Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Dear members, please welcome the TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece Executive Board 2018-2020. 
Chair: Maria Araxi Sachpazian 
Vice Chair: Maria Theologidou 
Secretary General: Emmanuel Kontovas
Treasurer: Dr. Linda Manney 
Membership Secretary: Maria Vaggeloglou 
Social Media Managers: Nora Touparlaki in charge of Linkedin 
Theodora Papapanagiotou in charge of blog and Facebook 
Dimitra Christopoulou in charge of Youtube, Twitter and 
Member at Large: Dr. Luke Prodromou.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the AGM and let us wish our association the best for the next 25 years.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Zoi Tsiviltidou & Andrew Wilcox

Speaker: Zoi Tsiviltidou 
Title: Building literacy with synthetic phonics using online tools for class practice
We will present you ways of using online tools for teaching phonics and building your students’ reading skills without compromising fun. Advanced digital learning technologies have bridged digital media literacy to English literacy for better task performance rates. We will use illustrative examples of how online tools can be used to support your teaching of synthetic phonics.

About Zoi: Certified EFL teacher and award-winner PhD Candidate working in Greece and the UK. 

Speaker: Andrew Wilcox
Title: Keeping out of touch: critical thinking and digital information 
“New” does not necessarily mean “useful” or “appropriate.” Innovation is not synonymous with progress. Sometimes they coincide, as with anaesthetics or antiseptis. Sometimes they do not, as with chlouroflourocarbons. The speaker contends that we need to take a hard critical look at the technologies that have emerged in recent decades.

About Andrew: Freelance teacher and proofreader. Decades of experience, MA, BA, PGCE. Former board member and chair of Tesol Mth

Meet Our Speakers - Helen Dalakas & Asimenia Featham

Speakers: Helena Dalakas
Title: Promoting creativity in the classroom
I will start by telling audience members a little bit about who I am.  Then proceed in explaining where and how I implemented this lesson including expectations (rubric).   
As a hands-on activity, I will break the audience in small groups and allow them to create their own enviro-bag.  Once finished, each group will spend a few minutes to present their product.

About Helena: BA(Honors), MEd, ESL specialist, Teacher, Thessaloniki, Greece

Speaker: Asimenia Featham
Title: Mind against Mind - Debates: The Ultimate Challenge for FL Learners (A guide for school debates)
Debates are without doubt an important educational tool and an effective teaching strategy with multiple benefits for language learners. This presentation will explore the potential benefits of the art of debating and will provide a step-by-step guide to demonstrate to teachers how to conduct their own debates in the FL classroom.

About Asimenia: MIL, Dip. Trans., MSc in TE Aston University UK. School owner, DoS, teacher trainer, QLS Chair.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Maria Gourmou & Olga Christodoulou

Speaker: Maria Gourmou
Title: Teaching English to young learners in Greece: Obstacles and Practical Solutions
How can English language teachers overcome the obstacles of teaching young learners? To answer this question, the attributes of young learners and the obstacles teachers face will be presented. In addition, practical solutions such as activities and techniques will be suggested in hope that more English language teachers will take on the challenge of teaching young learners in the future.

About Maria: BA English Language and Linguistics, ESL Teacher, Thessaloniki, Greece

Speaker: Olga Christodoulou
Title: Is the Shoe perhaps on the wrong foot? Dyslexia and Reading problems: Signs and Inclusive teaching practices
Reading is the most important skill that a child must acquire at school because someone must learn to read in order to read to learn. In this workshop we will try to identify the key issues in overcoming reading comprehension difficulties through the implementation of inclusive teaching practices.

