AzETA 8th Regional ELT Conference:
TESOL - New Trends & New Challenges
AzETA held its 8th Regional Conference on Saturday, 25 June 2011 in Qafqaz Resort Hotel in Qebele.
As the Mission of AzETA is to provide support for high quality education in ELT, professional development of English language teachers of the country, AzETA organises regional conferences apart from annual conferences. The aim is to give an opportunity to the teachers from the regions to benefit from AzETA services more.
As such, AzETA held its next - 8th Regional ELT Conference on Saturday, 25 June 2011 at Qafqaz Resort Hotel in Qebele (http://www.qafqazresorthotel.com/index-ru.html).
The Conference was organised in collaboration with TEAS (The European Azerbaijan Society - www.teas.eu).
The Conference brought together 120 English teachers - AzETA members and non-members from different regions of Azerbaijan to share views and news, experiences, to develop further personally and professionally.
Plenary speakers of the Conference were Prof. Dr. Birsen T¬ît¬îni¨¬, Turkey and Kevin Batchelor, UK.
As in the previous regional conferences, this conference was also organised in the open air. Although, we live in the century of technology where almost all of our schools are equipped with modern technology, AzETA always cares about its members to provide them with the best methods to cope teaching in any condition. AzETA open air conferences create an opportunity for the presenters and participants to cope with a teaching and learning environment without technology - "P&P only method", i.e. paper and pen only method. Our members have enjoyed all our regional conferences tremendously and seeing its effectiveness, AzETA remains dedicated to this unique experience.
The opening ceremony of the Conference was attended by the Deputy Head of Executive Committee of Gabala Mrs Ataya Gurbanova, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education Mr Sabir Hamidov, Public Diplomacy Officer of the US Embassy Mr Chris Jones.
Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA Founder and Executive Director opened the conference welcoming the guests and giving brief introduction to the aim of the Conference, as well as AzETA's activities in the past one year.
Ataya Gurbanova thanked AzETA for organising the conference in Gabala which was a unique opportunity for the teachers of the region.
Chris Jones spoke about co-operation between the US Embassy and AzETA and emphasised AzETA's invaluable contribution to the ELT in Azerbaijan.
Sabir Hamidov passed the message from the Minister of Education Professor Misir Mardanov who wished best of luck to the conference, but could not join the conference due to his business trip abroad.
After the opening Prof Dr Birsen Tutunis gave a plenary talk titled Skilled Based Teaching
After the lunch Kevin Batchelor gave his plenare talk titled End Your Struggle with Teaching and Your Students.
Then the participants participated in 3 concurrent sessions where 14 presenters gave presentations on different topics.
AzETA Branch managers came together in a special session to discuss problems and future plans.
The Conference finished with the closing ceremony where the participants thanked the organisers.
AzETA acknowledges TEAS and Qafqaz Resort Hotel for their organisational and financial support, Pilgrims Ltd., UK for bringing the plenary talk to the Conference.
AzETA 7th Regional ELT Conference:
Effective Learning for Effective Teaching
AzETA held its 7th Regional ELT Conference in Quba on 22 May 2010.
In comparison with its previous conference, AzETA held this conference in collaboration with Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute. The major role of the Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute consisted of co-ordinating the Conference with its Quba Branch where the morning part of the Conference was held.
The opening ceremony of the Conference was attended by Mrs Xanimsona, Deputy Head of Quba Executive Power on Humanitarian issues, Mr Mahammad, Director of Quba Branch of Azerbaijan Teachers' Institute, Mr Jim Wright, Head of Teacher Training, Pilgrims, UK, Ms Julietta Schoenmann, ELT expert from the UK with the invitation of the British Council Azerbaijan. Ragasna Mammadova, AzETA Executive Director made opening remarks thanking all the participants to attend the Conference and demonstrating sustainable solidarity with AzETA to help the ELT develop further in Azerbaijan. Mrs Xanimsona also highlighted the importance of such conferences and thanked AzETA for holding it in QUba. Mr Mahammad thanked AzETA for this co-operation emphasizing the importance of this Conference for the regional teachers. Mr Jim Wright highlighted good co-operation between AzETA and Pilgrims.
After the opening, AzETA EAMP students performed a scene from "Arshin Mal Alan" musical comedy of famous composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov in English.
The performance was followed by the plenary talk of Julietta Schoenmann. The title of the talk was: Creating a Positive Learning Environment which was very useful and interesting for the participants. Her participation at the Conference was funded by the British Council Azerbaijan.
