Archives  

6 April 2012

 /  Number 29

 


PICTURE OF THE WEEK

'...helping to explain what's difficult to understand.'
(Jeffrey Doonan)


A WORD FROM THE EDITOR

This week’s striking ‘Picture of the Week’ comes courtesy of Jeff Doonan. Taken on the Greek island of Aegina (Egina), one of the Argo-Saronic group of islands, close to Athens, the ominous cloudscape prompts Jeff to suggest that ‘the vision in the clouds may give some explanation as to why the Greeks developed a pantheon of gods and goddesses in their mythology to help them explain what may have been difficult to understand.’ We often take for granted our understanding of the world around us, ignoring the planners, architects and builders of our House of Understanding, who have relentlessly, over the centuries, built upon the natural human curiosity and hunger for knowledge, to construct a mansion which keeps on growing and growing. As we relax in our favourite armchair and wait for that cup of freshly brewed coffee to cool enough to safely take the first sip of anticipation, we can look out of the window at the ominous clouds in the sky, the sky exploding in colour at sunset, followed by its afterglow, and sense the cold, darkness of night, and relax in the knowledge that the sun, the centre of our life, will return the next morning. (Of course, we also know that at some point in the future that big ball of gas is going to explode and things around here are going to get pretty cold and uncomfortable, so perhaps this knowledge thing is something of a double-edged sword.) We’re comfortable with the thought that as the ominous cloud gets darker (that coffee should be cool enough now) and sheds rain and lightning, that we understand what’s going on. We might curse when the power goes out and we can’t see the end of this week’s episode of ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’, but at least we feel that we understand the science behind all that chaos and noise and that the blue skies will return. We also don’t question or fear all of the other pieces of furniture in our House of Understanding: the computer, wireless Internet connection (when there’s no power outage), electricity (ditto), the internal combustion engine, digital technology, radio telescopes, nano technology, and those little fortune cookies that they serve in Chinese restaurants (how do they get those little pieces of paper inside?) Education is an amazing thing, but I think that, even though it gives us a job here at the university, we tend to take it for granted. Education, the thirst for and acquisition of knowledge, and the comfortable understanding that it gives us of our world – ‘helping us to understand what is sometimes difficult to understand’ – is not universally available to all. Some people are denied access to education for a variety of reasons, while others are simply not willing to learn. Education is an amazing thing and perhaps beyond the basic needs of food and shelter it is one of the most important things that we possess. If only education was universal, coupled with the desire and willingness to question everything around us, then perhaps the world would be a better place. We could forever relax, sit back with a chilled glass of retsina and, instead of being afraid of the sky and fearing Zeus (the god of sky, weather, thunder, lightning and power cuts) look instead upon the sky and think, ‘now, where did I put that camera?’     

I hope that you have a special weekend (including a moment to ask, ‘what did I learn this week?’)
 

Steve.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    Submissions: hobson@bilkent.edu.tr
 

CONTENTS OF NEWS FOR THE WEEK

MEETING UPDATES

1. HTU MEETING UPDATE - March 27th, 2012
 

BUSEL ISSUES/ACTIVITIES

2. BUSEL EAP CONFERENCE (8-9 JUNE 2012) UPDATE
 

CONFERENCES - WORKSHOPS

3. 46th INTERNATIONAL IATEFL CONFERENCE, GLASGOW
 

PREPARATORY PROGRAM ISSUES/ACTIVITIES

4. ECA MARKING PROCEDURES
 

BUSEL’S BURNING ISSUES BLOG

5. WEEKLY BLOGGING OPPORTUNITY
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
6. KPDS ENGLISH
7. UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCEMENTS
8. BIRTHDAYS
9. CONDOLENCES
 

MEETING UPDATES

 

1. HTU MEETING UPDATE - March 27th, 2012

 

Course 3 Estimates/ CAT collation

Course 3 data was discussed with the table and level HTUs shared the information regarding estimates, CATs and the actions taken in response to the data.
 

