Post-Conference post on Critical Thinking.

Critical Thinking seems quite popular recently. More and more books including some serious global responsibility topics are being published. Is it because of the international affairs getting more and more complicated? Or maybe it is just a coincidence and CT is another fad in #ELT?  At the 25th #IATEFLPolandconference in #Szczecin Piotr Steinbrich wondered if CT is teachable at all? 

CT was tackled also by Jamie Keddie who showed how videos may be used to stimulate Crtitical Thinking and how we are sometimes fooled by some of youtubers.

Piotr Bucki, in turn, made us aware how our brain falls prey to myths and automatic behaviours and how it affects decision making process.

In my talk I focused on debunking myths, lies and tracing fake news. Making students adopt “question everything” approach and search for primary sources of information. In case you want to see some of the fake news my students found over the internet, check the slides below:


Global Issues SIG  Pre-Conference Event 16th September in Szczecin


 16th September 2016

Crossing borders in a world of differences.

GLOBAL ISSUES SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP Pre-Conference Event will deal with concepts of similarity and differences. 

How do these ideas translate into understanding of the world around us?

6 trainers and 4 sessions will lead the participants through gratefulness, understanding of cultural differences, drama and current controversial topics.

The aim of these Friday morning sessions is to inspire teachers to raise global issues within EFL classes, deepen the understanding of controversial topics and explore the “humanistic” factor of compassion to the less fortunate ones and gratitude for what we have.

The event will be also a chance to get first hand experience of some practical tasks  to be used in the classroom first day after the conference.

The event is divided into two sessions and each of them split further in two parts. This will hopefully give participants the feel of dynamism and leave them inspired for the rest of the busy conference day.

Pre-Conference Event Programme

16th September 2016

Crossing borders in a world of differences.

1st session: 9:00 – 10.30

10-day grateful project and how to see people in people.

Part A: 10-day grateful project – the power of images, a communication bomb, endearing lessons (around 45 mins.)


There are lots of projects on offer and numerous topics to discuss in your course books, but the one we are going to talk about will change your and your students life. The only thing you need is a mobile phone, instagram and a will to get involved. We hope to show you how being positive about life can permeate to ELT and the other way round.

Trainers/ lecturers:

Monika Izbaner defended her doctoral thesis in 2014. Her research interests include methodology and technological innovations in teaching, public speaking and debationg and also British literature, politics and visual arts. She is passionate about designing her own ELT materials. She has published several major articles devoted to creativity in ELT, Scottish culture and current trends in popular culture.

 Hanna Zięba is a lecturer at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz in the Department of Foreign Languages. Apart from teaching full-time students she also finds satisfaction in working with Erasmus students and teaching at the University of the Third Age. Her other professional affiliation is with Centrum Edukacyjne Lemon House where she teaches different age groups at all levels. She is especially interested in materials design, modern technologies, and psychology.

 Part B: So different, yet so alike – how understanding differences makes us humans(around 45 mins.)


A practical session on how mastering the language of similarities and differences may bring a deeper understanding of humanity. Examples of how culture and media may teach us to be more human, simultaneously helping develop crucial skills in changing multicultural societies.

Trainer/ lecturer:

Marcin Stanowski is a psychologist, trainer and a teacher at Czacki High school in Warsaw. Avid Moodler and and IT enthusiast, Marcin is also Global Issues Special Interest Group Coordinator and runs a blog at

 2nd session: 11:00 – 12.30

Global Issues and Drama for better understanding

Part A: Global issues in an EFL classroom (around 45 mins.)


The world is in a crisis, or even is multiple crises: climate change, income inequalities, water wars, refugees, overpopulation, poverty and hunger, child labour, just to name a few. Yet, what makes into the news does not make so easily to the classroom. What is studied by specialists does not easily get into our minds.

In this workshop I would like to tackle the most urgent of the global issues and show how to incorporate them in the lessons of English.

Trainers/ lecturers:

Aleksandra Zaparucha has an MA in Geography (1989) and English (2001) gained at the Nicolas Copernicus University (UMK) in Toruń, Poland. A teacher of both for 18 years, including CLIL programs. She has co-operated with Field Studies Council, Geographical Association and British Council at various events, courses and publications. She is the author of a series of three lower secondary workbooks for bilingual Geography, published by SOP Oświatowiec and nominated for the ELTon Award in the category of Local Innovation in 2014. For the last 9 year she has been a freelancer, delivering training to English and subject teachers in Poland, as well as numerous countries in Europe and Asia. She is a regular contributor to Geografia w Szkole and The Teacher.

Part B: Drama as a means for raising difficult or controversial topics. (around 45 mins.)


Have you ever thought of introducing contemporary issues in your lesson plan? Are you at least a bit into acting? If yes then come and take part in our workshop, where we would like to share with you our idea on drama lessons in this respect.

Trainers/ lecturers:

Daniel Starski – graduate of Warsaw University, political science dept, bilateral exchange programme with NorthEastern Illinois University in Chicago and SWPS. 6 years teaching in public schools, 12 years overall. Also interpreter at conferences and for two years affiliated with Busines English Magazine as an author. Currently English teacher at XXVIII Kochanowski high school in Warsaw

Jolanta Żeromska – graduate of English Philology at the University of Łódź and Geography at Akademia Pomorska in Słupsk. 21 years of experience in high school education, experience in translations and 11 years cooperating with the local OKE. Currently teaching English at V Zbigniew Herbert high school in Słupsk. Interested in innovation in education. 

