First time presenting at a Tesol convention-feelings and some tips…

 

My first time as a presenter at a Tesol convention

My first time as a presenter at a Tesol convention

After years of active membership in both Tesol Greece and Tesol Macedonia-Thrace-Northern Greece, I finally decided to deliver a presentation ,in this year’s Tesol MTN Greece annual convention in March!

As I planned  my  session, I thought  about programs I had attended that had worked well and followed those examples. Similarly, if I recalled a session that I had  attended in the past that was not successful, I learnt from those mistakes!

Tesol conventions: networking is precious!

Tesol conventions: networking is precious!

I had in mind that ,when speeches and presentations are poorly organized, the impact of the message is reduced and the audience is less likely to accept the speaker or the speaker’s ideas.

Truth is, TESOL wants speakers  to do well. I knew, I would have all the support I would need..!

Of course, I must admit  I  was a bit nervous, before the big day! It’s normal to get nervous about public speaking, I guess…

I made sure that I used my notes to help me  remember what I wanted to say. (I actually, used my notes more  than I should have ….)

I also rehearsed a LOT!

Meeting old friends and making new ones! With a bunch of amazing Tesolers and speakers!

Meeting old friends and making new ones! With a bunch of amazing Tesolers and speakers!

Last but not least, I made sure that I read  the TESOL list of best practices to help me  create a successful session. I am sharing this  list here ….

 In your opening remarks, introduce yourself and mention the name and the purpose of the session.

 Attendees expect your presentation to reflect the description used to promote your session. Please ensure that it does.

 Stand up when presenting, even if you are part of a panel discussion.

 Always use your microphone, and repeat all questions from attendees.

 Engage session attendees as active learners rather than passive listeners.

 Provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to ask questions, interact with each other, and apply the concepts you are presenting.

 Provide resources and handout materials in advance of your session.

 Be energetic and enthusiastic! Attendees will feed off your energy, which will make the learning experience more useful and rewarding.

 Comply with all program-related deadlines provided by TESOL, including but not limited to deadlines for handouts, A/V orders, etc.

 Agree to notify TESOL immediately in event that an emergency should prevent you from meeting your obligation to present.

With a star speaker whom I admire: Ken Wilson.

With a star speaker whom I admire: Ken Wilson.

Know Your Audience

Who attends the TESOL convention? The attendees are primarily from higher education and elementary education, and they represent all job functions in the field. Consultants and exhibitors also attend.

What do attendees expect?

All attendees value openness and diversity of thinking as they tackle real issues in the classroom. They want substance and knowledge they can immediately put in to practice. All are looking for new ways to solve their current challenges and for ways to push their students, programs, and institutions toward better outcomes.

What your attendees will remember

 What they actually did in your session, not what they saw or heard

 Exercises that demonstrated your point

 Stories and examples that painted a mental picture

 Particularly powerful metaphors that can serve as reminders

 Small group discussion of key points

 Interaction with peers

What your attendees won’t remember

 Your incredible statistics, even though such facts will build your credibility

 Most of your jokes, although giving them a few laughs will make them more receptive to your information and thinking

 How eloquent you were, although your clarity of thought will help them comprehend what you are trying to say

My presentation topic and...crazy me!

My presentation topic and happy me!

Quick Tips:Things to Consider

Do

 Smile, relax, and have fun—the audience will feel it

 Use an ice-breaker to get your audience interacting and engaged from the beginning

 Be energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate

 Use appropriate humor or other ways to engage your audience

 Know your topic well enough so that you do not have to read it from your slides

 Define any acronyms that your audience may not know

 Move around—don’t trap yourself behind a laptop

 Allow the audience to ask questions

 Try to add stories, anecdotes, testimonials, or demonstrations that emphasize your point

 Repeat questions asked by the audience so that everyone will hear

 Stay on track and within your allotted time

 Close your presentation by summarizing your key points

 Provide tools and information that audience can implement

 Remember that the audience is very interested in what you have to say and they want you to do well!

Me, presenting with confidence...