About Olga: BA English Language and Literature/MA Inclusive Education specialised in Dyslexia and Specific Learning Difficulties/Lecturer in New York College/ EAP Teacher/ Thessaloniki/Greece

Pre-Conference ELTeaser

With only a few hours away from our 25th Jubilee International Conference, don't miss the chance to read our pre-Conference ELTeaser featuring the interviews with our 5 inspiring plenary speakers, Ron Morrain, Dr Deniz Kurtoğlu Eken, Dr Luke Prodromou, Michael Robbs and Agapi Dendaki. Make sure you also check out the Conference Programme so that you can plan your time in advance! Last but definitely not least, find the report of our TESOL MTH Pie Cutting Event and Dimitris Tzouris's column! Looking forward to seeing you all over the next 3 days!
Read here

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Vasilis Ploumis, Katerina Morou, Eleni Kastrani, Vasiliki Shajaku, Maria Karagianni

Speakers: Vasilis Ploumis, Katerina Morou, Eleni Kastrani, Vasiliki Shajaku, Maria Karagianni (Mentor: Foteini Malkogiorgou)
Title: Transforming text-book language practice activities into meaningful Pedagogical Tasks
Task based language learning and teaching can achieve a pedagogically valued outcome in second language learning and facilitate language acquisition and development. Nunan (2014) supports that in order to create learning opportunities in the classroom, we must transform real-world tasks into pedagogical tasks. In this session, we will transform text-book language activities into pedagogical tasks with the aim of offering learners opportunities for authentic interaction and increased fluency and control over forms they have already partially acquired. 

Vassilis is an EFL teacher and the owner of an EFL learning center in Thessaloniki, Greece. He has been exercising the teaching profession since 2011. He is also a third year undergraduate of the BA (Hons) English Language and English Language teaching of the University of Greenwich offered at New York College. 

Vasiliki Sagiakou is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the BA (Hons) English Language and English Language Teaching Programme of the University of Greenwich offered at New York College Thessaloniki Campus. Vasiliki is working as ELT private tutor.

Katerina Morou is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the BA (Hons) English language and English language teaching programme of the University of Greenwich offered at New York College Thessaloniki. She also holds a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) qualification awarded by Concorde International UK and she is currently working as an ELT teacher.

Maria Karagianni is an EFL teacher and private tutor. Her first degree is in journalism. Her need to enrich her knowledge and develop professionally led her to becoming a student at New York College of Thessaloniki and attend the BA (Hons) English Language and English Language Teaching programme of the University of Greenwich.

Eleni Reina Kastranis is 22 years old she is half Greek and half Dutch. She has lived in six countries and speaks three languages. She is currently a third-year undergraduate student at the BA (Hons) English Language and English Language Teaching Programme of the University of Greenwich offered at New York College Thessaloniki Campus. 

TESOL MTh 25th Jubilee Conference Program

 Our program is out! Please click here to view.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Jean Linehan & Ana Tripkovic

Speaker: Jean Linehan
Title: Read to me! Reading aloud is allowed.
In this workshop, we will discuss the many benefits (linguistic, academic and emotional) of reading aloud to students.  Next, looking at several available books, we explore ways reading aloud is used to make connections to other subjects, topics and real life issues.  Finally, we will read excerpts from the chosen book modeling best-practice read aloud techniques.

About Jean: MA International Education/ English Language Fellow Belgrade,Serbia

Speaker: Ana Tripkovic
Title: Learning tools for captivating learners
In this dynamic and practical workshop teachers for students of all ages will find some interesting ideas about using popular online tools for engaging students in creative activities. The participants will try out some of the activities and get a list with ideas that could be used in their classrooms.

About Ana: PhD ELT methodology/ Teacher, Teacher trainer, interpreter/ Serbia

Meet Our Speakers - Dina Dobrou & Bobby Zlatkov

Speaker: Dina Dobrou
Title: Dream it. Be it. The Power of the Human Brain in Education
When it comes to teaching and learning, one tool is of utmost importance: the brain. Do we know how it works and how it can be used for optimal results? In this experiential workshop you will attend a sample lesson of what it feels like to be able to harness the power of the brain and you will discuss the learning and Professional Development opportunities that derive from it.

About Dina: DipTrans, CELTA, EFL Teacher at British Council Greece

Speaker: Bobby Zlatkov
Title: Read ON
Encouraging students to read is a grand thing and maybe I am expected to give a universal recipe for this. Unfortunately, this is virtually impossible. 
Instead, I am going to share 5 very simple ideas which some of you may have already thought about, but which are tried and tested and which you will find useful for your classes.

