Beykent University 7th International ELT Conference

Beykent University School of Foreign Languages would like to invite you to its 7th International ELT conference entitled “CEFR: From a TEACHing to a LEARNing Curriculum” that will be conducted by Beykent University and Beykent Schools.

We have selected this critical theme as the areas of Curriculum and Assessment lie at the heart of how institutions and teachers add value to the learning and lives of ELL students – but are the exact same areas that are frequently overlooked by institutions, teachers and conferences.

There will be a number of well-known speakers participating in the conference – ranging from co-authors of the CEFR to Dogme supporters, in addition to renowned educators (from around Turkey) highlighting their curriculum renewal projects and best practices.

The profile of the participants will therefore be language teachers from all types of educational institutions; primary, secondary and high school teachers as well as language instructors from universities.

Go to to register to the conference. Participation is free of charge and all registered participants will be given a certificate of attendance at the end of the conference. There will also be a raffle session in which a number of gifts will be given.

Beykent University 7th International ELT Conference

Beykent University 7th International ELT Conference


Training of the Month: SEIRD

SEIRD 2012- TED University

SEIRD 2012- TED University

Teaching is never just teaching. Better teachers help create even better learners. Therefore, professional development is indispensable for all educators who want to keep up with the latest teaching trends and exchange ideas with people in their fields.

There are a number of professional development courses most of us, educators, participate every year and I’m one of the biggest fans of these organizations. Not only do such courses keep us on our toes but they also give us a chance to meet professionals with different experiences. The latest one of these magical meetings I attended was an Oxford Professional Development Course conducted by Dr. Deniz Kurtoğlu EKEN from Sabancı University. The training, SEIRD (School Effectiveness and Improvement through Research and Development), was held at Ted University, Ankara between December 5-7, 2012.

SEIRD 1As OUP puts it, the aim of this training programme was to “explore answers to some key questions with a view to helping schools to improve and enhance their effectiveness in order to serve more fully and effectively the educational needs of their students“. What made this organization unique was that it brought 26 ELT administrators from 18 universities around Turkey together.  The training began with raising questions and concerns regarding Foundation Year Programmes in Turkey. As a result, ELT management practices of different universities were discussed in detail during three days of training.

Three-day-programme covered the following areas of training and discussion;

* The Scope of School Effectiveness
* Academic Management and Teacher Roles
* Developing as a Manager
* Enhancing Teacher Motivation and Staff Morale
* Teachers’ Personal and Professional Development
* Classroom Observation for Research and Development
* Assessment of Student Learning
* The Role of Institutional Research and Feedback in School Effectiveness
* Developing School Task Groups and Projects
* Performance Management and Evaluation
* Developing a School Development / Strategic Plan
* Curriculum Development

I’d like to give special thanks to OUP for such a great organization; TED University for their flawless hospitality and Dr. Deniz Kurtoğlu EKEN for her inspirational and thought-provoking presentations, never-ending joy and flow of energy that made this programme a priceless experience for me.



Around about this time of year…I start looking around to see if there are any decent conferences on the horizon…for those of us in canım Türkiyem.


For those of you with more cash than sense (or a very “generous” institution or Mütevelli Heyeti), there are the “biggies”, of course:

  • 08-12 April 2013
  • IATEFL 2013 (Liverpool, UK) – 47th Annual Conference and Exhibition
  • Theme: Generic


…and a bit of “sauce” could be added with a few others:

  • 14-16 March 2013
  • TESOL Arabia 2013 (Hyatt Regency – Dubai, UAE)– 19th International TESOL Arabia Conference
  • Theme: From KG to College to Career
  • 30-31 March 2013
  • TESOL Greece (Hellenic…

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The Orientation Training Programme for 2012-2013 Academic Year was held between 26th-28th September, 2012. Over 50 EFL instructors to work at Beykent University School of Foreign Languages attended the trainings. The purpose of this programme was to welcome new staff members and to discuss the upcoming academic year at Beykent University School of Foreign Languages starting on 1st October. A number of experts came to provide training.

