Dec 042019
 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been working through the course Language Teaching for the Planet by Owain Llewellyn. We are now in Part 3, the final part, of the course, which asks participants to write and share a lesson plan with an environmental topic, bringing together what we have learned/discussed in Part 1 and 2.. The two course moderators, Owain Llewellyn (and for this part also) Daniel Barber, and the other participants will provide feedback on these lessons plans.

My interest is mainly in EAP/ESP lessons, so I’ve developed this lesson on air quality. It’s not a fully planned out or publishable lesson, but more a rough idea and plan developed for the course. I wrote it with the principles for writing environment-based lessons in mind, which I outlined here.


Context

EAP preparation year students in Turkey, going to study to become engineers in different fields
Localisaton: Use the same material but with a different interactive map or air quality data, such as AirVisual, that is available if used with other nationalities or international students in the UK, or other English speaking or English-medium universities.

Syllabus fit / rationale

In the previous lesson(s), they will have leared about graphs/diagrams and had practice in reading and guided writing of descriptions of graphs/diagrams.

Methodology: project-based learning

As these can be rather ‘dry’ academic lessons, this set of project-based lessons is to motivate them by providing a timely, relevant topic, including a video and by making it more interactive and personal, giving them choices and hands-on practice in conducting some research and presenting the outcomes.

Project-based lessons make tasks often more meaningful and ‘serious’ in the sense that it’s not just task to work through in a lesson as a context for some language outcome, but something that goes beyond that and is related to real life and real outcomes. Projects are also much more learner-centred and learner-led.

NOTE: If a project-based set of lessons is not possible, the first lesson can be used with slight changes, leaving time for doing a simpler research with the interactive map and writing it up as homework (individually or in small groups). If this can be done in GoogleDocs, everyone can read all the texts.. If that is not possible, the texts can be handwritten and pinned on the class noticeboard. If presentation skills should be practised, learners could prepare them as homework and deliver them in the next lesson. A class noticeboard or school noticeboard could be used to pin slips of paper with students’ pledges.

Outcomes

At the end of the lesson(s)/project, students will have…

  • learned some vocabulary related to air quality / pollutants
  • learned/reviewed some structures to talk about causes and effects, solutions (modals)
  • Practised listening (video), speaking (discussion, presentation, video production), writing (poster) skills
  • learned/practised transferable skills such as collaboration, producing a short video or an academic poster (if chosen) and organising a conference
  • researched the air quality (change) in a chosen location over a period of time (throughout a day/week/month/year) and drawn a graph showing the differences.
  • thought about causes, effects of and possible solutions for air pollution  (thinking of their own fields of engineering)
  • written a short paragraph and created a poster with visuals OR created a video OR prepared and giving a short presentation describing their graph and reasons for the changes 
  • presented their findings in the way chosen to the other students and tutors at a ‘air quality conference’ which they have to plan and organise (one 90-minute lesson long).
  • made a pledge for at least one change they’re going to make in their own lives to contribute to better air quality.

Long-term outcome: who knows, this might inspire some learners to work in this field once they have finished their studies.

Materials

  • A video such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6rglsLy1Ys
    (It should include some of the vocabulary they need, some reasons for pollution and some potential solutions, and it shouldn’t be too long to keep learners focused and make the language input manageable for them.)
  • An interactive website to research air quality in Turkey that provides a map, icons to click for different cities and areas in cities, with detailed information on the level of various common pollutants, outdoor activities that can be done or are not recommended if risky due to air quality, graphs showing the chosen pollutants over a period of time. Specific dates and hours in a day can be selected to observe changes over a chosen period of time. http://www.havaizleme.gov.tr/ (see screenshots below)
  • Poster material (if available, digital tool to create and print an academic poster, if not poster paper, markers, etc.)
  • Students’ phones (optional)
  • A survey tool (e.g. http://surveymonkey.com) (optional)
    The internet
  • A wall for personal pledges (if available, this could be done on the internet (on the university’s Facebook group or using a digital noticeboard, such as Padlet).

