TTEd SIG PCE 2012- Plenary 1 by Prof Peter Medgyes

Why won’t the little beasts behave?

Prof Medgyes started his session by indicating the importance of classroom management especially for novice teachers, and he gave examples from the journals of some trainee teachers that show their feelings and frustrations at times.

Trainee 1

“One of the students told my teaching partner that the group has conspired against us: they want to see which of us gives up first and leave. They’ve even made bets on either of us. The aim of the game is to misbehave as much as possible, find out what incidents irritate us most and focus on those to make them more efficient.”

 Trainee 2

“My only weapon is punishment. I can’t make them work unless I threaten them with a test they’ll have to do in the next lesson […] I want them to feel that they  hurt me a lot. I’m considering giving up. My teaching partner has already given up.”

Trainee 3

“To be honest, during these months I decided to throw in the towel at least three times, because I felt so disappointed. Nevertheless, I decided to stay because I thought giving up would mean that I was ill-suited for this job.”

Medgyes underlined the importance of “discipline” issue that causes most novice teachers to lose confidence and give up teaching referring to the following quote from Dry, 1977, p.200.

“A sure recipe for low learner performance is to set up a situation where the learner pities the teacher, and then pities himself for being saddled with a
pitiable teacher.”

Topic of discipline has not been mentioned in conferences as it is a “no go!” area for many methodologist.This important issue is sometimes ignored by the well-known authors and researchers as well. Medgyes gave the following quote (Whitney, quoted in Appel, 1995, p. 21) to illustrate what he meant :

“At the final round table, the panel of well-known experts, all with extensive lists of publications in our field, was asked by a teacher how they would handle a particular ’discipline’ problem.  The questioner described her problem carefully and sensitively. The panel was all but stunned into silence.”

The following can be listed as possible characteristics of the disciplined classroom in terms of general expectations, Medgyes says;

  • Learning is taking place.
  • It is quiet.
  • Teacher is in control.
  • Teacher and students are cooperating smoothly.
  • Students are motivated.
  • Lesson is proceeding according to plan.
  • Teacher and students are aiming for the same objective.
  • Teacher has natural charismatic AUHORITY.

 Following that: Medgyes gave some typical teacher types and their characteristics:

The strict and scary teacher

  • She demands perfect behaviour at all times.
  • There is a high level of control over the pupils.
  • She tends to shout at pupils when applying a sanction.
  • She makes frequent use of sanctions to control her classes.
  • She imposes a sanction at the first sign of misbehaviour.

 The firm but fun teacher

  • She tells the class what she expects in terms of behaviour right from the start, and sticks to these rules consistently.
  • She will shout if necessary, but normally does not need to.
  • She makes the work interesting, and sets her pupils hard but achievable targets.
  • She does use sanctions, but will give a series of warnings first.
  • She gets to know her pupils on a personal level.

 Then Medgyes asked if the audience were the former or the latter 🙂 and suggested that they should be the 3rd type which is Soft and Shaky Teacher suggesting the following to prevent misbehaviour:

  • Create a code of conduct with the approval of students
  • Observe
  •  Set boundaries and state sanctions
  • Convince them that you are a person of integrity
  • Make it clear that you are in charge
  • Don’t be on the defensive
  • Be fair and consistent
  • Be polite to your students
  • Be dynamic
  • Always look your best
  • Before the lesson, plan your lessons
  • Have extra material

and finished his session by the following quote (Crace,2000, p. 171) and saying CARPE DIEM.

 „[Yes, may friends, you’re fools if you] sacrifice the flaring briefness of [your] lives in hopes of paradise or fears
of hell. No one transcends. There’s no future and no past. There’s no remedy for death – or birth – except to hug the spaces in between. Live loud, live wide, live tall.”


TTEd SIG Pre-Conference Event, Glasgow 2012

The TTEd SIG PCE started with the opening speech of the SIG coordinator, Prof BirsenTutunis who introduced the members of the SIG committee, Gabriel Diaz Maggioli, the newsletter editor and Burcu Tezcan Unal, the publicity officer.

Prof Tutunis gave a summary of what the TTEd SIG has done since last year. See the power point presentation.

Gabriel mentioned the upcoming newsletters, themes and the deadlines and how articles can be published.

