Aslı Saglam's Blog about CPD in ELT

Highlights from Akdeniz University Language Studies Conference 2012


Akdeniz University hosted the “Language Studies Conference” between 9-12 May with the participation of more than 600 participants from a variety of countries involving Turkey, Macedonia, Iran, and Germany. More than 300 presentations were given and we had the opportunity to participate in many informative sessions and listen to the reports of educational research. The confernece was organised around a variety of topics.



I shared the results of a small scale research study which was about participation of students in course evaluation.

It was entiled “Using students’ evaluations to measure educational quality” and data was collected by Students’ Evaluation of Educational Quality Instrument (SEEQ), focus group interviews and field notes.

If you would like to have more detailed info please click here.


I had the opportunity to listen to some very interesting sessions and meet devoted professionals. I would like to talk about Veronika Kareva, who presented a research study focsuing on teacher education and CELTA training.

I don’t know if you would agree with me but, I feel that learning about teaching and teacher education in different social contexts is very mind opening. Therefore,  I asked Veronica if she would feed us in about ELT in Macedonia. She kindly accepted to answer my further questions send throgh e-mail.

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Veronika Kareva, Director of the Language Center at the South East European University (SEEU) in Tetovo, Macedonia and a professor at the English Teacher Training Department with the Faculty of Languages, Cultures and Communication.

What are the opportunities for teacher training and development in Macedonia?

Our University has only English Teacher Education Program. Speaking about this program, the impressions from students and the perceptions from those involved in the teaching process are that there is not enough practical implementation of the knowledge students-teachers receive during their formal education and that they are not prepared well enough to start teaching at schools immediately after graduation. This is especially true, with the new model of studies, 3 + 2, according to Bologna agreement.

After graduation, those teaching at state schools receive further continuoustraining through different seminars and workshops organized by the Ministry of Education and supported by the British Council.

You made a comment about how people view ELT profession in your country and therefore I would like to ask: What’s the society’s perception of English language teaching and ELT teachers in Macedonia?

Traditionally, English teachers have had higher status in the society compared to other teachers. This was due to the fact that their education required visiting foreign countries and contacts with the international community and somehow this program used to be elitist, as it was very difficult to enroll at university and graduate from the English Department.

Nowadays, with the massivization of the education in Macedonia (secondary school made obligatory and about 85% of the total number of pupils finishing secondary education enroll at universities), there is a hyper production of English teachers and it results in lowering  their status and position in society.

In your opinion what should be done to improve teacher training and development in Macedonia?

As I mentioned previously, there is a need for providing more and better organized opportunities for practical work before graduation.

Can you please briefly talk about your research that you presented at Akdeniz University Antalya? What was the most significant finding in your study? Why?

My research presented at the Akdeniz Language Conference aimed at providing answers directly related to improving the practical component of the English Teacher Education. It dealt with the question whether introducing CELTA courses as obligatory courses in preparation of future English teachers would result in better learning outcomes. There were no statistically relevant findings in favour of this statement and therefore some other ways were recommended based on literature review in this field.

Thanks a lot Veronica :))

I think that the best part of attending conferences is enlarging the strong network that we teachers have…

Don’t you think so? 🙂


Highlights from Canakkale ELT Research Conference 2012


I attended the ELT Research Conference at Canakkale 18 Mart University this weekend and had a terrific time.

This conference was special because all presenters reported the results of their research. In “Redefining the relationship between research and what teachers know” Donald Freeman stated that there is a gap between research and teaching due to “an awkward silence” that has grown up between the teacher and researcher and he further claimed that teachers should undertake research because “you have to know the story in order to tell the story”.

This conference was unique in this respect because we had the opportunity to tell our own stories and listen to those of other colleagues.


Plenaries were given by Rod Ellis, Cem Alptekin and Norbert Scmitt and the conference program was intensive.

There were more than 60 concurrent sessions ranging from qualitative and quantitative research, from individual to collaborative research and from the topic of language learning and acquisition, teacher training and education, early English education, culture and literature in English education, language testing and evaluation to multimedia and ICT in English education. And let me remind, all of these sessions including the poster presentations, were research.


I presented a research that I had done in partial fulfillment of the teacher education course that I had taken. It was entitled ‘EXPLORING TERTIARY-LEVEL ENGLISH TEACHERS’ PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE’. Very briefly the study explored how in-service teachers conceptualize and articulate their practical knowledge about English teaching though narrative reconstruction of their experiences. The research question was: How do teachers attempt to reason about their practices and the practical knowledge underlie them? You can find more info about the study and my presentation here.

