Tuesday, June 17, 2014

BESIG's summer symposium 2014 - Graz, Austria

Graz Art Museum by Marius Watz, www.eltpics.com
Special blend of professionals and easy atmosphere! The BESIG summer symposium held June 13-14, 2014 in Graz, Austria. I attended the following sessions:
  1. TIP means Task-In-Process, according to Simona Petrescu of Bucharest. She plans the syllabus around business English students' actual work processes. Example: an HR process-cum-syllabus - write a job advert, collect resumes, organize interviews, shortlisting, hiring etc. - each becomes a successive component of the language course, mirroring the hiring process itself.
  2. Basis for Business, a new advanced course book, was introduced enthusiastically by Anne Hodgson (based in Berlin). It's aimed at the German BE market, but she showed lots of ways to mix and match. I could use the book but dip in here and there - that's how it's designed, anyway.
  3. Olena Korol of Kiev, Ukraine, displayed the posters made by her university students during awareness-raising and learner autonomy activities.
  4. Evan Frendo showed us how to use the EnronSent email corpus, the only authentic collection of emails sent by real people in the business world. Search the corpus for examples to teach students better email writing. This was the big take-away for me - I'll use it right away.
  5. I watched round-eyed as Charles Rei demonstrated how he applied agile software development principles to evolve business English lessons and courses. The watchword is "sprint" - a phase in which only high-priority items are learned.
  6. Here's another exotic topic (for me, anyway): systemic functional linguistics, presented by Rob Szabó. He demonstrated how people from different cultures can misunderstand each others' emails, and gave practical solutions for teachers.
What I liked best: this summer symposium had the same professional level of presenters and topics you would find in a full conference, made more enjoyable by people in summer clothes enjoying a laid-back atmosphere.

Graz Railway Station, by Mattia Carnellini in www.eltpics.com

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