ISTEK ELT Chronicles, Year 3

Day 1


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)

He introduced

  • Class Dojo to check homework
  • Edmodo
  • Quizlet

Day 2


The Plenaries

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.

ISTEK ELT 2013, Ideas for Monday


Some more ideas on my blog on using songs and music in the classroom


Last minute preparations for #sswebcon

YOU are a story absorber and a story teller  Andrew Wright

At the moment, I’m working on the bios of the presenters, moderator roles, taking some notes, etc…

Howevere, as usual, I have things around me to distract my attention. I came across with the article written by Andrew Wright and then I just came here to remind you about the conference once more

If you haven’t registered yet, you can do it via

The conference will take two days Feb, 9th and 10th

There are four rooms for the sessions:

  • Dickens, the main venue
  • Shakespeare, Tolkien and Orhan Pamuk are for concurrent sessions

If you there aren’t enough rooms in the Adobe Connect, you can join the livestream on Facebook

Follow @trBritish on twitter and our conference hashtag is #sswebcon


IATEFL Chronicles, Year 2, Last post

A last glimps to the venue before I leave.

This time two weeks ago I was in Glasgow. I was both excited and nervous as this would be my first presentation at IATEFL. Although I had presented at many conferences in the past three years, just after stepping into blogging, twitter and social media, yet IATEFL was something else. A dream, a last stop, a new beginning, a meeting point …

me, a first time IATEFL presenter

I enjoyed being there very much. As I previously mentioned, I met old friends, new friends and made new ones. It was a fantastic week.

In the afternoon today, I was writing the invitation letters for the schools for our Comenius project, my husband was sitting on the coach with his netbook on his lap and he, as frequently does, called me to watch a video on youtube. I reluctantly stood up and went near him. While watching the video, I was speechless. As we teachers always do, I thought how I could take it to the class or even to the staffroom.


This is what professional development is for me. I also remembered the teachers attending IATEFL. There were a lot of young and very enthusiastic ones but there were also a lot of very experienced ones. Once again I admired their dedication to their work and to their perception of life.

Some weeks ago, I was chatting with a colleague about life-long learning and she told me about a retired cousin of hers, who living in France, is now attending some sessions at university, asking what the benefit of this could be, adding the life had already come to an end. I then tried to convince that learning shouldn’t stop till we die. We sometimes give up very early in our country. Maybe this is how we perceive the world. After retirement everything finishes. My mum even told us after my brother’s wedding that now she could die as she had nothing to do anymore. All her kids were married. This was how she was raised but she raised me in a totally different way. That’s why I’m still eager to learn new things and I am a true believer of professional development.

I don’t know if I will be able to make it for Liverpool 2013. It just seems impossible at this very moment but we all know that ‘impossible is nothing’. Provided I can’t go to IATEFL next year, I’m sure the online event will be there to follow.

I attended many sessions this year. Some were just what I was looking for, and some were totally different from what I had expected. I missed some great sessions and when I came home, after recovering the post conference blues, I watched some and downloaded some handouts, read the blog posts I missed and still trying to catch up with some more. I think this will engage me till the next conference I will attend in April, The Third Elt Student Conference which is a joint event organised by enthusiastic elt students from Bilgi and Bogaziçi Universities.