Wednesday, 28 April 2010

3rd TED ELT Conference: "The Art of Learning - Critical Thinking in ELT"

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an ELT conference organised by my employers TED, a foundation with colleges all over Turkey. This year it was hosted at Aliaga College near Izmir and the theme was critical thinking. Despite initial problems with the volcanic ash cloud grounding some of the plenary speakers in the UK, the event as a whole was an enlightening experience with a high focus on breaking the mould of traditional classroom settings and encouraging learners to th┼čnk more freely by giving them more freedom.

Having given my first ever seminar at last year's event in Bursa (on using PowerPoint in class as the theme was ICT in ELT), I returned this year with a talk on self-assessment in the Primary EFL classroom.

I started by asking the attendees to brainstorm what they associated with assessment. We then collected the answers and typed them into Wordle, producing the following image:
Wordle: What my colleagues think about assessment


Do you see what I see? It seems assessment was on the whole equated to testing... but this is what I was expecting and what I used as a launching platform for my talk: assessment is about much more than just testing!

I think the rest of the talk went well as I stressed the distinction between 'assessment of learning' in the traditional exam mould and 'assessment for learning' i.e. raising metacognitive awareness and critical thinking skills through reflection and self-evaluation - possible even with primary school kids!

This talk was also the first time I used Prezi for a presentation. You can see it here if you like:


There was a downer to the whole event though: somewhere over the course of the weekend, I manged to lose my 3G mobile modem on the first ocassion I had ever travelled with it! My wife was not best pleased....

4 comments:

  1. Hi David!

    Welcome to the blogosphere!

    Sorry to hear about the 3G modem but your presentations sound like a success.

    Nergiz

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  2. Thanks Nergiz for my first comment!

    Luckily, the modems have dropped in price since their intial release so a replacement wasn't too expensive...

    Funny how I never needed a mobile internet connection before but now I definitely do!

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  3. Interesting stuff! I liked the Prezi! Have done just one, and it was nice, too a long time though.

    Talking about self-assessment I had an article published last month in Brazil, maybe you'd like to take a look. http://www.scribd.com/doc/39338360/Learner-Autonomy-and-Self-Assessment-New-Routes-Magazine-42

    It's funny how this subject is not talked about much, I think teachers' beliefs that learners cannot self-assess still abounds.

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  4. Yes, the Prezi took a while but it was my first one. It gets easier after that.

    Thanks for the link to your article. I have also written an article for this which is awaiting publication pending review at present.

    I find not so much that self-assessment isn't talked about, more that it is all too easily dismissed. People need to disassociate it from 'testing' - what most people automatically equate with assessment. It takes some time to establish it in a class that is not familiar with the idea but the time that takes is well worth it!

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