This site contains many of my ELT articles and book reviews from 2000 to the present. It also contains material for teachers and teacher-trainers. You can visit all of these by clicking on the correct category below and to the right. If you are having difficulty finding what you need, then use the search facility; simply type in a key-word.
I have been involved in language teaching both in the UK and overseas since 1981, when I graduated from Northampton University (UK), formerly ‘Nene College’, with a Bachelor of Education (Honours) degree in teaching English and Social Studies. Apart from 1985-86, spent at Instituto Britanico, Guimaraes, in northern Portugal, I have spent large parts of my career either in the UK or in an immense variety of language classrooms in Turkey, beginning at TED Kayseri Koleji (1981-83) in central Anatolia. I later moved to Izmir Türk Koleji (1986-1990), followed by Izmir Çakabey Koleji (1995-2000).
Now based on the west coast of Turkey in the city of Izmir, I was until recently a university level language instructor at the Institute of Technology where I coordinated and taught on the EAP writing programme for preparatory year students at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. To view aerial photographs of the IYTE campus click here.
On February 1st, 2012, I took up my new position as Assistant-Professor, responsible for Teacher-Development at Izmir Katip Çelebi University (IKÇÜ), which is located in Balatçık, 5 km after Çiğli on the road to Menemen. IKÇÜ is across the road from the Turkish Airforce training school, so if you hear the sounds of jet aircraft in the background when you phone me, do not worry.
I am currently working on a teacher research investigation into the benefits gained by teacher peer-observation. At the same time I am supervising a group of teacher researchers at Izmir Katip Çelebi University who are working on individual studies intended for presentation in 2014 at the IATEFL / Gediz University Research SIG Conference on June 27th and 28th.
I began my ongoing involvement with teacher-training in Izmir in the early 1990s while Head of English at Izmir Koleji (1992-1995). I became a CELTA qualified trainer in 2001 and am also involved in online teacher-training. I tutored on the British Council Turkey distance-learning programme from 2000-2005.
In December 2012 I became a committee member of T-PLUS, an organization that deals with teacher-training and development throughout Turkey in the Higher Education sector. Current committee members also include Dr. Bahar Gün, from Izmir Economy University, Pınar Sabuncu from Izmir University, and Kenan Dikilitaş from Izmir Gediz University. The first meeting of T-PLUS took place at Izmir University of Economics in 2012, followed by a second meeting at Izmir Yaşar University in May, 2013. The third meeting is due to take place at TED University in Ankara in November 2013, followed by meeting number four at Izmir University in the spring of 2014. If you are a teacher-trainer at university level in Turkey then please contact me for further details of meetings and schedules.Photos of the most recent T-PLUS meeting can be also be viewed on this site.
I am a regular contributor to widely-read UK ELT journals such as EL Gazette and Modern English Teacher and have had several articles on distance learning published in the past few years. These can be located in the categories section under ‘ELT articles.’
Editorial Board Memberships
I am on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Language and Literature Education, further details of which can be found at: http://jllesite.org/index.php
I have a continuing professional interest in assessment of writing by portfolio, three articles on which can be viewed on this site by clicking on the category under this name. The original article in Modern English Teacher in 2004 sparked a reader-response which was followed up by a co-authored article. I have uploaded three seminars-workshops that I have presented in recent years. Please feel free to use them, adding the original source. Today’s writing quiz has been cancelled or ‘how my writing department came to hate me’ looks at the background and the advantages of PA.
I have been a Cambridge ESOL oral examiner since 1991 and examined speaking and writing papers at IELTS level from 1999 till 2005. I currently examine speaking at KET & PET levels. As an examinations presenter, I deliver teacher-support seminars throughout Turkey on behalf of Cambridge ESOL. In this connection I was in the United Arab Emirates in 2007 speaking in a Higher Technology College in Al Ain, and at Hosnan University, Abu Dhabi. Following that I was in Dubai on behalf of Cambridge ESOL to present at TESOL Arabia 2007 as both a featured speaker and lecturing on the Master Teaching Certificate. In 2008 Cambridge ESOL celebrated 150 years of examining. To mark the occasion CUP published Examining the World (cf my ELT Reviews) which appeared in Modern English Teacher 18.1.
I completed my MSc in TESOL with Aston University in 1996, which included a dissertation on CALL (computer-assisted language learning), and am currently engaged in a project at IYTE involving action research on conferencing with second-language writers about their work. In 2007 I was in Finland at The Turku Summer School Conference where I delivered a plenary session and a workshop-seminar on second language writing.
I was also a plenary speaker at a conference organised by the Turkish publisher NUANS in mid-April 2008 in Istanbul, the theme of which was International Exams, where I spoke about the Cambridge ESOL PET and FCE level exams and how the speaking and writing papers are supported by material from the publisher Helbling Languages
More recently, in March 2011, I had the pleasure of delivering the opening plenary talk at the 6th annual Yuce Koleji ELT conference in Ankara, where, in my session titled “Hey, Mrs Writing Teacher, why don’t you sit down and talk to me?”, I spoke of the advantages of portfolio assessment over ‘one-shot’ essay testing, and the many benefits on second-draft writing of oral conferencing with student writers. Following this, in April I then spoke at the Cambridge University Press ELT Conference for High School teachers on the south coast of Turkey, in Kemer, west of Antalya. On this occasion my presentation concerned Cambridge ESOL lower main suite exams and how schools are now able to access ready-to-use material from CentreNet.
