ISTEK Schools Third International ELT Conference

Adam Simpson interviews Jamie Keddie for ISTEK ELT #istekelt

Adam Simpson, a member of the ISTEK ELT Social Media team and well-known educator and blogger in ELT, interviewed author and teacher Jamie Keddie, who gave a concurrent keynote session  at the conference. Watch the very interesting conversation they had!


Vicky Loras interviews Herbert Puchta at ISTEK ELT #istekelt

The ISTEK ELT Conference mave have finished three weeks ago, but the impact has been huge and discussions around it are still going on! The interviews are now being uploaded to the ISTEK ELT Youtube channel.

The first one to be uploaded is Herbert Puchta’s, interviewed by Vicky Loras. Herbert spoke about his plenary and session and gave us some insight into teaching Young Learners, which is the main focus of his work in ELT.

Welcome to #ISTEKELT 2013!



On April 27-28, 2013, all ELT eyes will be on a great conference – ISTEK ELT 2013: Through Their Eyes: Understanding Learner Perceptions of teaching and Learning, at Yeditepe University, Istanbul. Organised by Burcu Akyol and her great team, this is going to be an event not to miss!

There has been a lot of discussion and many talks have been made on the topic of how important professional development for educators is. Around the world, literally thousands of educators are doing whatever is possible for them to get that development, either face to face at conferences, workshops and swapshops, or online, by connecting with teachers worldwide and following online events. This is truly an amazing development in the world of education – how much of it is learner-centered though?

This is what ISTEK ELT 2013 will be emphasising. If we wish to motivate our students and help them move forward, we need not only develop ourselves professionally and apply everything we learn in the classroom – we also need to step into their shoes and see what their wishes, interests, learning styles and even aspirations are. It is a two-way road – a bridge connecting everyone in the classroom!

6 keynote speakers, 22 concurrent keynote speakers and 46 workshop speakers will be at Yeditepe University to explore all these options and help us all see through the students’ eyes! Click on the link to see all the educators who are coming from all over the world to share with us there.

Katie Quartano at ISTEK 2013

In the lead up to the ISTEK Schools 3rd International ELT Conference, we’ll be introducing some of the presenters on the blog. Next up is Katie Quartano…

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I have a background in business administration and tourism, worked for Swissair and Austrian Airlines for 15 years in Thessaloniki, and I am now employed by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Together with Paul Shaw and other volunteers I run the Disabled Access Friendly campaign, which uses ELT to raise awareness about issues facing people with mobility disability.

What is your teaching background?

I have a CELTA qualification and have worked since 1999 as an oral examiner.

610049Tell us a bit about your session.

I am going to show you how your students can learn English through the eyes of a person with a mobility disability. I’ll be giving you practical information on how the Disabled Access Friendly’s free teaching resources can help you teach more than just English. This material prompts students to step into the shoes of someone with a disability for a better understanding of their needs and feelings. The ELT classroom becomes a place where you can raise awareness about the world and help make it a better place.

Why are you interested in the area you’ll be presenting on?

The more training seminars I do that raise awareness about mobility disability, the more I realize how deeply rooted stereotypes of disability are, and what a need there is to encourage critical thinking on the subject.

What should your audience expect to learn?

They will learn how to approach this topic of mobility disability in the classroom, which many may feel is too sensitive or upsetting to talk about with young children. They will learn that even at young learner level, by using the Disabled Access Friendly campaign’s material, they can touch on abstract issues such as attitudes towards disabled people. They will be stimulated to examine their own preconceived ideas about disability, and learn about the traditional medical model of disability and the more enlightened social model of disability. They will see how other teachers have successfully used the campaign’s material in class and hear students’ feedback on the issue. They will be reminded that education is more than just acquiring skills and knowledge.

What are three words that sum up your session?

Inspiring! Meaningful! Worthwhile!

Which other presenter(s) are you looking forward to seeing?

I am particularly looking forward to seeing Sue Lyon Jones and Jeffrey Doonan.

Do you blog? Tell us about it?

Not really, but I know I should get more involved in this! 24 hours in a day is just not enough for me.

Can we find you on Twitter or Facebook?


Facebook Page:


Have you been to Turkey before or is this your first time?

Yes, I have been to Istanbul before, and I think it is one of my favourite cities in the world. Delicious food, a mixture of cultures, friendly people and lots to see and do.

What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to everything! The talks and workshops, the people I will meet, the friends I will reconnect with, the city and the good food!

Jan Blake, Keynote Plenary Speaker at ISTEK ELT #istekelt

Jan Blake

(Image from

At ISTEK ELT, we will be very fortunate to watch one of the most well-known contemporary storeytellers: Jan Blake. She has been a storyteller since 1986 with a great number of awards for her amazing work, the latest being in 2012, when she was named Outsatnding Female Storyteller by the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence.

Her keynote plenary, They Don’t Care About the Vocabulary, They Care About the Characters, will delve into what children need from stories in order to grasp the language.

Watch her in action in this video, where she tells the story of The Leopard Woman:

J.J. Wilson at ISTEK 2013

In the lead up to the ISTEK Schools 3rd International ELT Conference, we’ll be introducing some of the presenters on the blog. Next up is J.J. Wilson…

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Besides family, I have two great loves in life: teaching and writing. I will be a teacher and a writer until the day I die. I’m highly privileged to work as Writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University, U.S. They let me indulge my two loves and they don’t seem to care whether I produce fiction, textbooks, or more academic work.

What is your teaching background?

I’ve taught students of all ages from 5 to 75 and I’ve taught in Egypt, Lesotho, Colombia, the UK, Italy and the U.S. I currently teach writing and ESL methods courses to university students.

610048Tell us a bit about your session.

The session is about strategies to help students learn. It won’t be a typical ‘sage-on-the-stage’ plenary; it’ll be very practical. I hope the session will be enjoyable as well as informative.

Why are you interested in the area you’ll be presenting on?

Because at every stage in my teaching career I’ve seen that those students who are independent learners, who are curious, and who are strategic in the way they approach their education tend to be the most successful language learners.

What should your audience expect to learn?

Some theory related to learning strategies and lots of practical ideas that they can implement in class.

What are three words that sum up your session?

I won’t know until after the session!

Have you been to Turkey before or is this your first time?

This is my fourth time in Turkey. I love it here.

What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to?

I always enjoy meeting new people, especially teachers, and seeing old friends. The social programme looks rather tempting, too.

Conference Preview for ISTEK ELT by Esat Uğurlu, GLOBED #istekelt

Esat Uğurlu and GLOBED

Esat Uğurlu and GLOBED

Esat Uğurlu has shared a lovely summary of his concurrent keynote speech (Saturday, April 27th, 14:15 – 15:00, B312).

E-Learning: There is nothing to be afraid of and plenty to discover

Nowadays all we talk about is 21st Century learning environments, tablets, laptops –basically e-learning in general. In a complex and highly technical world we live in, content and the effective delivery of it in and outside of classrooms is essential. Through Their Eyes is a powerful theme and unless we pay serious attention to learners’ perceptions, our efforts can be counterproductive.

Our presentation will focus on award-winning, research-based online content and platforms (e.g. UNICEF World Education Games, BrainPOP, Oddizzi, Reading A-Z, Sesame Street) and we will explore why millions of teachers and students from around the world make use of these innovative resources. We will also talk about differentiated instruction, global/digital citizenship, and playful learning.

About Esat:

Esat Uğurlu spent more than a third of his life abroad, consulting with hundreds of educational institutions in more than sixteen countries including the USA, Thailand, China, S. Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Since his graduation from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Esat’s main interest and focus has been on using various technologies for better, more effective teaching and learning. After completing his duties at UNESCO Bangkok – Education for Sustainable Development unit, Esat worked with Asia-Pacific’s leading distributor of e-content and due to recent developments in the Turkish e-learning market, he moved to Istanbul in 2012 and founded GLOBED (, an e-learning content distribution and consultancy company that serves K-12 schools.