ELT Conference 2018

Rionegro Bilingüe: Moving Beyond English Language Teaching through Content-Based Approaches and Methodologies

For the second year running, Rionegro Bilingüe, the citywide strategy implemented since 2016 to improve English teaching and learning in public schools, extends an invitation to the ELT community in the region to explore, reflect and learn from ELT practices that incorporate a myriad of pedagogical content-based approaches and methodologies. Nowadays, educational systems and school settings are incorporating a variety of pedagogical approaches and methodologies that demand school administrators, language policy makers, teachers, and students to evolve beyond traditional English classes, so that language can be used as a vehicle to access knowledge and bring multicultural experiences and traditions into the classroom. Language learning is no longer solely focused on form and with the involvement of critical thinking as well as other 21st century learning skills, help provide a connection between language teaching and how this transfers to students through CLIL or STEAM approaches, to name a few. This enrichment of English learning and teaching will be presented in the II ELT Conference Rionegro Bilingüe through plenary discussions, workshops and activities that reinforce these content- based approaches and strategies in order to continue enriching English learning and teaching practices.

September 7th, 2018
Auditorium, Centro Comercial San Nicolás
Calle 43 N°54-139

Limited spots for the event. Register early at no cost:


7:00 – 7:45 a.m.Registration
7:45 – 8:00 a.m.Opening Ceremony
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.Rionegro Bilingüe Impact
8:35 – 9:25 a.m.Plenary I
9:35 – 10:25 a.m.Plenary II
10:30 – 11:00 a.m.Break
11:05 – 11:55 a.m.Plenary III
12:00 – 1:15 p.m.Lunch
1:30 – 2:20 p.m.Workshops I
2:30 – 3:20 p.m.Workshops II
3:30 – 4:00 p.m.Break
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.Event Conclusions
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.Closing Ceremony and Cultural Event


Plenary Speakers

Plenary 1: #STEAMCulture and its Influence on Educational Innovation
Lina Marcela Gómez

Lina Marcela is a mechanical engineer who decided to focus her knowledge of science in the field of education, transitioning into a STEAM/ESL Teacher. She works as a consultant, teacher and advisor on the design, development and evaluation of local needs-based STEAM culture, where she provides ideas to schools and editorial companies on the implementation of strategies, resources and routines for 21st century skill development, which leads to the settlement of a learning-focused mindset. At the moment, she works as a math teacher for middle school in a private school in Medellín and she is a designer and teacher of an extracurricular course “STEAM Kids” for 1st to 4th graders.


Plenary 2: Catching up the 21st Century: are we there yet?
Dr. Joan Kang Shin

Dr. Joan Kang Shin is an Associate Professor of Education at George Mason University and the Academic Program Coordinator of the Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse & Exceptional Learners Program. Dr. Shin specializes in teaching ESL/EFL to young learners and teenagers and has provided professional development programs and workshops to EFL teachers in over 100 countries around the world. She is a series editor of National Geographic Learning’s young learner programs “Welcome to our World”, “Our World”, and “Explore our World”, as well as the teen program “Impact”, and an author of the professional development title “Teaching Young Learners English”.


Plenary 3: Quest-based learning: Gamifying CLIL to promote engagement
Juan Rafael Miranda

Juan Rafael Miranda Echavarría is an English teacher and coordinator at Colegio Theodoro Hertzl. He holds a degree in psychology, and a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. He has focused much of his studies in the area of games, gamification and linguistics. His master’s thesis was an analysis of RPG video games and language learners, proposing the term “Virtual Interaction” as a central concept to understand how people in an EFL context acquire the language effortlessly using these materials. He is a teacher and teacher trainer, and has diplomas in CLIL, project-based learning and neuro-education.



Workshop 1

ENGLISH ASTRONOMY CLUB – Taking students on an incredible discovery through the universe applying STEM in elementary school
In this workshop, attendees will get to experience the process of establishing an English Astronomy Club with preschoolers, and how this impacts the classroom and generates an interactive space to explore in a playful way the magnitude of the universe, in order to awaken students’ interest in a second language (English) in an interactive and meaningful way.

Ana María Otálvaro Rendón
Ana is currently a Spanish and literature teacher at Institución Educativa Domingo Savio in Rionegro and holds a bachelor’s degree in primary and preschool education. She forms a part of the Rionegro Bilingüe program and participated in the Rionegro Bilingüe Cultural Immersion to the United States this year in June.