•SPECIAL ISSUE on the TT&Ed SIG Pre Conference Event will come out in Spring 2012
– Becoming a Teacher of Teachers Deadline: 31 May 2012  •Summer 2012
– Innovations in Teacher Training and Education Deadline: 31 July 2012 •Fall 2012
– Materials development for Teaching Teachers Deadline: 31 October 2012 * Winter 2012
– Mentoring and supporting trainees Deadline: 31 January 2013
Articles may be as follows:
•Invited articles
•Full articles
–700/– 1,000 words.
•Into the classroom
–200/ – 400 words.
•Book reviews
–200/– 400 words.
•News & Events

Please send your contributions to
Burcu gave information about the events in different countries and the facebook page for the participants to follow updates and like, facebook group for the participants to share ideas and join discussions and the events blog where they can follow the summaries of the events that they could not attend.

Prof Tutunis then invited Prof. Peter Medyges and introduced him to the audience. She said how realistic Peter’s approach to teaching is and that he has lots of followers and admirers all around the world. He is the author of “Laughing Matters” along with many of his achievements in the world of ELT.

The next post may you find the summary of Peter’s Plenary called “Why won’t the little beasts behave?”

The Summaries of the Concurrent Workshops from TTEd Istanbul Symposium 2012

After lunch, the symposium participants were split to join the following workshops for 90 minutes, they prepared the summary of their workshops and came back with two questions to the panel.

The first workshop presentation was on In-Service training in Different countries led by Tim Phillips. the session started with a discussion on the Purpose of the In-service Training:

The place where you’re in this continuum of To become the best I can be and To become what is required affects the “motivation” you have.

The workshop participants discussed the following questions about INSETTS:

•What is the purpose of INSETT?
•What are the factors for success?
•What are the similarities and differences between Turkey and Ukraine?
•What are the issues in INSETT?

The following points were listed as factors that affect the succes of the In-Service Teacher Training:

  • Motivation
  • Self-evaluation; reflection (reflective practitioner)
  • Continuity-sustainability
  • Clear outcomes, clear targets
  • Practical  results
    • Money
    • Promotion
    • Status
    • Recognition
    • Job satisfaction
    • Self-realization
  • Meeting real/individual needs
  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration
  • Evaluation +recordings (e-portfolio)
  • Environment
  • Staffing
  • Creating a community (FB; Twitter etc.) (Building rapport)

After these discussions, the workshop participants worked on the similarities and differeences between Turkey and Ukraine in terms of INSETs as there were almost equal number of Turkish and Ukranian participants in the workshop. The came up with the following:


  • Need for needs analysis as Needs analysis is the key to success
  • Observing Ts gives an overall idea of what is needed
  • •Everyone loves teachers
  • •Motivated & optimistics
  • •Lot of pressure for in-service
  • • Considering CPD
  • •Use CEFR
  • •Recognised concept of INSETT
  • •Support of NGOs


  • Turkey: INSETS  are organized on holiday time (Ministry of Educ.’s INSETS)
  • Ukraine: INSETS  are organized during school year
  • Turkey: INSET  participants receive Certificate of Attendance
  • Ukraine: INSET  participants receive Certificate of Achievement

The second workshop was Action Research, the session was led by Dr. Richard Smith.

One of the participants summarised the workshop as follows:

Richard Smith leading the workshop asked some basic questions regarding action research in universities and special institutions in which the participants study. He mentioned some important characteristics of action research and how it can be conducted efficiently. Smith demonstrated a video of his fellow researcher in terms of the effective sides of the lesson he performed. Lastly, he gave some certain types of clues about narrowing down the action research topic. Remarkable points discussed in the workshop were presented by one of the participants in the last section of the symposium. 

The representative of the workshop shared the following on behalf of the workshop participants: They discussed how to encourage teachers for doing more ARs, they also talked about the topics that can be turned into ARs. They watched a video and had a chance to hear some fellow researchers.

They asked the panel what may be the challenges while doing ARs.

