April is for EdTechIst



In my previous post, I mentioned that in Istanbul, there would be great events for teachers who believe in professional development this spring. The first one is over and the second one is about to happen. I’ll present at this conference and I’ll also blog about the sessions. Yes, I’m talking about EdTechIst, which will take place on April 18th-19th 2015.

Actually the conference is a three-day event. On the pre-conference day, the participants will get the chance to attend full day workshops with the experts.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.20.48 PM

On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll have the chance to do some deep learning with the experts and the sessions will be both on Saturday and Sunday so we’ll have the opportunity to focus on two main areas and have a broader view on them. These workshops will last for three days. In the afternoon, we’ll listen to some inspirational sessions, which will be delivered by the teachers, instructors, trainers who are using, integrating technology in their lessons. Even this format or the feature of this conference makes me eager to attend it.

The surprises of the conference are not over. There’ll be a TeachMeet, which is an organised but informal meeting for teachers to share practical tips and best practices. This will give the participants a great opportunity to share, network and learn with and from their peers in an informal setting. The Edtechist TeachMeet will take place from 4.30pm on Saturday 18th April, 2015.

You can follow the conference on social media with the hashtag #Edtechist or an twitter as @Edtechist

For more information about the speakers and sessions, please check the conference website and hope we’ll meet there.

My Reflections on #SLTEP, a Train the Trainer Program


This was not the first train the trainer course I attended but may be the magic was the magicians I (we) met there.

I attended SLTEP, a two-week train the trainer program ran by Sabanci University School of Languages. With our amazing tutors, Deniz Kurtoglu Eken, Meral Guceri and Sharon Celtek, we dived into the depths of teaching and learning. Sharing ideas, trying new techniques, playing new roles, we had the chance to brush up our previous knowledge and learn about new things, new perspectives.

For me, the program was very successful because although it was designed to “develop the knowledge, skills and awareness needed for effective teacher training“, it also gave lots of food for thought for the classes we teach. When the program finished and I came back home, I had thousands of ideas, happy memories, inspirations, that will guide me throughout my new journey which I’m planning to begin.

I’ve been teaching for a very long time and I DO love my job. It’s not just a job, actually. It’s a passion. However, at this stage, after teaching for 20 more years, I think I should also focus on more teacher training.

I have some plans but I’ll tell them later. I just want to reflect on my fantastic SLTEP experience now.

SLTEP was the right choice for me because I needed some me-time ( yes, yes, I really meant me-time) , some fuel to continue… It was an intensive program, right after a very long and tiring academic year, yet I never complained getting up early and going to the campus for two weeks. I realized how much I had missed studying like a student. It gave me a chance to sit back and watch where I’ve come and how far I want to go. I still want to go …

Things I’ll do more I’ll research my classes.

Thanks to Mrs Eken, we once again remembered that every teacher should carry out researches to be able to reach more students in the class.

I’ll ask more questions for the students who are left behind, or the ones who have wings to fly higher than others. I’m sure I’ll find something for each group. Isn’t this true that so often you find that the students you’re trying to INSPIRE are the ones that end up inspiring you? (Sean Junkins)

I’ll reflect more on my teaching with my colleagues at school and yes, here on my blog.

Do more observation.

I’ll work hard to give better feedback. So next year I’m not just going to praise them when they did well or criticize the points to be improved, I’ll develop a way to communicate with them in order to help them to improve their skills.

I’ll do some training sessions. I think this is really what I want to do in the next phase of my teaching career.

Plans, ideas, memories …

SLTEP was very useful for me and I should also mention that I met a group of amazing, enthusiastic teachers whom we were strangers a month ago but became so close that we still communicate on WhatsApp everyday. I hope our roads will cross with them once again in the future and I do wish them a very successful teaching career. It is great when you meet like-minded people who love teaching and do try to improve themselves to be great teachers. I DO believe that enthusiasm is infectious and we infect each other.

I’d like to thank the magicians, Deniz Kurtoglu Eken, Meral Guceri and Sharon Celtek, whom we spent two glorious weeks and got inspired and enthused by their energy, knowledge and passion.  

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.

EVO, Digitalstorytelling4kids and the tool of the week

I took a challenge this month. Yes, it’s EVO time and there are wonderful sessions for every teacher’s needs. As I’m a big fan of using digital tools in the classroom I decided to take the Digital Storytelling for Young Learners. The course is moderated by a dream team, Shelly Terrell, Esra Girgin, Barbara Sakamoto, Özge Karaoglu, Jennifer Verschoor, David Dodgson, Michelle Worgan, and Sabrina De Vita. I’m very busy with lots of so many things these days, but from the very first day I realised how correct my decision was to be at the course.

The course has three working spaces:

  1. The wiki, for assigning tasks and tutorials.
  2. Yahoo group for discussions
  3. Posterous for showcasing participants’ digital stories.

As in all courses, the sessions started with greetings and introductions. The first task was very creative and the digital introductions were great. I learned new tools, saw how others used the ones that I love and use and saw how others used the ones that I didn’t like but seeing them convinced me to go back and try them again.

I discovered Google Search Stories via Esra Girgin’s introduction and I loved it very much.

It is very easy to use:

Just type in your searches and select the kind of results that is most suitable for your story. You add music and send it to YouTube to share it with the world.

I’m planning to use it

  • To introduce a topic
  • As a pre-reading and awareness raising activity before starting to read a short story or a novel

And also I will ask my students to use it

  • To summarise the story they’ve read
  • To introduce a topic

And I’m sure I’ll come up with something else later, but if you do please, tell me.

And you can watch my stories, the 1st one is a poem from our Comenius project reading list by the Nobel winner Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska


and an idea how to assign a writing task for my students


Take Action to Action Research


Don’t you sometimes find yourself thinking ‘Why are my students lazy?’ or ‘Why don’t they want to learn?’

Big problems to deal with, aren’t they?

So why not starting to find out more about your students by asking questions considering to make your problems solvable?


Well, instead of complaining ‘Why are they sooooo lazy?’, we can start asking better question, such as ‘when do they respond me well?’ ‘What kind of tasks do they find boring?’ etc.

Action research is a great way to find your routes. It is a reflective process that helps teachers to examine their teaching and the conditions of their classes to find ways to change and improve the process. You  begin with identifying your problem by asking questions about your classroom experiences, challenges or problems then you continue collecting data, being observed by a colleague, reflecting on your own teaching and taking action to solve your problem.

Any teacher who wants to understand more about teaching and learning or who wants to develop her teaching skills and knowledge would find action research very useful. It is also a good way to start to become a life-long learner and a critical thinker as well as a creative problem-solver as each class will lead the teacher to find out more about teaching, behaviours, solving problems. Identifying your problem, students’ learning styles will enable you to draw a map to follow and reach your goals.

You can even start with the smallest problem you face and see how you end up.

Action research will enable teachers to make choices about their teaching styles, taking initiatives in the classroom.  It will also help to build a new way of team work as the teacher will need colleagues to observe her/him and reflect on their own teaching. Doing this, both the teacher of that specific group and the observer colleague will have a chance to think about their teaching and learn how to reflect.

If interested, you can find more about action research:

How to do action research in your classroom?

Improving Teaching through Classroom Action Research

Classroom Action Research

Classroom action research

Conducting action research in the foreign language classroom

Autonomy and self-direction in teacher training