Workshop 2

Teaching in English or English Teaching? – Working towards an integrated curriculum
This workshop will focus on the benefits CLIL brings to learning a second language and to encourage teachers to plan classes including the 4 Cs; CONTENT, COMMUNICATION, COGNITION, CULTURE. Participants will develop hands-on activities which showcase the 4 Cs and will be provided with ideas on how to apply this to their own classes.  

Tatyana Aguirre Chamorro
As a bilingual speech therapist and an experienced language teacher, Tatyana has had the opportunity to work with projects in many areas, such as differentiated instruction, formative assessment, understanding and use of standards, competencies to guide curriculum and instruction decisions, ESL and EFL methodologies, CLIL implementations in preschool and primary, and general politics of bilingualism in Colombia.


Workshop 3

Cooking as Pedagogy: Experiential Learning in the Classroom
The main goal of this workshop is to use the kitchen environment as a learning context, where participants will plan and deliver an authentic task with a clear goal and end product. This workshop will showcase how language can be combined with other contexts to make learning meaningful.

Natalia Aguirre Chamorro
As part of her experience as a bilingual teacher and pastry chef, she has developed different projects with children and adults to promote learning through the senses and hands-on activities. One of these projects was developed at EAFIT Language Center with students who took English courses and prepared pastry and cake decorating workshops in English. The students were able to identify and acquire new vocabulary and key words in a fun and dynamic way.


Workshop 4

The GSE: State-of-the-art benchmarks for improving instruction, assessment, curriculum design, and bilingualism policies
This workshop goal is focused on presenting the Global Scale of English and how it can contribute on all levels to English Language Teaching. Attendees will learn about the genesis of GSE, what the GSE Teacher Toolkit is and how to use it and finally they will use the standards and benchmarks in GSE and apply them to a particular task.

Mónica Celis Arias
Mónica Celis Arias is pursuing her master’s degree in neuropsychology and education. She already holds a bachelor’s degree in modern languages with emphasis on the methodology for English teaching. Mónica is also a professional musician and uses this experience to incorporate music in the teaching of English. She holds a Business English Diploma and CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching for Adults) certificate, which she received with the highest qualification. She is an English teacher in the adult program at EAFIT Language Center and an academic consultant for Pearson Education. Monica’s areas of interest are assessment, curriculum and syllabus design, methodology and teacher training. Monica is constantly involved in action research, syllabus and material design and teacher training activities. She has conducted research on neuroscience, psychology and teaching methodology. Her latest research was on the development of an evaluation system based on backward design and case-studies as a linguistic activity in EFL instruction. Her role as an academic consultant for Pearson Colombia keeps her constantly involved in teacher training activities as well as conferences, workshops and lectures for teachers and the academic community in Colombia.


Workshop 5

Contextualizing Grammar for Effective Communication and Accuracy
In the current climate of foreign language teaching and learning, a communicative-based approach has long been touted as a most effective pedagogical approach since the 80s. The role of grammar in the EFL classroom had been sidelined according to the principles of many communicative-based approaches if not discarded completely. However, that is not the case in many of our classrooms. This workshop aims to show you how to find a happy balance between the two extremes; a grammar-focused approach and no grammar explanation at all. This workshop will focus on strategies to contextualize grammar within your lessons to promote communication while still providing opportunities to work on form for accuracy and meaningfulness purposes.

Maure Aguirre
Maure Aguirre holds a bachelor of foreign language teaching with a focus in English and French. She has been teaching English for more than 7 years and currently works at the Centro Colombo Americano Medellín as part of the academic support team helping coordinate the English scholarship programs sponsored by the US Embassy in cities such as Quibdó, Leticia, Nuquí, Apartadó, and Medellín. She also participates actively in professional development workshops on diverse topics. She is a student in the master’s program in foreign language teaching and learning at Universidad de Antioquia.
Bridget Flynn
Bridget Flynn holds a bachelor of arts in pedagogy with a focus in kindergarten through eighth grade education and a specialization certificate in bilingual education. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in learning and teaching processes in second languages at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. Bridget has been living and teaching in Colombia for six years now. She works at Centro Colombo Americano Medellín as part of the academic support team developing curriculum and giving professional development workshops on various topics.


