SL Blog

Ashley Hazell-Yildirim and Helen Lavender both work at the Centre for Language in Education, (CLE) Hong Kong Institute of Education in Hong Kong (HKIEd) as language instructors to student-teachers of all disciplines. Helen is also the manager of the Language Learning Centre. Ashley worked at Sabanci University from 2005-7. In this article, we would like to share a working model incorporating ‘interactive assessment’ based on some of the main principles of Assessment for Learning.

‘Language learning is hard work… Effort is required at every moment and must be maintained over a long period of time. Games help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work.’ The above quote is taken from the introduction to Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby’s 1984 work, ‘Games for Language Learning.’ While many teachers will wholeheartedly agree with the first sentence, there are those who consider the second to be something of an exercise in indulgence, both for the teacher and the language learner.

Although it is common practice in ESL for teachers to video-record their teaching and get feedback from teacher-trainers, we propose that video coaching, which is done between peers, is equally valuable in the process of professional development. In our study, we investigated the impact of video coaching on teachers’ professional development. We also analyzed whether teachers find video coaching more applicable as it not only creates less anxiety for the observed but also requires less time to complete.

his paper reports on a successful framework applied with EFL students at various levels in the teaching of academic writing at Sabanci University, Istanbul. In the “Study-Buddy Academic Writing Project”, students at advanced level are trained to become tutors to peers at lower levels. The process stimulates a co-operative and collaborative academic learning environment, through which more autonomous and critically aware learning takes place. Initially, academic writing conventions are introduced and explored with advanced-level learners, followed by structured oral and written one-to-one feedback sessions with their instructor.

Brian Rodrigues, Freshman English instructor and former Re-search INSET(1) participant at Sabancı University’s School of Languages, interviews Deniz Kurtoglu Eken who, in addition to her role as the director of the school, is actively involved in research, teacher development and trainer training.

Blogging, which could basically be defined as electronic self-publishing or a soapbox in cyberspace, is actually as easy as writing an email and having those emails stored in publicly accessible archives on your blog.

Advances in technology create new forms of communication tools for us (Kist, 2000). We increasingly interact with DVDs, blogs, digital books, databases and many other forms of communication and expression. The arrival of these into the language classroom means that what has usually been accepted as “text” is not limited to the printed page and what has usually been referred to as “the act of reading” cannot be limited to the reading of the printed page.

Teaching, like many other fields, is no stranger to persistent but misleading myths that have sprung from a certain, and at one time justificable reason or source, but have outlived the other conditions and theories that applied at the time of their inception.

Chomsky (1975) suggested that motivation is irrelevant in the context of first language acquisition as “learners can no more choose to learn languages than certain cells in an embryo can choose or fail to choose to become an arm or leg” (cited in Crookes and Schmidt, 1989: 26). However, in the context of SLA (Second Language Acquisition), many aspects of learning are determined by active choice (Crookes and Schmidt, 1989), such as whether to study at an English-medium university or not, and it is the association between these reasons of choice and the level of success or failure, which have caused the researchers and practitioners to attach such central importance to motivation.

In a research study I recently carried out on personal and professional development with over 100 professionals in 5 different contexts in Turkey, a teacher with 28 years of experience said, “You cannot develop or help trainees develop without developing your ‘SELF’! Personal development is key to professional development.”

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