Having begun work on my thesis in 2005 and completed it in 2010, I recently received my PhD in ELT and Applied linguistics from The University of Warwick in Coventry (UK). Pictured below is my supervisor, Dr Sue Wharton, in an impromptu presentation in the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL), handing me the hard-earned certificate. My second supervisor was Dr Keith Richards. My eventual 78.000 word thesis concerned the effects on follow-up drafts of oral conferencing on EAP essay writing in higher education in Turkey. A link to the abstract of my thesis is now available on this site; see the category listed as PhD details for this. An article based upon the thesis was published in ELTED, a University of Warwick journal edited by the centre for applied linguistics there (CAL). It can be found here: http://www.elted.net/issues/Volume-14/index.htm
From 1999 to 2006 I was editor of the ELT materials reviews section in Issues (now Voices), the bi-monthly journal of IATEFL. For several years I wrote abstracts for the research journal, Language Teaching. I am a member of The British Association for Applied Linguists (BAAL) for whom I reviewed Forensic Linguistics and more recently in the winter of 2009 The Discourse Reader for BAAL News. Reviews of mine also appear in ELTJ; that of The Handbook of Language Teaching, Routledge, 2010, may be viewed in the June, 2010 issue from the following link: http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/ccq028?ijkey=uTEX7paCnXRNcqi&keytype=ref
The majority of reviews on this site were originally published in EL Gazette. Should you choose to use them, where it is indicated, please mention this. Clicking on the image above each of them should take you to further details on each title reviewed. Where no image is available, that’s because I could not obtain one. If you can help me with the missing images, I’d be most grateful.
Having been born and brought up in the UK midland city of Derby, I am to be found there most summers spending far too much time following international cricket on Cricinfo and The Guardian. (I am a regular contributor to the Guardian Sport’s excellent OBO – over-by-over summaries of international cricket involving the England team). Some people have recently suggested I miss cricket, but in fairness I sometimes go five whole minutes without thinking about the game.
Cooking Indian food is high among my leisure pursuits, and so is cycling and barbecueing fish by the sea. Other than all that, I read work from my favourite novelists – Franz Kafka, Malcolm Bradbury, Paul Theroux, John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth, along with most plays by Harold Pinter (sadly, now no longer with us, but who was also an avid cricket follower). One of my current ambitions is to join that loyal band of England cricket followers overseas – the Barmy army. A minor ambition of mine was achieved recently when I completed watching all fifteen films made by the Coen brothers. More recently I have discovered the novels by William Boyd, Sebastion Faulks, and Mikhail Bulgakov.
I’m currently enjoying trips to Istanbul to visit Alev, with whom I’m working through places to visit in The Rough Guide to Istanbul. One recent trek included that to the old British Prison in the Galata area, now an excellent restaurant called The Galata House: www.thegalatahouse.com , plus a visit to the newly-opened Pera Palas Hotel. More recently, Alev and I can strongly recommend the south-eastern Turkish cuisine available at Kiva Restaurant, set just below the Galata Tower.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit several interesting places in recent years on behalf of various language-teaching related organisations, Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan being two of the most exotic, but I recently returned from a short stay in the ancient town of Erbil, northern Iraq. Erbil, or ‘Hawler’ in Kurdish, is the capital of the KRG – Kurdish Regional Government – the autonomous region of Kurdish Iraq, and famous for its 8,000 year old citadel.
Before I went I was a little anxious over the security there, but can honestly recommend the place. AtlasJet fly there from Istanbul five times weekly, a journey of almost two hours. The summer heat is pretty intense, generally around 45 degrees, but this is off-set by the low humidity, of 12-15%. Make sure you’re not out in it for too long; you’ll be losing liquid without realising it. In most places clean bottled water is free, and it would be insulting to even try and pay for it.
Driving north east towards Soran will take you into the most breathtaking mountainous scenery you can imagine and past the waterfall that appears on all Iraqi bank notes. In fact there are several such spectacular waterfalls, which provide refreshingly cool breezes when you’re sitting in 4o degree plus shade.
Back to my Roots
Travel during the summer of 2011 took me back to my first place of work: TED Kayseri Koleji. The town itself, apart from a metro system running along the central Sıvas Bulvarı, had not changed much since I was last there in 2001 for a week of teacher-training, and probably hasn’t changed too much since the middle-ages. Still, the humidity-free climate and the best mixed grill meat in Turkey helps. The lojman where I once lived is now the Treasurer’s office, and where we had lunch is now the primary school. To my amazement, photos of the staff from 1981-83 are still on show along a dark corridor opposite what once was the school canteen. See the link to ‘Kayseri photos’ for this.
A site all teachers of EFL and ESL Reading would be well-advised to look at is that by Kieran McGovern, author of a great deal of excellent stories for children. For teachers involved in CLIL I strongly recommend a visit to Steve Darn’s superb site. Followers of the superb work of Michael Berman, who specializes in language learning via story-telling, and a review of whose ‘In a Faraway Land’ appears on this site, can read more about his more recent work at: www.Thestoryteller.org.uk