Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Reading Initiative Workshop- By Fitch O'Connell

No matter what we do, practically, to evlove, nothing is more exciting, enriching , in my point of view, as meeting colleagues , learning from them, especially when an ELT Luminary as: Mr.Fitch O'Connell is guiding our steps.
We attended a workshop entitled the Reading Initiative Workshop at the British Council from the 21st till the 23rd of April. During these three days, Mr. Fitch O'Connell reawakened in us the love of reading narratives, poetry. Such love for reading, though very deep in each one of us as teachers, is reborn from the ashes. Truly, Mr.O'Connell dazzled us and triggered our imagination with his sparkling performance. Many times, the Artist persona took hold of the teacher and the teacher trainer and we were very delighted seeing the Artist on the stage. No wonder he has had a deep impact on us all, in such a short period of time. He fascinated us by alternating between theory and practice in such a light, joyful , humble and impressive way. 
More impressive is the idea of buliding up a digital library where teachers can get short narratives with the ready made (pre/ while/ post) reading activities.
This experience has pushed me to ponder more on our teaching practices. As a matter of fact, we are missing a lot , for we are not instilling this love of reading in our learners, reading all sorts of literary works whether novels, plays or poems.How could our learners use the language beautifully, effectively if they do not have any idea about the wealth of novels, short narratives written by inspiring native and non-native speakers. Truly, it is not an easy job, but if handled with a lot of care and love , we might succeeed in helping them love to read. Reading for pleasure should  be taken into consideration in our syllabi. Thereof, proper , practical, joyful, engaging ways should be set to meet this challenge and succeeed in  the thirst for reading into learners from an early age. 
Actually, we enjoyed preparing the pre/ while/ and post reading activities to these short creative and wonderful narratives :Survival (by Chaouki M'Kaddem), The Land of Dreams (by Olfa Guesmi), Joha and the End of the World (by Fitch O'Connell), The Emergency Call (by Zeineb Evren) ... 
All of these short narratives do match our learners' interest and could be well fit in our syllabi. So why don't we try to plan them in our yearly schedule and part of our reading for pleasure unit, which must be included (though, unfortunately, our books fail to teach this love for reading to our learners.
Last but not least, I would like to express my best regards to Mr.O'Connell for the wealth he shared with us, to the British Council staff for making this happen and for their warm welcome, to my dear colleagues and friends who , without fail, cooperated warmly, shared insights with us all and I learned much from them all. 
Below are some links that might be of great use for all of you dear ELTs wherever you are! Stay tuned :-) 

Me and Mr.O'Connell