Showing posts with label iatefl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iatefl. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

IATEFL 2014 - ELT Conference Highlights

Harrogate is a beautiful former spa town in northern England and it was in this cozy city where spring was blossoming and flowers were everywhere that the 48th Annual IATEFL Conference was held. It was my first attendance at an IATEFL Conference and I was quite impressed with the extraordinary multiculturalism , the astonishing volume of choice , the impressive array of speakers and the cheerful atmosphere among the participants.

 Overwhelmed by such a rich, diverse choice of options, I tried to select as many interesting  sessions as possible and spent four days  running around the beautiful Harrogate Convention Center trying not to miss anything. I attended excellent plenaries and also got in touch with teachers from different parts of the world who work and do research related to coaching and  mentoring, one of my areas of interest and also the topic of my presentation in the conference.

The coaching and mentoring delegates formed a team in Harrogate! We attended each other’ s presentations and exchanged a lot of information and experience. It was wonderful to see that people from the most distant parts of the world have been working hard to implement collaborative practices in order to enhance teachers capacity and at the same time promote professional development. All the sessions were excellent.

One valuable presentation I was able to catch was given by Dr. Svetlana Belic  Malinic from Belgrade, Serbia.  Svetlana presented the results of an  action research conducted in an international school in Serbia which aimed to bring about change in teachers perceptions of their pedagogical practice. The teachers were introduced into reciprocal coaching schemata and, by doing peer coaching, were able to support one another in their professional growth, which positively affected their self-assessment. This shows how valuable it is to work collaboratively and how teachers gain by exchanging their experience and practice.

In addition to the thought-provoking presentations I attended, there was one innovative session format I really appreciated called  ELT Conversation , which involved discussion between two leading ELT professionals, Jeremy Harmer and Scott  Thornbury. In this session the speakers interviewed each other about the Communicative Approach. After 20 years, is it time to redefine its concept?  Is there a contemporary view of CLT? For more than one hour, in a full auditorium, Harmer and Thornbury discussed the gains and losses of this so well-established approach for language teaching followed by questions addressed from the audience.  A wonderful moment to revisit this approach and reflect upon what we have doing in our classrooms in the last decades.

In the opponent flow, Jim Srivener gave a lively presentation reassuring the importance of teaching grammar and urged the audience to ignore those voices that tell you that you have to communicate all the time. The presenter stressed that, yes, students want, need and learn from grammar. The question is how teachers can make grammar genuinely engaging, valuable and challenging. In order to make grammar really meaningful, Jim Scrivener stresses that we should use lots of examples. They are input. And we should play with examples. This is practice. We should never forget to make examples sound real. Personalization is fundamental. After personalizing , students then are able to use the language.

As you can see through my highlights above, IATEFL was filled with diversity and innovation which have made me an IATEFL convert. Those were professionally inspiring and enjoyable days that will always remain in my mind. My thanks for the support and encouragement the Casa has given me to participate in such a fabulous event.   

Margarete Nogueira

Sunday, May 12, 2013

IATEFL 2013 - Pronunciation for Listening

One of the talks I attended at IATEFL was Pronunciation for Listeners – Making sense of connected speech, by Mark Hancock. I already knew Mark from his blog and his published materials, so I made it a point to attend his talk. It was certainly worth it!

The best part was to know that I wouldn’t have to copy anything or take pictures of the slides. I already knew that Mark is all about sharing his materials and his talks and was certain that, later on, I would find everything online.

Sure enough, in his ELT page with Annie McDonald, Mark has posted the handout and the recording of his talk.  Thus, rather than reading my summary of his presentation, you can experience it first hand.

Mark’s talk was useful in demonstrating to the audience that pronunciation is also a listening skill and that it isn’t always easy for students to know where one word ends and the next begins when they listen. Thus, we need to train our students to listen, and to do so, we need to develop in them an awareness of the supra-segmental features that come to play in natural speech, such as elision, assimilation, and the like. To this end, Mark suggests a series of what he calls micro-listening activities that are really fun.

Among my favorite ones presented at IATEFL was the –ed = t maze. Students have to work their way through the maze by going from one –ed = t combination to the next. The interesting thing about it is that he presents the verb and an object that starts with a vowel so that they can practice the elision that is so common in verb + object combinations such as “booked a room”.

Check out the recording of his talk and his handout. He also has an article and an interview on this topic. Make sure you also explore his website full of rich resources for effective pronunciation teaching.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

IATEFL 2013 - The Future is Now – What Tomorrow’s Schools Will Look Like

International conferences are a great opportunity to learn new things, debate controversial ideas, and check if you are doing a good job at your school. The IATEFL annual conference is especially exciting because you have teachers from all over the world sharing information on teaching English as a foreign language. So there I was, ready to take part in this international exchange of ideas.

Being a tech-savvy teacher who blogs and reasonably up-to-date on technological advances, I was quite curious by the title of this presentation by Peter Davidson (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) on Thursday, April 11th 2013. After all, he was asking questions such as, “What will classrooms look like in the 21st century?”, “Will there be classrooms?”, “Will there be schools?”, “Will there be teachers?”. Looking for answers and for new ideas, in I went.

Peter Davidson started talking about the factors shaping education at the moment, some of which are economics, globalization, research, and technology. Going on to the topic of curriculum and tools, He mentioned blended learning, online learning (MOOC), laptops, tablets, and phones. After cruising through web tools, he got the audience to discuss the role of the teacher in the future. Will we be facilitators, enablers, guides, mentors, gurus, or just bystanders? 

Finally, the session went onto the future of education. Whether education will be challenging, frustrating, chaotic, fun and exciting, Peter Davidson concluded that teachers need to not only be aware of the changing face of education, but they need to embrace this change and help to shape it. This change needs to lead to more effective learning. According to him, and I fully agree, teachers and educators need to shape the future of education – not Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. 

The important question here is, “Did I learn anything new by watching this presentation?” The answer is no. However, what I would like to emphasize is how rewarding it is to know that Casa Thomas Jefferson is one of the frontrunners embracing this change. We, as teachers, have been using web tools for several years. Online and blended learning are already part of our reality. Computers and tablets in class are our daily routine. Even living in a developing country facing a never-ending economic crisis, we are not bystanders. Into the future we boldly stride.

Monday, April 22, 2013

IATEFL Conference 2013 Ed Tech Highlights

IATEFL was just some days ago, but things get so hectic when we get back that it seems that it was so long ago... The highlights of an international conference like IATEFL is always related to the people you meet and talk to and the networking that takes place everywhere, on the streets, on Twitter, in the Convention Center corridors, during break time. It's always time to connect, talk, discover, experience.

If you ask me about specific things I've paid attention to and took notes, here are they in my Notes:

Learning Technologies Pre-Conference Notes

Notes Day 1

Notes Day 2

Notes Day 3 and 4

Also, there were some amazing bloggers who would post the summaries of the presentations almost real time.

Graham Stanley's summaries mainly related to Learning Technologies.

Chia Suan Chong's summaries

And the grand finale with our wonderful App Swap. In the corridors of the Convention Center, we exchanged fun and serious apps for personal use and for the classroom. Ana Maria Menezes did a wonderful job compiling all of them!

Amazing days of learning and connections.

crossposted at