The first dissemination conference of the ENGaGE project was held on 19th June, 2019, in Brno, Czech Republic. The event was attended by 30 participants: teachers of English and German from primary, secondary and higher education, representatives of the Association of Teachers of English of the Czech Republic (ATECR) (http://atecr.weebly.com/) and the Association of Germanists and Teachers of German (SGUN) (http://www.sgun.cz/), as well as foreign experts of the field including Assoc. Prof. Ivica Kolečáni-Lenčová, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, Prof. Silvia Pokrivčáková, University in Trnava, Slovakia, Dr. Kristína Hankierová, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, Zuzana Tomčianová , Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Stanislav Kováč, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Michaela Šamalová began with an introduction to the project, talking about what we had been working on and the aims of the materials we are creating. Věra Janíková gave a very interesting lecture on the issues of teaching students with special educational needs and some tips on what can be done to help them. She based her talk on research which she had personally conducted in the field as well as research done more widely.
This was followed by a round table discussion, during which participants were encouraged to ask questions and also share their own experiences and good practices. Some of the topics discussed included how to assess such students, to what degree to make the curriculum simpler for them, some of the legal ramifications of simplifying the curriculum or giving grades which do not correspond to the level which would be expected of students without special needs, and how to help students realise their potential. We also discussed the role of parents with regard to the education of their children with special educational needs, and how in the best of cases this can be a great support to the teachers, but how in some cases there can be a lot of pressure from parents on teachers to give their children good grades and to prepare them for very good grammar schools, which may be unrealistic in some cases. We spoke about how important it is not to generalise, and to treat each child as an individual.
In the afternoon there was a more detailed introduction to the project and its modules by Pavla Marečková, and then participants were given iPads in order to have the chance to try out some of the modules themselves on the homepage.