About Bobby: CELTA & DELTA, senior teacher and teacher trainer, Sofia, Bulgaria

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Members Registration Form for TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece

Please use this form to register online. You DO NOT need to pay online or enter credit card details. This is only to save time at the registration desk and get a better understanding of our mebership. Please share this post.

Meet Our Speakers - Christina Chorianopoulou & Cory Koby

Speaker: Christina Chorianopoulou
Title: Learner Voices: The Ears Peeled Project 
How do I sound in English? And does it matter? The Ears Peeled Project has some answers; it was co-designed with learner groups and has assisted them in overcoming fears and improving skills, while helping them find their own voice. The workshop will take participants through the collaborative design process, its multi-level tasks and the (often unexpected) outcomes. 

About Christina: Christina is an English language educator, a blogger & Editor for TESOLGreece, email: kryftina@gmail.com, Social Media: @kryftina

Speaker: Cory Koby
Title: Proven Results of an Ambitious Extensive Reading Programme
Over a two-year period, all first and second-year students in our English department are involved in a dedicated extensive reading (ER) program in which they are required to read a minimum of 540,000 words to earn a passing grade. The presenter will demonstrate the specific methods and approaches employed to motivate learners to achieve highly successful outcomes. Benefits of an ER-specific LMS called XReading will be demonstrated, including student reading verification and convenient data collection.
About Cory: MA ELT/ Assistant Professor/ Miyagi Gakuin University, Sendai, Japan 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Alexandra Valtzidou & Eirini Triantafyllidou

Speaker: Alexandra Valtzidou
Title: English Language Learners with Learning Differences: Who are they?
ELLs with learning difficulties (LD) represent an large part of the school population. Yet statistically they are often under-identified as sometimes the  characteristics of typical ELLs look similar to the learning differences experienced by students with LD. The current presentation will focus on how ELL students with LD differ from typically developing ELLs in several areas of language development and skills.

About Alexandra: BA Psy., BA. S. Ed, MSc L.D./ Learning Specialist/ Thessaloniki/ Greece

Speaker: Eirini Triantafyllidou
Title: My experience in UK-Based Summer Schools - Teaching multicultural classes, mixed ability classes
Many of the strategies , methods used in Summer Schools  might help teachers to get all students, active or reflective learners  to get involved to the whole procedure, create conditions that enable learners of various learning preferences and personalities to contribute and learn.

About Eirini: Business, General English Teacher, Senior Teacher/ Programme Manager Uk Summer Schools

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Meet our Speakers - Effie Kyrikakis & Despina Kalaitzidou

Speaker: Effie Kyrikakis
Title: Global Projects – Shaping a Connected World

Hear your heart beat fast. See the eyes of your students sparkle with anticipation! Feel the rush of excitement as you prepare to delight!  Why will a Global Project benefit your class? How can it be implemented into the curriculum? What projects can you participate in?

This interactive professional talk promises to be a discovery journey of sorts! Be there!

About Effie: Global Educator/ Change Agent/ Winners Education International Program Facilitator

Speaker: Despina Kalaitzidou
Title: Using Drama in TEFL: Human Rights Activities
Drama is one of the most creative and effective strategies in language learning, especially when context is provided. This workshop will be focused on Human Rights Education and will provide the students with the opportunity to practice their speaking skills, along with their creativity and imagination. The learning objectives are: to practice speaking skills, to develop awareness of human rights, to develop team building skills, to develop sensory-motor skills and coordination,to develop their imagination and creativity.

About Despina: BA English/ MA Literature / MEd Drama in Education / Teacher / Drama Facilitator /Thessaloniki

Meet our Speakers - Rina Krasniqi & Erëza Mehmeti

Speaker: Rina Krasniqi
Title: Let’s Ice-Break
Are you a teacher who constantly worries over breaking the ice with new students you meet every year? Do you feel stressed out, anxious, and clueless about where to begin? If YES, attend this workshop and help yourself and your students pave way for a better year! Carefully chosen and multiple stirring icebreakers will be presented which will be highly beneficial during your classes with different age ranges. These gripping activities will undoubtedly foster emotional comfort in class, will keep them interesting and fun, and most importantly will help students get acquainted and build rapport.

