Posted in My articles, This and that

Sitteaching?

As you know, there is no term as sitteaching. However, some of our colleagues assume that they teach when they sit, don’t make eye-contact, don’t use intonation, etc. Is it possible to teach like this?

I wasn’t planning to talk about that today but facebook showed me a video that I shared five years ago! Here is the link to the video:

When I watched the video, I thought our students are aware of everything we do and don’t do! Mostly they seem as if they are not following us in the lessons-especially nowadays with spring mood!- but indeed they are. However, it is easier for us to complain about their mischievous behaviours rather than paying attention to their body language or ideas. Sometimes all they want is attention.

As a person, I don’t like moving or doing any sports at all but as a teacher, I can’t stop walking, running or jumping in the class :))) My students mostly say “hocam, how can you be so energetic? What do you drink in the morning to get that energy?” I just smile as an answer. I believe real teachers are born to be active in the class. When the teacher is active, students feel an urge to be active. When I sit, I am bored so isn’t it normal for a student not to want to be a part of education process?

Of course we might be tired! However, even our tone of voice can help us at that point. We should share our energy with learners! But what if we don’t want to do anything as a teacher?

First, we should find something we are interested in as a person and do it more often.

Second, we should get more fresh air which will make us more positive and give us energy.

Third, we should ask for new teaching ideas to colleagues, forums, or read some research-which is boring to me!

Then, we should ask our learners what they want to see in the class.

Finally, we should brainstorm about these and then start an action plan.

Seriously, it is not as difficult as it seems! Just start from somewhere and you will find yourself in the middle of production and creativity.

How did I come up with these steps? I have been in that process for the last few weeks :)) Nowadays I feel much closer to producing something and now I am writing here 🙂

Come on, stand up or sit down and start somewhere! A teaching term is too short  to wait for the inspiration ship to come to you so go for it!

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Posted in My articles

Some practical ideas on learner motivation

As we are approaching the end of the term, our students are feeling unmotivated soon and we are “infected”, too. That’s why we need to prevent this, otherwise our lessons will be really boring and a kind of torture both for our students and us. I believe nobody wants that!

We all know there is a strong connection between student and teacher motivation so we affect one another somehow. Why don’t we make use of that connection and make our classes more enjoyable than we used to see? If your answer is yes, let me suggest you some ideas:

  1. Reward your students. That reward doesn’t have to be a big one of course! When one of our students performs a task successfully, we can ask the student choose a song and play it while the others are doing an activity like reading, speaking
  2. Explain. When our students wonder why they have to learn a specific topic, provide them with explanations (Harris, 1991). When they realize we don’t see them as machines which only fulfill tasks, they will be happier to participate.
  3. Care. When they share a song, a book or a movie in the class, we may have a look at it on our own. Then tell the student what we think about that item honestly and see the gleam in their eyes! You have cared about their ideas.
  4. Provide choices. As teachers we always say “My students want spoon feeding all the time!” or “They don’t have autonomy!”. If we present choices, they can choose what they want and change their attitudes in process of time. You can even ask “We have two books in our program today and I wonder which book you would like to begin with”. Done!
  5. Collaboration. We can ask our students to study together more than before. I am not saying monitoring each group or pair will be very easy for you; however, they will feel more comfortable with their friends instead of talking in front of everyone. Thus, we can use collaboration.
  6. Get feedback. We all think we are doing great things in the class, but are we sure that they are so great? Without getting feedback, we can’t know where our “ship” is heading. To illustrate, we can ask our students to write their opinions related to the activities of the week on a piece of paper without writing their names. Collecting the feedback and then reading them on our own might help us.
  7. Be open to new ideas. We can try something new and this not just related to teaching. We should try something new in our lives like a place, dish, movie etc. Having routines will lead to a decrease in the level of motivation.

All in all, motivating our students is not as difficult as we may believe.

Changing small details can help us find motives for new teaching methods.

References

 Harris, R. (1991). Some ideas for motivating students. Retrieved on March 3, 2014. http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/affective/motivation.html http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/Nilson- adaptedmotivation.pdf

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Posted in Reflections & Career Development, Research, This and that

So…What Exactly Should PD Look Like?

I couldn’t agree more with dear Tony! CPD sessions are important for all teachers because we should know ourselves much better to help our students. Teacher training is like life long learning-it never stops! Also, school administrations should give more importance to this issue instead of ignoring its importance and its staff. If we do more research, more in-class research, more sessions to share what we have with each other, we can grow together.

Our students change every year. I mean their interests, needs and learning preferences change. As teachers, we should understand these changes and provide new and effective ways to collaborate with our learners in our learning environment to reach “outcome” together. In order to do that, we need to improve, revise or redesign how we teach in accordance with our aims and learners. Saying that is really easy but it is not like that in reality.

