English Workshop, Englisch Workshop

Brush up your English – Reflecting on the workshop from a teacher’s perspective

Lehrerin für Englisch als Fremdsprache
Arielle Warshawsky

I had the privilege of leading English language learners in an 8-week workshop aimed at refining their language skills. The participants were specialists in various fields of nutrition.

Weekly focal points included healthy diets, robotics in the food industry, sustainable farming, plant-based nutrition, and superfoods. Through discourse in English, participants discussed the necessity for collaboration among nutritionists, farmers, scientists, and community members. Additionally, participants encountered barriers that people may face if they lack access to information or better nutritional options. Our lively discussions revealed opportunities for enhancing vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure in English.

Enhancing Vocabulary and Grammar

Engaging with diverse topics in the field of nutrition unveiled areas for language growth. To promote better communication in English, we practiced grammatical concepts such as replacing monotonous vocabulary like ‘strongly’ or ‘very’ with synonyms. We utilized words such as ‘analyze,’ ‘consider,’ ‘argue,’ ‘intrigue,’ and ‘debate.’ These examples were drawn from reading and listening activities, and serve as instances of higher-level vocabulary.

Utilizing Conditionals in English Grammar

In addition to synonyms, the utilization of ‘much more’ and ‘many’ to compare items within a sentence was enriched by considering conditionals in English grammar. For example, if one thing happens (cause), then another thing will occur (effect). The use of conditionals in grammar proved beneficial in discussing the evolving times and the integration of technology in the food industry.

Strengthening Sentence Structure

Another crucial grammar point is sentence structure. Given that the participants came from scientific backgrounds, such as nutritionists, it is understandable that statements must be supported with numerical values and varied studies. Sometimes, the excitement of a discovery may obscure the intended meaning of a sentence. We practiced re-reading sentences to ensure subject-verb agreement. By asking questions such as “What is the subject of the sentence?” and “What is the sentence trying to convey?”, we strengthened sentences when describing factual information.

Methodologies and Workshop Activities

The methodologies during the 8-week workshop included reading academic and mainstream articles, listening to perspectives from native English speakers, discussing the pros and cons of nutritional decisions, and writing about modern practices supported by research. By the end of the workshop, participants had acquired grammar strategies to speak and write more like native English speakers, particularly when discussing hot topics in nutrition.