Pre-Faculty level

TU 3: out of 78 repeating students, 28 are below 60%. Of 117 mainstream students, 21 are below 60 %. Overall, 25 % of the students are below the 60 % limit. Nazan Aktürk emphasized that approximately half of the students are around the borderline limit and this is the group to be targeted in the rest of the course. The common need was identified as help with the writing skill. The course will be supplemented with materials written in the TU in previous years. The main focus will be raising awareness and outlining to deal with organization problems. Also, a new strand, “Advertising”, will be introduced next week to bring variety to the course.

TU 5: out of 116 students, only 6 students are below 60 %. Müştak Yağuş thought this was partly because of the low challenge CAT 1 presented. This gave students a false impression about their performance. For the rest of the course, additional tutorials and extra homework will be designed to cater for the needs of the weaker students.
 

Upper-intermediate level

TU 7: there are 10 repeat and 35 mainstream classes. According to CAT 1 collation, 72 % of the students in repeat classes and 75 % in mainstream classes are above the 60 % limit. These are the actions being taken: HTUs and instructors to hold individual meetings with the weaker students/Tutorials with listening focus for mainstream classes and with writing focus for repeat classes/Revising the OCS tasks; Proofwrite software and Q skills website/Weekly quizzes/Adaptations of the course map.
 

Intermediate level

There are 537 students in total in TUs 1, 2, and 9. 376 students are above 60 %. The actions taken are: Change in the mode of tutorials; individual focus for individual classes/Extra listening tutorials for weaker students/Analyzing writing prompts (since this seemed to be a problem area for students in CAT 1)/An emphasis on grammar and vocabulary to improve writing skills/Using diagnostic quizzes as teaching tools.

 

Pre-intermediate level

Out of 182 mainstream students, 134 are above 60 % according to CAT 1 results. Although estimates show most of the students at risk (only 42 students are estimated to be above 60 %), CAT results are more optimistic. Writing is the weakest area mainly because of problems with grammar and vocabulary. Students do not have enough time to internalize the input given in the course and EL results show that half of the students find the course difficult. Language quizzes receive positive feedback from the students. Class-based actions taken are: Tutorials on different skills/Pre-listening activities/Extended assignments/Question analysis.

The Repeating pre-intermediate students are a difficult group. They are not motivated and put little effort into their studies. Out of 141 students, 117 students are above 60 % according to CAT results. Estimates and CAT results do not match, but students’ own evaluation in the EL confirms the estimates. The actions taken are: Incorporating more revision activities into the course/Revising OCS on Moodle/Mini project for multi-repeaters: needs analysis followed by a series of lessons.

 

Elementary level

The Third time repeaters are rather weak in all skills, grammar and vocabulary. Study skills are a problem, too. Negative attitude to learning and reluctance for hard work cause a very slow progress. Out of 84 students who are still attending, only 24 students are above 60 %. Instructors in TU 10 are in the process of reexamining the student needs according to CAT 1 results. They have focused on individual needs rather than class needs and provide individual guidance. As these students are not able to identify their own needs and find resources to do additional work, each instructor has to design individual study charts for the students. Changes to the course map and the mode of delivery revolves around grammar and vocabulary revision, analyzing texts and sentences, and designing additional consolidation tasks. No tutorials will be provided as class sizes are small and students tend not to turn up for tutorials. Because they do not do regular homework, most of the consolidation will be done in class and OCS will be highly structured and individualized where possible. In some classes, students will be asked to work in study groups to increase motivation and reduce anxiety.

ACTION: HTUs to send an e-mail to Tülay Erkan by Friday, 30th April, summarizing the changes made to the courses since the beginning of the course and since CAT 1.

 

(Please click on this link to see the summary of these course map changes.)

 

Course 3 Formative Evaluation of Learning (EL) Results and Collation

Hand Mengü suggested using the existing EL Collation Document until the document is revised. The issue will be revisited later in this semester. She informed the table that this collation will also be a part of the Course Evaluation Document.

ACTION: the EL collation document to be posted on the TU notice boards by Monday, 2nd April, at the latest.

 

Level Representative Class Spokesperson (CSPs)

Funda Kamanlı reminded the table that a meeting will be held on Friday, 30th April, at 16:30, in Room C108. She informed the table that the aim of the meeting is to formally introduce the student voice into course design, implementation and evaluation.

