Get all the info here.
Oh my, where to start, seven presentations in ten hours, several cups of coffee, some lovely people and a suitcase full of freebies, my brain is buzzing, or melting I’m not sure which!
What have I learnt today?
How to get published in a refereed journal with Graham Hall
A very interesting session, Graham gave plenty of concrete hints and ideas, including:
1. Write with a specific journal in mind, they all have different requirements relating to wordcount, style (theory vs practical for example), so look at a few copies and ask for their author guidelines first.
2. Start small, write up something small but specific from an action research project before trying to publish your whole thesis.
3. Don’t be too local or specific – make sure it will interest a broad audience.
4. Be sure your work is clearly written, is internally consistent and accessible – i.e. understandable and not full of obscure anacronyms.
5. Illustrate awareness of other research in the same field but don’t overdo the references, for example 15 is pleanty for ELT Journal.
He explained the editing process and the time delay of up to 60 days from receiving work, and his final piece of advice was upbeat and optimistic – kind of!
6. Don’t give up! Nobody is ever published straight off first time round, expect a request for revision at the very, very best!
The efficiency of inefficiency: an ecological perspective on curriculum by Kathleen Graves
This was a very well presented session, in which Kathleen talked about the place of relationships, students’ needs, time and a long-term view in the classroom. I couldn’t begin to do justice to all her ideas but I’m sure they’ll soon be available here.
Investigating praise and giving feedback by Lesley Keast
This was a presentation of Lesley’s dissertation for her M.A. that she did through Sheffield Hallam (where I’m doing mine) so I was especially interested by the postive things she had to say about the team there.
Her paper was detailed and very organised, and gave me an idea of the hard work I will have to put in!
Then I attended the debate – this house believes that primary ELT does more harm than good.
Fiona Copland did a fine job in proposing the motion, citing a lack of coherent evidence, the problems finding trained teachers for this level and the need to concentrate on literacy and Maths at this age.
Janet Enver opposed the motion with the comment “the deed is done”, primary ELT is an intergral part of the school curriculum in many countries and we should be working towards its successful development.
Audience participation brought up many issues dear to my heart, class numbers – for example I heard about classes of up to 70 children in some countries, and thought about my negotiating for class sizes of maximum 20. There were also teachers from Switzerland talking aabout ELT in multi-lingual countries, where other national languaes are already obligatory at primary level.
This was a fascinating debate, and I must admit Fiona nearly won me over, my own experience has shown that after a couple of years at secondary school, those pupils who learnt English in primary do not necessarily have better results than those who started later. This I feel is because, due to the haphazard nature of primary English, one year, or two, or none, or maybe German instead, we always have to “start from scratch” in secondary school.
I say “nearly” because there is one fact that pulls me back to supporting primary ELT, and for me it’s the most important – THE KIDS LOVE IT! I’ve shouted it because it’s very important for me! If they love English, they’ll be fine, they’ll learn.
All this was only the morning, it’s been such an information-packed day. I’m just poppping out for dinner, and then I’ll be back with this afternoon’s highlights in a bit.