Critical thinking in ELT

I’d like to thoroughly recommend to you a tiny booklet by John Hughes. Not only does it provide a neat rationale for using the approach in the classroom, but also lists few simple and adaptable activities  that may be used straight away without not much preparations but will gently introduce students into thinking about “why, what for, how”.

You may find  the booklet here:

Konkurs “Efekt Domina”

Wielki konkurs Edukacji Globalnej

– Efekt Domina

POMAGAJ Z KLASĄ! Nakręć film i wygraj nagrody Źródło:

Obojętność to choroba, której musimy się wystrzegać. Bo jeśli nie czujemy, nie rozumiemy i nie przeciwdziałamy nieszczęściu na świecie, to ten świat przestaje zmieniać się na lepsze. Dlatego w Edukacji Globalnej – Efekt Domina zapraszamy właśnie Ciebie, Twoje koleżanki i Twoich kolegów do udziału w wyjątkowym konkursie, który udowodni jak wiele dobrego potraficie zrobić dla innych!

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27th January – International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Tomorrow – on the 27 January – we commemorate The Victims of Holocaust im the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly imageResolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session.

On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, was liberated by Soviet troops.

Tomorrow, teachers all of the wolrd will reach About Holocaust and remind the next generations of the massacre.

I would like to encourage you to go in the footsteps of so many educators who strive to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, so it never repeats.

Take a look at the blog of Margarita Kosior who, inspired by Mark Andrews, provides us with remarkable resources to be used not only on this day:

I am sure you will find them valuable.


World History Crash Course in Globalisation 

How would you use  this 11-minute-long video in the classroom?  

 Level: Intermediate+

Goal: students practise listening comprehension, revise and get to know vocabulary, revise the concepts they know from history and civics.

Time: from 25 minutes to??

Frankly speaking, I didin’t use that in the classroom. I pre-taught some essential vocabulary, explained the concepts and asked my students to watch the video at home and welcomed them with a simple comprehension check questions next time in the class, like this:

  • Why do we learn history?
  • In what way is a t-shirts a cause and result of your ambition?
  • What is globalisation expressed in?
  • Why is American cotton cheaper than others?
  • Why is spinning and weaving not done in America if cotton is produced there?
  • What are blanks?
  • What is the most expensive part of t-shirt production?
  • What is a symbol of consumptionism and why?
  • What is the World’s Bannk’s definition of poverty?
  • What are advantages and disadvantages of globalisation?
  • What is green revolution?
  • What does the program host reminds us to be?

Concepts to explain before watching:

  • Globalisation 
  • Capitalism
  • Marxism
  • Wholesale
  • Retail
  • Industrial revolution
  • Consumer goods
  • Free trade


  • Penultimate 
  • Strings attached
  • Shipping 
  • Crumble
  • Cog in the wheel
  • Unsustainability
  • Jump on the bandwagon
  • Side effects 
  • Remittances 
  • Dang 
  • Unique cable ambition of humans
  • Invincible 

What points covered in the video you don’t agree with? Why? And well, if you agree with everything, that’s wrong, believe me!

Information items that could be questioned:

  • Is American cotton cheaper?
  • Do Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean workers have a better life because they can work in Apple/ Reebok factories?
  • How shipping products through multiple points can be less expensive than local production of goods?

Encourage students to approach the video criticism! That may provoke some debate. If students are unsure of the fact/ opinion, refer them to other source over the net.

How did you like that?

4 steps to awareness-raising: children at war.

image1. What is duty of care? In what contexts are you the most likely to find it?

What may/will happen when duty of care is not asserted?

2. Watch the video: , here students will learn more about the legal notion in question.

Some legalese may be needed.

3. Watch

4. Ask questions: Do we have a duty? Why? What kind of care we may provide? How can we exercise duty of care in the context provided?

Benefits of the activity/ lesson:
Students learn new concepts from legal English.
Students practise listening in a engaging context.
Students see the war from a different perspective.
Students get more aware of the atrocities of war.
Students are encouraged to take a concrete action – sign the petition.

Why teaching global issues?

imageTeaching children about global issues and encouraging them to see the world through other eyes is of huge importance. In an increasingly interconnected world, today’s young generation need to learn to be able to engage in communication with people from a wide range of different cultures and traditions.

In September 2015 in Kraków I had a fabulous opportunity to see that in action, when me and my past student Wojtek bumped into Hugh Dellar in one of Krakow pubs. Those two guys coming from remote places in Europe, with quite different  life experiences and education backgrounds were talking for over 3 hours on topics ranging from Russian culture to the Islamic denominations in Syria. And they were doing this with such an ease, expertise and fascination that I felt jealous. It dawned at me how important it  is to not only teach language and separately teach the content in native language, but also to merge these two spheres, as this is the most natural thing to do – voice ones opinions on the most up-to-date topics in the language that makes people communicate at ease. Since English language as lingua franca is undeniably here to stay, at least for the time being, not  only teachers  of EFL but teachers of subjects such as geography, civics, cultural studies taught through CLIL or not should encourage students to get to know the content knowledge from the perspective of a foreign language. It must be top priority!

There are many other reasons why schools should take up the global awareness agenda. Some schools already use it to promote tolerance and an appreciation of different beliefs, cultures and backgrounds
while others use it to give their pupils an understanding of contemporary dangers.

The more students are aware of diversity in the world and the problems so many people around the world face, the more sensitive and empathetic  they are and less prone to nationalism, any -ism, actually.