Diary of a scholarship winner, part 3 (Katy Muench)

This is the second of a three-part series by Katy Muench, one of the Glasgow 2017 scholarship winners. In part one, she introduced herself and told you about the process of applying for and getting a scholarship. In part two, she told you about her expectations before this year’s conference, and in this part, she will reflect on her conference experience this year. Over to Katy…

Was it really only last week? I had spent so long building up to the IATEFL conference in Glasgow that it seems strange that it’s now all over. I was a mixture of excited nerves upon arrival in Scotland – although at least my laptop had made it safe and sound (I had to check it in due to new regulations).

My week started with the Global Issues PCE day. I chose to attend this day because the topics of the sessions grabbed me. Furthermore, my session had been chosen to be part of the Global Issues track day on Thursday. The PCE day was an excellent opportunity to connect with other teachers and I found out about some inspiring projects. As there are approximately 3 million refugees in Turkey, where I am based,  I was especially interested to find out about initiatives in language teaching with migrant groups. I’ve brought the knowledge and connections made in Glasgow back with me to Istanbul and I hope to make use of them soon.

I attended scores of talks and workshops, so many that I had to force myself to slow down a bit and take some breaks. The highlight for me was Alastair Roy’s talk on Supporting Introversion in Language Learning. As an introvert myself, I have an interest in this topic from the perspective of student and teacher. The session was very well put together and gave me more ideas to consider. Watching another self-confessed introvert present also gave me confidence for my own workshop.

As my workshop was in the late afternoon on Thursday, I didn’t feel very relaxed until it was over. I am used to speaking in front of people but a combination of my topic choice and not knowing who would turn up left me in a bit of a state. I actually felt physical symptoms of anxiety on Thursday and had to go out for a long walk and some chocolate to calm myself down. Attending a workshop on mindfulness – with some meditation included – helped too.

In the end, after all the build up, I was relieved to finally do my workshop. Due to various complications (let’s just say there are some issues with free speech in Turkey and I wasn’t entirely sure who would be attending), I had changed the content of it substantially since I originally sent in my abstract. Despite being initially worried that nobody would turn up, there was a lovely group of people who were willing to interact and take part in the activities I had planned. Several of the attendees came to chat to me at the end of the session and it felt really good that others were interested in the topic and keeping in touch.

I can finally say I have presented at IATEFL and it was a great honour to be there as the winner of a scholarship. Attending the conference allowed me to get lots of new teaching ideas, meet inspiring people and hopefully get involved with some new projects. I’d like to thank the Global Issues SIG, especially Linda Ruas, for the excellent organisation, clear communication and support in the lead up to and throughout the conference.

Glasgow 2017 scholarship winners (including Katy)

Glasgow 2017 scholarship winners (including Katy)

More about scholarships

Find out more about when scholarships will be available and how to apply for them here.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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Diary of a scholarship winner, part 2 (Katy Muench)

This is the second of a three-part series by Katy Muench, one of the Glasgow 2017 scholarship winners. In part one, she introduced herself and told you about the process of applying for and getting a scholarship. In this part, she will tell you about her expectations before this year’s conference, and in part three, she will reflect on her conference experience this year. Over to Katy…

I’m leaving for Glasgow this weekend, and have about a thousand things to do. I have two main worries on my mind. The first is finishing my workshop off. As usual I have far too many ideas and have to condense them down to fit into my given time slot. The second worry is travel related. Due to new security regulations, I have to check in my laptop when flying from Turkey to the UK. I need my laptop for the workshop so have no choice other than to bring it and hope for the best. I’ll be out hunting for bubble wrap before my journey.

It’s not all worries though – I’m really looking forward to being in Glasgow. I am especially looking forward to the Global Issues pre conference event. There are a few speakers there who I have seen before and am excited to see again. I’m also really pleased that JJ Wilson is giving a plenary as I saw him a few years ago at a conference in Istanbul and found him inspiring. It will also be great to meet the other scholarship winners and share our teaching experiences from around the world.

IATEFL Glasgow 2017 web banner

More about scholarships

Find out more about when scholarships will be available and how to apply for them here.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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Q & A from Chaz Pugliese’s webinar on creating motivation

On 18th March 2017, Chaz Pugliese presented the following IATEFL webinar:

Creating Motivation, Creating Learning

I believe in local research, so a few years ago I conducted interviews with over a hundred of my students in Paris, where I’m based. The main purpose of the interviews was to find out from the students what practices/activities they found motivating. It turns out these students’ motivation is boosted when they feel they’ve been accepted by the group, when they are primed for learning, and when they’re engaged in activities that are stimulating, surprising and fun.

In this webinar I will focus on the multifaceted roles of the teacher in promoting motivation, and I will highlight the importance of creative pedagogy.

Thank you to the 250+ people who attended, and those listed below who asked questions. If you would like to watch the recording, you need to be a member of IATEFL (find out how to join), but even if you’re not a member, you can read Chaz’s answers to some of the Q&A questions below.

Bio

Chaz Pugliese is a teacher, teacher trainer, writer and presenter in the ELT field. He also conducts workshops on Creativity as well as Intercultural matters. He’s written Being Creative (2010, Delta) and co-written The Principled Communicative Approach (Helbling, 2015). Creating Motivation, his latest book, has just been published by Helbling.

In 2013, Chaz founded The Creativity Group with Alan Maley.

A keen guitarist, Chaz likes any music that’s genuine, real, and raw.

Chaz Pugliese

Wouldn’t the basis of motivation be determining whether their motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic?

In truth, I don’t really care to know what kind of motivation my students may have: if it’s intrinsic or extrinsic, or if it’s both, or if they have the kind of motivation Dörnyei talks about (the ideal-self, the ought to- self, etc). My job is to provide them with an environment that might tap into that, to help them focus, to surprise them and to stimulate them beyond the language learning per se. If I do that, then whatever motivation they may have, it will be tapped into and that’s what I want in the first place.

How does motivation relate to perseverance? Surely, no learning can be done without initial intrinsic motivation, but what about helping students build grit? Any ideas on that?

There isn’t a cookbook for helping the students build grit. However, there are strategies that may lead students to develop self-esteem and perseverance. I think the way we communicate with our classes can have a very significant impact. We’re all familiar with the Pygmalion study, for example.

