Yeditepe University in Istanbul will be hosting the With or Without Technology conference in a couple of weeks’ time and I’m very pleased to have been invited to give a talk there.
I have been lucky enough to make working visits to Turkey more than a dozen times in the last ten years. Most of these visits have been to ELT conferences and I am constantly amazed at the friendliness, enthusiasm and openness to new ideas shown by Turkish teachers – well, the ones who come to conferences, anyway.
In that time, I have also met some really excellent Turkish teacher-presenters, a lot of whom are into stuff that I know very little about, particularly how to use technology in the classroom. There seem to be thousands of ELT bloggers based in Turkey, too.
I’m really pleased to see that they have also begun to spread their ideas internationally by appearing at conferences outside their native land.
The last IATEFL UK conference in Glasgow had the usual gang of enthusiastic young Turks, so I asked some of them to write a little about what they do and to give details of their blogs. I extended the invitation to some others who weren’t there, and also to a couple of non-Turks who work there.
So, here they are, talking about themselves. I hope you enjoy reading about what they do.
I am an EFL teacher, international speaker, a teacher trainer, Voki team ambassador, Cambridge University speaking examiner and blogger.
I have taught adults, young and very young learners since 2002 and currently I am teaching kindergarteners aged 3-6 at a private foundation school in Istanbul.
I strongly believe in the power of combining web-based technologies and story-telling as they are both engaging and fun ways for teaching and learning. I have a blog where I share my ideas and experiences. Since 2008, I have had a twitter account where I have built and continue to build my personal network, learning from and sharing with colleagues and friends from all over the world.
I’ve been teaching English for more than twenty years. I love my job very much. I love learning too, so I attend PD courses and conferences as often as I can. Three years ago, I stepped into social media a little reluctantly, and then I started blogging.
Why was I reluctant? I was wondering whether it was a good idea to keep a personal blog or not as there were so many great bloggers out there whom I admired very much. I was just a teacher, what could I share? Yet, the challenge was there and I took it.
Once I started, my blog decided what kind of blog it would become. I love keeping a blog because I share ideas, lesson plans, I collaborate with classrooms over the world, I ask for advice, I reflect on my teaching and I see where I am going. In short, my blog is my voice. It is my journey in teaching.
A Journey in TEFL http://evasimkesyan.edublogs.org
I was born in Germany into a Turkish immigrant family in 1971. It was there that I picked up my first words of English in the early 80s from Heavy Metal songs by Iron Maiden and the Scorpions. I remember trying to figure out what these guys were so angry about and discovered that they were actually talking about some really interesting and cool topics.
We returned to Turkey in 1986, and I was not very happy about it because my Turkish was not that good since I had only spoken Turkish at home. However, I was happy to discover that my English was better than my high school teacher and I became the guy to sit next to in exams!
In 1997, I completed my experimental MATEFL thesis on Computer Assisted Language Instruction. I was fascinated about the idea of using computers in the language classroom because when I had my first computer in high school, everybody was telling me that it would help me learn better. I was playing only games, but I guess that also had a huge impact on my language skills!
I started working at Yeditepe University in 1999, and I’ve been Educational Technologies Advisor and Administrator there since 2010.
I am very interested in Web 2.0 applications and classroom technologies because I believe that the learning habits of today’s learner have changed radically and that we have to address those habits. That’s why I am working on finding new ways and approaches in language teaching and instruction.
My take on using Prezi (http://prezi.com) in the reading class is a direct attempt to make teachers aware of the different options the Internet provides for language teachers. I want to make teacher aware of the different learning environments the Internet can provide for students.
I work as an EFL instructor at Ozyegin University School of Language Instruction. I worked as an EFL instructor at Bahcesehir University for six years and as a materials developer for some language courses before that. My MA thesis is on Online Communities of Practice. I have been a member of Webheads in Action for five years.
I have co-moderated some Electronic Village Online sessions and done workshops, talks and webinars both in national and international conferences.
I have always considered learning as a never-ending journey and I believe that in order to cope with the increasing amount of information and to keep up to date, we need to look for alternative ways of professional development. Therefore, I look for different options and try to turn the challenges into opportunities both in classroom teaching and professional development.
As a result, I believe that utilizing the Internet for both of these purposes is extremely important for life-long learning and equipping learners and teachers with twenty-first century skills sets. I consider research to be a very important part of this teacher development process. My research interests cover teacher development, multi-literacies, use of Web 2.0 tools in language teaching and professional development, Online Communities of Practice, instructional design and learner autonomy.
I work as an ICT Coordinator at Yildiz Technical University, School of Foreign Languages in Istanbul and I’m studying for an MA in Educational Technology and TESOL with the University of Manchester. I also work as a teacher trainer, and have conducted various ICT training courses in pre-schools, high schools, and universities.
