Dear all,

Below you can find the TLDU update for 2018-2019 Academic Year Spring Semester.

1. Continuous Professional Development

Believing in the importance of continuous professional development, we have had various sessions or activities at our school. Below you can find the details of the professional development activities that we had at ScOLa this semester.

1a. IATEFL Resig Conference


The conference committee started working on the preparations for the fifth annual conference of International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) Research Special Interest Group (ReSIG) that we will host in our school and have been meeting regularly to get ready for the smooth running of the whole process. The details will be shared through these update posts on a regular basis.

1b. Common time development sessions

In addition to six idea sharing sessions, this semester there were also 5  faculty reading club sessions in which participants had opportunities to think about and reflect on their current practices and tendencies through reflective dialogues. In total, 90 participants attended the common time development sessions. We would like to thank our colleagues who gave the sessions voluntarily and the ones who attended and contributed to these sessions. We hope we will continue sharing our ideas and expertise with each other in the future 🙂

You can see some comments for the sessions below:

You can find some photos from the sessions below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1c. Research Sessions
Olcay Ergülü, Deniz Kılavuz, Sema Meşincigiller, Tuğba Yıldırım, Burcu Kaldırım, Sultan Düzenli and Azer Doğan completed the first round of the research journey and received their certificates!

They attended the sessions below and completed the necessary requirements:
•The research question
•The introduction and the purpose statement
•Literature Review
•Methodological Design
•Data collection
•Data analysis
•Research ethics
For each session there were suggested articles to read prior to the session. During the sessions, there were group discussions and hands-on-practice in order to internalize the input. The group came up with guidelines to follow in order to utilize while conducting their research. And after the sessions, participants were expected to work on their research.

We wish them good luck in continuing their research!

You can also see some comments from the participants:

1.d. ‘A more sustainable SCOLA’ session
One of our colleagues, Khosro Vahabi, gave a session on the plastic pollution and the ways of being more sustainable at ScOLa.


1.e. ‘How will a successful language school differ in 2025 from today?’ Session by Justin Quin’s Session

Justin Quinn, the Managing Director of CES Centre of English Studies and the current chair of EAQUALS, gave a session on how a successful language school in 2025 will differ from today.

1.f. H5P Activity Module on LMS Session by Ervin Ostos & Jose Cruz

Our colleagues Ervin Ostos and Jose Cruz gave session on The H5P activity module in Moodle 3.5.


1g. Conferences/Trainings/Events attended in & outside ScOLa

Our colleagues from different programs in ScOLa have participated in more than 30 different events with the aim of professional development in and outside Turkey since the beginning of this academic year. You can see the list of the attendees and the events supported this year following the link.

1h. Induction

As usual, the spring module started with a meeting which was held with the participation of Nergis U. and all the new instructors to go over the feedback received for the first half of the induction program and learn about the reflections of the instructors as well as discuss the actions for the new semester. The instructors also attended the peer observation session in which the aims and conventions of the peer-observation were discussed and the peer-observation tool was shared. Throughout the semester there were also in-class observations, video observations, reading and reflection tasks were completed by the participants based on their individual needs. We would like to thank all the participants for their efforts.

2. Extra/Co-curricular Language Development Activities

In order to boost our students’ language skills, we have had the following activities:

2.a. B1 project

Although the B1 project class started with 125 students, 68 students completed it successfully. Students were expected to attend the 90% of the sessions and complete all the oral or written tasks during and after each session as well as the final project which was shooting a short movie. The first phase of the project started with the input sessions/tasks which provided students with the opportunity to read and listen to different views of different parties on the generational differences and challenges of teaching the new generation. All the tasks were in line with B1 level objectives and some of the tasks completed were conducting interviews with their teachers, reporting their interviews in the sessions, participating in group discussions, conducting research on the issue and presenting their findings orally in the classroom. For each task they were assessed based on the criteria that had been shared with them. The second phase of the project started with narrowing their topics down and learning about the features of shooting an effective short movie. They were supposed to choose a problem related to teaching the new generation, to raise awareness of others on the issue and propose a solution directly/indirectly. Each week they also completed a different step (submitting project proposal, describing the characters and main scenes, writing the first draft of their scenario, etc.) and received feedback to make necessary revisions. Since they worked hard, took responsibility and managed their time effectively, they could produce great projects and we would like to share the ones for which we got the permission from students. We hope you will enjoy them.

2.b. ScOLa Clubs

This semester we provided 5 different club activities for our Prep students. It’s nice that the regular attendees gave positive feedback about these clubs. We would like to thank all our voluntary teachers who designed and ran a club this semester, and we hope to continue providing this support next academic year, as well. You can find more detailed information for each club below:

Business English through Board Games Club
Students who are interested in business life attended this club to learn new things about business life and spoke English in business context while playing board games. B1 and B2 students attended this club and mostly students were interested in running their own businesses or working for global companies. At the beginning of the club, I asked all students to prepare a company profile for themselves and create an imaginary profile about themselves which include information about their imaginary workplace, position, qualifications and responsibilities. Students used those profiles while playing the games because we assumed that they are already in business life. Every week we played a different board game and some games required some background information or some vocabulary teaching. After learning those new words or concepts, we started playing games and we had a lot of fun. We met with students ten times and the students who attended more than half of these sessions were eligible to receive a certificate of participation which can be used to earn credit from SEC 101 course. These are the photos and comments from the students.

Cultural Exchange Club

It was offered as an extracurricular activity to B2-level students to facilitate their language learning process through intercultural communication with introductory human geography students at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. Providing an interactive platform for both written and oral communication, this club made a significant contribution to their intercultural communicative competence.

The students from both partner universities introduced themselves on a blog platform and initiated online conversations by commenting on their posts to get to know each other. Then, they worked together in groups to produce knowledge on the student-selected topics below:

❏ Hobbies, free time activities, and sports
❏ Arts, TV, and movies
❏ Food, holidays, and traditions
❏ Tourist locations and transportation
❏ Political and economic situation
❏ Education and campus life
❏ Health care
❏ Fashion

Not only did they explore other cultures through this experience, but they also engaged in self-exploration and deepened their understanding of their own culture while preparing to share in online communications. As each student participated in four video chats with different partners choosing the same topic, this club also promoted authentic collaboration along with technological skills. After completing each video chat, students were also asked to write a follow-up post on the blog that provides further information about the topic covered in the discussion. We concluded this experiential learning process with students’ invaluable reflections on the experience of participating in this club.


*ÖzÜ students communicating on the blog * ÖzÜ students having a Skype conversation

Examples of student comments on the blog:

Student reflections below demonstrate that Cultural Exchange Club helps students improve 21st century skills such as technology literacy, cultural awareness, collaboration, problem solving, flexibility and adaptability as well as oral and written communication.

Some comments from the student evaluations:

B1 Speaking Club
This semester we had B1 speaking club on Tuesdays and Thursdays because of the high participation rate of the students. Every week we had tasks in different topics or grammar objectives according to the curriculum. Some of our tasks were discussion questions related to the topics such as Internet, Culture or Food and Eating Habits. We had board games or other interactive task to practice some grammar topics like Relative Clauses or Passive after those topics were introduced in the classes. In total we met thirteen times on Tuesdays and fourteen times on Thursdays. The regular students who attended more than half of these sessions were eligible to receive a certificate of participation which can be used to earn credit from SEC 101 course. Out of 39 students who signed up for this club 11 of them were eligible to receive the certificate.

B2 Speaking Club

B2 Speaking Club lasted 7 weeks aiming students to explore and develop more insights on some debatable issues such as designer babies, cryptocurrencies, diets and gender equality. During the sessions students were also expected to watch, think and comment on the given talks or short documentaries using the target language forms and vocabulary they studied in the lessons. The topics of the sessions were all aligned with the themes in B2 level syllabus, which made students to feel safe for active participation. The participants attending 60% of the sessions were eligible to receive a certificate of participation which can be used to earn credit from SEC 101 course. 13 of 30 students who signed up for this club were eligible to receive the certificate.