Turkey map - havaizlemehavaizleme 2

havaizleme 4

Procedure

Lesson 1 – Introduction and preparation

Warmer

  • Introduce the topic by, for example, showing the symbols for the various pollutants (NO2, SO2, CO, O3, etc.) and asking students what they think these relate to or what our topic is.
  • If they mention the names (Ozone, etc.) of these fine, write them up and practice pronunciation. If not, give students a few minutes to find out using their mobile phones.

While

  • Write on the board or projected Word/GoogleDocs ‘Air quality’, then underneath ‘How good is the air quality where you live / come from?’
  • Brief discussion with partners/neighbours
  • Using a prepared survey tool with options (very good, good, OK, not so good, very bad), students send their answers using their phones. (Low-tech alternative: write the options on the board, students raise their hand)
  • Write: ‘Causes of air pollution’ (‘Reasons for…’) / ‘Effects of air pollution’
  • In groups, students discuss reasons. If time, regroup and report to that group and listen for other reasons
  • Class feedback: depending on tech, each group adds to the GoogleDoc, or one student writes what the others say on the displayed Word doc. / Low-tech: if enough boards, groups (or reps) come to the board and write their ideas.
  • Do some language and pron. work with these, possibly add some sentence structures (e.g. for cause and effect: is caused by / might be due to / etc.)
  • Write: ‘Possible solutions’
  • Repeat the steps of group discussion, feedback, language work.
  • Show video: students watch and compare with their own ideas for causes, effects and solutions’ (depending on level, how the info in the video is organised, etc.), they can be asked to focus on one, e.g. causes), then watch again and focus on effects, solutions.
    [depending on the class, situation, guidance needed, tech availability, etc., the watching can be as a whole class or on individual devices]
  • Students add new information to the GoogleDoc.
  • Class feedback and highlighting and practice of new language that has come up.
  • If time, introduce the interactive air quality map for Turkey. Ask: ‘How good or bad do you think is the air quality right now here?’ Have them guess, then show the map. Tell them they will do air quality research in the next lesson. If no time, do this in Lesson 2.

What next?

If a project is possible, follow this lesson up with Lessons 2-3 (4) below.

Lesson 2 (and 3) – Research and preparation of presentation

  • Do a quick review of the previous lesson.
  • Explain the research project to learners and show the options and time they have to present their research.
  • Put students into small groups of three (max four).
  • Explain also that they have to organise an ‘air quality conference’ attended by other classes (who are doing the same project) and some tutors (possibly also admin staff).
  • Students start their research, decide on how to present it and start preparing.
  • Teacher monitors and helps where necessary and/or provides resources where students can find help.

Lesson 3 (or 4) – Conference

  • All classes/groups set up their posters in one corner (or room), computers or tablets with their videos in another, present in another.
  • Classmates, tutors, possible admin members and other staff attend the conference, ask questions, etc.
  • Depending on level, interest, circumstances, this could end with a panel discussion.
  • There will be a wall (or a large noticeboard with a big title/writing ‘My pledge for better air quality’ where students and participants will post their pledges of how they’re going to make changes in their own lives to contribute to better air quality, using slips of paper and pinning them to the wall, or post-its (Low-tech option). If the internet is available, this could be  done more online with hashtags to share on the university’s social media platform(s), or alternatively using a digital noticeboard, depending on what the students come up with and what is available.

 

Nov 272019
 

This is an integrated-skills lesson originally created for an EAP class in 2011. It’s been used by me and other teachers with different classes at different schools and has always worked well.

Evaluation

Does it follow the principles I have listed here?