 

Learning Portfolio Issues

The Learning Portfolio Task Group (Ahu Yüceer, Müştak Yağuş and Steve Hobson) reminded the table that the current approach to the Learning Portfolio will be reviewed during Course 4, to assess its effectiveness in supporting student learning, following which, changes will be discussed and agreed in Course 5. Specifically, the task group asked the HTUs and the teachers in their units to consider the degree to which the current Learning Portfolio can be considered a ‘portfolio’, what the Learning Portfolio should contain, and how students can be encouraged to ‘carry’ it from course to course. The issue will be revisited in an HTU meeting in Course 4.  

 

Course Evaluation

Hande informed the table that a task group will be working on finalizing the Course Evaluation Document. The First week meetings document will be included in this documentation. Ayça Üner distributed the First Week Meetings document to the table and asked for feedback.

ACTION: HTUs to send their feedback and suggestions on the First Week Meetings document to Ayça and Tülay by 29th March, Thursday afternoon.

 

AOB

·         · Pınar Ayyıldız informed the table of the approaching conferences in Yeditepe University and Yaşar University and asked those
       who would like to attend to advise her.

·         · Ayça invited those who are interested, to join the task group for the reorganization of the TRR.

          · HTUs who are willing to take part in the Summer School programme as a Summer School Head should express interest to
      Hande via e-mail.

 

BUSEL ISSUES/ACTIVITIES

 

2. BUSEL EAP CONFERENCE (8-9 JUNE 2012) UPDATE

 

We are happy to update you on the plans for our upcoming conference 12th International BUSEL Conference: EAP within the University Curriculum: Trends & Challenges, which will take place on June 08-09, 2012 at Bilkent Hotel.

The provisional conference program is now available on the conference web page:

http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~eapconf2012

 

The event will host distinguished keynote speakers, John Swales, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Kathleen Graves, Clinical Associate Professor, and Averil Coxhead, Senior Lecturer, all of whom have made notable contributions to our profession and are considered leaders in their fields. More detailed information about the keynote speakers will appear in separate featured articles in the coming issues of News for the Week.

 

We would also like to highlight the fact that our concurrent speakers are also from prestigious universities from around the world, representing 13 countries, viz. the USA, Australia, New Zealand, England, Spain, Italy, Japan, China, Russia, Afghanistan, the UAE, and Iran. Among these speakers are some significant names, well known for their contributions to today’s EAP world. To name but a few:
   
· Edward DeChazal, BALEAP (The Global Forum for EAP Professionals) Executive Committee Member & the co-author of Oxford
       EAP: A course in English for Academic Purposes, by Oxford University Press
   
· Dr. Douglas Bell, the author of Passport to Academic Presentations by Garnet Education;

    · Dr. Helen Baştürkmen, the author of Developing Courses in English for Specific Purposes by Palgrave Macmillan;
   
· Linda Jeffries, The author of Advanced Reading Power by Pearson;

    · Peter Holt, The coordinator of the EALTA (European Association for Language, Testing and Assessment), Special Interest
       Group for Academic Purposes.

It is particularly interesting to note that the first three speakers mentioned are all former members of BUSEL who worked in curriculum, textbook writing, and teacher training respectively, and who have gone on to be key voices in EAP.

 

Like our previous BUSEL conferences, we expect this conference to be another not-to-be-missed event for colleagues and professionals working in our field.

 

REGISTRATION FOR BUSEL STAFF

 

Conference registration for BUSEL instructors will take place between 02 and 04 May, 2012.

   · FAE instructors can register in the FAE Main Office (SA Building, Room: 132 / A, with Şule Eser and Güliz Öztürkmen);

   · Prep and ETS instructors can register in the Teacher Services Office (N Building, Room: CZ 10. with Sibel Bozkurt and Neslihan
      Özcan) during the dates indicated.

 

Conference registration fees (paid in TL) for the BUSEL instructors are as follows:

OPTION 1: 25 € (60 TL) (covers coffee and snacks)

OR, for those wishing to have a sit down lunch on Friday,

OPTION 2: 45 € (107 TL) (covers coffee and snacks + Friday 8th lunch at Bilkent Hotel)

 

If you have any queries about the registration, please do not hesitate to call the Conference Secretary Şule Eser (phone: 1708).

 

Hoping to see you all at the Conference.

 

Conference Committee

Asst. Prof. Dr. Tijen Akşit

Ayşen Güven

Dr.Semih İrfaner

Şule Eser (Conference Secretary)

 

CONFERENCES - WORKSHOPS

 

3. 46th INTERNATIONAL IATEFL CONFERENCE, GLASGOW

 

Two weeks ago, we attended the 46th Annual IATEFL conference in Glasgow. Our IATEFL experience started with us attending the IATEFL associates dinner at the Crown Place in Glasgow, as representatives of the ESP SIG Committee. Prof David Crystal addressed the group by presenting a new challenge for the IATEFL community. Namely, to find a new name for IATEFL, as the title does not fully represent the current status of the organization (an interesting but challenging task, though I do not know whether it will ever take place).

 

The next day, we took part in the ESP Preconference event in which Semih Irfaner presented his paper on “Designing EAP materials to increase student involvement and participation”. There were 14 speakers in total, amongst them Andy Gillet, also a member of the BALEAP executive committee and Helen Basturkmen, who shared her research about EAP course design. Her main argument was that being a course designer comes with the parcel of being an EAP teacher, yet, the approaches in designing courses are varied and need investigation and focus. In a way, I felt that she was emphasising exactly the same reasons for Bilkent University initiating the EAP Certificate Program.

 

After the preconference day, the main conference started with Adrian Underhill’s plenary, which was one of the most stimulating experiences both in terms of content and delivery.

His talk was about the need for systemic thinking in learning organizations and how to initiate reflective practice at all levels. He stressed that “heroic leadership” is not just about meeting the demands of such organizations and that institutions should not only depend on diversity but actually require it as this is the only way to think systemically and move forward.

Some of the quotes I liked the most:

 

· A learning organization is one that facilitates the learning of all of its members and continuously transforms itself
· Learning itself is a leaderly activity.
· Individual learning can be wasted unless harnessed at organization level.
 

He also asked the audience to give a score from zero to five for the statements below to reflect on their own organizations’ readiness to learn. 

 

The statements were:

 

· It is easy to listen to and experiment with new ideas and suggestions.
· When a person learns something new, everyone hears about it.
· Making mistakes is part of learning.
· Staff members of all ranks give each other plenty of quality feedback, from above, sideways and below.
· Everyone is involved in discussing school policies before adaptation.
· People in one department know about what is done in other departments and are thinking and help each other. 
 

His learning “mantra” in short, was “see what’s going on, do something different, learn from it”. Easier said than done, I guess, but he gave examples of how this simple statement of “doing something different” as a method of inquiry could be realized from the top management level down right into our experiences in the classroom.

 

The first day was also important for us as we had our ESP OPEN SIG meeting that day. Where Mark Krzanowski, myself and Pritvi Shrestha, the editor of the IATEFL ESP journal talked about the mission of the ESP SIG, its budget, main events that took place over the year and what we want to do in the future. Amongst these was a new initiative with the Interest Group of TESOL, which is an attempt to bring both IATEFL and TESOL ESP specialists together as discussion leaders in an online discussion forum. We also used this chance to “take over” the meeting and to advertise our EAP conference at Bilkent as seen in the pictures below. In this meeting we also decided that Semih Irfaner and Andy Gillet would join the committee and help us with the maintenance of the ESP website.

 

Amongst other highlights for us were two talks - one by Philip Nathan which was based on his study of analyzing 45 student samples from the British Academic Corpus (BAWE). He tried to illustrate that using direct quotations appropriately and accurately is a complex challenge for writers and that student writers make a range of errors as they try to integrate these into their writing. His talk focused on the purposes of using “direct quotations, and he argued that there are a wide range of errors related to using direct quotations ranging from overuse,  underuse, not having a clear  purpose, taking the wrong quote and most importantly, presenting “what people say as fact without integrating criticality”. 

 

The other talk was on “Learning Oriented Assessment” by Miranda Hamilton who argued for the need to integrate assessment for learning with assessment of learning and the need for making assessment dialogic, forward looking, developmental and individualized.

