Amanda Yeşilbursa

Friday 27th May

Plenary speaker: Amanda Yeşilbursa, Bursa Uludağ University  

Plenary: Reflective English Language Teaching: Understanding the Past to Shape the Future

Abstract: Reflective approaches to teaching have maintained their relevancy in English language teaching and teacher education for over two decades. Reflective teaching aims to foster autonomy in teachers by developing their analytic and critical thinking skills so that they can observe and evaluate the effects of their teaching practice in their particular context. This in turn brings about changes in teachers’ attitudes and awareness that can positively affect students’ learning, as well as maintaining the teachers’ feeling of personal achievement and well-being. Reflective skills have been particularly important for teachers recently given the rapid changes that have occurred at a global scale in education systems, Turkey included. In this talk, I will present how the notion of reflective practice has evolved from a somewhat ambiguous concept to take on a more ‘evidence-based’ (Mann & Walsh, 2017), and suggest ways forward for research in reflective English language teaching.

Workshop: Doing Reflection

Abstract: In this workshop we will look at different ways to reflect on our practice. We will cover different models of reflective practice and their pros and cons, individual and collaborative reflection, what to reflect on, barriers to reflection and how to overcome them, as well as giving and receiving feedback. I will provide examples of real data for discussion.

Bio: Originally from the UK, Dr Amanda Yeşilbursa has been involved in ELT and teacher education for over 30 years. She has taught students of all ages and levels, from kindergarten to postgraduate in contexts as varied as Taiwan, the UK, and Turkey. She gained her postgraduate degrees in ELT from Gazi University, and currently holds the position of full professor at Bursa Uludağ University. She teaches Teaching English Language Skills at undergraduate level, and Classroom Interaction, Language Teacher Psychology and Theories and Applications of Qualitative Research at postgraduate level. Her research interests include reflective practice, English Language teacher education, and Hogwarts School of Magic and Wizardry as a context for teaching practice.

Christina Gkonou

Saturday 28th May

Plenary speaker (Opening): Christina Gkonou, University of Essex

Plenary: Understanding Language Teacher Emotions

Abstract: Emotions are at the center of all human behavior, and teaching and learning are no exception. Teaching, in particular, requires careful handling of teacher own emotions and that teachers also demonstrate empathy, enthusiasm, and optimism in order to influence their learners’ emotions positively. Despite the inherent importance of teacher emotions and wellbeing in the process of teaching, existing research has been disproportionately less than that into language learner emotions (Gkonou, Dewaele, & King, 2020).

In this talk, I take stock of what we already know about language teacher emotions in terms of specific emotions felt as part of one’s practice, challenging moments experienced throughout one’s career, and positive psychology. I discuss how this knowledge can help us to better understand teachers and inform classroom practice. I then reflect on what we still potentially do not know about how language teacher emotions work and what possible new directions we can take within research and education to address this important, yet neglected, side of teaching.


Workshop: Socio-emotional competencies for language learning and teaching

Abstract: Language learning and teaching are fundamentally social and interpersonal practices, and often generate a number of emotional reactions amongst learners and teachers. The omnipresence of emotions makes it necessary for them to develop a set of socio-emotional skills, which encompass the following three key life competencies: a) self-awareness, or identifying and talking about emotions; b) self-regulation, or managing one’s own emotions; and c) empathy and relationship skills. Within psychology, these competencies are broadly categorised under the constructs of emotional intelligence (EI) and social intelligence (SI), two terms which became widely known through Daniel Goleman’s (1995, 2005) bestselling popular science books. Researchers in the fields of psychology and general education have indeed suggested that apart from standard IQ tests, strong socio-emotional skills are also indicators of being intelligent. This session will focus on reviewing theories of EI and SI, how these have been applied in language education (Gkonou & Mercer, 2017, 2018; Mercer & Gkonou, 2017) and how socio-emotional competencies can be used in contemporary classrooms.

Bio: Dr Christina Gkonou is Associate Professor of TESOL and MA TESOL Programme Leader in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Essex, UK. She convenes postgraduate modules on language teacher education and development, and on psychological aspects surrounding the foreign language learning and teaching experience. She is co-editor of New Directions in Language Learning Psychology (with Sarah Mercer and Dietmar Tatzl), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Mark Daubney), and The Emotional Rollercoaster of Language Teaching (with Jean-Marc Dewaele and Jim King). She is also co-author of MYE: Managing Your Emotions Questionnaire (with Rebecca L. Oxford) and has published a number of research articles in international, peer-reviewed journals. Her new co-authored book (with Kate Brierton) for Cambridge University Press is on Cultivating teacher wellbeing and will be out in October 2022.

Belgin Elmas

Saturday 28th May

Plenary speaker (Closing): Belgin Elmas, TED University

Plenary: Increasing Foreign Language Teachers’ Awareness of Feedback Literacy

Abstract: Feedback provides a clear path to follow for the students. The pandemic period we have been going through has shown the importance of giving clear and efficient feedback to the learners even more. Yet, teacher training programs may not provide enough opportunities for preparing their teachers with the necessary knowledge and skills to become feedback literate professionals.  As shown in many studies, teachers might be focusing more on the mechanics of the giving feedback process with a “cognitivist transmission model” and might be not very familiar with the recent “socio-constructivist approach” in encouraging their learners to engage with the feedback they receive and act upon it. This presentation will first focus on the barriers limiting learners in benefitting from what they receive from their teachers. It then will provide how teachers’ awareness can be increased by the Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit (DEFT) composed of Knowing, Being and Acting modules. The aim of the presentation is to develop foreign language teachers’ feedback literacy and help them develop knowledge and skills to create conditions for their students to appreciate and use feedback effectively.

Bio: Belgin Aydın is a professor working as the ELT Department Head at TED University since 2018. She had her undergraduate and PhD degrees at Anadolu University ELT Department and her MA at Bilkent University with Fulbright Scholarship. She served as Deputy Director of Graduate School of Education Sciences between 2004-2008, and as the Director of School of Foreign Languages between 2014-2019. In her doctorate dissertation, Aydın focused on the sources of foreign language anxiety in speaking and writing skills and since then has been conducting research mainly on teacher training, technology integration in language teaching, distance learning and curriculum development. She directed many MA theses on various topics and two PhD theses on language assessment. Working as a director and a researcher in various TUBİTAK and BAP projects, Aydın has been teaching courses including methodology in language teaching, teaching English to children, digital material development and individual differences in language learning.

Kate Pickering

Saturday 28th May (Afternoon)

Plenary speaker : Kate Pickering, Macmillan Education

Plenary: Promoting Student Well-being through English

Abstract: Teacher, author and trainer, Kate Pickering, will consider what we mean by social and emotional skills and the role English teachers can play in helping students develop a healthy mindset in today’s challenging world. We’ll look at practical ideas for integrating student well-being into our classes, so as to produce positive results not only during English lessons, but in students’ life beyond the classroom.

Bio: Kate Pickering is a teacher, trainer and writer based in Madrid. She worked at International House for over 20 years and currently teaches English at Comillas University. She is the author of course books for adults and teens, including “Global”, “Communicate” and Macmillan Education’s new secondary course “Get Involved”.