  • Focus on the ‘now’: Yes, it’s topical and has been so for many years. It’s an issue many people have.
  • Take a fresh perspective: I’d say so, because the environmental impact is mentioned in he second video but it’s not the main focus of the lesson, it’s more about which water is better.
  • Localise and Personalise: Yes, the students are asked about what they prefer in their real lives (not hypothetically); they are asked again at the end. They can also include their own opinions in the discussion of advantages and disadvantages of bottled and tab water. Also, as the students this lesson was originally used with were international students who had just arrived in the UK, they had to take the decision whether to use tab water or bottled water.
  • Focus on people: No, the focus is on the two types of water.
  • Positive and Empowering: Yes, on several levels. The first video is obviously very positive about bottled water. The second one, is negative about bottled water, but positive about tab water. Also, after watching the videos, discussing advantages and disadvantages, students are ’empowered’ in the sense that they are now better informed than before and know they have a choice.
  • What’s the language point: language related to water, listening for specific information
  • Make it interactive: Students interact with the videos, the tutor, with each other.
  • Integrated: Yes and no. Each Academic Listening Skills lesson is a stand-alone lesson, but although the topics and listening skills are different in each, they do have to be integrated logically between the previous and the following lesson. For example, they had practised listening and note-taking in the lesson before this, which is a skill they need in this one. They also had learned and practised the language for discussion advantages and disadvantages, stating one’s opinion, agreeing and disagreeing and giving reasons in the Academic Speaking Lesson(s) before this.
  • Integrated-skills: Yes, although the main focus is on practising extended listening and note-taking skills, students also practise seminar discussion (incl. providing evidence for their opinions), critical thinking skills and media literacy (evaluation information and sources critically).
  • Relevant: Yes, both the skills practised and the topic are/were relevant to my students (see above).
  • Go beyond the lesson: Yes, firstly, as stated above, this was a relevant topic and they learned about the advantages and disadvantages of bottled and tab water.
  • Lead to action: Yes, as seen above, this impacted on students’ behaviour/decisions outside class. Many stated at the end of the lesson that they had changed their opinion about which water is better, and said they would try tab water. The environmental impact was not discussed, but their change of behaviour means less plastic waste.
    Another type of action happened when I first taught this. We were lucky to have a student in class who had worked as a chemical analyst or similar at a water plant. After this lesson, he decided to change the topic for his academic presentation (which they all have to deliver at the end of the course). He had found a great topic he was interested in and knowledgeable about, and his class learned more about the safety and high quality of tab water in our location in his presentation.

The lesson

Materials: two online videos

  1. http://www.viewpure.com/LIeR6SoQ84A (viewpure removes the clutter and undesirable elements from YouTube videos)
  2. https://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-bottled-water/

Technology: internet and projector
Low tech solution: learners could use their own devices / the lesson plan could be changed and learners asked to watch the videos in their own time before class, which would allow for more time to be used for the other activities.

Time: 90 minutes, can easily be extended to 2 x 90-minutes session – one for the listening focus, note-taking initial discussions and source evaluation, the next one for speaking skills (extended discussion and feedback or even presentations by groups in stage 6).

Stages

  1. After greeting the students, casually start a conversation about what students are drinking. Sts. usually have sth. to drink on their desks: Who has got water/tea/sth. else? To those who have water (briefly): Is is bottled or tap water?
  2. Say: Our topic today is water. Elicit: What do you know about bottled water? Do you prefer bottled or tap water? Why? Elicit some answers from a few sts. Do a quick class survey and count how many prefer bottled or tab water (this can be done with a polling/survey tool too if available, e.g. survey monkey).
  3. Students work in groups to discuss and make a list of advantages/benefits of bottled water. Elicit ideas from the groups and write them up on the board (or have a confident student do this). Alternatively, if the room setup allows it and there are enough boards, they could write directly on the board. If they are used to working with GoogleDocs, they could also write their ideas there, so that everyone could see everyone else’s ideas displayed.
  4. Students watch the video and listen for advantages, compare them with their list, tick off if they hear one from their list and add new ones they hear. They compare their lists with a neighbour. Elicit any new ones and write up on the board. Do some quick vocab/pronunciation work where necessary.
  5. Repeat stages 3 and 4, but this time students focus on disadvantages of bottled water and watch the second video.
  6. In groups, students discuss and decide which arguments they believe in and what their position is. They discuss which is better, bottled or tab water, providing evidence/reasons from the video (but can also add their own reasons).
  7. Whole class discussion/feedback: Has your opinion about bottled water/tap water changed compared to beginning of lesson? Elicit from some sts. or use the polling/survey tool again and compare whether the result has changed.
  8. Ask: Which information is more reliable? Why? (e.g. source of information, evidence provided, sponsor of video, etc.)
  9. Optional question:What do you think is my position/opinion? Why?
    If I had shown you the videos the other way round, do you think your opinion would have been influenced?
    If yes, what’s the conclusion/lesson to draw for your writing project or presentations (if it is an argumentation)?
  10. Provide students with the links to the videos if they want to watch/listen again. Point out that the Story of bottled water video has got a full transcript with annotations, which is particularly useful for business students.
    (Depending on the course aims, syllabus, flexibility and the needs of the learners, the transcript could be used for follow-up tasks or lesson.)

