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THE UMBRELLA PROJECT

What is Umbrella and How it Started

Umbrella virtual networking system with its annual conferences started in pre-email area at a workshop in Samara more than 20 years ago. At that time the previous NATE had a few affiliates dotted in Russia, but they were not connected with each other and their representatives had a chance to meet and “feel the pulse” once a year at regular NATE Conferences. The idea of creating an absolutely new network was the result of collaborative work of representatives from Izhevsk, Kursk, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Orenburg, Penza, Petrozavodsk, Perm, Pskov, Rostov, Samara, Saransk, Saratov, Syzran, Tolyatti, Ufa, Volgograd, Voronezh. This new network was supported by Umbrella Newsletters, annual Umbrella Conferences, and later by regional projects. The first “Umbrella” Conference was held in Pskov in 2000. Umbrella Conferences were different from any typical ELT conferences – representatives of various Association affiliates met in a friendly atmosphere and presented the results of their work. They brainstormed and developing a list of most important projects that would UNITE most affiliates. The Umbrella motto is: “Human mind is like an umbrella—it works only when it is open!” (Kulinich, 2010). Many innovative ideas were introduced at these meetings, and as a result, many projects benefited the professional lives of teachers all around the country. The teachers were integrated into developing the cutting-edge technologies and new methodologic trends. They knew they belonged to a powerful Association of Russia and through it belonged to world associations. New regional groups designed unique projects that had a great impact on teaching English as a Foreign Language in Russia.


Umbrella Mission Statement

• unite EFL teachers of  Russia in order to coordinate the activities of regional associations;
• enhance professional development;
• create a website with current information and methods;
• establish partnerships with international organizations;
• represent the interests of Russian EFL teachers in Russia and abroad;
• influence state policy in EFL teaching in the Russian Federation.

Umbrella History

NATE: New Ways and Challenges
Nizhny Novgorod

26-28 сентября в Нижнем Новгороде  ГБОУ ДПО НИРО и НИУ ВШЭ состояласьВсероссийская научно-практическая конференция с международным участием  «NATE: New Ways and Challenges.
В конференции приняли участие и выступили с докладами Почётный Председатель НАПАЯз, доктор наук С.Г. Тер-Минасова,  профессор Казанского Федерального Университета  Солнышкина М.В., профессор Самарского НИУ Левченко В.В., доцент ЮУрГГПУСанникова С.В., доцент МГПУ Твердохлебова И.П., доцент ЮУрГГПУ Новикова В.П., доцент МГПУ Макарова Т.С., доцент НИТУ МИСиС Бондарева Л.В., доцент НИМГУ Сафонкина О.С., доцент СГУ (Сыктывкар)  Минина О.Г., доцент СГУ (Саратов) Иголкина Н.И.  и специалисты в областипреподавания иностранных языков из Бельгии –Антуан Марк, из США - Джо Троен, Марк Дэнфорд(PenPal Schools), специалисты в области английского языка Лора Хуфмэн, работающая в Новосибирском государственном техническом университете, Летиция Медина, представляющая МИСИС, Москва,  из Великобритании Клэр Барнс представляющая центр международной оценки Cambridge Assessment English.
 
Пленарные доклады и мастер классы затронули следующие актуальные темы: «Традиционные и альтернативные критерии оценки», «Проектная деятельность в преподавании иностранных языков», «Навыки 21 века современного обучающегося», «Технологии в образовании», «Проблемы и перспективы занимательного чтенияна иностранном языке», « Обучение детей с особенностями в развитии», «Инклюзивное обучение иностранным языкам», « Планирование современного занятия», « Вызовы международных экзаменов», «Смешанное обучение».  
Всего в работе конференции приняли участие более 100 преподавателей ВУЗов из 30 городов России, более 80 учителей школ Нижнего Новгорода и Нижегородской области, более 150 студентов нижегородских вузов .
September 2019
Redefining ELT in the Context of Educational Reforms and Institutional Changes
Moscow

