Session Reports by Adam Simpson

I have been living and teaching in Turkey for more than ten years now, and for all of that time I’ve been working in the tertiary education sector in universities in Istanbul. I currently work at the School of Languages at Sabancı University, where I am a member of the curriculum development team. I am passionate about English for academic purposes and during my career I have been involved in many projects based around academic English.

My particular interests include corpus linguisitics, having been involved in the development of my School’s vocabulary syllabus, and in the development of flexibility in lesson planning. I’m also a strong believer in placing the learner at the center of the classroom and allowing lessons to evolve from the learner. I also love the notion of reflective practice; using what happens in my lessons as the basis for future planning. I’m an avid believer in what organizations like IATEFL are doing for our profession and am delighted to be attending the 2012 Conference in Glasgow.

So, a reflection on IATEFL Glasgow 2012...


What justifiable connection is there between the development of technology and the advancement of teaching methodology?

Where can the internet take us as 21st century teachers? The web, Işıl and Beyza noted, is now somewhat analogous to a ‘tech island’ resplendent with a variety of web tools. Nevertheless, if teachers aren’t aware of how to make the most of them, they won’t be able to guide students through their learning journeys.



The notion of Interactive Fiction is neither new nor innovative. Nevertheless, its use in language teaching is still new and not yet greatly explored. Interactive Fiction is actually what many of us would refer to as the original computer game; a text-based adventure in which the player works with the game to co-construct the story.

The Pearson signature event focused on three of the four Cs; communication and collaboration; creativity; and critical thinking.

Each panelist shared their views as to why each C was the most important.


1. Communication and collaboration


Traditionally, curricula have been documents created by teachers and institutions for classroom implementation and actualization. So, where does the learner fit into the grand scheme of things?

Everything you know is wrong! Well, not wrong, but I guess we could all do with a fresh perspective on our teaching practices every now and again.

The future will require skilled and digitally aware learners. E-portfolios, Suzanne and Şirin suggested, would play a major part in ensuring this occurs.

Working with e-portfolios will enable learners to develop a wide array of skills, such as goal setting, engagement, motivation, ICT skills, reflection and collaboration, among others.


'Russell Stannard: doing the hard work of finding the best tech tools so you don't have to!'


Russell’s presentation was part of the YTL Special Interest Group. He reflected on the fact that we as ELT practitioners are already good at the flipped classroom, so today he wanted to talk about what he calls the ‘connected classroom’.


As someone involved in EAP, I was particularly looking forward to Olwyn Alexander's presenation, as she is doing some wonderful work in the development of academic English.


In her session, she looked into how the teacher’s book has been viewed in our profession, with particular emphasis on the fact that up to this point they have been less important to publishers than the course book itself.

Are we still merely those people who stand at the front of the classroom and deliver language to those poor folks who share that room with us, or is it time we evolved into much more than that?

Suzanne has travelled the same path as me to get here from Istanbul. Here's what she has in store for us.



Could you introduce yourself to us?


I work at the British Council in Istanbul. I am from the north east of England, which makes me a Geordie.



Can you tell us a bit about your session?


If, like me, you have no idea what Design Thinking Methodology is, Natalie's session might be for you. Here's what she has in store for us.

Please introduce yourself.


I am a Business English trainer from Riga, Latvia. I run my own business, providing Business English and Skills training to leading Latvian companies and individuals.


What's your attitude towards using authentic listening materials? Does it scare you or do you think it's a necessity? Why  ot join Rachael Roberts' session for a new perspective on using listening materials.


Could you introduce yourself?


Hi, my name is Rachael Roberts and I’ve been working in ELT since 1989, as a teacher, trainer and materials writer.


Dogme ELT looks like making a big impact on the conference again this year, so I'm delighted that Martin Sketchley, one of its main proponents, has taken the time to chat with me about his presentation.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?


Rosinda de Castro Guerra Ramos' presentation looked at bios in an online undergraduate course. While this was only part of the research conducted, this was chosen as the focus as it is one not often focused on in the literature.

Larisa Zelenskaya made the case for bilingual coursebooks. In doing so, she stressed the need for localized materials.

Helen Basturkmen's presentation shocased the results of research looking into the requirements of developing a quality ESP course.

