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:

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:

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:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

TESOL MTh 25th Jubilee International Conference "Overcoming Obstacles Shaping the Future

We are celebrating 25 years and our 25th Jubilee International Convention "Overcoming Obstacles Shaping the Future" is going to be full of special moments! 
We are proud to announce our plenary speakers:
Ron Morrain, Deniz Kurtoglu Eken, Michael Robbs, Agapi Dendaki and Luke Prodromou.

When: February 23-25, 2018
Where: Anatolia College of Thessaloniki (Macedonia Hall) (click here to view the map)

Don't hesitate to contact us on:

TESOL MTh 25th Jubilee Conference has received the honour to be awared with the Platinum EVE (Equal Voices in ELT) bagde. Learn more here.