Also, I had a poster presentation reporting a research which examined L2 reading motivation of Turkish university students. This study intended to investigate university students’ reading motivation and its relations to their reading performance on institutional reading achievement test. Participants included 191 university EFL students who were enrolled in different instructional levels at the school of English language instruction. Participants were classified into two categories; poor readers and good readers based on their reading scores on their reading achievement test scores. Participants responded to a Motivation for Reading Questionnaire (MRQ) after they had taken achievement test in reading and they were compared on their reading comprehension and on various reading motivation variables using factor analysis and multiple regression analysis in SPSS. The 5 most influential factors were students’ intrinsic motivation in curiosity and extrinsic motivation in social dimensions, family involvement and compliance with respect to task and time requirements. Click here for more detail

I am looking forward to attending Canakkale 18 Mart University’s conference next year again (I need to find a good research topic! See the positive backwash effect 🙂


It was such a nicely organised event. I had to opportunity to meet lovely people, catch up with my friends and I learned a lot from the presentations and further ideas for research.




Working out from Simon Borg’s (2010) extensive list of potential benefits of teacher research, I hope that there would be more conferences and opportunities for collaborative inquiry because according to researchers outlined in Borg, teacher research;

  • “develops teachers’ capacity for autonomous professional judgements (Roberts, 1993);
  • reduces teachers’ feeling of frustration and isolation (Roberts, 1993);
  • allows teachers to move out of a submissive position and be curriculum innovators (Gurney, 1989);
  • allows teachers to become more reflective, critical, and analytical about their teaching behaviours in the classroom (Atay, 2006);
  • makes teachers less vulnerable to and less dependent on external answers tro the challenges they face (Donato, 2003);
  • fosters connections between researchers and teachers (Crookes, 1993).
  • Creates a problem solving mind-set that help teachers when they consider other classroom dilemmas and improves teachers’’ instructional decision-making processes (Olson, 1990).”
Borg, S. (2010). Language Teacher Research Engagement, Cambridge Journals, 43(4), p. 391-429.
Freeman, D. (1996). Redefining the Relationship between Research and What teachers Know (in Bailey& Nunan Eds, Chapter 4).



Highlights from Beykent University ELT Conference Episode 2; Confessions of a Digital Immigrant by Teresa Doguelli


I was attracted by the title of the session because I am also a digital immigrant wanna be native. Marc Prensky coined these terms; digital native and digital immigrants in “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” published in 2001  I was aware that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been integrated into curriculum design and implementation, providing invaluable teaching/learning platforms and functions for both educators and learners. I also believe that integration of technology into teaching has transformed the learning paradigm and, consequently, face-to face learning has started to give way to web-enhanced instruction via internet based resources and systems. BUT I was caught unguarded. I mean I was not ready for this shift! In my pre-service training (14 years ago)we did not receive any training related to technology and there are meager opportunities for ICT training in terms of in-service training. I am still trying to adapt to and appropriate educational technologies in my teaching and it’s good to know that I am not alone 🙂

Leap-froging the digital divide

Teresa talked about her Google search about digital natives and outlined the characteristics such as “thrive on instant gratification”, “parallel processing and multi-tasking”. Then taking characteristics of net-generation into consideration her the major question was; “Do I have to go back to the beginning and re-learn about the new technology?”. Her answer to this questions is “No”. Teresa thinks that teachers can leapfrog the digital divide by researching and experimenting with Web 2.0 Tools. I asked the same question to myself and my answer was “Yes”. Transition is painful and it takes time (I still use pen and paper to take notes :))

I feel that in addition to all kinds of teacher knowledge  including content, pedagogical content, curriculum, general pedagogical, learners and their characteristics, educational contexts and educational aims, purposes and values (Shulman, 1987) now there is TECHNOLOGICAL pedagogical content knowledge (Mishra & Koehler, 2006).  When Teresa asked the audience whether they used snipping tool majority responded that they did not know about how to get a screen shot. (which is perfectly normal we had not been taught and there is certainly need for training to leap frog this digital divide). There was an excellent quotation in the presentation; “Learning is not compulsory neither is survival”


Whenever, Whatever, Where ever (WWW)

In her presentation Teresa exemplified how to make use of some web tools (Webquests, Glogster, TeacherTube) and introduced some teaching suggestions.

I totally agree with her that technology brought about tools that have great potential to make classes rich and these technologies are tools to learn rather than something we learn from.





Shulman, LS. (1987). Knowledge and Teaching: foundations of the new reform. Harvard Edcautional Review 57(1):1-22.

Mishra, P & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Teachers College Record 108(6): 1017-1054.