Think about the way we give them feedback: helping the students use their own past work (as opposed to his/her peers’) as a benchmark for progress, which is all beneficial in the long run.

How can you motivate big classrooms (e.g. 200 students or more)?

Doable: I wouldn’t change anything but obviously with 200 bodies in one room, we need great classroom management skills. We need groups, students as teaching assistants, work stations. But, granted, not easy.

How do you motivate students when they are anxious and waiting to start a class test?

Anxiety can be debilitating. So, at the start of class, it would be a good idea to do a few exercises that don’t require language use, just to make people relax. Jokes are good in this respect.

Fun plays an important role, but not all students want fun in the classroom. They stay indifferent.

Yes, it may happen. The question is: why? And there might be several reasons, some may be linked to the context, some may have to do with their past learning history.

For my part, I don’t use the word ‘game’ and I never talk about ‘fun’ with my students, either. I’ve found time and again that if I say to my class ‘OK, let’s play a game’, or ‘Let’s do something fun,’ some may conclude I’m giving them license to goof off and they lose focus. And I don’t want that to happen.

I think what might help is explaining to your classes the rationale behind an exercise that is ‘fun’. For a lot of my students here in Paris (but also in other countries where I’ve taught), learning = no pain, no gain. So that’s what they expect to do. And if their teacher does something that is more light-hearted, they’re thrown because it doesn’t fit with their mental representation of what learning is supposed to be all about. So, they remain indifferent, or worse, they become hostile.

Does it mean that the teacher should always be in the state of creating something?

Ideally, yes. But this needn’t be a daunting task, you’re not out to revolutionize the teaching field as we know it… Being creative is a frame of mind, a decision one takes. If you want to know more about this, please see my own book Being Creative (2010, Delta).

In your opinion what do you think about teachers who are not motivated, do you think they will be able to motivate their students? How? ‘Cause it seems impossible.

I don’t know about it being impossible. One thing is certain: if it’s true that we can’t motivate anyone to do anything for us, there’s so much we can do to demotivate them… Being taught by someone who doesn’t believe in what they do, who’s not feeling passionate about their job, who doesn’t want to be with us, is clearly demotivating. Have you ever been taught or can you imagine being taught by a demotivated (or amotivated) teacher? Or worse off, by a teacher who shows clear symptoms of burn-out?

Sadly, many of the teachers I work with are on the verge of burn-out, and often they don’t even realize it… This is serious and something must be done about it. My impression is that teachers just want to teach, but in reality many feel their own spark has been put out by the powers that be…Teachers need to be better paid, and rewarded for what they chose to do, which is teach and help people grow, not fill out forms and check off boxes.

How can you convince administrations that want fixed curriculums and predictable and quantifiable results that you’re not just wasting time?

Well, when we’re introducing changes, we need to tread carefully. We need to show leadership and ‘sell’ our approach right.  Sometimes we need to convince our colleagues, our students, their parents, and not just admin! But we need to welcome skepticism, criticism, even, and find a way to win them over. The bottom line is: believe in what you do, and if you know it works with your classes, if your classes appear more motivated in the long run, what’ll have happened is that the students will achieve better results.

Is listening to you and chatting at the same time like chasing two rabbits?

Yes, to an extent, even though the fact that you’re chatting about something relevant may make it easier. My guess is if you were listening to me talk about motivation and you were chatting about something completely different, it would much harder to follow both equally well. Try it out in the next webinar see what happens… 😉

Thank you to Chaz for agreeing to answer these questions for the IATEFL blog.

If you’d like to write a blog post or present a webinar for us, please contact blog (at) iatefl (dot) org.

You can find out more about upcoming webinars on the IATEFL website. If you are an IATEFL member, you can access the recordings and slides from all of our webinars in the members’ area. If you’re not, you can join here.

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Diary of a scholarship winner, part 1 (Katy Muench)

This is the first of a three-part series by Katy Muench, one of the Glasgow 2017 scholarship winners. In this part, she introduces herself and tells you about the process of applying for and getting a scholarship. In part two, she will tell you about her expectations before this year’s conference, and in part three, she will reflect on her conference experience this year. Over to Katy…

Introducing myself

My first career path was journalism and in my early 20s, my goal was to become an international correspondent. My idols were Kate Adie and John Simpson. After graduating, I got a place on a training scheme with a local newspaper and also studied Arabic.

Clearly there was a different path written in my stars, as a few years after working as a news reporter, I was disillusioned. I had itchy feet and wanted to see the world, which is what led me to English teaching, like many others. It turned out to be the right decision as in the last 10 years, I’ve travelled all over the world and turned out to rather enjoy teaching. I’ve always liked the English language and my mother and sister are also English teachers, so perhaps there was no escaping my fate.

I’ve been based in Turkey for eight years, mainly teaching at the university level. It’s certainly an interesting country to work and live in.

I’m also in the process of becoming Delta qualified: Modules 1 and 2 are complete and hopefully, Module 3 will be done this year. This year, I started working as an academic consultant for a publishing company, which is a big change after being in the classroom. I travel around Istanbul and Turkey visiting schools and universities and doing training sessions, observations and book presentations.

Applying for Scholarships

Although I wasn’t born there, I grew up in Birmingham and consider it my home town. Therefore, when I saw that the 2016 IATEFL conference was going to be held there, I decided I had to attend.

When I found out about the possibility of scholarships, I applied for quite a few in a flurry of energy. Although I didn’t win one that year, I came to the conference as planned, where I learned a lot and met interesting people from all over the world who were enthusiastic about English teaching and professional development. I also made a point of attending one of the talks by a scholarship winner.

By the time the deadline for the 2017 scholarships rolled around, I was working in Hong Kong for the summer. Even though I didn’t think I would be successful, I spent a weekend escaping the sticky July heat with the air conditioning on full blast, and worked hard on a few applications. This time I narrowed my focus and just applied for a few scholarships that were the best fit for my background and experience.

Fast forward to late August. Summer school had finished and I was on a Thai island on my way back home. I was feeling a bit down – I wasn’t totally sure of the situation I was returning to in Turkey post-coup-attempt. I was hot, sticky and uninspired. Then I got a lovely email letting me know that I was the winner of the Gill Sturtridge first-time speaker award. Bad mood cured instantly – the timing was very fortunate!

Time since then has passed very quickly and now there’s just a few weeks to go until Glasgow. In Turkish there’s one word for both excited and nervousheyacanli, and I have to say that word summarises how I’m feeling about the conference and my workshop at the moment.

