IATEFL is always a bit overwhelming. There is so much going on at the same time that it is utterly impossible to attend everything that is worth attending. Here is a summary of the some presentations I manage to attend and also some that I missed but I believe are worth mentioning. Apologies to some of the friends for being absent – I am sure you sympathize. If you want to know more about the presentations and the work people mentioned below have been doing, I suggest you try to contact them directly.
Read, play, love changing perceptions of L2 reading Andreea Pulpea (British Council Jordan). Andreea shared activities that ‘encourage reluctant readers to engage with texts, develop autonomy and gradually change reading behaviours. Her survey of Middle Eastern learners revealed negative perceptions of reading (solitary, boring, forced). These were challenged through interactive, fun, exploratory activities that help build life-long skills, involve minimal resources and are suitable for all levels.’ Well-done Andreea.
Using drama to improve creative writing in the ELT classroom. Alicja Galazka (University of Silesia, Educational Centre FUTURE). In this practical workshop, participants learned how to use selected drama strategies such as hot-seating, freeze frame, thought–tracking and conscience alley for stimulating creative writing. Drama can help writing by the presence of tension, the degree of engagement, time for incubation and a strong sense of purpose.
Building academic language support for international students
James Beddington (The University of Winchester). Tracking the (re)development of English Language Support in Academic Contexts (ELSAC) at the University of Winchester, this talk described the support services offered to students who do not speak English as a native or academic language. The presenter explored the development of these services, their uptake through academic literature, personal reflection and feedback from service users, and subject tutors.
Building a student-generated glossary in the EAP classroom
Patrick McMahon (Plymouth University). This talk described how the presenter built a student-generated glossary of subject-specific vocabulary, by collecting the vocabulary that students had picked out of newspaper articles and presented in class. he also discussed a number of other benefits that were derived from using ‘newspaper article talks’ in the EAP classroom.
A guide to pseudo-science in English language teaching
Russell Mayne (University of Leicester) This focused on aspects of English language teaching which have little or no scientific credibility. Practices such as neuro-linguistic programming, learning styles, multiples intelligences and brain gym will be examined. The presenter asked why, despite the evidence, these approaches/methods remain popular. He also included a guide to spotting pseudo-science in education. Russell managed to stir some healthy controversy among the audience indeed!
Narratives: to enhance university prep students’ English Esma Asuman Eray (Isik University, Istanbul, Turkey). This session was about storytelling in university prep classes. It aimed to show how stories and storytelling are effective when teaching learners new words and helps them enhance their English, using and recalling these words referring to previous research. There was also collaborative storytelling with pre- and post-activities by sharing practical ideas to be used in class.
Academic writing materials: from research to online delivery. Adam Kightley (British Council) & Hilary Nesi & Sheena Gardner (Coventry University) EFL research often fails to filter down to learners, resulting in materials with little theoretical grounding. The ‘Writing for a Purpose’ EAP materials, free online, are based on an analysis of a new classification of the student assignments which make up the BAWE corpus. The talk took participants from the creation of the corpus to the finished materials.
Acquisition versus performance: reconceptualising plagiarism in English for
academic purposes. Olwyn Alexander (Heriot-Watt University) Scholarship and plagiarism are positive and negative aspects of academic practice. Often the teaching focus is on plagiarism, assuming that weak skills and language deficit give rise to inappropriate use of sources. Access EAP: Frameworks focuses instead on demonstrating scholarship, viewing students as novice members of a community of practice, learning its norms of behaviour.
Ways of promoting creativity in the classroom. Maria Victoria Saumell (Instituto San Francisco de Asis). This session explored the current issues regarding creativity in education, especially for teaching and learning a language. What is creativity? Who can be considered creative? What are the barriers to creativity? Vicky shared her experience of different tips and strategies for promoting creativity in the classroom with the help of web tools.
Teaching English for Academic Purposes :insights from experience
Penny Ur (Oranim Academic College of Education)This session presented some practical recommendations growing out of a feedback questionnaire completed by participants, as well as Penny’sown reflections on teaching an advanced academic English course. Most of the session was devoted to open discussion, during which participants in the session contributed insights from their own EAP experiences.
Popularising the classics: creative activities inspired by the movie industry
Robert Hill (Black Cat Publishing) Classic stories are often filmed, and some of the ways used by the film industry to popularise the classics really make students think and be creative. Rob showed us how to exploit film posters as well as taglines and loglines – those short, exciting texts used to promote films. The stories referred to are all from Black Cat’s graded readers. Rob is my favourite IATEFL presenter and I find it a delight to attend his talks – it was the cherry on the top of the cake on Saturday morning.