Maria-Araxi Sachpazian

Maria-Araxi Sachpazian BA education / RSA dip/tefl (hons) is a practicing EFL Teacher and a Lecturer in the English Studies Department of CITY College the Europe Campus of the University of York and honorary Lecturer of the University of york. She is the owner and Managing Director of Input on Education, a company that provides Academic and Business support services for foreign language schools.

Maria frequently presents at conferences and writes articles related to her special research interests which are materials evaluation and adaptation, digital teaching, and the construction of teacher identity. She has been heavily involved with the running of TESOL Macedonia-Thrace, Northern Greece and she is the current Secretary General of the Board of Trustees of IATEFL.

Plenary talk: The Future of EFL Classroom: How reflective practitioners empower learners

What will learning look like in the next few decades? How will these changes impact teacher education and our perceptions of what ‘’learning’ and ‘’teaching’’ are? What are the new roles of teachers as reflective practitioners and how will learners become self-regulated? If you want answers, come to the session!

Zarina Markova

Zarina Markova is a language teacher educator at the South West University, Blagoevgrad, where she teaches Language Acquisition and ELT Methodology, supervises teaching practice and conducts state teacher certification examinations. For different periods in her life, she was British Council teacher trainer, member of BETA-IATEFL Committee, BETA’s Official Representative in the SEETA community and academic adviser to the SEETA Small-scale Teacher-led Research Project, and editor of BETA-IATEFL Publications. In all these roles, Zarina has been trying to create conditions for ‘pedagogised’ creativity, i.e. personal and social creativity that can emerge, and be enhanced, in the context of effective and meaningful English language teaching and teacher training.

Plenary talk: ELT confidence: Friend or foe?

Research repeatedly confirms that people with high self-confidence are perceived as more knowledgeable, more attractive, more likely to set higher goals for themselves and to stay motivated in the face of difficulty. Findings additionally suggest that teachers with high self-confidence are more enthusiastic to teach, more willing to experiment and more committed to teaching. Do studies of ELT confidence reveal similar results? How do English language teachers build their confidence? Can self-confidence be harmful and self-doubt beneficial? This talk will provide some answers.

Vanya Katsarska

Vanya Katsarska is a senior lecturer at the Bulgarian Air Force Academy. She is in charge of planning, delivering and assessing general English and specialized English language courses for BSc cadets and civilian students. She has also been a member of a couple of international groups of ESP teachers, developing and implementing needs-driven ESP courses throughout Europe. Her areas of expertise include curriculum and syllabus development, ESP assessment and aviation English.

Plenary talk: For whom the bell tolls

We are living in times of big changes and unprecedented challenges in all sectors - from business, industry, healthcare, and politics to academia. Education was not spared the covid-19 pandemic or the national economic crises. Chat GPT and other AI tools have suddenly gone mainstream and nowadays we are wondering if they will disrupt or boost language teaching. Gen Z and Alpha need to be equipped with knowledge, skills, and the right attitudes to be fully capable of participating and contributing to their societies. As a result of this 21 century has brought new challenges to us, EFL teachers. We are now required to teach not only the English language but also the skills of the 21 century.

The talk will address the 21st century skills and how language teachers could teach them. Furthermore, the talk will provide an insight into the roles relevant to today’s English language teachers.

Cooperation in education becomes more vital than ever. Тhat is why BETA conference is an important event. It gathers a vibrant community of enterprising educators from different countries. During these two days we will discuss various methods and tools that promote a successful and effective EFL learning and we will share EFL research and projects. Together we may find solutions to some pressing issues.

However, teaching EFL is not only finding the right method or technique. Use your own unique power to make students think who they might become. Use your own strengths to help them make the best of their own strengths. You feel great because then you touch your students’ lives and they touch yours. The future of our children, teenagers and young adults is in the hands, brains and hearts of their teachers. So, don’t ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.