The workshop called TPRS – Teaching Proficency through Reading and Storytelling led by Blaine Ray was the next to share their experience. The session holders presented a sample lesson that they had developed during their session. The audience was told what to do when they have got the instructions. The presenter asked lots of questions and acted out the story. The audience responded to the teacher building the story up with the help of the leading questions. The presenter wrote the words/ phrases on the board, used translation and ended the session by summarizing the story.

The workshop led by Evelyn Rothstein was called Skills-based teaching- Writing. The presenters started by saying that one can only write about something they know. So they wrote about what they knew about and made the others learn about what they knew. All the students get As, i.e. all of them are successful :).

One participant wrote a summary of the workshop: I attended the “writing” workshop. In this workshop, we were told about what is necessary before writing a paragraph, how to develop our thoughts in a paragraph (intro-body-conclusion) in an organized way and how to give feedback to students.

Before writing a paragraph, we make a list of items from A-Z related to the topic. Then, when writing a paragraph we start it with an abstract sentence, expand and explain the sentence by making it more concrete, and finish it again by writing an abstract sentence as a conclusion.

To give feedback to the student, we want him to separate the A-4 sheet to 3 columns. In the first column, student writes his paragraph. In the second column, teacher corrects the mistakes and rewrites the paragraph again. In the third column, the student reads and compares the paragraphs and writes the things he learned.

Another workshop was led by Prof. Birsen Tutunis called Training Learners – Learner projects and presentations. The presenters shared what they discussed and the model called K S 4 R, that is: Knowledge, Survey Questions, Recite, Read, Recite, Read.

They gave an example. The topic is Turkish Eurovision Contest History, so they go and research by means of Survey Questions then they recite the information they have worked on, then they read again to refine their research. They also mentioned possible problems and they asked the audience to come up with some solutions.

The next workshop presentation was about Skills-based teaching- Creative Teaching, Listening and Speaking led by Necmiye Karatas.

The presenter mentioned the importance of creative teaching and how our education system which is based on constant testing kills creativity. The presenter asked the audience about decisions and elicited some questions; What should I wear? Should I marry or not?, Career? Food? Then, he asked what the most important decisions are, and elicited some ideas. He asked the audience to imagine themselves as passengers in a spaceship, and that they are leaving the planet and they are going to start a new life. Suddenly, one of the engines is broken. The captain has to decide one of the passengers has to leave and you have to convince that your job is the most important to be able to stay on the spaceship. The presenter asked ‘Does it create interaction and creativity?’

Below is a summary of the session by one of the participans:

The presenter briefed the 20 participants of the workshop by using the slides on the issue of “Creative Teaching” before the group work activity. While
directing this phase of the workshop through a participant-based presentation she used cathetical method for the purpose of an increment in the participants’
knowledge and awareness about the topic. The topics discussed in this part were titled as:

  • 1-     Creativity in Education
  • 2-    Creative Thinking
  • 3-    Brainstorming
  • 4-    Encouraging students outside of the class
  • 5-     Using authentic materials
  • 6-     Increasing intrinsic motivation
  • 7-     Joy of learning

In the “practice” phase of the workshop four different groups, made up of five participants, were given the topics of “Love / Honesty / Colors / Future” and
they were asked to prepare 5-minute teaching practices by using Creative Teaching Method. The workshop was concluded upon the delivery of the presentations of the each group following the selection of the best one for the overall assessment of the seminar.

The next workshop presentation was on Professional Development- in- Service Training led by Aynur Kesen. They started of with metaphors and the necessity of PD and the kinds of PD. They also asked what goes on in Turkey in terms of PD. The same question was addressed to the audience. In what ways do you want to develop yourself? Some answers were as follows: Teacher training,NLP, more techniques and methods, how to implement technology.

One of the participants of the workshop summarised the session as follows: We came together with 10 people who came from different universities and
institutions. We started discussing the definition of Professional Development. Each participant defined the term “Professional Development” in their own words. Then we commented on ways of Professional Development. For Professional Development, desire and action were found to be essential and crucial.  It was also mentioned that we should be very careful about Professional Development because we could be discouraged if we didn’t choose right time and right way for Professional Development. It was also discussed that personal development and Professional Development are quite linked with each other. Each participant expressed in what ways they wanted to develop themselves professionally. Lastly, we talked about why we fail in Professional Development in Turkey. Each participant expressed their ideas on this issue and we finished the workshop.  

