Apr 08

Reading Is a Fun Activity. How Can Children Discover That?

51HDX66T9YLWhat I remember from my childhood about reading is that I had to read many books that I didn’t like and understand. For example, I remember reading “Heart” by Edmondo De Amicis and I didn’t like it at all although it is a great classic. I don’t remember how old I was but it was probably too early for me to read a 300-page novel. Of course, there were books that influenced me very positively, but I think the strategies that were followed for me to love reading were so wrong.

I love reading at the moment, but I think it is not because it has become a habit; it is because, as I grow up, my awareness about how important reading is has increased and I love learning new things. I believe that I would have become a better reader if it had become a habit when I was a child.

My son is 10 years old. When he was 5, I said to him: “When you learn reading, you will be able to buy all the books you want.”
“All the books?” he asked. “Yes, all the books.” I answered. This answer surprised him very much, because there is certainly a limit in everything he wants to buy. Except books.

Although I sometimes want to, I’ve never told him what books to read. We always spend very long hours in bookshops. He always makes his own decisions about which book to buy. If he asks my opinion, I tell him what I think. Before we buy a book, our only condition is to read the first three pages of the book. If he thinks if he will like the book after those three pages, he can buy it. At first, he read series like ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid’, adventure books, and footballers’ lives. And, this weekend, he bought “Heart” without me telling him how great that book is:) I’m sure he is going to love it because he made the decision to read it.

It is much more important that he loves reading than the scores he gets from the exams. Stephen Krashen’s ideas about reading shaped my beliefs and thanks to him I applied a correct strategy, and Ata loves reading so much. You can see the video of one of his talks on this page. He also shares lots of articles on his personal website.

It is not always possible to do the right things while raising your child. Even if the strategies sound great, it is not always practical to apply them in real life because of different reasons. Therefore, I am very happy that I could do the right thing for Ata and he loves reading.

Now that we have so many books at home, the next step will be sharing those books with other children who have limited access to books. I am not the one who will make this decision. I will create the context and let him decide to share so that he can also feel the pleasure of sharing.

At this point, I have some suggestions for educators:

  • If there is a reading list, make the list very carefully. Take the age and the interests of your students into consideration. If possible, let your students choose their own books.
  • Writing book reports must be optional, otherwise reading might be a nightmare for many students.
  • Design more creative book report templates. You can take a look at these links for some ideas:
    10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports
    Ten Great Creative Book Report Ideas
  • Encourage your students to use the library. You can plan fun activities for this. (treasure hunt, a night in the library, etc.)
  • Establish a daily sustained silent reading time (10-20 mins) , and don’t let anything interrupt this time. It is very important that you read during this period, too.

My suggestions for parents:

  • Do not force your child to read the books you want. Just think that somebody is doing it to you!
  • Remember that children who read a lot are more successful at school.
  • Before your child learns reading, read to him/her at least three times a week. After s/he learns reading, continue this habit. You can also ask him/her to read to you, but s/he shouldn’t see this as an obligation.You can choose books that you will both enjoy reading.
  • Help your child understand that reading is important by letting him/her see you reading regularly.
  • Do not ask your child to do reading at the times he wants to do other activities. This makes reading an unwanted activity. Reading is a fun activity!
  • Encourage your child to share the books s/he read with his/her friends or you may consider to donate your books after reaching a certain number. Another alternative is that your child can sell his/her books at a second hand market and you can donate the money to NGOs.

I strongly recommend both parents and educators to watch what Prof. Stephen Krashen says. You can watch the video of one of his talks here:

Apr 06

Okumak Keyifli Bir Aktivitedir. Peki Çocuklar Bunu Nasıl Keşfedecek?

cocuk-kalbi-zÇocukluğumdan kitap okumakla ilgili en fazla hatırladığım şey anlamadığım, sevmediğim pek çok kitabı okumak zorunda kalmış olmam.