Katy Muench in Hong Kong

More about scholarships

Find out more about when scholarships will be available and how to apply for them here.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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A Freelancer’s Perspective on IATEFL (by Julie Moore)

A freelancer in the gig economy

I started my career some 25 years ago as an EFL teacher, working in private language schools in Greece, the Czech Republic and the UK, but for the past 17 years or so, I’ve been a self-employed, freelance writer. I started out as primarily a lexicographer, working on learner’s dictionaries, then I branched out into writing different kinds of materials, from workbooks to coursebooks, General English to EAP. I work from home as part of what’s now known as the gig economy, picking up writing projects from different ELT publishers. Sometimes a project might be just a few days’ work, sometimes it can go on for six months or more. I’ve generally got at least a couple of things on the go at the same time, often one larger project with shorter jobs fitted in around it. It’s a constant juggling act, especially as work often appears at short notice making it difficult to plan very far ahead. One constant amidst the uncertainty of the freelance lifestyle though has always been IATEFL, and especially the annual conference. It’s one of the few things I can write on my wall-planner and look forward to at the start of every year.

IATEFL wallplanner

IATEFL opportunities

My first IATEFL conference was in Edinburgh back in 1999. That year, I got chatting to Mario Rinvolucri on a shuttle bus and he asked me to write an article, my first to be published, in Humanising Language Teaching. The following year in Dublin, I gave my first IATEFL presentation. I’ve only missed a handful since, presenting at many of them on behalf of different publishers. As a self-employed freelancer, any kind of professional development or career advancement is down to you; there’s no in-house training or promotion to apply for. When I started out, in a pre-social-media era, opportunities to interact with other ELT folks, both publishers and other freelancers, were largely restricted to the IATEFL conference. It was the one time in the year you could get away from your desk to network, find out what was new and who was doing what. I’ve lost track of how many projects have come either directly or indirectly as a result of encounters at IATEFL. Several times, I’ve found myself sitting next to someone from a publisher during a session, got chatting as part of a ‘talk to your neighbour’ prompt, gone off topic and ended up going for a coffee and discussing potential work.

Finding my IATEFL tribe

Until recently, I’d never really got involved with the SIGs [Special Interest Groups]. Because I don’t work exclusively in one area, there wasn’t a particular SIG that I gravitated towards and as someone not regularly involved in classroom teaching, I didn’t always feel like I fitted in. Then a few years ago, the Materials Writing SIG (MaWSIG) started and brought together lots of the people I already knew and introduced me to lots of new people too. MaWSIG changed my relationship with IATEFL from being a general way to keep up with the ELT world to something much more focused around my specific needs and interests. I still love the variety of the main conference, but the MaWSIG Pre-Conference Events (PCEs) and other events scratch itches I never even knew I had.

Learning never stops

Despite a quarter of a century now in the ELT industry, I still pick up new ideas from almost every event. Here are just three examples that have stuck in my mind:

  • Whenever I write a multiple choice activity, I mentally go through the checklist that Sue Kay gave in her great MaWSIG PCE session in 2015. My biggest weakness … having one option that’s much longer than the others – I find myself editing for length almost every time.
  • Since Ben Goldstein and Ceri Jones’ session, at the same PCE, on the role of images in materials, I’ve started writing longer, more detailed artwork briefs to better explain to the picture researcher just what it is I want to capture or sometimes, what I want to avoid. Interestingly, several editors have actually noticed and made a point of giving me positive feedback.
  • On a slightly different tack, Graham Allcott’s ‘Productivity Ninja’ session at another MaWSIG event made me introduce a two-minute rule into my working day, especially around dealing with email; if something crops up that’s going to take less than 2 minutes to deal with, do it right away rather than leaving it to deal with later. Not sure if it makes me more productive, but it certainly feels more efficient.

So, I’m already booked for this year’s conference in Glasgow. I’ll be looking forward to catching up with old pals, meeting new people and continuing to develop myself professionally as I move into my second quarter-century in ELT.

Bio

Julie Moore photo

Julie is a freelance ELT writer based in Bristol in the UK. As well as writing, she gives regular talks and workshops at conferences and teacher training events. She tweets as @lexicojules and blogs about all things ELT as well about her working life as a freelancer.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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Q & A from Agnes Orosz’s webinar on teaching mixed-level groups

On 4th February 2017, Agnes Orosz presented the following IATEFL webinar:

Abstract

A few years ago I was teaching in a private high school in Ecuador. In my Year 9 group, I had 25 students; most of them in the lower intermediate range, but I also had five complete beginners as well as three or four upper intermediate students and one native speaker; a boy who had lived all of his 13 years in Miami and had just returned to his family’s country of origin. It was a challenge to say the least. I often felt like a large proportion of the class had learned very little if anything; either because the material was too difficult or because they already knew it all and were bored during the lesson. To make matters worse, both these groups of students displayed disruptive behaviour which in turn affected even those students’ learning for whom the material was roughly of the right level.

This experience got me thinking about how I could improve my teaching so that more students would make progress in my lessons. In most schools, students get lumped together by age rather than stage for their English lessons. This means that my experience is probably typical of many classrooms around the world. Even when we are lucky enough to teach in an establishment where students are streamed according to level, there will still usually be a wide range of ability among the class.

This webinar will explore the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions to this problem by going through a number of practical ideas and activities for EFL teachers to try in their own classrooms.

Thank you to all those who attended, and those listed below who asked questions. If you would like to watch the recording, you need to be a member of IATEFL (find out how to join), but you can read Agnes’s answers to the questions below.

Bio

Agnes Orosz is a Cambridge Delta qualified English teacher, teacher trainer and researcher currently teaching at the National University for Education in Ecuador. She has also worked and volunteered in Haiti, Malaysia, Greece and the UK.

Agnes Orosz

What was it like to give a webinar?

I was really pleased and honoured to have been asked to do a webinar for IATEFL, but it was also an intimidating and daunting prospect. IATEFL is such a well-known organisation, previous webinar speakers include a number of EFL celebrities (like Penny Ur and Scott Thornbury) whose books line my bookshelves, and the last IATEFL webinar I attended had 300 participants! So I planned and prepared for well over a week and had mild heart palpitations every time we encountered technical glitches with the webinar software a few days before the webinar date.