Webinars By British Council in March and April 2012


The British Council is organising freeELT webinars in March and April 2012. These webinars will be given by teacher trainers who work in Turkey and will focus on ELT matters in Turkish teaching and learning context. It will be a good opportunity to participate in a virtual professional development opportunity and to share ideas with colleagues in Turkey and around the world.


Another great point regarding the webinar is that you can join in the event from your own home with a computer and the Internet.

For more information Click on this link

Dogus ELT Conference; Notes from Day 1


Dogus University is holding their first ELT conference today and tomorrow and I also participated as a presenter. Before talking about my reflections and my take home at the end of the day, I would like to say that it a very well organised event. 

The first day started with two plenaries given by David Crystal (on electronically mediated communication and the lingusitic challenges that  accompany EMC) and George Pickering (on latest developments in psychology that can help us in turning challenges into opportunities, reflecting the theme of the conference).

I would like to talk about two sessions that I attended before giving my presentation.

Ozge Karaoglu Ergen presented some web tools including;

  • Delicious  which is a social bookmarking service that can be used for professional development, networking, suggesting reosurces for students and parents.
  • “Me on the Web” – a Google service which helps you to monitor your identity on-line by sending you alert(s) whenever there is some information and you are mentioned on the web. Also if you like you can delete the unwanted content. After the session I was so inspired that I followed the steps on the Google dashboard and set up the necessary notifications. 
  • Posterous  blogs the content that you send them via e-mail. So, everyone who can write and send an e-mail can blog.
  • Visual CV and Linkedin were suggested as web tools that can help in building a professional portfolio and an on-line CV which would show case your profesional efforts.
  • QR code me as  a very interesting application which could also be used in ELT. It was usggested that teachers can make use of them to promote mobile learning (putting posters in QR codes all around the school and/or presenting the answer key of a worksheet in QR codes for students to scan the code and get the answers later on)
  • RSS can help blog readers to check their favourite blogs all at once because through RSS readers, such as Google reader and/or bloglines , all info from other sources come to your RSS page.

I really think that it is important to introduce RSS to stduents especailly if you want them to to be involved in a blogging or a  podcasting project. The first step could be explaining what RSS is. This video explains RSS in Plain English 🙂

  • Twitter – I was very interested in the idea of using Twitter for professional development (i.e. following conferences on Tweeter, gathering teacher development ideas and flagging hands on activities which call for students’ participation). I will definitely try to learn more about Twitter after this session.



Gavin Dudeney’s session took us on a journey in history of technology in teaching and it was a very interesting presentation. His mentioned his early contact with technology and we all remembered the era where computers were huge, heavy and used two different operating sytems Dos & Windows with laughter (Also we remembered huge mobile phones with handles to carry like a suitcase :)). He asked us to think about our defining moments in our own experience with educational technologies . I was sitting together with my friends Zeynep (Urkun) and Burcu (Tezcan Unal) and Zeynep could remember wordster and word perfect before using windows and she recalled writing her very first e-mail in 1996.

Gavin outlined the history of technology in education and talked about Hype Cycles of technology adaptation, Normalisation, Obsolensce, approches to educational technologies in the 80s (behavioursitic & restrictive), 90s (communicative, openness in terms of having multiple layers of feedback, integrative, integrated), and our age (constructivist, principled eclecticism, connectivism) and concluded by remarking the concept “the Sharepocalypse”. It was a very informative session and I am really grlad that I did not miss it. Thanks a lot!!!

My presentation was about using techology in education as well. Many thanks go to my participants.

 The final pleneary of the day was given by Philip Kerr. It was about translation and use of L1 in learning L2 (which is still perceived as a taboo because language teachers are often advised to refrain from relying on L1 use). He kindly provided the audience with digital handouts of his presentation here.  The content was very interesting for me and I would like to focus on L1- L2 transfer and current reserach findings in another blog post as my response to his presentation.

The finale  of the day came from Henry Bothers and it was GRAND!!! I had so much fun in their interactive paper theatre. How did they make everybody in the room stand up, move their arms, hands, kick an imaginary football and raise a cup??? It was magic- magic of story telling. I missed that…

They gave us a present -a poem from Taylor Mali and it nearly made me cry! You should listen to it. I once more felt how lucky and happy I was because I became a teacher. Thank you Henry Bothers you ROCK!!


Many of my friends were presenting today (and they will tomorrow). I am sure that their presentations were (and will be) inspiring. It was very good to see them.


Adam (Simpson) was instantly following the events (taing pictures, tweeting, writing posts) and making my head spin 🙂

If you also attended the event please share your reflection…

That’s all for now.



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