Mesela Çocuk Kalbi kitabını, muhtemelen çok erken okumuşum ki, hiç sevmemiştim, çok güzel bir klasik olmasına rağmen. Bunun gibi pek çok örnek verebilirim. Tabii ki üzerimde çok güzel etki bırakan kitaplar da oldu, ama çocukluğumda okumayı sevmem için doğru yollar izlenmedi diye düşünüyorum.

Şu anda kitap okumayı çok seviyorum, ama bunun bir alışkanlıktan dolayı değil büyüdükçe bilinçlenmiş olmaktan, ve sürekli bir şeyler öğrenme isteğinden kaynaklandığını düşünüyorum. İlkokul yıllarımda bu alışkanlığın temeli daha doğru atılsaydı edebiyatla daha içli dışlı bir insan, daha iyi bir okur olurdum diye düşünüyorum.

Oğlum şu anda 10 yaşında. Ona 5 yaşındayken şöyle dedim: “Okumayı öğrendiğin zaman, istediğin tüm kitapları alabileceksin.”

“Tüm kitapları mı?” diye sordu. “Evet, tüm kitapları.” diye yanıtladım. Bu cevap onu çok şaşırttı tabii, çünkü, normal olarak, almak istediği her şeyin bir sınırı var. Ama kitapların yok.

İçimden çok gelse de onu kitaplar konusunda hiç yönlendirmedim. Kitapçılarda hep çok uzun vakit geçiririz. Ata almak istediği kitaplara hep kendi karar verir. Fikrimi sorarsa söylerim, o kadar. Bir kitabı almaya karar vermeden önce tek şart, kitabın ilk üç sayfasını okuması. Eğer okuduktan sonra o kitabı seveceğini düşünüyorsa o kitabı alabiliyor. İlk başlarda hep ‘Saftirik’ tarzı kitaplara yöneldi. Macera kitapları, fantastik seriler okudu. Futbolcuların hayatlarını okudu. Ve, bu hafta sonu kendi isteğiyle Çocuk Kalbi kitabını aldı. Eminim çok sevecek, çünkü buna kendi karar verdi.

Kitap okumayı gerçekten bir alışkanlık haline getirmesi, benim için derslerde gösterdiği başarıdan, sınav sonuçlarından kat kat önemli. Bu konuda ilk defa yıllar önce dinlediğim, çok değerli Profesör Stephen Krashen’ın söylediklerini uygulamam sayesinde Ata şu anda okumayı çok seviyor. Aşağıda kendisinin bir konferansta yaptığı konuşmasını dinleyebilirsiniz. Kendisi ayrıca pek çok yazısını kişisel web sitesinden de paylaşıma sunmuş durumda.

Çocuk yetiştirirken her zaman en doğruları yapmanız mümkün olmuyor. Kitaplarda yazanlar, uzmanların söyledikleri kulağa doğru gelse de çeşitli nedenlerden dolayı pratikte uygulamak imkansız olabiliyor. Bu yüzden, bu konuda doğru bir yol izlemiş olduğum için çok mutluyum.

Bundan sonra yapacağımız şey okuduğu kitapları bir köy ilkokuluna ya da kütüphanesine bağışlamak olacak. Bunu kendim yapmaktansa, bu kararı kendisinin vermesi için uygun ortamı yaratmayı planlıyorum. Böylelikle severek okuduğu kitapları, kitaplara erişimi kısıtlı olan çocuklarla paylaşmanın keyfini de yaşamış olacak.

Bu noktada eğitimcilere birkaç önerim olacak:

  • Okullarda okutulan kitapların seçimini çok dikkatli (yaş grubu ve ilgi alanlarını göz önünde bulundurarak) yapın ve mümkün olan her noktada seçimi çocuklara bırakın.
  • Kitap raporlarını zorunlu tutmayın, bu kitap okumayı bir külfet haline getirebilir.
  • Kitap raporlarını daha yaratıcı formatlarda tasarlayın. Yaratıcı kitap raporu fikirleri için aşağıdaki linklerden faydalanabilirsiniz:

10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports

Ten Great Creative Book Report Ideas

  • Çocukları kütüphane kullanımına teşvik edin. Bunun için eğlenceli aktiviteler planlayabilirsiniz. (Hazine avı, kütüphanede bir gece, vb.)
  • Gün içinde mutlaka ‘keyif için okuma’ süresi planlayın (10-20 dakika civarı) ve bunu tutarlı bir şekilde devam ettirin. Bu süre boyunca sizin de okuyor olmanız çok önemli.

Anne babalara da bazı önerilerim var:

  • Kitap okuma alışkanlığını geliştirmek adına çocuklarınızı sizin istediğiniz kitapları okumaya zorlamayın. Size birinin bunu yaptığını düşünsenize!
  • Kitap okuyan çocukların akademik olarak daha başarılı olduğunu unutmayın.
  • Okumayı öğrenmeden önce en az haftada üç kere çocuğunuza kitap okuyun. Okumayı öğrendikten sonra da bu alışkanlığı devam ettirin. Artık çocuğunuzdan size kitap okumasını da isteyebilirsiniz. Ama bunu bir zorunluluk gibi görmemesi gerekiyor. İkinizin de keyif alacağı bir kitap seçerek birlikte güzel vakit geçirebilirsiniz.
  • Çocuğunuzun sizi kitap okurken görmesi bu alışkanlığı kazanması açısından çok önemli. Siz de her akşam mutlaka okuyun. İlk zamanlarda çocuğunuz size katılmasa da, o da zamanla size uyum sağlayarak hoşuna giden şeyleri okumaya başlayacaktır.
  • Yapmaktan hoşlandığı aktivitelerden onu mahrum bırakarak kitap okumasını istemeyin. O zaman kitap okumak kaçınılmaz olarak istenmeyen bir aktivite haline gelir. Okumak keyifli bir aktivitedir.
  • Çocuğunuzu okuduğu kitapları arkadaşlarıyla paylaşmaya teşvik edin, ya da kitapları belli bir sayıya ulaştıktan sonra bağışlamayı düşünebilirsiniz. Bir alternatif olarak da çocuğunuz ikinci el pazarı tarzı yerlerde kitaplarını satabilir ve gelirini birlikte kararlaştırdığınız bir sivil toplum kuruluşuna bağışlayabilirsiniz.

Hem eğitimcilere hem anne babalara Profesör Stephen Krashen’ın okuma alışkanlığıyla ilgili söylediklerini dinlemelerini öneriyorum. Bir konferansta yaptığı konuşmayı aşağıda izleyebilirsiniz.

Bol kitaplı günler diliyorum!

Apr 03

We Say ‘Sharing is Good’. Well, Do We Really Share?

sharing1Last weekend, a great conference took place in Istanbul. The aim of the conference was creating a platform for sharing for schools that give education within a framework of an international program. Some of our teachers also attended this conference as presenters and shared their experiences with the other educators. After the conference, the organizing school sent an email to the presenters and asked whether they could upload the presentations to the conference website. The replies to this email is the reason why I’m writing this blog post. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw some of the replies. In their emails, many educators were saying to the organizers that they didn’t want to share their presentations on the website. The reason they don’t want this may well be the students photos or videos in the presentations, which is understandable, but it is possible to share the presentation without those files.

At this point, I’d like to ask: How can educators develop unless they share? How can our education system develop unless educators share?

Educators has been using social networks actively since 2008-2009 in our country. The biggest benefit of this has been the development of culture of sharing and the fact that sharing is not limited to the walls of the teachers’ room. However, it seems that the importance of sharing cannot be internalized by some educators. Perhaps, in some schools, sense of competition is very dominant and educators cannot share although they want to. However, education leaders (school owners, principals, department heads) should look at this issue from a broader perspective and perceive ‘sharing’ as something that contributes to the field of education and the development of our country. Practically, if a system or an application in one school gives inspiration to another school, the school who is the owner of the idea will not lose prestige or their student number won’t decrease, on the contrary, this puts them in a leader position in the field.

