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Trainings in MNE – Activate – Make a Difference

As a part of the project Activate – Make a Difference, funded by the U.S. Embassy Podgorica and implemented by the English Language Teachers’ Association of Montenegro ELTAM, twelve teacher trainings on how to use Activate – Games for Learning American English were held around Montenegro. 

Activate – Games for Learning American English was approved by the National Council for Education of Montenegro by decision no. 01-011/22-45152/5 from December 15, 2022, on the proposal of the Institute for Textbooks and Teaching Aids with the support of the Ministry of Education in Montenegro, as an additional teaching aid – interactive educational material for English in primary and secondary schools.  Activate – Games for Learning American English was designed and created by the Office of English Language Programs of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. 

The aim of the project was to strengthen English language teachers’ skills and improve the quality of EL instruction in Montenegro, as well as to implement a new teacher training program based on the use of innovative resources which would hopefully engage teachers from various regions of Montenegro and encourage them to use fun and engaging ways to teach English. 

Through the course of twelve trainings which were held across Montenegro, English language teachers were taught to use various language games and also were encouraged to challenge students to practice and ameliorate vocabulary items, grammatical patterns, and interaction skills in a completely learner-centered and low-stress environment. Moreover, English language teachers got familiar with the diverse possibilities that these games offer while instructing, helping, and encouraging English language learners to talk informally and think creatively in English. 

As a fruitful result of the conducted workshops, each elementary and secondary school in Montenegro received a copy for the library. Thus, twelve workshops on how to use the Activate in classrooms were held during February 2023 in nine different Montenegrin towns: Podgorica, Nikšić, Bar, Budva, Rožaje, Berane, Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, and Kotor. These were in-person, three-hour long, regional sessions which gathered more than two hundred teachers from Montenegro. 

The first training was held in Podgorica, on February 11, 2023, at the premises of American Corner. Twenty-five teachers from Podgorica, Danilovgrad, Tuzi, Zeta and Kolašin participated, while the trainers were Marija Bojić and Zorana Petričević. The second training in Podgorica was held on the same day, in the afternoon hours, also at the premises of American Corner. It gathered twenty-three teachers from Podgorica, Danilovgrad, Tuzi, Zeta and Kolašin. Ivana Dašić and Milica Radenović were the trainers. 

On February 11, 2023, at the premises of the elementary school “Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša”, thirteen teachers from Budva and Cetinje participated in the workshop. The trainers were Marina Sbia, Nataša Stojanović and Aleksandra Vujović. 

In Berane (February 11, 2023), at the premises of elementary school “Vuk Karadžić”, twenty-one participant from Andrijevica, Berane, Petnjica and Plav, followed a training regarding Activate set, while the trainers were Elida Crnovršanin and Denisa Dacić. 

On February 18, 2023, at the premises of American Corner, in Podgorica, twenty-one participant from Podgorica, Danilovgrad, Tuzi, Zeta and Kolašin, followed the workshop with the trainers Ivana Radulović and Sanja Radusinović. When it comes to Nikšić, on February 18, 2023, at the premises of elementary school “Braća Ribar“, twenty- three participants from Nikšić, Plužine, Šavnik and Žabljak participated in the workshop which was held by Žana Bulajić and Nikolina Bečanović. On the same day, in the afternoon hours, the second training session was held in Nikšić, at the same place. Nineteen participants from Nikšić, Plužine, Šavnik and Žabljak attended the training conducted by Marija Bojić and Sanja Vučković. 

In Bar, on February 18, 2023, at the premises of elementary school “Jugoslavija“, twenty-four participants from Bar and Ulcinj, attended the workshop led by Sanela Kovačević, Semra Dobardžić and Đultena Bećirović. In Rožaje, also on February 18, 2023, at the premises of JU Gimnazija “30. septembar“, twenty participants from Rožaje attended the training which was held by Elida Crnovršanin and Denisa Dacić. 

When it comes to Kotor, the training was held on February 18, 2023, at the premises of JU Srednja Pomorska škola, when fifteen participants from Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat, followed the training led by Nataša Stanojević, Nataša Stojanović and Martina Saulačić Lompar. 

The training in Pljevlja was also conducted on February 18, 2023, at the premises of American Corner. Fifteen participants from Pljevlja were present at the session held by Bojana Klačar and Samira Mahmutović.

On February 25, 2023, at the premises of JU Srednja elektro- ekonomska škola, in Bijelo Polje, twenty-one teacher from Bijelo Polje and Mojkovac participated in a session conducted by the trainers Denisa Dacic and Slavka Lakčević.

To sum up, 240 English language teachers from Montenegro participated in the mentioned trainings, which is 80 teachers more than planned by the project (the target was 160 teachers).

It seems right to mention that Peace Corps volunteers joined some of the sessions, as well as an Advisor from the Bureau for Educational services and a Methodology professor from the Faculty of Philology.

Teachers who were a part of the trainings were invited to apply for an open call for the 2023 ELTAM conference’ participation fee scholarships. The scholarships were awarded to those who present the best examples of using Activate sets in the classroom. ELTAM has received 230 reports regarding the implementation of the Activate set in the classroom or those about presenting the set to fellow colleagues after the training. Thus, through the mentioned project, we reached more than 16.000 students through 230 teachers. As a result of the project, the number of teachers who use Activate in their classrooms has been doubled. 

With the actual aim of designing a Montenegro specific Activate board game, two meetings were held, in American Corner in Podgorica. The goal of these meet ups (February 11, March 11) was to go through suggestions and inputs collected during the twelve trainings and use those to design the game. The game What do you know about Montenegro? was eagerly presented during the Conference and it stands out as the final and exceptional product of the project Activate – Make a Difference. 

You can find the game at the link: http://www.eltam.me/what-do-you-know-about-montenegro/

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