On the first day, the programme started with a welcome speech by the Vice Director of SFL, Fatih Yücel and then followed by his presentations on “School Structure”, “Teachers’ & Students’ Manuel” and “Code of Behaviour”. Fatih Yücel completed his sessions with a workshop titled “How to Survive in a Language Classroom?” Afternoon session was hosted by Merve Oflaz from Bahçeşehir University and she gave a workshop on “Using Web 2.0 Tools in the Classroom”.

Fatih Yücel – Beykent University

Merve Oflaz – Bahçeşehir University

The second day of the programme started with Dr. Tom Godfrey’s presentation on “Classroom Management”. Informing teachers about how to build rapport with students on their first teaching days, Dr. Godfrey completed his sessions giving some practical ideas about “Communicative Activities in the Classroom”. Afternoon session of the second day was hosted by Peter Campbell from Beykent University and he gave two workshops; “Teaching Dos and Don’ts” and “Testing and Assessment”.

Dr. Tom Godfrey – Director of International Training Institute

Patrick Shortt – OUP

Last day of the programme was also very colourful. Patrick Shortt from OUP gave two sessions on the course materials. Mr. Shortt introduced the course books, New English File and Headway Academic Skills Series and then gave some practical tips to teachers about “How to make the most use of” these materials. This three-day orientation programme ended with David Mearn’s presentation on “Video Feedforward & Feedback”. In his session, David Mearns presented an ICT-led and contemporary alternative to giving feedback to learners.

David Mearns – Hisar Eğitim Kurumları

I’d like to give special thanks to all participants and speakers who made this event possible.

TDI: A New Approach in Professional Development


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As I was on holiday, it’s been a good while I haven’t written, but I feel it is time I go back to blogging about Professional Development, our main concern. My starting point for this post is the following question we ask ourselves at times: How do we teachers, scholars or EDUscholars of ELT (as Tony Gurr names some of us) invest in our future? Nowadays, most educators are more conscious and concerned about this issue, therefore they attend training programmes. Another question arises at this point though: What do we expect from a certified training programme?

  • International Recognition?
  • Interactivity?
  • Flexibility?
  • Affordability?

You will find all in one programme “Teacher Development Interactive”. In this post, I’m going to introduce a user-friendly and time-saving new approach to professional development; TDI (Teacher Development Interactive) by Pearson, a training programme in which I’m involved as a trainer. The programme simply provides;

  • Online professional development anytime, anywhere
  • Instruction from world-renowned ELT professionals
  • Internationally recognized TESL/TEFL Certification

What is Pearson TDI?

Pearson Teacher Development Interactive is a video-based, online teacher development program that gives new teachers and teachers looking for a refresher a really strong foundation in teaching methodology. If you are a new teacher, or a teacher looking for a refresher, Teacher Development Interactive is perfect for you.

With Teacher Development Interactive you will learn with the very best instructors. Each online module focuses on a different teaching skill and is taught by a leading expert in that particular field.  You can choose to work on a specific skill such as how to teach reading or how to teach writing.  Because Teacher Development Interactive is online, you can complete each module in your own time, at your own pace from anywhere you have access to the internet.

How the Course Works

Teacher Development Interactive provides teacher development and training through a series of modules which combine text, video, audio, PowerPoint, asynchronous discussion and quizzes.

Each module is hosted by a well-known expert in the field. The expert is a well-known author, researcher, or teacher trainer in English Language Training.  The expert appears throughout the module delivering video presentations, PowerPoint presentations, and so on.

For consistency and ease of use, each module follows the same pattern of instruction. Though the length of each lesson may vary, the same amount of content is delivered across the module.

Each module focuses on one area of relevance to ELT teachers. Each module features five lessons, and the format of the lesson is consistent across the modules.

  • Each module consists of approximately 20-25 hours of content
  • Each lesson is divided into 6 sessions lasting 25-40 minutes each.

