IATEFL Online Award Winning Entry (awarded by The Consultants-E 2014)


Click here –> What is the consultants-e online award?

My Winning Entry:

Title: Teaching with mobile devices: choices and challenges

Speaker: Nicky Hockly. Link: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2014/sessions/2014-04-02/teaching-mobile-devices-choices-and-challenges


Before watching to talk, I thought mobile learning simply means using a dictionary app to look up meanings and examples of new words.  There is much more than that.

Ms. Hockly reminded me that mobile learning should not limit itself to the two obvious facts that devices used are mobile and learners are mobile, however, the more important concern is how to create activities that cater to the real learning experience of mobility. In other words, we should create activities that engage students as if they were living their own life, for example, taking photos, locating a marked spot, and using QR code.

Of course apps are indispensible but what makes mobile learning more rewarding is the implementation plan. Lessons should be structured and planned as well as any other traditional blackboard-and-chalk classrooms. Take, for instance, the “Themed Photo” activity involves at least four key stages, namely, selecting the course book theme, setting up time limit and giving instructions, justifying choices and ending with a class discussion. All of these steps would ensure that the activity would grant students’ ownership, making them be more responsible for their learning.

In conclusion, although the talk would be more complete if Ms. Hockly elaborated more on the assessment integration which would provide me with testing choices to truly understand the usefulness and reliability of a mobile device-based activity, it does widen my perspectives on mobile learning and how it should be carried out in the classroom.


Title: Upgrade! Demand high to bring a grammar lesson alive.

Speaker:  Jim Scrivener. Link: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2014/sessions/2014-04-03/upgrade-demand-high-bring-grammar-lesson-alive

As I have several years of experience teaching grammar-based syllabus to teenagers, the talk does shed different lights on my current practice of delivering a grammatical lesson in the classroom.

To begin with, I tended to overuse “Good”, “Perfect”, “Excellent” when giving feedback, and sadly, according to Jim, I accidentally stopped other rooms for learners’ improvement. Instead, I should indicate what can be upgraded e.g. rhythm or intonation; I could ask a question; I could model language myself so that students could notice the problems. Most importantly, each upgrade taken should be achievable.

The most interesting part is how Jim maximizes the use of exercise in course books with the adoption of 3XP, which stands for THREE TIMES PRACTICE. The first time is my usual routine: students do it and then we check it. Again, I will normally end my lesson here. I shouldn’t have! There should be follow-up practice: in step 2, they will cover the words and say the sentences to their partner while in step 3 another student has to practice saying the sentences more naturally.

“Upgrade Feedback” and “3XP” techniques will appear in my coming lessons. What I learn the most is there is always something that teachers can do to break their habits and bring new lives to old, boring lessons.

Title: A guide to pseudo-science in English language teaching

Speaker: Russell Mayne. Link: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2014/sessions/2014-04-02/guide-pseudo-science-english-language-teaching

I have always expected my students to embrace critical thinking skills. Russel Mayne’s talk on aspects of English Language Teaching that have little or no scientific basis reveals my own lack of critical thinking skills since I naively follow those “juicy trends”

When Mr. Mayne opposed pseudoscience by quoting Gardner, the father of Multiple Intelligences Theory: “In one video after another I saw youngsters crawling across the floor, with the superimposed legend ‘Bodily-Kinaesthetic Intelligence’. I said, ‘That is not bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence that is kids crawling across the floor. And I feel like crawling up the wall.’ I thought Gardner was watching a video of my own class. Yes, there were times when I assumed I was doing a great job of applying the Multiple Intelligences; now I realize it was entertaining, not teaching.

At the second part of the talk, Russel introduces a“Detection Kit” – a list of questions – to help teachers identify the falsehood of new trends, which will be very useful not just for my classroom practice but also for the way I conduct action research in the future.

Scholarship Gallery Link (Tien Mai)



2 thoughts on “IATEFL Online Award Winning Entry (awarded by The Consultants-E 2014)

  1. I have read your winning entry. To my way of thinking, it is useful. You are the teacher i admire so much. I would be very grateful if you could give me some advice on how to write a good scholarship entry. I have applied for IATEFL Manchester 2015, but i did not win. I would like to be your friend. My email is dangthanhhai@moet.edu.vn

    • Dear Dang Thanh Hai,
      I’m glad that you’ve found this entry useful. Actually it was just an entry for The Consultants-E competition last summer, not for the official IATEFL Manchester 2015.
      I did send 4 submissions to IATEFL Manchester 2015 and unfortunately failed to achieve 3 scholarships (by Pilgrim, Regent and Gil Studridge). I am waiting for the result of the one offered by Cambridge English Teacher.
      By the way, this great website lists all IATEFL scholarship winners in the past with analysis of winning papers: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/iatefl-scholarships/
      It’s great to stay in touch with you. Currently I am teaching in Saigon although I was born and raised in Dong Nai province. Where do you work? What kinds of students are you teaching? What are your interests?
      Also, it’ll be great if you join our Facebook Group, SaiGon TESOL,at https://www.facebook.com/groups/saigontesol to share best classroom practices.
      Warm regards,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s