Over the course of three weeks in Brazil, EL Specialist Dorothy Zemach delivered a variety of workshops and plenary sessions in Caxias do Sul, Brasília, São Roque, and Belem. She interacted with audiences ranging in size from 35 workshop participants at a three-day seminar in São Roque to 1,500 conference attendees at Braz-TESOL at Caxias do Sul University. The audiences were comprised of binational center (BNC) and public school teachers and coordinators, university professors as well as teachers from the private sector.
Zemach gave a variety of workshops and talks which were mainly focused on practical classroom activities—what teachers can do immediately to get better results in their classrooms. Topics included vocabulary games, icebreakers and warm-ups, speaking skills, using songs, as well as writing tests and worksheets. These workshops included plenty of hands-on activities as well as opportunities for participants to ask questions and explain what they did in their own classrooms. The feedback from workshop participants was positive; Zemach heard teachers say things like, “Oh, I can use this right away.” A few of the teachers in various locations were not entirely fluent in English; thus, the workshops also helped them practice their own English. However, even teachers who were proficient said they appreciated the chance to work on their own English as well as exchange cultural information. A few sessions addressed professional development for teachers themselves—how they could become better presenters and how they could leverage social media to further their careers as well as inform their teaching.
Dorothy Zemach holds an MA in TEFL from the School for International Training in Vermont, USA. After teaching ESL for over 25 years, she now concentrates on writing and editing materials and conducting teacher-training workshops. A prolific textbook author and editor, Zemach is a co-author for Macmillan’s flagship course Open Mind and the series consultant and co-author for the dual skills course, Skillful. In 2012, she founded a micropress, Wayzgoose Press, that publishes educational materials as well as fiction and literary non-fiction. Most recently, she was a plenary speaker for IATEFL 2018 in the UK.