IATEFL Chronicles, Year 2

Sessions I attended

My session was on 22nd of March. It was a part of the Technology and Teens symposium. I was a bit stressed but it all went very well and we all received very positive feedbacks from the participants which made all of us very happy.

It was a great feeling when one finds you inspiring and I am so happy that they were there and supported us.

As I said I was very nervous that day, I missed the plenary and attended Ann Foreman’s workshop, where she wanted us to think about our professional development and asked us to plan an app to save us from chaos. It was a great session, truly inspiring and very creative. You can view Ann’s presentation and handouts here.

During the break we rushed to our room to check if everything was OK and then waited the time to come.

IATEFL 2012, Glasgow - Technology and Teens Symposium

Graham Stanley started the symposium by giving a short introduction about teenagers of today and the technology in their lives.

The first talk was the introduction of the new site Learn English Teens of British Council. Kevan Cummins explained how the website works and what is on it. I’m sure soon it will become a hit as Learn English Kids which we love very much at our school.

I was the second presenter and you can find the details of my talk here.

Then Vicky Saumell briefly explained what digital storytelling is and how she uses it in her classes. The ideas she shared with us were great and I’m so happy that I’ll take great ideas with me for the next week.  Vicky is on twitter and if you follow her, you can learn loads from her. Her handle is @vickysaumell and more info about her talk is here.

The last talk was on mobile phones in class. Karin Tıraşın and Çigdem Ugur shared their experiences using cell-phones in the EFL classroom. They explained how they planned, how it went and what they learned from this experience. It was an amazing talk about a very carefully planned project. More about the session can be read here.

After the session, relieved and relaxed we rushed to Clyde auditorium to enjoy Pecha Kucha night hosted by Jeremy Harmer.

Last talk I attended today was called Tech-achers: get your one-way ticket to tech islands. The presenters were two very young ladies whom I love following and find very inspiring. Işıl Boy and Beyza Yılmaz welcomed the participants with an old song from my childhood, one-way ticket and explained what VLE and PLE are and how a teacher gets support from other teachers.

I enjoyed every minute of my time at IATEFL. I met new friends, old friends and had the chance to know them better and now I’m ready to pack and fly home tomorrow.


Can a Comenius Project change a thing? Part 3

 The Magic of Reading The Power of Discovering Ourselves

Guest post by Talar Bedikoglu and Culya Yapıcı 

                The second project meeting took place in La Palma del Condado,Spain  from March 4th to March 10th  2012. La Palma del Condado isin the province of Huelva. It has a population of 10.000 inhabitants. It is popular for its wineries which produce all the wine in Spain. It has natural beauties with wonderful narrow streets and traditional houses. The orange and lemon trees decorate the streets.

                On our arrival day we were warmly welcomed by the host families and teachers. On our first day at school we met the head-teachers and the staff during a reception organized at school. The school walls were decorated  with posters of each country that took part in the project. We were informed about the Spanish history and civilization by the history teacher. On the same day each partner reported their Reading Club Activities and shared the values that the novels or the poems represented. We were able to see some posters, videos and presentations prepared by the students. We had a guided tour of La Palma del Condado in the evening with all the teachers and students.

                We had a day trip to Sevilla on March 6th and another day trip to the Donana National Park and the coast including El Rocio and Matalascanas on March 7th.Donana National Park is a well known for its enormous variety of bird species and its colorful colonies of flamingoes.

                On Thursday morning after having breakfast prepared for all the host families, students and teachers,  we watched a performance about  Don Quixote de la Mancha by La Palma students . On our project meeting in the afternoon, the partner schools presented their countries, towns and schools. We decided on how many passages to be translated into English from the novels of our own authors. Each country presented their ideas on Multilingual Dictionary Templates. We decided to prepare an online and a printable dictionary including the literary terms in our list and some useful phrases. In the evening we visited La Palma del Condado Library and students from each partner school read the first paragraph of Don Quixote in their own mother tongue.

                Friday was the Lorca day. La Palma Students sang songs composed from Lorca poems and the guest students read his poems in their mother tongue. We were welcomed by the authorities in The Town Hall. After that, the teachers were taken on a tour of the wineries of La Palma.

                This trip was a great of opportunity for our students to discover other cultures and traditions and to make new friends. They felt the warmth of friendship not only with the students but also with their host families. We left Spain with unforgettable memories.

You can watch these beautiful animotos to see the enthusiasm of both teachers and the students.

Their presentations


And the trips



IATEFL Chronicles, Year Two, 1st day of the conference

My 3rd day in Scotland

Today was the 1st day of the conference and I started this year’s adventure with Weronika Salandyk’s session called ‘Fun with Flashcards’. Weronika is a friend whom I met from IATEFL Brighton and last year she made me admire her because of her passion and enthusiasm to teaching.

Well, what can you do with flashcards? Just so simple tools in today’s digitally manipulated world,aren’t they? Yet, Weronika showed how they can be used creatively and can be fun with young learners. All the activities she planned were aimed for young learners but they are easily adaptable for teenagers.

I want to share some of her activities.

Speak as if…

  • Introduce new materials by showing flashcards
  • Ask them to repeat the words
  • Then challenge the kids to say the words as if they were eating hot soup or chewing bubble gum or sitting at the dentist’s chair with their mouths wide open.