Once the webinar was underway I was fine, and I think it went well. For me the best part was seeing the astonishing number of different countries participants joined in from; from Azerbaijan to Uruguay and everywhere in between. The major challenge for me during the webinar was exactly what I had anticipated it would be; not being able to see participants’ faces. I have 17 years’ teaching experience, during which time I’ve taught countless lessons and held various talks and workshops and presentations. I rarely get nervous about them, even though some (like a 3-hour presentation I held for Ecuadorian English teachers on the new national curriculum for English) had a very large audience. However, I’ve always been able to see my audience or students, and their facial expressions (e.g. nodding, nodding off, furrowed brows etc.) provide me with vital information and feedback about how I’m doing during my lesson or talk. Not having this constant channel of communication during the webinar threw me off sometimes and left me wondering whether I was making any sense at all, so if you watch the webinar you’ll see me a number of times asking a question I rarely need to ask in class: “Does that make sense?”

Another issue was that during the setting-up phase (when we were trying out the video / microphone / handouts etc. with Mercedes, the host), for about half an hour before the webinar I didn’t realise that those participants who had already joined in could hear me. I found this a little embarrassing when I realised they’d been listening in all along!

How I became interested in the topic: differentiation and teaching mixed-level groups

As well as teaching English and teacher training in various settings, I also taught Philosophy A Level in mainstream education in the UK on and off for about 6 years in total. This exposed me to a number of currents in secondary education that were less popular in EFL. One of these was differentiation – the practice of planning and delivering lessons where different students do activities that are in some way matched to their level / ability / preferences or individual needs. Differentiation is a basic requirement of teachers in secondary education in the UK. When the dreaded Ofsted comes to inspect a school, teachers cannot obtain an “outstanding” or “good” grade for their observed lesson unless they demonstrate that they have differentiated their lesson to meet the various needs of their students. This seems to me to be a somewhat neglected area in EFL, my CELTA course didn’t mention it, and during my Delta when I tried to plan observed lessons involving differentiated activities, one of my tutors even discouraged me from doing so! I believe that differentiation – when done effectively – can have a huge impact on students’ progress, motivation and enjoyment of English lessons, and for that reason I believe it is an important area for EFL teachers to focus on more.

Q & A (unanswered from the webinar)

General Questions

When differentiating, I find that the main difficulty is in giving feedback. Any general principles? Tips?

Yes, this gets tricky when students are working on different tasks. I think the only general principle is to try to choreograph feedback such that students receive useful input at their own level. For example, when doing listening tasks, like a song, you can use a video of the lyrics and elicit the song line by line from the students and compare it to the video. This way no matter how many gaps their worksheet had, or where those gaps were, they all learn from whole-class feedback. For other types of listening, you could consider giving them the transcript. For other skills, if students are working in homogeneous groups, you can give them an answer sheet which they can use to check their own answers, and as you circulate you could answer queries at their level. It may even happen that students at all levels ask you a specific question, or struggle with a similar issue which you can then deal with in whole class feedback.

In mixed groups, how can you encourage lower-level students to participate in speaking activities?

Good question. Again, I think this is tricky, because lower-level students will tend to shy away from speaking out; they worry it will take too long to say what they want to, or that they’ll say it wrong and look foolish in front of their more competent classmates, and as we know higher-level students have a tendency to just take over. I think one very powerful tool is to use the relationships and personalities you have in your classroom to pair or group students together who can overcome this dynamic. I mean pair the weakest / shiest student with the most nurturing higher- (or medium-) level student(s). Be aware of friendship (and animosity) groups. Make your expectations of equal speaking time clear. You could even have a little form they have to fill out at the end of the activity reflecting on the percentage of speaking time of each group member. Another strategy is to organize speaking tasks in such a way that the lower-level students simply have to speak, because otherwise the task cannot be performed. For example, a pair questionnaire where each student will have to report back to the class about their partner.

What is your experience with making groups of students with similar proficiency?

Very positive actually. I work at a university where groups receive English according to how far along they are in their degree course rather than their actual level of English, so the result is very mixed-level classrooms. I often teach these groups in 3 levels where the students of similar levels sit together and work together on tasks appropriate to their level. Sometimes I allocate students to these levels, other times I let them choose their challenge level for a particular activity or skills-based work. Some of my students are better listeners than speakers for example, so they might choose level 2 for listening, but level 1 for a speaking class. I find that, in general, students enjoy this way of learning, as higher-level students feel stretched, and lower-level students feel supported.

Questions about the Movie Project

[Note: The project was described during the webinar, which you can watch the recording of if you’re an IATEFL member. If you’re not, find out how to join.]

How scaffolded or structured was the movie project?

Students had a timeframe to work to and tasks they had to complete by internal deadlines within the timeframe, e.g. for handing in the final draft of their script, for submitting their final edited film, etc. Apart from that they were pretty much left to their own devices. During class time I was monitoring the groups closely and floating around in case they needed me, and would provide the help they needed as and when they necessary. As a lead-in to the project, we read a class reader aloud together with students playing various roles, so they began to get the idea of a script, and we read a movie review. I also encouraged them to look at excerpts from film scripts and to watch Oscars acceptance speeches by their favourite actors.

How did you assess the project?

There were grading criteria for each task, mainly related to language use and effort. In the end they received an individual grade based on things like accurate use of grammar and vocabulary, clear pronunciation etc. and a group grade that was made up of more general criteria relating to the whole project, which included how well they worked as a team, how effective their storyline was, and whether or not they were nominated for awards and whether they won any.

Do they do it at home or in groups at school?

They had a certain amount of class hours dedicated to the project and the rest they had to do at home. The filming took place almost entirely outside of class hours.

How long were the movies?

5-15 minutes long

How much did they use L1 while working on this project in class?

To be honest, they used a lot of L1. It was a monolingual group of Ecuadorian teenagers around 13-14 years of age, so when they were working in groups making decisions about how to organize themselves and each part of the task, this went on almost exclusively in L1. Clearly in a multilingual group or if I had insisted on it, these negotiation tasks would be a very rich environment for language development, but I didn’t feel it was worth the trouble in this case partly because it would have been near impossible to enforce and partly because I felt they had so many opportunities to practice their English at various stages of the task: first, they had to write the script in English, almost all groups went through various drafts of the script before they decided on their final version, then they had to learn their lines including the correct pronunciation and intonation and repeat their lines various times in rehearsals and during filming, then they had to watch all the films in English, then they had to nominate winners for the Oscars, then write their acceptance speeches in case they won an award, and then deliver their acceptance speeches if they won. It is of course up to you how far you feel your group will respond to being asked to work in English. I felt that with this particular group it would have been a losing battle, which may have even been counterproductive in that it might have taken the wind out of their sails a bit. The level of motivation, engagement and enjoyment I saw from this group was higher during this task than any other I did with them before or since.

Questions about assessment and evaluation

Many of the questions I received had to do with assessment, perhaps because I didn’t talk about it in my webinar, and thanks to these questions I can see that this was an oversight. Indeed, these are important questions; if students are doing not only different work, but work of different levels, how is it possible to evaluate them?

Should every student in a group get the same mark?

It depends. I think each task needs fresh evaluation criteria, and for some tasks a group grade will be fair and sufficient and for other tasks it will not. I often have students work together in groups, but give them individual grades, or have an individual component. I also often include a peer-assessment and self-assessment element in a final grade, so it isn’t only my judgement that counts. I have also found it helpful to ask group members to declare what percentage of the work they feel they did: did they pull their weight or not? Many students are surprisingly honest about this.

Do you have different assessment criteria for stronger – medium – weaker students?

Again it depends on the task, but generally yes. When tasks or worksheets are differentiated, it is fairly straightforward to evaluate what the student has managed to achieve within their level.

At my university recently I was teaching a mixed-level group that I regularly taught in 3 differentiated levels at the same time, and the final exam itself had 3 different levels. I let each student know which exam I was intending to enter them into and those that were borderline between two levels could decide whether they wanted to go for the harder exam or the easier one. Some, predictably, chose the easier exam, but a surprising number took the challenge and went for the harder exam.

Thank you to Agnes for sharing her experience of conducting an IATEFL webinar, and for answering the remaining Q&A questions for the blog. If you’d like to write a blog post or present a webinar for us, please contact blog (at) iatefl (dot) org.

You can find out more about upcoming webinars on the IATEFL website. If you are an IATEFL member, you can access the recordings and slides from all of our webinars in the members’ area. If you’re not, you can join here.

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IATEFL YLTSIG – Supporting Teachers of Children and Teenagers for 30 Years (by David Valente & Christina Giannikas)

Young Learners and Teenagers SIG is one of IATEFL’s 16 Special Interest Groups and a key part of the Association’s worldwide network of English language teaching professionals. YLT SIG has developed over the past 30 years to redress the general ‘adult default’ focus in much of ELT. The SIG’s position is that children and teenagers have varied sets of needs, rights and age-related differences which need to be carefully prioritised in YLT English language teaching.

A selection of stock photos showing teachers and students

Photos (C) Shutterstock

YLT SIG’s Mission

Our mission is to lead, drive change and set standards in teaching English to children and teenagers (2 – 17 years old) for training and development, classroom practice and assessment. We aim to provide practical advice regarding different models of YL ELT (e.g. EFL, EMI, CLIL), age-appropriate pedagogy, and child-safe recruitment, as well as suitable ELT qualifications for young learner teachers. Our members include classroom practitioners, teacher trainers, researchers, academic managers and materials/content developers working in both state and private sectors worldwide.

A selection of stock photos showing teachers and students

Photos (C) Shutterstock

Pearl Jubilee Events & Publications

Children Learning English cover, published by YLT SIG and Garnet Education

We have provided members a variety of exciting commemorative events and publications to mark the SIG’s Pearl Jubilee (30th anniversary) during the past year. This started with the YLTSIG-Garnet Education book Children Learning English: From Research to Practice. This ambitious editorial project was led by current SIG Joint Coordinator, Christina Giannikas, and supported by former Committee members, Lou McLaughlin, Gemma Fanning and Nellie Deutsch Muller. The book is an interesting collection of 16 articles covering topics ranging from CLIL to teacher training, and materials development to classroom practice, all from a variety of contexts and YL age ranges (early years, primary and secondary).

Pearl Jubilee edition of the YLT SIG newsletter

YLT SIG Publications Editor / current Joint Coordinator, David Valente, also edited the Special Pearl Jubilee Edition of the SIG newsletter, launched alongside the SIG-Garnet book at the 50th IATEFL Conference in Birmingham in 2016. This fascinating collection charts 30 years of developments in our field. It provides both recognition and a celebration of YLT and is a must-read for members old and new.

During our SIG Day at the 2016 Birmingham Conference, we also hosted the Pearl Anniversary Symposium, Realbooks to picturebooks: 30 years of illustrated literature in ELT. This was expertly delivered by former SIG Coordinator Sandie Mourão, along with Gail Ellis, Janice Bland, Smiljana Kovac and one of the YLT SIG’s founders, Opal Dunn, famous for her pioneering work with picturebooks for the past fifty years. IATEFL members can read an article based on the symposium in IATEFL 2016, Birmingham Conference Selections.

New website and logo

In October 2016, we launched our new SIG website along with a commemorative 30th anniversary logo.

IATEFL YLT SIG 30th anniversary logo

Joint Coordinator, David Valente led on the website’s development which is full of up-to-date content, including professional development ideas for YLT professionals. A particular highlight for both members and non-members is the 28 downloadable back issues of the SIG newsletter, spanning 1998 – 2012.

The new website has enabled us to start a monthly blog where we feature guest bloggers who share ideas, experiences and reflections on YLT from a range of children’s and teenagers’ contexts around the world.

Web Conference, 24 – 26 February 2017

Our Pearl Jubilee celebrations will culminate with what’s promised to be the biggest YLT online event of the year – the SIG’s inaugural web conference, ‘30 Pearls of YLT Wisdom’. Featuring 30 speakers, each giving a 30-minute talk on a different area of YL ELT, the event will include talks for teachers of all YL age ranges. The web conference has been spearheaded by Joint Coordinator, Christina Giannikas and all SIG committee members will be hosting during the 3 days. You can meet them all here.

