Sunday, February 15, 2015

Meet our Plenary Speakers - Alec Williams


Alec Williams is a storyteller, trainer and speaker with a background in children’s books and libraries. He tells stories and runs training both in the UK and internationally; in 2014 for example he has visited schools in France, Cyprus and Turkey, along with many engagements in the UK. Now working independently, Alec gained many years’ experience in children’s books through a career in library services; he’s an Honorary Member of the Youth Libraries Group of CILIP (the UK Library Association), and one of the UK National Literacy Trust’s ‘Reading Champions’ for his work getting boys reading.

Alec has visited over thirty countries, both telling stories and training teachers, often through the British Council but sometimes at the direct invitation of schools. He was a keynote speaker at the International Storytelling Conference in Istanbul last year.

An enthusiastic advocate of both traditional tales and modern children’s fiction, Alec believes that language learning is hugely enhanced by stories and poetry. Because students enjoy this aspect of learning, it’s naturally more memorable, and it shows the sound of English ‘in performance’. Alec’s sessions for teachers are rich in humour, examples, extracts, and practical anecdotes – making them enjoyable and memorable too!

Read more about what Alec does at

Plenary: Bringing it Alive! Interactive Storytelling and the Early Years

This entertaining session looks at the role of stories in language learning, especially with children of 2-6 years. It begins with ‘Why tell stories?’, and goes on to look particularly at how stories help language learning. There’ll be advice on choosing stories to use; preparing a story; planning a story session; making stories interactive; practical tips for telling; and suggestions for follow-up. Alec will show how to make the most of picture book stories, as well as introducing you to stories for 2-6 year olds that can be told from memory. He’ll also look at using rhymes and simple poetry, which could be another part of a regular classroom ‘storytime’ in school.

Finally, there’ll be down-to-earth advice from an experienced storyteller on building your confidence; holding children’s interest; and dealing with interruptions – plus a chance for delegates to recommend a story to each other!

Throughout the session, there’ll be examples of stories to enjoy, both from books and from memory; you’re sure to go away with some new stories to try out with children, and pass on to others!

Workshop: Storytelling in ELT - Hints and Tips to Make it Work

This workshop* is a hands-on session for teachers who’d like to learn how to tell stories; for those who’d like to increase their confidence; and for those who are regular storytellers but would like to refresh or improve their technique.

It will look at storytelling both from books and from memory, and there’ll be examples of each type of story. Delegates will look at stories in groups, and discuss how to introduce them, how to deal with unusual language, scope for interaction, and follow-up – but no-one will be forced to read a story, or be videoed!

The session will focus especially on stories for younger children, but Alec will highlight some approaches for older children too.

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