last day at the conference…

Hey there!

So on Friday was our last day at the conference. In the morning we went to the plenary session of Jane Settler, a linguistics professor at the University of Reading. The title of it was “Where angels fear to tread: intonation in ELT” and she talked about how intonation works in English and which aspects are teachable and learnable.. Just at the beginning she told us that this was the first ever plenary session about pronunciation – so that’s quite special! 😉

She opened her plenary with one important statement: “Pronunciation is very important for communicative issues but the problem is, that it’s less teachable”. I think she’s quite right about that. Teaching pronunciation is, in my opinion, very important to communicate properly, but the question is, how should we best teach it? I think every teacher has to find their own way to teach pronunciation.

She showed us a super sweet video about two babies, who were communicating with each other just via intonation. This shows us that even little kids who are not yet able to speak, hear different intonation patterns which indicate different words. She also told us that unborn babies can’t hear individual speech sounds but they can already hear intonation.

She also did some interesting studies about Chinese and Arabic speakers of English recently, so if you’re interested you can read them online on www.peps-c.com.

I could write like a hundred more words about her talk because I found it very interesting and informing, but to be honest, we as students already know most about it through our pronunciation classes. So I won’t bore you with that. 😉 (for those who are interested, you can reach her via social media. Facebook: English Language, Applied Linguistics and ELT at Reading; Twitter: @Jane Settler, @UniRdg_EngLang; Blog: aworldofenglishes.blogspot.co.uk; Youtube: Jane Settler (channel) )

After the plenary session we had a quick meeting to talk about the conference and some organisational things and then I went on to a talk by Graham Skerritt about “Homework that works: getting the most from online practice”. I think this was a very very interesting talk because he really gave us useful instructions how to use online homework. Nowadays it is just normal to let students do their homework online, but if you haven’t done that before, you and your students will be completely lost. Thats why I want to share the most important points you have to think of with you:

Getting most from online practice:

  • make sure everyone can use technology
  • Give clear instructtions, demonstrations, model answers
  • Advise students about how to study online
  • Connect homework to classroom work
  • Teach students how to communicate online
  • Respond promptly to students questions (so that they don’t get stuck when they have problems)
  • Give good feedback
  • Monitor & support students (show them that you care about them!)

In his opinion online homework is more efficient, but I cannot agree with that a hundred per cent. I agree that it gives clear written instructions, provides a deadline, is marked immediately and highlights the importance, but I think it is not very personalized. Moreover the students only get feedback from a computer and not from their teacher, who will then mark their tests. But it can be of course very beneficial.

For those of you who are interested, Graham Skerritt recommended a guiding book for online practice, “Blended Learning for Language Teaching”. There you can read up some interesting things about cyber learning.

 

The last workshop I attended on Friday was “Using music (not songs) in the language classroom” by Hanna Kryszewska. This was also a very interesting session. She showed us different activities how to use music effectively in a classroom. These were all activities which were really funny and also good to use in a classroom. One activity we did was describing a video to a person. We got together in pairs, one person standing with the back to the video, the other one facing it. The person who faced the video had to describe what happenes in it to their partner and after 2 minutes, they switched. In my opinion this is a very useful activity because we can easily get our students to talk and moreover they have lots of fun.

 

So after one week at the conference, I can really say that this was one of the most amazing and interesting weeks ever. It was so informative and I gained lots of new knowledge. I would really advise everybody to attend this conference at least once. You will get to know so many people from different parts of the world, talk to them and learn from them. I am more than sure that this year’s IATEFL conference wasn’t my last one. You definitely have to go there – it’s just awesome!

Big thanks to Ulla Fürstenberg, Sarah Mercer and Elke Beder for making this possible!!

 

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Exploring Glasgow…

Hey there, 

So the last few days were filled with lots of amazing experiences. We had some great days at the IATEFL conference so far and also had time to explore the beautiful city of Glasgow.

On wednesday we left the conference in the afternoon and walked to Buchanan Street, where we had some fabulous lunch. Afterwards we started off to the city hall, where we took some beautiful selfies – tourist-style 😉 so we’re quite some selfie queens, don’t you think so?


Then we marched off to the Glasgow Cathedral, which is a gothic church in the east of Glasgow’s inner city. I was very impressed by its look from the outside, but unfortunately it closes at 5pm every day so we weren’t able to visit the church from the inside. The creepy thing about this church was that its garden consistes of graves. So we had to walk on hundreds of years old graves to explore the surrounding of Glasgow Cathedral. But still – stunning!!

Near the cathedral is also one part of Glasgow’s university. One building of the University of Strathclyde actually looks like a church from the outside! We were a bit confused at first which building was the cathedral because we couldn’t find a signpost.

Then we strolled around in the quarter, finding a pub full of grandma’s and grandpa’s partying – we had a good laugh and it was just amazing watching these people. The Scots still have loads of fun even if they’re old 😛

We actually had no clue where we were going afterwards, just looking for the river to find back to the hostel, when we suddenly stumbled over St. Andrew’s square and its beautiful little church. Then we strolled back on the river bank to our hotel when the sun started to go down – definitely worth maaaaany pictures, it was soooo romantic haha


Aaaand today we did lots of sightseeing again. After the conference we drove off (yes, we drove with a taxi, because Christina has a broken foot – lucky us – no walking :P) to Glasgow University and what we found there was just amazing! HOGWARTS! I swear it feels like you’re in one of the Harry Potter films! So again, photo sessioooooon 😉


I was just completely amazed by this old but awesome building and it’s architecture. I think I took about 50 pictures there! We also visited the Huntarian museum, which displays preserved organs, animals and veeeeery old gravestones. Definitely worth a look for everybody, but especially for biology students like me! I was amazed by all these preserved organs (lungs, kidneys, ovaries, bones, …) und also by the animals you could see there. Loads of different butterflies, beetles and stuffed animals – very lovely to look at! 


Unfortunately we only had half an hour in the museum because it closes at 5pm every day. We then strolled around the beautiful Kelvingrove Park, which is probably the tidiest park I have ever seen! A must for people who like strolling around, running or just enjoying nature!
So if you’re ever going to visit Glasgow, you now know where to go!

Michael Swan live ;)

Hey everybody,

I’m currently at Michael Swan’s talk about his new edition of “practical english usage”, a book everyone of us knows. He added some new interesting things to the fourth edition, like differences between american and british english. Moreover each chapter now has an introductory section, which is quite helpful I think.

I really like the book because it’s always a good resource to look grammar up if you’re unsure.

He also told us about the publishing process and how complicated it was to get the book online.

Finally in Glasgow!

Hey guys!

So we’re finally in Glasgow. The trip was quite long but we’re all really glad that we’re finally here. Unfortunately the weather is a bit foggy and rainy so hopefully it’ll be better tomorrow!
Now we’re enjoying our evening with a few pints 😉

Let’s get it started!

Hey guys,

so tomorrow is the day, we’re going to Glasgow! I am suuuuper excited and can’t wait to visit this city and be part of the conference!

My name is Colette and I have the honour to be part of the IATEFL conference. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland and finally my dreams come true 😀 I am really looking forward to this trip, not only because of visiting a new city, but also because of the conference. I hope I will be able to attend loads of interesting talks and workshops there and moreover explore the city a bit. I will keep you guys updated throughout the week and hopefully I can give you some insight into our trip and the conference!

My suitcase for tomorrow is packed, so let the adventure begin!