Saturday, April 11, 2015

IATEFL Convention 2015: Plenary talk with Donald Freeman

I feel so lucky that I can take part in this convention from my living room! Otherwise I wouldn't have the chance to follow all these wonderful talks and interviews.
First plenary talk of the Convention was the on with Donald Freeman " Frozen in thought".
Donald Freemas's talk started with the definition of the word "reason:.
Reasoning: figuring out, justifying, explaining

There are two ways using this word:
  • To reason about something
  • think reasons for something
Then he presented reasons as myths (common beliefs) that serve a purpose. They are not right or wrong, but useful.
He then gave us an example of the teacher playing Bingo with her students, saying that this is the only way they learn, explaining that teachers try to justify their actions to others.

He divided the myths  that organize our work into 3 categories:
#myth 1
Teaching makes learning happen which is not exactly true.
Teaching influences learning, but it does not cause it. Teaching and learning ahve a relationship as a spiral movement from both the teacher and the learner.
#myth 2
The teacher has a role: he / she makes critical decisions, he/ she plans,   he/she prepares, but when it comes to learning it is  like a chess board.
The teacher makes one move and opens up new moves for the students which in turn make their move and that's how the learning happens.
#myth 3
Teaching proficiency which is mostly related to "nativeness" in a wrong way, because nativeness has to do with a geopolitical idea and not a linguistic one.
The assessment of proficiency should be done maybe in a more general way with no boundaries?

Donald Freeman then talked about the boundaries of the classroom and he showed a picture of a sculpture showing a suitcase frame. The frame is the outline of the the classroom, while the backround is the world.
He talked about "Horizontal Knowledge" which is the horizon that extends.

He then talked about "bitfalling" English and how we create a version of English for teachers when we teach.
It was a delight to attend this talk even from far away. I really enjoyed every minute of it

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