Reflection on MOCA 2018 by Saadet Şahin

  • Conference Title: MOCA 2018 , TED University, “Meeting of Change Agents (MOCA) 2018”
  • Participant: Saadet Şahin – Melisa Sarıgül( Student) 

Brief information about the conference (location, the theme(s), keynote speaker(s), the length, etc.):

The “Meeting of Change Agents (MOCA) 2018” Event  was hosted by TED University English Language School on 28th April 2018. 70 participants from 31 different institutions came together to the discuss the dynamics of preparation classes of higher education institutions. The event started with the remarks of Director of TEDU ELS; Dr. Nuray Lük Grove, TED Univesity student representative; Şevval Kır, and lecturer Taşkın Taş on behalf of the hosting team.

 Brief information about my/our presentation:                                  There were not individual presentation sessions in the event. We  joined the focus group meetings to disscuss the questions related to ‘Learner Engagement’ during teaching and learning process in preparation classes. I was in teacher focus group while our student MS Melisa Sarıgül was joining the focus group designed for the students.

 

“Highlights from Conference”

As we all can agree one of the most important aspect of learning a foreign language is learners’ motivation.  Both as a  foreign language learner and teacher we know that intrinsic motivation of the learners help them a lot during their learning process to be aware of their needs and to take the necessary actions which improve them. MOCA 2018 event gathered the two parties who are students and instructors of prep schools to discuss this issue together. It was a very fruitful opportunity  to share the perceptions  and the expectations regarding the process.  In different focus groups for the instructors and students the following questions were discussed:

“How do you define an engaging language lesson?”

“What makes it challanging to keep yourself/your students engaged?”

“How do you eliminate those factors and keep yourself / your students engaged?”

“ How can we develop institutional approaches to learner engagement?”

After focus group disscussions all participants came together to share and finalize the outcomes of the focus groups meetings. During the pleanary session  more student centered teaching, using educational technologies actively, using social media efficiently for educational purposses, avoiding exam oriented sytems,  enabling real life situations to use the foreign languge, having extra curricular activities and providing more internationalisation in prep schools were suggested as alternative actions that can be applied for more motivated language learners. In addition to these; having activities which can provide chances to make emphaty between students and teachers was suggested to foster the learners’ engagements.

The most important aspect of this event  having the students who are the most important parties of prep schools in the event and providing them opportunity to share their feelings and expectations with their instructors.

Our student Melisa Sarıgül who  attended this event as a representative of our students also agrees on this point. She expressed that mostly the students are not aware of how important their motivation is  during this learning experience and mostly they expect everything from their school. Providing these kinds of opportunities which enables students to cooperate with their instructors can help a lot to  create mutual understanding between students and instructors and create awereness for a more successful and active learning process.

Next year MOCA 2019 event will be hosted by Sabancı University. I do believe that using these kinds of events and opportunities can help us a lot to improve our  learner engagement strategies. Sharing next year’s event with our students can be a nice opportunity to engage them more.

More information about the meeting can be found on the webpage of the event. The photos and videos from Moca 2018 are available in that web page.           MOCA Turkey

Reflection on “derdieDaF” Conference by Pınar Akkoç & Handan Yıldız

Modern Languages Program German Instructors Handan Yıldız and Pınar Akkoç attended the “derdieDaF” Conference held on May 12 in Point Hotel. The conference was organized by one of Germany’s biggest publishing houses “Klett”. Some of the presentation topics were: “Motivating the Class and Keeping Its Motivation High” and “Integrating games in German lessons”. There was one specific session about the coursebook series “Netzwerk”. As the Özü German group is going to use this coursebook in the ‘18/’19 academic year this session was fruitful. Instructors had the chance to get insight about how to make the most of the opportunities this coursebook provides.

Reflection on IATEFL 2018 by Nazlı Öztürk

  • Conference Title: 52nd IATEFL Conference and Exhibition 2018 Brighton
  • Presentation Title: What is beyond the classroom?
  • Presenter: Nazlı Öztürk
  1. Brief information about the conference

52nd IATEFL Conference and Exhibition, one of the major international events in the field of ELT took place in Brighton, UK this year. Brighton is a lovely coastal town which is warmer and brighter compared to the other parts of England. Besides, luckily, the conference was held in two buildings by the sea: Brighton Hilton Hotel and Brighton Centre a few blocks apart from each other forming a wonderful scenery attendees rushing from pillar to post trying to catch the next presentation they are interested in. IATEFL conference is a huge event that lasts 5 days, starting with the pre-conference events on the first day and those events include the meetings of the SIGs which stands for Special Interest Groups concentrating on different areas of interest in ELT such as ESP, Learning Technologies, Leadership & Management and Business English. Members of these SIGs attend those meetings and a separate admission fee is required to be paid to be able to attend. However, the Welcome Reception and Party is also held on Monday and the Exhibition officially starts on the first day. In the following days, presentations commence each day starting with a “How to” session followed by a Plenary Session. This year’s plenary speakers were Lourdes Ortega, Dorothy Zemach, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, Barry O’Sullivan and John Agard and they all had powerful and wonderful speeches. After that each time slot provided at least 20 different presentations simultaneously that attendees can choose from according to their interests. It is not that easy to choose one from the program and head to a different room where the next talk will be but there was an application which made our lives easier since it provided all the data about the coming talks, information about them and their location, so it was easier to choose one from the coming talks and add it to the list and easily go to the next talk that would take place in another room, most probably far from where we were at that moment. The presentations ended at 18:10 in the evening; however, it didn’t mean that we could go back to our hotel and sleep. There were evening events between 7pm and 9pm planned by the conference committee providing a wonderful opportunity for making new friends.  During the day, the exhibition hall served as an international showcase of the latest resources, services and publications from course providers, publishers, digital innovators, game companies and many more. The exhibition also hosted the IATEFL Job Fair where people could meet with employers and browse vacancies. This year almost 3000 ELT professionals attended IATEFL Brighton and it was a wonderful event that any ELT professional should attend at least once in a lifetime.

2. Brief information about my presentation:

In my presentation, I shared our students’ potential difficulties in relating foreign language classroom practices to their daily lives. In order to create this link, I created some projects and tasks considering the objectives in our syllabus and shared my experience with the audience. Firstly, I talked about our setting and the problems of my students. To be specific, although my students are following a programme of English to be able to embark on their chosen tertiary courses at the university, they concentrate only on their short-term goals – passing the English exams, and forget their long-term goals – the importance of learning English for their future careers.  They are also generally indifferent to the opportunities offered by the university.

To gather data on the subjective needs of my learners, I interviewed them on their interests, future plans, learning styles, departments and reasons for studying at this university. What they had in common was that they wanted to go abroad for educational reasons and were curious about their faculty and university courses.   This paved the way for me to prepare lessons using resources outside the classroom.

Lesson Ideas

 Kolb (1984) states that learning becomes meaningful when enriched by the transformation of experience so, to address their interests, to help them practise skills and strategies in the syllabus objectives and to help them realize the opportunities at the university, I assigned them a variety of projects and designed lessons using

  • the university web site

To help students practice skimming and scanning strategies in a meaningful way, I created a poster about the Erasmus programme from the university website as this was related to their future plans of going abroad for educational reasons.

  • interviews with first-year faculty students

A common interest centred on the differences between the Prep programme they were on and the university faculty they were aiming for, so I assigned them a mini project in which they interviewed a first-year student to find out these differences. Another lesson was to write a summary and response paragraph through a mini research project. In this way, they practised making a summary using the data.

  • working at ÖzÜ X, the entrepreneurship and innovation base of the university

There was a course book unit on Innovation so I took them to the ÖzÜ X building which not only houses a variety of technological tools but also information on the student entrepreneurs who had studied at the university.  One task was to choose the graduate they considered to be the best innovator and to defend their choice in front of the class.

All in all, the impacts of the lessons were positive. Students were motivated and willing to do more projects related to their field.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

 

  1. “Highlights from Conference”

There were over 500 presentations in IATEFL Conference Brighton 2018 so it was very difficult for me to choose which presentation to attend. Therefore, I decided to attend a talk called “How to get the most out of this conference (with Susan Barduhn)” and this helped me find my way out. In her presentation, the most useful tip was that participants should focus on their own interest in order to benefit and update themselves in their own field. In this way, they can make new friends, build networks and discuss ideas to enrich their knowledge with the other ELT professionals having similar interests. Regarding this advice, I focused on the presentations giving ideas about classroom practices and I would like to share the ones I really liked in the following section.

Systematic Reflection: Minimizing mismatches in classrooms and enhancing learning by Simon Feros & Laura Fairbrother from The University of Queensland, Australia

 In this presentation, Simon and Laura focused on whether our students learn what we teach and perceptual mismatches between teacher intention and student interpretation. They shared their common classroom mismatches including the purpose of activities, teacher/student roles, and learning strategies. This part of the presentation was quiet interesting because it was similar to our experience. They shared the communication problems between the students and the partners teaching the same class.  Then, they presented their ongoing action research into reducing these mismatches through systematic, student-centred reflection and its effect on learner-autonomy. They showed a couple of strategies they used in the classroom during their presentation. I liked the “Stop & Check”, which is used as a reflection moment in the lesson. When students see this sign, they know that their understanding or preference will be checked. And the most useful strategy for me was the “Barometer”. This reflection tool is used for the whole class. They can show how much they understood or how much they liked the topic covered in the classroom using their arms. You can find the detailed information about the strategies mentioned above and more using the link below.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jfsaHK-ZLSq63DaLwhRTxKhGlQ3B7-8n8aGKHU6M8qw/mobilebasic

Forum on Engaging teenage learners: games, digital storytelling and YouTubers

Do teenage ELT students prefer serious learning to playing games? – Elena Peresada (StudyCraft)

This talk was about how we should benefit from the games to motivate our learners. Although her focus group was generally younger than our students, I found the ideas quite useful for our own learners as well. She especially highlighted the type of the games we should be playing with our students. When there is a sense of losing or winning, the students might not want to be in such a competitive environment. Therefore, she suggested that we should remind them the purpose of playing, which is both enjoying and learning. These games should provide learners to choose or prefer how to proceed, so board games and playing card games can be very beneficial. She shared one of the games and how she played it on youtube. You can find the link below.

www.youtube.com/ElenaPeresada

 

Using digital storytelling to explore identities with teenage EFL learners – Alexandra Collins (Living Learning English – Freelance)

In this talk, Alexandra highlighted the importance of developing students’ sense of self via incorporating opportunities for identity exploration. She did kind of a “Movie Project” through which students could create a video on a topic personal to them. These topics were about their hobbies, events or organizations they attended. She thinks that this is a personal way of seeing and making sense of reality. Therefore, this project did not only give them a chance to convey their own message, but also to be autonomous in finding their own mistakes in pronunciation or word choice during the editing process.

 

 

 

 

Reflection on GLOBELT Conference by Esra Çelik Soydan

  • Conference Title: GLOBELT
  • Presentation Title: Extra/co-curricular language development activities in a university context: “What to offer?” and “How to promote”?
  • Presenter: Esra Çelik Soydan

 

Brief information about the conference (location, the theme(s), keynote speaker(s), the length, etc.):

The GlobELT 2018 conference is an international conference on teaching and learning English as an additional language. It is organised to provide a high quality academic platform for the communities of EFL/ESL/ELT and the allied sciences to promote connections between theory and practice, and explore different perspectives on the application of research findings into different practices. This year, it was held in Belgrade, Serbia between 10 and 13 May, 2018.

Plenary Speakers:

 Mehmet Demirezen: The Relation of Pausing in English Sentence Types in Teacher Education

In this speech, the importance of right pausing for the effective communication was analyzed through examples, such as;

“The woman, without her man, is nothing.” and “The woman, without her, man is nothing.”

There were some examples used to make it clear that pausing changes meaning. According to the speaker, this aspect is not paid enough attention in EFL teacher education, but it should be.

He concluded with sample exercises and assignments to be given to the students.

Esim Gürsoy: Mirror, mirror on the wall: Clinical supervision as a model to develop reflective practice

The speaker started with the analysis of “reflection in action” and “reflection on action” and continued with the importance of reflection on action due to its collaborative nature including mentor/supervisor and the mentee. She highlighted the importance of this collaboration for effective reflection and the need to improve this collaboration during the internship period at universities.  As a group, they have been working on this improvement process and they have already trained school teachers from all the cities in Turkey on the techniques used in clinical supervision.

The session was refreshing and attention grabbing thanks to the videos used and the effective delivery of the speaker.

Enrica Piccardo: Exploring the hidden part of the ice-berg: The new CEFR companion volume and the action oriented approach

The speaker started with a brief information about CEFR in laying the foundations for innovation in language education and the innovative aspects of the CEFR 2001.  She, then, continued with the new descriptors in CEFR Companion Volume (CV) 2018.  Mainly, the function of the companion volume will be updating the CEFR, completing the CEFR, broadening the CEFR concepts (mediation), refining pedagogical vision (Action-oriented Aproach), and developing constructs (phonology and pluri). In this companion volume, they aim at making the CEFR principles and concepts more accessible, providing guidance through rationales, highlighting and expanding aspects of the CEFR relating to the complexity theory, the socio-cultural approach, the ecological approach and the intercultural/plurilingual dimension, supporting further innovation (plurilingualism and mediation + strategies), and fostering social justice (transparency, quality education).

Brief information about my presentation:

Abstract of my presentation:

In non-English speaking countries like Turkey students have limited opportunities of being exposed to English except their formal classes despite the ample time they have outside. Since outside-class study is claimed to be a contributor to learner autonomy and skill development (Pearson, 2004) as well as language development (Pickard, 1996), it is important that English preparatory schools offer effective extra/co-curricular language development activities.  However, our knowledge regarding such activities is limited since researches mainly focus on in-class teaching and learning (Benson & Reinders, 2011; Pickard, 1996). To that end, this longitudinal study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of the extra/co-curricular language development activities offered by an English preparatory school in İstanbul, Turkey. The first phase of the study, together with the descriptive analysis of the number of participants, was the qualitative exploration of their effectiveness.  Data was collected from the students through open-ended questionnaires and focus group meetings. Findings showed that although the students attending these activities reported them effective, most of the students were not fully informed of them and their content despite various channels these activities were promoted through. Following the first phase, necessary actions, such as changing the mode of promotion and adding variety to the activities, were taken.  To evaluate the effectiveness of them, the replication of the first phase was completed one year later. The findings are expected to guide English-medium universities by demonstrating the types of activities to be provided and how to promote them effectively.

REFLECTION ON SABANCI UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LANGUAGES INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ENTITLED “PATHWAYS THAT INSPIRE US” BY ÖZLEM KAPLAN AND SULTAN ZEYDAN

Brief Information about the Conference:

The conference, “Pathways That Inspire Us”, was held at Sabancı University on May 4-5, 2018. It presented the participants an opportunity to explore and reflect on the experiences that have shaped and changed them in their career paths. The conference brought together the practitioners, policy makers and researchers to exchange their findings, ideas, and practices through a variety of presentations on personal and professional development, lifelong learning, learning from success and failure, changing pedagogies, curriculum development and assessment as well as learner feedback and autonomy.

Highlights from the Conference:

“Facilitating Language Development through Writing” by Paul Kei Matsuda

Paul Kei Matsuda, the Professor of English and Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University, was the fourth plenary speaker of the conference. During his session he mainly questioned why teachers penalize students for grammatical mistakes in writing. According to Kei Matsuda, we need to shift the emphasis from grammar grading to grammar feedback in writing because grammar grading discourages grammar learning. Instead of punishing students for the grammatical mistakes on their writing papers, we need to let them know where they are, and where they need to be by providing ongoing feedback, and discussing the implications of grammar errors with them openly. He recommended writing teachers to focus more on organization, audience awareness, genre appropriateness, vocabulary development and overall effectiveness rather than grammatical errors. It was nice to listen to Paul Kei Matsuda as he made us reevaluate our approach to teaching writing in terms of giving feedback and grading.

“Shipping Success and Failures in Teachers’ Professional Lives” by Bahar Gün

  

In her session, she highlighted that failure is expected throughout life, but having the ability to learn from failure must be considered a key to success in our professional lives. She supported the idea that we shouldn’t share only our success stories but also the failure stories with each other in order to generate a culture of transparency, eliminate the feeling of hierarchy and facilitate bottom-up innovation. In the first half of her session, we read three failure stories belonging to a teacher, a teacher trainer and a manager, and then discussed the lessons learned from these experiences with her. We really liked the idea that as teachers, teacher trainers and managers we need to encourage learning from past failures, and ask students/colleagues to reflect regularly on them. In the second half of her session, Bahar Gün emphasized the importance of caring qualities, personal relations, moral support and emotions both for teacher-student and mentor-mentee relationships. The session led us to reflect on our own practices in our school and identify the areas that we may need to improve.

 “Genius is Always Present” by Tony Humphreys

Tony Humphreys, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and a specialist lecturer on education, communication and self-realization in University College, Cork, focused his plenary talk on the recent research results indicating a switch from the notion of fixed inherited differences in intelligence to the idea of genius being always present. He shared some stories of individuals that he encountered as a psychologist and educator showing that an individual’s ever present genius will either appear consciously or unconsciously. When conscious genius is present, the individual thrives. However, when unconscious genius is present, the individual goes through many problems and fails in life. During this speech, we have realized that this is where we, as educators, play an important role. Knowing that genius is always present, we have gained a new perspective on “difficult” students, why they might act out at school, and the importance of handling them with a constructive approach.

 

Overall, the conference has been very beneficial and enlightening for us and we hope to benefit from these new ideas and perspectives in the rest of our teaching career.

Week 14: 7-11 May 2018

Dear all,

Please find the news for this week below:

  1. CambridgeWebinar | Encouraging healthy and strong beliefs about language learning 

 

The times of the webinar:

Monday 21 May 2018, 14.00 – 15.00 (UK time)

Wednesday 23 May 2018, 10.00 – 11.00 (UK time)

Links for registration

You can register directly through WebinarJam. This means you will receive fewer emails from us but still get timely reminders about the webinar you have registered for.

REGISTER – Monday 21 May

REGISTER – Wednesday 23 May

What is this webinar about?

Many learners think that being successful language learner is down to natural ability. Such beliefs can have a negative impact on learning outcomes. In this webinar how teachers can create an encouraging environment to help learners develop strong and healthy self-beliefs about themselves and English learning will be discussed.

 

Have a great week!

 

Reflection on 12th IDEA International Conference: Studies in English by Saniye Çancı Çalışaneller

Conference Title: 12th IDEA International Conference: Studies in English
Presentation Title: Politics in Fantasy/Fantasy in Politics: Gore Vidal’s Hollywood
Presenter: Saniye Çancı Çalışaneller

a. Brief information about the conference :
The conference was held on April 18-20, 2018, at Akdeniz University in Antalya and included a wide range of presentations in English and American Studies, British and Cultural Comparative Studies, Translation Studies, and ELT.

b. Brief information about my presentation:
Abstract of my presentation:
Written by American writer Gore Vidal, Hollywood (1990) is one of the seven novels known as The American Chronicle or Narratives of Empire, a series that provides an alternative narrative to official American history. The novel focuses on the body politics and political actors between the years 1917 and 1923 and is concerned with the representation of reality. Vidal is very much aware of the constructed nature of history and particularly “skeptical of official versions” of it because, as he remarks in an interview entitled “Truer Than History” published in The New York Times Book Review, “The official narrator always has one story to tell and, often, a story to suppress” (McGrath 15). In line with this perspective, he re-contextualizes the relationship between Washington D.C. and Hollywood to depict the power relations in shaping the representation of reality. In the novel, Vidal makes use of Hollywood movies as a medium to question how reality is fabricated by certain power structures. In this context, Hollywood revolves around the fact that American film industry is manipulated by the Wilson administration to promote its ideology. Hence, this paper will attempt to unearth how the movie sector is employed to shape the reality outside it by analyzing the ways in which Vidal identifies Washington as a political actor fed by the fantasy world of Hollywood, which could in return affect the course of history.

c. “Highlights from Conference”
The three-day conference included concurrent sessions about Medieval Literature, British Drama, Comparative Literature, Poetry, Translation, Canadian Literature, Shakespeare, Animal Studies, American Popular Culture, 18th & 19th Century Literature, Victorian Period, Drama, Irish Literature, British Novel, American Novel, Postcolonial Literature, Romantics, Gender and Literature, Renaissance Literature, Chaucer, War Poetry, Non-fiction, Welsh Literature, Media Studies, Travel Literature, Science Fiction & Fantasy, ELT, and Linguistics.
I was able to attend the second and the third day of the conference due to my schedule in ScOLa overlapping the first day of the organization. I had to choose some of these concurrent sessions throughout the conference and the ones I picked gave me insight into different areas. Hence, I found the chance to learn about Travel Literature while the presenters explored different travel accounts and visuals. I also had the opportunity to think about the ways in which deconstruction of gender identity works in American Fiction. I was very lucky to follow a session about Postcolonial Literature where hybrid identities were discussed in relation to personal and political history of nations. The session about Utopian-Dystopian Literature provided me with different perspectives about the field and how it has been perceived and interpreted. The session where the presenters focused on the 19th century literary pieces contributed to my knowledge about women’s struggle with patriarchy in the Victorian Age. I was also able to attend a session where I gained better understanding of traditional detective fiction. As for my presentation, I delivered my speech on the second day of the conference and it became a very nice session followed particularly by a group of young audience. All in all, it was a very fruitful conference for me.

Reflection on the 10th FOAI (Forum on Assessment Issues) event by Nurgul Keskin

On 27th-28th April I had the opportunity to attend the 10th FOAI (Forum on Assessment Issues) event at Eastern Mediterranean University in North Cyprus. FOAI is a platform specifically for representatives from assessment teams of a range of universities in Turkey and North Cyprus to come together to discuss assessment issues in university foundation EAP/preparatory programmes.
The themes of the events are chosen considering the responses of participants to the surveys conducted at the previous FOAI events. And the theme of this event was “Item Writing I: Assessing Language Use”. The event started with a plenary session about the major considerations in writing items to assess language use by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Sıdkı Ağazade. He talked about what should be understood from language assessment and item writing in general. The plenary session was followed by a workshop on item writing guidelines. The workshop generated a meaningful dialogue among the participants concerning the terminology of item writing while assessing language use.
After the workshop, we formed focus groups in which we discussed several questions on assessing language use. Each group focused on a different level:
Focus Group A: Lower Levels (A1-A2)
Focus Group B: Intermediate Level (B1)
Focus Group C: Higher Levels (B2)
On the second day of the event, each group prepared a presentation about the outcomes of their discussions and gave a 15-minute presentation to the whole group. The presentations were followed by a reflection session in which we reflected on our own practices and the suggestions offered. At the end of the event, we discussed the next event’s theme, but we could not reach a consensus on it.
Overall, this event gave me the opportunity to meet other professionals in the field of assessment and learn about the activities and approaches to assessment and evaluation of language use in other programmes. It was great to see that we, as Özyeğin University, are on the right track in terms of using appropriate assessment tasks to evaluate our students’ language use in different levels. Our practices here are in line with both the literature and what is expected in reality.

Reflection on the workshop entitled ‘ELT Management in Action’ by Selen Şirin Dülger

I had the opportunity to attend the workshop entitled ‘ELT Management in Action’ that took place in Cappadocia on 27-28 April 2018. The workshop was organized by Pearson and brought the directors of schools of languages across Turkey together. This two-day event started with a gala dinner where the participants had the opportunity to meet the other participants and continued with a full-day workshop on the following day. The second day started with Andy Hockley, a freelance educational management consultant and teacher trainer, who set the scene for the rest of the day. The participants were asked to work in groups of 5-6 people on the given scenario related to management considering the following questions:

  • What do you need to make sure gets organized?
  • Who do you need to talk to?
  • How will you manage this change?
  • What will be done and when?

The groups were supposed to work on the scenario for 2 hours and prepare a presentation that would respond to the aforementioned questions, which was followed by a gallery walk activity. Each group had a presenter who was responsible for sharing their presentations with the other groups and the other group members were supposed to listen to each group’s presentation and make comments and/or ask questions. At the end of this gallery walk activity, Andy Hockley announced winners in different categories such as the best presentation, logistics, change management etc. Afterwards, Andy Hockley summarized all the discussions and shared what he would do if he was to manage the school in the given scenario.

I really liked the idea that the participants were given a scenario which required change management and we were supposed to discuss ways of handling this change and come up with our own plan as a group. During the group work, I had the opportunity to listen to different directors from both state and foundation universities. It was also nice to listen to Andy Hockley talking about why people resist change, how one can handle a change, and models of change management relating them to the given scenario in the final part of the workshop. Finally, I was happy to learn that the group I was a member of got the prize in the category of change management.

 

Reflection on EAQUALS International Conference 2018 by Gulcin Cosgun

Conference Title: EAQUALS International Conference 2018
Presentation Title: Mentoring the experienced: a rare but tasty treat
Presenter: Gülçin Coşgun

1.Brief information about the conference:
The conference was held between 26 – 28 April 2018 in Prague. The 3-day event offers a rich and stimulating programme of professional development for centre owners and directors as well as academic staff.

2.Abstract of my presentation:
With the common belief that mentoring is crucial in the professional development journey of preservice teachers or beginning teachers who are in the earlier years of their career, mentoring programs for experienced teachers as a part of professional development opportunities are rare. The literature also demonstrates that little is known about the process and their impacts on experienced teachers because there are few studies conducted on this issue. Thus, in this presentation a mentoring model implemented with experienced teachers in Turkey will be introduced and the outcomes of a qualitative research that is conducted under the supervision of Professor Derin Atay to examine the perceived impacts of the program will be reported. Research findings may bring about valuable insights to the discussion of designing effective mentoring programs in order to develop the skills and competencies of the experienced teachers.

3. Highlights from the conference:
On the first day there was a full-day management training workshop for the participants. The sessions were conducted by Fiona Dunlop, the Academic Director at Wimbledon School of English, London. She has over 25 years worldwide experience in the field of ELT, including such areas as Teacher Training, Business and Soft Skills Training and Academic Management. It was a thought-provoking and inspiring training because we had time to reflect on how we manage ourselves.
In her sessions, Fiona highlighted that managing a team of teachers is a challenging but rewarding experience and she emphasized that in order to manage others well, we need to ensure that we are managing ourselves. We discussed how we can manage our own stress and management while multitasking on a daily basis. She emphasized the importance of paying particular attention to identifying and addressing our own CPD through self-reflection and self-observation to be able to manage success within our organisations. I really liked the idea of SWOTting ourselves (reflecting on our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). In the last part of the training, she provided some tools to allow individuals to perform to the best of their ability and the participants shared their ideas and experiences on how to manage under performance looking at real scenarios. I loved the quotation she used at the end of the day: “For an individual, moments are the thing. Moments are what we remember and cherish”.

On Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April, there was a rich mix of plenary talks and practical workshops delivered by external experts and representatives of Eaquals-member institutions. The plenaries were delivered by Sarah Mercer, who is a Professor of Foreign Language Teaching at the University of Graz, Austria, Yseult Freeney, Chair of the DCU Masters in Work and Organisational Behaviour/Psychology, and Silvana Richardson, who is the Head of Teacher Development at Bell.
I would like to share my reflections on one of the inspiring sessions in the conference. The workshop was given by John Hughes, who is a teacher, trainer and award-winning author. In his workshop, John emphasized that critical thinking should not be viewed as separate from everyday language learning and teaching and suggested some ways of making critical thinking an integral part of our teaching so that our lesson planning becomes more effective, classroom activities more motivating, and learners more independent. He suggested that we need to ask Wh- questions, give opportunities to students to give an opinion, give reasons and options, compare and contrast and add and exemplify. I also believe that in order for our students to be critical thinkers, we need to provide them with these questions. Even asking them to justify their answers or linking the information to the prior knowledge and making comparisons will give them to opportunity to look at the text critically. As teachers we do not have to do a lot of preparations. We can simply ask the right questions to incorporate critical thinking into our teaching. If you would like to learn more about these, you can visit his blog www.elteachertrainer.com.