The aim of the study was to see how experienced ESP course developers went about their business in terms of the procedures they use.

Semih Irfaner presented the findings of research conducted on the design of ESP materials so as to enhance students' involvement and participation.

Elena Yastrebova's presentation focused on ESP course and materials design.

Drawing the line between general English and ESP necessitates a move away from the core subjects at the beginning of courses of study, towards international specific subjects as the courses move on (although these continue to intertwine).

Elena’s work context espouses the use of what she termed a ‘spiral’ course progression.

Today is pre-conference event day, and I've been attending the English for Specific Purposes event. As this relates specifically to my teaching context, I'm looking forward to finding out what's going on in the world of ESP.


My reports today will all focus on what's happenign in this event.

The notion of Dogme ELT is one that fascinates me and frightens me in equal measures. Nevertheless, I'm really pleased it's getting the coverage and level of contemplation it deserves at events like IATEFL.

Adam Beale has been chronicling his experiences in teaching unplugged on his excellent blog, so I'm happy he has taken the time to tell us about his Dome inspired conference session.


Do you ever use authentic video in your classroom? I have to say I do, and with great success. Nevertheless, I’m always looking for new perspectives from others about how they go about it.

Consequently, I’m delighted that Antonia Clare has taken the time to discuss her upcoming IATEFL session on this topic.



Could you introduce yourself?

IATEFL is well-known for bringing the international ELT community together and this year's far from an exception. I'm happy, therefore, to be posting my first interview with a presenter from Brazil, Malu Sciamarelli.


Please introduce yourself.


#ELTChat is an ever burgeoning phenomenon that has propelled the world of ELT well and truly into the Twittersphere.


As an occasional participant, I’m delighted that this year’s conference will be an opportunity to publicize and further popularize this fantastic initiative.


Işıl and Beyza are well-known faces on the Turkish ELT scene, so it's nice that we are all going to get to see them present at IATEFLagain this year.

Işıl has been kind enough to answer a few of my questions and give us a taster of what their presentation will offer us.


Could you introduce yourself to us?


I had the privilege of meeting Joe and listen to him speak at my university's conference last year and can assure you that you will be in for a really interesting experience when you join his session at Glasgow 2012.


Could you please briefly introduce yourself?


I've gotten to know Hakan Şentürk through his fine work on Prezis and his online presence.

I finally got to meet him – fleetingly - last October at a conference in Istanbul, but I’ve not yet had the pleasure of seeing one of his presentations. Bearing in mind the great work he’s doing on the use of Prezi, this is a situation I look forward to remedying next week!

Carol Read is a legendary figure in the IATEFL organization. For many years, she was on the committee of the Young Learner Special Interest Group and joint editor of its publication, Children and Teenagers. She has also been part of the Publications Committee, which has overall responsibility for the Association’s publications and website.

Carol Read

Eve Buyuksimkesyan was one of last year's succesful Blogathon runners and was consequently able to attend the 2011 event in Brighton. I'm delighted to say that she has this year made the transition to presenter.


Eva has kindly taken the time to let us know what she has in store for us.


Can you tell us about your teaching?


Shaun Wilden is someone who I've got to know through #ELTChat on Twitter.

So far, though, we’ve only ever met in Second Life, so it will be nice to have the opportunity to meet up with him ‘in the first person’ at the Glasgow conference next week.

I’m delighted that Shaun has taken the time to let us know what we can look forward to in his session next week:

How many of us use Facebook on a daily basis? Stupid question, I know! How many of us are incorporating Facebook into our language classrooms? This question has piqued your interest, I can tell. Evelina Miščin will be taking us into this brave new world in Glasgow. Here’s what she has to say about her Glasgow session:


Could you introduce yourself to us?


Gavin Dudeney is a nothing short of a legend in the ELT profession.

Sandy Millin is someone I've come to know through Twitter and I'm excited at the prospect of meeting her at the conference and hearing her speak. She will be presenting at IATEFL as the recipient of the International House John Haycraft Classroom Exploration Scholarship.

Tell us a little about yourself

As one of the roving reporters for the upcoming conference, I'd like to offer those who are presenting the chance to generate a bit of buzz about their session.