Monday, September 24, 2012

Shadowing day program for Pre-service ELT trainees

Thanks to Besime Erkmen for sharing her research into the idea of a shadowing project at METU NCC in the METU Workshop Festival.
Besime joined the METU NCC TEFL Program in 2010. She has wide-ranging experience of teaching English as a foreign language, and of teacher training. Her research is in the area of teacher training and education. Besime's research is about the experiences of TEFL student-teachers on a one-day teacher-shadowing programme at the School of Foreign Languages, METU NCC. Data from student-teachers reflective writing and survey responses reveals that this experience raises students’ awareness not only about what teaching entails, but also how teachers spend a whole day at the workplace.  Here is a copy of the presentation Besime shared with us at the Workshop Festival on 18 September, 2012.


If you want more background to Besime's research, the findings of which will appear as a chapter in a book about innovations in pre-service teacher education, edited by Steve Mann and Julian Edge, please read on.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The ABCs of PLNs and SM for PPD

For those of you who weren't able to attend the METU NCC SFL Workshop Festival, here is the PREZI on personal learning networks  that Nevin Adalar and Steve Neufeld used in their workshop.  Remember that the Workshop Festival has a Facebook page at and the hashtag for TWEETs is #METUFEST.  In fact, there is no reason why the festival of sharing ideas and experiences need be restricted to one day a year...feel free to use the Facebook group and the hashtag to share ideas and experiences throughout the year. 

Thanks to those who participated in the workshop and shared three adjectives which they felt applied to the use of social media in developing personal learning networks.  The word cloud below shows the list of adjectives, with the more common adjectives appearing larger than the others.  A diverse collection of adjectives that clearly shows that personal learning networks evoke a wide range of responses.  

Panoramas on smart phones - a novel twist on a classic writing prompt?

I am fairly new to smartphones and 'APPs', but it seems that there is an APP out there for almost anything you can imagine.  I just got moved to a different office, so I wanted to take a picture of my new surroundings.  A standard picture just didn't seem to do the office justice, so I thought it would be nice to create a panorama using my iPhone camera.  I went to the APP store and search for "panorama" and found a free one that was published by MicroSoft, so I thought I would give it a try.

Here is the result of my first attempt...the software will attempt to 'stitch' the photos together as best it can--it might take a bit of practice to get the best 'seamless' panorama, but this gives an idea of the result.  You can save this as an image, or publish to the 'cloud' where it can be viewed interactively.  Of course, you can embed it as well, as I've done below:

So, welcome to my office!

Two ideas came to is that this tool might be something that we could use with students as a prompt for writing or speaking.  They could be asked to produce a panorama of 'my room' or 'my favourite place', etc., then embed it in their blog and write a descriptive essay.  If they were to bring their panorama to class on their smartphones, then they could work with a peer and give a 'guided tour'.

The second idea is to make a panorama of our classrooms.  It is quite difficult to find pictures of 'real' classrooms, and I am curious to see what classroom environments different colleagues in different parts of the world end up teaching in.  If anyone is interested in sharing a view on their classroom environment, join the FaceBook group at to share pictures or panoramas.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Attitudes to use of L1 and translation in second language teaching and learning

Can translation play a useful role in learning and teaching a second language? This was a topic of one of our METU SFL TDU webside reflections last year.  We had a fruitful discussion, so it is particularly relevant to come across some very recent research by Dr Michael Druce,  an MA TESOL student at the University of Westminster, who reports on the findings of his recent research in the 16 July 2012 (issue 7) of Liason at  The PDF below includes Druce's article only, separate from the entire issue.

In case you have trouble viewing the PDF above, read on for a copy of the text from Druce's article.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Personal Learning Networks - reflections of a teacher in training

In today's world, we often use technological devices. Especially, computers take part in our lives on a large scale. We use computers for information and communication. One of the huge conversation tools is TWITTER.

I want to talk about TWITTER, how it is used and its advantages for our learning. TWITTER is a microblog; its post size is short like an SMS message Moreover, it is accessible on the web and on the mobile phone, so it is very useful. We can get lots of information about everything and we can share our information, ideas or thoughts through TWITTER. We can follow people, so we can see their ideas and their conversations to other people. Also we can share our thoughts and we can join conversations.

Moreover, we can use all these things for language learning. First, students can read public TWITTER conversations by following media organizations or individual authors. They can read different authors’ ideas, conversations via the TWITTER and they can follow news. So, they improve their information and ideas about anything. They can follow some people who have good experience and knowledge in their subject. I think this is very useful for them, so they can expand their world view.

Second, students can improve their analyzing and summarizing skills. They can write tweets about their subjects. They can give rapid responses. They focus on main events or themes about subject, so their summarizing and analyzing ability can improve. This also improves their writing skills. They can learn to summarize, to write their ideas, so they are encouraged to write more.

Last, I want to talk about connecting with students beyond the class. It is a very important and useful issue about TWITTER for learning language, because learning does not just mean to learn in class. Especially, learning language is very hard and depends on more practise. So, students should practise out of the class. TWITTER can provide this practise. Students can share their class conversations or activities; they can talk to their classmates or their teachers through TWITTER. They can share their information and ideas. It is very useful and very enjoyable for them. Thus, they also learn out of the class.

Damla Terzi - METU NCC TEFL Programme graduate 
Because of these reasons, I want to use TWITTER in my training in the future. At the beginning, I made a prejudgment about TWITTER. I thought it was hard to use, but then I began to use TWITTER and I saw it was very practical and useful. Now, I use TWITTER as a student for sharing information and getting information. I follow my teacher and my classmates. If I didn't use TWITTER I would fall behind in everything. Thus, in the future, I will use TWITTER as a teacher and I will suggest to my students to use TWITTER.