trainer, Tim Ward, they came together as a team and debated upon various aspects and challenges in what the art of teaching is concerned. And what a delight that was for all of us!
To my mind, the trademark of a truly successful session is the fact that one is left thinking, pondering, meditating and reflecting upon the course after it has concluded. Well, as you might fairly guess, this is what happened to me and the very talented and knowledgeable teachers that I had the honour of meeting. Everything echoed inside us, and it still does, I would safely assume. We found all the topics we approached quite enticing, dealing with matters that a self-aware teacher would never take lightly, such as tackling lexical and grammatical notions in class, introducing reading, listening and writing activities meant to facilitate the development of communicative skills amongst our students, offering feedback on their performance and ? sensitive issues, indeed ? effective correction and student-centred vistas on class management. There was never enough time during each session for us to feel that we had fully ?drained? a subject matter of all its mystery, difficulty and challenge. Tim was oftentimes nice enough to allot a few extra minutes to each session, in order to make sure that most ideas had been heard and discussed upon.
We could not get enough of bringing our ideas and opinions to the table, which was probably the main factor that contributed to the magical atmosphere that spawned among the group. It has honestly been a pleasure to be part of such a crew of highly motivated, creative and experienced teachers. What is more, however distant the countries we come from were, however different our cultures, however distinct we are as individuals, we all seemed to have found ourselves on the same page in terms of teaching. We cliqued perfectly and collaborated on all tasks without flaw. We were all gathered there by a common interest and a common goal ? to further our methods and techniques by taking in as much as we could from the experience.
For these reasons, we felt blessed to spend time together, even after the seminars were in recess for the day. We enjoyed the entire experience outside the classroom, as well, during our stay at the lovely Keble College. From the soothingly authentic dining hall, to the other marvellous common places inside the campus, from the leisurely walks on the awe-inspiring streets of Oxford, to the imposing architecture of the colleges and towers, we roamed around and about, trying to take every bit of detail in.
Rarely does one get to experience such a feeling of belonging and collaboration as we did in Oxford and, naturally, we will never forget the times we had and the ideas we shared.
There will, hopefully, always be an Oxford for every teacher of English seeking improvement. Do forgive my sheer enthusiasm mixed with nostalgia in the tone of this article. For the past months I have tried to scrape up a more dignified and objective perspective but, as it turns out, there is no other sincere way of going about relaying my view on the events.
Approximately four months ago, the 36 teachers of English to have attended the course were half-heartedly bidding farewell to the Oxford experience. It was a bittersweet feeling we were all experiencing, granted that the day would mark the end of the tremendously fruitful discussions and debates we had been having for the past three days. As we set off into the sunset, we knew, on the other hand, that a great deal of knowledge, confidence and a certain promise for future exchange of ideas had been instilled within us all. Most of us have managed to be in contact ever since, continuing our queries and dilemmas regarding the teaching recipe. To all of my fellow-companions throughout the course, to our master of ceremonies, Tim Ward, to Oxford University Press and the staff involved, the best of thoughts and respect!