This space will be very busy just in a couple of weeks! Well, a small team from the British Council South East Europe is about to go to IATEFL 2011 in Brighton, UK and they will report / send their updates right here, on our tumblr page.
Pretty soon we will present this team and tell you what our ideas are. Hey, if there is something you are particularly interested in, let us know and we will try to cover that as well.
Obviously, we are still playing around this space so please be patient and make sure you follow us as of this April!
I haven’t blogged much either. I also haven’t been in Brighton since 1987 - which really puts things into perspective. It will be nice to do some ‘live reminiscencing’.
I am very happy to be able to attend this conference- I am overwhelmed by feelings similar to the ones my teenage students show towards the football tournament happening in the schoolyard. The picture is of the moment when I gave up and let these guys quit doing the assignment to watch the tournament through the window because they couldn’t focus at all.
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Marina Simovic, Montenegro
On this slightly cold, cloudy morning I have successfully reached the airport. Belgrade is slowly waking up so the traffic was easy on me this morning.
I was about to go to the check-in area when I bumped into a teacher I know from my work - Nataša is also going to the IATEFL so we will definitely discuss in details the upcoming conference. I have just checked Facebook as well (does this count as an addiction?) and saw that the Israeli team is about to board. Not sure if they will see this now but I owe them a big hello and thank you as well.
Well, this is it. The whole team is on its way and I know that all of us cannot wait to start blogging and send our updates to you guys.
Stay tuned, more things are coming your way shortly. See you online!
Post by: Zeljko Jovanovic
It’s a grey Thursday afternoon in Brighton… and yet many people are sitting on the pebbly beach that is immediately across from the Brighton centre, where the conference is taking place. The sea looks cold though, no paddling today!
I’m going through the online programme over coffee - trying to pick my sessions for Saturday. Tomorrow is easy - the Pre-conference day as you have to choose your topic in advance. I’m going with the Young Learners special interest group.
IATEFL is such a big conference that it can be difficult to choose which sessions to go to - you can pick out ‘big names’, or colleagues, or people from a country you are interested in… one really good approach, I’ve found, is to pick a theme and stick with it… maybe learning technologies, maybe English for Special purposes…
If there are any specific sessions you would like me (or someone from our group) to attend and report back on - let me know! Here’s the link to the conference programme http://www.iatefl.org/brighton-2011/45th-annual-conference-and-exhibition-2011 - there are handy day by day timetables at the back, which is a good place to start! This will help you work out when you need to be logging on to iatefl online as well :-)
Not long to go now!
This was the title of our Teacher Development Special Interest Group session today on giving and receiving feedback. I did wonder in the morning how we could possibly spend a whole day talking about giving feedback but indeed it was possible! I thought the day long session was going to be how to give feedback to teachers but actually there was a big focus on how to ask for feedback. How we should all ask for feedback from others and how to do it.
It got me thinking about the number of times I’ve asked a colleague after a workshop I’ve given ‘How was it?’ Well there obvious answer is ’ that was great!’, when really I should be asking more specific questions, for example ‘how were my instructions during my lesson?’, or ’ is there anything I could have done to improve the workshop?’
In this way, you are not only in control of the feedback and therefore more open to it but also you are allowing someone to give constructive criticism rather than just giving your ego a massage.
Also, it made me think about how I can encourage teachers I am training or mentoring to ask for feedback rather than me just giving it to them. This puts them in control. Has anyone done this with teachers in training sessions? I’d love to hear about any experiences you had.
Day 1 over and so much to think about. Looking forward to day 2.
Blog post by: Nicola Crowley
I have finally arrived in Brighton. It was good to see that the sun made an appearance and it is actually warmer than Istanbul.
Today there were pre-conference sessions. These were held by the special interest groups (SIGS). I attended the teacher development SIG and the most amazing part of this was finding myself sitting next to teachers and trainers from Mongolia, Pakistan, Switzerland and China. I nipped out during the lunch break to buy some shampoo and started chatting to someone in the shop who noticed my IATEFL badge.
Of course as coincidence would have it she turned out to be from Turkey. It’s a small world!
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I’m in my hotel room in Brighton now and thinking about the day. I attended Learning Technologies pre-conference event. The talks were on IWB. We started the day with Connie Gutenberg’s brief introduction. She demonstrated how she used it with her class. The texts she chose for the session were amazing. I really loved the ‘Stress’ by Wendy Cope where the writer used words which can be used as verbs, nouns and adjectives. I also loved the poem ‘Big words and little ones’ by Arthur Kudner to teach nouns and adjectives.
