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

IATEFL Chronicles, Day 1


And the real event started on Saturday. It is already Sunday today but I’ll be able to post this in the morning. I had a fantastic day at the conference, not because I met some of my twitter friends for the first time and hugged and kissed each other as if we had known each other for ages, it was because a very full day with great talks and ideas.

Glad the weather permits us to enjoy Brighton :)
Glad the weather permits us to enjoy Brighton 🙂

Karin and I decided to attend different workshops and write about different things so I chose to go to Michael Berman’s session, called ‘English through the writing on your forehead’. The main focus was on storytelling and how to use stories in classroom. Since I attended British Council’s Winter Warmer in March and had the opportunity to listen to amazing Jan Blake at Istek conference, I’m more interested in telling stories in EFL classrooms. He used two stories from Armenian folklore and mythology and here are the activities I jotted down from the session.

  • Fish and chips game: tell students you are going to tell or read a story and whenever they hear the word fish in the story, they have to shout chips; otherwise, they won’t learn the ending of the story.
  • While telling a story to the engaged and motivated students stop suddenly and ask them to fill in the gap with the correct word.
  • While telling stories, if you mention something interesting stop and ask questions or give information.
  • Michael Brennan pointed out ‘We like making choices and our students are not exceptions’ so he suggested that we give our students a chance to make choices while answering the questions. Give your students a set of questions and tell them to answer the three of the ones that they want.
  • Prepare a set of question starters and ask your students to ask questions on the story and then exchange papers with their friends.
  • Use guided fantasy/visualisation. Students may not want to share what they have experienced so instead you can ask them to write their account.

And then we finished with a wonderful activity. He asked us to write a note for him and then we exchanged papers then we tried to guess our friends personality through their handwriting.

The other session I attended was Michael Swan’s talk on ‘Where reading and grammar meet.’ He pointed out that language learners whose mother tongues are not similar to English can have lots of troubles while reading complex (embedded) texts. Those problematic areas are

  • Past participles often look like past tense
  • Reduced relative clauses
  • Omitting relative pronouns


  • Give students handouts and ask them to underline the embedded bits.
  • Prepare handouts. Ask students match the halves. Try to come out with funny sentences.
  • Ask students to add ‘that’ to make the sentences easier to read.
  • Ask students to make complete sentences including the groups of words.

e.g.: the food they ate today was not tasty…

        a thing children …

  • Rewrite the words in italics to make the meaning clearer.
  • Use an internet search engine to find sentences
  • Ask students to write exercises for their friends

The next session was reading again. It was ‘Text to context: where reading takes us’ by Robert Hill.

And I ended the day at the blogosphere symposium listening to Karenne Sylvester, Tara Benwell and Berni Wall. These three ladies are amazing people ready to enthuse the people who are following them.

Karenne talked about what we blog, why we blog and what the benefits are.

Tara told us about the wonderful thing she has been doing on MyEnglishClub. The activities she does with her students on MyEC are not different than the things we do in class. I must say her writing challenges are great challenges for everybody who are blogging. Once in a while I wrote about them too.

Berni focused on the importance of twitter for starting our own learning network and she even showed us how to form it with a quick warmer. She explained what edchat, eltchat and virtual roundtable conference are and how they work.

Blogosphere symosium
Blogosphere symosium

I know many people were amazed at what they had found at the symposium.

As Karenne stated blogging is not just keeping online diaries for teachers. It is more. I repeated that many times I have a 7/24 staffroom full of teachers who are ready to interact, collaborate, help and comfort me because of blogging. You don’t just share ideas, you also see what your weaknesses and strengths are when you are doing. You get feedback, you get suggestions and you get invitations for collaborations.

We finished the day at MacMillan’s OnestopEnglish birthday party, listening to Elvis and chatting to friends.

Pre-blog post from IATEFL

I’m in my hotel room in Brighton now and thinking about the day. I attended Learning Technologies pre-conference event. The talks were on IWB. We started the day with Connie Gutenberg’s brief introduction. She demonstrated how she used it with her class. The texts she chose for the session were amazing. I really loved the ‘Stress’ by Wendy Cope where the writer used words which can be used as verbs, nouns and adjectives. I also loved the poem ‘Big words and little ones’ by Arthur Kudner to teach nouns and adjectives.

a colourful image of words on iwb
a colourful image of words on iwb

The next session I attended was of Luke Meddings’s talk and we discussed how to use IWB with Dogme. I really enjoyed the session because he started with a quick introduction what dogme in elt is and although I had ideas what it is. The introduction made it clearer. He stressed the importance of note-taking in Dogme style teaching. While students are producing the emergent language, you can take notes, brainstorm ideas and save them to continue the next day.

 I’m not a big fun of IWB, I still think we can do the same things with other stuff if the school we work for cannot provide it. HoweverMarisa Constantinides pointed out that was that while using IWB, teacher can still write on the board. I’m one of those teachers who love writing on the board. I feel something will be missing if I just explain things from a powerpoint but this aspect made me think a little bit positive about it.

Pete Sharma
Pete Sharma

We also discussed during the breaks that whether IWB is more teacher centred or whether there is a possibility to make some teachers relaxed. So what do you think?

A Journey to IATEFL



Life is too hectic these days and also I have many things to plan and arrange. Since the day I learned  I’ll be attending IATEFL this year, I’ve been very excited.

IATEFL has been a dream for me and I remember I wrote it in one of my posts last year. Well, when I had the chance to go to Yorkshire in August, I started to believe that dreams can come true and I took the challenge of the blogathon because of that. I got one of the silver awards as some of you may remember but maybe I have a fairy god mother, who knows?

I’ll arrive there with Susan Mordue from British Council, Turkey and Karin Tirasin, my blogathon sister, the winner of the gold award so the journey will be very enjoyable, I guess. Coffee and chat will be great together.

The conference is full of great talks and events. The plenary speakers and symposiums will be very useful and I believe I’m lucky for the workshops as I had the chance to listen to some of the presenters at the ISTEK International ELT conference, I’ll be able to attend the sessions I missed there.

I think the conference will be a great challenge for me as I’ll try to update my blog during the conference to share what I’ve learned with my PLN who won’t be able to attend the conference this year and will try to motivate my colleagues for the next year’s event as I learned dreams come true, their dreams can come true, too.

Conferences have become very popular among the enthusiastic teachers who have a Personal Learning Network and IATEFL will be a great meeting point and I’m sure although we become tired, we will have time to chat and share ideas.

The only thing which makes me a little sad is that I will miss watching and supporting my kids at the gymnastics competitions which will be held on 14th and 15th of April 🙁

A great team has started the British Council IATEFL Blog, don’t miss their posts and meet the great team who will share what is going on in Brighton.

British Council IATEFL blog
British Council IATEFL blog

Blogathon is Over - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Well, well, well, it’s been a very hectic month. As you know I was a runner in the elt-blogathon, a marathon for bloggers. It is over now or it will be over today but as I blogged my last posts last night. I can say it is over.

It was a great challenge. I never imagine myself that I would be able to post something new everyday. Well, I neglected ‘A Journey inTEFL’ for a while but I must say thoroughly enjoyed the run. I ‘ve met many enthusiastic teachers all around Turkey and I see we are on the same track. This is great…

I’m sure many of them will continue blogging and we will learn from their experiences.

If you have missed any of my posts for the blogathon, they are here:

and if you read us and liked our posts, you can vote

Now that I’m back to my own jurney, I’ll try to update it regularly.

Thanks for reading.