Aim of the project:
ELT Community Strikes Back is an online project started by Big Ben Centre Tuzla, in partnership with language school Elite, from North Macedonia, with the main aim of connecting both the teachers and students from different countries in online class. Additional goal is to exchange experience in online teaching, share ideas and relieve the stress caused by sudden shift to online class.
Commencement of the project:
Our Centre was the first to start online class in Tuzla Canton. Namely, the schools were closed in Tuzla Canton on 12th March 2020 and Big Ben moved to online class on 15th March 2020. At the beginning of April we got an idea to start this project and to use the opportunity of lockdown to do something positive for students of the region and to make teachers’ work easier as well. We invited both private and public schools to join us in creating online lessons in which students of different schools would participate.
Participants of the project:
Six schools from 4 countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina:1 school from FBiH and 1 from Republic of Srpska, Croatia, North Macedonia and Serbia) started working together.
Duration of the project:
Beginning of April to the end May 2020
So far we have had workshops for students of all ages and language levels.
Firstly, we had workshops for students of minimum 2 schools. Namely, studends from Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia had 8 sessions together in total. Students of A1 – B2 level participated. The workshops involved topics such as Social Media, Environment , etc and incorporated different teaching methodologies which involved Critical Thinking skills, Artful Thinking and Content Based Learning. ELT , the President of ELTAM Association in North Macedonia, Aleksandra Popovski, held 4 workshops and Sabina Skenderović Bukvić, US Alumni in E-Teacher program, held 4 workshops as well. Moreover, students from Serbia, from the city of Novi Sad, and Bosnia and Herzegovina also had 4 workshops together. Those were sessions for teens and young adults who are at C1 level. 2 workshops covered the topic of human nature to excel. 2 workshops covered the topic of developing a start-up. During the workshops students got to know each other better and are looking forward to meet each other in person. Workshops were held by Aleksandra Jevtovic, who has presented at international conferences worldwide and participated in creation of Erasmus + projects, and Sabina Skenderović Bukvić.
Secondly, we had workshops for students from all 4 countries. These varied from workshops for children of A2 and B1 level to workshops for young adults of B2 and C1 level. The students got to know each other well all the while using and learning English. In fact, we are particularly proud that the workshops on developing start-up idea were held by Fulbright teacher, Lindsay Bryda. Our students were thrilled to have a native speaker, ELT professional and enthusiastic young woman like her to lead the workshops. The studens worked in groups on ZOOM and presented their business plan in the main session afterwards. The students also had to vote for the best start-up idea.
Finally, we have had story-telling sessions. Thus, a teacher from Croatia, Sanja Rašković, ELT expert in Story Telling and Applying Drama in class held 2 story telling sessions with follow-up workshops for a group of nearly 100 very young learners of English aged 6 – 10. These workshops were the basis for yet another cooperation with another native speaker ELT , Nick Bilborugh, who is the founder of Hands Up Project. Namely, he also held 2 workshops involving story-telling with both young learners and teens. During his workshops students from Palestine partcipated as well. Since ELT Community is always full of new ideas and willing to connect, his colleage David Heathfield, offered to do a story telling session for young learners, too. Thus, 20 students from all 4 countries participated in his story-telling session.
The outcomes of the project:
– Students got to meet new friends and practice English with them
– Studens exposed to new ways of online learning
– Teachers bonded and shared their knowledge
– Cooperation with native ELT professionals established.