Monday, March 11, 2013

CamTESOL 2013: Sponsorship for Cambodian provincial teachers

 When my colleague Margaret had registered for CamTESOL 2010 (see more here about how I came to hear about CamTESOL and present myself!), she heard about the sponsorship for Cambodian provincial teachers.  She and I did a fundraising campaign at work and collected donations from our colleagues to sponsor 5 teachers and I also asked our local professional association ATESOL ACT to sponsor 5 more teachers.  After attending CamTESOL Margaret reported back how meaningful that sponsorship had been, enabling so many provincial teachers in Cambodia to attend the conference.  

As soon as I was accepted for CamTESOL 2013, I was back on the fundraising bandwagon again!  We managed to raise enough money at the ATESOL ACT annual dinner (matched $-for-$ from association funds) to sponsor 8 teachers.  My colleagues in CIT Vocational College sponsored another 5 teachers.

Before I left, my institution's media and marketing area got wind of these efforts and interviewed me for our newsletter: From social media to the classroom. It was terrific to have our efforts recognised and get more promotion for the sponsorship, it will help next year!

I was very proud to see the direct results of our small contributions in the participation of the many (458 in all) enthusiastic teachers who were helped to attend through this magnificent program!  It was also lovely to see my institution's and professional association's names beamed up on screens at the major venues and in the conference handbook, and on the website.

I urge you to consider sponsoring teachers to attend the next CamTESOL Conference, and the one after that, and...


This is one of 3 posts I've done on my CamTESOL 2013 experience.  Also read about:

CamTESOL 2013: Spreading the PLN message to Cambodian teachers

I can't remember when I first heard about CamTESOL, but I remember telling another teacher at work about it and encouraging her to attend. Margaret immediately submitted a proposal and had her workshop accepted - she presented at CamTESOL 2010 on a project she was involved in, on teaching English in the workplace in Australia.  On her return, Margaret told me how wonderful the conference was, and I've been keen to attend ever since.

Ever since then I've been trying to think of a workshop that I could conduct that would be useful, particularly for teachers in Cambodia.  I had an idea about wanting to tell teachers about how they could join the amazing global networks of English Language teachers who are using social media, and accessing online professional development (PD).  One of my Cambodian friends works with the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (I met him when I did some volunteer work with them back in 2001) and I talked to him about my ideas, but we were both unsure of whether the infrastructure was there to enable teachers to connect.

In recent years I had noticed how much more my Cambodian friends have been using Facebook to keep in contact and share news. Then, when I was visiting my friends' home town in Kandal Province last year, I found that I was getting a roaming signal and could access the Internet there in their village.  My friends were posting to Facebook from the village and electricity was on the way!  Then, in September, I chatted on Skype with their extended family from back home in Australia.  With such rapid development, I felt the time was right!

I contacted one of the valued members of my personal learning networks, Andrea Wade who lives and works in Vietnam, and asked if she'd be interested in doing a workshop at CamTESOL with me.  She didn't hesitate for a second!  We both figured we were an excellent example of learning and sharing with teachers across the world!

For our workshop we had a very diverse and enthusiastic audience, and we got a lot of positive feedback and comments after our talk.  One person commented that it was our enthusiasm for what being connected globally meant to us that was the most meaningful aspect of our talk - exactly what we were hoping to convey!

But we had hoped to have a lot more Cambodian teachers at our talk, as we had particularly wanted to get the message out to them, as we felt they had the most to benefit by connecting with us and the world.  Perhaps it would have been better if we had been included on the 'Professional Development' stream, rather than the 'Technology' stream?  We had listed both on our submission, but on reflection perhaps we should have been more specific.   Fortunately we had many opportunities during the conference to talk to other teachers about our workshop, so were able to spread the word widely.  Andrea did a wonderful job with this, giving out our handouts to everyone she spoke to.

