Reflections of Selcuk Bilgin, Winner of the 2019 Eaquals Teacher Award Scheme
This year’s Eaquals International Conference was held in Madrid, Spain between the dates 11-13 April 2019, and I had been invited as the guest participant as I was the winner of Eaquals Teacher Award Scheme. With all the participants from different parts of the world, I had the chance to benefit from the best practices, new ideas, knowledge and expertise from a myriad of viewpoints. The conference was perfectly organized and the invited speakers and other presenters were carefully selected. Throughout the conference I attended some plenary sessions and focused group sessions and workshops. Besides, I had the chance to meet people and share our professional and personal interests and experiences.
On my arrival to Madrid, I spent my afternoon in the streets of Madrid, which are full of art and restaurants. Especially restaurants were my point of interest. Though it was a bit chilly outside in the evening time, I enjoyed the scene and the folk passing by me. However, our communication was limited because we both spoke different languages, Spanish and English, but the universal language, body language, fixed the problem while shopping or eating in a restaurant
On the opening day of the conference, after the opening ceremony, I spared my rest of the day to visit Toledo, which is a fantastic historical city just 40 minutes ride from Madrid. I can say that it was a great experience to discover the history of the old town.
The second day started with the plenary talk and award ceremony, in which the Eaquals Teacher Award winner, I, and Eaquals Scholarship winners were introduced. After a short coffee break, the elective sessions started to take place. Mostly I preferred the ones which focused on technology use/integration in classes because the project which I conducted at ScOLa and by which I was awarded the teacher award was tech-based; therefore, I chose them and learnt really nice applications to be used in our classes. Some of these sessions were named as follows;
• Micro blending: The Effective Use of Technology in the Language Classrooms.
• Eaquals Academic Resource Pack: Technology Enhanced Learning. Presentation of Materials.
• Developing life skills and learning through play.
• Experimenting with PBL in the 21st century Classroom.
• Assessing Listening Skills: what, why and how. Preparing learners for tomorrow’s world: Developing executive brain functioning.
Apart from the academic contributions, I had the chance to meet people from different countries and to share our knowledge of expertise, and also to talk about here and there. Meeting people with different backgrounds and experience in ELT and EFL context, I was able to observe and analyse what we are doing here at ScOLa with a different perspective. Based on these observations, I concluded that we are doing our best to create a professional and effective environment and we can still do a lot to modify our teaching because education or teaching/learning is a continuous process and every single day innovations are stepping into our life.