Now back in Heidelberg safe and sound, I can reflect a bit on my last few days in Cardiff.
Among the 6 presentations which I attended on Friday, the 3 which offered me new ideas to add to the host of those I had already gleaned in the previous days looked at:
Making group work more effective and teaching students how to talk “together” in a more shared fashion,
Taking CPD a step further in making learning at the institutional level more visible and
Examining teachers’ styles of questioning in the classroom and how to improve them so that they support classroom management and facilitate student-centeredness.
In each of these sessions, the presenters shared personal experience, gave practical tips and again, linked theory to practice or to a general understanding of effective teaching methods and materials. On Saturday, I had the privilege of spending a few minutes listening to Mr. Baldock’s presentation in the symposium on Virtual Tools and Spaces which dealt with how we can continue to encourage students to reflect on their use of language even in an online environment. This, before heading back to my own symposium on Action Research where I presented a talk on embedding Research and Scholarship into Teaching with the aim of providing an opportunity for reflective practice among teachers and the development of a culture of research within the institution. The final keynote address which captured the attention of what was left of the gathering was brilliant. Looking at developing the “intercultural speaker”, the presenter helped us again to focus our attention on giving students the chance to further develop a sense of self and their relationship to the social world in a more authentic and enlivening way. She charged us to create opportunities which allow us to explore students’ presuppositions and challenge their stereotypes. We received an appropriate supply of practical examples and online resources to take us through, as we move our students from “outside looking in” to “inside looking out” – a metaphor which one can apply in a multitude of ways.All in all, it was an intense and at the same time rewarding experience. I enjoyed both listening to and contributing my own views in the various sessions I attended.
I certainly look forward to other such enlightening occasions and share Mr. Baldock’s view that the conference offered new ideas/perspectives, gave us a chance to go more deeply into a variety of themes and provided the opportunity for us to participate in an experience and exchange that we normally would not.
To the great contacts I made
and who are reading this blog, do stay in touch and I hope we meet again in person.