Note

As environmentalists, we might be tempted to push our students to what we think is right, in this case, this would very likely using bottled water for most of us. However, we have to remember that we want our learners to develop critical thinking skills and also to find their own voice, to think about different angles of an issue or come up with creative and different solutions. There might well be situations where bottled water makes sense. Our learners might also come from places where tab water is not drinkable/healthy and they might not have technology for water purification readily available.

Our role as teachers, as I see it, is not to provide learners with THE solution or THE right behaviour, but to provide them with materials and tasks and create a safe space where they have the opportunity to think through problems, discuss options and come up with their own answers. If we successfully do this, rather than push our on views and solutions on them, they will often surprise us with new insights  and we will come out of a lesson having developed our own thinking on the topic/issue.

Nov 272019
 

It is useful to follow some principles when writing environment lessons, which can then also be used as criteria when evaluating lessons.

This is going to be a work in progress as I assume my thinking will evolve and I’ll also be reading about principles other teachers or materials writers have come up with. There’ll certainly be an overlap with material writing principles in general, but the focus is on environment-themed language lessons.

Because he made us think about our own principles/tips, I’d like to start with Owan Llewellyn seven tips, which you can read about in more detail on his website ELTsustainable with examples from his lessons:

  • Focus on the ‘now’
  • Take a fresh perspective
  • Localise and Personalise
  • Focus on people
  • Positive and Empowering
  • What’s the language point
  • Make it interactive

These are all great and I’d include them in my principles, certainly for general English classes. In the ESP/EAP context, the lessons might not always need to have a focus on ‘now’, though, and might not (always) focus on people, depending on the particular aim of the lesson. Although being positive and empowering is great, some ESP/EAP lessons might focus on graver situations and be based on understanding and communicating research, data, etc. Nonetheless, these lessons can lead to a positive outcome or action, which can be empowering.

So, here are the principles I’d add:

  • Integrated into the syllabus and not just an odd lesson on an odd topic.
  • Integrated-skills lessons (e.g. speaking, listening, reading, writing, critical thinking, media literacy, etc.)
  • Relevant, not only should the environmental topic be relevant to the learners (which would be the principle Personalise) but also the tasks and skills practised in the lesson (general English learners will need to learn different skills from academic English learners, e.g. having an informal chat vs a seminar discussion).
  • Go beyond the lesson. What have I learned? should be about the language points but also about the topic or environmental issue.
  • Lead to action. What will/can I do about this? What could/should/will my next step be? How can I make others aware of this issue? etc.

If you agree or disagree with the principles here, have further ideas or want to point out to me existing lists of principles on other websites, blogs, books, etc., I’d be very happy to read your comments below.

Nov 272019
 

I’m currently participating in the course Language Teaching for the Planet on using environmental topics in English language lessons created by Owain Llewellyn, who has been sharing his environment-themed lessons on his blog ELT Sustainable since 2012. It’s a very manageable course as it only lasts 15 days and doesn’t take more than two—three hours per week, unless one feels the need to engage more in the tasks and discussions, which can easily happen as they’ve been very interesting.