The annual Umbrella NATE Conference “Redefining ELT in the Context of National Educational Reforms and Institutional Changes” was held on September 28-29 in Moscow Metropolitan Governance University. It united ELT professionals, members of the National Association of teachers of English, from over 50 Russian cities. The diverse Programme of the Conference included plenary presentations and workshops as well as new forms of collaborative work as World café where the participants had a chance to share and discuss their projects and innovations.
Among the plenary speakers there were renowned Russian and American specialists from different ELT areas. E.N. Solovova, professor, doctor of Pedagogy, head of the Department of foreign languages of the National research University Higher School of Economics shared her approach concerning evaluation of professional competence of ELT specialists. M.V. Verbitskaya, professor, PhD in Philology, head of the State Committee of the EGE test developers, outlined problems and prospects of the State Unified Exam in Russia. Kelli Odhuu, English Language Officer from the US Embassy in Moscow, revealed the opportunities of professional development with the help of online resources.
During these two days more than 150 specialists were involved into intensive and productive activities within the framework of workshops, professional sessions and special interest groups.
September 2018
Umbrella Conference
Moscow

September 2017
Gamification in TEFL: Fun for Learning and Learning for Fun
Kursk

5 октября 2016 г. открылась международная научно-методическая конференция «Актуальные проблемы современного иноязычного образования: игровые технологии в обучении иностранным языкам». На пленарном заседании выступили ректор КГУ А.Н. Худин, директор Офиса английского языка при Посольстве США в Москве Джеррольд Фрэнк, директор Департамента иностранных языков Высшей школы экономики Е.Н. Соловова. Конференция продолжилась мастер-классом преподавателя Казанского федерального университета Анны Марии Ферраро, а также мастер-классами специалистов из многих городов, включая Москву, Санкт-Петербург, Красноярск, Петрозаводск, Томск, Архангельск, Смоленск, Саранск, Хасавюрт, Губкинский, Ижевск и др. Учителя школ и преподаватели вузов обменялись опытом и новыми идеями в обучении иностранным языкам.
October 2016
Envisioning New Paradigms in TEFL: Building on the Past As We Move to the Future
Petrozavodsk

Конференция проводится при поддержке Института иностранных языков ПетрГУ, Национального объединения преподавателей английского языка (НОПАЯз/NATE), Карельской ассоциации преподавателей английского языка (КАРЕЛТА).
Пленарные доклады, мастер-классы и круглые столы посвящены обсуждению актуальных вопросов российского и зарубежного образования в области преподавания английского языка.
 На конференции выступают ведущие российские и зарубежные специалисты в данной области. Среди соавторов докладов конференции ведущий эксперт и автор многочисленных пособий по методике преподавания иностранных языков, доктор педагогических наук, профессор Высшей школы экономики (г.Москва) Е.Н.Соловова; профессор, заместитель декана факультета иностранных языков и регионоведения МГУ имени М.В.Ломоносова, председатель Федеральной предметной комиссии разработчиков КИМ по иностранным языкам М.В.Вербицкая; профессор факультета иностранных языков и регионоведения МГУ С.В.Титова; доцент кафедры иностранных языков гуманитарных факультетов Самарского государственного университета, член научно-методического совета по иностранным языкам при министерстве образования и науки Российской Федерации Л.А.Кожевникова, заведующий кафедрой лингвистики и межкультурной коммуникации Сыктывкарского государственного университета, президент Национальной Ассоциации учителей английского языка Республики Коми О.Г.Минина. Кроме того, в конференции принимают участие учителя английского языка, преподаватели и студенты ПетрГУ и других вузов Карелии в Северо-Запада Российской Федерации.
Организация и проведение конференции такого уровня будет спобствовать обмену опытом преподавания английского языка, совместному обсуждению учебно-методических вопросов, использованию инновационных технологий обучения, созданию учебно-методических комплексов, а также укреплению существующих и установлению новых институциональных связей образовательных организаций разного уровня и профессиональных контактов преподавателей английского языка.
September 2015
Excellence Through Collaboration
Kolomna

On September 25-27, 2014 a nice city of Kolomna in Moscow region hosted the international conference “Excellence through Collaboration”. Representatives of English Language Teachers’ Associations from all over Russia try to meet twice a year. One meeting is known as the “Umbrella Gathering”. The Umbrella Gathering is a meeting of association leaders who come together for a two-day program of brain storming sessions to define the most important issues, projects, trends in ELT for the coming year.

More than 60 people from over 30 regions of Russia worked in small groups on such issues as Appreciating Diversity project, the future of Research and Academic Writing and Setting up Writing Centers at Universities, issues of teaching English to Blind and Visually Impaired Students (BVI project), different aspects of testing and assessment and IT for teaching. 

The gathering was welcomed by Jerrold Frank, a new English Language Officer from the US Embassy in Moscow. 

The Umbrella Gathering participants were privileged to work with Maria Verbitskaya, President of the National Russian Examination on Foreign languages at the Federal Institute of Pedagogical Measurements and a famous author of ESL textbooks and courses. 
September 2014
From Reflection to Action
Tula

XII международная научно-практическая конференция НОПАяз для преподавателей английского языка Umbrella-NATE «Инновационный потенциал урока английского языка: от теории к практике» (“From Reflection to Action”) собрала в ТГПУ им. Л.Л. Толстого около 300 учителей и преподавателей из Тулы и области. Ведущие российские специалисты, представители офиса английского языка Посольства США в РФ, школьные учителя и вузовские преподаватели из разных городов обсуждали профессиональные проблемы, которые касаются буквально всех.
Знание английского становится обязательным для современного человека. Об этом, открывая форум, сказал ректор ТГПУ им. Л.Н. Толстого В.А. Панин.
Министр образования Тульской области Д.В. Бычков подчеркнул прикладное значение темы конференции – в последние годы растет внимание к школьному преподаванию английского языка. Для развития региона необходимо установление большого количества связей, а это невозможно без специалистов, владеющих современным английским на очень высоком уровне.
Президент Национальной ассоциации учителей английского языка профессор МГУ им. М.В. Ломоносова С.Г. Тер-Минасова подчеркнула, что английский язык уже стал глобальным, и изучение его – необходимость, с которой должны считаться все народы мира.
Атташе по вопросам преподавания английского языка Посольства США в РФ Фрэнсис Вестбрук отметила, что по роду деятельности ей постоянно приходится общаться с российскими преподавателями английского языка и ее вдохновляет тот интерес, который они проявляют к своей профессии.
В ходе работы конференции обсуждалась разработка содержания обучения английскому языку по воспитанию толерантности, проблема обучения английскому языку для академических нужд, информатизация иноязычного образования, обеспечение доступа к изучению английского языка социально незащищенных детей и молодежи, совершенствование стандартизированного контроля иноязычных умений и навыков учащихся в ходе подготовки к ЕГЭ по английскому языку. Ведущие специалисты провели мастер-классы для учителей Тулы и области.
С.Г. Тер-Минасова рассказала о прежних традициях обучения английскому языку и современных тенденциях, связывая их с радикальными изменениями в социальной жизни России. Особое внимание она уделила взаимодействию этих двух трендов в сфере профессиональной деятельности учителя английского языка. Говоря о традициях в преподавании английского языка, Светлана Григорьевна выделила перфекционизм, теоретическую обоснованность и «массовое производство» учителей в советский период. Среди современных черт большое внимание она уделила таким значимым факторам, как введение унифицированного экзамена по языку, появление профессиональных сообществ, огромное разнообразие типов учеников, их мотиваций, целей обучения, материалов и методов обучения.
Эрик Ландел, региональный методист-консультант, провел мастер-класс, посвященный внутренней мотивации учеников. В этом 60-минутном мастер-классе Эрик определил понятие «внутренняя мотивация» и рассказал о том, что дает внутренняя мотивация изучающим английский язык как иностранный. Участники получили список советов, которому можно следовать при планировании уроков и организации мероприятий в учебном процессе, чтобы удовлетворить тягу учеников к знаниям, получению нового опыта и их любопытство. Мастер-класс сопровождался несколькими демонстрационными уроками.
Елена Соловова представила презентацию на тему «Новый учебный план - новые трудности». Презентация была нацелена на выделение главной информации и обсуждение наиболее важных целей национального учебного плана, а также на предложение возможных решений, основанных на результатах эксперимента, проводимого в московских школах и МГУ им. М.В. Ломоносова под наблюдением докладчика.
На сессии Людмилы Кожевниковой «Говорение в ЕГЭ: когда, что и как?» собрались около 100 участников. Сессия началась с обсуждения истории появления экзамена в России (2000-е годы). Есть несколько причин, из-за которых говорение исключили из ЕГЭ в 2008-ом, такие как технические осложнения, сроки и нехватка знающих специалистов для принятия экзамена. Но причин, по которым говорение должно быть включено в состав ЕГЭ, гораздо больше. Несколько раз докладчик подчеркнула важность наличия этой части в российском государственном экзамене (как и в других языковых экзаменах, таких как TOEFL). Людмила Кожевникова также представила новую структуру экзамена и дала соответствующие советы о том, как подготовить студентов к новому формату ЕГЭ.
Во второй день конференции состоялась лекция д.ф.н., профессора, президента факультета иностранных языков и регионоведения МГУ им. Ломоносова Светланы Григорьевны Тер-Минасовой. В лектории практически не было свободных мест, особой популярностью лекция пользовалась у студентов и преподавателей факультета иностранных языков. Теплая атмосфера, диалог между лектором и слушателями, а также интересная тема разговора заставили многих вытирать слезы радости и от всей души благодарить Светлану Григорьевну за погружение в мир науки.
Также этот день был посвящен работе в различных тематических группах, каждая из которых могла похвастаться новыми идеями и проектами для дальнейшей реализации. Участники обменялись контактами и определились с датами будущих проектов.
Главная тема рабочей группы IT Training (moderator: Stefan Mizha) – интернет-платформа авторов электронных книг. Обсуждение было живым и очень эмоциональным. Участники рассуждали на тему необходимости создания публикаций и различных электронных изданий, посвященных обучению толерантности, и проблемы, с которыми можно столкнуться в течение реализации проекта. Также уделили внимание перспективам работы в регионах.
Группа «Тестирование/говорение» (модератор: Людмила Кожевникова) развивала одну из тем семинара первого дня конференции о нововведениях в проведении Единого государственного экзамена (ЕГЭ). Участники обсуждали детали проблемы, изучили примеры будущих заданий из секции «Говорение» (все материалы, представленные на семинаре, были из издания ‘Exam Success’, Cambridge). Обсуждение проходило в форме диалога в уютной атмосфере.
В течение мастер-класса «Ценность многообразия» (модератор: Елена Соловова) участники решили создать группу, работающую над той же темой, на веб-сайте ‘ELT Russia’, где каждый заинтересованный в этой теме сможет продолжить работу, разрабатывать и представлять новые идеи по проектам обучения многообразию. Окончательным продуктом будет книга о России и ее регионах, в которой студенты нелингвистических институтов и иностранные читатели смогут найти информацию о многообразии культур Российской Федерации. Участники также разработали рабочий план и уровень английского для всех будущих публикаций (А2 – В1).
Учителя из различных регионов России приняли участие в дискуссии на тему «Обучение толерантности на уроках английского языка» (модераторы: Анастасия Ходакова и Елена Надточева). Главной задачей была разработка и корректировка положений о всероссийском конкурсе видеоработ на тему толерантности. Елена Надточева и Евгений Колядин представили свой проект коллегам: организация двух смен языкового лагеря, где школьники смогут не только улучшить знания английского, но и показать различные таланты и узнать больше об истории своего края.
Семинар «Исследования и публикации: Стремление к международным стандартам» (модератор: Френсис Вестбрук, атташе по вопросам преподавания английского языка Посольства США) также проходил в форме диалога, где все участники могли чему-то научиться друг от друга. Рабочая группа решила создать 2 курса академического письма для учителей английского языка, которые сначала будет проходить обучение в режиме онлайн, а потом будут работать среди коллег и студентов, делясь полученными знаниями. Френсис Вестбрук также рассказала много историй из своего опыта работы и убедила участников, что невозможное возможно, если все правильно организовано и организаторы достаточно мотивированы.
September 2013
New Times, New Requirements: Improving Students' English Language Proficiency
'Orlyonok' Camp, Krasnodar Region