 

Thursday was the day when I presented my talk on “Using EAP course evaluation as a source for teacher development”. In this talk, I shared my quest to understand whether and how a course on evaluation added value to individual teacher learning.

 

Amongst all the academic stuff, we had a chance to see some of our ex colleagues and friends. Namely, Nergis Uyan Akbay, Aybike Oğuz, Edward de Chazal, Sue Hacket, and two representatives from Pearson namely, Guy Elders, the Tertiary Sales Manager and Erdem Hacifazlioglu, the Sales Director of Turkey.

 

Last but not least, the Scottish accent made the day for us when we talked to cab drivers on the drive to and from the venue. Unfortunately, the flight was a nightmare, which lasted for 14 hours with KLM. But, we still enjoyed the whole experience and felt that we had completed our mission successfully. 

Aysen Guven & Semih Irfaner

 

The 46th annual international IATEFL Conference has been an amazing experience as it provided a great opportunity to learn, discuss and reflect on current ELT issues. After learning that there are around 500 sessions consisting of talks, workshops, posters, symposiums, SIG (special interest group) open forums and more, I found it really difficult to decide on the sessions that I’d like to attend. However, one of the very first early morning sessions from the conference named ‘How to get the most out of this conference?’ helped me organize 4 days of my conference experience considering my main interest areas. This first session helped me analyze the conference program in depth and prioritize sessions considering my major interests.  As a result, I mainly joined sessions on learner autonomy and psychology, including some sessions entitled ‘The Psychology of Language Learning Experience’, ‘From English Teacher to Learning Coach’, ‘Creating a Culture of Reading Symposium’, ‘Incorporating Coaching into English Language Teaching’, ‘EAP Study Skills’ and one of the LAM SIG sessions about ‘Leadership and Management’.  Almost all the sessions made me realize that as language teachers we experience very similar issues all around the world but sharing our experiences helps us gain different perspectives, allowing us to become more action and solution oriented. 

Seçil (Canbaz) Chouseinoglou

 

                                                          

Being a presenter and a delegate was a totally new experience for me. To be honest I didn’t expect it to be such a big event. The whole week was like an ELT festival. There were 500 presentations in total. Tuesday started with an opening talk that followed Adrian Underhill’s plenary talk “Mess and Progress” and two slides that are still vivid in my mind are “The Learning Mantra” which he describes as “See what’s going on, Do something different and Learn from it” and the other one is about learning to think “systematically” where he says we should “See more points of view, encourage connectivity, not control and see whole school as an adventure park for your (our) learning”. These quotes actually show the way to progress. He concluded his talk with a live song performance which didn’t have long lyrics but it went something like “... reflect, reflect, reflect but please don’t neglect...” 

 

There were many other big names at the conference giving presentations such as Jim Scrivener, Jeremy Harmer, Michael Swan, Hugh Dellar, Dave Willis, Jane Willis, Simon Borg, Tessa Woodward and so on...Scrivener talked about a proposal for “Active Interventionist Teaching” and questioned communicative language teaching (CLT)  and the role of the teacher as a “facilitator”. He says CLT is very popular now but it may come to a “dead end” when teachers depend on the generalisations of CLT too much without questioning their own role- the effect of their meaningful intervention.  The emerging pattern from most of these talks was on the importance of pushing the students a bit more, and how to demand more from the students when they are actually in the classroom. Harmer also asked everyone to re-think the place and the power of “drilling”, “testing” and “correcting”. He talked about the future of CLIL and rapport building.  He says “building rapport” is very important but for the sake of “building rapport” teachers may be too nice to the students and students may leave the classes not progressing much. Having seen many other studies done all around the world, it was a good feeling to understand once more that in BUSEL we get to try many things before many other schools and there is an ocean to explore and in which to conduct research.

