AzETA as a Learning School - Presentation at the IATEFL 46th International Conference
by Sevinc Rashidova on participation at the
IATEFL 46TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
19 Ц 23 March 2012, Glasgow, Scotland
IATEFL, the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language aims to link, develop and support English Language Teaching professionals throughout the world. IATEFL is recognised as a family of over 3,500 members in more than one hundred different countries. Apart from individual membership, IATEFL has institutional membership category. With the support of the British Council AzETA became a member of IATEFL and developed this membership further and signed an agreement with IATEFL on co-operation. Since 31 October 2005 AzETA is an Associate member of IATEFL.
In the autumn last year the British Council announced scholarship among Teachers’ Associations to give a presentation at the IATEFL 46th Annual Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on 19-23 March 2012. It was a great opportunity for AzETA to be represented at the Conference. As such, AzETA also nominated two members to apply for scholarship. I won the scholarship and attended IATEFL 46th Conference where I also gave a presentation on AzETA’s activities and co-operation with the British Council.
Day 1: 19 March
IATEFL has around 100 Associates.50 of them were represented at the Associates’ Day, including AzETA. The day started with welcoming notes of Mr Eric Baber, IATEFL President. Then the participants were given a chance to introduce themselves. The Associates’ Day on 19th March was a chance for representatives of these TAs to get together and discuss matters of common concern. One of the most overarching aims of most TAs is to build professional communities. I had a chance to share news and views with the representatives of TAs from over 80 countries. I also talked about AzETA’s forthcoming 9th International Conference to be held on 22-24 June 2012 in Qebele, Azerbaijan.
Day 2: 20 March
The Conference started. There were about 2000 participants from all over the world. At the opening Eric Barber, IATEFL President welcomed the participants and thanked the IATEFL officers whose period in position was over and welcomed new officers. Bill Maxwell from Education Scotland, and a representative from the Lord Provost’s office also welcomed everybody.
Adrean Underhil, a world-wide famous ELT specialist, was the first plenary speaker of the Conference. His presentation topic was: Mess and Progress- 1.Systems thinking and action 2.Post-heroic leadership practices and these two fields can embrace almost any human activity, and they also connect with a third more familiar field, that of learning at organisational and individual level.
As AzETA deals a lot with teacher training, I tried to attend the sessions on teacher training, teacher development mainly. As such, the next session I attended was by Jill Caleman (Bell International College , Cambridge) titled: How to survive and pass an online DELTA course. The session mainly highlighted how such a course works, what it covers and how you can best cope, and about benefits and difficulties involved and gained some valuable tips on how to get through successfully.
After the lunch I attended a session by Sam McCarter titled: IELTS introduction- a gentle way into the academic version. The session mainly highlighted teaching strategies that blend the four main skills in IELTS for low-level learners at Score Bands 3-4 using exsamples from IELTS introduction and other textbooks.
The next session I attended was Learner and teacher perceptions of sense of progress by Sarah Shaw. The session is based on research into the factors teachers and adult learners feel affect learners’ sense of progress whilst studying in Part-time English courses.
Day 3: 21 March
The day started with a plenary talk by Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab. Institute of Education. The title of her talk was: Supporting the teacher as innovative learning designer. The presentation started from the premise that only teachers have the knowledge, experience, and appropriate context for developing for the new forms of pedagogy made possible by digital learning methods.
This was a crucial day in my life, too. I had to give a presentation. My presentation title was: AzETA as a Learning School. It was my ever first presentation in an international conference overseas. I was pretty nervous, also excited. There were cameramen, too, who had to film my presentation for online participants of the Conference. I will highlight that to give a chance to its members those who cannot attend the conference to participate virtually, is a great value IATEFL gives to its members. Even after the Conference I had a chance to observe my own talk and see how it went. I think the audience was pretty interested in my talk as they were very active in asking questions. Even after the presentation they did not leave the room right away, instead continued asking questions. You can view my talk in the below link:
Although I was exhausted due to nervousness I decided to continue attending sessions to learn more. As such, the next session I attended was by Rachel Clark and Madeleine du Vivier. The talk was about the project titled Talking the stress out of writing long essays. Many students really find writing long essays a daunting process and this talk outlined how to make it more manageable for students and tutors.
The next session I attended was by Ruth Hamilton: Does CELTA provide for the needs of new teachers? The aim of this workshop was to explore to what extent initial teacher training courses provide for new teachers ‘ needs in the workplace.
Day 4: 22 March
The day started with a plenary talk by Steven L Thorne, he holds faculty appointments in the Department of World languages and Literatures at Portland State University and in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen., The Netherlands. The topic of his talk was: Awareness, appropriecy, and living language use. This presentation broadened the scope of inquiry to examine entirely out of school L2 digital engagement in environments such as social media, fan fiction communities, and online gaming.
The next session I attended was a workshop by Geoff Tranter titled: Technical English- The What and the Who. TE learners have widely differing background, needs, and levels, which make life quite challenging for trainers and teachers. This workshop looked at possible solutions and how to achieve tailor Цmade courses, and tailor-made testing.
After lunch I attended a session by Stefan Shelley. The presentation title was: Magic moments: when do students feel a sense of progress. The presenter tried to show the causes of students to feel a sense of progress. And this talk showed some practical implications of the study and explore how these findings could be adapted to different situations.
Day 5: 23 March
The day started with a plenary talk by James E. Zull is a Professor of Biology and Founding Director of the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education at Case Western Reserve University. The topic of his talk was A brain-based model for human learning; application for educators. This session reviewed our growing knowledge about the brain and learning, in terms that are understandable by all educators at all levels, from pre-school to professional school and graduate school. He presented actual neuroscience experiments, and showed how those experiments an accessible theory of using that information to enhance learning.
The next session I attended was a talk by Tamara Jones (British Councils of Brussels) titled: Five steps to phrasal verbs. In her talk she mentioned that being able to understand and easily use phrasal verbs in conversation and writing is key for students’ academic, work and social success, she demonstrated a five step process for teaching and reviewing phrasal verbs at all levels.
Before lunch I had a chance to visit the exhibition venue to talk to some publishers and seek for an opportunity to learn more about new editions, as well as to seek sponsorship for AzETA 9th International Conference to be held on 22-24 June 2012.
The last session I attended was a workshop by Nicola Perry titled: How to develop successful learning in adult beginners. This workshop explored how to fast track learning. The focus was adult beginner learners-a group who need all the help they can get. She showed how to take the fear out of learning, develop confidence, encourage good learning habits and study skills, both in the classroom and out.
All in all, I benefited a lot from this participation as an individual teacher, for my professional and personal development.
I want to extend my acknowledgement to the British Council for creating such an opportunity for Teachers’ Associations which also promotes them among IATEFL Associate members. I also want to thank AzETA for nominating me among so many members. That was a great responsibility for me Ц a first time speaker at the IATEFL Conference. Now I feel that I have a lot to do to help AzETA develop further and further.