This year's  Umbrella conference, traditionally supported by the English Language Ofiice of the U.S. Embassy in Russia, was hosted by the Russian Children's Center "Orlyonok"  on the Black Sea coast.
This peaceful place with sandy beaches and sun-lit wooded  hills has a long history of  developing creative potential and leadership skills  of several generations of children in Russia and abroad, and this time  it was turned into a centre of excellence for over 60 ELT scholars and practitioners from all across Russia that came here to discuss the latest developments in their professional field at the annual  conference entitled  "New Times, New Requirements: Improving Students' English Language Proficiency".
With the overall focus on embracing new challenges and opportunities for the ELT community in Russia, the participants were particularly eager to discuss the recent changes to the National Curriculum in the part concerning the State Exam in English. The other major aspect  that was brought to the spotlight was harnessing technology and social media for the benefit of  learners and teachers of English.
A real highlight of the conference was the presentation of the ongoing Access program aimed  at granting disadvantaged Russian kids opportunities to study English and explore the history and culture of the United States.  Children in 21 Russian cities  attend free regular language classes as part of the program, and are eligible to take part in the annual  Access camp that is usually hosted by  "Orlyonok".  This year's Access camp  brought together 90 kids from 9 cities for an exciting program combining English studies and fun. The conference participants were overwhelmed to see Access kids having the time of their lives  performing, doing artwork and generally developing their English language and cross-cultural skills.  This was the most inspiring and rewarding part of the conference for every teacher involved in these efforts.
October 2012
Getting an 'A' with Autonomy
Smolensk

Russia’s Xth annual Umbrella Conference, a by-invitation-only event, brought together ELT leaders from all around the country, most of them founders of the nation’s 58 English-language Teachers’ Associations, principal administrators and methodologists in premiere Russian universities and schools.  This year the conference took place in the regional capital of Smolensk.  The 320 conference participants spent 2 and ½ days brainstorming and strategizing to bring to fruition three DVD-ROM projects sponsored by U.S. State Department grants and organized by the Moscow Embassy ELO, all on subjects of key interest in Russian EFL today:  Busting Myths in Testing and Assessing, Sharing Best Practices of the Access Microscholarship Programs, and ESP Best Practices and autonomous learning.     As is the tradition, the conference participants also took part in a local 1-day mini-conference for the Smolensk Teachers’ Association.  The theme of the conference – “Getting an A in Autonomy” – was very popular, as was evidenced by the standing-room only crowd of nearly 300 teachers, including quite a few who spent hours travelling in from provincial villages for the rare opportunity to hear American educators and Russian experts share their views and ideas on ELT best practices.
October 2011
Cooperating on New Methods in Learning and Teaching English
Stavropol

About 300 English language teachers from 94 cities, towns and villages enjoyed a 3-day immersion into the English language environment at Stavropol “Umbrella” Conference on November 5-7. Thanks to the ELO support forty-five grantees from all over Russia could come to Stavropol to share their unique experience with the teachers who live in a very unstable region and need help immensely. Two hundred fifty teachers represented 39 districts of the North Caucasus. The English Language Office has provided every participant with Forum magazines, DVD-ROMs and up-to-date information on available teaching materials and resources. According to the participants, the conference was a “turning point and an eye-opener” for them. Among the highlights of the conference were presentations made by grantees. Thirty Access teachers were extremely popular, conference participants asked them numerous questions during and after their stellar presentations.  Access program success stories made a great impact on everyone. On the eve of the Conference ten opinion leaders had a brain storming session on language policy. The results of the discussions in a form of three new projects should improve the present situation with teaching English at Universities. Priorities will be given to the development of autonomous learning and use of new media in ELT.
November 2010
Strategizing and Managing Change in ELT in Russia
Kaliningrad

KATE welcomes Umbrella Conference! In November 2009 Kaliningrad Association of Teachers of English (KATE) was pleased and honoured to welcome the Umbrella NATE Conference 2009 “Strategizing and Managing Change in ELT in Russia”. The urge for development of effective strategies and methods of ELT brought together in Kaliningrad the participants who were distinguished not only by the diversity of their professional interests and topics of their presentations but also by geographical diversity. Nevertheless, the general atmosphere of the conference was that of cooperation and mutual acknowledgment of each other’s ELT perspective development. With respect for the great merit of all the participants and their immense contribution to the success of the conference it is important to single out and emphasize the presentation given by distinguished Russian and American methodologists - David Fay, John Mark King and Gail Weinstein as well as representatives of more than 10 regional ELT Associations. It goes without saying that the Umbrella NATE Conference had a lasting impact on the whole ELT community that is quite young in Kaliningrad. In conclusion it is interesting to cite Prof. Maria Verbitskaya (NATE Vice-President) who, appealing to the conference participants, said: «Your mind is like an umbrella. It works only when it is opened». This powerful conceptual metaphor has crucial symbolic meaning for the whole teachers community that is ready to meet ambitious goals in ELT that were established during the Conference in Kaliningrad.
November 2009
Building Networks for a Change
Ryazan