The afternoon sessions were held in the open air in a resort centre. In spite of chilly weather, both the presenters and participants were very enthusiastic actively participating in all the sessions. The topics included, but not limited to:
Simple vocabulary teaching methods
How to make your classroom come to life
“Why is backwash harmful?”
Feedback as a means of language treatment
L1 & L2 relationship
Creative writing, etc.
At the closing ceremony, EAMP students performed a role-play titled Founding Fathers of the USA.
The closing ceremony was also attended by Brent Maier, Public DIplomacy Officer of the US Embassy. One of the most exciting parts of the closing ceremony was the live music performed by Dmitri Spaneas, saxsaphone player from the US.
As in the previous conferences, the aim of the Conference was to bring together English teachers from different parts of Azerbaijan to share experiences, empower through giving presentations, as well as participating in different sessions. Also, the Conferences aimed to promote AzETA in the region and to encourage Eglish teachers of the region to join AzETA.
As in all conferences, the partners were the Ministry of Educaiton, British Council, US Embassy in Baku, Peace Corps.
AzETA 6th Regional ELT Conference
AzETA held its next - 6th Regional ELT Conference on 23 May 2009 in Xacmaz. It was an open air conference organised in the Coban Bulaq resort centre.
Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA Executive Direcotr makes opening remarks
The main aim of the conference was to give an opportunity to AzETA members from this region to experience a large-scale ELT event, share experiences, establish contact, join network, empower personally and professionally. But there were participants from other regions of Azerbaijan at the Conference. The other aim of the Conference was to celebrate establishment of the 10th Anniversary of AzETA Xacmaz Branch.
The aim of the open air conferences is to help the participants experience teaching English communicatively with limited resources and/or underequipped teaching environment.
It was a one-day Conference, which started with an opening ceremony and followed by a plenary talk and afterwards concurrent sessions.
Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA Executive Director made opening remarks, highlighting the history of Xacmaz Branch, which is the AzETA first regional branch and thanked the guests of the opening ceremony for their time and unbending support to AzETA. She also acknowledged the Government of Azerbaijan, in particular, the Ministry of Education for the invaluable support to AzETA in all its activities.
Nicole de'Lalouvier, Country Director of the British Council attended the opening ceremony of the Conference where she mentioned about the long history of AzETA-British Council partnership, current projects handed over to AzETA by the British Council and made some recommendations to AzETA to consider in its future work.
In his spekaing points, Elshan Aleskerov, ELT instructor for the Education Department of Xacmaz talked about the activity of AzeTA Xacmaz Branch, its positive impact on ELT in the Xacmaz region.
Sevil Aliverdiyeva, Xacmaz Branch Manager thanked all the participants for attending the Conference and acknowledge AzETA management for holding the Conference in Xacmaz.
Hijran Huseynova, AzETA President also highlighted the importance of regional conferences and thanked all those who contributed to the funds of the Conference.
At the end of the opening ceremony EAMP students from Xacmaz talked about the history of the Branch and welcomed the participants to Xacmaz.
The opening ceremony was followed by the plenary talk of Ragsana Mammadova, AzETA Executive Director titled: ELT - Challenges and Perspectives. She talked about the achievements made in Azerbaijan in the field of ELT in the past 15 years. She had a task for the participants where she asked each participant to say one challenge they face in their teaching. The plenary talk created an interesting discussion where the participants managed to share their views on different challenges and the ways of managing these challenges.
The plenary talk was followed by concurrent sessions with different interesting topics on ELT.
The Conference finished at 18:00. At the closing ceremony, the participants were given a chance to share their views on the conference. Everybody expressed the importance of such conferences.
The financial support to the conference was from the participants. Transportation costs were covered by Tamilla Abdullayeva, a very active AzETA member.
AzETA acknowledges its members for their support to AzETA and feels very proud that the members invest in AzETA events.
AzETA 6th Regional ELT Conference Programme
Acrobat PDF format
MS Word format
Some moments from the Conference
AzETA 5th Regional ELT Conference
With the financial support of IREX/Azerbaijan and the British Council AzETA held its next - 5th Regional ELT conference on 24 May 2008 in Ismayilli.
The main aim of the conference was to give an opportunity to AzETA members from this region to experience a large-scale ELT event, share experiences, establish contact, join network, empower personally and professionally. As there were requests from other regions, too, AzETA did not limit the participation to this region of Azerbaijan only. There were 125 participants from different regions of Azerbaijan.
