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.

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.


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




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