Time to hit the road & head to ISTEK

You may have noticed an increasing buzz around the ELT blogosphere and Twitter recently about this weekend’s ISTEK ELT Conference in Istanbul. Ken Wilson offered a preview on his blog earlier this week as did Eva Büyüksimkesyan today and Adam Simpson came up with some very useful tips for those attendelt_05ing in a guest post on conference organiser Burcu Akyol’s blog.

This will be the second year this event has been held and, by all accounts, the first one was something pretty special - hence the anticipation around this weekend. I thought I’d try my luck and submit a workshop proposal this year and to my delight it was accepted. This will be an event of firsts for me: not only will it be my first time at this particular conference but it will also be my first face-to-face conference outside of my own school’s and it will also be my first chance to meet members of my Twitter PLN in person! I won’t name names as there are just too many but I’m really looking forward to meeting course mates from my MA for the first time, meeting my room mate for the weekend, meeting some of the regulars from ELTchat and seeing some of the big names in ELT giving their plenaries.

My workshop will take place (along with about 30 others!) at 1.30pm on Saturday, April 2nd. It’s entitled ‘Getting feedback and error correction write right’. Now, before you start thinking ‘not another error correction session!’, I should stress we will not be discussing correction charts, the evils of red marker or the fact that mistakes are actually learning opportunities (they are, of course, but that won’t be my focus). Instead, we’ll be looking at how feedback (distinct from error correction) should focus on the content of a student’s writing rather than purely the language and how that can encourage re-drafting. I’ll then demonstrate how I make a collaborative focus on form activity out of the common mistakes in my student’s work.

Anyway, here’s a copy of the abstract and proposal I submitted. Hope to see you either in my session, at the conference or both!


Self-regulation skills and feedback have come to play an increasingly important role in language learning in recent times, but how effective are such strategies with young learners? How can they be introduced in a child-friendly way? In this session, participants are invited to engage in example activities from the child’s perspective, specifically focusing on feedback and error correction regarding writing.


Teachers of young learners will have often heard or said the words “that will never work with kids.” Activities and skills associated with self-regulation and feedback are often included in that statement. And yet, anyone who has worked with children knows they have an amazing capacity to surprise. This session will explore how such skills can be introduced and developed.

It is important to place ourselves in the learner’s position every so often and this workshop will begin by asking the participants to imagine themselves as children writing in the English classroom. What is their attitude to writing? How do they feel? What do they find easy or difficult? By considering such questions, we can build a picture of what issues the learners deal with and how we can help them.

The session will then consider motivating students to revisit their writing. Far too often, we see them close their books after finishing the task, never to look again. Ideas concerning how we can encourage students to re-read and revise their writing will be discussed.

Next, feedback will be addressed. How can we go beyond simple error correction and encourage greater reflection? Participants will be asked to give feedback on sample pieces of writing, focusing on content and posing questions to encourage the learner to revise their work.

Finally, we will look at how the students’ own work can be used as a basis for further engagement with language by transforming common errors into a collaborative correction activity.


  1. Have a great time, Dave! Say hello to any PLNers you may meet. It sounds like a fantastic conference, one which will most likely benefit from the insights your workshop brings.

  2. I'm so going to aim for Istek next year... I'd really like to attend your presentation Dave. A topic I am mighty interested in ;-)

    Have fun and the blog about it!

  3. Dear Dave,

    Your workshop sounds very interesting. Just looking at the programme and feeling how I will be sorry to miss all these great stuff. I'm looking forward to meeting my PLN. See you on Saturday.

    Good luck:)

  4. I will be there! I'm interested in how your follow up works. It's an area I don't think i do particularly well.

    See you on Sat!


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