Andrea has already posted on the blog about our workshop - My first presentation at an international TESOL conference!  I'm not sure I can add much to her wonderful report so I'd encourage you to read her post for the full story!  I've embedded her links to our slides and handout below as well for maximum exposure!  I'd like to reiterate her thanks to Mike Griffin (@michaelegriffin) for his help with our workshop.  Mike was very gracious in agreeing to help us with our slides and it was terrific to have another #ELTchat fan at our workshop to help get our message across.
#ELTchat fans @worldteacher @michaelegriffin & @cioccas at #CamTESOL 2013

It was a very positive experience and I hope we do get more teachers connecting with us and, through us, to the global networks we find so valuable.  The idea is to support teachers in getting started, then helping them find their own way and develop their own personal learning networks.  We tried to make this as simple as possible, but it's difficult when there is so much out there, so we've also set up an Edmodo group to help us mentor teachers there as well.

Our handout - please print and share!

Our slides:

This is one of 3 posts I've done on my CamTESOL 2013 experience.  Also read about:

CamTESOL 2013: A fabulous Conference!

I returned from CamTESOL 2013 energised and with lots of new ideas and share with my colleagues and to try out in my classroom.

It was a fantastic conference, easily the best I’ve been to.  The organisation of the conference was impeccable, and the young Cambodian volunteers were exceptional.  The enthusiasm of the Cambodian teacher delegates was infectious.  I felt very proud to have been able to help some of them attend the conference through organising sponsorship (read more here).  I met up with a few teachers I only knew from social media or by reputation and have made many new contacts and friends. I loved the practical nature of most of the conference presentations, and I hope that never changes.  The whole CamTESOL experience was incredible!

The quality of the presentations was very high, and it was the energy and enthusiasm of the presenters that made it all special.  There were a few research-type papers, but I tried to focus on the practical ones and they didn't disappoint.  Here are brief details and the key messages I took from those I attended:

The Language Educator and Globalisation: How do we best prepare our learners?
Richmond Stroupe
For me, the main message from Richmond's talk was "How do we empower our students so that they can make choices about their future?".  Some of his suggestions:
  • ELTs teaching not just English, but also teaching other workplace skills. 
  • Teach employability skills, critical analysis, communicative proficiency, intercultural communication competence
  • Integrated language skills - in teaching AND assessment
Making feedback effective in a presentation class
Debra Jones
Debra had presented on using Feed-forward (apply old feedback to a new task) in writing at a previous CamTESOL and here she described how she applied it to providing feedback on presentation skills
  • Helps Ss to learn to self-assess and self-adjust
  • Active learning - active participants
  • Two-way communication between S & T - cyclical / loop
  • Found Ss wrote fairly constructive FB on peer evaluations and valued this FB
  • Not many problems with negative feedback but did need training, uses models, etc.
[Debra has since had her paper published: Jones, D. (2013). Making Feedback Effective in a Presentation Skills Class. English Teaching in China, Issue 2.]
A practical and empowering approach to pronunciation teaching: How to raise student self- awareness of their pronunciation and foster learner autonomy
Deirdre Berry & Chrisoula Simos
Another approach to developing learner autonomy, this time in pronunciation skills:
  • Teacher assessment discussed with S
  • Student given guidance for self- assessment & self-assessment worksheet and; encouraged to set goals 
Teaching writing: The effect of mind- mapping technique on students’ writing skill
Nunung Nuraeni Supendi, Tri Wintolo Apoko & Gunawan Tedjo
Interesting presentation on how mind mapping can improve critical thinking through linking & categorising of concepts:
  • Links background knowledge of text with linguistic aspects 
  • The reading text provides the background knowledge 
  • Sounds like a variation on dictogloss, using reading texts & mind maps instead of listening and; dictation.
Extended reading in a multi-level classroom: Empowering students of all levels to enjoy reading in English 
Julia Mitchell
Lively workshop on an extensive reading program - the how and the why:
  •    Attention on meaning not language
  •    Goal is to develop reading ability to the point of being able to enjoy it
  •    Develop good habits, build Vocab, encourage Ss to like reading
  •    Flexibility by level - Ss read at own level and at own pace
  •    Ss choose what they want to read - increases interest and; motivation
  •    Promotes learner autonomy
Collaborative learning and Web 2.0 in a speaking and listening EFL classr oom: Using free video screen capture software and PowerPoint to create and
Daniel Ferreira 
On teachers creating space or activities to create community, allow Ss to express creativity and develop an L2 self-identity.  Not so much about the technology as it seems from the title, but some very interesting ideas using Blogging and Screencasting to provide opportunities for creativity and peer feedback.
Becoming a state school English teacher in Cambodia: Teacher trainees report on their experiences
Sareun Pang, Sokveasna Srey & YUS
A vibrant, personal and motivating presentation where three young trainee teachers shared their motivation for becoming teachers, and their experience in college and their practicums.
Purposeful Writing
Ezmat Azizi
Described a group project to write a newsletter in a participatory (vs acquisition) approach; Getting accepted in another life world
  • Learning as a community endeavour
  • Students aim for Originality, Creativity & Teamwork
  • Students found it difficult but interesting; 73% preferred the group work; Felt they expressed themselves well; and found it useful for further study & work
A Bad Reading Lesson
Michael Griffin
Mike led us through a role play of a bad reading lesson, which helped us focus on what was wrong and how to do it better.
Messages included these 'don'ts':
  • A text with a LOT of unknown words (where circling unknown words only added to anxiety)
  • Reading without purpose
  • Reading aloud before Ss have had time to read alone and try to understand  
  • Countdown timing
  • Intimidating teacher
Teaching grammar through songs: A way to motivate students in grammar classes
Do Thi Thu Hue, Nha Trang College, Vietnam
Highly practical workshop clearly demonstrating the benefits of teaching grammar through songs, and providing us with lots of ideas for songs and activities.  Her procedure was to treat it as a listening lesson with Pre-listening, While-listening and Post-listening activities focussing on the relevant grammar point.
Increasing Teacher Talk Time? : Enhancing TESOL professional learning communities using social media and other online tools
Fiona Wiebusch, RMIT Vietnam
Not as 'back to the future' as it sounds, but rather Fiona's message was to: Decrease TTT inside the classroom and  Increase TTT outside the classroom - primarily through using social media to increase talk between teachers.  Good teachers are constant learners and this enabled learning about your profession within your profession 
The challenge presented was a desire to improve as a professional teacher VS Time available to participate in professional learning.  The opportunity social media provides is more talk, more connected, in less time.  I'll be keeping in touch with Fiona and following RMIT Professional Learning (English Programs) on Facebook
Using songs to teach English sounds
Thu Ha Cao Thi Hong & Thu Hoang Thi Kim, Vietnam
This fun, engaging, loud, and physical workshop introduced 5 activities for using songs for teaching sounds.  The biggest crowd I saw at any session and everyone singing and dancing!
The iPad as the primary tool in the language classroom
Guy-Luc Achille Levesque
  • Scan textbooks to iPad - with publisher permission
  • Use Dropbox for textbooks and audio files to use in class
  • Shared some favourite apps: SocrativeGradeBook Pro; Slideshark
What every EFL teacher should know 
Paul Nation
Inspiring keynote with many simple, clear, practical messages and teaching tips  I recommend you download his FREE book What Should Every ESL Teacher Know from

The day before the conference I went on a tour of Don Bosco Vocational School, a training college for young people from the poorest families.  It was a privilege to be invited to visit their classes and hear about their programs in many trades areas.  It was also lovely to catch up with their English teacher at the conference.  We also attended a welcoming cocktail party for presenters and a gala dinner - both fabulous with very few speeches ;-)   

All in all it was a terrific experience where I learnt lots, made lots of new friend and contacts, and have many good memories.

This is one of 3 posts I've done on my CamTESOL 2013 experience.  Also read about: