Number one for English language teachers

Workshop report: Geography Bilingual Teaching – Practical Issues, 3-5 October 2008, Toruń, Poland

Type: Article

Alina Wierzba reports for onestopclil on the range of issues covered during this workshop for Polish geographers and English language specialists.

Group photo from the workshop 'Geography Bilingual Teaching – Practical Issues', 3-5 October 2008


I have been teaching Geography through English since September this year, so when I learnt about the bilingual workshop organised by the Association of Polish Adult Educators, Torun Branch  I was really happy to join. What I was looking forward to was a chance to learn more about methodology and assessment, as in Poland there is no adequate assistance for teachers involved in bilingual teaching. Luckily, I am both a geographer and a language specialist, so at least I can use my knowledge of EFL methodology in teaching Geography through English.

The workshop, which was organised at the beginning of October 2008, lasted for three days. It took place in the well-equipped conference setting of the National Centre for Further Training of Geography Teachers in Torun. The workshop leaders were Daniela Schmeinck, PhD, from the University of Education in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Aleksandra Zaparucha, MA and MSc, from the Association of Polish Adult Educators.

Practical ideas

The event included some theoretical issues, but the most crucial for me were the practical ideas, such as preparation of your own materials. This workshop, conducted by Aleksandra Zaparucha, proved to be very useful to all participants, especially as the materials we prepared were rewritten later on and given to us as a set of ready handouts and exercises. Other topics dealt with innovation in Geography teaching, language skills integration and assessment issues. There were also some presentations delivered by the workshop participants.

CLIL teachers share ideas over a coffee at the geography workshop in Torun, Poland

Sharing common issues

More than the entire program, the most valuable thing about the workshop was a chance to discuss a number of common dilemmas with other people, being in the same position or with a bit more experience. Such problems for me, for instance, are assessment and lack of ready-to-use materials. Hopefully the workshop, the first round of which was organized in 2007, will be continued in the future. However, next time it would be really exciting to meet some geographers teaching through English for other countries in order to share the ideas on an international level.


Finally, on behalf of all participants and my own I would like to thank the Association of Polish Adult Educators for organizing such a useful event, and both leaders for their great engagement and their professional way of conducting the workshop.

Alina Wierzba

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