So, what do you think?

merry go round
All the fun of the fair

Hi everyone,

I decided today that rather than give the highlight of the sessions I went to I’d talk to people at the conference to find out their thoughts about the conference. I aksed the people I spoke to just one questions:

“What has this conference made you think about?”

So, it’s only fair if I start the ball rolling myself and tell you what I think.

A Fantastic Roundabout of ideas and meetings

I’m actually exhausted at the moment, but in a positive way, and I’m fully intending to get my second wind and go to the Pecha Kucha soon. What I have to say though is that this conference has been packed with inspiration for me. last year was not so good as I hobbled around on two broken ankles (Yes, I know you’re tired of hearing about it but it feeds my martyr complex 🙂 ) so it was all a bit of a haze. This year has been one of the best conferences I’ve attended for ages, and I’m sure that when I get back these incredible ideas will begin to fall into place, so watch this space for more blog posts. But the social aspect was also really important and I’ve caught up with so many people here this year and connected with others who I only really knew through distancelearning or ELTChat.

So, I went to the Pecha Kucha, which was fantastic and caught up with more friends along the way, rounding the evening off with Yorkshire Sausages in Betty’s. (If you haven’t been there yet, make time to go before you leave, if only for a cup of their lovely tea.) Anyway, here are a few of the things people said to me, which are anonhymous, but I’ve specified the place these people are working in. I’d love to hear from you as well, so please add your answers to the question in the comments space below if you’d like to. 🙂


The Social Side of things

This of course got some positive comments despite the hangovers that were walking around this morning after the CUP party last night:

The world is a very small place. (Jersey)

It’s about seeing people and catching up. (London)

The organisation

I admire the organisers and I’m enthusiastic about the whole project which is Iatefl: it’s quite unique. (Germany)

Inspiring! Everyone is always so supportive and the mentoring system works really well. Everyone’s friendly and the audiences are supportive. (Germany)

Thoughts about language, teaching and teacher training

ELT teachers are not following the Edtech trends easily which is not the case with secondary teachers, who are applying the technology. (Dubai)

It made me think how far the DELTA is behind the current thinking and what people are saying here. It also made me think about levels after David Graddol’s plenary when I was talking to people in India at a call centre for help with my mobile phone, and was passed along a chain of people with different levels until I reached somoeone with high levels who had enough language to be able to reassure me.  (Leeds)

The principle behind lexical priming is so beautifully simple. (Dublin)

There is a long way to go to bridge the gap between what is being discussed here and what happens in the classroom. (Russia)

I realise that there are many different routes open to me and that it’s easy to branch out. Culture can be an asset in the classroom and I got lots of practical classroom activities too. (France)

Organising your time at the Conference

Collaboration, communication and development. Sharing and networking (Rumania)

It’s really important to know how to choose what to go to and what not to go to. My conference has been a bit more hit than miss this year, and it was better last year when I had very specific aims about what I wanted to see. (Germany)

So there you are: a quick taste of what different people are taking away with them. 🙂




Meet Nina Hanakova…or on Facebook: Nina EnglishBrno

Nina Hanakova known as Nina EnglishBrno on facebook
Nina Hanakova known as Nina EnglishBrno on facebook


Hi everyone,

Welcome to the second of my PLN “Who’s next…? Challenge (thanks to Brad Patterson for this Blog Challenge) Interviews. This week I interviewed Nina Hanakova from Brno in the Czech Republic. I have not known Nina for very long, so it’s nice to get the chance to discover a little more about someone who, I can see from Facebook, is an incredibly learner centred, innovative teacher, who combines a love of technology with a truly caring attitude towards her students. If you have never visited her blog you can find her here. English Brno greets you with what looks like a really comfortable sofa for you to relax on as Nina shares her teaching ideas with you and at the same time opens a window for you to take a peek at her learners and some of  their work so… here goes: 


Nina in Brno with her students at their final party

1) If your students were to label you with 3 adjectives, what might they be?
– talkative, fun, supportive
2) What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
– lots of veggies, different kinds of Czech, Slovak and Greek cheese, Greek olives, ouzo (we had Greek family friends visiting us last week), Moravian white wine, two bottles of local beer, strawberry jam, marinated chicken breasts, trout (fish), apple juice, milk.
3) If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?
– intercultural consultant
4) What do you find most difficult about working in teaching, or What has been your most difficult moment in class?
– most difficult in teaching: class time management – sometimes I could spend all day with my students
5) What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?
– last movie I saw was “Life in a Day”, the Youtube movie, last book I read “ScreemFree Parenting”, I have seen “The Family Stone” too many times
6) Do you like working as a freelance teacher?
– I love it! I am a big fan of freelancing. I wish everyone on this planet could work for themselves/in small private companies, following their true passions. I love what I do and the fact that I am my own boss gives me complete freedom to choose when, where, how, with whom and if at all I will work today.
7) How do you juggle work and parenting?
– it’s an everyday challenge. especially because I have to plan my working time very carefully. which doesn’t always work the best for me as I like to work in “creative waves”. but my partner and my mom are very helpful. I find it important to feel balanced both personally and professionally.

The passion and enthusiasm for teaching and communicating shines through these asnwers! So I’ll just finish with one of Nina’s favourite quotes from her Facebook page. I like it because it is both brave and liberating, and in tune with the essence of Nina EnglishBrno:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter!” ~ Dr. Suess

If you want to read more interviews that bloggers have done in response to this challenge follow this link to Dave Dodgson’s Scoop.It page

PLN Interview Challenge…. Meet Anita

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Meet Anita Adnan

Meet Anita Adnan

Last month Brad Patterson launched the idea of an interview challenge where various bloggers interview each other or people  from their PLNs so that we can get to know each other a bit better… a great idea, which was seized upon by several people straight away. It takes others, like me, a bit longer, but better late than never as they say. I extended the activity to my Facebok PLN as well and this is the first interview, introducing the Amazing Anita Adnan.

I first met Anita when I attended a teacher training session that she held on WizIQ a couple of months ago, and then we hooked up on Facebook too. She is originally from Malaysia but is currently doing a PHD in education at Nottingham University in the UK. Anita is a caring teacher who is passionate about the world of online teaching. If I had to think of one adjective to describe her approach to education it would have to be …innovative. She loves experimentation and teaches regularly by means of Skype or by doing Facebook “live chat sessions” which are attended by students and teachers.

She is also a very lively, enthusiastic mother and teacher so, without any more ado, here are her answers to the five great questions suggested by Brad plus the two questions she herself “would like to be asked in an interview”:

1)  If your students were to label you with 3 adjectives, what might they be?

enthusiastic, accomodating, adventurous 🙂

2) What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

all kinds of filling for sandwiches and top ups for pizzas..

3) If you weren’t a teacher, what might your profession be?

a photographer – i love taking pictures, and create stories out of them.

4) What do you find most difficult about working in teaching, or What has been your most difficult moment in class?

when students do not respond / when they are too quiet! i can’t stand silence in the classrooms!

5) What was the last book/movie you read/saw, and what have you seen/read way too many times?

the Element – Sir Ken Robinson. i’ve watched The Notebook too many times 🙂

6) What is the future of online teaching?

ALL teachers should try it – build your presence online and try it out – we need to learn from our mistakes / experiments.

7) Where do you  see yourself in the next 5 years?

on a quiet beach, teaching online to some 100+ learners from all around the world 🙂

Come to Famagusta

I’ve noticed the theme of the beach cropping up in more than one of these interviews, and maybe it’s something we all aspire to. I know, I do, so maybe we’ll all meet up one day in the flesh… right there, on the beach: a great place to hold a conference?