The 44th Annual IATEFL Conference – Personal Reflections

The 44th Annual IATEFL Conference Part 2: Personal Reflections
Seyran Erdoğan, Adam Simpson,  Neslihan Demirdirek, Pınar Gündüz, Nezaket Özgirin and Sonja Tack

In this second blog post on the IATEFL conference, the participants from the School of Languages reflect on some of the presentations that they enjoyed at this year?s event.

Keith Morrow’s ?Testing and assessment PCE? by Seyran Erdoğan

The Testing and Assessment PCE was concerned with the problem of testing reading comprehension and Keith Morrow’s session had a very similar title: Testing reading – What is the Problem? He started off by eliciting the factors considered in the construction of reading comprehension tests. He then continued with what the literature says using a few sample tests from IELTS and pointed out the issues that arise from different formats used. The main points he made can be listed as follows:

Teaching vs Testing:

Most teaching materials are actually testing materials.

Testing vs Assessment:

As teachers we need to look at assessing students.

Reliability vs Validity:

We tend to ignore the fact that validity is also important and most tests tend to sacrifice validity for the sake of increasing reliability.

Gavin Dudeney’s ?They just can’t hack IT! : Attitudes to technology? by Adam Simpson

Gavin’s talk looked at different attitudes to the use of new technologies in training and teaching and offered an exploration of the theme based on conversations he had had in recent online discussion groups and blog postings. He reflected on the history of technological innovations and drew parallels with resistance to things such as twitter with instances from the past.

He also looked at attitudes to technology from a variety of viewpoints: those of us who use them for their own professional development, people who use them for materials design and preparation, teachers who teach with them and those who don’t, and he tried to explain where these attitudes fit in to the bigger picture and the future of our work.

I’ve seen many of Gavin’s presentations and know that you’re guaranteed to enjoy yourself and go away with something to think about. Gavin also managed to get some great input from the audience. If you want to watch or listen to his presentation, you can do so here.

Russell Stannard?s ?Web 2.0 tools that make a difference? by Neslihan Demirdirek

In his session, Russell Stannard highlighted the most effective tools for language teaching based on feedback from over 10.000 regular users of his website,

He mainly focused on JING, a fantastic screen capture tool. After explaining how this free and user-friendly tool works and its advantages over Camtasia, he showed how it can be used for language teaching by providing examples. It seems to be a wonderful tool as it helps to overcome the problems (e.g. big files to send or the need to burn CDs) faced by Camtasia and Camstudio users.

Mojca Belak?s ?Lotsa movement? by Pinar Gündüz

Mojca Belak?s session was full of practical ideas, especially to cater for the needs of kinaesthetic learners. Two activities I really liked were as follows:

1.Mime it:

Pair up students. Each student decides on a person important to them. Give them 2 minutes to select a person, and then think 10 things they can tell about this person. It could be something they like doing, their personality, or something that happened to them. At the end of two minutes, pairs start miming the things to describe this person. They are not allowed to talk. Once student A is done describing, student B starts to mime.  After a while, stop the activity ?students are still not allowed to talk/ask questions/confirm predictions. Match up 2 pairs so that there are 4 students in each group. This time, student B tells about the person student A described, and so on, and at this stage students can confirm/ask questions/elaborate, and so on. Then students share how they felt, how accurate they were, and so on.

2.Copy my handwriting:

Give paper to every student. Get students to think about something happy/surprising/exciting happened to them, and start narrating it. They only write the first 4 sentences of the story. After all students have written the first 4 sentences, pairs swap papers. Students now guess how the story went on, and write the next two sentences. However, they need to imitate their partner?s handwriting. After students are done, they swap papers, and everyone finishes their own story. Students then share how they felt about their story being directed in a different way, how well their handwriting was imitated, what they felt while they were trying to copy their partner?s handwriting, and so on.

Many other presentations can be accessed from IATEFL Harrogate online .

Luke Fletcher?s ?Lexical learning: Activities for raising student awareness / use of lexical chunks? by Nezaket Özgirin

Luke?s workshop looked at a selection of simple and easily adaptable communicative activities to help raise student awareness of the importance of lexical chunks. The activities showed ways of highlighting, personalising, activating and reviewing the new lexis, with the aim of helping students become more successful and independent language learners in the process. Luke used  an interactive white board throughout, but demonstrated how the activities could be used by all.

Nicky Hockly?s ?Teaching the mobile generation? by Sonja Tack

Learners are coming to class increasingly wired up with equipment like iPods, MP3 players, mobile phones and digital cameras, noted Nicky at the start of her presentation. Central to her session was the question, ?How can teachers integrate this technology into classroom teaching??

Her workshop looked at some of the resources that students can access on their mobile devices, and also at the video and audio that they themselves can produce in class with the use of mobile technology.

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