If you’re thinking of ‘bringing in topics of sustainability to your teaching‘ and would like to discuss ideas with like-minded colleagues and get feedback, I’d recommend it. It is helping me think through some of my ideas and has added to the motivation for me to finally start writing on this topic here on my blog.

The course will run again in January.

Update

And here’s my certificate!

Resource pack for download

The moderators had the idea to make the lesson plans the participants wrote into a free resource pack for teachers, which you can download here on the ELTsustainable website.

 

Jul 012016
 

This is my main classroom this year. The seating arrangement has changed into a horse shoe at the front for whole class activities. The seats at the back are used for break-out sessions / group work. On the teacher’s desk, there is a computer and screen with camera, a visualiser, a podcast recording device (the round microphone behind the keyboard, and the small screen with which everything is controlled. In the room, there are 6(!) whiteboards, a projector and large screen. There’s also wifi (throughout the campus) so that students (and teachers) can use their own devices.

All students in my classes have smartphones and laptops, only one or two have a tablet. This hasn’t changed over the six years that I’ve been teaching on these pre-sessional courses.

IMG_2681 IMG_2680 IMG_2679 IMG_2678 IMG_2677

Jun 062016
 

Every year around this time the ELTons Innovation Awards are presented. There are always some very good nominations and I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision as it must be really difficult to choose the best in each category.

This year, I’m particularly happy about two of the awards:

Keynote by Cengage Learning (National Geographic Learning) won the ELTons for Excellence in Course Innovation.

I was involved in the authoring of some of the digital IWBs, online workbooks and ebook versions and it was a  real pleasure to read through and work with the material that is created around selected TED talks.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking to some of the authors and editors of the series at IATEFL in Birmingham.

As a teacher, I have used TED talk and other videos and material I created around them in my classes and they are usually popular with students. The authors of Keynote have written engaging course materials using TEDtalks as a basis for all skills and they help students gradually understand, learn and use the authentic language from the talks and language that is related to and expands on that used in the talks. The material is also personalized and learners get to critically engage with the topics of the talks and either write (an essay, letter, email, etc.) or prepare and give a presentation at the end of each unit.

Digital Video: A Manual for Language Teachers by Nik Peachey won the ELTons for best Innovation in Teacher Resources

Nik crowd-sourced the budget for this multimedia ebook and I contributed because I thought it was a fantastic idea, I was curious about the book and wanted a copy and it allowed me to follow the process of creating this ebook.

What is particularly great about Nik winning this award is that he self-published the ebook. This is very encouraging for those who have self-published or have been thinking of  doing it.

 

Two well-deserved winners of the ELTons!

 

Here you can read who else won in the other categories and there’s also a blog post with more details on the winners on the British Council website.

 

May 292016
 

Huseyin Can March 2106Last week, I had to take care of my nephew, Hüseyin Can, for a couple of hours. Hüseyin Can is special. He’s got cerebral palsy. You can watch some videos of him on YouTube.
I wanted to keep him occupied but also get some stuff done that I wanted to do, which was to sort through the latest batch of photographs I had taken. I had never done this while my nephew was present. So, while I was flicking through my photographs and deciding which to keep and which to delete and talking aloud to keep him engaged, he was watching what I was doing. He’s good with computers and also learns quickly by observing. After a while, he motioned that he wanted to take control of moving forward to the next picture and the delete button. I was still talking about the images: ‘This is nice, I’ll keep it. Move to the next one. This one is blurry, let’s delete it…’ But then, Hüseyin Can started to decide himself and was proceeding to delete some images I wanted to keep. I had to stop him and explain that I liked them, but he disagreed and showed that he didn’t like them. Then came pictures he liked and he nodded with his head and made sounds of approval meaning Yes,! This is pretty! This we’ll keep! Sometimes, we agreed, but sometimes, I didn’t like an image that he liked a lot.

