Teacher trainers:


Rakesh Bhanot

Rakesh Bhanot has a BA in Philosophy & Literature (U. of Warwick) and a PGCE and MA in TEFL (U. of London). He has been an English teacher and teacher educator since 1972 and has worked in over 40 countries. He is a regular contributor to national and international ELT conferences as a keynote speaker and/or workshop leader. He has worked with a number of UK Higher Education institutions, as well as The British Council, Pilgrims Language Courses, Sharing One Language (SOL), The BBC et al. He has published widely and is the Founder Editor of Language Issues, the journal of NATECLA, UK.

Rakesh’s philosophy for ELT: The phrase 'teaching below the neck' summarises my approach to what I do in the classroom. During my early career, I was obliged to use the so-called direct method (traditional grammar based) for teaching English which is still prevalent in many parts of the world. It was as a reaction to this rather dry and boring methodology that I began to look for and to develop other ways to teach students. Working with and learning from colleagues such as Mario Rinvolucri, I realised that a more 'human' approach to language teaching is not only more interesting/motivating but also more effective. Hence, my preference for making use of the 'whole person' rather than simply addressing her/his 'cognitive' aspects. In terms of teacher training, I have recently started promulgating an approach that I call DITOW. This stands for Do It The Other (or Opposite) Way! This strategy exhorts teachers to consider turning traditional classroom activities on their head and to try to do things differently; the other way. For example, instead of a text followed by a series of questions, why not have answers to which the learners pose question - in this way, they deal with the text in a very different, perhaps more engaging, manner.


Daniela Valíková

Daniela Valíková has been a lecturer of general and business English at Tomas Bata University in Zlin since 2010. She also teaches in-company language courses, cross-cultural communication, and soft skills. She's led workshops at international conferences and universities in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc. Daniela is a Regional Coordinator of the Association of Teachers of English of the Czech Republic (ATECR), and a member of Association of Teacher Educators (AMATE). Her research interests include ESP, cross-cultural etiquette, relaxation techniques, and pedagogic uses of mental imagery. As a teacher trainer she loves to engage teachers in challenging and inspiring activities in the countryside. Daniela holds a Master’s degree in Teaching English and German, and has been studying ELT Methodology in a doctoral study programme at Charles University in Prague since 2011.

Daniela’s philosophy for ELT: I believe that a great teacher of English is one who has not lost the capacity of wondering and being spontaneous. She/he is calm, sensible, emotionally in control, focused, and well-balanced. She/he does not teach a massive amount of grammar, vocabulary, and skills but is there with/for the students with an understanding heart; She/he inspires students’ critical thinking, motivation, and the knowledge they can find within themselves. Such a teacher challenges students‘ minds, and is an expert in the art of awakening their natural curiosity. Moreover, I think a teacher should ask herself/himself when it is that she/he feels most herself/ himself in the classroom. And why not ask students the same question? Based on the answers, I suggest a teacher might want to spend 3-5 minutes of each lesson on an activity which primarily makes the teacher and/or the students feel good about themselves. Such an approach creates an environment of trust, provides space for meaningful and authentic activities, and enables fruitful interactions between teacher and students. Inspired by Gandhi’s quote my motto is 'Teach as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever'.



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