Two conferences, one weekend – InnovateELT 2021 and The Third Language Education and Research Conference.

Over the weekend (Friday 01st October 2021 – Sunday 03rd October 2021), I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the InnovateELT 2021 (Spain) conference as well as the Language Education and Research conference (Greece). What follows are my notes from the sessions that I attended as well as my reflections on my sessions 🙂

Please note that some are in bullet point form while others are in paragraphs – apologies if this annoys anyone!

Friday

Plenary: Duncan Foord – Facing Forward, Looking back (InnovateELT)

Abstract: What can we learn from looking at the history of ELT? I will be sharing my personal take on how I think we have done over the last 60 years, “Things that went well and points to consider…”

  • It’s important to look back at the past to look at what might occur in the future.
  • Duncan asked if we thought that ELT is better now than 60 years ago. The majority of people (93%) said yes, nobody said no and a few people said that they don’t know.
  • Duncan mentioned ‘craft’ as a good point – in 1962 the first ‘celta’ began and so there was an initial, practical qualification that was craft based. This was the start of the professionalisation of the industry in a sense. Interesting to see that this model has not changed much.
  • Another good point is the human touch – we are facilitating international communication (ELF); diversity in teaching and learning; classroom dynamics (personalisation, seeing learners as individuals and interactions amongst learners).
  • Frameworks have been created to help guide teaching and learning (CEFR) – and this framework is made as a set of can do statements! Duncan also mentioned the inclusion and focus on ELF.
  • Duncan mentioned that we’ve fetishised technology, and have almost put ‘craft’ aside to include the ‘commodity’ element of language teaching (this started with mobile learning and interactive whiteboards). He feels that this has died down now, but we are getting better at applying ‘craft’ to online tools and technology.
  • Duncan said that looking forward we need to continue with craft, continue with communities, continue with coaching learners in developing their autonomy.

Plenary: Jamie Keddie – Stories from the teacher: the most fundamental texts for the communicative classroom (InnovateELT)

Abstract: One thing that fascinates human beings is other human beings. And as the teacher, your students will be naturally curious about you. Sharing stories with students does not mean trying to impress them. In fact, the most valuable stories might be those which are meaningful but unremarkable. In this talk, I would like to build a case for bringing teacher-led storytelling to the front of the class.

  • Jamie encouraged teachers to use storytelling with all their learners, but not only ‘stories’ such as folk tales – use your own lives!
  • Jamie told us a story and then used this as an example to demonstrate five reasons to use teacher-led storytelling:
    • Stories are interactive and meaningful
    • Stories can be instructional
    • Stories foster community in the classroom
    • Storytelling is a great way to develop classroom communication skills as a teacher
    • Storytelling is a skill that we need to develop in our learners!

Check out Jamie’s website, Lesson Stream, for loads of extra videos, stories and lesson plans.

Plenary: Information about CAMFED (InnovateELT)

CAMFED is a charity partner that sends women to school, keeps women in school, and encourages female leaders in certain countries around the world – an amazing cause! Oxford TEFL are aiming to get three girls from Africa to school for a year, and they have set up a GoFundMe page – any donation, small or big, will go a long way!

Session: Teresa Bestwick – Am I asking the right questions? (InnovateELT)

Abstract: Why talk about questions? I could simply answer ‘Why not?’ but there are so many other reasons which we’ll explore in this talk. We’ll have a critical think about the types of questions we ask our learners, colleagues and the teachers we train, as well as those we ask ourselves.

