NATE News June 2015: Conference updates, free classroom resources – and more

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NATE Conference is at the end of this month! Yes, it’s almost time for the highlight of the English teaching year. This issue brings you updates (headline: hurry up and book now!) as well as news of the launch of a great new series of classroom tips and tricks.

Conference: It’s not too late to be part of the ‘Brave New World’

Our Conference title this year is ‘Brave New World: facing the challenges of teaching English in 2015’. The good news is that there are still some delegate places left and workshops to attend. The not-so-good news is that all the accommodation in the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead has now been booked – yes, we told you to book early! Don’t despair, there’s good news here too, as there are several other hotels nearby – this page on the Conference site has quick links – and there are still day delegate places. Some workshops are now full and others are filling up quickly, so to be sure of your choices, don’t delay.

Guess who's coming to Conference again?There’s a packed programme over the two full days, as usual. After his enormously successful appearance at last year’s conference, Michael Rosen has kindly agreed to make a return visit. Those who heard him deliver last year’s Harold Rosen lecture relished his ability to involve us first in helping him read a poem and then by a tour de force survey of approaches to reading and writing. You can catch up on that talk here, or watch the short interview he gave us.This year Michael’s focus will be on poetry, so we can look forward to more interaction, wit and wisdom! Plenty of other great speakers too, from Geoff Barton to Costa prize-winner Jonathan Edwards.

Illuminate your classroom with our library of tips and techniques!

IllumiNATE is a new series of practical tips and techniques for the classroom prepared by and for NATE members. IllumiNATE will be emailed to members every two weeks in term time and will include ideas for all ages, including clever ways of using technology and simple ideas to generate meaningful talk and writing. Each one is provided in a handy A4 PDF format to download and print so that you can build up a ring binder of resources (or a folder on your computer) that’s worth keeping!

The first issues are lined up – and as a special treat, we’re making Number 1: Found poems – or poetry by stealth! free for everyone so that you can all see the quality of what’s on offer. Members will receive the second in the series in a few days – if you don’t want to miss out, make sure you’re a member!

NATE AGM and elections

The NATE AGM takes place at Conference on Saturday 27 June. Once again we’re looking for enthusiastic, committed members to join its committees and take responsibility for running the Association. This year, the posts open for election include Chair and Vice-Chair of the Association. Full details will be posted on the NATE site shortly and announced in the IllumiNATE email being sent to members next week.

Help! Having problems accessing the NATE site?Stuck in an online jungle? We can help!

Forgotten your password? Trapped in the web and can’t log in? It happens to us all. If you have a problem, it’s easy to reset your password if you know either the email address we use for you – that must be the one we’ve used for this issue of NATE News! – or your membership number. Our new help page will, we hope, be helpful.

New global learning resources

The latest additions to our global learning resources are taken from the Spring issue of Teaching English. These are detailed accounts of ways to bring a global perspective into your classroom – download them free here:

  • Global English: speaking and listening for international understanding by Fran Nantongwe
  • Stories from Haiti: Kate Lea on how to use the great new free resources from NATE and Oxfam

Research in English – a new blog

John Hodgson, NATE’s Research Development Officer, has recently launched a blog. The emphasis of Research English is on the importance of evidence-based classroom practice – and of classroom-informed research. The latest post is by Teaching English editor Gary Snapper on Storytelling in primary and secondary English – an introduction to the latest issue of NATE’s magazine which will reach members shortly. Other posts deal with the threat to A Level Creative Writing and a research request – which features next.

Were you teaching in the 60s, 70s or 80s?

If you really were an English teacher in the 1960 to 1980s, the old joke about not being able to remember it will surely not apply. I certainly have vivid recollections of my early steps and missteps!

MA student Margaret McCullagh would like our help: ‘I want to interview six to eight English teachers aged 55 and over, who have spent most of their working lives in the UK educational system. I specifically wish to concentrate on this group because of the turbulent and challenging period of their English teaching experience, and explore how this has impacted on them, and on their current practice. English teachers who’ve retired within the last five years are equally welcome to participate. I want to elicit a picture of what these teachers believe promotes self-efficacy in English teaching – and what hinders it.’

If you can help by participating in an audio-taped interview of up to an hour, at a time and place convenient to you, with any travel expenses paid, please get in touch with Margaret by email as soon as possible.

Pat Barrett obituary

NATE members will be sorry to learn that Pat Barrett has died after a distinguished career in English teaching. Very active in NATE in the 1980s, Pat will particularly be remembered for her part in devising and performing NATE’s Language and Gender Road Show. There are more details on the NATE site.

Poetry by Heart 2016

Poetry by Heart 2016

2014 Conference delegates will recall the launch of Poetry By Heart in a spectacular neo-classical setting. This year, the competition is launching through multiple channels – you may have already seen a Teachit newsletter – and of course they will be at NATE conference again. Registrations for the 2016 Competition are now open here.

Dates for your diary

Keep visiting our courses page for updates, as we add both our own events and those developed by NATE consultants.

Enjoy the last half term of the year – remember you’ll enjoy it even more if you come to Conference!

Do get in touch with your own news and comments.
Signature: Tom Rank: Newsletter Editor
Tom Rank, Newsletter Editor