Even a week before the conference I was excited as I knew what was expecting me… Two days of professional Development with people I admire, with people I share a lot.
The day came with an extraordinary opening: A show of drawing pictures with sand and my mind already focused on P.D was telling me that “Aren’t we all sand artists, drawing pictures throwing san to the air.”
The theme of the conference was ‘Through Their Eyes’. It was a privilege for the participants to listen to inspirational Sugata Mitra. A few years ago I had watched a documentary on his experiment ‘Hole in the Wall’ and I was mesmerized with the thought. How on earth could a person think such an incredible idea? And how lucky he was that what he started has worked and led us to see education from other perspectives.
Listening to Herbert Puchta talk has always been a great chance and Zeynep Urkun’s talk became one of my favourites from the conference. Could a boring subject like assessment be dealt as interesting as Ms Urkun did. And what a final was there to surprise the whole audience and left us with smiling faces.
Concurrent Keynote/ Saturday:
I attended Daniel Bank’s session entitled How Teaching Less Can Help Your Students to Learn More.
Daniel shared how he helped his students to take responsibility in their own learning and had the chance to watch his student teachers in action.
He suggested that teachers remove themselves from the front of the classroom and delegate responsibility. He told us to sit back and let them go, let them teach. This way, he said, they will be able to fill in the gaps in their own knowledge.
He also suggested the followings
- Flip the classroom
- Invite guest teachers, older students to be guest speakers
- Let them debate ( but assign the roles carefully so that all benefit from the process)
- Class Dojo to check homework
After a long but fruitful day 1, we started day 2 with another inspiring show. Jeremy Harmer reading stories and Steve Bingham playing the violin. My mind, again playing teacher, was telling me “can this be a reading club project for my students next year?’
JJ Wilson’s plenary was packed with strategies for learning vocabulary and dealing with errors and as always it was a great opportunity to see Jan Blake telling her stories involving the audience in the story and the songs. Even days later I still catch myself humming the tunes I learned from her on Sunday.
Concurrent Keynote / Sunday
Nina lauder’s session entitled Creating Curiosity in the Classroom was on my list when I got the programme of the conference. It was an amazing session full of great activities and thought provoking moments. Nina reminded us how curiosity is important for motivating students and said if we kill curiosity, we will kill the need to learn. She suggested we teachers build up curiosity before the lessons begin. For instance, using props, costumes, images and realia will help the teacher to evoke curiosity among students. We discussed how to use project work, riddles, quests, drama, songs, close-ups, brainstorming in the classroom. Nina Lauder suggested that we give the clues for the riddles one by one and invite students to make guesses after each clue is given. She also reminded that a relaxed learning environment is a must.
A very important lesson learned from Nina’s session
Keep in mind: different students are curious about different things.
Congratulations to Burcu Akyol and the conference organizing team for this wonderful event. We are all looking forward to the next conference.