A week later and I still seem to be under the ‘Oxford spell’… To be honest, I was a bit reluctant before enrolling on the English Language Teachers’ Seminar again because my first time there was utterly amazing! However, going back was really worth the while!
Feeling more mature professionally and having set new goals, I decided to avoid making any comparisons with the past and enjoy this new experience afresh! So, once again I found myself in atmospheric Oxford and the beautiful, old surroundings of Exeter College.
A wonderful group of 62 English Teachers from 27 different countries were my family for the next 15 days! All highly motivated and willing to share their teaching experiences and positive energy! As expected, the course was intensive and very informative with daily morning lectures and workshops that covered different areas in ELT and addressed individual teaching needs!
We were taught by the best team of teacher trainers who inspired, broadened our horizons and made us want to become better teachers and well- rounded human beings.
During these two weeks, we learnt so much that time for reflection is absolutely necessary! However, I’d like to single out some of the things I learnt from each teacher trainer and really cherish:
Charles Boyle: ‘It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.’- Quote used by Charles at our closing dinner.
Hanna Kryszewska– ‘How to become a teacher trainer’:‘Never give up teaching even if you become an expert teacher trainer’.
Edmund Dudley– ‘Teaching Teenagers: Challenge Accepted.’: ‘When dealing with difficult students, make them feel valued, irrespective of their performance.’
Jon Hird– ‘Exploring Grammar’: ‘Allowing students thinking and planning time can result in greater accuracy on a grammar level.’
John Hughes-‘Writing Materials for ELT Publishers’: ‘Always test if your materials work with the public. Ask other colleagues to try them out and give you feedback about how they worked for them and their students.’
Ken Wilson: ‘All our students are different and differently talented. We need to find ways to access their way of learning.’
Russell Stannard: I loved one of the iPad/ iPhone apps Russell demonstrated in his lecture called Brainshark! Use Brainshark to make impressive presentations: upload your pdf/word files/videos or images, add your recordings (up to 15minutes) and share via e-mail or post to your blog and other social media.
For me, if you are an English teacher seeking inspiration and fresh ideas, Oxford is THE place to go because there you can combine high-level education with loads of fun and entertainment! For more information about this course, click here: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/details.php?id=X162-2
Finally, for many people studying in Oxford is a dream! In my case, this dream has come true twice! So, I can’t help but feel blessed… I’d like to say a big, sincere thanks to our teacher trainers, Richard& Joe and all my dear new friends who made this another unforgettable experience! Hopefully our paths will cross again…It’s a small world after all :-)!
Last summer I decided to do a more focused teacher training course at Pilgrims in Canterbury, Kent. This time I picked a weekly seminar on ICT& the Use of Social Media in Education which is a field I’m particularly interested in. Kristina Smith, Işil Boy and Beyza Yilmaz earnestly shared their knowledge on how language teachers can make good use of major social media like Facebook and Twitter as well as a set of amazing Web 2.0 tools like Goggle docs, Jing, Diigo, Animoto, Scoop.it and Pinterest, while making sure that students are safe online and familiar with copyright issues. What’s more, they encouraged us to develop and extend our PLN (Personal Learning Network) and this is one of the main reasons I decided to start this blog :-)!
What made a very positive impression on me is the fact that the majority of my classmates were people in their 40s- 50s. My fellow trainees were proof of very committed teachers, determined to become tech- savvy despite the age factor so as to meet their students’ contemporary expectations and needs. Respect :-)!
This experience differed from the one in Oxford but it was surely beautiful in itself. The campus at the University of Kent was wonderful and we were lucky to enjoy the sunny weather during our stay!
Hopefully, I’ll get to meet some of my fellow trainees and our three lovely trainers in December at the 1st International Symposium on educational technology at the Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul.
When I enrolled on the annual summer seminar for English teachers at Exeter College in Oxford, I really didn’t know what to expect. This would be my first visit to Oxford and the first professional development course I would attend… Luckily, the overall experience turned out to be more satisfying than I could ever imagine!
The seminar lasted for two weeks that literally flew by! We were a diverse group of 54 teachers from Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Slovakia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, China, Japan and the USA! Our daily schedule was very demanding yet highly motivating! Each morning started with some very informative lectures given by inspiring teacher trainers among whom Ken Wilson and Shaun Wilden.
The workshops to follow covered a wide range of ELT areas for ‘every taste’ like language testing, developing materials, how to become a teacher trainer, successful pronunciation, teaching grammar, working with texts, promoting speaking skills and teaching teenagers. Our tutors, Charles Boyle, Hanna Kryszewska, Jon Hird, Edmund Dudley and Adrian Underhill were great- I’d say the elite of the ELT field!
Aside from all the learning, we had our share of entertainment too! Indeed, we had lots of fun doing some Scottish country dancing, going on a pub tour, walking in the countryside ‘the English not the Latin way’ 😉 as well as talking about our countries while trying local delicacies and drinks on a special cultural exchange night!
Experiencing the Oxford student life at the beautiful premises of Exeter College, going around this lovely city with all its historical buildings, the old colleges, the Botanic Garden, the Bodleian Library was dreamy to say the least.
Most importantly, in Oxford I made some lifelong friends :-)! It’s so nice to feel part of a worldwide ELT community and even better to have special people to visit wherever you choose to travel in the world!
I consider myself very lucky and privileged to have attended the seminar at Exeter and if you ever get the opportunity to do this course, just don’t miss it!
A big thanks to everyone who made this course so memorable!