Me, presenting with confidence…

Don’t

 Read your presentation from your slides or your notes

 Use acronyms that that audience might not know

 Look over your shoulder at the presentation screen (PowerPoint)

 Use slides that contain nothing but text

 Engage in distracting conversations with other presenters while someone else is talking

 Answer questions without repeating questions first

 Use conversation fillers like “umm,” “you know,” and “like”

 Speak so quickly that your audience has trouble understanding you

At the end of my presentation, with a bunch of dear friends and colleagues!

At the end of my presentation, with a bunch of dear friends and colleagues!

If your question now is, whether I managed to follow all those quidelines during my presentation, my  answer will be ” not really”!…

But, this is not what really mattered! The important thing was, that I finally did it!! I accepted the challege and decided to share my teaching  practices and class experience ,in public! I am no expert, I am just an ordinary teacher, who sometimes  does…..extraordinary things in class!

And because my motto is ” Sharing is caring”, I had to dare , share and inspire other teachers the same way, I have been inspired by amazing educators out there ,throughout me teaching career ! Tesol has been my major source of inspiration all these years!

I am a proud Tesoler and so happy to be able to offer something back!

Thank you Tesol Mac.Thr. N. Greece for the opportunity to share and show how much I do care!

After all, SHARING IS CARING! Dare to share!

The importance of blogging in ELT

My mentor to start blogging: the amazing Vicky Loras!

My mentor to start blogging: the amazing Vicky Loras!

When I started blogging a few months ago, I was just thinking about sharing my thoughts and teaching experiences. I didn’t expect to develop such a community, a friendship with other teachers from around the world.And , sometimes, I think I learn and take so much and give back so little…My motto is: SHARING IS CARING!

Many colleagues, ask me all the time about what a blog actually is or how it helps teachers …Well, a blog (short for weblog) is a frequently updated website that often resembles an online journal. It’s so easy to create and update a blog – it requires only basic access to the Internet, and a minimum of technical know-how.

Why I blog?

Blogging helps me to remember.So many times this year I said ” How did I do that?” and I searched my own blog to find out! I also used the blog to actually teach lessons- the pics from the previous year’s kids helped me to inspire this year’s bunch. Having a set curriculum, I often repeat concepts, but blogging helps me remember, teach, reflect and do better!

I blog because I enjoy sharing ideas! Blogging is an excellent way to network with like minded people and learn with them. I also enjoy the added benefit of having a written and visual record of the activities I have tried in class.

blogging kieran

By blogging, I have developed a community, a friendship with other teachers from around the world… The inspiring educator Kieran Donaghy, is one of them!

Here are some reasons for writing or using blogs:

Blogging is educational.

We are teachers, but also learners.

As an online portfolio of our classwork.

Blogging helps us to reflect.

And grow professionally and personally.

Blogging broadens our horizons.

Blogging shifts our perspectives.

Blogging motivates and inspires.

Blogging is a way to share our expertise.

Blogging is a way to find support.

Bogging spreads the word.

And makes it contagious!

Blogging is FUN!

My mentor in starting my own blog has been the amazing  Vicky Loras !

Vicky is a very inspiring blogger! I love all her posts!

Vicky is a very inspiring blogger! I love all her posts!

Now, it’s my turn….So, tonight, I offer a toast to my many dedicated colleagues with the hope that more good teachers start their own blogs. I firmly believe that all teachers should be bloggers.  I started because I felt I could no longer ignore the nagging sense that I must contribute!

The teachers get a voice other than in the class room,it gives them the confidence that they need to blossom and bloom.It would be interesting to draw the statistics as to how many teachers can actually speak publicly.Blogging will give them the confidence and chance to speak to themselves and others.

bloggers

Among a bunch of greek bloggers!

I admit that, I  blog mainly  for my own reflection.I started a blog thinking I might just share some classroom teaching  ideas but as I began writing, I began to discover the joy of expressing myself. Now I’ve begun to read posts by other authors which is expanding my thinking even further. I continue my efforts to contribute to the blogging universe, I realize that I’m learning more about myself than creating a learning space for others.

We all have so much to learn from each other- how lucky we are to have found a way to connect with so many, far and wide!

As long as I teach, I will blog!

Another amazing greek blogger: Dimitris Primalis.http://differentefl.blogspot.gr/

Another amazing greek blogger: Dimitris Primalis.