YLT SIG 30th anniversary web conference presenters

In addition, we’re delighted to announce that we have a new SIG YouTube channel! Watch our first video with IATEFL Past President, Carol Read, then click SUBSCRIBE to follow us:

Meet YLT SIG

Join us at the 2017 IATEFL Glasgow Conference in the Lomond Room at the SECC on Tuesday 4 April for our SIG Day. There is also a special evening event afterwards, at 19.30 – 21.00, where you can enjoy some specially prepared Scottish nibbles, a wee nip of whisky and other drinks! You will discover how being a member of YLT SIG can really benefit you professionally. Along with the other IATEFL SIGs, we invite you to meet our committee members and hear all about planned SIG activities for the coming year.

Bios

David Valente & Christina Giannikas: IATEFL YLT SIG Joint Coordinators

 David Valente

David Valente has 20 years’ ELT experience which has included authoring teachers’ handbooks and courses for primary and secondary curriculum development as well as methodology training in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australasia. He is also an online tutor for Bell Delta Modules 2 and 3 courses, specialising in training candidates who teach children and teenagers. David has a MAppLing in YL Programme Management and currently works as Director – Professional and Pedagogical Development for Laureate International Universities, Thailand. He is also an online & face to face tutor for the new CELT-P and CELT-S qualifications for mainstream teachers of English.

Christina Nicole Giannikas

Christina Nicole Giannikas holds a Ph.D in Applied Linguistics, specifically in the area of early language learning, and works for the Language Centre of Cyprus University of Technology. She is an Instructor for an MA in CALL and a Language Instructor for English for Specific Academic Purposes. She is also a teacher trainer, and a freelance materials writer and editor. Her research interests include Computer Assisted Language Learning, Young Learners and new technologies, interactive language learning and teaching through the use of technology, online learning and teaching, early language learning and the use of games in the language classroom in any shape or form.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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Editing IATEFL Conference Selections (by Tania Pattison)

Very soon, you will find the latest issue of IATEFL Conference Selections coming through your letter box – or into your inbox if you have opted for the digital version. In this blog post, editor Tania Pattison tells you how this publication is put together and what her role involves.

What is Conference Selections?

Conference Selections is IATEFL’s annual collection of reports of papers delivered at the Conference. The Birmingham issue contains 96 papers – some are reports of plenary talks and key events such as the IATEFL/ELT Journal debate and the Hornby Scholars’ talk, but the majority are reports of individual sessions. It is a refereed publication with print and online distribution to individual members in over 100 countries and is intended to give a taste of the Conference to IATEFL members who could not be there in person. The publication was introduced in 1997 when Simon Greenall was President and is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2017.

20 years of Conference Selections

20 years of Conference Selections

How did you become involved with Conference Selections?

I am the publication’s fourth editor. The first was Peter Grundy (1997–1999), followed by Alan Pulverness (2000−2004) and Briony Beaven (2005−2009). I took over with the Harrogate Conference in 2010, but my preparation began much earlier. In late 2008, I saw an advert in Voices for a new editor. At that time I was a full-time EAP teacher, and I had a background in materials development. I had been an IATEFL member for five years, and I wanted to become more involved with the organisation. I applied, had an interview and got the job.

I spent the next year ‘shadowing’ Briony; I also signed up for courses in copy-editing, proofreading and educational publishing through Ryerson University in Toronto. Contributors are often surprised to learn that I do not work at IATEFL’s Head Office in the UK. I am based in Canada (I’m a British expat), and I work mostly from home.

What does your role entail?

Putting an issue of Conference Selections together takes nine months. Work begins with the Conference, where I give my annual talk on writing for publication. The deadline for submission is usually around two months after the Conference (this year’s deadline is 29 May 2017). Some papers come in right after the Conference, but the majority arrive within two or three days of the deadline. I often stay up all night before the deadline, drinking tea and acknowledging papers as they flood in.

When a paper arrives, I make a copy of it and remove all identifying details – name, location, school, etc. These versions are sent to my editorial committee, who spend the summer reading and commenting on the papers. I’ve been fortunate to work with some dedicated and well-informed team members – Edward de Chazal, Chris Lima, Siân Morgan, Sandie Mourão and Amos Paran. Edward and Amos are still on the team, and they will be joined in Glasgow by Jennifer MacDonald. Every paper is given a grade; while these are important, the comments are even more so – it is often these comments that I base my decisions on.

As I get feedback from my editorial team, I start to map out the issue. Planning the chapters is harder than it sounds. If someone writes a paper on, for example, using technology to teach writing to teenagers, does it go in the chapter on technology, on teaching writing or on working with young learners? My difficult decisions about which papers to include are made after all the reviews are in. Not everything can be published, and it’s always hard to decline a paper; I know how much work goes into them.

Most of the actual editing happens in the autumn. When I was working full-time, I carved out time in the evenings and at weekends for this. I’m now freelance, so I can set aside larger chunks of time. When I’m done, the manuscript goes to IATEFL’s copy-editor, Simon Murison-Bowie, who polishes the text. Simon is integral to the entire process; he is not only a talented copy-editor, he also takes on the role of project manager once the manuscript lands on his desk. Another key player in the process is our designer/typesetter Keith Rigley, who miraculously manages to make everything fit within the 240-page limit.

Writers learn the outcome of their submissions in November. At that stage, we deal with queries and make any changes and corrections to the document. It is not unusual to go through six or seven sets of proofs – with a 240-page collection, it takes time to get it right.

Sometime in January, after spending far too many hours staring at proofs, I write an email to Simon saying ‘print’, take a deep breath and hit the ‘send’ key.

What do you get out of this role?

Well, there is a payment attached to the position, but that is far from being the only benefit. After editing more than 700 Conference reports, I have learned a huge amount about aspects of ELT that I am not personally involved in. It is also enormously satisfying to help new writers to find their voice and to get into print, and it’s thrilling to edit the papers of established ELT experts.

It’s also great to play a role in an organisation that has meant so much to me since I became a member in 2003. IATEFL is my professional home; it is my main source of professional development as well as one of the few places I find a community of like-minded people. I am happy to give back to the organisation that has given so much to me; for the same reason, I joined the MaWSIG committee in 2016.

Anything you don’t like about it?

The most difficult thing by far is telling writers they have not been successful. I know how important it is for writers to be published, and I hate to disappoint people.

How has this role influenced your career?

I’ve realised over the years that working with words is what I enjoy most. I am never happier than when I’m sitting by the fire in my home office, grappling with a piece of text that isn’t flowing quite smoothly, or where the grammar is not quite right. My work with Conference Selections has actually prompted me to take my career in a new direction. In 2012, I went freelance. I do some materials writing and curriculum design, and I still do a bit of EAP teaching – but a large part of my business is now editing. As I write this, I am working on editorial projects with publishers in the UK and US; I am also doing an increasing amount of copy-editing with individual clients. Ironically, as I develop my editing business, I am moving beyond ELT and into other fields; I have recently copy-edited texts on archaeology, history, computer technology, fine arts and more. None of this has anything to do with ELT, but my enjoyment of this work started with Conference Selections.

Where can I get more information on writing for Conference Selections?

I will be giving a talk on ‘How to write successfully for IATEFL Conference Selections’ on Friday 7 April 2017 at 8.15 am. If you’re presenting in Glasgow, do come along!

About Tania

Tania Pattison

Tania Pattison has been editor of Conference Selections since 2010. She is also Deputy Publications Coordinator of MaWSIG. She is a freelance writer and editor specialising in EAP and academic materials. Her website is www.contextacademics.com

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI) (by Dr. S. Rajagopalan)

Introduction

Our Association had a humble beginning and has grown into one of the largest professional associations of teachers in the world just like a tiny seed becoming in course of time a big Banyan tree. It started with just six members, all belonging to just one city, Chennai, and has grown into a fairly big organization with 3864 members and 40 chapters in different parts of our country. You may wonder how it happened. Well, it is quite an interesting saga.

Journal first, Association later!

It is interesting to note that our Journal was started first and our Association much later. Why and how did it happen? As early as 1974, The Journal of English Language Teaching (JELT) —the first of its kind in our country — was published, thanks to one of the well-known educationists of that time, the late Padmashree S. Natarajan. He really wanted to start a professional association of teachers of English but he knew that teachers would not join it and pay a subscription without some incentive. So he decided to tell teachers they would get a free copy of the Journal if they joined the English Language Teachers’ Association once it was started.

The Journal of English Language Teaching was thus first started and it provided an opportunity for the teachers to get themselves acquainted with recent research findings in the teaching of English and also share their experiences with others. He priced it just a rupee per copy and almost single-handedly promoted its sale. He visited schools and colleges and requested them to subscribe for it. Purely out of pure regard for him some subscribed, but he didn’t give up. He wrote letters to the heads of a few well-known educational institutions in the state requesting them to subscribe for the Journal. He did not have a typewriter nor anyone to assist him and he was, in fact, in poor health with failing eyesight, but with missionary zeal he wrote letters with his own hand and thus did the canvassing. Then there was also the paucity of articles for publication. He requested his close friends — one or two — to write almost for every issue. The point is the Journal saw the light of day only due to the persistent efforts of this old man. At the beginning only a hundred copies were printed and in fact some remained unsold. But he didn’t give up and soon the circulation went up. But unfortunately it never went beyond 400 copies or so.

ELTAI is born!

Eleven years later — in 1985 — Mr. Natarajan started the English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI). A small group of teachers, including the writer — just six of us — met at his residence. We had a discussion on the importance of professional development of teachers as a key factor in enhancing the standards of education in our country. At that time there were only trade unions of teachers concerned with working for the improvement of their service conditions. At our meeting he mooted the idea of starting an Association of teachers concerned with organizing teacher development programmes — seminars and workshops — for them. We all agreed and assured him of our help in his great venture. He said enrolment of members of the new association would be easier if we said all members of the Association would get a free copy of Journal. Thus our Association came into being and we were able to enrol about 256 members only.

Promoting ELTAI — New strategies

After the passing away of our Founder in 1974, a new team of office-bearers took charge of the Association and decided to carry forward the good work initiated by him, adopting certain new strategies.

For enrolling members it was decided to conduct a number of workshops, seminars and refresher courses for teachers of English. Schools and colleges were contacted and they were told no fees would be charged for their teachers to attend these staff development programmes.

At the events we organized teachers were told about the benefits of joining ELTAI – a free copy of our Journal, opportunities provided for the improvement of their teaching competence, interacting with ELT professionals and also for getting their papers published in our Journal. This strategy is working well and we still have teachers coming forward to join ELTAI.

Another strategy adopted was to provide cash awards for teachers undertaking action research and also for using ICT tools in teaching English. The allotment of some subsidised memberships offered by IATEFL to our members has also helped to enrol new members, besides familiarizing them with the great work done by IATEFL.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

There are two Special Interest Groups — English Literature SIG and Computer Technology SIG — both of which quite active. The former has been running an e-journal — Journal of Teaching and Research in English Literature — for the past five years. The other SIG has been publishing its own e-journal — Journal of Computer Technology for ELT. These two open access journals may easily be accessed on the web by clicking on the direct links given to on the home page of our website at www.eltai.in

IATEFL and Hornby Trust Projects

ELTAI was the first recipient of the IATEFL Project grant along with another country in Europe. We received a handsome grant of GPB3000 for our innovative project on Training the Trainers in Virtual Learning. A group of 17 teachers were selected from all over the country and were trained in using web tools in ELT. They were then required to train teachers in their area.

Training our teachers - a room of teachers at computers

Another project undertaken by our Association, with support from the Hornby Trust, UK, was on training teachers in using smart phones for the teaching and learning of English.

The project now in progress relates to our ‘Shakespeare lives – 2016’ celebrations undertaken in collaboration with the British Council in six different cities in India. Competitions for students in soliloquies, a quiz and enacting a scene from one of Shakespeare’s plays are some of the events. Seminars are being organized for teachers for discussing the relevance of  the playwright’s works for all ages and cultures.

Annual conferences

Conference - teachers watching a presentation

We hold our annual conferences regularly and they are international too. They are attended by not less than 600 teachers every year.

ELTAI: an Associate of IATEFL

As an Associate of IATEFL, we are able to provide a fixed number of subsidized memberships of the world organization to our members. Almost every year a member is sent to attend the IATEFL conference with some financial assistance from us. A few have won IATEFL scholarships too to attend the international event. There have been a few contributions too from our members during the recent years for publication in Voices [the IATEFL magazine/journal which all members receive for free].

We have had a few IATEFL representatives too at our annual conferences — Peter Grundy when he was the President, as well as Jeremy Harmer, Eric Baber and George Pickering.

Online Discussion Forums

Opportunities for our members to interact with one another and also to give them updates about our association are provided by our Google group discussion forum. Members of the Computer Technology for ELT SIG have got a separate online forum too.

