Just about a week ago, over 60 participants gathered at the Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, UFRN for our May 2016 seminar: “Teachers who learn. Learners who teach.”
The seminar title was inspired by Janaina Weissheimer (UFRN) who opened the event with an incredible Pecha Kucha (the first-ever at an ELT event in the state) on life-long learning and teaching. In just over 6 minutes, Janaina unpacked eye-opening information on human development, cognition and what fosters (or thwarts) learning. Janaina closed by challenging teachers to organise an ELT (English Language Teaching) Pecha Kucha night in Natal in the near future.
The second plenary was delivered by our special guest, Mariana Perez (UFPB), who drove all the way from Joao Pessoa with her family to share with participants her perspectives on English language teacher education. Mariana shared encouraging news about the advances she and her team have been making with several projects in Paraiba. One of the key points imparted by Mariana was that by working together, the ELT community could become stronger in many ways, not the least of which, by forming a pressure group.
Mariana’s contribution did not stop there, though. She also mobilised a group of PB teachers to attend the seminar, whose presence honoured us and whom we look forward to seeing again before long.
Daniella, Debora and Ingrid ran the seminar’s third session under the supervision of Prof. Edilson Souza. They presented useful information on IELTS and suggested ways in which TESOLers can seize opportunities to develop professionally by become IELTS trainers or examiners. It was their first BRAZ-TESOL RN presentation ever and they did so beautifully and well.
I (Fernando Guarany) had the pleasure of rounding off the event with a topic very close to my heart: the meaning and power of collaboration and community. In over 20 years’ work in the language teaching profession, I have witnessed more than a few teachers working in isolation from each other and this leading to the sad outcome of their stagnating, becoming de-motivated and, in several instances, disillusioned to such an extent that they abandoned the profession. On the other hand, I have also interacted with professionals who have chosen to join the community and collaborate with others, who have found lasting pleasure in teaching which they have come to regard as a rewarding career. My message was to call on every teacher in the audience to join the community and understand that ‘together we’re stronger’ – BTRN’s motto which I coined a few years ago.
The event bubbled merrily in its stew of mutual respect, admiration and enthusiasm richly flavoured in collegiality. These ingredients are palpably present in the group photo taken at the end of the day. BTRN continues to send a message to anyone who lends an ear to our cry of: “we are alive and kicking. We are together. We are going from strength to strength.”
BRAZ-TESOL Rio Grande do Norte Chapter
“Together we’re stronger”