IATEFL 2014 Pecha Kucha!

This is the first year that I’ve made it to the Pecha Kucha and I know a couple of the presenters – Sandy Millin and James Taylor: very excited to see what happens…

Pecha Kucha means talks that last for 6 minutes and 40 seconds, with slides moving on automatically and speakers needing to speed up to keep up – or slow down as the case may  be!

Speaker 0: The host models a pecha kucha and explains what it’s all about, as well as introducing speakers in a …different way…

Keep Calm and Pecha Kucha!

20 images in 20 seconds (the length of time each image is shown for…) And what wonderful images! And a talk about what teaching involves.

Speaker 1: James Taylor

The power of Yes! How James got to Pecha Kucha….

BELTA? #ELTchat? TeachingEnglish blogger? iTDi? Own blog?

Either which way, said YES! And then thought about all the people who he couldn’t have done it without: The BELTA team; the #ELTchat group; (I’m in a pic there!); the iTDi community. Lots of different people with different goals, needs, interests etc who work together as a team to get somewhere we want to be.

Everyone is saying YES to these opportunities. And that’s really powerful to be around. So James followed the model by saying yes to Pecha Kucha.

“to stop being me for a little while and to become us” [pop boffin Brian Eno]

Accept the limitations, you can’t say yes to every single thing in front of you, and you never know what is coming next…

Twitter and Larry David: The first step… James joined because people told him he should as one could follow people like Larry David (who has only ever tweeted once!)

Fantastic talk!

Speaker 2: Bita Rezaei

Enough of the hearts and flowers image of teaching out there, now for the harsh reality…

How attractive is teaching really as a career?

People apply for the job until they find what is the real job. We’re all in it for the love of it but at the end of the day, bills to pay, kids to school, no holiday going to happen!

Fame and excitement – not happening to all of us! Practice can become an eroding routine.

2013 Global Teachers Status Index: China is good for teachers!

But we have made progress – until 20th century: no support/unions etc

Keep calm and call for action! We deserve a higher status in society! We are and always will be the candle that consumes itself to produce light to others…

Speaker 3: Damian Williams

A journey that he has been on for the last year and a half. Across different countries and continents, meeting different people. Started with a book – Linguistic Landscape in the City. The study of English as it’s seen in the urban landscape.

Taking photos every time he saw English and annoyed his wife! Looking for English in the urban landscape. The landscape told him:

“Go out and get some fun!”

So he did. And noticed code-switching and symbols.

Once you start looking for English, it becomes an obsession! Time to go to another country. But there was English in the airport as well. Went to Argentina and there was English in the menus “Give little garlic a close shave” and in the toilets, put rubbish in the “basket case”.

So he went to Europe and found…yellow penguins! And the linguistic landscape became the artistic landscape. Art installations. A way of expressing things. Then the artistic landscape joined with the linguistic landscape.

Sometimes the linguistic landscape is beautiful, sometimes it is direct “Sod the sunshine come and sit in the dark” at a cinema in summer! Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense “Drugstore’s full time”. Sometimes the most simple messages are the most powerful: Keep calm and carry on…

Most importantly, as language teachers, it’s amazing because it’s everywhere! It gives the community an identity. And it’s free and available to all!

Speaker 3: Sandy Millin

19 things I’ve learnt as an English Teacher!

  • Timetables are impossible (as a DoS!): no one is ever happy! They are never right! Fact!
  • Course book trivia is amazing but doesn’t crossover with what you need to win a pub quiz! It just doesn’t!
  • Rain stops play: In Paraguay, going to work in the rain is for teachers not students!
  • Take your camera: Mr Rubber Man might appear – created by a student in class to tell a story using prepositions and Cusenaire rods
  • Look up: In cities, the ground level is boring but look up and it’s beautiful e.g. buildings
  • To learn the local language, teach kids: they shout it at you!
  • Stereotypes aren’t true: Chinese kids are not necessarily quiet…
  • Stereotypes are true: Spanish people like dancing, Slavic women are gorgeous and the weather in the UK can be pretty rubbish!
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder: I like the UK a lot more from OUTSIDE it!
  • It’s hard to escape the bubble: When you first get there, it’s very easy to get into a comfort zone and speak to very few people…
  • When politics take over, even the kids care!
  • Life goes on! I live in Sevastopol, I’m still here.
  • Listen to people: you never know what you will learn – kids, adults – you’ll learn about language, culture, a new game, anything!
  • Reserve judgement: yours is not the only way or the only opnion. So just listen and you never know what you’ll learn!
  • There’s no point stressing! Presentations are great and all stressing does is make you nervous!
  • Share: It’s life-changing! See James Taylor and ELTchat above. If you start giving, you get! It just happens!
  • Being connected changes everything! You do so much more
  • We’re all from different places: geographically, culturally, socially, we have different opportunities but we all want the same things! Health, happiness, friendship, good food…

Everybody all over the world, this is what they want to life!!

Speaker 4: Thomas Jones

Pecha Kucha – ancient Japanese phrase for “Get on with it!”

Teaching and the horror: rigidity, structure and being strict. Prefer a class of vikings rather than bored people! You’ve all survived!

94% of people in ANY classroom do NOT want to be there! There’s a lot of romance about teaching but….! Work – a terrible imposition on time that could be spent doing better things. So at least do something you are interested in! At least one person in the class will be…!

Where would you rather be? Here! In bed! I always ask students where you’d rather be and then say “I’m sorry”… they come from the exotic to the rain and British people and bad food!

“i don’t understand why I have to go to school at all, the internet knows more than all the teachers put together” – an 8 year old. Don’t go to work on Monday if you can’t answer that!

“We don’t need no education: Yes you do. You’ve just used a double negative.”

Take yourself seriously, but never yourself! Tattoo it on your hand refer to it frequently!

Speaker 5: Cecilia Lemos

“Keep calm and go to ELT Heaven”

We deserve to go to Heaven in the end don’t you think?

But “You have sinned!” – going straight to hell. So how to redeem self?

The Ten Commandments of ELT (to get to heaven)

  • Thou shalt think of ELT before all others
  • No idolising David Crystal, Scott Thornbury, Penny Ur or Michael Lewis
  • Read thy authors: quote them wisely and don’t confuse their approaches
  • Thou shalt rest on Saturdays! (Oh yes!)
  • Do what the experts tell you: if they say “jump”, you say how high? If Luke Meddings says teach unplugged, don’t you dare plan that lesson!
  • No violence in the classroom: No matter how many times your student says “I have 35 years old”. Do not hurt them.
  • Be faithful to your teaching approach: but need to try so many different things for each different group you have… so you can’t!
  • Cite your sources! Do not steal other peoples’ work.
  • You must not say bad things about that teacher who teaches differently from you! Even if they get a lot more laughter in their class. Don’t gossip and say they don’t teach.
  • Thou shalt not envy your fellow teacher’s materials, groups or conferences!


Say 10 hail David Crystals! (And some more.) Then otherwise join us in ELT purgatory!!

Bonus speaker: Lindsay Clandfield

The history of ELT conference Pecha Kucha… and discoveries about memes…

Rage faces: used as vehicles for humourising shared experiences.

Y U No Guy: TRB – Y U No have right answers? USB: Y U no fit?

Doge: It’s based on Sheepy the dog’s internal monologue written in single words. Deliberate wrong collocations.. e.g. very workshop…so teach…many happy….

Macro image: Bad luck Brian – e.g. last slot on Saturday for talk at IATEFL

Annoying Facebook girl: Vapid status updates and attention whoring

Facepalm: a message of dismay and reaction to momentary relapse of judgement, the agony… 2000 English Teachers in Harrogate – David Cameron facepalm

I accidentally: I accidentally and leave out verb. I accidentally … the conference centre – leave people in confusion…



Says this is last PK. Signs up for last year’s event!

I love pecha kucha! I recommend you watch the recording if you weren’t here live or watching the streaming. This post is at best a nice memory of a fab hour! The standing ovation was well deserved…



7 thoughts on “IATEFL 2014 Pecha Kucha!

  1. Pingback: IATEFL 2014: Bringing all my posts together in one place! | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  2. Thanks for the live summary (is that what we can call it?) of my Pecha Kucha presentation Lizzie, it’s my first time to be bestowed this honour!

    The quote that you missed the reference to was by pop boffin Brian Eno, by the way.

  3. Pingback: 19 things I’ve learnt as an EFL teacher | Sandy Millin

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