I always think that our working environment is a great tool to achieve this. We have many colleagues who are already teaching and they have experience as much as we do! So, why don’t we start sharing with each other in our institutions? This is free! Our institutions do not have to pay for any sessions.

CPD is not so far away… Everything starts with a “core” and we all have this in our working environment. We just need to open our eyes and initiate this process 🙂

Let’s grow our collaborative environment all together! 🙂

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allthingslearning

CPD Blog Post 170717 slide 05 TG

There I am…under my favourite olive tree, looking out at the point where the Aegean almost meets the Mediterranean…on the Turkish Riviera.

Sounds like heaven, yes?

So what the hell am I doing on my MacBook Air?

I’ll tell you – looking at the marketing bumf for the training courses that support a book entitled ‘A Handbook for Personalized Competency-Based Education (PCBE)’ from Robert Marzano and his gang at Marzano Research. Yes, as the sun goes down, the soft Aegean twilight floods the mountains and bay around Akbuk (near Didim)…here’s me reading about the type of Professional Development (PD) needed to ‘inspire’ teachers to breathe life into PCBE.

BTW – Did you know that the word inspire is derived from the Latin ‘inspirare’ which literally means to breathe life into another? Stephen Covey learned me that a few years back…

I am such a sad, sad…

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Posted in Useful activities

Taboo in the Class!

Last year, I had one hour of free time in my two classes. Then I thought to make my students create something for themselves. That’s how I came up with the idea which was to make them prepare their own taboo cards! 🙂

I gave them small note cards and asked them to find 4 words from their coursebooks which was at elementary level at that time. I also asked them to find 3 words which were related to each main word and write them. The instruction was simple: Write these words and then bring them to me to check. They had 50 minutes to finish their task. If their words were the same with someone else, they were going to change them. Then, I added some energetic songs to our classroom environment and they started preparing those. During the lesson, they brought their words and I checked. Some of them found great words!

At the end of the lesson, I collected those cards. The next day, I did the same task with my other class. Then, I copied all of these words on the computer and printed them out. The last stage was puttig those taboo cards on colorful cardboards. Everything was ready!

The following week, we played it in the class. I divided the classroom into two groups consisting of 8 people. I explained the taboo rules and asked them if they wanted to add any other rules. They added one rule and we started playing it. You know what? It was fun! They loved it! While they were playing, sometimes they were saying “Who wrote this word for God’s sake?!” 😀 My answer was simple: You and your friends. Everything was their responsibility and their product.

If you have any free time in the class, you can try making your students prepare those cards. The result will be great 🙂 The age or level doesn’t matter. Just do it!

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Posted in Conference & Seminar Notes, Reflections & Career Development, Research

Mini research on the effects of T-PLUS

As I mentioned before, I attended an event by T-PLUS held at İstanbul Şehir University. I was inspired to conduct a mini research related to participants reasons and inspirational results during it. Here are the results 🙂

The survey was sent to fifteen people who joined the 5th T-PLUS Event held at İstanbul Şehir University on November 7-8. There were twelve people who completed the survey.

There were five questions included in the survey. These are:

  1. Which T-PLUS meetings did you attend?
    İzmir University of Economics December 21st, 2012
    İzmir Yaşar University, May 4th 2013
    Ankara TED University, Nov 15th . 2013
    Girne American University, Cyprus, May 2014
    Şehir University, İstanbul, November 2014
  2. Why do you attend T-PLUS? You can write more than one reason.
  3. Do you think the last T-PLUS meeting has inspired you to do something professionally?
  4. If your answer is “yes” for the previous question (Q3), can you share the areas you want to apply something new?
  5. If your answer is “no” for question 3, can you share the reason(s)?

Note: The first question doesn’t require only one answer. The participants were expected to choose all the answers suitable for them.

The answers for the first question can be seen below:

As we can see by looking at the answers, the participants were mostly new colleagues. Only one of them attended the first event of T-PLUS and only two attended the second. That’s why; we can conclude that the collected data mostly refers to new members of the organization.

