IATEFL 2014: Bringing all my posts together in one place!

IATEFL 2014 was awesome and I blogged a lot during the couple of days I was there for.

Here is an annotated list of the blog posts I wrote, as I thought this would make them much easier to negotiate!

This post is mostly a summary of MaW SIG’s last SIG day session “So what does that involve? Incorporating general vocabulary into topics” by K Woodward et al. (the et al. is Liz in this case!) – their tagline: “For sound pedagogical reasons, vocabulary books and course books often teach vocabulary in topic groups. However, there is a danger that general vocabulary may be neglected. With reference to the Richmond Vocabulary Builders, this talk considers how seemingly general or abstract words cab associate quite strongly with particular topic areas and asks whether vocabulary materials can reflect this” – and the MaW SIG Open Forum meeting.

The last post I published was actually the second I wrote while at IATEFL  and is a summary of Graham Hall’s advice to anybody who is looking to get published in the ELTJ (English Language Teaching Journal) or another academic journal.

This is a summary of Kathleen’s plenary given on the Thursday morning, in which she an argues for  “an approach to learning that seems inefficient may actually be efficient in terms of reaching educational goals in lasting ways.” 

Nigel discussed these three different threads of research done on textbooks, including the importance of doing them and the limitations associated with them, arguing that they provide  framework on which to base textbook research. He also discussed the contents of his newest edited book of textbook research. Here is his tagline: “ELT textbook/coursebook research is criticised for its lack of rigour. I present examples of three types of textbook research to be found in a new book. English Language Teaching Textbooks: Content, Consumption, Production. Content studies focus on what textbooks include and exclude; consumption studies examine how teachers and learners use textbooks; and production studies investigate how textbooks are written.” 

Yep, I had to attend my own talk… 😉  This is a summary of what I discussed (issues with current materials, a possible way to address this, and my own example of how I attempted to do so, using these materials) and a list of references that I used.

My round-up for day two focuses on the many reasons for coming to IATEFL again and again. And why I hope to be back again next year! 🙂  How many square with yours?

This is my summary of what Michael Hoey told us about his corpus linguistic theory and how it supports Krashen’s monitory theory and Lewis’s Lexical Approach.

Julie used Oxford EAP Advanced to discuss ways of dealing with mixed-discipline EAP classes so that this becomes a benefit rather than a drawback. This post is my summary of the talk. Here is Julie’s tagline: “The reality of many EAP classes is a mix of students from different disciplines, which can make it difficult to please everyone. In this talk, I look at some practical tasks, from Oxford EAP Advanced, to help students, especially at higher levels, transfer academic language and language skills learnt in class into their own academic discipline.” 

Sandy’s workshop was very practical, outlining the issues with teaching listening in the language classroom and suggesting various activities to help deal with the problems that arise. This post is a summary of her workshop. Here is her tagline: ““I’ve studied English for years, but I can’t understand anyone!” This was a common complaint from my students on arrival in the UK. This workshop introduces you to practical activities and materials you can use to help students transition from understanding scripted listening materials to feeling comfortable with real-world English” 

Cecilia talked about the benefits of observation and how to ensure that these are mined rather than passed over. This is my summary of her talk. Here is her tagline: “There’s a general consensus on the many benefits of observation. It is well known and discussed in training sessions, books and forums. So why are many teachers still resistant or threatened by it? In this session, I will share a program and forms developed after research, trial and error, trying to overcome resistance and make observation truly effective for teacher development. 

Amy described a project she has been involved with at IH Newcastle. Her tagline is: “Through the experience of establishing an extensive reading (ER) library within the Personal Study Programme (PSP) at International House, Newcastle, this talk will reflect on how we can use ER to promote and support learner autonomy as a whole. It will discuss the practicalities and pitfalls of such an approach and review experimentation with a reading-aloud group.” 

This was a practical session, using training modules published by ELT Teacher to Writer to guide the audience through various elements of materials writing for your own class or a wider audience: We looked at how ELT publishing works, the importance of good rubrics (instructions on learning materials) and how to write them, writing grading readers and writing critical thinking activities. This post is a summary of their workshop. Here is their tagline: “In this session we will give you a taste of the ELT Teacher 2 Writer training modules. We will present practical tasks designed to give you advice and guidance on how to write materials for your own classes or for publication, and step-by-step instructions for developing specific writing skills. There will also be a chance for questions and discussion.” 

Here, my touch-typing skills were put to the test: Trying to keep up with Pecha Kuchas is no mean feat… but I think I just about managed to capture at least the essence of what was a lovely evening of entertainment by a fantastic group of presenters.

This is a summary of what turned out to be a very controversial talk. So controversial, in fact, that IATEFL has organised a Q&A session this coming Saturday (19th April) for people to respond to this plenary. From standing ovations to outraged messages on Facebook and Twitter, Mitra seems to have attracted the entire spectrum of responses. Perhaps the best thing about this is: he has got us all talking!

This talk looks at the blurry line between spoken and written language, and focuses on developing fluency for writing in situations where the pressures of speaking (in terms of being able to produce in the moment, at speed, under pressure) are evident, e.g. sending messages on mobile phones and online instant communication. This post is a summary of the talk. Here is Fiona’s tagline: “How well are we equipping learners of English as a second language with the necessary skills for communicating in today’s online communities? And what are the skills they need? This talk will explore a new aspect of written fluency – the ability to write speedily, relevantly and concisely – and offer practical ideas on how to develop it.” 

My final IATEFL post is a challenge to all attendees of the conference, whether live or aline, to engage with what they’ve been exposed to, to reflect on learning, to experiment with new ideas, to articulate why they disagree with certain things they’ve seen and to think about what’s next on the path of CPD…

I hope everybody who attended IATEFL – live or online – enjoyed it and got as much out of it as I did! 🙂


4 thoughts on “IATEFL 2014: Bringing all my posts together in one place!

  1. Pingback: IATEFL 2014: Bringing all my posts together in ...

  2. Pingback: IATEFL blog award for best coverage of IATEFL Harrogate 2014! | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  3. Pingback: Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015! | Reflections of an English Language Teacher

  4. Pingback: IATEFL Harrogate 2014 – a summary | Sandy Millin

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