The English Language Institute was proud to host the 2nd Annual KAU & Cambridge Symposium with the theme of “Active Learning Leads to Better Learning” today on the Men’s Campus in the Deanship of Student Affairs Auditorium. A similar version of the event was held on the ELI Women’s Campus at the Girls Engineering College.
In his first speech after his appointment as ELI Dean, Dr. Abdullah Al-Bargi opened the event on the Men’s Campus by thanking Allah the Almighty for all the great blessings bestowed on this country, its government, and people. He expressed his gratitude to KAU President Prof. Abdulrahman Al-Youbi for his unlimited support for the development of all aspects of the University's English language learning and teaching. He noted that this support had helped enable the ELI to align itself with best international higher educational practice with the aim of improving the quality of KAU graduates' English proficiency. Dean Al-Bargi stated that the symposium was fully supported by KAU and was aimed at developing the teaching skills of English language instructors, in support of the enhancement of the ELI students' English language learning process.
The Dean said that “we are living and working in exciting times as we witness the University’s steady advance and the development of its academic and administrative practices in-line with the country’s robust and ambitious Vision 2030. Dean Al-Bargi affirmed that the ELI will enhance its operations in order to ensure the utmost positive impact on its students in a range of programs in order to prepare them for the challenging future. He advanced the new ELI vision by emphasizing creation of new knowledge in the field, with particular focus on digital learning, self-discovery and innovation for both students and instructors.
After the Dean’s speech, Peter Lucantoni, Cambridge University Press’s Senior Teacher Training Consultant, delivered his plenary address entitled “Learning is not a spectator sport.” In his address, Lucantoni emphasized the need to provide students with opportunities to talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to their past experiences, and apply it to their lives. He emphasized that allowing students to “learn by doing” and “trying” are fundamental concepts to the active learning philosophy.
Following the plenary address, Dr Khaled Al-Harthi, the ELI Vice-Dean for Development, and Mr Lucantoni awarded certificates to 18 Men’s Campus Train the Trainer program participants. These ELI teachers participated in a 30-hour face-to-face training course back in August and have been observed by Cambridge delivering workshops to the wider faculty on two different occasions this year. They have received coaching and feedback from both Peter and their peers. Mr Lucantoni said he was very impressed at the significant development of the new teacher trainers and the broad range of skills they have demonstrated during the current academic year. He added, “Considering the wide range of skills of the course participants at the start of the course, it was very impressive to see how everyone successfully reached a very high standard.” He further remarked, “I’m confident that all of them can design and deliver effective training for their peers”, while also emphasizing that “everyone needs to be aware of the need to advance their own professional development.”
After the plenary was concluded, teachers on the Men’s Campus proceeded to Building 11 to attend workshops on a variety of topics including “Active Learning Strategies in Action”, “Integrating Augmented Reality into English Language Classrooms”, and “Building Rapport: How and Why?” Mr Lucntoni also conducted a workshop entitled “Active Learning in Practice”. In this workshop he especially focused on practical ways that listening and reading skills, often thought to be “passive” skills, can be taught from an active learning perspective and approach.
On the other side of campus, the Women's Campus held the symposium with Cambridge author and trainer Leslie Anne Hendra speaking on key elements of vocabulary learning and teaching, starting from a goal-based approach and touching on the importance of context, the interesting challenge of language selection, and ways of dealing with meaning.
Both ELI Men's and Women's Campuses will continue to host workshops throughout the remainder of the week.