Keynote speaker Day 2:

Dr. Justin Shewell

“5 Ways to Empower Students to Learn Online During a Pandemic”

The majority of students are unprepared for online learning and lack necessary resources, strategies and techniques required for successful online learning. Dr. Justin Shewell will discuss these online learning needs and present five ways teachers can empower their students to be successful online learners, no matter where they are.

Keynote speaker Day 2:

Dr. Katie Welch

“Checking for Understanding in the COVID-19 Classroom”

One of the greatest challenges of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic is being able to verify that students are absorbing the lesson that the teacher is delivering. While a “check for understanding” has long been considered an essential part of any lesson, virtual learning and socially distant classrooms have caused teachers to rethink how they perform this foundational instructional component. Social distancing requirements mean that teachers can no longer casually walk around the classroom to monitor student work, and online learning often feels like hurtling information into the void without much student response in return. In this presentation, we will address the “check for understanding” challenge by reviewing some easy-to-use tech tools and instructional strategies that can help K-12 and adult ESL teachers build in much-needed feedback loops that gauge what students are actually learning so that instructors can adjust as needed. 

Mr. Nathan Waller

Keynote speaker Day 2

“An ELT for any Story”

We are all familiar with the challenges of 2020. Education in particular has been (and continues to be) affected in serious - and for many, potentially long-lasting - ways. Teachers have worked hard. They adapted. They tried new things. They learned a lot. But what does the future hold? What is the ‘new normal’ in MENA, and will there (or even could there) be a ‘great reset’ in education? Although uncertainties still exist, across the region we are slowly moving from the ‘How on Earth?’ back towards to the ‘What is important and Why?’. In this session we will ask you what areas of focus you think are important for the future of language teaching and learning, and examine a few lesser-discussed key concepts that I believe are key to helping us refine our vision of ELT so that it might be more sustainable: to survive and thrive, regardless of what is happening in the wider socio-economic and political environment.

Session 13   

Muhammad Etedali (Presentation)

Distance Teaching and Sustainability: Where does it begin?

              The spread of the COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemics have brought so many challenges to life in general and to education in particular. When the face-to-face mode of education was no longer a possibility, distance teaching over the Internet became the most preferred- if not the only- choice of delivering contents. Many teachers were not prepared, nor were many educational institutions. However, teachers were the professionals who indeed bore the pressure. The virus is still beyond containment in many countries and if teachers do not practice sustainability, there will soon be armies of burned-out teachers who would continue to work inefficiently. In this presentation, I am going to address some sustainability characteristics and parameters relevant to education. Later I am going to provide some “good” practices which make your teaching more sustainable. Questions and answers make the final part of this presentation.

Session 14 

Omer Salama (Presentation)

The Positive impact of Psychological and Technical Skills on Online Teaching

In every new experience, there are challenges. Successful teachers know how to overcome these challenges and create a safe, rich educational atmosphere. The presenter tackles the psychological and technical skills needed by teachers to survive during the pandemic. Moreover, the presenter explores the impact of the psychological and technical skills on online teaching and how they affect the teaching process in a positive way. Changing of the pedagogy had an impact on the teachers' performance. The presenter sheds a light on the skills that must be acquired by the teachers to deliver their online lessons. Based on the questionnaire and data analysis, the presenter explores the difficulties face the teachers, the skills they need, and the psychological impact of acquiring new skills. The presenter brainstorms the audience about the challenges facing online teachers and the psychological and technical skills needed. As well, the presenter brainstorms the audience about the impact of these skills. Next, the presenter shows the results of the data analysis and discusses them with the audience. The next step of the presentation is the recommendations based on the results. TO elaborate on the topic, the presenter gives the audience the chance to comment or ask any questions related to the presentation.