As for the second question, the answers are:

  1. First, my institution told me so. Then I made a quick research and I really wanted to join it.
  2. To meet colleagues, to improve myself professionally
  3. In our school we don’t have a PD Unit. Since we want to initiate one, I see T-Plus events as a great source of ideas for this specific reason. As for my personal reason, I want to improve myself in every way, both personally and professionally.
  4. To improve professional skills.
  5. To help improve teacher training in Turkey. To share expertise and experiences. To collaborate with teacher trainers who do not have access to many developmental activities.
  6. To exchange ideas and suggestions about Professional development in ELT 2. To be aware of what’s going on in other universities concerning TT 3. To build up a network of TTs all over Turkey
  7. *I believe in the spirit of communication, negotiation and collaboration. *We have had teacher training practices for 6 years after I attended SLTEP2009. *To share the best practices and learn from each other.
  8. to share experiences get feedback/help or my duty collaboration (see what the other universities practices)
  9. To learn about the latest trends in professional teacher development and keep up to date with them. For sharing new information with our colleagues in our institution.
  10. In order to meet new people and benefit from their experiences in the field.
  11. To check out for recent developments in PD. To establish new networks
  12. In order to improve my PD skills and exchange ideas with the friends

When we look at the answers in detail, apart from the first answer, all the reasons are related to participants’ personal and professional development reasons; in other words, intrinsic reasons. In fact, the first participant’s answer can also be included intrinsic since after searching the event, s/he was also willing to participate in it. As it is clear in the answers, most people participate in T-PLUS events since they want to improve their professional skills and benefit from the experiences of other colleagues. Establishing networks and meeting new people follow these reasons. We can conclude that participants join the events willingly and by being aware of their expectations. Moreover, we can also say that collaboration gets a big share, too.

The answer for the third question was the same for all participants, which is “yes”. Then, we can start analyzing the fourth question since it is related to the inspiration in the previous question.

  1. I want to apply “self assessment via peer observation”. Also I will share the idea of forming a reading club to meet every Wednesday. Another thing is I realised that in my institution, mentoring for new teachers is not enough.
  2. It’s inspired me to increase technology usage in the classroom and to integrate more components to my teaching
  3. 1. Buddying for new teachers. 2. ”I have got talents” workshops. 3. Some technological tools or websites from Nezaket Hoca’s presentation.
  4. No answer available.
  5. I feel that I can do more to provide online resources and training for teachers or teacher trainers in Turkey.
  6. -Involving our teachers in Teacher Research activities in collaboration with those in other universities -Dealing with teacher resistance in the light of the suggestions made in some sessions -Introducing some technological tools that can be used by our teachers in their classes.
  7. Team teaching seems appealing in that both teachers feel equally responsible for the delivery of the lesson and the observation.
  8. peer observation in a self evaluation format (Aslı-Utku’s presentation) Action/Teacher research in collaboration with Kenan Hoca (Gediz University)
  9. Working in a team with my colleagues to set up a PDU in our institution. Giving presentations on the subjects summarising our experiences in T-PLUS
  10. We are a developing university and we’d like to learn what our colleagues do in their institutions. It was lovely to meet new people from different universities and share our problems. We want to build a Professional Development Unit in our department.
  11. some ideas from the workshops: Personal development, using padlet
  12. We will apply group reflection. A couple of teachers will be moderated by an experienced teacher and feedback on various issues will be provided.

 

If I want to summarize the biggest pie, it can be technology use. There are five answers related to it.  Participants are encouraged to use technology either in their own teaching or sharing what they learned with their colleagues via workshops. The second thing can be collaboration in their own institutions to set up new opportunities and regulations like peer observation, team teaching group reflection, reading club, and helping teachers share what they have in their pockets (“I have got talents” workshops.) These are all related to improving the teaching and sharing standards in each institution. Another inspirational topic is obviously research. Thanks to the session by Kenan Dikilitaş, some people are motivated to conduct teacher research in their institutions. We can look forward to the results of their work 🙂

Furthermore, if I compare the results by using the participation as a criterion, I can’t see much difference among people’s reasons to attend the event and inspirational reasons.

To sum up, I want to thank everyone who completed the survey 🙂

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Posted in Reflections & Career Development, This and that, Useful activities

Appreciation at work?

One of the most important motivational problems is appreciation at work. In fact, we want to be appreciated not only in our private lives but also in work environment.

We can achieve the first one by sharing our feelings with the people around us by letting them know we would like to get credit for our positive attitudes and actions. It is not so difficult as it may seem at the beginning. You can ask the people around you whether they are content with your behaviours and get the feedback immediately. If you think that this is too direct to do, you may show your appreciation to them. Then, they can follow your way and give you feedback 🙂

When the case is work environment, it is much more difficult to be appreciated. To be honest, I believe that people appreciate each other in the work environment but they are afraid of sharing this.  There can be  many underlying reasons of that, yet I think the most important one is the fear of making the other person flattered. We are jealous of each other as human beings so this is natural. However, we shouldn’t forget that everybody needs to know they are precious for a reason. Everybody needs feedback and guidance related to the way they do their jobs. Although everybody needs this, teachers are more dependent on this. We, as teachers, need to see appreciation; otherwise, we can find ourselves fighting against burnout syndrome. If you want to be appreciated as a teacher but don’t know how to do, please check the link below 🙂 There are some tips for us!

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teachers-finding-appreciation-work-elena-aguilar

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