Why am I writing about this on my professional blog? Well. to me, besides having had a great time with my nephew, it was a special moment because he was expressing his feelings about what he found beautiful and what not. He always says what he likes or dislikes, whether it’s a new toy, a new t-shirt, a TV programme, etc., but this was different, it was about photography, about colours, shapes, light!But there was something else why I found his reactions interesting: Although we agreed on some photographs, we mostly disagreed on which were beautiful, or good, or worth keeping and which weren’t. It took me a day or two to make the connection between this and teaching and learning. How often do we choose material and prepare a lesson that we like, but it falls flat on our students. However, it’s also happened to me that I didn’t like a lesson, but at the end, a student walked up to me and thanked me and said it was great and they learned a great deal.
We know this can happen, but it was good that my nephew reminded me of how different opinions can be. In the case of the photographs it didn’t matter so much, I got to keep the ones I liked, but am aware that not everybody will like them. Fine with me. In a teaching context, however, it can mean the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful lesson, so, worth finding out why students liked or disliked a particular lesson.

May 122016
 

One of the most-used functions on my Mac for work is taking a screenshot (using the shortcut Shift-Command+4). Particularly when I do editorial or writing work and have to communicate to others what part of a webpage I have a question about or what needs to be changed on a website or an activity, etc., usually the most efficient way is to take a screenshot, annotate it and send it to together with the question or feedback.

What’s been bugging me though is that on Mac OSX, the default location where screenshots are saved is the desktop. With the number of screenshots I take, my desktop always looked cluttered. I understand there is a good reason behind having the desktop as the save location: the screenshots can be located very quickly, for example if I want to send them as email attachment.

So, I was looking for a solution that allowed me to keep my desktop clutter-free but also allowed quick access to the screenshots. I thought easy enough, I’ll create a screenshot folder on my desktop and there surely must be a system setting where I can change the default save location… … … No? No! I actually had to search on the Internet how to do this and it turned out I needed to do it with a Terminal command, nicely explained here.

Eh voilà!

Screenshot of screenshot folder

Apr 212016
 

‘Why write?’ was one of the questions I asked in my talk. This blog post could be titled ‘Why present?’ ‘It’s a very rewarding experience,’ I could say. But maybe we always say this when things have gone well… It’s not a very concrete or useful answer either, is it? So, here a bit more about what I think (or have heard) that went well, and what would make it (in my view) a more useful talk.

Nergiz Kern presenting

by Karen White, MaWSIG

But still, first: Why present?

It’s another way of sharing knowledge, sharing experience; it’s for teacher and career development and all the other reasons which I listed when talking about ‘Why write’ (see the slides here). If you teach presentation skills, it also helps you appreciate what your students go through when they have to present (often in a language they are not proficient in yet).

So, it’s a good thing, which is probably why we (at least I) spent so much time preparing for it and why we put ourselves in a situation that makes us feel nervous if we could simply be enjoying the conference…

The nerves

My talk was part of the MaWSIG Day (Materials Writing Special Interest Group) on the Friday of the conference. In fact, mine was the first talk. Fortunately, I had had the change to meet many of the attendees before, which helped immensely with being less nervous. Generally, all the attendees, when I looked at them, looked interested and nodded along, which again helped me to feel relaxed throughout my talk.

The technology

There was also a person responsible for the technology, Richard, who connected my laptop to the projector and set my Keynote slides to presenter mode and helped me with the microphone and clicker they provided. He said he’d be ‘up there’ in the technical room (or whatever it is called) overseeing everything and that I could call him if needed. I told Richard that his presence was very important to me (and the success of many other talks I’m sure) – one less thing to worry about!

The timing!

Last year at IATEFL, I attended many talks. In none of them, except maybe one, was there any or enough time for questions, which I believe are a very crucial part of a successful and rewarding presentation experience for both the presenter and the audience. Those presenters who had an exhibition stand could say – and they did – ‘If you have any (more) questions, I’ll be at the stand.’ But how about those that couldn’t offer this option?!

