Saturday, April 11, 2015

IATEFL Conference 2015: Interview with Jeremy Harmer

It is a bit strange to be an official blogger to an event I do not actually attend in person! But I joined just to increase my motivation to watch sessions, plenaries and interviews and who knows, maybe next year, I will join you people!

First interview I watched was Jeremy Harmer's. And I will  continue with more during the day!
Starting the talk Jeremy Harmer talked about the last day's event, which was a literature workshop, using poems.
There were eight presentations with different ideas how to use poems in the classroom. This is a great learning experience, especially when you find the right poem, with suitable length, it speaks to the heart of the students. This is actually real language meaning. But you have to choose an accessible poem to the students.
Considering the activities, they have to "force" students to dive into the poem, swim around it and learn. This way they can re-construct the poem and also write their own. A lot of language production is happening here.
Teachers should not just ask answer to questions. If you do that, the beauty of the poem is lost.

Jeremy Harmer then talked about his book and how it has been evolving, due to the fact that technology has changed a lot. The point of the book is to record what people say and do in ELT and it is actually a reflection.

His next talk is about assessment, especially now that the government in UK wants to start testing children from the age of 5-6. There is a big debate going on if testing is good or bad, although if we think of it a bit, the whole ELT industry is based on teaching.
So the teachers have to be trained to be test-literate before they actually form an opinion on this matter.
There is also the parents' concerns about the future of their children as well as the students' and teachers' concern on how well they do at school and studies in general.

All in all it was a very interesting interview
Hoping to listen to some more wonderful people!

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