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ETAI: Keeping in Touch
Newsletter 36: March, 2011
Before reporting on ETAI's very active past few months and giving a preview of what is to come, I want to extend condolences on behalf of ETAI, to the Fogel family and to all who knew and loved Ruti, Udi and their children. Our hearts are also with the victims of the terror attack in Jerusalem last week, and with all those ducking Kassam rockets in the ever expanding area within rocket range of Gaza. Here's wishing us all better news from now on.
On the ETAI front – February was a month of three successful mini-conferences.
First in Nes-Ziona, a record number of teachers showed up for a lovely afternoon of sessions, including a plenary talk by Dr. Judy Steiner followed by parallel sessions on varied topics. As usual, it was a chance to browse the ESL wares on the publishers' tables and shmooze over coffee with colleagues. Thanks to Michele Ben and Amanda Caplan for organizing this very successful event, and to Dr. Miriam Kluska, the Central Region English Inspector, for her tireless work in encouraging attendance to the conference, and all of her help in organizing the conference, as well.
The second February mini-conference was in Har VaGai, and according to all reports was a wonderfully successful day as well. Participants were treated to a plenary session by Penny Ur about using the mother-tongue in ESL teaching, and then two sets of varied parallel sessions. Thanks to Aviva Shapiro for all of her time and effort put into organizing this event.
ETAI wrapped up February in Netivot – a first time mini-conference there. Though the turnout was small, the enthusiasm of those who attended was great. ETAI is grateful to Dena Wolfson for all of the work she put into organizing this event, and we hope that once the word of its success gets around, many more teachers will take advantage of an ETAI event in the neighborhood next year.
The very next day after the mini-conference in Netivot, on March 1st, ETAI was up north in Maghar with a highly successful mini-conference convened by Jennifer Spiegelman and Yousef Daghash, Northern Inspector for English. The participants were treated to a rich program including a presentation by Kay Mathews Davis – Regional English Language Officer, US Embassy, Amman, Jordan - who spoke on "What makes a Good Teacher?"; as well as varied parallel sessions, and then a final plenary session by Penny Ur. Many thanks to Jennifer and Yousef for organizing this wonderful event.
The annual Spring Conference in Haifa this year is being held at the Arab Orthodox College, located not far from the central bus station. Judging from the program posted on the ETAI site, this promises to be a conference well worth attending! Mark your calendars for April 13th, and plan to spend the day with us.
Save July 5th and 6th as well, and plan to join us in Jerusalem, at Himmelfarb High School, for the annual Summer Conference.
As you can well understand, though all of the organizing and presenting at ETAI is done on a volunteer basis, using the facilities of the venues, providing refreshments, printing the programs, paying the rent for the office and the salary of our office manager, require a substantial budget which is generally covered by our dues and conference fees. Setting the fees is not done without a serious effort to trim our expenses, but without these fees, these enriching and inspiring events would not be possible. There are those who ask why they should bother joining ETAI, when they could just pay for the individual conference for much less. The answer to that question is that without sharing the expenses listed above, there would be no individual events - of the caliber we all take for granted - to attend! There could be no mailings, no ETAI Forum, no office manager to keep the dizzying array of activities coordinated, and no office where the office manager sits!
If you are one of our 900 members who have forgotten to send in this year's dues, please do so just after reading this newsletter. You will not only do your part to keep ETAI going, you will also save us the expense of a phone call reminding you to pay your dues! Of course, if you are reading this newsletter and have not yet joined ETAI, pick up the phone and call Marna at the office – 02-5001844 – to join our ranks.
I look forward to seeing many of you on April 13th in Haifa, and then to seeing all of you in Jerusalem on July 5th and 6th.
Best wishes for peaceful weeks ahead,
Mitzi Geffen, ETAI Chair
Newsletter 35: January, 2011
I don't know how it was at your schools, but at mine, the Winter
Bagrut went surprisingly smoothly. The students came out smiling
and said that the tests were "nice". I don't know whether
it's time to worry yet, but at least they didn't tell me how easy
it was! When that happens, I really worry! In any case, it's over
and the stress has gone down a few notches for a while. (more)
Newsletter 34: December, 2010
Back at the keyboard after wrapping up the Winter ETAI conference,
I'm here to report to those of you who missed it, that it was
definitely worthwhile devoting a vacation day to attend. Hosted
by the Foreign Literatures and Linguistics department at Ben Gurion
University, we enjoyed a delightful day of interesting sessions
on widely varied topics in English teaching. Dr. Judy Steiner
spoke to us about redefining our classrooms in the 21st century,
and provided us with much food for thought about effective use
of the technology, which is second nature for our students. Professor
Yishai Tobin's enlightening talk cleared up some misunderstandings
about auxiliary verbs and their meanings, and Dr. Elisheva Barkon
helped us understand what is required to get our students to be
fluent readers, a common goal for all of us.
We are grateful to the many teachers, who volunteered to give
workshops and talks, which all who attended enjoyed. As usual,
the publishers came out in full force, and there was a huge array
of textbooks, varied teaching materials and games, and extensive
reading books - available for browsing all day. (more)
Newsletter 33: October, 2010
I'm slowly coming to the surface after the flood of tasks, which I had
put off until after the holidays, nearly drowned me. Now, before
October ends, I offer you the October issue of the ETAI Newsletter.
A few weeks after the last newsletter, the ETAI
board met in Tel Aviv hosted by the British Council in their
very pleasant conference room. There we were introduced to the
new director, Simon Kay and heard from Helen Sykes about possible
future workshops for English teachers sponsored by the British
Council. Watch for details about that in future announcements.
Newsletter 32: September, 2010
George Bernard Shaw once said, “You see things
and say ‘Why?’ but I dream things and say ‘Why not?’” Over the years
ETAI has always been saying, "Sure, why not?"
Anyone lucky enough to have participated in ETAI
2010, our International Conference in Jerusalem in July, saw the fruits
of such dreaming. It was an exciting and invigorating conference with a
dizzying array of presentations, including something for everyone -
from the practical to the theoretical and even entertaining. We all
heartily thank the conference committee, headed by Valerie Jakar, Penny
Ur, Nava Horovitz and Debbie Lifschitz for their tireless work and
willingness to think out of the box and say, "Sure, why not?" We also
want to express our thanks and appreciation to Marna, our office
manager, who worked endless hours to make sure everything went
smoothly, and to the many other ETAI members who volunteered their time
freely to help in the organizing and running of the conference,
especially Susan Bedein. (more)