About Rina: MA in Applied Linguistics with TESOL/ English Teacher

Speaker: Erëza Mehmeti 
Title: Practical Application of Game-Based Learning/ Play. Learn. Grow.
Children enjoy learning while playing. Keeping students engaged in lessons can be a great challenge for teachers. Game-Based Learning creates a comfortable environment and provides opportunities to acquire knowledge. By using games in the classroom both learners and teachers benefit. Young learners will consider learning to be an enjoyable experience whereas teachers can collect information on students’ progress.

About Erëza: MA Applied Linguistics with TESOL/ Teacher, Teacher Trainer/ Prishtina/ Kosovo 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Margarita Kosior & Eftichis Kantarakis

Speaker: Margarita Kosior
Title: Difficult Topics Made Easier with Film
Film is a unique tool which allows students to make connections between their personal lives and the people and events on the screen, and to develop high levels of empathy. Therefore, approaching global issues through feature film, documentaries, or short inspirational videos, is an effective strategy. Thanks to its audiovisual nature and authentic appeal, film brings real life into the classroom providing a context in which the language is learnt, the students are motivated and the difficult issues are discussed with more confidence and ease.

About Margarita: Educator, teacher trainer, conference presenter, materials author, storyteller.Hobbyist photographer and dancer.

Speaker: Eftichis Kantarakis
Title: Is the future of Education in Gamification? Where did "Pokemon Go"?
Gamification seems to be the next buzz word in ELT. Based on the assumption that children love e-games, teachers have for years tried to exploit this "love" to teach English. Let's try and see how much of this is possible and whether we can trust games to do the work of planting knowledge in the minds of young learners.

About Eftichis: RSA Dip, / Teacher Trainer / Athens / Greece

Meet Our Speakers - Jeanie Iskos & Paschalia Patramani

Speaker: Jeanie Iskos
Title: Injecting Values in the Education of English Learners of Young Learners
English Curriculum especially at young levels needs to provide students not just verbal communication skills, but social and classroom skills.  Injecting lesson plans promoting values can benefit the classroom and the teacher in many ways such as classroom management and life-long interpersonal skills. This presentation will discuss what and how these values 

About Jeanie: B.A, B.S, M.Ed, Anatolia Elementary Teacher

Speaker: Paschalia Patramani
Title: Bringing out the best in students through engaging
learning experiences
How can teachers engage students and help them discover new interests while learning the English language? This presentation will demonstrate various activities in which teachers can cultivate a love for learning and an appreciation of English. The attendees will participate in some activities and see how they can bring out the best in their students.

About Paschalia: BSc Villanova University, USA/ EFL Teacher/ Serres/ Greece

Meet Our Speakers - Joan Macphail & Angeliki Apostolidou

Speakers: Joan Macphail & Angeliki Apostolidou
Title: TEFL: Fast Food or Gourmet Gastronomy? Food for Thought!
Increasingly we rely on ready-made food and learning packages.  Our workshop considers Fast food and Gourmet food outlets, and their correspondence with teaching establishments. 

 We look at our profession in comparative terms, considering actual policies, practices, perceptions which create problems. Finally, in our very own Bake-Off, we work to produce solutions to our perceived obstacles, creating recipes for gourmet teaching. 

About Joan: MA,Teacher-trainer, Asessor, Director, Thessaloniki.

About Angeliki: DOTE, Teacher, Teacher-trainer, Director, Athens

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Dimitris Primalis & Tatjana Jurišić

Speaker: Dimitris Primalis
Title: Creativity has classroom boredom for ...breakfast

Looking for an antidote to students’ indifference and lack of engagement? Developing creative thinking skills along with traditional skills can be done seamlessly without radical changes in the syllabus. The workshop focuses on simple ways you can tweak activities and tasks to stimulate learners’ imagination with or without learning technology. 

About Dimitris: Dip. RSA/Teacher/ Athens/Greece

Speaker:Tatjana Jurišić
Title: Shadow Theatre in ELT
This workshop aims at presenting and practicing techniques and methodology of using Shadow Theater while teaching EFL to young learners. The participants will get acquainted with various materials and equipment that can be used and gain experience of directing and performing a short play.  