Session 15 

Reem Al Qenai (Workshop)

 Incorporating the Art of Storytelling as an Effective Tool within a classroom

The ancient art of storytelling can be a powerful tool for learning. The concept of storytelling within the learning process has become a reflective instrument known as a portfolio. This interactive workshop will look into this motivating project-based learning activity that can connect students with the demonstration of numerous ways of student-aid criteria. An important tool for curriculum redesign would be the incorporation of electronic portfolios as part of students’ learning process. Electronic portfolios have the capability to capture a personal learning environment and display it as a learning and reflective record. Through relevant electronic platforms, one would be able to witness evidence of the student’s abilities through this venue of self-expression. Learning records can be maintained throughout a student’s development. As they can provide an opportunity for learners to critically assess their academic work, to reflect on the outcome, and make connections among different entities such as assignments, courses, group work, volunteer work, challenges and struggles and much more. Studies have shown that the implementation of such showcasing leads to better learning outcomes. Such studies will be discussed to aid in the assertion of the success of the implementation of electronic portfolios. As such platforms support students’ own knowledge construction, foster learners’ motivation with making meaning out of what they are learning and conducting, articulate the learner’s voice and identity, make unseen aspects of the learning process visible to both the students and the educators. This session will also look into the most effective ways of implementing such platforms within a classroom environment including the best forms of practices, the most effective platforms, how to include it within assessment and how to establish clear expectations when incorporating such mediums.

Session 16 

Abdullah Almatani  and Ali AlSenidi (Workshop)

In this workshop, I will talk about my experience in using Nearpod in teaching English. I will show participants some readymade lessons online and then I will ask them to create their own lessons. We will also discuss challenges that teachers may face during using Nearpod in teaching English and also what are the advantages that may help to raise students’ interests in learning. In addition to that, I will show participants a graph including a percentage of performance for students before and after using Nearpod. After finishing this workshop, participants will be able to sign up for a new account in Nearpod and participants will be able to design their own online lessons and share them with colleagues in the workshop.

Session 17 

Ilene Winokur (Workshop)

Building a Sense of Belonging for ELs in Your Classroom

Belonging is a human need that research has shown is an essential condition for learning. But how can educators ensure that each of us and every child in our classroom feel a sense of belonging? During this workshop, the presenter will explain what belonging is, describe the research supporting its importance, and share a variety of activities every teacher of ELs can use to create a safe, welcoming, inclusive space. Attendees will collaborate using apps like Buncee and Wakelet. No prior knowledge of the apps is necessary.

Session 18

Maria Polychrou (Presentation)

Museums, drama and theatre techniques in teaching English.

In a report called Excellence and Equity published in 1992 by the American Association of Museums, the educational role of museums was identified as the core to museums' service to the public. They support learning outside and inside the classroom by using collections to scaffold language learning through discussion and active participation. Combined with educational drama and theatre techniques, museums help students connect with objects from different cultures, unlock personal stories and become active agents in learning while using English in a meaningful, interactive and creative way.On the one hand, we are going to talk about how museums in English language teaching promote intercultural education and empathy, critical thinking and problem solving as students are urged to see from a different time and culture perspective, find new solutions and think outside the box. It will become evident that through the use of museums and culture you can facilitate student autonomy and choice by promoting active listening and questioning while through using flexible groupings and activities, you can promote positive interactions with peers (group work, pair share) while using the English language both orally and in writing. On the other hand, we are going to discuss how Drama in education helps students to understand themselves and the world around them. It is an undeniable fact that it empowers students to understand their world through exploring roles and situations and develops students’ verbal and non-verbal, individual and social communication skills. To conclude, during this presentation, we will get familiar with museums, artifacts and exhibitions around the world and we will be presented with ideas about educational drama, theatre techniques that can be used in class, both virtual and physical ones. Museums and virtual field trips will be combined with Forum Theatre, Image Theatre, flashbacks and flash-forwards, puppetry, story circles, Conscience alley and many more aiming to promote effective learning and creative use of the target language.

Session 19 

Dr. Shu-hua Wu and Dr.Sulaiman Alrabah   (Presentation)

Employing Microsoft Teams in Vocabulary Instruction for EFL College Students

In acknowledging the vitality of vocabulary learning as an integral part of EFL learning, this presentation introduces content-specific vocabulary teaching strategies in Microsoft Teams, explores students’ reactions to online vocabulary learning experiences, and discusses the implications and technical challenges for teachers in introducing these vocabulary instructional strategies in Microsoft Teams. Ever since distant learning has replaced in-person classroom learning as the principal instructional delivery mechanism, there is an urgent need to explore different and innovative ways that take advantage of these recent developments in English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching strategies.  This presentation aims to empower EFL teachers at the college level to exploit distant learning platforms such as Microsoft Teams to maximize their students’ content-specific vocabulary learning in preparation for their future careers as part of Kuwait’s national learning goals to have sustainable development of its human capital.  In a departure from a synthetic view on vocabulary instruction in traditional classrooms, the presentation introduces vocabulary teaching strategies as an innovative methodology which focuses on utilizing a range of online vocabulary teaching techniques (e.g., graphic organizers) and contextual support that are offered by Microsoft Teams.  The presentation is divided into three major sections.  First, the presenters will introduce a variety of online vocabulary teaching strategies to facilitate student learning of new vocabulary items. Second, the presenters will report on a virtual classroom-based research study that utilized a survey and group interviews to examine how online vocabulary teaching strategies have impacted college-level EFL students’ lexical knowledge and vocabulary development as well as their attitudes to online learning of EFL. The study concluded that the majority of students increased their vocabulary repertoires and lexical knowledge while sustaining positive attitudes toward online learning of English vocabulary.  The presenters will finally draw pedagogical implications for teachers on the technical challenges as well as advantages offered by online learning of vocabulary items to empower students with effective teaching strategies.

Session 20 

Samir Omara (Presentation)

Make E-Portfolios Count

E-portfolios are formative assessment tools. They help to assess learning processes and products. They help to develop language learners’ skills through blended and online instruction. Archive, capabilities, showcase and learning are different types of e-portfolios. E-portfolios are beneficial and challenging; there are tips for teachers to make them count. Life, technology and education change quickly; changes can be challenges and opportunities. Teachers need to act upon different challenges like corona virus pandemic and shifts from lecturing to facilitation, from teacher-centered to learner-centered approaches and from summative to learner-oriented formative assessment. They need to plan, deliver and reflect on formative assessment. Language learners should develop critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration skills. They should develop their skills to look at problems differently, try new approaches to do things, share ideas and work together to reach common goals.According to Boud (2000), sustainable assessment is the assessment that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of students to meet their own future learning needs.”. Teachers can use the electronic portfolios or e-portfolios to develop language learners’ skills through blended and online instruction. They use e-portfolios to encourage independent learning, help learners reflect on their learning and compile their learning evidence. There are different types of e-portfolios: archive, capabilities, showcase and learning. Barker (2005) thinks that e-portfolios are “about both process and product.” E-portfolios are beneficial and challenging as well. They help to develop teaching and learning, design personalized self-directed learning, sustain assessment and empower learners. However, e-portfolios might be quite challenging as they are not traditional assessments. They need more preparation, time and technology skills. So, teachers should embed e-portfolio assessment in curricula and integrate them within the assessment plan. They should share online rubrics with students, monitor their learning and provide constructive feedback.

Session 21 

Christine Canzanella (Workshop)

The Elusive Article: Mastering the Use of 'The' and 'A'

The definite and indefinite articles ‘the’ and ‘a’ are notoriously difficult to teach to English-language learners. To address this problem, I have developed a method for teaching English articles to Arabic-speaking students. Students like this new method, and they have shown great improvement in their production of these articles. For more than 100 years, the definite and indefinite articles ‘the’ and ‘a’ have been discussed extensively among linguists and philosophers. The debate about the true nature of ‘the’ and ‘a’ has been heated, as theorists have tried to pinpoint their function and elucidate their significance. Are these determiners referential expressions, or quantificational? Do they express important meaning, or are they more pragmatic and syntactical? As these debates and different analyses show, the words ‘the’ and ‘a’, and their equivalents in other languages, have complexities that make them notoriously difficult to teach to foreign language learners. To address this problem, I have developed a method that teaches Arabic-speaking students how to use English articles correctly, after just a few hours of instruction and practice. This method, which is designed for students at the intermediate to advanced levels, progresses from recognition of “definiteness” to active production of articles. I have been using this method for the past year, and the results have been very good. Based on analyses of exam results and writing exercises, the students produce ‘the’ and ‘a’ correctly in the majority of cases in written texts. They also report that they enjoy using this new method, and they feel more confident in their use of these elusive articles.In my presentation, which is intended for instructors of students whose L1 is Arabic, I will take participants through the method step by step, asking them to do some of the exercises as if they were students. Then, participants will have an opportunity to give their feedback on this method and discuss how it relates to their own experiences teaching articles in the TESOL classroom. In the future, they can consider incorporating this method into their own classroom instruction.

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