What ISTEK ELT means to me…



When I read the tweet about last year’s conference and learned most of  the presenters and educators whom I admired were coming, I was thrilled. The conference sounded very promising and it was a great opportunity for the teachers who can’t go to conferences very often as it would also be live broadcasted. ELT VIPs, enthusiastic teachers, book exhibitions, workshops… An action-pack entertainment for the ones who wanted to update themselves and for me beacuse of everything I mentioned above, the whole event was like a box of chocolate coated Turkish delights with pistachio nuts. And in the end of the 2nd day I was very satisfied with what I found from the event. All the positive things I experienced from the 1st event raised my expectations from the conferences and soon we were informed by amazing Burcu Akyol that the 2nd Istek Elt wouldn’t be more different than the first one.

In my opinion, people make conferences sucessful. The speakers, the delegates, the organising team. Istek team was very helpful, cheerful and they were everywhere. They were also very considerate. Although they were very busy when they heard the bad news one of my friends recieved they did their best to send her home safe and sound. I must thank them for being very kind and and helpful.

The programme looked very promising and the opening signalled that the event would be a success. To start the day with magnificent Jan Blake was a mere pleasure. Another thank you will go to Burcu Akyol and the team who made it possible for us to enjoy the stories of Jan Blake. ‘How I wish I could tell stories like her’ I said to myself continously during these 2 days. I don’t need any other words to describe her. She was amazing and her energy was infectious.

Jan Blake telling her beautiful stories
Jan Blake telling her beautiful stories

During the breaks we sometimes discussed that we hoped to find more practical ideas from plenary talks. However,  they were very thought provoking. Professor Jack Richards reminded us something very important, something that we already know, ‘Every child is a winner. No student in the class should be left behind.’

We had a great choice for the keynotes and I felt a bit lucky as I had the chance to attend some speakers’ TESOL France sessions. I chose the ones whom I had never listened to, bearing in mind that I’ll have another chance to catch the ones I’ve missed at IATEFL 2011 where I’ll be present thanks to British Council, Turkey.

I’d like to share some notes from  Jamie Keddie’s session. He suggested us using L1 translations. The activity was a bit different from traditional translation exercises and the focus was on practice.

  • Give students sentences with target language
  • Tell them to write the L1 translations in their notebooks.
  • Remove the L2 originals
  • Ask them to translate the translated sentences back into L2.

I used the activity with my year 10 students on Tuesday. They loved  and found it very challenging.

My decision was to attend the reflection sessions and learn a bit Croation from my most helpful friend Arjana Blazic. But I gave my workshop in the wrong room to a small audience, thinking that the room was the right one and as a result I repeated my session on Sunday and missed my dera friend’s lesson.

me in the wrong room :)
me in the wrong room 🙂

I realised I hadn’t mentioned the fun events. Well, the Pecha Kucha night with Karaoke session was great. It was also a great pooprtunity for us to chat and have fun together.

To sum up, Istek International Elt conference is a great event for the local teachers as it gives the opportunity to listen and meet all the great educators. I hope it will become a tradition, inspiring the enthusiastic teachers and student teachers of Elt for many years.

You must visit 2nd ISTEK Schools International ELT Conference Blog

And read Merve’s beautiful post : Seven Wonders of İSTEK ELT

Final Countdown – Istek ELT 2011



And only 2 days to go to Istek Schools International ELT Conference2011. I remember last year. It was such a big excitement to wait for the event. I met most of my PLN there and had the chance to chat and enjoy every break. It was not just a conference. I had great fun out of it.

I used to love conferences because they provided an opportunity to brush up my teaching or retrieve the things I had forgotten. Still I love conferences because of the same reasons and plus I also enjoy them for the fun I have with my global PLN.

My workshop will be on Saturday at 13:30 and I do feel so sorry because I won’t be able to attend some of the workshops I really want to attend. However, it is a relief to know that they will also be at IATEFL where I will just listen and learn from them.

Motivation and Inspiration

Why do we attend seminars and conferences?

After the very successful ISTEK seminar, I’ve been thinking why we should attend seminars and conferences.

I’ve been teaching for 21 years. I haven’t attended any IATEFL conferences yet but it is one of my dreams. I hope it will become true one day. However, I try to attend most of the ELT events organised in Istanbul and I truly enjoy them.

I don’t always learn something new.

But do we just go there to learn something new?


Then why?

For me, these are great occasions for us to learn more from the teacher trainers, speakers, writers  or more experienced teachers.

Not just to learn how to survive but to interact, to be motivated, to see that they are not alone.

Even if we are experienced, we can always find something to learn.

We can always adapt a thought, an idea to our teaching.

Every teacher has her own recipe book but we always need inspiration…

Some thoughts to be remembered from ISTEK elt

Andrew Wright reminded us that we are all characters from a storybook, he reminded that we are all stories.  He said ‘before we go out we create our image for our role to create our stories.’

Jeremy Harmer reminded us whose English we are teaching with his outstanding talk and I remember the great poem years ago I read and used in a class activity but as the others it was forgotten in the archives of my lesson ideas. ‘Beauty is a fat black woman…’ Not only he reminded us the poem, he also suggested a great activity to use with poetry.  ‘WALL DICTATION’

Herbert Puchta was extraordinary. He said ‘In times of difficulties, we need leadership qualities’. So a teacher shouldn’t only teach present perfect tense, she should also be a guide, leader to help her students find their own way.

While listening to Luke Prodromu, I realised how inspirational my 4th grade teacher was. I remembered her reading us stories every Friday afternoon and we sitting and imagining the scenes at our desks. Maybe because of her I love reading very much, or maybe because of her I love teaching very much.

I really enjoyed Lindsey Clandfield’s talk on Culture, Celebrities and Content in an era of global English and loved his cheerfulness and twitter  guided attitude.

Nicky Hockley was great. I’m sure many teachers will start using web 2.0 tools after her examples.

The workshops I attended were wonderful, I had the chance to meet Sean Banville and learned too many useful things about teaching news. I had never realised I could do so many activities with them When I thought of news, the only activity that came into my mind was the translation.

Shelly Terrell was excellent. It was a priviledge for me to listen to her.

And I missed too many… How I wish I had the chance to attend the workshops of my PLN.

Yes, That sense was also great too.

And the Pecha Kucha’s…,

The ones who didn’t attend, missed a great, cheerful event.

I’m looking forward to the next one. I’m sure it will be as perfect as this one.

Thank you Burcu Akyol for what you’ve done.

P.S: When I started writing this post I hadn’t planned anything and this was not I meant to write but it just happened and I couldn’t control myself 🙂