‘Blurred Lines between Teaching and Learning’ – TELT Forum and Career Day 2015

TELT (Terakki Language Teaching) Forum and Career Day hosted 300 guests including Foreign Language Instructors, Specialists and Administrators from and outside Turkey on 21st of February, 2015.

The theme of the conference was ‘The changing roles of the teacher in the 21st century learning environment’ ‘ Blurred Lines between Learning and Teaching’

The first plenary speaker of the conference was Philip Kerr who has been a teacher trainer, lecturer and materials writer with over 30 years of experience in ELT and also writer of the well-known coursebooks such as  ‘Straightforward’ and ‘Inside Out’ and the methodology titles ‘Translation and Own-language Activities’ (awarded the ESU / Duke of Edinburgh prize) and ‘How to Write Vocabulary Presentation and Practice Activities’.

Kerr pointed out that, using software for language teaching creates efficient learning environment for students and applications are useful especially when they are used for differentiated instruction in accordance with each student’s learning pace and level. Also, he mentioned that teachers need to be real professionals to select the best digital tools for their students and  make them spend quality time in front of the computers. According to him, teachers play important roles to motivate the students and encourage them to use their full potentials in 21st century learning environment. This can not be done only by integrating technology into school curriculums, teachers should really be aware of how to get the most benefit out of these technological  improvements and guide their students accordingly.

Kerr also mentioned a research result on foreign language teaching which was done both in Turkey and Spain. According to this research ,  after approximately 1000 hours of English instruction in these  two countries, students can only reach intermediate level of English when they graduate from high school especially from public high schools. According to him, this is because  the English teachers are still spending too much time on grammatical points rather than the communicative activities in foreign language teaching. He said that ‘ Foreign language teachers should definitely choose to use software programs in teaching grammar rather than spending  their time in the classroom to teach it’.

Apart from Kerr, the second plenary speaker of the event was the  Foreign Languages Coordinator of Sabancı University namely, Deniz Kurtoglu Eken. Eken mentioned the importance of hearing feedback both from students and the collegaues  and adopting a growth mindset accordingly.

After more than 20 roundtable and sapiential circles in which all participants had the chance to share their professional thoughts related to the concerns and latest trends in the ELT  field, the event lasted with a theatre play acted by David Gibson and Luke Prodromou who have had their own theatre company since 1980.