British Council Turkey interviews Heike Philp

Another great interview by British Council Turkey – this time with Heike Philp!


Interview with Dr. Gary Motteram by the British Council Turkey

(Text by the British Council Turkey) Is technology the new kid on the block? We conducted an interview with Dr. Gary Motteram about technology in ELT immediately following his wonderful session during the International ELT Symposium for Yıldız Technical University. His entire presentation will follow in the coming days.

Technology is useful tool if used to create and enhance comprehensible input


Steven Krashen (Oxford University Press)
“Technology is a useful tool if used to create and enhance comprehensible input, a derailment if used to overemphasize conscious learning.”  
Emiritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California, well-known with his Monitor Model of second language acquisition, Krashen was with us at Yildiz technical University 1st ELT Symposium.
Technology is an extremely useful tool if it is used in ways consistent with the Comprehension Hypothesis. Krashen recommended the articles he shares with the visitors on his website. Besides, he also says that he has a twitter account and he is on twitter.  He said that Twitter and facebook are underground ways of getting information for scientific researches.

Krashen’s talk was mainly on the Comprehension Hypothesis.  The Comprehension Hypothesis says that the so-called skills, vocabulary, grammar, all those things are the result of language acquisition.  On the other hand, the rival hypothesis, the skill building hypothesis, argues that the skills come first. The skill building hypothesis is delayed gratification. However, the Comprehension hypothesis is immediate gratification. He advised us to listen to good conversations, read books, have fun, watch good movies and have a good time. The more you enjoy it, the better your acquisition will be. To him, the winner of the game between these two hypotheses is always the comprehensible input. He said that skill building is not a hypothesis, it is an axiom. Krashen added that the people who read a lot always wins. He mentioned that especially the reading we have done just before sleeping help acquisition a lot as it is done without obligation, voluntarily.He supported his speech by the researches done for the last 25 years. According to these researches, free voluntary reading is the source of reading ability, writing ability, a lot of vocabulary. He told us that grammar is too complicated. It is not possible to know all the rules.  If you give enough input the grammar can be given . We don’t have to give specific input. The input should be comprehensible and interesting. Krashen shared some real examples that these people acquire another language by listening and integrating to social groups.
Krashen added that the books should be self-selected. The study shows that good readers are narrow readers. They stick to one genre at a time and one author at a time. He also gave a clue that if we start reading from the beginning, we can understand things easily. Steven Krashen argues that English for Specific Purposes does not work.


He also told us the contribution of technology to acquisition. It is in tune with comprehensible input. Kids are reading from the computer and today Website reading is increasing. Besides, personal writing takes place by computers. Thanks to facebook that teenagers write a lot than past. The more the kids are on the Net, the more they read. This means that more literacy developed. To him, chatting is a kind of narrow reading.

Thanks to Krashen for his valuable contributions to the symposium. I realise that we should spare at least 10 minutes in class to read for fun with my students, not for any grades, just for fun!

Gülnur Sahin for British Council Roving Reporters Team

Some pictures from poster presentation session


                            Deren Basak Akman & Mufit Senel
       Independent Learners with Virtual Classrooms
              The aim of the study is to use Voki, Web 2.0 tool to practise speaking in target language. Voki is discussed to weigh up pros and cons of it to  practise speaking in target language.


  Esma Asuman Eray (Isik University)
         Class Wikis: promoting learning and collaboration
          The presentation was about “wiki” and the use of them in language teaching environments. Reflections taken from students were also shared.


                    Sevim Acikgoz (Istanbul Bilgi University)
                                    Digital Storytelling
          Sevim showed us how to use digital storytelling through web technologies.


                                      Ali Bostancioglu (University of York)
    EFL Teachers’ technological professional development through online communities of practice          

          This study is his PhD topic. The aim of this presentation is to compare and contrast different types of online communities of practice (OCoPs)and their impacts on EFL teachers.


                         Irem Islim (Bahcesehir University)
Integration of Web-Quest Tool Into College Level EFL Academic Writing Classes
       The aim of the presentation is to depict how Web-Quest can be used in college level EFL academic writing classes to build the background knowledge the students need on the topics and the critical thinking abilities.  

Gülnur Sahin for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Concurrent Session: Adam Simpson – Engaging Generation Y in the Language Classroom

English teachers working with young learners – children in pri­mary school, adolescents in secondary school, or young adults at universi­ty – recognize that learners in this day and age think and behave differently than those from previous generations, noted Adam in his session.

This generation has been labeled the Net Gen, the Millennials, and, most frequently, Generation Y. These students were born into a world of information technology; they prefer to multitask rather than focus on one thing at a time, and they can be more attracted to the ideas of a peer or a web video than what their teachers have to offer.

Adam Simpson's presentationGeneration Y is significant, as it constitutes a major element of the world’s population; somewhere in the region of 20 percent. As Generation Y’s occupies the young end of the population demographic, we can assume that many second language learners belong to this group, making it worthy of our attention and understanding.

Contemporary research on Generation Y has originated in developed nations, although examination of Generation Y is increasing throughout the entire academic world. Whereas Generation Y has received much attention in the academic literature of many fields, this is not yet the case in ELT research. This lack of consideration is regrettable, as most Generation Yers are currently – or will soon be – English language learn­ers. Adam’s talk aimed to address this shortcoming by enlightening ELT professionals as to the nature of Generation Y, while presenting a few teaching strat­egies aimed at engaging this age group in the English classroom.

The talk culminated in a list of ’10 Commandments’ for teaching Generation Y with technology:

  1. Thou shalt not be afraid of technology
  2. Thou shalt teach them how to use search engines properly
  3. Thou shalt get them using video clips
  4. Thou shalt handle multitasking with care
  5. Thou shalt use visuals, visuals and more visuals
  6. Thou shalt encourage interaction and opinion sharing
  7. Thou shalt tap into their collective intelligence
  8. Thou shalt require them to type their work
  9. Thou shalt give them opportunities to create their own content
  10. Thou shalt let them know what you think

Adam’s presentation can be downloaded here.

Adam Simpson for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Concurrent session: Beyza Yılmaz – Lurking in the Interconnected World

Noting how time management is one of the challenges that teachers face in the contemporary work environment, Beyza highlighted how this issue is exacerbated by the fact that we are nowadays bombarded by a constant stream of information. A consequence of this, noted Beyza, was the increasing prevalence of ‘lurking’.

Beyza's sessionIn Internet culture, a lurker is defined as a member of an online community who has no direct active participation. Lurkers actually make up a large proportion of all users in online communities. The benefits of lurking are that it enables users to learn the conventions of an online community before they actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually ‘de-lurk’. Nevertheless, a lack of social contact while lurking sometimes causes loneliness or apathy among lurkers. What’s more, Beyza noted, it is believed to hinder learning.

In order to indicate the positives of lurking, Beyza delivered examples of the strategies she has used to foster learning through lurking in online environments.

Adam Simpson for British Council Roving Reporters Team.