Creative Writing Club
an old silent pond…
into which a frog jumps,
“sound of water”

If you are one of those who have read the haiku above, tried to comprehend what it says for a second and smiled softly afterwards, you and I actually expect the same in terms of quality of a content, the way it is expressed and the feelings it arouses. It is both quite easy and at the same time ‘not’ to define what makes a conversation a good conversation, a poem a good poem or even a small talk a very good small talk. It has been acknowledged by every reader that ‘Harry Potter’ is very good piece of read; but why is it so good? Why do we get a great pleasure and fun from a conversation with someone but not with everyone? Why do we like some songs but not all the songs? The answer is simply the beauty in it, which we can easily find or build just by paying attention to the words; the way they are put in order, how they are uttered one after another and the meanings they show directly and more importantly, subtly, waiting to be unveiled by the reader or listener.

The beauty in expression was my starting point for the creative writing club idea because I believe creativity in expression is what impresses people during a simple conversation, a program presentation as well as in a song or a story. It can turn a possibly boring meeting to a very exciting talk. When beauty and creativity in delivery is lacked, that medium of delivery is no more a well-motivated source of concentration. No wonder why many people despised the last season of Game of Thrones; and no wonder why ScoLa students experience problems with vocabulary, organisation and content in both writing and speaking; both in Turkish and English. However in my opinion, the solution to this deprivation does not lie within the curriculum, the materials and the contents we provide as much as they are not the cause of it. In an academic setting, what is usually aimed is usually about knowledge; its acquisition, implementation and performance, all of which can be analysed, assessed and evaluated. The target is the minds of the students to be more exact. Expression, on the other hand, is not complete when only mind is involved. Feelings must also be taken into consideration and therefore; they should be awakened and provoked so that what is untold and unwritten can be revealed and shared although it cannot be thoroughly assessed. – And I think shouldn’t be.

Now that I have had the chance to give a shot, I decided running a creative writing club about a year ago and a half. I planned it like an environment in which students will not feel the pressure of ‘having to learn some knowledge’. On the contrary, I tried to make it look as friendly and fun as possible where students will feel safe and free to open themselves. Of course I had a lot to show and teach them but this was not forced but hidden in their performance and attendance, not in my syllabus. What I basically did (and still do) was guide them while they are expressing themselves. My ways of guidance included showing a music video, an impressive picture or a touching quote; and asking them what those stimuli made them feel, what they would like to say about them, not what they see. I also asked them to define themselves in peculiar ways and make up ‘deconstructed’ stories about their lifetime up to now. I introduced them with the terms and literary devices like ‘metaphor’, ‘irony’, ‘simile’, ‘personification’ etc. I also let them construct grammatically correct but semantically meaningless sentences by picking up random words from different word groups and asked them to comment on those sentences although they make no sense to common mind but whether sentences like ‘colourless green ideas sleep furiously’ made any sense to them and how they feel about it. Further in the sessions, they wrote comments under videos on Youtube, post or comment under Instagram pictures, tried writing haikus and even rap songs in English. I did not focus on accuracy and form but just to freedom to express themselves beautifully by trying to shift the way they think and their cognition style. I got very valuable feedback from club members saying that the when they managed to change their thinking style, they performed better in their academic tasks.

Below you can find the links to a couple of music videos I used during the sessions and some padlet pages including some work from B1 students in creative writing club.. If you try going back in the comments section of music videos, you might even find comments from our students.

You can also add your ‘feelings’ about the content of this entry and videos I shared below in the comment section under this post.
“Every thing’s gonna be allright.”

Taşkın Aydoğdu

https://padlet.com/taskinaydogdu/1jhbn365nypn
https://padlet.com/taskinaydogdu/i2ksxs414pfb
https://padlet.com/taskinaydogdu/g5422p8cmixa
https://padlet.com/taskinaydogdu/4jkljp06jn66
https://padlet.com/taskinaydogdu/bpymnozltxa9


2.c. Study Center

In 2018-2019 Academic Year Spring Semester, ScOLa Study Center was visited 271 times by our students. The students visited the center for 202 times to get extra support on their writing skills, and 45 times to get support on their grammar & language related questions. They also visited the center 11 times to get guidance on how to study English and how to prepare a study plan. The center was also visited for reading and vocabulary related questions of our students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.d. SEC 101 Seminars

As ScOLa, we delivered five sessions which were open to all ÖzU students and the participants received a credit from SEC 101. You can find the details and posters of the sessions below: