My first time.
My first time in Turkey … and … what a blast! I really enjoyed myself at the Third UES International EFL Conference at Kemer Resort near Antalya (Turkey). I was invited by UES Unlimited Educational Services and my generous publisher Helbling Languages in order to give a keynote about the “Future of Foreign Language Teaching!? What there was, what there is and what there will be!?” I know, I know, quite catchy title, probably a bit over the top but hey, that’s why I generically placed the question and exclamation marks in the title 🙂 If you want to find out what my answers to all of these questions are, click here and check out the slides of my presentation. I was giving my talk in front of 300 Turkish primary and secondary EFL teachers, and you know what, I was quite nervous, because usually ambitious practitioners are always the best but also the most critically reflective crowd, which is good! In the end, I had the feeling that they really liked the talk and I really had great conversations with plenty of Turkish teachers afterwards. These talks are of immense value for me in order to learn about new cultures, teaching in different cultures, school systems, etc. I mean, that is actually the best part of such conferences, the exchange of ideas and expertise with great and highly professional colleagues.
I arrived one day before the actual event and what can I say? … The organisers really did a great job, everything, really everything was taken care of (room, WiFi, food, transit, socializing, etc.). I was also given the opportunity to do my tech check one day before the actual talk in this huge conference hall. Big up, ladies and gents … UES really are a great team! The whole conference took place in a *****-hotel, the full monty, everything all-inclusive, not bad, especially the excellent Turkish cuisine, I love it.
Generous Goody Bag
Another fun fact: All the participants (more than 300) got their goody bags and one of the goodies was a copy of my latest book “Mind the App – Inspiring internet tools to engage your students”. How cool is that :-). Hope they will like it!
Inspiring talks and workshops
There were plenty of excellent plenaries and workshop, I really enjoyed them and learned new stuff for my university teaching, because I truly believe in the fact that being a student teacher trainer means constantly learning from others.
I really enjoyed Marion William’s talk about (Creative) Thinking in the EFL-lesson, she presented interesting approaches when it comes to solving EFL-specific tasks. Paul Seligson really came up with a very hands-on, dynamic presentation about how an EFL-teacher can use high and low technology (internet, games, movement, etc.) in his/her classroom. A real pro! Nice one, indeed!
Susan House with her concept of teacher types (gatekeeper, midwife, travel fellow) and Robert Hill with his enthusiastic performance on Graded Readers were just grand! And last, but not least, the great Jack Scholes with a workshop called “The Name of the Game”, talking about highly activating language games.
Another highlight was the presentation of “Project Umbrella” , a really cool technology-based approach to language teaching. Well, done, especially the show effects at the end of the presentation in Antalya 🙂
So, in a nutshell: for me, these two days were incredibly fruitful, I really learned a lot of new things, got to know truly inspiring people. Many thanks to the organizers/coordinators Ali Uzunyolcu, Cem Susuz, Kenan Oguz, Ibrahim Güngor, Murat Yörük, Riitta da Costa (Helbling) and many more for sponsoring this great trip! While writing this blog entry, I am enjoying my terribly sweet but absolutely succulent Baklava! Türkiye’de ederim!
Thomas during his keynote.
Marion Williams, Paul Seligson and Jack Scholes.
Jack Scholes, Thomas Strasser, Cem Susuz, Alison Blair, Murat Yörük