The next session I attended was of Luke Meddings’s talk and we discussed how to use IWB with Dogme. I really enjoyed the session because he started with a quick introduction what dogme in elt is and although I had ideas what it is. The introduction made it clearer. He stressed the importance of note-taking in Dogme style teaching. While students are producing the emergent language, you can take notes, brainstorm ideas and save them to continue the next day.
I’m not a big fun of IWB, I still think we can do the same things with other stuff if the school we work for cannot provide it. HoweverMarisa Constantinides pointed out that was that while using IWB, teacher can still write on the board. I’m one of those teachers who love writing on the board. I feel something will be missing if I just explain things from a powerpoint but this aspect made me think a little bit positive about it.
We also discussed during the breaks that whether IWB is more teacher centred or whether there is a possibility to make some teachers relaxed. So what do you think?
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So I decided to check my presentation this morning and a good thing too! I had embedded YouTube videos into my presentation (I made it with prezi.com - very cool!) but for some reason ads pop up on the videos and you can’t get rid of it unlike when you play it in YouTube.
When I left Israel I saw that this was the case and said I’d check when I got to the UK. Well it was worse than I had thought. The ads that popped up were advertising the services of girls!!!
So, 2 hours later I have removed all improper content and fixed up my presentation. Sadly, this meant I missed the workshop of one of my favourite presenters - David Heathfield! He’s a wonderful storyteller. I will have to seek him out and get him to give me his notes!!!
Well at least I’m ready for my presentation this evening! Wish me luck!
Blog post by: Nicola Crowley
On Monday I really have to go participate in Leo Selivan’s “All about Alliteration” workshop. Why? Well, first of all because I’m sure it will be absolutely awesome, but most of all because phrases such as fabulous fun filled Fridays, pretty pictures, sweet sunny Sundays, fantastic fun and – you guessed it – Beautiful Brighton keep popping into my mind these days. Here’s a photo that I think will give you a clue as to why:
Another reason for participating is that I’ve gotten to know Leo and think his workshop will definitely be worth a visit! Check out Leo’s personal blog here and know that he is also part of our British Council’s IATEFL Blog Team!
A Sweet Sunny Sunday to all…
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And the real event started on Saturday. It is already Sunday today but I’ll be able to post this in the morning. I had a fantastic day at the conference, not because I met some of my twitter friends for the first time and hugged and kissed each other as if we had known each other for ages, it was because a very full day with great talks and ideas.
Karin and I decided to attend different workshops and write about different things so I chose to go to Michael Berman’s session, called ‘English through the writing on your forehead’. The main focus was on storytelling and how to use stories in classroom. Since I attended British Council’s Winter Warmer in March and had the opportunity to listen to amazing Jan Blake at Istek conference, I’m more interested in telling stories in EFL classrooms. He used two stories from Armenian folklore and mythology and here are the activities I jotted down from the session.
Fish and chips game: tell students you are going to tell or read a story and whenever they hear the word fish in the story, they have to shout chips; otherwise, they won’t learn the ending of the story. While telling a story to the engaged and motivated students stop suddenly and ask them to fill in the gap with the correct word. While telling stories, if you mention something interesting stop and ask questions or give information.
And then we finished with a wonderful activity. He asked us to write a note for him and then we exchanged papers then we tried to guess our friends personality through their handwriting.
The other session I attended was Michael Swan’s talk on ‘Where reading and grammar meet.’ He pointed out that language learners whose mother tongues are not similar to English can have lots of troubles while reading complex (embedded) texts. Those problematic areas are: - Past participles often look like past tense - Reduced relative clauses - Omitting relative pronouns
And I ended the day at the blogosphere symposium listening to Karenne Sylvester, Tara Benwell and Berni Wall. These three ladies are amazing people ready to enthuse the people who are following them.
Karenne talked about what we blog, why we blog and what the benefits are. Tara told us about the wonderful thing she has been doing on MyEnglishClub. The activities she does with her students on MyEC are not different than the things we do in class. I must say her writing challenges are great challenges for everybody who are blogging. Once in a while I wrote about them too. Berni focused on the importance of twitter for starting our own learning network and she even showed us how to form it with a quick warmer. She explained what edchat, eltchat and virtual roundtable conference are and how they work.
I know many people were amazed at what they had found at the symposium. As Karenne stated blogging is not just keeping online diaries for teachers. It is more. I repeated that many times I have a 7/24 staffroom full of teachers who are ready to interact, collaborate, help and comfort me because of blogging. You don’t just share ideas, you also see what your weaknesses and strengths are when you are doing. You get feedback, you get suggestions and you get invitations for collaborations.
We finished the day at MacMillan’s OnestopEnglish birthday party, listening to Elvis and chatting to friends.
Blog post by: Eva Buyuksimkesyan