mercoledì 9 aprile 2014

Harrogate Online - The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition (part 3)

Harrogate Online 2014On March 23rd Adam Simpson started a chain reaction blog challenge. He chose three of this year's registered bloggers and introduced them in his blog. These bloggers in turn chose other registered bloggers and interviewed them... That was why Sylvia Guinan interviewed me (you can see my interview by following this link
After my interview I did not want to stop the chain reaction even though it was the last day of the conference so I decided to Facebook Adam and ask him if he was available to answer a few questions about his experience in Harrogate.  Well, he was so kind to reply and here you are some food for thought.

1 - Please introduce yourself

Hi. My name’s Adam and I’m an English teacher in Istanbul. I’ve lived here for nearly fifteen years and I work in the preparatory English program at Sabanci University. Also, I blog about my teaching experiences quite regularly, as well as being an avid believer in the importance of classroom research.

2 - Could you tell us why you were interested in blogging for IATEFL Harrogate?

I tried to do it last year and failed miserably. Anyone who has ever been to IATEFL will tell you what a fantastic social experience it is. Once you’ve attended, it’s not see easy to watch and report from afar. I’m trying to make amends this year.

What areas of the conference were you interested in?

This event is huge… seriously, it’s unbelievably big. Prioritizing is a must, although attending friends’ sessions is also important to me, but getting more and more difficult with each passing year!

3 - What are you going to bring back from the conference?

Physically, I will be bringing back lots of my favourite goodies. I’m originally from the Harrogate area, so this is a great opportunity to stock up on the food I miss from home. Mentally, I know I have experienced some fantastic knowledge sharing from people who I respect greatly in our profession. It will be great to reflect on what I’ve learned and nurture professional contacts around these experiences.

4 - Could you tell us three adjectives to describe your experience at IATEFL Harrogate?


5 - You were interviewed about your blog by Ann Foreman and Paul Braddock, is there anything else you would like to add?

It was a pleasure to have the chance to discuss blogging with Ann and Paul, as I’m a huge fan of what they do online with the BC TeachingEnglish site. Working indirectly with them has been hugely beneficial and they’re doing a great job of building an online community of language teachers. If you’ve listened to Sandy and I talk about blogging, I’d also recommend a couple of other interviews: there’s this interview with Paul and Ann in which they discuss their work, and there’s this one with Willy Cardoso, James Taylor and Katherine Bilsborough in which they talk about the role of blogging in ELT. I’m a strong believer in the importance of blogging and if it’s something that also interests you, these interviews are essential viewing.

It is my deep honour to post this interview. I admire Adam because of his continuous research about the classroom settings and dynamics. Adam's ideas are brilliant and you can easily adapt them to your  students' needs.

giovedì 3 aprile 2014

Harrogate Online - The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition (part 2)

My first report is about the session Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges by Nicky Hockly.
The presenter:
Nicky is Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E and has worked in the field of face-to-face and distance education since 1987, as a teacher, teacher trainer and consultant. She is involved in materials development, for both EFL course books and online learning. She is currently joint Co-ordinator of the IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group. Nicky has written many articles on education, technology and online learning, and she is a plenary speaker at conferences all over the world. She is a well-known author of methodology books on the application of technology to language teaching.

The session:
Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges

The content in 40 words
The workshop dealt about the choices and challenges involved in teaching with mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) in the classroom. There were also examples which showed practically how to implement mobile-based activities with beginner, lower-intermediate, and intermediate students.

Nicky started her workshop by showing the meaning of Mobile Learning. She considered three aspects:
1. when devices are mobile (smartphones and tablets, not laptops)
2. when learners are mobile (students move around the classroom/school with their devices or they use their devices at home)
3. when learning experience is mobile (how mobile devices can be used in language learning tasks)
In order to better explain the third point Nicky showed examples of activies she did during her teaching experience in Cambridge last year. I was particularly interested in the following task activities.
The first activity was one she integrated to the course book with lower-intermediate students. The
topic was water and students were asked to go around the school and take pictures of things which were connected with water but not water itself. They shared the pictures on the group of Whatsapp. Then they justified their choices. The pictures raised a lot of discussion among students.

The second activity was aimed at beginner students and it involved the use of QR codes and it was a
sort of treasure hunt. Students were supposed to go around the school, take pictures and ask questions to the staff. This activity allowed the students to recycle the language learnt, practicing speaking (they asked questions), reading and reviewing grammar.

The third activity is based on geotagging and was done by mid-intermediate students  They used a free app called Woices (it can be used both on Android and Apple devices). They created an audio guide of a place they liked in Cambridge. This activity was carried out both in the classroom and at home over the weekend.

Nicky also took into account the practical aspects of bringing mobile devices into the classroom such as the age of students, using students' belongings or school's, the mobile integration to the course books or assessment.

Finally, she considered the learning aims, the logistic and legal (especially the role of parents when students are young learners) aspects of using mobile devices.

My consideration in 40 words:
I am especially interested in the combination of technology and daily life and this session gave me food for thought. I can’t wait to adapt the activities carried out by Nicky’s students in my classes to meet my students’ needs.

Studying for exams? Have fun (Part 2)

Two weeks ago I started a new series of blog posts about teaching and studying for English language exams. I posted which was about a technique I used in the classroom to help my students improve their results in FCE Reading part 2.
Today I'm posting two pictures which come in handy for FCE Writing part 2. In this part of the exam you are asked to write a piece of writing. The task types are articles, stories, reviews, letters, essays and reports. In the two pictures below you will find some useful tips about the structure of the text and suitable phrases&expressions for each piece of writing.

mercoledì 2 aprile 2014

Harrogate Online - The 48th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition (part 1)

Harrogate Online 2014Today 2nd April 2014 the Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition kicks off. I wish I were in Harrogate to meet excellent teachers, professors and teacher trainers!
But, no problem! If you, like me, are not in Harrogate you can watch all conference plenaries live on the Harrogate Online website. Plus, you can watch some interviews with great conference presenters and delegates such as those which were held yesterday.
One of the new features of this year's conference which impressed me is the Open Space event. In Adrian Underhill's words an Open Space Conference is "essentially a way of organizing a conference when you haven't got anything. There is no a programme,people just come with what is important to them". (This is the link to his interview).
Do you want to know more about this special type of conference? Read this article:

Bye for now,