Joint Forces Joint Goals: An Open Invitation to Collaboration in ELT

Joint Forces Joint Goals: An Open Invitation to Collaboration in ELT

Review by Adam Simpson

Istanbul Bilgi University’s 5th ELT Conference revolved around the theme “The Post-Method Era in ELT” under the main title: ‘Joint Forces Joint Goals: An Open Invitation to Collaboration in ELT.’ The conference took place at the Santral Istanbul Campus on May 9th, 2015. Plenary sessions were delivered by Herbert Puchta, Gordon Lewis, Evrim Kuran and Penny Ur. Sabancı University School of Languages was also represented at the conference with three concurrent sessions.

TGIF: Songs in Action

“Can we leave early? It’s Friday today… please!”, “Can we do a fun activity in the last lesson please? Today is Friday.” These were the kind of questions that motivated Sibel Taşkın Şimşek to deliver her session ‘TGIF: Songs in Action.’ ‘Like me,’ noted Sibel, ‘you must have heard such words from your students many times, because Fridays are generally known as one of the most difficult days to motivate students to focus on a task, especially if it is the last lesson, after working hard all through the week.’ Knowing that the weekend will start soon, their motivation starts to decrease and it becomes really hard to keep them in class, so Sibel showed us how we can keep them in the class, motivated and engaged by using the power of songs.

Innovative Vocabulary Practice in the Post-Method Era

“Vocabulary knowledge is the single most important area of second language competence” (Saville-Troike: 1984). Students often express a need to expand their vocabulary. We, as teachers, need to help them practice vocabulary by providing the best possible methods in class, suggested Görkem Satak and Okan Bölükbaş in their engaging workshop titled ‘Innovative Vocabulary Practice in the Post-Method Era’. The presenters demonstrated some innovative ways to practice vocabulary including technological tools which are highly engaging for students. The participants were given the opportunity to have hands-on experience of some of these methods and tools.

From Pen and Paper to Tech App: Is it worth it?

Blended learning remains a divisive concept in language teaching: for every positive learning experience involving technology, there’s an instance of failure because of technical resources, noted Adam Simpson in his talk ‘From Pen and Paper to Tech App: Is it worth it?’ In his session he attempted to resolve the question: ‘Is it really worth it?’ This talk discussed classroom research examining an aspect of his teaching that he had transported into the realm of blended learning: poster presentations. A key motivation for the research was to see if this classic pen and paper activity could be implemented using technology by leveraging the kinds of technology his students use every day, and whether it was worthwhile doing so.