English language teachers treated to Debate  Umbrella Conference Marries Best Practices from Access, Associations and ELF Program in Russia
English Access Microscholarship coordinators, English Language Fellows, Fellow counterparts, and teacher association presidents participated in a three-day teacher training event that presented new methods as well as showcased best practices from all three programs.  The first day of the event, held in the historic city of Ryazan, about 3 hours from Moscow, included over 100 local English language teachers, instructors and students from the host institution, Ryazan State University, as well as secondary school teachers from the area.  Participants chose from among 25 different sessions, most of which focused on teaching American-Russian cross-cultural studies, assessment in the U.S. and Russia, and materials developed by the U.S. Embassy’s English Language Office.  Plenaries were made by two of Russia’s top linguists, Elena Solovova and Svetlana Ter-Minasova, from Moscow State University, by the rector of the host institution, Irina Sheina, and by the U.S. Embassy’s English Language Officer, David Fay.  Three Senior Fellows contrasted Russian and American English language teaching practices and cultural issues, including slang and terminology used in the U.S. Elections.
The second day of the event was highlighted by a mock U.S. presidential elections debate with speakers Ann Stone and Allan Lichtman.  Each pretended to be top advisors to the two presidential candidates and responded to questions that touched upon U.S.-Russian relations, education and the death penalty.  When asked about the troubling prospects with the economy and its effect on the rest of the world, a fire alarm rang in the conference hall with a recorded voice that announced, “Beware of a fire.”  The teachers appreciated the timing of the announcement, hoping that the economic problems were equally a false alarm. 
On the final day of the conference, the participants broke into thematic groups and drafted a list of action points, deadlines and partners responsible for each point.  Goals include building websites for teachers’ associations, conducting training with new student-generated material in Access site cities, and supporting English Language Fellow programming in more rural areas.  The core group of 50 trainers, association officers and Access coordinators arrived in Ryazan from the furthest reaches of the Russian Federation to take part in the annual Umbrella Conference and to ensure plans and projects for the upcoming year were run in close conjunction with those of the English Language Office.  All participants also celebrated the Office’s 15 years by sharing power points showcasing a long and fruitful history of cooperation between the U.S. Embassy and the various programming partners.
(A special treat to the Conference participants was a city tour and trip to Konstantinovo as well as a stop in Kolomna Novo-Golutvin Monastery on the way back to Moscow)
September 2008
Umbrella Conference
Saratov

English language teachers treated to Debate  Umbrella Conference Marries Best Practices from Access, Associations and ELF Program in Russia
English Access Microscholarship coordinators, English Language Fellows, Fellow counterparts, and teacher association presidents participated in a three-day teacher training event that presented new methods as well as showcased best practices from all three programs.  The first day of the event, held in the historic city of Ryazan, about 3 hours from Moscow, included over 100 local English language teachers, instructors and students from the host institution, Ryazan State University, as well as secondary school teachers from the area.  Participants chose from among 25 different sessions, most of which focused on teaching American-Russian cross-cultural studies, assessment in the U.S. and Russia, and materials developed by the U.S. Embassy’s English Language Office.  Plenaries were made by two of Russia’s top linguists, Elena Solovova and Svetlana Ter-Minasova, from Moscow State University, by the rector of the host institution, Irina Sheina, and by the U.S. Embassy’s English Language Officer, David Fay.  Three Senior Fellows contrasted Russian and American English language teaching practices and cultural issues, including slang and terminology used in the U.S. Elections.
The second day of the event was highlighted by a mock U.S. presidential elections debate with speakers Ann Stone and Allan Lichtman.  Each pretended to be top advisors to the two presidential candidates and responded to questions that touched upon U.S.-Russian relations, education and the death penalty.  When asked about the troubling prospects with the economy and its effect on the rest of the world, a fire alarm rang in the conference hall with a recorded voice that announced, “Beware of a fire.”  The teachers appreciated the timing of the announcement, hoping that the economic problems were equally a false alarm. 
On the final day of the conference, the participants broke into thematic groups and drafted a list of action points, deadlines and partners responsible for each point.  Goals include building websites for teachers’ associations, conducting training with new student-generated material in Access site cities, and supporting English Language Fellow programming in more rural areas.  The core group of 50 trainers, association officers and Access coordinators arrived in Ryazan from the furthest reaches of the Russian Federation to take part in the annual Umbrella Conference and to ensure plans and projects for the upcoming year were run in close conjunction with those of the English Language Office.  All participants also celebrated the Office’s 15 years by sharing power points showcasing a long and fruitful history of cooperation between the U.S. Embassy and the various programming partners.
(A special treat to the Conference participants was a city tour and trip to Konstantinovo as well as a stop in Kolomna Novo-Golutvin Manastery on the way back to Moscow)

