Monday, 31 January 2011

Marks, set, go! ELT Blogathon 2011

February will see me divide my blogging time between my usual posting space here and the ELT Blogathon on the British Council/Teaching English website. You may have seen some tweets flutter by about this recently but for those of you who don’t know, this is a month long event open to English teachers in Turkey. From February 1st to March 1st, the registered bloggers (including me - vest number 055!) will post about all sorts of ELT related topics and at the end of the month a winner will be chosen. The prize? An all expenses paid trip to IATEFL!

055

“I am not a number - I am a blogger!”

You can find a collection of all the posts made so far here. So, come on! Get over to the Teaching English website and take a look. I’m not asking anyone to support me but I think this will be a cool way to connect with other teachers who are not necessarily regular bloggers. Perhaps you can make some new contacts and encourage some new faces to start their own blogs and join Twitter.

But if you do want to support me, you can always check out my posts. Winking smile The last train ride to IATEFL is about to leave the station and I’m running for it!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Willing to share but not willing to pay for the privilege

I’ve sat on this post since yesterday as I feel quite strongly about the issue and didn’t want to rant too much. However, this is something that I feel needs to be discussed so you’ve been warned: time to ruffle some feathers!

feathers

Ruffled feathers complete with head in the sand (or grass). Image by ucumari

As I mentioned previously, my experiences of blogging and tweeting over the last several months have been really enlightening and motivating. Having the opportunity to share my thoughts and benefit from the ideas of others has really helped me as a teacher and as a student. As Cecilia discussed on her blog recently, sharing is (or at least should be) an important part of every teacher’s ongoing development, whether with our immediate colleagues or with other ELT professionals we connect with online or at conferences and seminars.

Another great benefit of being active on Twitter is that I’ve heard about upcoming conferences in Turkey that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. In the past, I’ve only ever given workshops at my school’s own conference and I was excited about the possibility of sharing and interacting with other teachers outside my usual surroundings.

I duly applied to four different upcoming events and was delighted earlier this week when one of them got in touch to say my proposal had been accepted. I was asked to confirm I would be available, which I promptly did, and was then directed to the presenters registration page. I filled in my personal details but then came to a screen asking for a fee of 75 Euros. I thought it must be an error and I had been sent the regular attendees link by mistake. However, after contacting the organisers, it turned out I was expected to pay. Admittedly, my experience of doing workshops at such events is limited to my own organisation’s conference but it had never even occurred to me that I might have to pay. After all, I’d be the one going to do something for them

I then checked the other conferences: one is my own school’s event so nothing to worry about there; another asks for no fee for presenters and even offers free accommodation; but the third was asking for a whopping 120 Euro fee from the presenters! Surprised smile 

money

Is this enough for me to do a workshop for you? Image by Public Domain Photos

Now, I don’t expect to be paid - I am not a big name in ELT nor am I an experienced presenter at such events. Nor do I expect all expenses to be covered - my school has said they will cover any travel costs for conferences I attend outside of Ankara. Accommodation is not really an issue - I would have no problem paying for that and besides, I have friends or relatives from my wife’s family in pretty much every major Turkish city. But why should I pay to present? It’s not really the expense that’s the issue - it’s the principle. As anyone who has presented at conferences will know, planning and preparing workshops takes a lot of time and effort. On top of that, I would need to arrange time off work, possibly having to re-arrange classes for my free hours and I would be away from home for up to 3 days. Considering that commitment on my part plus the fact that I would be adding something to that particular event, I simply don’t see the logic in being asked to pay a fee.

Granted, conferences are expensive events to run - flying in plenary speakers, arranging the venue, equipment, refreshments (even then, coffee is an area where corners are obviously cut!) but surely that can be covered by non-presenting participant’s fees and sponsors. After all, what are the sponsors for if not to cover the costs of running the show and bringing the presenters in?

Perhaps I’m being somewhat naive. Is this the norm for most conferences? What about you? Do you agree with me or would you happily pay the fee even when you are giving a workshop at a conference? Are there any conference organisers out there who can explain the logic in asking people who are giving up their time for the benefit of your event to pay for the privilege? I would really love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

26-01-11 ELTchat review - The role and function of humour in the EFL class: from “Ha, ha!” to “Aha!”

Possibly one of the most difficult aspects of a foreign language to get to grips with is humour. Word plays, double meanings, intonation, setting and aspects of culture all have an impact on whether a situation is viewed as ‘funny’ or not and deciphering all the clues can be difficult. Why, sometimes we fail to see the funny side of things said by other native speakers of our own language so asking the students to do the same is asking a lot!

However, a life without humour is a dull one and so is a lesson without humour. How can we incorporate humour into the classroom setting? And how can we ensure that it’s not just for a cheap laugh but a way to encourage learning? That was the topic of the early session of ELTchat on Twitter earlier today (26th January) and I will now attempt to summarise some of the key points.

laughter
A-maze-ing laughter: Image by weezerthewonderful

 

Why use humour in class? How?

One of the points discussed was what benefits humour can have in the classroom and how best to utilise it beyond mere jokes. Some of the key tweets were as follows:
  • Humour can be tricky across different cultures, but can usually always use visual humour – funny pics etc.
  • To help engage & build rapport, humour though is v important as a teacher.
  • Humour is best when spontaneous. Prepped jokes (esp. coursebook ones) rarely go down well.
  • Humour is a key element in developing classroom cohesion.
  • Humour helps to lower the affective filter – helps learners to relax.
  • Highet in his famous book “The Art of Teaching” says humour is one of the most important qualities of a good teacher.
  • So humour serves to make ‘boring’ things funny, just by exposing their strangeness.
  • Humour can be a good way of connecting with YL’s & getting them ‘on side’.
  • If teacher shows he/she can laugh at him/herself, then learners feel more able to do so too.
  • Humour enables teachers and students to understand each other better.
  • Humour reduces anxiety.and also grammar taught thru humour is learnt better…
  • Laughing together about something+recalling that moment later are important moment’s in the biography of a class.
  • Humor used as a pedagogical tool can boost sts’ interested in more difficult subjects and promote engagement.
  • Laughing is good for you in general so should be encouraged in class.
  • Humor should be a given with young children, but surprisingly many people don’t use it.
  • Laughter and humour reduces social distance between students and teachers
  • Humorous breaks during a lesson promote learning by allowing the brain a “breather” to process

 

Ideas for the classroom involving humour

There were several ideas tweeted during the session about specific activities that could be done in class ranging from exaggerated actions and drama to using authentic video clips. Here are some of the main tweets:
  • Pretending things have happened to you … winning lottery, spraining an ankle…have used these to great effect with teens.
  • With very YLs I fall over in class all the time, esp. when doing “can/can’t” – Can I ride a bike? Try to and then fall off.
  • I often pretend I don’t understand something obvious – get the kids to explain it to me & get some laughs as well.
  • I always use cartoons and comic strips w my sts. 1 of the best activities is to teach phrasal verbs with them. Sts learn and have fun.
  • Lower levels – short video clips…esp. funny commercials..easy to understand and follow.
  • Advantage with comedy videos to me are the ease with which you can select a very small piece, esp. in a sketch show
  • Nonsense sentences for tongue twisters with YLs with pics to illustrate!
  • I get them to write crazy nonsensical dialogs and sentences – teens love it and laugh a lot .
  • The best jokes in my classes are the ones students themselves come up with by playfully using their language skills.
  • Turning coursebook dialogues into complete nonsense also gets a good laugh – plus it’s great for playing with language
  • With adults I make up absurd role-plays to get them talking.
  • Trying different voices and personalities in roleplaying – lots of fun and lots of language learning
  • With FCE/CAE we write absurd letters of complaints (and mix them with slang expressions
  • Asking mad questions YL love it, e.g. do you like spider cookies? is your neighbour a superman
  • Funny mistakes in signs can be a good way of teaching spelling, grammar, etc. – get learners to correct
  • When teaching pronunciation I often exaggerate and make funny faces – with adults and kids.
  • When I have kids up at the front of the class, I often sit in one of their chairs & act like one of the students. Good for rapport
  • One funny game is “sausages” where the answer to every question must be “sausages” and no-one is allowed to laugh
  • I rewrite familiar stories and then include humorous twists – the unexpected is also a trick to catch their attention
  • I’ve used Photoshop to put student heads on famous bodies for description lessons
  • Get them draw few cards, randomly, from a pack of REALLY various vocab, use them all to create a story…funny storytelling
  • I always like the idea of getting sts to search for puns and have them explain both meanings to class. We laugh a lot!

Potential problems

As with any tool we use in class, there is the potential for the teacher’s attempts to use it to go wrong. Considerations of cultural differences, appropriacy, the learners’ level and class clowns getting out of hand were all discussed. And then, there is the fact that some things just aren’t that funny to begin with… Smile with tongue out
  • Jokes are harder/ more problematic sometimes bec of sensitivities, understanding etc.
  • Think CB jokes are often forced “we need to have a joke in this listening. What should we do?”
  • One problem is the play on words – students have to know multiple meanings to get CB jokes.
  • Telling jokes well difficult even amongst L1 users – pause, etc.…crucial not easy for L2 learners.
  • Jokes take a lot of labouring to explain and are not particularly productive in terms of student-talk levels
  • Perhaps the worst project i ever did was getting Ss to choose a joke,learn how to tell it & deliver it. Painfully unfunny.
  • After going through intonation, pronunciation, and WHY = not funny for anyone any more!
  • Laughing at mistakes is okay if st making mistake is laughing too, otherwise can be humiliating, takes time to get feel for this.
  • Is there such a thing as “too much” humor in class? Sure it’s good in doses but can it become too much?
  • Sometimes the class joker takes over…
  • Be careful with giggly teens who lose control and the class will be spent laughing about nothing
  • Some ‘funny’ teachers also over-rely on their ‘charisma’ and forget the teaching bit!!
  • Trying to be funny can lead to being seen as a show-off – true for students AND teachers

Resources and links

The following links to articles, blog posts and resources were tweeted during the chat:
If you want to check out the full transcript from today's chat, you can find it here.

And now for something completely different…

 

Seeing as classic British comedy shows such as Mr Bean, Fawlty Towers and Monty Python were mentioned during the chat, here’s one from those Python boys which I’m sure language teachers will like:

“He’s making a comparison.” - “He shouldn’t be. We haven’t done that yet.” :)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Inspired by my PLN, No. 2 - First experiences with drama

I’ve been looking at ways to introduce more drama into my lessons this year and have taken inspiration from various people I’ve met through Twitter. As my classes will do an adapted performance of The Wizard of Oz, Ania Kozicka was a great help both through her guest post about serious drama with young learners on Ken Wilson’s blog and kindly showing me one of her adapted scripts as well as giving me some pointers on how to approach it. Big Ken himself has also been a great source of ideas and, if you haven’t seen it already, I strongly recommend you watch his interview with Shelly Terrell about animating lessons with drama.

The final inspiration came from Anna Musielak-Kubecka. I first heard about her through my PLN’s tweets coming out of her workshop at last November’s TESOL France event (an example to add to the recent debate on Jeremy harmer’s blog of how tweeting during a conference can be a positive thing). Her subsequent arrival on Twitter and guest posts about drama games for soldiers for Ken Wilson’s blog and drama warmers/fillers/starters for Vladka Michalkova’s blog provided the basis for the first drama activities I decided to introduce into my lessons.

theatre
Image by haydnseek

 

How are you?

 

My first drama lesson centred on simply asking “how are you?” As many language teachers will know, students of English often learn “I’m fine thanks” as a standard response early on and use it automatically and I decided to play on that a bit. First, I drew nine circles on the board and asked the students to come up and draw different faces on each one. Predictably, we started with happy and sad but then they got more creative and drew scared, angry, excited and cool faces - we even got in love in one class! I then asked them to act out “how are you?” / ”I’m fine thanks” but using one of the faces. So we got one kid asking in a happy way while the other answered sadly, one kid asking angrily while another answered nervously, one kid in love while the other acted cool - and, even though the language was super simple, they absolutely loved it and asked to do it again and again.

Get into character

 

The next phase was a combination of one of Anna’s ideas (Move in the manner of….) and a suggestion of Ken’s to get the students into character. We brainstormed some generic character types like superhero, princess, cowboy, witch and robot and I first asked the students to move about in the manner of one of the characters. We then devised a short greetings dialogue and I asked the students to move around the classroom introducing themselves and speaking to each other without breaking character. I joined in, which really got them going (I was either Super Teacher or Prince David) and once again, they didn’t want the activity to end.

Saying goodbye

 

The students were asked to stay in character for the remainder of the lesson as I gave a quick overview of the Wizard of Oz play we will do and how good acting will be just as important, if not more so, than good speaking skills. As the bell rang, I insisted each child said goodbye in character before leaving the class, leading to princesses curtseying, witches cackling evilly and robots shutting down (as well as puzzled looks from kids and teachers from other classes already in the corridor for break time)!

My students got two things out of this lesson: first, they realised drama can be fun and enjoyable rather than something to be worried about (in fact, many of them said it was the best lesson we’ve done all year!); and secondly, they saw how body language, facial expression and tone of voice all play an important role. After all, words are just words - it’s how we say them and the feeling behind them that give them meaning.

Further reading

 

As well as the blog posts I’ve linked to above (and the people to follow), you should check these pages out if you are interested in incorporating some drama into your classes:

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ghost stories - Kill the myth or the creativity?

The school I work at is huge - I mean really, really huge! A sprawling campus outside the city is home to a kindergarten, primary school, middle school, high school, administration building, stadium and some 4,000+ students, teachers and other staff.

tedankara

A view of the Primary School I work at - Middle and High Schools in the distance!

Inevitably with a school this size, some areas are used less than others. In fact, this year, there is an entire corridor right by the English department which is not being used at all. Despite the fact that the campus has only been in use since September 2004, some of the 4th grade kids have got it into their heads that this corridor is haunted by the ghost of a former pupil. I’m not sure to what extent they actually believe this but it has become a game/dare to creep down the corridor and look inside the empty classrooms and many a coffee break for English teachers has been disturbed by the screams of children as they reach as far as they can go before running for it.

Without a doubt, the scariest thing they are likely to face is an angry teacher barking at them to go away. “Don’t be so silly!” they are told followed by the inevitable order “It is forbidden for you to be in this corridor - stay away from here!” In many ways, it’s the classic teacher/authoritarian reaction: tell the kids not to be so childish and enforce a ban on going there or even talking about it - kill the imagination and the creativity of thought together with their self-concocted myth.

ghost

Image by Alison Elizabeth x

And this is where I have a problem… After all, these are primary school kids we are talking about here and a vivid imagination comes with the territory. My reaction to the whole episode would be different. Why not bring the subject up in class? (I teach some of the kids who have been daring each other to venture down the corridor). Ask them to tell the story of what exactly is down there. Talk to them about why people find empty, dark or abandoned places scary. Explain to them that ghost stories are just that - stories. Maybe even finish by getting them to draw and describe the ghost or write their own ghost story. I believe this would kill the myth but give their imaginations and creativity an outlet.

But, no - doing something like that wouldn’t address the problem I’m told. It would only make it worse by fuelling their imaginations and spreading the story to other kids who perhaps haven’t heard about it or haven’t been fully caught up in it yet...

What do you think? Better to tell them to forget about it and wait for it all to blow over? Or better to exploit the situation and let their imaginations loose?

Friday, 21 January 2011

“Why am I doing this?” - The dark side of distance learning

I’m not going to lie to anyone thinking of doing an MA, especially if they are considering distance mode - it’s not easy. Don’t get me wrong - it is worth it. The chance to reflect on your practice, engage with ELT academics, access research and expand your horizons make sure of that. However, at some point when you’re behind schedule, spending late nights hunched over your computer trying to get an assignment finished or trapped in a seemingly never ending spiral of reading academic publications, you will inevitably put your head in your hands and ask yourself “Why am I doing this?”

dark side

“Everything has a hole in it - that’s how the light gets in” Image by Mrs eNil

This moment of self-questioning hits the distance learner especially hard. There is no immediate support network of fellow students and odds are, you are juggling the study with a full-time teaching post (and we all know how demanding that can be!), and possibly family commitments as well. Despite your best laid plans to study at a particular time, you’ll get asked to do something extra at work (a terrible side effect of studying - “you’re doing an MA so you can do a workshop on what you’ve learned for us”) or there will be tests to mark, projects to grade and reports to write.

Away from work, there’ll be a friend’s birthday or a family event you can’t miss. Then you’ll find you can’t relax as you spend your time thinking “I should be studying”. And then, you’ll hear your colleagues discussing plans for the weekend/upcoming holiday. As they mention catching a film at the cinema, going out for a meal or having a weekend away, you’ll be thinking “I need to read up on socio-cultural theory and write a short summary of its applications to e-learning”.

It can take its toll and at times, keeping yourself motivated is hard. As I said at the start, it is all worth it though and there are several things you can do to keep yourself on track:

  • Plan ahead as much as possible

Get organised with your assignment dates, important dates at work, holidays and special occasions. Invaluable for avoiding potential pile-ups of work! Of course, it’s not always possible to predict what’s coming but it’s useful to be as prepared as possible.

  • Keep your boss(es) up to date on what you’re doing

It always important to keep a dialogue going. Let the people you work with/for know what you’re doing and when you are likely to be busy with study. After all, you doing an MA benefits them as well so they should be supportive.

  • Keep in touch with your course mates

There are plenty of ways to reduce the ‘loneliness of the long distance learner’. There is the university’s own virtual learning environment of course but then there are all the other social media options: Twitter, blogging, Skype… Being in touch with fellow Manchester MA students like Richard, Isil, Nergiz and Martin W as well as students on other courses like Beyza and Martin S has helped me as it’s good to know someone else out there is juggling the same things as you. For my last course, regular Skype sessions were a great way to feel more involved in a learning community as well.

  • Unwind once in a while…

Nothing wrong with taking an evening/day off from the computer screen and the books (unless it’s right before a deadline!) and doing something for yourself like taking in a movie, watching a footy match, joining some friends for a drink. In fact, you might find yourself refreshed a little with more energy to get back into studying.

  • Make time to make up for lost time

I’ve had to spend less time than normal with my family over the last few weeks. It got to the point where my son would come home from kindergarten and ask “have you got work to do today daddy?” Once I was done with the assignment, I made sure I had time to focus on just him and spoil him a bit. I also plan to make the most of my wife’s birthday with plenty of family-oriented stuff planned for the weekend. After all, it’s support from family and friends that keeps people going in whatever they do. Smile

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Inspired by my PLN, No. 1 - Mike Harrison’s Mixed-up Monsters

As many of you out there will agree, teacher’s individual blogs are a great source of inspiration. I’ve gained many ideas from them over the last several months, whether in the form of lesson ideas, ways of dealing with difficult situations or general ideas about education and language teaching. I’ve decided to start a new series of blog posts in which I detail my experiences of trying out what I have read elsewhere.

Big Eyes Alien from Bigeyes Land!First up is an idea I got from Mike Harrison’s blog for a collaborative drawing activity my classes dubbed ‘Mixed-up Monsters’ (you can see some of my favourite examples throughout this post). It’s a fun idea for a simple lesson: you give each student a piece of paper and ask them to fold it into 4. They then draw a head, fold it over and pass it on to the next student who draws the body and so on until the picture is complete. They then unfold their paper to reveal the final ‘creation’ (see Mike’s blog post for more detailed instructions).

mixedupmonster2

As we had recently done a unit on the body and describing animals, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to recycle that language with the added creativity of the drawing activity. I decided to do this in my split classes, meaning smaller groups and also meaning I did the lesson 10 times over! Most of the time it went really well but in a couple of classes, it didn’t go according to plan so I’m going to insert a brief aside here as part of my own recent blog challenge:

When the wheels fell off

mixedupmonster3With one particular group, there were problems getting the idea across that this was a collaborative effort. Some kids got upset because they felt ‘their’ picture was being ruined by somebody else’s crazy or poor drawing. This was especially the case with mixed groups of boys and girls as the boys spent ages drawing monster or robot heads and were then horrified as the girl next to them started to draw a pink dress or jewellery. It happened the other way as well with girls complaining that their beautiful princess head had now got a scaly body covered in spikes attached to it. Some even took it so far as to grab their paper back and erase the other person’s part of the drawing. Part of the problem here was that I’d set them up in groups of 4 with the paper passed around in a circle. In subsequent lessons, I switched to a ‘production line’ with the paper passed further and further away from the person who drew the head and that seemed to work much better.

When it went well

mixedupmonster6One advantage of doing a similar lesson several times over is the chance to address the issues and try it again. As I said above, I changed the way I set the activity up to solve the collaboration problem. I also made my instructions clearer, telling the class from the start that we would draw a series of pictures together and the whole point was to end up with something unusual or crazy. I also joined in, which they seemed to respond well to.

In the majority of the classes, the kids really got into the idea and had a lot of fun. I had to allow a couple of minutes for them to run around showing the finished pictures to each other once the drawing stage mixedupmonster4was complete as most of them got a little over-excited. However, once they had calmed down, we were able to move to the language production phase as I asked them to name their monsters, create a profile and write a description. Again, I encouraged collaboration with pairs or small groups taking pictures which they hadn’t drawn on and deciding together what to write. Once this was done, they presented some of the ‘characters’ to each other.

In these classes, I was really impressed that such a simple activity had got them working together so well. It was also great to see some of the quieter kids much more involved in the lesson than normal as they all had ideas for what the monster should be like.

mixedupmonster5At the insistence of a couple of classes, the final products went on display in a ‘Monster Mash Gallery’ in the corridor (over 100 monsters on the wall!) and the kids really enjoyed seeing what the other classes had done. I even had picked a couple off the wall and take them into different classes for a reading activity. This is definitely a lesson I’ll be doing again in the future.

Thanks Mike!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Taking a walk in the learners' shoes - A chewy toffee guest post for a Box of Chocolates

One of my favourite blogs to read and comment on is Cecilia Coelho's Box of Chocolates. It's always full of good ideas, insightful reflections and thought-provoking questions. So, when I jokingly challenged Cecilia to a bet with the loser writing a guest post for the other person, I had no problem with getting beat and contributing to her great blog. However, just to be a bit awkward, I decided to pick a topic I knew we didn't 100% agree on - an unexpectedly chewy toffee in her otherwise delicious collection of ELT soft centres. ;)

So I suggest you head over to Cecilia's blog and read the post (complete with a somewhat oversize picture of yours truly staring out from the page at you!) While you're there, be sure to check out some of her other fantastic posts! Just click on the clipped image below:

Sunday, 16 January 2011

‘Back in Blog’ - What next?

Finally late last night, I got my MA assignment done. Out of the ones I’ve done so far, this was the hardest - not because of the subject (multimedia design & development) but because of all sorts of external factors. While many of my colleagues likely had a nice Christmas and New Year break from work on the approach to deadline day, I was full steam ahead at work (no Christmas holiday in Turkey of course). Actually, as Christmas and New Year both fell on Saturdays, I lost time for study as preparations, celebrations and recovery took over. The last couple of weeks have been tough as we are coming up to the mid-year break in the Turkish academic year and tests and projects need to be marked, grades need to be decided and reports need to be written (those are all due tomorrow!)

study stress

I know how he feels.

Image by truester

Of course, I didn’t help myself much with many a study hour lost to frivolous activities. Although I kept away from Twitter and the blog (or at least considerably cut back on the usual amount of time I spend tweeting and blogging), I was easily distracted by YouTube videos and Internet Backgammon (the problems of writing assignments on computer you see). Nevertheless, it was done in the end. I’m not entirely convinced by my writing (usual trouble of too many things to say and struggling to select what to focus on) but I think the accompanying website is pretty darn good, ticking the boxes of promoting learner interaction, self-directed learning and using a variety of stimuli (it is supposed to be multimedia after all). I will share the link eventually but will refrain for now as it hasn’t been marked yet!

Anyway, now the assignment’s out of the way, I can return to regular blogging. I have plenty of posts ready to be written up based on some classroom experiences over the last few weeks such as some ideas I’ve pinched off other people’s blogs, drama activities, some thoughts on the whole testing-grading-report card cycle I’ve been a part of and advice on how (not) to approach your MA assignments. I also have a couple of guest posts in the pipeline which I hope to get finished soon - I always enjoy guest posts, both writing and reading them and I hope to get the chance to do a few of them in 2011.

Beyond that, I will of course have more study to do in the second semester (two modules: ‘Teaching and Learning Online’ and ‘The Education of Language Teachers’), which I’m looking forward to doing (also planning to be more organised with my study this time). I also hope to be busy on the conference circuit. My school’s own conference ‘English Beyond Walls’ is on April 16th (yes, we’re going head-to-head with the IATEFL juggernaut :o), where I’ll be (acceptance pending) doing a session on online teacher development. I’ve also just submitted a proposal for ‘Squaring the Circle’, a conference to be held in Izmir in late March and I am drafting up further proposals for workshops for ‘Reflections and Innovations in ELT’ at ISTEK in April and ‘Eclipsing Expectations’ at Sabanci University in June. Hopefully, I’ll be accepted by at least one of them! Any other upcoming events that I’ve missed, let me know.

Finally, I’ll share a little tune with you to declare myself back to the world 3+ blog posts per week. I’ve been listening to a lot of music recently as it helps me work. I’m not one for that ‘classical music makes you more intelligent’ rubbish though. I like something ‘classic’ in a different musical sense with a nice rhythm to work along to. Something like these fine Aussie chaps:

After the strain of studying, ‘Highway to Hell’ might have been more appropriate, but I decided to focus on the positives of more time for blogging instead. ;)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Random recorded ramblings leading to a blog challenge

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently, not so much due to the recent festive season or holidays (I wish!) but due to being incredibly busy with work and study. During a free lesson today, I decided I’d had enough of lesson prep and marking projects and, as nobody else was in the room and my laptop was already on, I recorded a quick video post to compensate for the fact I didn’t have enough time to write anything! My comments were not planned but I ended up laying down a challenge (I know how much we ELT bloggers love ‘em)! Well, two actually: your first challenge is to get that far in the video; your second is to respond!


Note to self: remember YouTube can choose random snapshots from any point in the video!

I’m going to call it:

Dave’s ‘When The Wheels Fell Off’ Blog Challenge

Come on - Do your worst!