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They talked a lot about technology in ELT. A panel of technology experts, bringing experiences from outside the ELT world, discussed trends such as machine translation, artificial intelligence, chatbots and future workplaces. Their perspectives should challenge our current thinking, and help us consider future possibilities.
We were listening to the experts describing their experiences with teaching English using new technologies.
The listeners asked questions such as;
- What does exactly technology bring to our English teaching?
- Can technology substitute the teachers?
- Do we have to be the digital teachers?
- Will technology improve the education in the poor countries?
Since computers started to be introduced in language learning (and in education in
general) people have rightly asked whether the investment we are making in these
technologies gives us value for money. As digital technologies have taken a hold
in society in general, this particular question is not asked quite so often, but it is
still important to make sure that the technologies that we have available are used
effectively. People are always tempted to try to make an argument for technology
having an impact on the development of pedagogy and in many cases we can see
that the use of technology has enabled teachers to re-think what they are doing.
We also see people trying to populate this domain by talking about notions like the
‘flipped classroom’, ostensibly a methodology that sees input as occurring at ‘home’
and physical classrooms being used as spaces to explore what has been presented
in the input. This is far from being a new idea, but these agendas are pushed for
a while and then disappear again. What is a contender for a methodology that is
central to the world of technology and language learning is that of blended learning
(Motteram and Sharma, 2009). We see this methodology still being developed, but
when handled best it is the most likely candidate for a starting point for getting
teachers to work with technology in their practice. It is still the case that most
teachers work in physical classrooms and looking at ways that these spaces can
be augmented with digital technologies is a very good starting point.
Empowering teachers through continuous professional development:frameworks, practices and promises
Gabriel Díaz Maggioli
National Teacher Education College, Uruguay
April 4, 2017
Main Points of Presentation
REALITY CHECK 2002
“…while particular ‘lighthouse’ schools and school systems are the exception, my sense is that professional development as it is experienced by most teachers and principals is pretty much like it has always been—unfocused, insufficient, and irrelevant to the day-to-day problems faced by front line educators. Put another way, a great deal more is known today about good staff development than is regularly practiced in schools.”
Dennis Sparks, 2002
SEC, Glasgow, UK
4th-7th April 2017
Pre-Conference Events and Associates’ Day, 3rd April 2017
Study skills are not just for students. Study skills are transferable – you will take them with you beyond your education into new contexts. For example, organisational skills, time management, prioritising, learning how to analyse, problem solving, and the self-discipline that is required to remain motivated. Study skills relate closely to the type of skills that employers look for. (See Transferable Skills and Employability Skills for more.)
This week I watched a presentation called ‘Changing the way we approach learner styles in teacher education’. This was delivered at IATEFL 2016 by Carol Lethaby and Patricia Harries. If you get a spare half an hour this week I thoroughly recommend seeing it – you can access it on the British Council/IATEFL site.
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IATEFL 2016 Plenary Day 2
This is the reasoning;
- The native speaker is the best model, the ideal teacher.
- I am not the perfect model and not the ideal teacher.
- I am a non-native speaker.
- I can’t be a good English teacher.
Silvana gave us results of some studies and asked to decide what the findings show.
Silvana summarised by saying that students generally value professional and personal qualities over nativeness.
Both NEST and NNEST are perceived to be competence each with unique strengths. Preference is inconclusive. Some indicate both, some one, some the other.
Next, she discussed Discrimination and Recruitment.
A majority of the advertisements favoured NESTs and rejected NNESTs. This could be seen as a severe discrimination.
The presenter also talked about the issues of confidence and self-esteem.
It is about all teachers whose first language is other than English.
Silvana’s session was for me very special as well as significant.
In my view, this discussion is very educational and should be wildly continued.
I have been questioning all kinds of debates around ” who is a better teacher, native speaker or non-native language teacher?”
I have been teaching Polish as well as English for over 40 years.
As a Native Polish speaker, I have been a lot more stressed out teaching English because I always have felt a bit behind new expressions, phrases, vocabulary, and so on
I agree with James Alvis Carpenter’s thinking:
“ What does it mean to be an English, teaching professional? Is it the ability to speak English? Capacity to teach English? The professional credentials attendant to both? Or a combination of tangible and intangible elements—like the ability to speak English coupled with the ability to think creatively and connect with people from different cultures? ”
I believe that generally speaking, it does not matter if you are a native or not – native speaker.
The most important is to be a good creative teacher, with competence to motivate students to learn a language.
Passion for teaching, friendly attitude towards learners, love of the subject, a readiness to alter, a willingness to give, support and reflect are vital education skills.
Above all, it is essential to be a lifetime learner, so to continually look for the best ways of improving teaching methods. We should take courses to master teaching techniques.
Kiczkowiak, M. (2016). Current supporters. Available: http://teflequityadvocates.com/get-involved/support-us/. Last accessed 7th April 2016.
Here is the slide from presentation;
TEACHERS and SUPPORTERS
Silvana encourages to remember about;
- Equal Opportunities policy
–Promote it (Be an EOE- and proud!)
–Use it to challenge customers’ prejudices and to explain your recruitment strategy
- Recruit staff based on their qualifications, experience, the merits of their teaching abilities and their language proficiency
- Create opportunities for collaboration
- Create a working environment that values and promotes equality and diversity
FromLet’s be the majority, not the minority. We shake our heads at the unpleasant (often an understatement!) things our ancestors have done in the name of labels and arbitrary categories, but let’s remember that we also need to shake our heads and stand up against what’s happening now. This is the only way to rid our profession of discrimination and ensure that we have qualified teachers teaching English rather than people who have been hired because their first language is a particular variety of English and (in some cases) because they have white skin.