BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap!

BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap

15/05/2017 - 09:43

BELTA DAY 2017 This past Saturday (13 May 2017), around 250 participants descended on Brussels to attend the 5th Annual BELTA Day, featuring plenary speaker and IATEFL Patron, Mr David Crystal. BELTA President, John Arnold, shares some of the highlights of the day in this post!

This past Saturday, around 250 participants descended on Brussels to attend the 5th Annual BELTA Day. I think that we – the BELTA Board – can say without a doubt – that it was the most successful BELTA Day yet! As one guest from TESOL France remarked, ‘what an enthusiastic and happy number of members and attendees.’ We couldn’t agree more: Odisee University College – our lovely venue – was filled to the brim with smiling, radiant faces.

The day started with the first plenary from Mr David Crystal, who spoke about addressing the reasons why (pragmatics) of using the language. His talk was insightful and entertaining. At one point, his lovely wife, Hilary, joined him on the podium for an impromptu reading from Shakespeare!

After his talk energized the participants, the delegates set off for the first of three breakout sessions before lunch. These 40-minute talks or 85-minute workshops were varied and filled with useful information. The delegates learned about the iTILT2 project from Margret Oberhofer and Karen Van de Cruys; they did some play acting with Daniel Sossi; they learned about effectively using images from Rob Howard; they made mind maps with Ron Morrain; they learned about teaching writing from Paulina Christiaens; they saw how task-based learned learning is put to the test from Daniel Zuchowski; they learned more about CLIL and international projects from Natascha Coene and Bart Deferme; Gemma Webber focused on using technology in large classroom settings; Bart Buckinx demonstrated how to create interactive Facebook widget activities; Nerina Conte focused on useful, meaning practice; Mikhail Grinberg demonstrated some ear opening activities for increasing listening comprehension; Patrick Painter focused on 21st century skills; and, Meghan Briggs and Brandy Miller talked about building learner confidence.

After enjoying some traditional Belgian ‘broodjes’ and indulging in dessert while attendees who have been at all 5 BELTA Days were honoured, the delegates returned to the classroom for another two sets of breakout sessions. Mario Lecluyze shared a number of great activities for engaging students; Sylvie Doláková focused on pronunciation while Milica Kresovic focused on Business English error correction; Ourania Katsara talked about intercultural competence; Jody Hoekstra talked about planning successful professional development; and the team from the University of Antwerp led by Kris Van de Poel and including Ward Peeters, Marina Vulovic and Elke Ruelens minded ‘the language gap’, focusing on autonomous learning. The next set of breakout sessions included more drama from Nikolay Nikolov, visual story grammar from Mija Selič, best practices in differentiation by Patrick Painter, and mining the resources available from the US Embassy and the US Department of State by Jameson DeBose.

After a well-deserved coffee break, the delegates gathered once again to listen to Mr David Crystal share his work on Advanced English Conversation. He focused on what really happens during a conversation between native speakers. The information focusing on style, grammar and vocabulary was extremely useful and meaningful for the participants.

The day ended with a raffle, where many participants won some great prizes from the sponsors and partners. The Grand Prize was a €600 Travel Grant to IATEFL 2018 in Brighton. BELTA Member – Ria Oris – won the grand prize and is now planning her April 2018 trip to the IATEFL Conference. Congratulations, Ria!

The BELTA Board would like to thank:

  1. All the participants.
  2. The sponsors (see the picture below)
  3. Our Partners (see the picture below)
  4. All the student volunteers from the teacher training departments of Thomas More Mechelen and Odisee Campus Waas, and our student volunteer from KULeuven.
  5. Our official BELTA Day photographers (all pictures courtesy of them)
  6. The 30 speakers who came from many different countries, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Wales, Germany, Poland, Greece and many more.
  7. The staff at Odisee University College who always make us feel so welcome.

As you can see from the tweets below, the day was well worth the trip to the heart of Belgium: Brussels!

BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap
BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap
BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap
BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap
BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap
BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap
BELTA Day 2017: It's a wrap