About Tatjana: BA TEFL / Teacher, Teacher Trainer / Novi Sad / Serbia

Meet Our Speakers - Kyriaki Koukouraki

Speaker: Kyriaki Koukouraki
Title: Keep calm and keep reading

Extensive reading in EFL classrooms is often overlooked, considered time-consuming, difficult, or even perceived as irrelevant in exam-oriented courses. However, the targeted incorporation of extensive reading, e.g. literary texts,has multiple advantages such as the improving students’ reading skills,widening their horizons, expanding their vocabulary and language awareness,developing their emotional intelligence,and fostering critical thinking.

About Kyriaki: Dr Koukouraki is a DELTA certified lecturer for English (EAP) and has major teaching experience at Greek and UK universities. Her academic interests also include Translation, Sociolinguistics and Intercultural Communication.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Meet Our Speakers - Despina Karamitsou & Effrosyni Bisiri

Speaker: Despina Karamitsou
Title: Classroom Crimes ans Court Cases
You are invited to taste a ''mysterious'' recipe for success, with lots of practical ideas that will enchant and transform the most reluctant, bored, indifferent student into someone who will be highly interested and actively participate in the lesson in order to  examine the evidence, find the culprit and distribute justice (suitable for students over 11years old).

About Despina: MA in English Language, Literature & Culture/ Thessaloniki/Greece

Speaker: Effrosyni Bisiri
Title: Designing a story-based syllabus
When designing a syllabus based upon a specific framework for young learners, teachers have to be aware of how the various tasks and activities will contribute to the child development and language learning creating a pleasant and motivating learning environment. For this reason, stories allow the learners to be active participants in the learning process and encourage them to be autonomous.

About Effrosyni: BA TEFL, M.ed. TEFL, Kozani, Greece

Meet Our Speakers - David Gibson & Danny Singh

Speaker: David Gibson
Title: The Use Of Fairy Tales in Language Teaching
Everyone around the world knows Fairy Tales. Call them Folk Tales or Traditional Stories, they are universal. In this illustrated and interactive workshop we will explore the nature of Fairy Tales and how the features of them can be used to enhance learning in students of all ages.

About David: David Gibson taught for 44 years in England and Greece. He is a founder-member of TESOL Macedonia-Thrace, Northern Greece.

Speaker: Danny Singh
Title: Team Building Inside and Outside the Classroom
Team building is as important to a great lesson as the content itself. If all members of the group are willing to collaborate with each other, the lesson will be successful and everybody benefits! In this practical workshop, we will actively perform several team building exercises that you can use inside and outside the classroom with guaranteed success!  

About Danny: Danny Singh is a Teacher trainer, Writer, Team Builder/Rome/Italy

Meet Our Speakers - Vasiliki Lismani & Angeliki Voreopoulou

Speaker: Vasiliki Lismani
Title: Reflection: A Noble Way to Develop our Teaching-selves

Although teachers consider their students’ assessment an integral part of the teaching – learning procedure, are they willing to keep records of their professional development and comment on their own practice? Through this presentation the notion of self - reflective teaching will be emerged as a highly recommended attitude which enables teachers to develop a critical eye about themselves.

About Vasiliki: BA in Education; MA in Special Education; CELTA / Teacher / Piraeus / Greece

Speaker: Angeliki Voreopoulou
Title: Turn your EFL classroom into an Escape Room!
Escape rooms have been around for ages, but recently they have jumped into classrooms. Teachers can use the thrill and excitement of an escape room in order to engage students in language learning, collaborative work while increasing their motivation to learn. This presentation focuses on the tips and ideas on how to turn your classroom into a unique escape room. 

About Angeliki: BA English Literature, MEd TEFL, Teacher/Thessloniki/Greece

Meet Our Speakers - Aphrodite Gkiouri & Theodora Papapanagiotou

Speaker: Aphrodite Gkiouri
Title: 10 Creative Ways to Teach English
Creativity is a natural ability that is found in every young learner. Unfortunately, traditional classrooms don’t always value creativity, and sometimes even hold it back. Our role as teachers is to nurture creativity, at every opportunity. Creative activities are fun, engaging and take learning far beyond the tasks of understanding and memorizing.

About Aphrodite: BA TEFL/Teacher,Blogger/Larissa/Greece

Speaker: Theodora Papapanagiotou
Title: A tired teacher: A journey out of burnout
We have all been there. Tired, no inspiration, no motivation. It does not matter if we love our job, it just happens. So what is burnout anyway and how can we get over this? 

About Theodora: Theodora Papapanagiotou has been a teacher of EFL and DaF in Greece since 1992. She is a freelance teacher, translator and blogger.  

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Meet Our Plenary Speakers - Luke Prodromou

Plenary talk
Good teachers: What are they like? What do they do?

We begin our journey and  the process of reflection on the roots of good language teaching by going back to our first moments as learners in a formal educational situation: primary school. I recall my first unforgettable good teacher, the story-telling Miss Cooper, who came into class armed with enthusiasm, encouragement and a ...parrot. At primary school, I was also exposed, first-hand, for the first-time, to the challenge of using the human voice to make language comprehensible and engaging  through the amateur theatrical activities which became a life-long passion.  

Our journey then takes us to secondary education and my first good language - and literature - teacher. I then describe what I learnt from being observed as a trainee and observing and giving feedback to colleagues: what do the prescriptions of formal teacher qualifications require of the good teacher? I reflect on my own informal research into the good teacher and compare my own results with those of formal research. What do teachers and students say about the good teacher? 

We highlight the insights we gain into good teaching by becoming learners again. Next, we reach out to the arts of music, painting, dancing and creative practice of all kinds to throw light on the secret of good teaching. Finally, we consider how the digital revolution has changed what is expected of the good  teacher. 

Based on the journey we have shared, and looking to the future, we sum up the salient practical features of continued teacher development.  

Follow-up session:
A performance by the English Language of:  Ladies in Love and Marriage: from Jane Austen to Oscar Wilde

The English language theatre, Luke and Friends, present their show: Ladies in Love and Marriage.
Five sketches inspired by the work of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde, on the theme of women in love and the delights and disappointments of marriage. A celebration of language, literature and education.

Luke Prodromou graduated from Bristol University and has an MA in Shakespeare Studies (Birmingham University) a Diploma in Teaching English (Leeds University) and a Ph.D (Nottingham University). . Luke is a founder member of Disabled Access FriendlyCampaignfor which he wrote - and performed, with D. Gibson - the ‘Wheelchair Sketch’; he now performs with the English Language Theatre..

Meet Our Plenary Speakers - Michael Robbs

Plenary talk
Sustainable English Teaching

Sustainability means ensuring a bright future for our society, our planet, and our business. Yet many of us face critical questions about the future of English language teaching. The field is changing rapidly, with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), flipped classrooms, blended courses and online student-lead apps that might replace the language teacher. The ͚business-as-usual͛ model will not sustain us. Adapting to this new educational reality is no longer an option, it͛s a must if we want to sustain our students, our career and ourselves in the future.  

Although sustainability is a 21st century buzz word in business, the idea has been around for millennia.The ancients gave us valuable practical knowledge on how we can implement it.  Socrates advised us to ͚dare to disagree͛ and not follow the herd. Aristotle proposed giving people meaningful tasks. Plutarch recommended role models to inspire us. Rufus suggested keeping a record of your progress. Epicurus offered thoughts on the art of happiness. Epictetus instructed us to build a strong mind set. 

 Drawing on these great thinkers, we can develop a sustainable road map to the future by following seven principles; looking up to a shared ideal, listening up and remaining aware of change around us, speaking up and making our voices heard, teaming up with others, stepping up and taking action, lightening up and remaining positive in the face of adversity, and never giving up when things go wrong.

Follow-up session:
Being a sustainable teacher means ensuring a future for ourselves, our students and our careers. This means establishing both short term goals (getting through the academic year) and long term goals (looking ahead 5 years), as well as local goals(making a difference in our classrooms) and global goals (contributing to a better society and planet). This can be achieved by following the 7-up principle outlined on the plenary. 

 Look up; we must first of all identify why we teach and develop a personal mission statement. Then we communicate this to our students, and help them identify their aim in learning English. 

 Listen up; next we develop the type of listening skills that makes good communicators.

Speak up; then we teach our students (and ourselves) how to communicate ideas through persuasion techniques.

Team up; after that we look for stakeholders outside the classroom to build a community for our students and our school.  

Step up; now we act decisively and with organisation to implement our goals, using behavioural insights taken from the growing field of nudge theory.

Lighten up; we cannot ignore the growing burden of responsibility we all feel every day put upon us by various stakeholders. However, we should remember the value of not taking ourselves too seriously or taking things too personally!

Michael Robbs is from Britain and has lived and worked in Greece for 25 years as an English teacher, Business English coach, cross cultural trainer and teacher trainer for the Hellenic American Union. He has given numerous presentations around the world on human – computer interaction, project management, teaching teachers to draw, psychology for language teachers and professional innovation. 

Meet Our Plenary Speakers - Agapi Dendaki

Plenary talk:
Turning Obstacles to Opportunities in a State Primary School Classroom 

Foreign language teaching in Greek state schools has been a debatable issue for many decades. While foreign language education in Greece has been largely associated with private language institutions, state schools persist in providing students with the (mandatory) opportunity to study English as a first foreign language, as well as a second foreign language, usually French or German. 

However, the context in which languages are taught in state schools, more often than not, is not enviable. Teachers are faced with a rather long list of challenges and are expected to cope with them relying on their own means or a limited support system. Such challenges include: large groups of students, often as many as 25 in one classroom; diversity in the student population with students differing in many aspects; increasing numbers of students with special needs; students with behaviour problems that make classroom management even more difficult; centrally designed syllabi and textbooks; environmental restrictions; lack of/insufficient technological support; insufficient in-service teacher training; lack of motivation; and bias against teachers and the whole system. 

Of course, some of the above challenges are seen as daunting obstacles by most teachers, who would be much happier without them. Having said that, the purpose of this presentation is to highlight the efforts of teachers to turn these obstacles into opportunities for their students, explore ways of how this can be done and emphasize the need for unbiased collaboration of all the agents of foreign language education.

 Follow-up session:
How can a teacher effectively run a class of a large number of students who also comprise a very diverse group? Easier said than done, the problem becomes even more challenging when the teacher’s task is to teach a foreign language. However, since this is normally the case in state school classrooms, the teacher has to come up with techniques and activities that will ensure learning for all, according to their specific individual characteristics. 

 One such activity, namely “jigsaw”, will be implemented in this follow-up session. The (assumed) students will be asked to explore material from the official textbook used in the 6th class of primary school, breaking it down to smaller units and engaging in reciprocal teaching so that learning is secured for every one of them.  

Flexible grouping will set the stage for the implementation of the jigsaw activity. Students will form diverse groups with members differing in their abilities, level of knowledge and readiness for new learning. Peer-assisted learning will produce groups of “experts” regardless of the students’individual abilities so that everyone can participate in the knowledge contest designed by the groups at the end of the session. Ultimately, activities of this kind are expected to enhance collaboration skills and foster strong bonds among students.

Agapi Dendaki has studied English Literature (B.A.), Special Education (M.Ed.) and Counselling (M.Ed.). She has had many years of experience in teaching English in both the private and the public sector, most of them in state primary schools. She has also designed and run career development seminars and programmes for teachers and Special Education professionals. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Meet Our Plenary Speakers - Dr. Deniz Kurtoğlu Eken

 Plenary talk:
 A road map for CPD: the Eaquals Teacher Training and  Development Framework

The main mission of Eaquals is to contribute to the enhancement of quality in language teaching and learning. In line with this mission and as stated in its introductory section, the Eaquals Framework for Language Teacher Training & Development (Eaquals TDFRAM) aims to respond tothe need for guiding principles and tools which encourage a positive attitude to teacher self assessment and professional development. In this plenary, I would like to discuss the need for the active use of quality frameworks such as the Eaquals TDFRAM; and explore the key features that have been contributing to its success with reference tomy particular context at Sabancı University School of Languages since its launch in 2013.
The TDFRAM can be accessed on-line at:  https://www.eaquals.org/our-expertise/teacher-development/the-eaquals-framework-for-teacher-training-and-development/

Exploring school effectiveness through school development practices In this workshop we will explore key school development practices which contribute to greater school effectiveness; appreciative inquiry, institutional research and formative feedback.We will dosoby working on several sample tasks of a practical nature based on these three key features. 

Deniz Kurtoglu Eken (PhD) works asan instructor and as Projects, Development and Research Coordinator at Sabanci University, School of Languages (a Project Partner of Eaquals) where she also worked as the director of the school for 10 years until September 2012. Over the years, she has been involved in teaching, curriculum development, qualitative research studies, teacher and trainer training and development, including formal training courses with UCLES, the British Council in Turkey and in the UK, the U.S. Embassy, the Turkish Ministry of Education and with different schools and universities in Turkey. Dr. Kurtoglu Eken has designed and directed formal trainer training courses at private Turkish universities as well as the SLTEP and provided consultancy and training for many institutions on a wide range of topics. She has publications in teaching methodology, qualitative research, teacher and trainer training and development, school effectiveness and development which are also her main areas of interest. Dr. Kurtoglu Eken has also represented Eaquals at international events in Europe. For information on her professional activities, presentations and publications, please visit her website at: http://myweb.sabanciuniv.edu/kurtoglueken/

Meet Our Plenary Speakers - Ron Morrain

Pre-Conference Event:
Leading Learners to Higher Level Thinking
A workshop on using RMMs in a modern classroom setting

Higher-level thinking has been a core value of educators for decades.Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, a widely used instrument to measure teacher effectiveness, describes a distinguished teacher as one whose classroom activities require high-level thinking. While Bloom’s Taxonomy tells us what higher level is,it does not clearly create a roadmap for teachers to get their learners to start creating, evaluating, and analysing in a modern classroom setting. Additionally, what products are our students creating which reflect their creativity, evaluation, and analytical skills? 

Whether in an academic or corporate setting, RMMs and curation have the potential to drive a task, and our learners, to higher-level thinking and product development. RMMs and curation also have the potential to generate creativity and community involvement beyond the classroom. 

It is time for teachers to start planning learning experiences that challenge modern learners to operate on higher levels. Using RMMs(Ready Made Mind Maps) as roadmaps, in combination with approaches like Task-based Learning, Project-based Learning, and Phenomenon-based Learning, can be one solution for teachers to implement in their classrooms to facilitate difficult learning cycles, to structureextended learning cycles, and to support learners to reach higher level thinking.

This interactive workshop will cover the following questions:
One more time – What is higher level thinking? (Quick and simple)
Are you doing the learning for your students?
What is Curation (Research) in an EFL learning context?
How are Task-based Learning, Project-based Learning, and Phenomenon-based Learning connected to curation?
What are some samples of curation tasks and what are NOT curation tasks?
What are some examples of curation products?
What is the teacher / trainer role when using RMMs in the classroom?
How can RMMs and Curation come together to reach higher-level thinking and learning?
How can projects be presented? (TBL and PBL)
How can projects be assessed?
Q+A session

Participants will be asked to collaborate in small groups to share their teaching experience with others, and do some problem solving. Participants will take-away a better understanding of how RMMs and curation work together to lead their learners to higher level thinking. Participants will also be able to immediately adapt their new knowledge to their teaching/learning contexts.

Ron Morrain is an American (Houston, Texas), and currently lives and works in Germany. 

He is co-founder and Director of Studies at the Language Learning Centers Europe which is headquartered in Duisburg, Germany, and has been active in HRM and HRD as a manager and consultant for over 30 years internationally. He has worked on education related projects in New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Mexico City, Hong Kong, London, Geneva, and Düsseldorf. Ron speaks three languages fluently. (English, German, and Spanish)

He is currently active in the HRD department of the University Duisburg-Essen where he is responsible for the planning, implementation, and assessment of English language training programs for a staff of 2,800. Addtionally, he is responsible for coaching professors and staff in English as a Medium of Instruction. (EMI)

Ron has a B.Ed. in ESL, an MBA with a concentration in HRM / HRD, and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. 
He is also a licensed examiner and trainer for English and German (A1,A2,B1,B2,C1,C2) @ TELC. (The European Language Certificates located in Frankfurt, Germany)

If you would like to learn more about Ron please visit: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ronmorrain