AzETA unites TEA and IREX/TEA alumni. The Conference also aimed at bringing TEA, PIE, AzTEP and IREX/TEA alumni together to create an opportunity for them for networking. As such, the aims and objectives of Ismayilli Regional Conference were as below:
„« Participants got familiar with IREX TEA program and its alumni which created them an opportunity to be the beneficiaries of this program in the future;
„« Participants' awareness on current issues of ELT was raised. Teachers were introduced to the innovations in ELT through different presentations.
The Conference also aimed at:
„« enabling regional cooperation among TEA alumni throughout Azerbaijan;
„« getting information about TEA alumni¡¦s experiences;
„« encouraging regional TEA alumni and other members to give presentations and empower professionally;
„« giving a chance to active AzETA members from different regions to participate in TEA Program and other US funded projects and programs;
„« giving a chance to the TEA alumni and/or English teachers in the regions experience a large-scale ELT event in their regions and experience the joy of belonging to an ELT community, namely, joy of being an AzETA member;
„« enabling regional co-operation among TEA alumni from different regions.
It was a one-day Conference, which started with an opening ceremony joined by Prof Misir Mardanov, Minister of Education, Nizami Alekberov, Head of Ismayilli Executive Power, Nicole de Lalouviere, Country Director and Gulshan Huseynova Programmes Manager British Council, Andrea Kalan, IREX Country Director, Kathy Taylor, English Language Fellow of the US Embassy.
Prof. Misir Mardanov, Minister of Education makes opening remarks
The opening was followed by concurrent sessions where 6 presentations were made at each concurrent session. All in all, 41 AzETA members gave presentations on different topics related to ELT in 4 concurrent session throughout the day.
At the closing of the Conference, Rasim Orujov, Head of Ismayilli Education Department and Shafagat Rasulov, Director of School #1 of Ismayilli thanked AzETA, donors and participants to organise such a large-scale event in their region and promised to continue co-operation with AzETA requesting AzETA leadership to establish its branch in Ismayilli. The closing ceremony was followed by a reception hosted by the British Council.
The event was broadcast by national TV companies, Public TV and AzTV.
AzETA acknowledges the British Council-Azerbaijan and IREX-Azerbaijan for financial and organisational support to the Conference through which AzETA added one mroe success story to its history. AzETA also acknowledges Prof. Misir Mardanov, Minister of Education for his time to join the Conference on a Saturday and for encouraging AzETA and its members for a better work.
Below Nicole de Lalouviere, Country Director of the British Council, Azerbaijan shares her impressions on the conference:
Within my first couple of weeks on arriving to take up my new position as Director Azerbaijan, I was lucky enough to have been invited to the AzETA Teachers¡¦ Conference in Ismaylli. I was not only looking forward to the conference, but this would also be my first trip outside Baku. Ismaylli¡¦s reputation as a beautiful area had reached my ears even before I arrived in Azerbaijan.
Leaving the flatness and brownness of Baku and its immediate surrounding countryside, we were soon surrounded by the lush greenness of the gentle hills, with the snow-capped mountains in the background. The Minister of Education was also coming to the conference, and during our journey he took the trouble to ring us several times to ensure that we were safe. So even before arriving in Ismaylli, I felt very happy.
As an ELT professional myself, I have met ELT teachers and trainers from all over the world, but this was to be my first experience of meeting this important group of in Azerbaijan, and I did not know what to expect. Within minutes of arriving at the conference venue, I was surrounded by what I can only describe as a dynamic, enthusiastic and warm group of English teachers and trainers, whose levels of English were exemplary. During the lunch break I spent some time talking to conference participants and learning about different aspects of English teaching and learning in Azerbaijan. This was fascinating as each country is different from the last, with its highlights and challenges, and Azerbaijan is no exception.
By the end of lunch, I had received many invitations to visit schools, all of which I cannot visit, but I do look forward to visiting some and seeing first-hand how English is taught; also hearing from children about their experiences of learning English.
At the opening ceremony of the conference, I was privileged to sit with the Minister of Education, Ragsana Mammadova, President of AzETA, Country Director for IREX Andrea Kalan and English Language Fellow of the US Embassy Kathy Taylor. The Minister outlined the problems facing English in the curriculum and offered solutions, which I understand are being looked at seriously by his department. I was heartened to hear a Minister speak with such understanding about the situation regarding English in his country and I hope that changes will be effected in the immediate future as young people in a country need to be competitive in a global economy and skills in English underpin this.
I came away from my day in Ismaylli feeling I had stepped out of a postcard because of the beauty of the countryside and more importantly had found out direct a lot about English in Azerbaijan from that most important group of people ¡V teachers. So thanks to all for a wonderful experience.