Plenary Speakers Profiles


Steve Hirschhorn

Steve Hirschhorn has been teaching languages and training teachers for 40 years. He has lived and worked all over the world, in private and state institutions from primary and secondary schools to universities.  Amongst his areas of special interest is the history of ELT and language teaching in general.

He is currently retired and at 70, is still quite busy.

Our Family Tree (and the relatives we've rejected!)

The Story of our Search for the Ideal Method in Language Teaching.

This presentation will offer insights into a variety of approaches and methods which have been cast aside during our relatively recent history. It will present the somewhat obvious case that the ‘Ideal Method’ simply doesn’t exist! But it will also ask why we have spent so long looking for it. Finally, we will check these ways to teach and learn against current research and see how many of them actually respond to recent research despite pre-dating it.










Richenda Askew

Richenda started off her working life in the health service initially in a clinical role but then in the training and development of clinicians and managers. She transferred these skills to the world of English Language Teaching (ELT) when her husband’s work took the family abroad. As a Course Director for the Trinity CertTESOL for many years, Richenda has had the opportunity to help launch numerous English language teachers into the world of English Language Teaching. This experience as well as having had the opportunity to live and work with different cultures, made her realise that her experience as an English language teacher and trainer were valuable and transferable to the wider training world. In her current role, Richenda is now developing, managing and delivering a variety of training programmes in the UK and abroad for organisations which deliver training in English to international audiences.

CertTESOL/CELTA: Smørgasbord or set menu?

The English Language Teaching qualifications that are recognised and required by most employers of English Language teachers are the Trinity CertTESOL or CELTA. These courses, usually 4-weeks in duration, are designed to provide the novice teacher with the skills necessary to survive in the English language classroom.

Do the present qualification courses provide the trainee with this knowledge and experience? Teaching is not formulaic. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ method which will work in every class all of the time. So in order to be able to cope with the variety, to know how to differentiate in a group, to adapt to the needs of the learners, the teacher needs to be aware of the multitude of ways that teaching and learning can occur. My trainer and mentor advised me to provide my trainees with a smørgasbord of methods and techniques so that they could select what they considered appropriate for the students in front of them. Can this be really be achieved in 4-weeks? My answer is, it depends ……..

As a teacher trainer and Course Director of a Trinity CertTESOL course for many years, as well as working in a variety of English Language Teaching establishments, I have witnessed many trainees transition from the training room to the classroom. I have had the opportunity to observe ‘qualified’ teachers at work, to be involved with their CPD and to discuss their initial training courses with them. This has been eye-opening, interesting and at times concerning.

In this discussion with you, I would like to consider whether course providers are developing teachers who are able to move smoothly from the training room to the classroom or whether the demands of the certificate courses result in a formulaic, process driven approach which leave new teachers vulnerable and ill-prepared.




Marjorie Rosenberg

Marjorie Rosenberg has been teaching English as a Foreign Language in Graz, Austria since 1981. She works with corporate clients, has trained teachers and taught at the tertiary level. Her publications include Business Partner (Pearson), Communicative Business English Activities (Express) and Spotlight on Learning Styles (Delta). Marjorie is an active conference presenter and has held plenaries at close to 40 international conferences where she enjoys the chance to work with local teachers.

She served as IATEFL President from 2015 to 2017.

Staying positive

Teaching can be a lonely profession. There are times when we feel overwhelmed due to negative energy in the form of complaints or criticism of our jobs, our actions and even our belief systems. However, in order to be effective we need to find a way to stay positive and motivated. We all deal with situations such as exam pressure, large classes, mixed levels or lack of support from others. This interactive plenary will look at the various aspects of our jobs and our environments while investigating ways in which we can determine our strengths in order to build on them and help us to create a safe haven which we can turn to when we need it.