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November 2013

E-Bulletin from IATEFL Poland keeping you informed

Post-Conference E-Bulletin


Peter Whiley

Dear Readers,

Welcome to another instalment of the E-Bulletin, and this one, as the title ‘Post-Conference’ E-Bulletin suggests, will be reflective about the Łódź Conference, which is beginning to feel like it took place a long time ago. Happily, I now have the feedback results, and I can, therefore, reveal what you thought about the Conference and its facilities. We, at IATEFL Poland always strive to learn from the feedback provided to ensure that the next Conference will be even better, and plans are already in place to make next year’s Lublin Conference one of the best ever.

I remember suggesting at an Executive Committee Conference Feedback meeting a couple of years ago that there should be far more Conference toilets for ladies to reflect the disparity in numbers between the sexes. Sadly for me, that idea was readily accepted, and I suffered at Łódź trying to find a toilet for men, and on a couple of occasions, I had to resort to what the ladies used to do! This little anecdote shows that the Conference organisers do listen!

I read recently on Facebook, a friend describing the scene at a Conference she was attending, - in Turkey, I think it was – and she remarked: “the audience appears to be all-female, and the only guy present, of course, is on the stage!” Was Lódź like that? I think it was: I definitely felt that there were fewer men present than usual. As for the speakers – men were in abundance... Piotr Steinbrich, Jeremy Harmer, Geoff Tranter, Hugh Dellar, Jamie Keddie, Pete Sharma, Roy Norris, Grzegorz Śpiewak, Luke Prodromou, Paul Dummett, etc... I haven’t got any figures to back up my argument, but it would be interesting to see if male participants numbered anywhere near 100.

One teacher I spoke to on my way home from Łódź, told me that she felt the Conference was friendlier than usual, in that people in workshops worked happily together, and there was a more communal atmosphere. I agree with that comment, because the atmosphere was very positive and relaxed: you could easily turn to the person next to you and talk with them. Let me know if you disagree with me: all comments are welcome at: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl

So, without further ado, let’s move onto the Conference feedback.


How did you learn about the Conference?

Łódź 2013

62% found out via IATEFL’s mailings, which is a very dominant figure. 13% found out via the main website, so our direct communication methods to individuals appear to be vital. 14% heard about the Conference from friends, but how many of those had been contacted earlier by IATEFL’s mailings? So, one question leads to another, sometimes, but that’s the beauty of statistics.

Most Interesting Foreign Presenter?

Jamie Keddie

‘A former champion reclaimed his crown’, you could say, as Jamie Keddie returned to the top of the poll. A clear winner with 22% of the votes, Jamie was 10% ahead of the joint runners-up – Jeremy Harmer and Luke Prodromou. Hugh Dellar, who proved to be such a superb interviewee in my hotseating session, came fourth in the poll with 9%. In my humble opinion, Jeremy Harmer delivered one of his best-ever IATEFL plenaries, with the stark message that teachers are not so essential in the learning process. I didn’t see Jamie in action, so it would be good to hear from you why you think he was the top speaker. There were 31 Native-Speaker presenters this year.

Who was the most interesting Polish Presenter?

Łódź 2013 Conference

A very tight outcome here, with five presenters battling for top spot, and a surprise outcome ensued: Two presenters claimed first prize! Hanna Kryszewska and Piotr Steinbrich, both received totals of 11%. I was fortunate enough to see Piotr teach and charm a group of teenagers in a live lesson, and the observing teachers were clearly impressed. Congratulations go to both Hanna and Piotr on their success. Hanna was our first female winner, I believe, so that’s encouraging for a whole host of female presenters who are coming forth to present at our conferences. Marta Rosińska was third with 10% of the votes cast, whilst Weronika Salandyk came fifth with 8%, but I heard some rave reviews about her workshop on vocabulary, so she was clearly a champion in some peoples’ eyes. Grzegorz Śpiewak, who has dominated the rankings for several years, came fourth with 9% of the vote. He’ll be itching to do what Jamie Keddie did, and reclaim top spot at next year’s conference in Lublin. There were 52 Polish presenters at Łódź, which accounts for the other 51% of the votes cast, when you count the votes for the top five, mentioned above.

Conference Facilities / Products / Processes

Jeremy Harmer

Evening Entertainments: 84% of you felt the entertainment programme was either good or very good, so that was pleasing. Few problems there. Jeremy Harmer proved that there’s plenty of talent in the ranks of IATEFL, and that we don’t need to book professional acts. One of our other native-speaker presenters at Łódź, for instance, is an ex-professional opera singer... can you identify this person? Contact me to find out the answer! If you have talent and can sing, dance, play good music, etc... then also contact me... maybe we’ll book you for an act at the next Conference!

Conference packs: A similar result here with 77% stating that they were either good or very good, whilst only 2% said they were poor. However, only 31% belonged to the ’very good’ category, so they were not totally satisfying. Perhaps it was their colour, which may well not have been to everyone’s taste. Personally speaking, I love slinging the pack over my shoulder, it’s very convenient. However, they won’t stay clean for very long.

Łódź 2013 Conference

Meals: 89% of you felt they were either ‘very good’ or ‘good’, with 51% belonging to the first category. That’s an immensely pleasing result, as people often have high level demands regarding food.

Conference Venue: A similar result to the one with meals, as 90% of you voted either ‘good’ or ‘very good’, with 53% going with the latter category. The rooms varied in shape and size, but they were all bright and cheerful.

Registration: Normally, a sensitive area, which people are quick to complain about, the Łódź Conference revealed an amazing result. 0% of participants – absolutely nobody – found it a difficult process! 65% found it ‘very easy’. Wow! We really seem to have ‘got this one cracked!’ Certainly, I was served in record time... most impressive! Presumably, most of you also had the same experience.

Łódź 2013 Conference

Using the Conference Programme: Again, an excellent result, as 60% found it to be ‘very easy’ to use, with 29% finding it ‘easy’. Nobody found it ‘difficult’ to use. As with registration, this is also an oft-complained about Conference feature.

Using the Conference Website: Only 1% of respondents found this ‘difficult’, so all of you are obviously becoming more technologically-attuned. However, there’s room for improvement because 45% found it ‘very easy’ to use, and that figure should be better.

Łódź 2013 Conference

Finding Your Way Around: When I say that 18% found it ‘very easy’, that tells you that this was a problem area. 42% of you reported your experiences as ’adequate’, so the majority of you were positive, whilst 12% stated it was ‘difficult’. ‘Getting Your Way Around’ was what I publishers’ products tended to block your path. However, a Conference that is busy and full of people is what is desired, so we ‘can’t always have our cake and eat it’.

Access to the Exhibition Stands: 71% of you found access to be ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’, which is fairly pleasing. Some publishers were located on the floor above the main one, so that may have been a factor in keeping the figures from being more impressive.

“That’s it folks”, as Bugs Bunny would say, all the conference feedback we have. A big thank-you to all those who completed the feedback forms... it really helps us assess how successful or otherwise was the Conference, and how we can improve future ones. If you want to make comments on the Conference you can write to me at: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl

David Fisher David Fisher (in the middle) in action during the Bear Educational Theatre’s ‘History of England, Part 2’.

DAVID FISHER: Who’s he? The big guy who runs the Bear Educational Theatre, of course! Well, David, has had some very good news lately, as those of you who use Facebook may already know. He became a father for the first time, and has a son. His wife, Lena, and son, Ondrij, are doing fine... and David is a truly happy man. Congratulations to him and his family from all at IATEFL Poland!

IATEFLADA SURVEYS: I must also give a very big thank-you to all those of you who completed in great detail the surveys. The results are so interesting, educational, and great fun to read through. My wife and I are still ploughing through them! At next year’s Conference in Lublin, we will present a ‘Familiada’ type event, whereby we will use the survey information to good effect! We are planning to have a Teachers v. Presenters contest. Will Karol Strasburger be there? Let’s hope so!

Photos by Mariusz Bartosik. Full gallery: www.flickr.com/photos/lazarus247/sets/72157636480168336/


TESOL-SPAIN 36th Annual National Convention
March 8th-10th, 2013 - Universidad de Sevilla

Barbara Muszyńska

TESOL-Spain Convention 1

(photo: Barbara Muszyńska)

I consider myself very lucky and proud to have had the opportunity to represent IATEFL Pl at the 36th TESOL-Spain Annual Convention in Sevilla this year. Despite the rainy weather, so unusual for this time of year in Spain, the University of Sevilla and the city presented its Andalucian character beautifully.

I felt overwhelmed by the variety of the presentations and talks, along with their topics, and also, the number of people who attended the conference from so many different countries from around the world. This year’s theme was Teaching with Technology and the Human Touch, with the aim of "exploring the reality of teaching English in the twenty-first century and to embrace ideas on teaching and learning with new technologies inside and outside the English classroom". The presentations varied from simple ideas that can be used alongside the coursebooks, to encourage our groups to speak about their world (Andrea Littlewood), to strategies that are offered to promote creativity in teaching learners of all ages and levels (Carol Read). From technology and neuroscience to technology for Teaching Pronunciation (Robin Walker), or technology and principles in language (Hugh Dellar), all of which were very interesting. My own presentation about implementing Kids’ Learning Videos into our ESL classes can be found at: presentationtesol-spain-sevilla2013.blogspot.com

Apart from the presentations, a very nice and surprising moment was the Opening Cocktail event on the Friday Night, which was open to everyone. It gave me the opportunity to stay at the beautifully lit University in the evening, and to socialize with others. Everyone seemed to be in the mood for sharing and enjoying, the atmosphere was wonderful, and it didn’t rain on that night :).

I would like to mention and share one last thing, that I am really delighted about. I had the pleasure to be at his presentation and meet in person, Dr Herbert Puchta. I am a great fan of his work, his presentations are always highly professional, and contain a personal touch. I’d like to invite everyone to his website, where you can find his previous talks and materials: www.herbertpuchta.com.

TESOL-Spain Convention 2

I’d also like to thank the people responsible for choosing me to represent IATEFL Pl in Spain this year, and in particular, Ms. Marta Bujakowska, who informed me about that decision and always kindly answered all my e-mails. Thank you :).

All articles, news items, queries, etc. send to: newsletter@iatefl.org.pl
E-Bulletin Editor: Peter Whiley
Layout and design: Mariusz Bartosik