Late night blog

Undoubtedly one of the higlights of today’s session was the truely inspiring and highly motivating plenary speech of Sarah Mercer where she conducted the power of relationship between students and teacher, as well as the relationship between peers. “It is the basis on which we build the willingness to learn”. (Sarah Mercer) Especially ELT needs to take into account the affection it has on students as it is a field which is inherently social. The analogy of the emotional bank account where deposits and withdrawels are carried out helped to visualise the importance of relations.

Developing a positive relationship is vital which can be achieved by authenticity, respect and being empathetic and responding to learners individuality. The example of the blue dot made the point even clearer. “If we build on our strength we can build excellence if only focused on weaknesses we just reach average” (Sarah Mercer)  Concluding not only how teachers do in classroom in order to boost motivation but also wht should be kept in mind is the teacher itself. Due to stress management and various other things he/she can stay motivated and therefore create a positive athmosphere. As I felt quite hungry I decided to buy, yeah something quite british – a pasty. As I queued up to pay for it the seller asked me something in a very strong accent, but as I assumed she had asked me if I’d like anything else I negated. Later I figured out she had only asked if I’ve been to Glasgow before. Well, Scottish is sometimes pretty hard to understand.

The second talk I attended was about teaching English in Jordan (LASER project). I havent’t really planned on going there but, as a guide told us a wrong direction we decided to stay there. In this talk the speaker clearly pointed out that culture differences contributed to various obstacles that had to be overcome to reach the teaching goals. Such problems included attendance and the separation of Syrian and Jordan students. Fairly interesting was, that the students interpreted Europe as a bridge between hell and paradise (according to their own texts) and even used carefully designed tasks to digest their traumatic experiences. This voluntary work also inspired a young women who couldn’t find a job as a doctor due to precarious circumstances.

The third session held by Ulla Fürstenberg was about integration of theoratical framework and practical approaches of teaching methodology. I really appreciated the of focusing on the latter but also on the first point as it is important to aquire knowledge in order to “translate” them into actuall practice in teaching.

Browsing through numerous teaching material at the exhibition was truely interesting and added a few kilos to my suitcase and lengthend my Christmas-whishlist. In the late afternoon Marisa and I decided to fade the evening away in the Athens of the North, enjoyed some pub grub and walked through the cobbled streets. I even managed to enter the only toilet out of five which was out of service. Three seconds before the train back was leaving we entered the train breathlessly. Well, revising the day it held many breahtless moments be it at the conference or in the city and I’m curious what the next day will hold.

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