August 2007
Widening the Circle
Yaroslavl

Over the course of three days 50 representatives from 30 EFL communities actively participated in panel discussions, debates with over 200 EFL teachers, sharing the results of projects, developing policy and plans for ELT community for the next academic year. Local TV covering the event highlighted the Conference twice in prime time. You can listen to presentations of Prof. Mariya Verbitskay, Prof. Elena Solovova and Round Table Discussion on English Language Summer Camps at http://www.vg.lingvograd.ru/
(The Conference organizers arranged a spectacular city tour with a visit to the Kremlin, a boat trip anf a visit to a Monastery)

August 2004
Best Practices in English Language Teaching and American Studies
Nizhny Novgorod

Fifty leading academic figures from the English teaching and American Studies communities across Russia -- from Arkhangel’sk to Vladivostok--gathered in Nizhniy Novgorod on August 23-25, 2004.    The event included a three-day conference devoted to best practices and educational reform, with USG exchange program alumni giving 30 presentations on topics as diverse as summer camps, integrating American culture into EFL teaching, and testing and assessment.  The host of the conference was the Linguistics University. ELO Bridget Gersten opened the conference.  A display of 35 seminal publications devoted to English teaching, civic education, and American Studies were a highlight of the event, demonstrating the long-term impact of the International Visitors (IV) and other exchange programs represented at the conference (PIE, JFDP, TEA, Fulbright, IREX, and FLEX). 
Delegates from 20 cities continued their work on a new American Studies series of textbooks

August 2004
Umbrella Conference
Saint-Petersburg

At the very end of August the traditional late summer Umbrella meeting was held in Saint Petersburg. About 40 participants from 25 cities took part in this wonderful ELT gathering. This year the meeting was organized by SPELTA and was as usual sponsored by the English Language Office of Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy in Moscow.
During the four day conference the participants had an opportunity to share their success stories of the previous academic year, discuss the new projects on American Studies Textbook, Academic Writing, Testing and Evaluation, as well as two ESP projects: Legal English and Internet and Computer Based ELT in Russia, and, of course, enjoy the beautiful sights of Saint Petersburg and its suburbs.
On the last day, August, 25, Umbrella members following a good tradition to participate in local ELT conferences, took part in SPELTA conference, where they made several presentations.
Delegates worked in 3 groups. One of the groups designed a Questionnaire on American Studies for EFL Teachers which was later circulated all over Russia.
(The Conference participants were lucky to visit St. Petersburg during the year of gloriuos jubilee and to explore museums and Peterhoff)

August 2003
Project Culture Development Seminar and Conference
Samara

Well-organized and well-planned by Julia Markushina, Ludmila Kozhevnikova and Marina Kulinich Umbrella-3 meeting highlighted best projects of local EFL teachers, dealt with project planning and project management, Global English issues and ELT in Modern Russia. First two days of the meeting were devoted to project work. Great presentations by Elena Belyaeva (St.Petersburg Bridges) covered issues of project evaluation, impact and dissemination. They were enthusiastically followed by suggestions of regional opinion leaders on future projects which can be lead by Umbrella. The unique gathering in Samara helped local teachers to learn more about e-journal Hello-on-Line (presenter Maria Verbitskaya, MSU), American communicative behavior (presenter Marina Sternina, VSU), challenges of Global English for EFL Teachers (presenter Lyubov Sokirkina, SSU) and many other issues. With great interest all Umbrella-3 participants listened to the presentation of Svetlana Grigorievna Ter-Minasova, MSU who spoke about NATE and Umbrella and shared her ideas on the English language in modern Russia.
Umbrella-3 meeting was a great success as it helped us to learn more and to share, to meet with our peers and friends, to get lots of energy before new school year.
(A lot of energy came from a Volga boat tour as well as a city tour)
Tuzlukova Victoria, Rostov-on-Don