  • Teresa spoke about how she used to always have questions on the board as learners entered so that it got them thinking, allows for time for all learners to arise, great way to start with emergent language, and allows for personalisation of content. A lot of really interesting reasons for starting the lessons with questions!
  • We looked at some example questions and the types of questions these are (and what responses they elicit!).
  • Some types of questions:
    • Open
    • Closed
    • Display
    • Referential
    • Convergent
    • Divergent
  • Teresa shared some links about I.C.Qs, and spoke about why certain closed questions can actually be better than open questions (e.g. getting learners to discriminate between two options).
  • She also mentioned that there is a case for the question: Do you understand? Check out Jason Anderson’s blog post for more on this!
  • She mentioned that wait time is quite important, but that teachers generally wait less than one second! The ideal time is 3+ seconds of wait time as a minimum before asking another question or encouraging help from others. This is something I got picked up on when doing my recorded observations for Delta, and something I make myself do now. It’s a hard habit to break, but once you’ve done it you’ll see a lot more learner responses coming out.
  • She spoke about providing learners with language that expands on the ‘I don’t know’ response. For example, ‘I don’t understand the question’ or ‘I understand the question, but don’t know the answer’.
  • Another benefit of asking questions is that they encourage answers and allow for response. One thing that Teresa mentioned was that we need to be really cognisant of how we respond to question – always respond to the content first, not the correctness of language! This is a great video that highlights what NOT to do:
  • Teresa showed an activity: Guess the question. One learner comes to the front, and the teacher would give them a question. the other learners would then ask questions to the learner at the front, who then in turn answers the question and then tells the class if the question they asked was actually the one they were given. This allows for the teacher to focus on question formation.
  • Teresa encouraged the use of ‘Would you rather…’ questions as they encourage learners to engage in critical thinking.
  • She also mentioned using certain questions to reframe discipline. For example, if learners are talking when they are not supposed to, instead of saying ‘don’t talk’ we could say ‘you have a question?’.
  • Exit tickets are questions that learners need to create at the end of the lesson. This activity can be used to collect data on what learners remembered in class, what they were unsure about, what learners would like to know more about, etc. Here are some that Teresa showed:
  • Teresa encouraged teachers to reframe problems as questions. That is, when you have a problem, ask it as a question to yourself and see what answers come up. The answers also don’t need to always come from us – they can come from our learners, management, etc. and we should share these questions when relevant.
  • Teresa introduced Heron’s six categories of intervention and questions that fall under these categories. Read Rachel’s post for loads more info! These questions can be used both with learners and with teachers, especially when something goes wrong.
    • Authoritative
      • Prescriptive: Have you tried…?
      • Informative: Have you heard about…?
      • Confronting: Would it have been better to…? (these are not ‘aggressive’ but should be seen as critical feedback)
    • Facilitative
      • Cathartic : What was the worst thing about the lesson?
      • Catalytic: How could you do this differently?
      • Supportive: You’re really good at… – could you try that?
  • Teresa encouraged teachers to really ask themselves questions every so often to evaluate your situation, especially regarding development. These questions should be both macro and micro in focus. Some example questions from Teresa include.
    • What do I love about what I do? (macro)
    • What’s working for me? (macro)
    • How am I developing this month? Will this help? (micro)
  • She also recommended Sandy Millin’s An ELT Playbook as a great resource for such reflective tasks and questions.
  • She also spoke about how every Wednesday, The TEFL Development Hub has a questions day! Be sure to check it out 🙂
  • Here is the link to Teresa’s slides.

Session: Nicola Meldrum and Kat Robb – Writing Skills for Teachers. (InnovateELT)

Abstract: How many times have you stared at a blank screen waiting for the words to flow from your fingers?! Writing is hard, for all of us, which is why in this session we will focus on developing writing skills for teachers. Whatever your writing needs, this workshop will help you develop skills and strategies to make sure your process and products are effective. 

  • We were asked to discuss some issues with writing and how we deal with these. These issues were starting out, structuring and writer’s block/burn out.
  • Where to start solutions:
    • Focus on the process and not the end product
    • Make a note of key points / key words / good phrases (take a look at the Academic Phrase Bank for more ideas!)
    • Talk (and walk) things through
    • Research and read up
  • Structuring solutions:
    • Mind map – Organise – Flesh out
    • Use headings and bullet points
    • Look at examples and copy elements of good structure
  • Writer’s block and burn out:
    • Take a break! Get Physical or creative!
    • Set yourself a daily work/time/section limit, and when have reached it STOP!
    • Free write: pinpoint a problem and write why it is a problem and try to flesh out the solution.
  • A recommendation was to take a look at Duncan Foord’s Plan from the Heart.

