Eventually I have just found some time to write something after the great event titled “Outliers in ELT” by students of ELT Department, Bilgi University.  It was 1st International Conference from Bilgi ELT students and to be honest, they all did a great job.

What makes the conference so important for me is that it was my first talk in an International ELT Conference. ( Except Story Sharing  Web Conference by British Council).

It was a great chance for me to be one of the speakers of the event. It is sure that there were great and amazing outliers as speakers at the conference.  That also let me meet many very important and very special people with further acquaintance.

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My topic was about the problems on teaching English in public schools and some ways to handle with them. I have to confess that I didn’t expect much attendance to my session, because when  I looked at the Conference’s Program, the other concurrent sessions were really attractive and interesting. But mine was so ordinary one ; problems in public schools. ( Here , I have to send my special thanks to the organization committee , especially to Duygu Başak Gürtekin, for inviting me this event .) This conference didn’t ignore the reality of Turkey.  Public schools are reality of Turkey and we have millions of students. That’s why the conference was very important once more for allowing us share what we experience.

 

We, the teachers in publics school, try to teach something within difficult conditions. We even need more support and brainstorming to deal with the current situation.  With this thought, I prepared my session. I was so excited even though I had expected very few attending participation.  However, it didn’t happen as I had expected. The room was almost full and they looked very interested in the subject. That was amazing. What made this amazing is to see many people who are interested in public school issues , so I think that we are not alone.

 

 

I presented my issue with these subtitles

*Large Classes ( did you know that in Istanbul average number in class is 45, in Turkey it is 31)

problems:

•No individual support
•Losing control
•Deficient speaking time
•Homework check
•Attendance check
•Learning names
•No enough time  to deal with problems
solutions:
•Assign a buddy
•Create flexible environment
•Have plan B,C,D….
•Improve you Classroom and Time Management Skills
•Observe and use group dynamics ( each has a peculiar dynamics)
•«help box» !

*Books and Overloaded Curriculum ( too many things to teach )

problems:

•Inadequate revision
•Not attractive and motivating
•Not focus on Sts’ interests
•No feeling of success
•Not progressive
•Too much resposibility
•Not up-to-dated
•Not promote learning
solutions:
•Observe and define the capacity ( surveys)
•Re-organize the book
•Re-pack the groups
•Stop book-oriented teaching
•Take initiative
•Use technology
•Match expectations and implementations

*Inadequate hour for teaching ( causes unrealistic expectations)

problems:
•Lack of exposure
•Lack of revision
•No multi-dimentional teaching
•No various activities
•Lack of student-oriented lessons
•Dilemma ( goal vs reality)
solutions:
•Teach learning to learn for post-learning
•develop time management
•Use hand-outs
•Use web tools
•Set your real goals
•European projects
•Volunteer assignments
•Multi-diciplinary teaching

*Teacher training ( far away from real life and not proper)

problems:

•Lack of practical training
•Focus of ideal rather than reality
•Inadequate or expensive development opportunities
•Understanding of lifelong learning
• Theory vs Practice balance
solutions:
•Changes at universities
•Believe lifelong learning
•Create  PLE
•Follow in-service courses
•Share and share and share
•Seach
•Trust in experience
•Manage your energy
•Never give up!

*Parents’ attitudes ( lack of background knowledge and experience)

problems:

•Lack of involvement
•Not aware of the importance of their role
•Background
•No or mis-collaboration with teachers
•Unrealistic expectations
•No taking enough responsibility
solutions:
•Periodical parental feedback and informing sessions
•Make them aware of Sts’ physical/cognitive/emotional/ social develoment and their effects
•Learning strategies and how to support

*Students’ attitudes ( unmotivated )

problems
•No reason to learn
•Lack of motivation
•Overloaded responsibilities
•Inadequate exposition to L2
•Exams they have to take
•Unaware of the necessity of L2
•Developmental issues
•Lack of Self-confidence
•No study skills
solutions
•Teach study skills
•Use technology
•Use real life topics and activities
•Let them get the feeling of success
•Have entertaining lessons
•Language awareness

The end was happy one. It was stunning feeling to see their interest in the issue of public schools.

I got good feedbacks. Even for them, it was also interesting to see a teacher of English from public school in an international ELT conference.

So It has loaded new responsibilities on our shoulders to increase this awareness and find more solutions.

BY THE WAY, I will be waiting for your suggestions about the points I touched.

One more thanks for the speakers dinner. It was awesome .

 

 

I would like to thank to;

Duygu Başak Gürtekin for inviting me to the event and for her great support.

Nihan Toptan for not leaving me alone and for her special support

Serkan Dilim for being with me as usual

Vicky Loras for encouraging me forever

Onur Alican Keleş for his sincere support

Ceyda Sert for her sincere support

Organisation Committee, Sevim Açıkgöz and Başak Temel for their warm support