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Czech Teachers of English Learning How to Make Foreign Language Instruction More Attractive - An Oxford University Trainer Will Be Their Guide

4. July 2013 A unique Oxford Teachers’ Academy course continues in the Czech Republic this year thanks to the Helping Schools Succeed project. Guided by an Oxford University Press trainer, 25 teachers of English at the junior high level of public primary schools all over the country will become acquainted with the activities to use in language classes and strategies to motivate children to be interested in English.

The three-day training course for teachers, called Oxford Teachers’ Academy 2013 (OTA), is led by a qualified trainer, Gareth Davies, who develops teacher training courses and travels all over the world to lecture on modern methods of English teaching. The course takes place on July 8-12 at the Open Gate grammar school in Babice near Prague. “Gareth Davies has been working with Oxford University Press since 2005. He leads workshops on a regular basis, providing guidance to teachers of English at all types of schools. He greatly contributes to the development of Oxford University Press’s new materials; for example, he is the author of the teacher’s guides for iTools for Headway and Project, which are among the most widely used textbooks in this country,” said Dana Krejzová of Oxford University Press.

This educational program has been accredited by the Czech Ministry of Education and was extremely successful with teachers last year. “The objective of the course is to show various ways of teaching foreign languages, many of which are untraditional for Czech teachers, and to facilitate practical experience sharing,” said Jan Leiner of The Kellner Family Foundation, which initiated the course and also supports it through its Helping Schools Succeed project. “In this way, we want to spur further improvements in the quality of teaching at Czech primary schools,” added Jan Leiner.

During the course, which is structured into sessions, teachers will learn about specific aspects entailed in education for teenagers. All language skills are covered: listening, speaking, writing, and reading; these are then supplemented with various other aspects such as the use of simplified English reading, working with dictionaries, and drama in English classes.

To successfully complete the course, the teachers have to attend all workshops and at the end of the course, and in fact throughout the entire course, they have to complete assignments and provide feedback to the trainer. Subject to meeting all the requirements of the course, the teachers will receive a certificate issued by the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE).

As with last year, there are only two men among the 25 teachers. The age brackets are from 27 to 55, and it is a diverse group of teachers from throughout the whole of the Czech Republic. All participants had to pass a two-round admission procedure testing their knowledge of English and also their motivation to improve the quality of teaching in ordinary English classes. The teachers had to demonstrate foreign language proficiency at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Had they taken the course directly in Oxford, they would have had to pay GBP 650 per person. Czech teachers’ fee for the course here is CZK 1,800.

Additional information
THE KELLNER FAMILY FOUNDATION is a family foundation of Mrs. Renáta Kellnerová and Mr. Petr Kellner. It pursues the objective of contributing to social development and improving the quality of people’s lives. The Foundation seeks out and sponsors academically gifted children and young people growing up in environments that impede or prevent their access to good education.

The Foundation’s long-term educational projects
OPEN GATE: Since 2005, when the OPEN GATE grammar school in Babice near Prague first opened its gates, approximately two thirds of its students have received financial grants.
UNIVERSITIES: Financial grants under this project can be received by extremely academically gifted young people from socially disadvantaged environments who are enrolled at Czech or international schools and universities.
HELPING SCHOOLS SUCCEED: Project for teachers and principals of public primary schools geared towards a high quality of teaching, emphasizing teachers’ personalized approach to students.

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