Each lesson includes:

  • Objectives
  • 2-3 minute video introduction with an expert
  • 2-5 minute classroom video demonstration lesson
  • Discussion board
  • PowerPoint-style presentations
  • Reading passages
  • Interactive concept checks and practice activities
  • Practical application assignments
  • Final quiz

The following is an example to how Speaking Module by Allan Ascher is outlined:

Speaking Module Outline:

  • Lesson 1:  Understanding Speaking
  • Lesson 2:  Interacting in the Classroom
  • Lesson 3:  Planning a Controlled Speaking Lesson
  • Lesson 4:  Working on Fluency
  • Lesson 5:  Assessing Speaking
  • End of Module Test

Teacher Development Interactive offers online professional development instruction in current teaching methods and practices. Taught by language instruction experts, the course is available anytime, anywhere. Participants may study independently, work online with a facilitator, or use a combination of the two. The course is organized in modules by topic:

  • Fundamentals of ELT – Douglas Brown
  • Speaking – Allen Ascher
  • Listening – Jack Richards
  • Reading – Jeremy Harmer
  • TKT – Susan Hillyard and Maria Victoria Saumell
  • Fundamentals of Teaching Young Learners – David Nunan and Diane Pinkley

Participants will:

  • apply student-centred instruction in many contexts.
  • learn skills and strategies for practical classroom concerns such as lesson planning, classroom management, and assessment.

Winner of the 2009 “BESSIE”

Pearson’s Teacher Development Interactive is such a valuable resource, we found ourselves wondering why more teacher development programs aren’t available which are affordable, convenient and well-designed.”

Certificate of Completion

When you complete any four modules of Teacher Development Interactive with a score of 75% or better on the final test for each module, you receive a First TEFL Certificate from the English Language Teaching Institute at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Hunter College is the largest college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Founded in 1870, Hunter is also one of the oldest, most widely recognized public colleges in the USA. Currently, 21,000 students attend the College, pursuing both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 170 different programs of study.

The English Language Teaching Institute at Hunter is designed for teachers and teacher trainers from around the world who want to refresh and improve their English language teaching and training skills.

For further information about The English Language Teaching Institute at Hunter College, please visit:


Teaching EAP: A Professional Challenge


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It has been long I couldn’t write, but here is my latest blog post as a guest blogger at OUP ELT Global Blog. Hope you enjoy it…

Oxford University Press

Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) can bring a lot of challenges for both teacher and students. Here Fatih Yücel discusses some of the issues.

Have you ever taught an EAP course? Did you enjoy it or was it a nightmare? How about your students? Did they benefit from the course or did they neglect it? You can add many more to this list of questions.

To begin with, for most language instructors it is already a challenge to switch from teaching English as a Second Language to teaching English for Academic Purposes as the syllabi and the outcomes are totally different from each other. To my knowledge, university circles also face some significant problems about designing and implementing EAP courses, because EAP is a course for adults; therefore one has to convince the learners about the benefits.

What are the key challenges?

Preparing Suitable Course Materials:
Most EFL instructors…

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#1 Supporter of Bloggers! Thank you once again Tony…


A few weeks back, I did a post entitled – Made in Türkiye (BLOGS that is)… – and highlighted a number of great ELT bloggers from Canım Türkiye (Seriously, seriously…Google Translate…when will you get your act together)!

OK – I also had a bit of a “rant” about how many of these bloggers cannot use the beautiful spellings of their names and surnames. But, things are changing – and as a wise old fella once said:


Also, if you is a fan of the “Bard of Avon” (and have a couple of hours to spare) – why not check out the excellent movie “Anonymous” this weekend. You will not regret it…

Tony, will you ever LEARN to “focus”?


Ken Wilson also did a recent post –Young Turks in ELT (in their own words)and profiled a few of…

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Big Brother is Watching You: Feedback for Professionals


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It is through reflection on professional action that professional expertise is developed. (Wallace, 1991: 82)

There are different types of feedback, one of which I discussed in my previous post ‘Feedback: DIY or Teacher-Driven’. In this study, however, I will be touching upon ‘professional feedback’. How do we feel getting feedback about the way we teach? Do we act naturally when being observed? Does it help or irritate? And most important of all, why do we need professional feedback? There are quite a lot of questions about this issue to be answered. So, let’s have a look at ‘feedback’ in the professional frame.

How do we feel about getting feedback on teaching?

“On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran. ” (Orwell, 5)

If you are regularly observing classes, you must be familiar with different reactions from teachers. Some receive criticism positively, some don’t. There are some who even take criticism and feedback as a personal attack on their teaching skills and some who feel they are on the verge of a heart attack.

At this point, the attitude of observers also plays a crucial role. Thus, characteristics of a good observer can be listed as follows;

  1. He/she has a warm and encouraging presence.
  2. He/she plans what to focus on before visiting a class. The aim of observation is also one of the main factors that determine the way a teacher reacts to it.
  3. He/she gives specific feedback after observation. Saying ‘your instructions weren’t good’ or ‘the lesson was great’ won’t help the observee.
  4. He/she provokes thoughts. Asking questions to the observee for him/her to discover what is expected from them is important.
  5. He/she provides an action plan. The observee should have an idea about what to do in the forthcoming lessons.

How to Get Used to Being Observed?

Asking a colleague to come in and observe a lesson of yours and give you feedback may present difficulties: most of us feel a little uncomfortable about being observed teaching, and cannot function naturally when we know an observer is in the room; and it takes some courage deliberately to expose yourself to criticism in this way. (Ur, 1996:322)

As Ur suggested above, calling a stranger to receive professional feedback is a little uncomfortable for most of us. However, it is an indispensable tool for professional development. Therefore, one needs getting used to being observed both for professional development and self-reflection. How?

a. Video Recording/Audio Tape Recording: To start, the easiest way to deal with the big brother is to be the big brother yourself. Recording and analysing your lessons (in full or in part) are crucial steps of self-reflection and will definitely help you build self-esteem and self-confidence. Jeremy Harmer (2001:346) asserts “Videotape and audiotape are especially useful for precise observation tasks since they allow us to watch and/or listen to events repeatedly.” This method will also be useful to evaluate generally undetected details of your lessons such as classroom language, interaction patterns and questioning techniques.

b. Peer Observation: In order to feel more confident in time, it is important to have an observation partner. An observation partner is someone who you frequently visit and who frequently visits you. Thus, you may ask him/her to observe and report on one aspect of your lesson (e.g. teaching aids, error correction, the learning environment etc.) every time he/she visits you. This will probably be the second best way to overcome ‘big-brother’ anxiety.

Why do we need professional feedback?

Teaching requires full time motivation and awareness. However, in the course of a tiring academic year, teachers generally get into a teaching routine in which they rarely find time to assess and develop themselves. That’s why professional feedback is both needed to keep ourselves updated and to be more aware of what we are doing. We also need professional feedback for;

  1. Professional Development: For most of us, observations are significant as they usher the areas we need to focus on. Peer observations and in-service trainings will mostly fall into this category.
  2. Performance Assessment: Such observations keep teachers on their toes. Main reason of some observations for some institutions and academic directors may also be to assess teaching performances and make decisions. A written report (see below: tutor report) or oral feedback is given after a post observation meeting.
  3. Training: These observations are generally made for needs analysis at institutions. As a result, trainers will be able to decide on what to focus on.
  4. Research: The focus of some observations is academic product and theory.

You can find two observation reports attached below; one post evaluation (written by a teacher about a video lesson he/she observed) and one tutor report (written by me about a class I observed).

Observation Task (Teaching Aids)

Tutor Report


  • Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. (3rd Edition) Pearson Education Limited. 2001.
  • Orwell, George. 1984. New York: The New American Library Inc., 1983.
  • Ur, Penny. A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 1996.
  • Wallace, Michael J. Training Foreign Language Teachers: A Reflective Approach. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge. 1991.

Feedback: DIY or Teacher Driven?


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“In the context of teaching in general, feedback is information that is given to the learner about his or her performance of a learning task, usually with the objective of improving this performance”. (Ur, 1996:242)

What is the objective of feedback then? To make sure learners completed the task or to help them improve their performance? Unfortunately, for most of us, it is the former option that counts. As Cotterall puts it, “Many language teachers are convinced of the importance of incorporating principles of learner autonomy into their practice.” (Cotterall, 2000: 109) If this is the case in most of our classes, why do we ignore the idea of autonomy when it comes to feedback?

Most probably, it is the time issue that determines the aim of feedback and the way we give it. When we go for the fastest way of feedback, it generally is the whole class feedback. It will only take a couple of minutes for one to have an overall idea of what the class did. How about the individuals? Who benefits from a chorus vocalizing the answers?

Personally, I’m one of those who are against the idea of whole class feedback. First of all, it is not motivating and only the strongest learners participate. It also prevents the teacher from understanding who made a mistake in which question and if the students are not brave enough to ask for an explanation, they won’t even know why they made a mistake. In her ‘Alternatives to Whole Class Feedback’, Amanda Gamble asserts that “One of the drawbacks of whole class, teacher-led feedback is that there is little chance for the students to discuss their answers. For feedback to be effective and worthwhile, students need the opportunity to talk about their answers so that they can see why the correct answer is right and why the incorrect one is wrong.” (Gamble, 2007: 78-81)

Although teachers mostly have a say in the feedback process, I’m more positive about student-driven feedback. As long as you and your learners get used to some alternatives to chorus vocalization, it won’t also take too much time. Alternative Student-Centred Feedback Methods can be suggested as follows;

a) Chain feedback: Learners nominate each other to answer the forthcoming question. This is one of my favourites as it keeps the TTT to a minimum and you avoid nominating the same learners again and again.

b) Playing ‘teacher’: An early bird acts as the teacher and gives feedback. (Seeing him/her using your feedback methods is even icing on the cake)

c) Writing on the board: This works well when accuracy is important in the activity. You may nominate the learners to write their answers on the board or they may even nominate each other as in the ‘chain feedback’. It is worth giving a try in kinaesthetic classes.

d) Sharing the feedback: Teacher provides two different answer keys to Student A and Student B. Each piece of paper has answers to different parts or questions so that the pair may work together to work out the answers.

e) Posted answers: Teacher may also post the answers on the classroom walls for learners to check them. This one is again suitable for learners who don’t like sitting at a desk all lesson.

f) Find Someone Who: Classical “find someone who” game can be designed as ‘Find Someone Who Has a Mistake’. In this way, individuals will have checked different learners’ answers and there will be a natural discussion and peer correction atmosphere in class.

Knowles (1975) also maintained that “there is convincing evidence that people who take the initiative in learning (pro-active learners) learn more things and learn better than do people who sit at the feet of teachers, passively waiting to be taught (reactive learners).” Therefore, above mentioned techniques will no doubt activate learner autonomy in the most crucial level of a lesson; feedback.

On the other hand, there might be some teachers who may well think whole class teacher-driven feedback is more effective. The advantages and disadvantages of classical whole class teacher-driven feedback can be listed as follows;

  1. It saves time.
  2. It is loud and will wake the sleepers up.
  3. It is more suitable for drilling and phonological accuracy.


  1. Teacher controls the process which results an increase in TTT.
  2. It is hard to differentiate who made a mistake.
  3. Weaker learners do not actively participate. It is generally the brave hearts who dominate it.
  4. It doesn’t leave much room for discussion.
  5. Learners do not learn, they just check the answers.
  6. There is no personal exchange of ideas. Interaction pattern is stable (open-class).
  7. It doesn’t give a clear idea of how to plan beyond the lesson. (Feedback is the most important tool for a Teacher to determine the follow-up areas.)

As a conclusion, I must restate that while learner-autonomy has been an ELT trend recently, it is surprising that there is not much study about learner-autonomy in feedback process. Consequently, I wanted to propose some alternative approaches to getting feedback in your language class. Changing the classical teacher-driven feedback methods with more student-centred ones will make the process more beneficial and communicative.