IATEFL BRIGHTON 2011 -Memoirs
My name is Paraskevi Andreopoulou and I come from a Mediterranean island in Greece. I have run my own school of foreign languages for 8 years now, with remarkable success, as I’ve taught all levels and age groups in teaching foreign languages, such as English, Italian and Modern Greek. Once, I’ve graduated with a B.A. in English Language and Literature, I thought that I would return to homeland, pass on the same didactics, methodology, phonology and literature, I was taught there, to my students back in Greece until my retirement day, that is, for the 30 consecutive years to come, although, we were all subscribed to TESOL Inc, back then..! Totally unthinkable and atopic for today’s teaching life standards…and romantic, I would admit to say….
Since I lived in Greece, it was cost effective to maintain my TESOL America subscription and I’ve decided to change into IATEFL, which I visit on a common basis with international colleagues to exchange views related to teaching, visit with the book stands to inform myself of the latest book titles that will be about to circulate in the market , to do market research with book representatives regarding exam boards and students’ pass rates in the ELT exams as well as to keep myself posted of anything “new” is happening in the ELT field concerning technology and all the research that is conducted at universities by distinguished Lecturers and Professors related to pedagogy and stirring up of standard teaching methods, that do (not) seem to be in effect.
In reality, at the SIG LA (Learner Autonomy) Group, where I belong to, with classroom data we collect throughout the year for a wide range of projects, we do analysis, question their value and effectiveness and make attempts to personalize them in our own teaching context. For instance, Anne Burn’s, Australia, www.professorburns.com plenary talk in our last group meeting with a short video demonstration presenting teacher interviews in explored practices focused on Action Research developing critical thinking and reflexivity in the EFL classroom via holistic activities, that is continuous processes of trials through trial and experimentation, which has immediate effect in my classes in my language school as well as for my DELTA training course requirements whose practices target adult students and their needs.
In effect, attending Lindsay Clandfield’s practical workshop for “Critical thinking in Practice” www.criticalilliteracy.org.uk/elt , based on Bloom’s Taxonomy implemented in CLIL for low level thinking and high thinking order students could promote uniformity in teaching instruction, with a few practical applications, under the umbrella of Literature:
· Text and Topic Selection
· Text Exploitation
· Facts vs. Opinion exercises
· Looking critically at language
· Speaking activities via Quotes for advanced levels of instruction
· Using Images and Open-ended questions
Dogmatically, a critical thinker- student should be able to find reasons to praise and criticize arguments (Houston, 2009).