To sum up, presenting at conferences is, of course, ‘sharing’. Participants may be inspired by what the presenter talks about, and may want to adapt the ideas to their own context, or generate other ideas using the original idea. Therefore, they might need a written document (slides, handout, website, etc.) after the session. If there is no sharing at this point, I believe, the presentation does not reach its aim.

Considering the format of the conference and that all the schools who attended the conference implement an international programme that promotes a sharing culture, I am having a real difficulty in understanding those teachers who refuse to share anything after their presentations. I am very proud to say that our teachers have already shared their presentations with the organizers. My aim with this blog post is not to judge anyone, but I feel that while we are talking about ‘sharing’ all the time, in practice there is a ‘not willing to share’, ‘keeping to themselves’ situation. By the way, isn’t it ironic to state the importance of sharing to our students, but avoid doing so in our own lives?

I wish you happy days with a lot of sharing.

Apr 03

Paylaşmak Güzeldir Diyoruz. Peki Gerçekten Paylaşıyor muyuz?

sharing1Geçtiğimiz hafta sonu çok güzel bir konferans gerçekleşti. Konferans uluslararası bir program çerçevesinde eğitim sunan okul öğretmen ve yöneticilerinin paylaşımda bulunması hedefiyle gerçekleştirilmiş bir organizasyondu.

Bizim öğretmenlerimiz de özenle hazırladıkları sunumları paylaştılar bu konferansta. Organizasyonu yapan okul, konuşmacılara konferans sonrasında bir e-posta gönderdi ve sunumlarını etkinliğin web sitesinde paylaşmak istediklerini ifade etti. Bu e-postaya gelen cevaplar benim bu yazıyı yazma nedenim aslında. Bu cevapları gördüğümde gözlerime inanamadım. Pek çok eğitimci sunumlarının paylaşılmasını kesinlikle istemediklerini ifade ediyordu verdikleri cevapta. Bunu istememelerinin nedeni sunumlarının içinde öğrencilerin bulunduğu resim, video gibi dosyaların olması olabilir, bu anlaşılır bir şey, ama pek tabii ki bu dosyaları çıkararak sunumu paylaşıma sunmak da mümkün.

Bu noktada şunu sormak istiyorum: Eğitimciler paylaşmazsa nasıl gelişirler? Eğitimciler paylaşmazsa eğitim sistemimiz nasıl gelişir?

2008-2009 yıllarından itibaren sosyal ağların ülkemizde eğitimciler tarafından aktif olarak kullanıldığını görüyoruz. Sosyal ağların mesleğimize getirdiği en büyük artı paylaşım kültürünü geliştirmesi ve eğitimcilerin yaptıkları paylaşımların artık öğretmenler odasının duvarlarıyla sınırlı olmaması. Ancak görünen o ki, paylaşımın önemi bazı eğitimciler tarafından ne yazık ki içselleştirilemiyor. Belki de bazı noktalarda kurumların rekabet duyguları ağır basıyor ve eğitimciler bu nedenle isteseler de başka kurumlarda çalışan meslektaşlarıyla paylaşım yapamıyorlar. Halbuki eğitim yöneticilerinin de bu konuya geniş bir vizyonla bakarak yapılan paylaşımları eğitim sektörüne ve ülkemizin gelişimine katkı olarak algılaması gerekmektedir. Pratikte, bir kurumda yapılan bir uygulamayı başka bir kurumun örnek alıp kendi eğitim ortamına taşıması örnek alınan kuruma ne öğrenci ne de itibar kaybettirir, aksine onu yüceltir, öncü konumuna getirir.

Netice itibariyle bahsettiğim türde konferanslarda sunum yapmak tabii ki bir paylaşımdır, katılımcılar konuşmacının yaptıklarından esinlenebilir ve kendi eğitim ortamlarına adapte etmek ya da o uygulamalardan yola çıkarak başka fikirler üretmek isteyebilirler. Bu yüzden de sunum sonrasında başvuracakları yazılı bir dokümana ihtiyaç duyabilirler. Bu paylaşım gerçekleşmeyince de aslında konferansta yapılan sunum gerçek amacına ulaşmamış olur.