Reflection: My session – The ELT blogosphere – why you need to get involved! (InnovateELT)

Abstract: The world of ELT is getting bigger, and teachers are very often looking for that something that sets them up for success in language teaching, both from a development and employment perspective. In this talk, we will look at a number of reasons why blogging is something teachers should consider, some real-life examples of success being attributed to blogging, and some information on how to get started with blogging.

My session, which focused on blogging, went really well. Why do I say really well? Well, three points:

  • Personal goal – Timing: I was worried I might run over time or I might rush attendees in their discussions. I feel that I ran the session in a way that we went over only by five minutes (which i had asked for) and attendees had a good amount of time throughout the workshop to interact and complete the tasks.
  • Personal goal – PollEV: Poll Everywhere is a presentation tool that allows attendees to submit responses, which can then be displayed on screen. Throughout the session I had people use their phones to scan QR codes and submit their responses. This worked really well and so I was really happy!
  • Attendee success criteria: At the start of the session, I asked attendees to define their own success criteria for the session and write these in the chat box. This helped me see where I might need to include more information in certain places. At the end of the session, I asked attendees to tell me if their success criteria was met, partially met or not met. I have to credit where credit is due – I stole this idea from Rachel Tsateri!

I usually reflect on my emotional state going into the workshop. I remember feeling a little nervous, as usual, but I also remembered to breath slowly and ‘push my chest higher’ – basically a confidence booster. With these two little tactics I was able to start the session feeling super confident and ready to go. I suppose the three to four run throughs that I had done before the day helped a lot as well.

Obviously, there are always things that could be improved. The biggest one that I picked up on was creating a downloadable sheet with all the links and main points from the session. The thing is I wanted to do this before the session, but I just had no time (it’s been a hectic few weeks). So, I’ve created a handout here with all the information that I feel people are going to want.

Session: André Hedlund – Learning Cosmos: A Voyage into the Learner’s Universe (InnovateELT)

Abstract: Learning forms a complex multilevel system. Its complexity resembles the cosmos: several spheres of influence, each larger than the previous one with unique features. This session will introduce the Learning Cosmos conceptual framework, which attempts to summarize evidence-based principles into spheres of influence in the learner’s universe

André invited us to be explorers of how we learn. His framework uses the cosmos as an analogy for learning, which I find very interesting! It was an amazing talk, which I will not summarise per se. Rather, I will link his blog post and article which will give you all much more detail than I can provide. Find out more about André’s work here.

One interesting point that I will say is that it was very interesting how he said that this framework could also be viewed as a guide for CPD. We can choose to focus on certain areas and then move onto the next when we are confident. I completely agree, but I also feel that the people that need to help bridge this gap between research and practice are trainers and academic managers, and boy oh boy do we have a lot to pass on.

Saturday

Plenary: Sandy Millin – Writing for yourself and the rest of the teaching community (InnovateELT)

Abstract: Sharing your ideas with others is a great way to develop professionally. But where do you start? There are now myriad ways of getting your work out there, without having to go down the traditional route of writing for publishers. In this plenary, I’ll talk about some of the ways in which self-publishing, blogging and other ways of sharing practice are changing the landscape of teacher writing, and how you can get involved too.

Sandy referred to Duncan Foord’s development circles.

  • Writing for yourself: Keeping a teaching journal with short notes on one thing that went well, didn’t go well, or even a question for yourself. Sandy said you might not take notes for every class
  • You and your students: Involves students in the feedback on the materials on points such as layout, information, how they are used
  • You are your colleagues: Share your ideas that you’ve had for yourself or your students. Write teacher notes and then give them to other teachers and get feedback on this! You can even share your reflections with your colleagues over WhatsApp, or even organise a meeting where you discuss your reflections and do a write up of what you’ve learnt.
  • You and your school: Create a short course for the school, especially one tat they need. You could also think about writing guides for things that you do (e.g. how to teach conversation classes).
  • You and your profession: Why not start up a blog! Start writing and you’ll get better. You can think about sharing your materials as well, as well as getting feedback on this. If you don’t have time to write longer posts, you can try twitter or instagram and write short posts there. Perhaps you have more time and would like to write something longer – why not turn your ‘guides’ or reflections into an article. You could also look at writing your own book, if you’ve got enough ideas and time.

Sandy then shifted the focus onto a different question: Why me? We may be asking ourselves this question, but what really matters is that your writing is for you and that you get better over time. There is support out there, both at a local and global level.

Sandy has actually already created a write up, as always. Make sure you check it out here 🙂

Session: Prof. Dr. Daniela Elsner – Epistemological beliefs in the context of teacher education (LERC)

Prof. Elsner spoke about how teacher beliefs affect how and what they teach regarding language, especially grammar. She found that those teachers with more absolutistic beliefs have a less sophisticated level of knowledge regarding grammar (e.g. This is either right or wrong, there are no nuances), while those with different belief systems (multiplistic or evaluative) have a much more sophisticated knowledge. One way that we can encourage teachers to think about their own beliefs and how ‘sophisticated’ their knowledge actually is is by having them complete self-assessment questionnaires. Another example is to get teachers to create their own language and have them reflect on how complex it is and how grammar particularly plays a role here.

The general message of this workshop was that the more naive our beliefs, the less sophisticated our knowledge, which means that they will avoid teaching certain sophisticated areas of grammar and language.

Session: Verena Novak-Geiger – Why memory matters: Call for the inclusion of Cognitive Psychology into (language) teacher training (LERC)

In this session we learnt about how memory works, and some further description of short and long-term memory.

We also looked at how cognitive load, repetitions, etc. play a role in language learning. The speaker made a very interesting point that touches on what André was saying yesterday – Emotion AND Cognition work together in learning, and we should take this into account. Some very interesting points in this workshop, but I was a little disappointed that there was not more connection between the session and teacher education. I suppose we can infer that we need to really raise teachers’ awareness of concepts around memory, emotion and cognition so that teaching and learning can take place in an evidence-based manner.

I did ask how what suggestions she had for integrating this information and she mentioned that really there should be compulsory courses on teacher training programmes, at minimum focusing on neuromyths and what actually happens in the brain. I agree, although I feel like we are forgetting about the large number of teachers already in the industry that could benefit from this knowledge, and this is where trainers and managers really need to play their part and provide opportunities for their teachers to engage with this information and reflect on their practice.

Session: Traci Dailey – Moving On Up: Transitioning to TEFL Leadership Roles (InnovateELT)

Abstract: In my workshop, I will talk about how completing the DipTESOL with Oxford TEFL in 2018 put me on the path to moving into a managerial role.  I will also share lessons I’ve learned as I’ve progressed to a leadership position and the challenges I’ve faced, particularly as a woman in the field of TEFL.  My workshop is aimed at current DipTESOL trainees and recent graduates, as well as women who are interested in moving into management.  There will be a special focus on women in TEFL and the challenges of leading a diffuse team of teachers who are working remotely online. 

Traci started by telling us about her experience teaching in Saudi Arabia, and highlighting some of the differences, including gender segregation. Then she spoke about the tale of two academies. In one academy she worked at, her boss felt that her teachers needed to be more grateful about their position and the fact that they were hired. Then another academy she worked at had a development programme, encouragement and praise – plenty of support from management. This second academy was the one she returned to, highlighting the importance of these things. She then went on to speak about how the DipTESOL changed her perspective on teaching, especially regarding knowledge, skills, and the confidence to take on more challenging roles.

Now that she has moved into a management position, she shared some of her thoughts with us. For example, she described the differences in what she thought leadership was and what she found it out to be!

She also asked the group what a leader was. These were some of the responses:

As the workshop went on, we got to discuss certain elements of how we feel managers should be, what they shouldn’t be and some of our experiences. This was a really interesting conversation as some people had had great experiences while other not so much.

So what are the things we as managers need?

  • Empathy
  • Clear and purposeful communication: Be careful of what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
  • Vent up or out: Be careful how you deal with frustration and with whom you speak.
  • Boundaries: You need to set boundaries. And stick to these boundaries!
  • Don’t take it personally

She finished with some advice for working with remote teams:

  • Save the clock: Remember to keep in mind where your teachers are and what time it is where they are.
  • Communication is key
  • Have real conversations: Feel free to talk about things OTHER THAN work sometimes!

Session: Duncan Foord – Some Feedback on your Feedback (InnovateELT)

Abstract: The workshop is aimed at CELTA tutors and anyone who observes teachers and gives them feedback. Despite the fact that this activity is probably the key element in the CELTA course and probably the most crucial developmental activity for practicing teachers, CELTA trainers and Directors of Studies are given relatively little training and guidance on how to do it well. In this workshop we will look at effective ways of providing feedback to novice and experienced teachers after observing them teach. Come to this workshop for some tips on how to do it better and how to continue to develop your skills as a trainer and mentor.

We looked at constructive and destructive feedback, and some examples of what these could be.

We first split into breakout rooms and analysed observer comments, deciding if they were ‘good’ (constructive) or ‘bad’ (destructive), and how we might change them. Take a look at what the observer comments were, and how the needed to be changed:

An interesting point that Duncan brought up was how little we talk about the dynamic between the teacher and the learner, rather than the teacher and the observer. The message, then, is not what the teacher does, but rather what the learner learns. When we start to frame feedback in this manner, we encourage teachers to look at their teaching as having consequences.

Duncan also suggested avoiding How did you feel about the lesson?questions as these don’t really leave to objective evaluation. A caveat on that, however, is when teachers clearly need to ‘grieve’; that is, when teachers need to vent what happened because it went quite bad. I’m not sure I completely agree, but I see what he means.

I have been guilty of some of these, so this session was an excellent reminder of how I can still improved in the delivery of feedback. I really liked the focus on the learners much more than the teachers. I have found that teachers actually want to focus on themselves, and so I must try harder to put the focus on the learner and the learning!

Here are the takeaways from the session:

Session: Samikshya Bidari – Factors affecting language teachers’ motivation (LERC)

Samikshya described teachers’ demotivating factors in her context (Nepal). This was her hypothesis: what are the demotivating factors for English language teachers in Nepal. These were the findings from her research; that is, these are the largest demotivating factors:

  • Financial remuneration (many teachers in this contexts commented on bad pay conditions, especially during the pandemic).
  • Lack of a professional development programme (both pre- and inservice)
  • Less holidays (they commented that they receive twelve days of holiday a year)
  • Job insecurity (especially during the pandemic)
  • Student’s disruptive behaviour (teachers commented about how teachers harassed them because of their accents, English levels, teaching skills, etc.)
  • Task pressure (working with different modes of delivery, e.g. online classrooms)

Recommendations:

  • More training to be offered
  • Teacher taking more control over their professional development by making use of free services (e.g. webinars)
  • More research should be done in this area, especially regarding classroom observation.

I think these types of studies are fascinating as they show me how I might conduct such research in my own context. With this one in particular, I wonder how much of these factors would crossover with my teaching/training/managing context. It certainly is something to think about, especially as I am now in a managerial position.

Sunday

Plenary: Scott Thornbury – Towards an integrated curriculum: squaring the circle (LERC)

  • Scott started by defining what an integrated curriculum is, and it is basically when all the parts (see pictures) fit together, and all objectives are defined, etc.
  • He also spoke about the roles that stakeholders play in an integrated curriculum. It was very interesting to see how many people there were presented, all looking at both the micro- and macro-context of the language teaching, indicating that there are likely going to be tensions between some of them.
  • Some tensions in ELT now:
    • pluralingualism and English only! What is interesting is that even in the CEFR, pluralingualism is in fact to be encouraged.
    • Clients vs. Students: This focusing on the ‘customer’ experience with language teaching. In essence, this is the shift from a more cooperative view of a language business, to a more market-value, business oriented approach – commodifying language teaching and making teachers the service providers and students the clients.
    • Policy makers vs. exam boards: An example of this is the current situation in Japan where the curriculum wants fluency while assessment wants accuracy.
    • Communication vs. exam results: This is something I see in my context – my want for my learners to develop their communicative competence (that may or may not be pluralingual) while parents and other stakeholders and even the students themselves want to develop their exam abilities because at the end of the day they need to pass their exams.
    • Textbooks vs. teachers: That is that teachers’ principles influencing how teachers use course books, even if this run contrary to what the writers would like.
    • Trainers and teachers: Trainers would like teachers to use a specific method or technique, while the other view is helping teachers develop. It was interesting that Scott pushed the idea that for new teachers, methods do provide a good framework that provide them with control; however, he mentioned that as teachers get more experience, they really need to release control and leave those methods and work with other approaches and, dare we say, develop a principled approach to teaching.
    • Inclusion and Be quiet! Basically, this is where there are minority groups that would like to be involved and represented in the curriculum; however, many curriculums and course books don’t provide space for inclusion.
    • Policy makers vs. everyone else: Innovation opposed from the top and then the bottom are saying that this is just another fad. Here we touched on techno-fundamentalism which is the idea that the continued adoption of new technologies will always benefit education.
  • Scott presented three ‘routes’ to helping this problem:
    • Collaboration amongst all the participants in the curriculum (e.g. having more parent-teacher meetings). At an institutional level, this involves getting everyone on board and working towards the students’ needs.
    • Communication between all parties needs to be reassessed and improved.
    • Professionalisation of the industry and teachers. We need to think about how much agency teachers have over the parts of the curriculum. What’s interesting is that teachers generally have very little control over some of these parts.
  • Scott emphasises that we can control interaction, even when we don’t have much control over anything else. This area, then, is where we need to encourage and allow for learner agency, and make conscious effort to do so. One way of doing this is simply to avoid using display questions and use more genuine questions. Simple advice, but an effective way of encouraging more ‘messages’ from learners rather than displays of form. Much like what Teresa was saying in her talk – respond to content first and then focus on language.

Reflection: My session – The importance of exam moderation workshops (LERC)

Abstract: High-stakes exams are commonplace, and teachers are expected to know them intimately; however, there is a lack of teacher education regarding assessment practices and how best to prepare learners. In this workshop, we will look at the importance of consensus moderation in developing teachers’ assessment literacy as well as five workshop ideas that can be used in INSETT programmes. These will help teachers understand the exams and their criteria more deeply, provide opportunities for the uncovering of beliefs, aid in ensuring teachers are able to empathise with learners, as well as create situations that allow for the increase of inter- and intra-rater reliability. 

This session was a mixed bag – some really good points and some negative points. Let’s start with the good points:

  • Presentation itself flowed smoothly, and I felt really confident throughout.
  • I controlled my talk about was able to speak slowly and clearly in parts where I was communicating certain ideas that I thought might be complex.
  • Got an email after from someone asking for the slides, which is always nice!

Badpoints:

  • We were using Zoom, and the video was live streamed from that. This was great, but there was a big lag between our Zoom call and the live stream, so I had to wait quite a while to get feedback from participants.
  • Whilst many people were there, only a small number actually participated, which was a shame.

Overall, I am really happy with the workshop itself, and as this is the second time that I have done it (Okinawa JALT was the first), I feel I am confident enough to do it again at other conferences without the need for too many adjustments. If you would like a copy of the slides, click here!

Session: Marina Mrazovac and Ana Inic – To Teach is to Err: Non-native EFL Teachers’ Errors in Assessing Writing (LERC)

The speakers emphasised that the debate on the effectiveness of corrective feedback is still going. Generally teachers use the following strategies for written corrective feedback (WCF):

What’s interesting is the WCF is not actually not that useful unless (generally):

  • Learners’ development level is taken into consideration
  • Learners have an opportuntiy to practice the errors again in a communicative context a short time after the error

The speakers conducted a study in their context with a focus on the errors that non-native teachers make in assessing writing. What was interesting that this study focused on 10 NNESTs correcting work, then these pieces of work and the teachers’ correction were then analysed. The speakers found that there were a number of errors in the corrections, over correction took place and some wrong correction were given. Now, I would like to point out a few things:

  • no NESTs were within the group, although one was used to check the the corrections. Which begs the question – is it taken for granted that NESTs wouldn’t make these mistakes?
  • The speakers said that they feel that it is not the linguistic competence of the teachers that is the problem, but rather other factors. If this is the case then (which I believe it is), then why focus on NNESTs in the focus group? Why not have a pool of both ‘NEST’ and ‘NNEST’ teachers?

The study was a pilot study, and so I can’t be too critical, but I do feel that these points do need to be raised.

Session: Vachou Flora Pragmatic grammar – On GR/L2 Pragmatic Grammar: grammatical elements performing disagreement & teaching implementation 

Flora argues for treating grammar from a pragmatic perspective, so that learners’ grammatical and pragmatic competencies develop simultaneously, even at lower levels. She spoke about her PhD study to increase learners’ sociopragmatic awareness for certain functions in Greek. I found this really interesting, especially our discussion following the session. One point that was raised was how there were no materials in her context that promote the teaching or learning of such sociopragmatic features of language, something which I think is similar in my context. I feel that this is another example of materials deskilling or at least limiting teachers (well, for those that use only ready-made materials such as course books).

Session: Tea Glavaš – Schematic representation of a grammatical structure and its learnability (the case of present perfect tense) 

Tea’s session focused on the importance of presenting grammar not a separate items, but rather as schemes/schemata. She presented her results of a study that focused the teaching of the present perfect, and how teaching/raising learners’ awareness of the present perfect in schemes and connecting it to time rather than uses could help learners acquire this grammatical structure and develop their interlanguage.

This presentation was fascinating as it showed the methodology of her study, what went into it, as well as the results. I raised some points:

  • She had used a PPP methodology for the presentation and subsequent teaching of the structure. I asked why. She said that this was because that is what the teachers were comfortable using and were already using at that time.
  • I wanted to know more about the post test. This included both a written component and an oral/aural component, however only the data from the written component could be used as there were restrictions placed on the researchers because the study took place in a military university.

Whilst I feel that more research is needed, and I am dubious about the actually lasting effect on procedural ability within learners, I thought the concept of treating grammar in a more holistic manner, but still structural was interesting. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but like I said, interesting and thought-provoking.

Final notes

Both these conferences were great. I will say that I found the InnovateELT conference more practical in terms of teaching ideas, etc., but that really is because the LERC is a research-focused conference! I really enjoyed the research-focused workshops as it pushed me to think more critically of certain aspects of teaching and pedagogy, something which we need more of in teacher education in general.

Right now, I am all zoomed out and am looking forward to being away from the computer for the rest of the day. Hope these notes help you in some way!

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed post for those of us who couldn’t attend. Great notes, links and slides shared here. And congratulations on presenting at two conferences in one weekend! Sorry I missed both of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this must’ve taken a lot of work. Well done, Jim. I’m glad you attended my session and found it interesting. Thank you for mentioning me here and for summarizing such a great conference. Now I can catch up properly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your talk was brilliant, André. I actually wrote a more detailed summary about all the points and then realised it was all over the place – your write up was much better!

      Look forward to seeing you at future conferences 🙂

      Like

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