I am also organizing an ELT conference entitled Wired In or Out: Web Technologies in ELT Classrooms – Evaluating Current & Future Practice, which I am immensely looking forward to. It will take place in Istanbul in December.
Contact me whenever you need help. Isn’t teaching about helping others, anyway? 🙂
I would like to extend my special thanks to Ken for this great opportunity; he is always supportive, encouraging and inspiring!
Özge Karaoglu Ergen
I am an English teacher, teacher trainer and educational consultant in teaching young/very young learners and teaching with web-based technologies for international organizations, schools and institutes worldwide.
I am the main author, songwriter and the educational coordinator of the Minigon ELT books that aim to teach English to young learners though stories. I am also working for Mindactiva in the USA as the content and story coordinator of the Yes, I Speak English DVD series that’s designed to give EFL children a jump-start in English. I am the script and screenplay writer of these DVD series and I am developing a course book for the DVDs at the moment.
I have been developing animations, digital games and smart phone applications with my young learners for the last four years.
I have won many awards for my work, including the Medea Creativity and Innovation award and the ESU Cambridge University New Writing Award, which earned me a visit to Buckingham Palace to receive my award from the Duke of Edinburgh.
I am also a nominee for this year’s British Council ELTons awards with my Bubble and Pebble project. I have a blog where I write about teaching English through technology and web-based tools. I am teaching in kindergarten at the moment and enjoying every minute of it.
My blog: www.ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org
My Twitter handle: www.twitter.com/ozge or @ozge
I’m an English teacher who thinks that learning never ends and the passion for sharing and inspiring is key to being a good teacher. I’ve been in this profession for eleven years and I consider my job as a great opportunity to make a difference, and this gives me an increasingly strong sense of satisfaction. Our profession is becoming more and more challenging since the conventional education systems do not meet today’s students needs and interests. I aim to develop my teaching, training and management skills continuously and help other teachers overcome the challenges and turn them into opportunities.
I started teaching English part-time in summer camps and private schools while I was still studying at university and I’ve been teaching professionally for two years now. I’ve taught English to many different age levels, from five to forty-five. Currently, I’m teaching primary level students and also university students in a language school.
I love music and sports. And I can see the effects of my hobbies on my teaching. I play the guitar and the keyboard, so I use these instruments whenever I’m teaching a new song. I like moving and action and my students and me often do activities where you can move, dance, play and etc.
I developed an interest in using web 2.0 tools in the classroom, but I don’t want to put it at the centre of my teaching. I enjoy integrating literature, music, drama & role-play and arts & crafts into my teaching.
I started writing a blog in November 2011 and so far I’m loving it. My adult learners also wanted to blog as I keep talking about blogging.
I see myself giving presentations at conferences very soon.
I don’t technically fit into the ‘Turk’ category (but would like to include myself in the ‘young’ part for a while yet!) hailing as I do from Staffordshire in the UK. However, I’ve been in Turkey long enough to qualify for bizden oldun artık (you’re one of us now) status.
Apart from a brief stint in Barcelona, where I earned my Trinity TESOL certificate, I’ve spent my teaching career in Ankara, first working at a dershane (language school for adults) before taking the plunge and into the young learner domain. Ten years on, I’m still working with the little angels in a private college and am now on the verge of completing an MA in EdTech and TESOL via the University of Manchester.
As well as my studies, I’m interested in effectively applying technology in the classroom and through blending learning programmes, autonomous learning and materials-light, student-driven (though not pure dogme) learning experiences.
I’m also active on the busy Turkish conference circuit. I try to bring all of these experiences together with a bit of critical reflection on my blog Reflections of a Teacher and Learner (www.davedodgson.com) and you can also find me on Twitter @DaveDodgson.
Like Dave, I’m an honorary member of the posse, both in the ‘young’ and in the ‘Turk’ sense. I’ve been here for twelve years now and love the place more than ever. Having swapped Yorkshire for Istanbul, that’s not too hard, though!
I’ve spent all of my time here working in the tertiary education sector, preparing students for academic life in English-medium universities. I got qualified here initially and managed to land my first job in the same building where I took the CELTA. Since then I haven’t looked back and enjoy my chosen career as much as ever, although it is getting increasingly tough to see the students staying the same age while I get one year older each academic year.
In the past three or four years, I’ve been really growing into the job of teaching – it took that long – and now feel confident to take a regular place on the conference circuit here in Turkey. A big part of this confidence has been a result of the fantastic friendships I’ve made and the goodwill I’ve received since I started blogging about my everyday life as a teacher in a foreign country.
My main goal as a teacher remains trying to make a positive impact on the lives of those I teach, which I feel goes beyond merely improving their language skills.
PS I meant to add a dictionary definition for ‘Young Turk’, so here’s one: