Written by: Tsvetelena Taralova, School No 88 in Sofia

As a member of BETA, I received a bursary from our association to attend the 10th ELTA conference “Teaching Outside the Box” in Belgrade Serbia, where I had a session on “JEOPARDY GAMES IN ELT”. As a warm up I presented the school life in Galena High School, Reno, Nevada, US; where I had my internship during the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program in the fall 2011. The main part of the workshop was a Jeopardy Game on the US, with subtopics History, Geography, Literature, Quotes by famous Americans, and Sport; played by participants.
The 10th ELTA conference title derives from a metaphor and the theme “Teaching outside the box” was discussed and interpreted throughout the different sessions. In accordance with the title, the event focused on innovative teaching methods. The conference venue was Teachers Training Faculty, which is part of University of Belgrade. It is an impressive building, which dates back to the end of the 19th century and has been recently renovated. The Main Hall and six other classrooms were used for presentations and workshops and the second floor gallery provided the exhibition area for ELTA partners and sponsors.

There were about 200 participants and guests, among whom were HE Mary Warlick, US Ambassador in Serbia; HMA Michael Davenport, UK Ambassador; Tony O’Brien, Director of the British Council Serbia, Dr Aleksandar Jovanovic, Dean of the Faculty of Education and a Representative of the Ministry of Education. Teachers and teacher trainers at state and private schools and universities in Serbia; and representatives of IATEFL partner organizations were helped by student volunteers throughout the whole event.
There were about 50 presentations: plenary sessions, and workshops. The latter events were divided under the headings of the following SIGs:
• Making original teaching materials;
• Innovations in teaching language skills, vocabulary and grammar;
• Teaching English for specific purposes;
• Teaching young learners;
• Teaching teenagers;
• Teaching adults;
• Preparation for international examinations (Cambridge ESOL, IELTS, TOEFL).
The plenaries were delivered by:
• Jayme Adelson-Goldstein, Professional development specialist and ESL author at Lighthearted Learning;
• Geraldine Mark, Freelance author and editor: EFL and applied linguistics;
• Sophie Ioannou-Georgiou, Lecturer/teacher trainer, researcher, materials developer (EFL);
• Danae Kozanoglou, Teacher trainer, author and owner of PROFILE Teacher Training School in Athens;
• Steve Oakes, Head of Teacher Training at International House, Budapest;
• Tony O’Brien, Director of the British Council Serbia;
• Steve Lever, Senior ELT consultant at various publishing houses;
• Graham Hall, Senior lecturer in applied linguistics/TESOL at Northumbria University Newcastle UK.
The special dinner and the raffle party event was in Leonardo restaurant, at an impressive location – on the mouth of the Sava River into The Danube. The amazing view of the two rivers and the fortress on the opposite side supplemented the prize draw and the quiz about Charles Dickens, dedicated to his 200th anniversary. Most of the teachers went home with a useful book, which would remind them of the conference. During the warm evening I could talk to teachers from Serbia and some other countries and got a little relieved listening to the same stories about lack of money for education, yet a lot of motivated teachers and good practices to share.

The last evening I stayed in Belgrade was the museums’ night, celebrated all over Europe. While waiting for my bus at midnight, I could visit 4 museums and learn more about the Serbian life, culture and traditions. Friendly and helpful Serbians made me realize how close we are, and how little we know about each other.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to BETA for supporting my participation at the Conference in Belgrade, Serbia and keeping me motivated with my work.
Tsvetelena Taralova, Head of Foreign Language Department at School No 88 in Sofia
P.S. If you are interested to read my notes about different items in the presentation, you can find them under each slide.
Download Tsvetelena’s Conference PowerPiont Presentation on JEOPARDY GAMES IN ELT