Sharing our knowledge, can make us better educators who provide a better education for children which means a better future for our world!

Finally, here’s a list of some great blogs to follow, before you might consider having your own blog….if you finally do, I’ll be really glad to know …!

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/top-20-teacher-blogs

blogging annie

Networking brings us closer: Annie Tsai from Taiwan and our shared project work, has been presented in a Tesol convention recently, by Vicky Loras! I am so grateful for that!

 

 

TESOL conventions and me

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I always get to extend my professional learning network via adding to it more like-minded teachers and educators.

 I am a proud TESOLER!

I decided to  join Julia Alivertis  in one of the conventions in Athens a few years ago  and have  been attending most Tesol conventions since then… Since the concept of attending conventions  was introduced to me, I have attended at least one convention  a year. To me, it is like any other occasion that comes annually, like birthdays and anniversaries. I look forward to it because it is also one way I can travel!

I believe that, Tesol Conventions , are a great way for teachers to get to meet other educators and exchange their expertise and learn from each other.Personally speaking, each such event  I attend I come out of it with a bunch of new ideas to try out or to investigate further. I also always get to extend my professional learning network via adding to it more like-minded teachers and educators.

I return to these conferences primarily because of their multi-disciplinary nature, their strong support of learner-centered education and their focus on student engagement.  I believe that attending the Tesol Professional development  events , improves my teaching by increasing my awareness of the power of engagement within the school teaching environment. I can also happily attest to an increasing confidence from having acquired new skills and the ease in implementing changes. I have noticed an increased joy in my teaching and a greater willingness and ability to make changes to my courses and teaching strategies. This greater enthusiasm has transformed the classroom environment in a most positive way as well as encouraged a greater collegiality and appreciation of the contributions of both my colleagues and my students.

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With my favourite university years friends !

More random thoughts about Tesol conventions I have attended so far:

I like that there are so many people from so many places, lots of variety of backgrounds. I like the content and feel there are always  many offerings I want to hear. I like that they “practice what they preach” in terms of utilizing active learning techniques even for the plenary

I enjoy seeing how many people are  passionate about improving their teaching and bringing back ideas to their colleagues. This conferences rejuvenate my excitement to re-vamp my syllabus every year and apply some of what I learn at the conference as well as share with others what I learn.

I like that I meet a lot of people who share my passion for teaching and learning and who are  not shy about responding in workshops or starting conversations. I like that workshops are teaching-focused and not discipline specific. I enjoy every session I attend,  because of the wonderful spirit of the participants, all eager to learn and share their wisdom

It is nice to take specifically dedicated time to reflect on teaching practices and to talk with like-minded colleagues. Some sessions provid new and interesting ideas…

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I like that I meet a lot of people who share my passion for teaching and learning and who are not shy about responding in workshops or starting conversations

I come back with so many great ideas about how to be a better teacher. Also, I find out that I am doing some things pretty good already which is  good for my self-doubting soul.

 Love the enthusiasm. Love the common theme of wanting to be better teachers. We love what we do, all of us, wish to get better at it and learn from each other

Also, the networking opportunities and the practicality of most presentations.

I love the practice-based content. I’m rather sick of coventions  that are all theory and no practice.

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I like that there are so many people from so many places, lots of variety of backgrounds.

I love the the feeling of belonging to a group that shares the same  passion, the knowledge we get from presentations, and interacting with our peers and experts in the field. What good it will do depends on how you view the experience. Sometimes we go to a presentation, and it was not what we thought it was going to be. It is hit-or-miss, really. However, if you look at it from a different angle, you still may be able to extract something from the experience. It opens minds and it opens doors.

I have found that, Tesol events  do have an effect on your teaching philosophy and practices, without your being aware of it: how open-minded you are to changes, how much of a team player you are, how much you want to improve and offer your students a variety of activities, and so on.

Once you get your “conference mode” turned on, you want to attend as much as you can if time and money permit. The next thing you want to do is to present. Get in the game! It may take  me a while before I finally get  the courage to present.

The important thing is to keep learning, to know what’s hot and what’s not! One really easy way to do this is to attend professional development events and become a member of a professional organization such as Tesol!

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The conventions parties are unforgetable!! Meeting with colleagues, outside the classrooms is awesome!