Highlights from the 28th TESOL France Colloquium

The 28th Annual Colloquium of TESOL France held at Paris Tech in Paris was a great success. I learned about new Internet tech tools, networked with teachers from five continents and felt renewed! Here I submit to you some information from my notebook:

Burcu Akyol’s Blog

For a great summary of some of the best workshops and links to some of the best-known teacher trainers in the world go to Burcu Akyol’s wonderful blog. Burcu Akyol teaches in Turkey and she gave a great workshop on using blogs with students. On Friday evening she presented a wonderful Pecha Kucha on "Twitter" that convinced everyone to start tweeting.

Pecha Kuchas on Shelley’s Blog

We laughed ever so loud at that Pecha Kucha evening. To understand why you can check out Shelly Terrell‘s channel on YouTube to see films with Burcu Akyol, Ken Wilson, Lindsay Clandfield, Gavin Dudenay, and Jamie Keddie. We look forward to listening to Shelley’s workshop at the next IATEFL Conference in the UK.

A plenary with Jamie on the "Materials World"

Jamie Keddie, our young globe-trotting language professional, gave a fabulous plenary speech. He showed us amazing photos and presented eight lessons from his web site teflclips. One lesson involved deciding between two photos which one was a fake rendering done with PhotoShop. Another lesson was a writing activity to be iused before showing a clip. The clip, called Mr. W, is truly remarkable. Go to Jamie’s lesson plan on Mr. W and see for yourselves.

Penny Ur reconfirms some QualityTime-ESL basic concepts

Penny Ur first gave a workshop on teaching large heterogeneous classes. It is amusing to note that in Russia a "large" class consists of more than 20 students, whereas in India for example a large class has 200 students! Penny advocates "peer-teaching" as opposed to "frontal teaching" and says we must adapt to the differetn profiles of our learners, which are often very different within the same class. In her plenary she defined what she believes is today’s lingua franca—the English we should be teaching to help students "become operational" and "be well accepted" in the English-speaking world. In her Pecha Kucha she showed us how to vary the number of items and positions of words in a matching exercise.

Gavin presents 3 amazing tools

Thanks to Gavin Dudeney’s lively talk I found out about three new websites. I plan to make good use of these tech tools in future workshops:

And we all enjoyed watching the latest version of “Matt Dancing”.

By the way, I have found a web page that analyzes through "word clouds" different inaugural addresses by US presidents (Obama, Bush, Lincoln, etc.)

Lindsay’s blog

Lindsay Clandfield convinced us to write blogs to become better teachers. Go to his called Six Things. It is full of interesting links and ideas.

Ken—a star speaker!

Ken Wilson showed us how to turn passive students into active learners. We were impressed by his ideas and laughed endlessly as he related anecdotes from numerous years of teaching worldwide. Ken’s Pecha Kucha, which I mentioned above, was “magnifique” and presented in eight different languages!

English-Attack.com with Paul and Frederic

Paul Maglione and Frederic Tibout presented the upcoming language-learning platform with games called English-Attack.com.

Cleve and English360

Cleve Miller talked about the project he is managing together with Cambridge University Press to develop a platform for teachers that will replace course books. It’s called English360.

One and half days of mental and moral enrichment

The two-day colloquium was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. At the end of each day we celebrated with wine and scrumptious food exchanging ideas and email addresses. We have Ros Wright, President of TESOL France and Bethany Cagnol, Vice-President to thank for this event—plus all the members of the ExCom (I am one of them!) and all the student helpers at Paris Tech and finally Vera Dickman, the head of the Language Department at Paris Tech (formerly Télécom de Paris).

See you there next year!

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