Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Teaching 14-15 year olds for 24hrs a week is not only exhausting, draining and, at times annoying, but also it offers one, (so old now), the chance to really connect with how their minds work; which is, I must admit, rather surprising at times.  Because of the 24hrs, it simply cannot be a copy of the old teacher-student dichotomy of, "US & THEM".  Those days are gone for me, and we, as English teachers, also have to get down to their level so that we can make that connect.  Of course, we must set the boundaries with structured frameworks, so that things can run smoothly, but on the whole we manage to get results (for most, not all!).
In consideration of that we are expected to be interested parties for the students as PASTORAL CARERS as well as the teachers who give them the mechanics and inspiration to motivate them into reaching B2 after one year of instruction.  So, along the way you are faced with bored teenagers.  What do you do?

The question posed at the end of the last paragraph is one we ask oursleves every week, and we search for new and quirky, interesting and challenging activities we hope the students find worthy of their time.  On the weekend I came across an interesting story in my Twitter feed that caught my eye. Andrew Whyte, 39, from Southsea, Portsmouth in the UK, takes a lego character with him around London for a year.  He then takes pictures from the perspective of the little character.  The results are inspiring.

As teachers we know that in order to engage any learner, we must make a connection to the students own world.  We have to find ways of convincing them that anything we tell them, show them or make them do has a purpose for each of them, indiviually, no matter what; otherwise, they won't enter into the activity, or idea you have spent time preparing.  This activity lends itself, to me, as one that teenagers will find interesting. We can also show their mastery of the present simple and past with continuous constructions also in there to make it a useful ELT tool and EFL activity. I came up with the following:

Teenagers are well reknowned for their petulance, indifference, dissent, anger, frustration, irrational desires and hot flushes, right?  These are the emotions we all have, of course, but they are particularly accentuated during adolescence.  So, they also feel depressed, manic and scunnered with their humdrum existence.  They really do live in the teenage rat-race, and feel like they are bereft of any way out.  That is why I felt that a good way to show those (genuine) feelings was to record a week in their lives through quirky pictures.  They have to take one photograph, each day for one week, then present
it to their peers.  The quirky part comes from following Andrew Whyte's model of using a toy figure to show parallels to their own lives.  This way, psychologically, it masks their own bearing-of-their-souls-to-the-world by using that inanimate plastic character to represent themselves.  In addition, it gets them using English as the means of recording the activities when they present.  It also introduces perspective, a valid reason for taking photographs and shows their creative snap-taking skills.

Since we have found that BLENDSPACE is a fabulous ICT-ELT support platform to use with teenagers, the old days of powerpoint or keynote and prezi have been resigned to the bin.  Therefore, our student-presentations are now done using this effective means of getting their message over to their peers.  Here is our introductory presentation...


The proof of the pudding is certainly in the eating, so here we have a selection of our students images for you to see how they roll, and to prove it is possible to get into their minds, and under their skin for positive outcomes.  We believe you'll be impressed... 

Well, there were seventeen students who were supposed to do it, and they did. HOWEVER, for many different reasons (their excuses) it was only these three boys who took the whole activity seriously; and it shows!  The others were badly thought out, not well-taken or the pictures had flaws of reason.  So, we gave these boys 92 from the criteria and the rest ranged from 85 down to 10!!  You can't win 'em all, but it is so nice to see teenage boys, instead of it only being the girls, making an effort in order to grow for high school.

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