8th February 2019

Grow with Harmony and Pilgrims 2019

We have successfully managed to organize the 12th GROW WITH HARMONY & PILGRIMS tour where we met and trained more than 80 teachers and trainers in Slovakia and the Czech republic. We went to Trencin, Trnava, Bratislava and Brno and were privileged to be trained by a great Pilgrims teacher-trainer Stefania (Stefy) Ballotto.

Before we show you the interview with her, let us look back at the very first tour. It was back in 2009 and at that time the tour was led by  Andrea Rebrova, Jana Chynoradska and Jaroslav Chynoradsky from HARMONY ACADEMY. We hosted the Pilgrims Managing Director, Jim Wright and their Director of Studies, Chaz Pugliese. What preceded this tour was a personal visit and training by the founder of Pilgrims, Mario Rinvolucri, who personally trained all the HARMONY trainers in a series of training courses.

Throughout the years we can say that we have

  • Trained more than a thousand Slovak teachers and trainers either here in Slovakia or in England,
  • Brought lots of love, light and encouragement to teachers and trainers,
  • Identified the teachers´ needs for their further development,
  • Developed the Learn&Lead vision for teachers & trainers,
  • Developed human relationships with hundreds of teachers and trainers,
  • Established the foundation for the birth of a new system of life long learning in ELT.

We are now ready to

  • Utilize the lessons learnt,
  • Spread the knowledge learned throughout Slovakia and beyond,
  • Activate internal connections in organisation that are ready to transform into lofe-long learning institutions,
  • Contribute to the establishment of new learning and training in Slovakia and beyond,
  • Organize events for teachers, trainers and managers in ELT,
  • Keep on learning and connecting to our customers who show us the way forward…

This year we were honoured to welcome Stefania Ballotto, a teacher, teacher-trainer, and university lecturer for the past 40 years. I have grown thanks to my hundreds of colleagues from all over the world, from whom I’ve learnt so much, with whom I’ve shared endless hours. I have learnt together with my students, solving problems, finding solutions and having fun. My South-African-Italian background and my studies in South-Africa, Witwatersrand University-JHB-S.A , Cambridge University- UK, and in The U.S.A. and above all the incredible opportunity of being a PILGRIMS trainer has kept lifelong passion of sharing and learning together vivid and vibrant.

We asked her some questions and believe you will enjoy her thoughts and ideas!


  • What is creativity for you?

It is the beginning, the middle and the end, but it’s mainly the middle, that is where one works and everything unfolds. It encourages an understanding that gets beyond stereotypical notions of individual genius. Creativity is of immediate interest and is possible in all areas of human activity. It is “breaking the rules”, you may be silly or meaningless. You may be personal or subjective and sentimental – a participator or a detached observer. It is rethinking, challenging established borderlines, redefining the spaces of the arts, in my case.

  • What have Pilgrims & Harmony achieved together over the last 12 years?

I have noticed a growing number of teachers ,trainers, head of schools and university departments coming to Pilgrims on Teacher Training courses and an interest in the Pilgrims days organised by both Pilgrims and Harmony.  I think we have achieved to transmit that learning is lifelong and that continuous professional development is a key to joyous successful sharing in our profession as teachers and educators. A 21st. century skill – Collaboration is vivid.

  • Where are we now heading towards?

A 21st. century education includes knowledge of traditional core subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics- but also emphasises contemporary themes such as global awareness, financial/economic, health and environmental literacies. Students in 21st. century will apply their knowledge to understanding and solving real-world challenges using the 21st.century skills, Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Communication and Collaboration.

If you want to meet Stefy Ballotto in Slovakia in person, you should not miss out the opportunity to join the ELTforum 2019  that is held on 7th-8th June 2019 in Bratislava. We celebrate the 45th Pilgrims anniversary with all the great trainers who have been inspiring teachers and trainers from all over the world since 1974. We feel to be honoured and lucky to have been in close relationship with many of them and are enthused to meet all the fans of humanzing language teaching there.