Collaboration with the British Council

The British Council has been collaborating with us in a range of our activities for a number of years now. It provides a plenary speaker for our annual conferences. Along with the IATEFL and Hornby Trust it has provided support to us in carrying out successfully our projects on virtual learning and mobile learning. It has also sponsored an ELTAI member to attend the IATEFL annual conference in some years.

Looking ahead

Our target for the current year is to enrol at least another 500 members.

We hope to start a separate website for providing the e-version of our Journal. At present members may access it only on our website.

If you’d like to find out more about ELTAI or our journals, you can visit the websitefacebook or Twitter.

About Dr. S. Rajagopalan

Dr S Rajagopalan

A former British Council scholar, an alumnus of the London University Institute of Education and former Professor and Dean, Annamalai University in South India. Patron, ELTAI.  He can be reached at srajagopalan7 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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Research Special Interest Group (ReSIG) (by Nicola Perry)

IATEFL ReSIG logo
The Research Special Interest Group (ReSIG) brings together people who are interested in doing research in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). It is a broad organisation made up of, not only academics, but also other practitioner researchers, especially a growing number of teachers engaged in action research. The SIG aims to promote and support early-stage practitioner researchers taking their first steps in research. In addition, we provide a professional home for more experienced researchers who wish to engage with a community addressing key issues within ELT research and practice.

Publications

ReSIG’s mission to promote and support teacher researchers is borne out by three publications in the last two years: Teacher-researchers in Action, Teachers Research!, both published in 2015, and Teachers Engaging in Research, published in 2016*. These publications are the result of support for projects encouraging research, followed by conferences to present it. Teachers Research! was the result of an event in 2014. This in turn led to an event in Turkey in 2015 which produced Teachers Engaging in Research. In 2016, there was the ‘Teachers Research! Chile’ conference, from which we eagerly await the next publication.

Other regular publications include an annual newsletter, containing not only research papers but other articles related to research and classroom practice, book reviews, reports on events and interviews. We also produce an e-news mailing for our members three times a year to keep them up-to-date with regular events and webinars.

Events

A regular event in the ReSIG calendar is the online discussion. Running 3 or 4 times a year over a 2- or 3-week period, the discussion centres on a theme, defined by a series of questions, concepts or readings. The most recent one was entitled ‘Views of ELT History’ and was a warmer for the ReSiG pre-conference event in Glasgow in April 2017. I imagine, like me, most people would not think English language learning and teaching has much of a history. However, we all have views about the past which may influence our view of the profession and our place in it. We often assume that things have progressed and that the present is an improvement on what went before. From this discussion, it seems that there may be a lot of ‘myths’ or clichés about the past which historical research can dispel – for example, particular views about how methods have developed, or how much or how little teachers used to use the students’ mother tongue or ‘communicative activities’ in their practice. The profession is much older than I imagined and its history is fascinating. The discussion is available to everyone and can be found on our Yahoo group. The easiest way to access it is through the ReSiG website.

Opportunities to present research are important to academics and teachers alike so a key element of what we do is supporting conferences and offering scholarships to attend them. This year, the 2nd RESIG Teacher Research Conference took place at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul. Held in June, plenary speakers included Derin Atay, Anne Burns, Kenan Dikilitaş, Judith Hanks, Richard Smith and Mark Wyatt. The speakers highlighted recent developments in teacher research with a focus on different aspects of research engagement.

Earlier in the year, a significant event for ReSIG was the conference for teacher-research in ELT, ‘Teachers Research! Chile 2016′, held on 19 March 2016. The conference was supported by the British Council Aptis for Teachers and IATEFL ReSIG. It also offered two scholarships which enabled teachers from Argentina and Brazil to attend. The two scholarship winners were Laura Aza from Argentina and Debora Oss from Brazil. They each gave excellent poster presentations. Under the slogan, ‘Presentations of research by teachers across Latin America for other teachers’, the conference attracted around 150 participants, with presenters coming from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. The event was remarkable for placing teachers at centre-stage from beginning to end.

In 2017, we are supporting an online event, Classroom-based Research for Professional Development EVO 2017. The aim of this project is to provide a hands-on introduction to inquiry-based teacher development, especially for teachers working in difficult circumstances (large classes, low-resource classrooms, etc.). The project takes participants through different stages of teacher-research, engaging them in practical activities which will gradually build their confidence in this area.

IATEFL Research SIG Pre-Conference Event, Glasgow, 3rd April 2017

This one-day event aims to show how uncovering ELT history can provide useful new perspectives, both for our own professional practice and for the field more generally. The day-long workshop will be of interest and use to practising teachers and teacher educators as well as to students currently researching their own topics, historical or otherwise.

The day will be led by Richard Smith and Friederike Klippel. Richard is a Reader in ELT & Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick, where he teaches and supervises MA and PhD students. Friederike Klippel held the Chair of English Language Education (ELT/TESOL) at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich from 1994 to 2015. In the academic year 2016-17 she is guest professor for TEFL at the University of Vienna. She has published on a wide range of aspects concerning English language teaching and language teacher education.

This PCE is proving very popular but you still have time to get the early bird discount rate if you get your booking in before 12 January.

Find out more

If you are interested in learning more about the ReSIG, please take a look at our website to find out about our events and upcoming webinars. You can download the books discussed earlier and you should take a look in the Resources section. There is a plethora of useful, interesting and exciting material in there. A real treasure trove! Go and have a look!

We’re also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/iateflresig and you can follow us on Twitter @IATEFLresig.

We are always happy to welcome new members. Please come and join us!

*References 

Teacher-researchers in Action, edited by Kenan Dikilitas, Richard Smith and Wayne Trotman (2015)

Teachers Research!, edited by Deborah Bullock and Richard Smith (2015)

Teachers Engaging in Research, edited by Kenan Dikilitas, Mark Wyatt, Judith Hands and Deborah Bullock (2016)

About Nicola

Nicola Perry

Nicola is an EFL teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer, working on projects all over the world and currently in Mauritania. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL. One of her research interests is in developing learner independence and encouraging teachers to become aware of how their own beliefs about education affect what they do in the classroom. She is on the IATEFL Membership Committee and the ReSiG committee.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in ready. If you’re not a member, find out more about joining. We look forward to hearing from you!

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