Another workshop was on Peer Observation called the Nitty Gritty of Peer Observations which was led by Burcu Tezcan-Unal. The presenters started with some metaphors representing the feelings of an observer and the observee in peer observation situations. Amongst many options, they said that they have chosen the photographer for the Observer and the newly weded bride who invited his in-laws to her house for a dinner party first time. They went on listing the topics they discussed like the difficulties and benefits of observations for novice teachers and experienced teachers. Finally, they asked the following questions to the panel:

„1. When the teaching approaches/beliefs and philosophy of the observer and observee differs, what happens?
„2. Should peer observation be voluntary? Should the partners choose who to observe?
Skill Based Teaching – Reading and Vocabulary

One of the participants contributed to the blog with the following summary of this workshop which was led by Prof. Veysel Kılıç. There were 13 instructors of English Language Teaching from various universities in İstanbul in the workshop about effective reading comprehension and vocabulary teaching. After a brief instruction about the basics of the above-mentioned skills by the leader of the workshop, the participants were divided into two groups to discuss the problems regarding reading comprehension and vocabulary teaching and ways to overcome those problems. As for the reading comprehension lessons, the most commonly encountered problem was that the students, in general, are unwilling to read texts and thus to deal with the activities related. As a solution to this problem, the instructors agreed on the idea that the texts should be designed or composed in a way that they fulfill the student’s needs and appeal to their interests.


TTEd Istanbul Symposium 2012 ended with a raffle and the participants left with lovely presents for teacher trainers from the British Council and the publishers as well as their certificates of attendance. TTEd SIG coordinator Prof. Birsen Tutunis thanked the presenters for their contribution.





TTEd Istanbul Symposium 2012 Plenary 3 -Blaine Ray, TPRStorytelling

Blaine Ray who is the inventor of TPRStorytelling while teaching foreign languages started his talk by referring to the importance of comprehensible input in language acquisition.

Blaine Ray

While he was developing the method, he investigated how babies learned languages and how speech emerged. He noted that until a baby starts speaking in L1, he gets exposed to 20.000 hrs of language input. This is a number that foreign language teachers will never be able to reach to. As we cannot do what parents do, we= as language teachers- need to make use of every minute in the language classroom efficiently.

Ray pointed out that TPR story telling is focusing on fluency. Teacher tells the story, and the students get it unconsciously. The stories are highly interactive providing comprehensible input since Comprehension is the key. Blaine Ray stated that we need to use the words that students know, that are frequently used in L2 and speak slowly by acting out the  story. Blaine Ray claimed that translation is the most efficient use of class time.

While giving tips on the TPRS method in language acquisition, Blaine Ray repeated that comprehensible input is the key. So, the stories need to be comprehensible, and repetitive with lots of details. Recycling and dramatizing the story with student actors are some of the characteristics of the method.

Another key is the interest. Students compete with one another while trying to make guesses at different stages with the help and guidance of the
teacher. Surprising details, games, personalization and positive exaggerations are all some of the elements of successful implementation of the method.

Ray suggested that it is important to limit the use of vocabulary. Adults speak with 1000 words, teens, on the other hand, use about 250-300 words in their daily lives. Students need to practice common words, not the words the course books presents said Blaine Ray. According to him, students cannot cannot cope with the number of words given by the course books. For that reason, TPRStory telling users keep practicing with the most common verbs of the language.

Another important element of this method is asking questions to the learners, Ray suggested. He mentioned a study conducted on a TPRS teacher and a course book teacher about the number of questions they asked in class. The study revealed that the TPRS teachers ask questions but the CB teachers are too busy with covering the course book instead.

Ray said that TPRS teachers don’t pay attention to boring things because kids want to learn to talk so they must pay attention to learning. `How do they pay attention to learning?` asked Ray. And he answered his own question by saying that Emotions get our attention and the Stories use emotions.

Ray said that lots of language teachers spend time on teaching about the language. And he added that skills are not practiced that way: riding a bike, basketball, tennis, etc are practiced properly but language classes lack this aspect. TPRS Stories give us this opportunity.

Blaine Ray finished his talked by giving the link to his slides and mentioning the yahoo discussion group on TPRS.