Workshop 6

Using online tools to enrich our teaching practice
The workshop’s main goal is to teach how to use online tools to enrich comprehension activities and encourage student participation. Teachers who want to include more dynamic technology in their classrooms are invited to attend this workshop. The workshop will be developed as a class in which the speaker provides short tutorials for different online tools so that the audience can explore them deeply on their own. The session will be divided in two parts. The first part will be focused on YouTube and the possibilities to work with this video platform. Additionally, the possibilities to design better reading activities using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and gap-filling generators will be discussed. In the second part, websites will be shared that allow teachers to promote student participation such as Kahoot, BuzzIn.live and Voscreen.

Ferney López Osorio
Ferney holds a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language Teaching from the University of Antioquia. He has been a teacher of English as a foreign language since the year 2000 in different primary and high schools, as well as the English department coordinator for 12 years in two different high schools in Envigado and Medellin. He taught Spanish and English as a foreign language in Prague for one year (2013-2014) and is currently a teacher of English at the Colombo Americano Medellín in the children, youth and adult programs since 2015.


Workshop 7

Fostering meaningful projects with real impact in the community
The goal of the workshop is to inspire teachers to encourage students to create projects with real impact in their community. These include projects that are art-related to promote young talent, some that include using social media activities to raise money for charity, also projects creating web-pages to raise awareness of important topics such as the environment and recycling. Anyone who works with project-based classes can benefit from attending this workshop, as examples of successful projects on these topics will be shown, to then form groups with the audience and elicit ideas for possible future classroom projects.

 Joao Mazzoni
Joao holds a CELTA and PTLLS (Cambridge ESOL Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) certificate and started teaching English for EFL students at City and Islington College, London, right after getting both qualifications. Originally from Brazil, he moved to Colombia in 2015 and has been working at the Centro Colombo Americano for a little over 3 years, giving English classes in the youth and the adults program. 


Workshop 8

Enabling little learners: Strategies to work with preschool courses
This workshop provides strategies to work on specific areas that make teaching young learners special. Strategies for enhancing young learners’ participation, classroom management, and interaction patterns will be presented. Additionally, teaching strategies that demonstrate the use of materials such as puppets and games that promote a meaningful use of the language will be shared as well. This workshop is great for both beginning teachers of this population and veteran teachers alike.

Natalia Herrera
Natalia’s experience in teaching is focused mainly at the preschool level, with over 10 years of experience teaching English to this population. She has been working as a teacher of English at the Colombo Americano Medellín in the children, youth and adult programs for 6 years now. She is passionate about designing and creating interactive material for young learners as well as working with songs and games in the classroom.


Workshop 9

Adapting materials to foster  the engagement of primary students
This workshop will focus on encouraging teachers to implement and adapt different materials in the classroom (CLIL) in order to foster students’ skills and integrate English teaching with different subjects, mainly focused on primary school populations. Participants will create and design different resources and adapt existing ones to focus on enhancing English in primary classrooms.

Isabel Cristina Jaramillo Abril
Isabel Jaramillo Abril has thirteen years experience in education, teaching mainly English in primary schools in Rionegro, Antioquia. During this time, she also has worked and studied on how to use and integrate multiple intelligences in the classroom, adapting materials to teach according to the context. Isabel graduated from the University Catolica de Oriente with a degree in Foreign Languages and also has a Master degree in Science: Education and Innovation. She considers that personalizing activities and adapting materials for teaching is one of the best ways to teach in an integrated way. She is thrilled to be working as an English teacher and loves sharing her passion and experiences in teaching with colleagues.


Workshop 10

Assessment resources towards a self-organized learning process
This workshop’s goal is to review the different resources for language assessment, involving digital and non-digital environments, and keeping the focus on student’s development of content/metacontent. Also, recommendations about how to use each resource throughout the learning level are given.

Lina Marcela Gómez Quintero
Lina Marcela is a Mechanical Engineer who decided to focus her knowledge of science in education, transitioning into a STEAM/ESL Teacher. She works as a consultant, teacher and advisor on the design, development and evaluation of local needs-based STEAM culture, where she provides ideas to schools and editorial companies on the implementation of strategies, resources and routines for 21st century skill development, which leads to the settlement of a learning-focused mindset. At the moment, she works as a Math Teacher for Middle School in a private school in Medellín and she is a designer and teacher of an extracurricular course “STEAM Kids” for 1st to 4th graders.


More information: 2040404 ext 3003 or riobilingue2018@gmail.com

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