She used pictures as prompts and whenever she pointed at a picture prompt and showed a flashcard, we just shouted the word as if we were …

It was real fun!

Hot and Cold

A classic that I’m sure all we played when we were at kindergarten. Here is how she uses it with her young learners.

  • Choose a student to leave the classroom.
  • Decide where to hide the flashcard
  • Ask the student to come back to the class.
  • Everyone directs him/her towards the hidden flashcard shouting the word louder and faster if the student is close to it or slowly and quietly is he/she is far away.




If you were at her session you were lucky. If you missed, make sure attend a session of her at another conference if she is presenting.

The second session I’d like to share with you was another inspirational one. Claire Hunter explained us how she use TED talks with her adult learners at all levels. The talk was called ‘Inspiration with TED’ and as I mentioned above it was a very inspirational talk and very fruitful.

She uses TED talks to practice reading, listening, speaking and writing.

One of the activities was called second hand presentation.

One students listens the talk, takes notes and reports it to his/her friend

The other student has to prepare a presentation from what she/he heard.

For lower level students she prepares summary questions and students write their summaries after watching the talks.

She also told about the projects she assigned. The students watch the Ted talk, work on it then prepare his own presentation.

It was a highly practical and useful sessions and I’m glad I had stayed and listened to her because my heart was telling me to go to the hotel and rest but my brain insisted on attending the session. In the end my brain won but as I was very tired I found myself in my room instead of partying with #ELTchatters




IATEFL Chronicles, Year 2

Day 1


I spent the weirdest night/morning on Saturday. I couldn’t even sleep before a long journey. When I was checking my handouts, my talk and all the other necessary papers, I realised that there was a mistake on the ticket. We, I don’t know how, but somehow booked the March 18th flight to Glasgow.

I remember talking about a free day to go to Edinburgh but then I gave up and decided to spend the Sunday with the kids. Obviously we misunderstood each other and until that night I knew I’d flight on Monday.

I didn’t even have an accommodation for Sunday night!

The flight was OK until Heathrow. When landed, my mobile didn’t accept the password and locked itself, telling that it was not correct! Getting used to these gadgets made our lives difficult. Knowing that I wouldn’t be connected for sometime was stressful. Then I called the operator and I had one new password but it was difficult to notice the public phones in Heathrow and when I discovered one in a smooth corner, I saw there are many in the seating areas.

The last thing on the journey was the delay of the Glasgow flight because of a cello. Luckily I managed to stay at the same hotel where I booked.

I hadn’t booked a PCE so I planned my trip to Edinburgh for Monday morning.

As I teacher who believes the power of storytelling it was gtreat to discover such a thing in a city.

It was a cold and windy day but I loved the city very much. I just had a walk around the old part of the city then came back to the hotel and headed to meet the friends at the reception.

Monday evening’s event was the karaoke and it was a great ice-breaker. We enjoyed ourselves very much.

When I arrived at my room, I even watched some interviews on IATEFL online. I watched Sirin Soyoz, one of the hardworking BC team and Adam Simpson, this year’s blogathon winner and Adam has great advice for those who are planning to participate to next year’s blogathon ( I do hope and wish, it will continue)


And now I’m getting ready for a four-day long, action-packed (as Janet wrote yesterday) conference. I’m hoping t find some useful ideas, confirm myself that what I’m doing in the classroom is right and meet old friends, new friends and also a little bit sightseeing.

You can follow IATEFL online from here or on twitter you can use #IATEFL for your searches.

Stay tuned I’ll continue…




Blogathon for IATEFL

Time for IATEFL 2012

I’m sitting at my desk and working on my presentation.

just finished my power point (though not very sure)

just finished a handout (still needs revising, I guess)

just written a text for my talk ( still not sure if I’ve included everything I planned)

Last year was my first IATEFL conference and it was just great. I loved every minute of it and when I came home I knew I’d do something to be back there at least once more.

Luckily my proposal was accepted and it will be a talk in Technology and Teens symposium on March 22nd at 15:50 and My fellow presenters are all my twitter friends (almost)

Well the title is blogathon for IATEFL and what’s the connection, you may think?

Blogathon sent me to IATEFL as the 1st runnner up with the gold award winner Karin Tiraşin last year and this year even more winners are going because blogathon was run not only in Turkey but also in Armenia, Croatia, Russia, Georgia and Israel. The four-week-long event was a great opportunity to share and learn from each other.

As a former runner, I was comfortable this year. I just read the posts and commented on them and while doing it, I admired the enthusiasm of the teachers.

Isn’t it great to compete for a conference? A conference… Not a sightseeing tour or a holiday at a luxurious hotel but this conference will allow them to meet even more enthusiastic teachers from around 90 countries.

They will attend because they have chosen to improve themselves, because they’ve chosen to be life-long learners because they …

Well, we know that the winner takes it all but in the case of blogathon all of us take something. The participants, the moderators, the readers ….

We enjoy the sheer happiness of sharing, the bearable lightness of support from our PLNs. Above all we enjoy our own journey in teaching.

I’d like to thank British Council for organising such an event and I do hope it will grow and more and more runners from more countries will run in the next years.

And I will applause all the winners and the all the runners for making the run a memorable event for them and for all of us.

 Now I’m looking forward to meeting my friends in Glasgow

picture credit here