Reflection on 3rd TESOL Turkey International ELT Conference by Selen Şirin Dülger and Serkan Aras
We (Selen Şirin Dülger & Serkan Aras) had the opportunity to present at the 3rd TESOL TURKEY International ELT Conference which was delivered virtually and took place on 26th – 27th February 2021. The conference theme was set as ‘Pedagogical Shifts in Times of Turmoil: Forced Distance Education in ELT’ and as the theme suggests, aiming to support educators aspiring to continue developing professionally, the conference focused on new challenges experienced during distance education and how educators handled those challenges.
In the conference, we delivered a workshop focusing on what has been done in the areas of communication, well-being and professional development specific to distance education period in our school of languages so far and what else we can do about these three areas so that we contribute to increasing effectiveness of learning and teaching. Instead of us talking about the challenges experienced with regards to three areas in our workshop, we wanted representatives of our teachers and students to share their personal experiences during distance education. Nazan Özçınar, Selçuk Mutlu, Shiva Oskouei, Selma Çalışkan, Berrin Rüzgar and Ezgi Öner and three students who are at B2 in the spring semester contributed to our presentation with their valuable ideas and we shared the challenges experienced in the areas of communication, well-being and professional development during distance education from their perspectives and we then asked the participants to reflect on their own experience: whether they experienced similar or different challenges and how they dealt/are dealing with them. This was followed with sharing what has been done about these challenges in our own institution so far. Through this process, we aimed to provide a path for ELT managers and teachers that seek ways to ensure effective distance education.
Attending and presenting at an online conference was a nice experience overall. Although we missed attending face-to-face conferences and being together with different people from different institutions at a conference, we enjoyed listening to different educators from different institutions in Turkey online, as well. Delivering a virtual workshop was also a completely new experience for us and it was a relief that we did not experience any problems delivering a virtual workshop J.
We would like to thank Nazan Özçınar, Selçuk Mutlu, Shiva Oskouei, Selma Çalışkan, Berrin Rüzgar and Ezgi Öner for their contribution.