Paylaşımın önemine inanan ve bildiğim her şeyi paylaştıkça mutlu olan bir eğitimci olarak bu sunumların ya da eğer slaytlar paylaşılamıyorsa sunum notlarının paylaşılmamasını çok yadırgadım. Ayrıca bir eğitim yöneticisi olarak okulumdan bu konferansta sunum yapan tüm arkadaşlarımın bu paylaşımı hali hazırda yapmış olmaları beni çok gururlandırdı. Bu yazıyla amacım hiç kimseyi yargılamak değil, o konuşmacıların bu paylaşımı yapmamasının nedeni hiç tahmin etmediğimiz faktörler de olabilir, onu bilemem. Ancak genelde, eğitim sektöründe sürekli paylaşımdan bahsedip, pratikte bir ‘paylaşamama’, ‘kendine saklamak isteme’ hali gözlemlediğim için bu yazıyı yazmak istedim. Tabii bu arada öğrencilerimize paylaşmanın güzelliğinden bahseden, onları paylaşıma teşvik eden bizler, eğer bundan kaçarsak ortaya çok ironik bir tablo çıkıyor, öyle değil mi?

Lafı fazla uzatmadan Mevlana’nın çok sevdiğim bir sözüyle bitirmek istiyorum…

-Bir mum, diğerini tutuşturmakla ışığından birey kaybetmez.

Bol paylaşımlı günler dileklerimle.

Mar 28

TESOL Greece 36th Annual International Convention

10299133_781072305293528_4478444363427670745_nLast weekend, I attended the TESOL Greece 36th Annual International Convention. It was my first TESOL Greece conference, and second time in Athens. It was a great pleasure for me to be in a wonderful line up of plenary speakers. From the very first welcome at the Acropolis museum to the moment I said goodbye to everyone and headed off to the airport, I felt very happy and special. I’d like to thank all the members of the TESOL Greece Conference Committee and hope to attend the future conferences.

Here is the video of my talk:

 

Dec 25

11 Random Facts, Questions, Answers and ELT Bloggers

BURCU AKYOL

Thanks to my friend Eva for tagging me in this blog challenge:) I met Eva (first online, then f2f) a couple of years ago, and she is one of the most valuable members of my PLN.

Well, to say the truth, the challenge seemed a bit confusing to me, but I thought it could be fun.

If you would like to join, here is what you need to do:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

Let me start…

11 Random Facts About Myself

My views about the education system has changed dramatically when my son started school. I think Ata unknowingly helps me a lot to become a better educator.

I have very strong views about ‘homework’. I think it is more harm than good when it is given for the sake of giving it. At the moment, I’m preparing for writing a blog post about it.

I am reading two books at the moment. The first one is a novel by Elif Shafak, Ustam ve Ben; the second one is about Village Institutes that were founded in 1940 and closed in 1953 and known as a great success in Turkish education history.

My most favorite place in our house is the study room, which is full of books.

My most favorite flower is lilium.

I love watching “The Good Wife”, “Law and Order: SVU” and “Criminal Minds”.

I started drinking wheat grass juice a month ago. They say it has numerous benefits to health. (You can read “50 reasons to drink wheat grass everyday”) By the way, it has a very intense taste but it becomes drinkable when you mix it with apple juice:)

I love my music collection on iTunes…actually I love everything that Apple brought to our lives.

The apps I use the most are Evernote, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Kobo and CineBeat (for fun:).

Learning Spanish is one of my new year’s resolutions (again:)

I guess I would be a graphic designer or event organizer (or both!) if I wasn’t an educator.