August 2002
Regional Collaboration to Foster Global English
Rostov-on-the-Don

The Conference was aimed at further support of virtual network of English Language Teachers local organizations to increase the efficiency of professional information exchange and interaction within “Umbrella” and with other national and international ELT organizations and associations.  The goal was to focus on highlighting achievements of Russian regional higher education institutions and personally TEFL/American Studies alumni and Umbrella members in fostering Global English and new EFL methodologies.  The participants planned to also encourage TEFL and American Studies alumni to launch new projects based on use of Internet technologies, to broaden the existing networks of EFL/ESL specialists and to create new mechanisms for professional exchange. Here is how participants of the Conferences commented on the results of Umbrella # 2 Conference:
"The virtual entity "Umbrella Association" has had a profound effect on hundreds of teachers.  It is probably the single strongest factor in creating professional cohesiveness among Russian English Language professionals.   Historically teachers in Russia were a part of centralized, rigorously defined system of information flow.  With perestroika and the subsequent changes the teachers were cut adrift. This led to increased feelings of isolation and concern. As the Umbrella organization operates within National Association of Teachers of English (NATE), individual local organizations of teachers are able to connect with each other and at the same time to be in line with the National Teachers’ Organization.  This is important because a sense of direction and empowerment at the local level is vital in teachers’ professional self. The development of the Umbrella organizations is significant in that this is a concept that is a future investment as the world continues to shrink and to use virtual communication more. Organizations like this will play an ever-increasing role in professional development and in on-going education.
"Hello-on-Line" Journal was launched as a priority project from the Umbrella Virtual Association
(It was great for the participants to visit Taganrog and Novocherkassk)

August 2001
Umbrella Session
Samara

In January Samara hosted Umbrella leaders from Moscow, Perm, Kursk, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Togliatti, Syzran, Izhevsk, Saratov. The meeting was supported by the Open Society Institute (Samara Chapter). Coordinator of the English Language Program Julia Markushina who initiated the idea was the heart and soul of the seminar.
The most spectacular ELT event of the year will be Global English conference in Moscow, and the Umbrella leaders discussed the ways of sharing what we do and what we believe via posters, presentations, panel discussion and the print.
The main topic of the three-day heated discussion was: how  local associations could become more active players in the lives and education of language teachers, both from a policy and practical perspective? How to develop strategies that will help ensure the continued survival and relevance of the professional associations?
How might we change our ways of speaking to be heard more often and better through the media?
The debates were interspersed with "reports from the interested cities". Victoria Tuzlukova from Rostov, Irina Kolodkina from Izhevsk, Marina Sternina from Voronezh, Inna Makukhina from Kursk, Natalia Rossomagina from Perm, Irina Afanasieva from Syzran, Olga Ignatieva fromTogliatti shared the most interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring things the local associations had managed to do since the previous Umbrella meeting in Pskov: video club, the best essay competition, the English club, play staging and many others.
The information about Umbrella members can be found in the Newsletter.
Marina Kulinich, Vice President of TESOL-ELT Samara

January 2001
ELT: New Perspectives and Challenges
Pskov

"Teachers of English, unite!"
These words of Svetlana Ter-Minasova, President of National Association of Teachers of English, were the guidelines of the Umbrella conference hosted by Pskov Regional Teachers In-Service Training Institute in August. The conference ELT: New Perspectives and Challenges was supported by BECA, British Council and CUP. Presenters included Johanna Kowitz, English Language Officer from BECA, Simon Winetroube, English Language Officer from the BC, Natalia Bochoroshvili, CUP representative in Russia, Maria Verbitskaya, Vice-President of NATE. The Samara delegation brought a specially designed module aimed at acquainting the Pskov ELT community with the format and the content of the First Certificate in English examination, with the textbooks suited for training students for this exam.
All presentations were lively, interesting and contributed a lot to teacher development. Another event of great importance was a number of working sessions where participants from Samara, Saratov, Kursk, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh and other cities met to discuss regulations of local chapters, their legal status and structure. We made plans as to the 2000-2001 academic year events in the cities involved and started collecting information for the site of Umbrella organization which covers (the way any umbrella should) the European part of Russia within the framework of NATE. The idea is to exchange information in the sphere of new teaching materials, projects, seminars; to form inter-city teams specializing in a particular field of ELT methodology and linguistics so that these teams could come as guest speakers to Umbrella cities. The human mind is like an umbrella: it works only when it is open. To keep it open, it is essential to know what happens in all chapters of the community and to support each other with human resources and advice, by sharing experience and know-how.
At Umbrella-#1 Conference a new challenging project was launched.  The National Association of the English Language Teachers (NATE) Russia, together with the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation and a number of other institutions agreed to convene a major international conference in Moscow on May 23-25, 2001.  This conference, “Global English for Global Understanding” was aimed at revising and updating the goals and strategies of teaching English as a foreign language and its content in a new environment.   World Englishes or new Englishes became a reality and could not and should not be ignored. This reality should be taken into account in  a TEFL curriculum, textbooks and in teacher training programs. 
(Umbrella Conference participants highly appreciated  the cultural component of the Conference - a trip to Izborsk, Pechorskiy Monastery and Mikhailovskoye)

Marina Kulinich, Vice-President of Samara Chapter

August 2000