So, I had said to myself, should I give a talk, I’ll make sure I’ll leave ten minutes for questions and comments. Twenty minutes should be long enough to get your point across! A successful talk was, in my view, not just one person who speaks to many, but should offer opportunities for interaction between the attendees, and between them and the presenter. Well, it didn’t quite work out as originally thought, and I knew it. I simply had too much to say and I agonised over where to cut the talk but couldn’t get myself to do it, except for one or two slides and minutes. I did finish exactly within the 30 minutes allocated to me and I did give the audience plenty of opportunities to interact with each other, but there was no time for feedback and questions. And, I did have to say to the audience ‘You are welcome to come to the stand to ask questions or talk to me.’

I had planned to ask the audience four questions, which I wanted them to discuss before I presented my ideas, but I would have loved to give them more time to do this and also have time to get feedback, which I only managed ones. I know from being a participant myself that one minute for a discussion is not enough and one is asked to stop just when it gets interesting. Also, I would have loved to hear what they had to say and add to my own ideas. The one person whose feedback to the question ‘Why write?’ we managed to hear was ‘One important reason for writing is missing on your slide: for the LOVE of it!’ This to me was such a great addition to my ideas. And I’m sure, had we had time, we’d have heard more great contributions, particularly as my audience was about half experienced authors, who had already published books, and half ‘inexperienced’, who were there because they wanted to start writing. There were also editors of magazines, as I would later find out.

Anticipating that there wouldn’t be sufficient time for interaction, feedback, and questions, I had prepared a Google document with the questions and shared it with the audience at the beginning so they could add their contributions there, but nobody added anything, then or later. This could be because they couldn’t access it quickly, didn’t want to contribute in writing, or there was simply no time to write anything there and follow the talk.

What’s the solution then? To cut the talk? Maybe often it is. With my talk, I think the solution would have been to have submitted it as a workshop rather than talk, which would have given us 15 more minutes for discussions, questions, and comments, and would have made it a real learning experience for all, including the presenter.

The rewarding bits

I actually enjoyed standing there and presenting to my audience and felt much less nervous than I thought I might be.

After the talk, some people told  me they liked the talk and it motivated them, some did ask questions. Some even came to the stand to talk about my presentation.

Very unexpectedly, two editors, who were in the audience, said it was a lovely talk and asked whether I would like to write it up for their publication! So, one suggestion I could add to my slide on ‘How to start writing’ is: give a presentation and then write it up for a blog post or an article!

Apr 152016
 

The details, abstract and slides for my talk

Hall 9

1025-1055

Writing for publication can help teachers develop in their profession and further their career. However, many teachers might think they don’t have what it takes to write for publication. Others want to do it, but don’t know how to get started. This talk is a personal account of my writing journey hoping it will inspire other teachers.

The talk is for the ‘less experienced’. It’s about both Teacher Development and Materials Writing

(The slides can be downloaded at this link.)

The idea to talk about this topic came to me last year when I had blogged about why to write and how to start writing and it seemed to inspire colleagues.

I like to write or talk about my own experience, about how I did things, rather than talk about abstract concepts. This way, I hope that other teachers will say: “If she can do it, I can to!”

At the same time, because the talk is about my own writing journey, there are many others with their own stories. For this reason, and for allowing participants (and non-participants) to add their questions and comments, for which there might not be sufficient time during the talk, I have created this Google document for my IAEFL Birmingham talk.

One problem with starting to write (or any other new things we want to finally do) is that the inspiration or motivation doesn’t often last long enough to actually do it. This is why I will ask the participants

What’s your next step?

… and invite them to talk with each other about their next concrete step and leave a comment in the Google document or below what this will be.
If you do leave a comment, I’d be very happy if you came back and left another comment after you’ve taken that step, no matter how small or big.

Thanks

I’d also like to thank Cleve Miller at English360 for making it possible for me to attend the conference and for Valentina Dodge for all her support and encouragement.

Update

In the meantime, I have given the talk and written up my reflections on how it went here.