My late and short K0TESOL post

I had a great time at the K0TESOL International Conference this year. I really did. I had some nice chats with lots of nice people. I didn’t see as many presentations as I would have liked because at times I was slightly amped up, nervous and focused on my own presentations. At other times I was a bit hungover tired and distracted so I wasn’t as active in seeing presentations as I could have been. I also, regretfully, didn’t spend as much time with the conference book as I could have so I missed a few talks that sounded great to me months before when I was much more prepared than I was a week or day in advance. Such is life I suppose.

Having been to quite a few conferences in the past few years I think I sort of go in waves in terms of attending a lot of sessions at some conferences and treating other conferences as something more of a social or networking social networking event. I have been thinking a lot about conferences and how valuable they are for professional development and how stepping away from conventional (get it, convention?) ways could be better for all. This could be a topic for another blog post.

I originally didn’t plan on doing much of a review or any post on the conference, to be honest. The following tweet from Geoff Jordan was just the nudge I needed. Of course, the oddness of being mentioned in the same tweet as the others was not lost on me.

Well, let’s see, I don’t have anything to say about Nunan’s presentation at this point or on this channel. And, to be fair. I only saw the roughly 7 minutes he went over time.

Luckily, David Harbinson‘s KoTESOL International Conference 2014 Review covers what Long and Thornbury said very well (with a brief but telling mention of Nunan as well). Also, Tim Hampson blogged on sessions from Thornbury and Long (and more, check out the whole series!). Speaking of Long, Jordan himself shared two helpful posts related to Task Based Language Teaching here and here.

I think I have answered Dr. Jordan’s question about as well as possible regarding what humans who are not me said at the conference. I suppose I will quickly mention what I said and did, then. I had three workshops this conference. It was a lot. I might not do such a thing again but it was enjoyable. I also had the great fortune for two of these three sessions to work with great co-presenters. Anna Loseva and Michael Free were pleasures to work with. I appreciate their insight, knowledge, passion, patience, and PPT skillz. What follows is what I said and did at the conference.

Friday’s workshop was on Korean culture and the choices we can make in class related to this. I made a last minute decision to read this post aloud (rather than print it off) and a lively discussion occurred. The title of this workshop was “Cultural Explorations for Teachers: Beyond Confucianism and Excuses” and I believe we did get beyond these 2 common aspects of conversations about English teaching in South Korea. Lots of juicy questions and points were raised. Here is a version of the PowerPoint: Cultural Explorations for Teachers, which might not make so much sense if you were not there. Please let me know if you have any questions. I think my main point (assuming I had one) was something like “don’t believe everything you hear and don’t be a defeatist as things can change.”

On Saturday Anna and I talked about the glorious #FlashmobELT movement and how it can be used to spur on teachers’ creativity. It was lots of fun. One very cool thing that came out of it was a lino wall of activities that participants in the workshop shared. Here is that wall. In the session we mentioned certain criteria we were hoping for on #FlashmobELT activities. That criteria can be found in the PowerPoint slides here: Steal your way to creativity 2.1 (the criteria can be found on slide 11 if you happen to be both very interested and in a rush). I am not sure if I answered the “What did I say” question here but one thing I said was that it is easy to pretend you are creative if you have a few ideas and adapt them.

On Sunday I had the pleasure of talking about using the Experiential Learning Cycle to talk with co-teachers along with Michael Free. The title was “Professional Development for Couples: Reflective Practice for Co-Teachers” and the slides are here CT+RP-KOTESOL 10.5.2014 (1)   It was interesting to see the problems the participants associated with co-teaching and to see if  walking through the ELC could be of help for teachers faced with potentially challenging discussions. My key takeaway here is that lots of the hurtful things we tend to imagine co-teachers saying come from starting at the end or middle of the ELC. I don’t blame co-teachers (or managers or anyone) for doing this because this is way it is usually done in the world. I think the ELC is one nice way to frame conversations about teaching and co-teaching. As Michael Free likes to say it can push the conversations back to students and their learning which is presumably why we are there.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope there was at least something of interest here.

Random additions (with some potentially “in-jokey” ones) :

  • A K0TESOL bigwig said, “I liked your blog post” as he zoomed past me. Considering there are more than 150 posts on the blog I asked, “Which one?” He said he was talking about this one. That was very interesting to me, and become more interesting when he said he’d like to talk about it.
  • I felt this conference was very well run and I thought there were lots of great options for talks to see.
  • Unrelated to the previous bullet points here, I am now a member of KOTESOL.
  • I liked how all the doors had room numbers at this conference.
  • Actually, the venue was great all around.
  • During the wine and cheese party some classy folks like myself (read #KELTchatters) went out and got beers and string cheese. I personally couldn’t handle the waiting in the hot and oxygen deprived line before the gates were eventually lifted for common folks to also enjoy the wine and cheese.
  • At K0TESOL I was able to make some additions to the “Interviews” page on this blog. You will just have to click the link and find out what I am talking about.
  • This was the first year I can remember the conference starting out with workshops on the Friday before the conference began in earnest. I enjoyed the workshops I attended (done by Anna Loseva and Tana Ebaugh). It was fun(ny) to know that at the same time I was doing my workshop Barb Sakamoto and Ahmar Mahboob were running ones in the other room.
  • There were lots of cool people I missed seeing this time around who I’d seen at previous conferences.
  • I really should remember to update the page on this blog where I listed presentations I have done. It would be so easy. The titles are here. I just need to cut and paste them. Ah well, I will wait till the end of the term.
  • I obviously made the title for this post before finishing the post. It is not exactly short. Though it might be short in the “day late and a dollar short” sense of things.
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