Bahar Hasırcı

 

                                                                

Hundreds of ELT experts, people like Thornbury whom I have heard a lot about and whose books I have been reading for my assignments, a huge conference center, large rooms and lots of options to choose from!  IATEFL 2012, Glasgow! Should I attend more speaking sessions, what about vocabulary? Oh, I need some practical tips on grammar, any workshops? These were the questions which kept my mind busy while I was both excited and nervous about the presentation I would give. Each plenary speech, symposium, presentation and workshop I attended made me think about my teaching practice and made me feel excited to share them with my colleagues and students. Enjoying all the sessions and seeing that Bilkent is known and respected by more and more people, I thought:  “Every instructor who is interested should come and experience this”.  Furthermore, I think "I think I have been lucky enough to have the chance to work with Çiler Akyüz and Saliha Gürbüzdal- people who made all the experience possible for me"?

Zeynep Kireççi

                                                           

The recent IATEFL conference in Glasgow has contributed a lot to my development as an English instructor. Getting the chance to attend many seminars given by distinguished researchers under a variety of research topics, meeting colleagues from all over the world and exchanging ideas with them provided me with a lot of insights that I can make use of during my teaching. I would recommend anyone to join this very well organized event which will take place in Liverpool next year.

Tuğba Küçük
 


 

PREPARATORY PROGRAM ISSUES/ACTIVITIES

 
4. ECA MARKING PROCEDURES


Dear Colleagues,

 

In order to streamline marking procedures further during the marking of the course 3 ECA, there will no longer be marking centers in operation. Markers will go directly to their assigned marking rooms where they will find the packs ready and waiting for them. Assigned marking rooms will be posted on the green notice-board at the entrance to N building.
 

Level Assessment Developers (LADs) assisted by STs (Standardization Leaders), will be responsible for the distribution and collection of packs within the marking room and ensuring that packs are distributed according to requirements for correct statistical analysis after marking. To explain: packs need to be marked by the markers assigned to those packs so that the inter-rater reliability can be determined – changes to the order of marking of packs will negate these results).
 

Sign in and out sheets will be posted in each marking room. ECA Markers will sign out their packs, mark them and return the packs under the direction of the designated standardization leader(s).    

 

There will be four levels (excluding pre-fac) assigned to 13 rooms, with approximately 10 to 15 markers in each room. Packs should remain in the room during the marking process.
 

Thank You
 

Hakan

 

BUSEL’S BURNING ISSUES BLOG

 
5. WEEKLY BLOGGING OPPORTUNITY

To make a contribution to the BUSEL blog please go to http://buselsburningissuesblog.blogspot.com
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

6. KPDS ENGLISH

 

As announced by the Evaluation, Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) the KPDS exam (Public Service Employee Foreign Language Proficiency Exam) will be administered on May 20, 2012. If you plan to take the exam in spring 2012, please go to the Registrar’s Office to learn more about the application and registration process. KPDS exam entrance fee is 40 TL and should be paid between April 2 and April 11 to the following banks.
 

- Ziraat Bankası
- Halk Bankası
- VakıfBank
- Akbank
- Kuveyt Turk Katilim Bankası

Steps to follow for International Faculty Members:

- Go to www.osym.gov.tr  and get your Y.U. number  then click -Aday İslemleri Sistemi (candidate Application Systems), then click
   http://ais.osym.gov.tr

 

- Make an appointment with the Registrar’s Office for registration
- Make your 40 TL payment to one of the stated banks (bring your Y.U. number with you)
- Go to the Registrar’s Office with your receipt, pictured ID and your Y.U. number to fill out the application form and finalize your
   online registration process. Please remember to pay 3 TL service fee.

Note: KPDS exam result can be used for Doçentlik Application.

 

7. UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCEMENTS

All other university announcements can be viewed via the addresses given below.
Higher Education Council (YÖK) Announcements

http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/bilkent-tr/information/view_all.html

Scholarships Abroad
http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/bilkent-tr/information/egitim_burslari.html
 

8. BIRTHDAYS


  Many happy returns to:

Gamze Güner

2 April

Gamze Adanalı Akbıyık

6 April

İlknur Halıcı Yılmaz

6 April

Sibel Evliyagil

7 April

Çiğdem Fıçıcı

9 April

Amy Wolner

10 April

 

9. CONDOLENCES


We wish to offer our condolences to Saliha Gürbüzdal following her recent family bereavement.

All Staff