My Answers to Eva’s 11 Questions

1. Do you remember the first class you entered as a teacher?

It was an upper-intermediate group of adult learners in a language school. Although it was a wonderful class, the only feeling I remember from the first day is fear:) As the days went by, I started feeling better and more confident. I think I gained a lot from the experience in that language school in the beginning of my career.

2. What is your favorite social media platform? Why?

Both Twitter and Facebook. Facebook and Twitter are different in many ways but it is all about ‘sharing’. I believe I have a network of wonderful people and I learn a lot from them.

3. How do you think blogging helps your teaching?

Blogging helps me think, reflect and read more. I feel good when people read my blog.

4. Tea or Coffee?

Green tea and Turkish coffee.

5. Who is your favorite singer, band, musician?

I can say that I listen to all types of music. Nowadays I listen to Pink Martini, Buika, Vanessa Da Mata and Pink.

6. Do you attend conferences? Why? / why not?

Especially after Ata was born, I prefer to spend my weekends with my family. But I try not to miss good quality events. It is good to catch up with friends and follow what is going on in our field.

7. Who were the most helpful tweeters or bloggers for you when you started blogging or tweeting?

I started blogging in 2008 with my students, and the class blogs I found on Edublogs gave me brilliant ideas. I’ve been on Twitter since March, 2009. I can say that I learned blogging and using Twitter on my own. I don’t know how many English teachers we were, but it was a small group at the beginning. It is great to see more and more teachers start using social networks for professional development.
(By the way, you can see how long you have been on Twitter on http://twopcharts.com/howlongontwitter.)

8. What will be the first goal in your New Year’s resolutions list this year?

I have a long reading list this year. Apart from this, I want to blog regularly and more frequently.

9. Where would you like to travel in 2014?

I want to travel to Wudang Mountains, the great place I saw in the latest Karate Kid movie:). Probably not 2014, but definitely before I am too old to climb:)

10. How long does it take to write a blog post for you and how often do you update your blog?

I spend a few hours for a blog post. Writing once or twice a month is ideal for me but I wasn’t successful at this in 2013. Fingers crossed for the new year:)

11. What is your favorite food?

I don’t have a favorite food. I love eating good food and I am open to new tastes as long as it is not a kind of an insect:)

My Questions

  1. What would you be if you weren’t a teacher?
  2. Choose three adjectives that your students (or colleagues) would use to tell someone about you.
  3. What would you be if you were an animal? Why?
  4. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
  5. What kind of people you find most difficult to work with?
  6. What is your biggest dream?
  7. Is there a book/a person /etc. that you think changed your life? What/Who was it? How did it/she/he change your life?
  8. Is there a piece of technology that you cannot live without? What is it?
  9. What would your advice be to a new teacher?
  10. What is your biggest strength as an educator?
  11. What is your favorite quote?

Bloggers That I’m Tagging for This Challenge (sorry if you’ve been tagged before, and it’s OK if you don’t have time to respond:)

Sedef Koç

Adam Simpson

David Dodgson

Ken Wilson

Burcu Tezcan

Ozge Karaoglu

Bethany Cagnol

Jeremy Harmer

Vicky Loras

Dincer Demir

Aysun Gunes

Resim1

Dec 16

Child Marriage: The Worst Thing That Can Ever Happen To A Child

AmaBenDahaCocugum_AfisToday I attended a seminar about child abuse. It was organized by the senior class public relations students at Bilgi University. The moderator of the event was one of their professors, Betül Mardin, who is a very well-known public relations specialist. According to Wikipedia, she is called the grande dame of public relations. It was very nice to see her in person.

There were six talks and two panels. The speakers talked about child abuse in general but the main focus was child marriage. It is so sad that Turkey has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Europe. The figures vary depending on the amount of data available and the region surveyed. According to a national study, the average national rate of child marriage is 28 percent, but it reaches as high as 41 percent in the eastern and southeastern regions. (reference: hurriyetdailynews.com) The minimum marriage age for girls was raised from 15 to 17 but this does not prevent child marriage since the marriages are performed in religious way, which is not legally recognized.

The seminar today was a real eye opener for me. I think I don’t do anything about such a sad truth in Turkey apart from feeling horrible when I hear child abuse and child marriage stories.

During and after the seminar I thought about what we can do as educators. Here are a few ideas…

Learn how big and serious this issue is.

Here are some resources where you can read about child marriage:

Girls not Brides: The global partnership to end child marriage

Different news articles about child marriage. (in Turkish)

A recent article (in Turkish)

Flying Broom – A Turkish women’s organization working for the improvement of democracy and civil society. (English version of the webiste is also available.)

Child Bride Documentary by CNN Turk (in Turkish):

Talk about it.

If your students are old enough to understand and discuss the issue, talk about it in your lessons. Bring videos and articles to the class. Create your own discussion questions and activites.

Here are some resources you can use:

‘After the wedding, fear set in’: a Yemeni child bride’s story

An Ethiopian Child Bride’s Struggle For Education

Child marriage a taboo for Turkey, Dutch Princess says

Girls Not Brides: Traditions can change – ending child marriage:

Join events, follow projects, share your reflections in social networks.

This is a very recent event that I missed, organized by Sabanci Foundation: Challenging the Impossible. I bookmarked their page and will follow their events.

UNICEF Turkey Children First Project

Video with English subtitles (The project manager was one of the speakers today):

I’d like to finish with a very good article by a Flying Broom member, Sevna Somuncuoglu. How can efforts to end child marriage in Bangladesh, India, Niger and Nigeria be applied in Turkey?

Well… I think one of my biggest wishes for 2014 and the following years is a dramatic decrease in child marriage rates in Turkey and all over the world.

LET GIRLS BE GIRLS, NOT BRIDES…#EndChildMarriage: tooyoungtowed.org

Some photos from today…

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Mar 25

There Is an App for ISTEK ELT 2013! :)

ISTEK ELT Conference has an app now! :)

Click here to download the new ISTEK ELT App, created by Elinda Gjondedaj and Andrew Asproudis!

Mar 14

“British Council Turkey Teacher + Competition” by Jason Price

There were tearful scenes on the podium as Ozlem Akin, a state school teacher from the central Anatolian city of Kirsehir, was voted Turkey’s ‘Teacher +’ and walked off with first prize of a trip to the annual IATEFL teachers’ conference in Liverpool this April.

What is a Teacher+? Six months ago British Council Turkey in partnership with INGED, the local teachers’ association, launched a national competition to acknowledge those English language teachers who go well beyond their regular teaching duties in their commitment to benefit their students, schools, colleagues or the wider community. We knew that there were such dedicated professionals quietly devoting time and energy to further the cause of English language teaching across Turkey without receiving the recognition they deserved so we wanted to provide a platform for these teachers’ stories to be heard. Our Teacher+ competition invited teachers to nominate a colleague who they felt deserved such an accolade (a Teacher+ is far too modest to nominate him or herself of course!). After many hours of horse-trading, a panel of British Council and INGED judges arrived at a shortlist of three potential Teachers+. It was particularly pleasing that all three were state school teachers based in Diyarbakir, Kirsehir and Mugla.

To announce the winner, we held the glitziest ELT event of the year where we invited our key ELT contacts to a cocktail party-style networking event in an Ankara hotel. During the event Burcu Akyol argued for the benefits of teacher networking and outlined 10 handy tips for making the most of conferences while Wayne Rimmer, Coordinator of the Pronunciation IATEFL SIG, encouraged teachers to join a SIG to further their professional knowledge.

And then it was time to vote…Once participants had heard a summary of each of the shortlisted teachers’ achievements, Ozlem Akin from Kirsehir emerged with the most votes for coordinating an European Union CEDEFOP Transversal Programme, acting as project coordinator for a Comenius partnership project and for leading an initiative to deliver free language lessons to learners at weekends.

Jason Price
British Council Turkey
English Language Programme Manager

Mar 14

ISTEK ELT 2013 Conference Program is Ready for Download!

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