Monday, 7 April 2014

IATEFL 2014:Pecha Kucha Night

At last I found time to watch the recording of Pecha Kucha IATEFL event. It was brilliant as usual and immediately I decided that I have to write about it. For some time I really had no idea what Pecha Kucha was about. Last year when listening to Pecha Kucha presentations from IATEFL conference online I did not get a clear idea what it was about. Then I heard the term Pecha Kucha here and there and only this year I realised what it really means.I would like to share some information which I found for those who still have no idea what Pecha Kucha is.
Pecha Kucha is a short bright presentation which consists of 20 slides. The slides keep changing automatically and the speaker has 20 seconds to talk about each slide. First Pecha Kucha event was held in Tokyo in 2003 and was organised by an architect. Since then this style of presenting spread into different spheres including ELT. Lindsay Clanfield was the one who introduced Pecha Kucha into ELT world. The first IATEFL Pecha Kucha was organised in 2008 in Liverpool. Since then it has been a good tradition of IATEFL conference and is a scintillating, fun activity which brings teachers together and allows them to discover something new in ELT world while being relaxed and entertained. 

I would like to talk about several presentations which produced the greatest impression on me though frankly speaking all presenters were wonderful. Valeria Benevolo was leading Peacha Kucha event this year and she kicked -off with ther own Pecha Kucha which I found really heartfelt and beautiful. She used very expressive images to talk about teaching profession and then to introduce this year's speakers.I was quite happy to find out that one of the speakers this year is from Iran.I have a special feeling towards this countrya and people, so that is why I would like to begin by saying a few words about Pecha Kucha of a really charismatic and enthusiastic teacher from Iran Bita Rezaei. Unfortunately I could not see her slides because I was watching online and for some reason the slides to this presentation were not shown. Nevertheless, the presentation still produced a wonderful impression on me and some statements got imprinted into my mind. She was talking about the realities of teaching English in our world and all the examples she gave were so true to life. I couldn't but write down beautiful words about the profession of a teacher where she compared teaching to a "candle that consumes itself bringing life to others". How true is that! Teachers dedicate so much time, energy, passion to their beloved job in the process of enlightening the minds of their students. It is a tiring but still a  very rewarding job. Bita finished her Pecha Kucha saying that we should just remember to be happy, because happy teachers can give more light and our students feel that.

Sandy Millin gave a very memorable Pecha Kucha. She was introduced as someone whose presentation skills are brilliant and it could be felt. According to her own words,she probably was the only presenter who was not nervous before giving her Pecha Kucha. Sandy was talking about 19 things she had learned as an ELT teacher. From her talk I found out that she travelled quite a bit and has an experience of teaching in several countries. I won't enumerate all 19 things that Sandy Millin learned as you can watch the whole Pecha Kucha event in the video that you can find at the bottom of the page. I would like to mention just several ones which I remember most. 
1) Timetables are impossible.No matter how supposedly and seemingly ideal the schedule is, it will never be perfect,something will always be there to spoil it.
2) If you want to learn the local language- teach kids. Sandy learned that when she was teaching kids in different countries.They tend to say words in their local language a lot thus helping the teacher to master the language which might not be native for the teacher.
3) Stereotypes aren't always true. The example given was of teaching a group of Chinese schoolkids which Sandy thought would be the most quiet and obedient group she had ever had and they turned out to be the most noisy and wild.
4) Sometimes sterotypes are true.
5) Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sandy realised that while she is away from the UK she likes it more. When she is in the UK she tends to notice some negative sides of life but being away everything in her country seems almost ideal.
6) The next point is really important: listen to people around. Reserve no judgment, just listen. You never know what you can learn from just listening to people.
7) There's no point in stressing. Stress makes you nervous and that makes you ill. It helps to just chill, relax and see how much better everything will go.
8) Share. If you start giving, you will get things back. Who can know it better than us, teachers. Sharing is caring and truly our strength is in sharing. I noticed that in my work too, when I share I certainly get much more back.
9) Being connected changes everything. I fully agree with Sandy here. I started to gain interest in teaching when I started to connect with other teachers both in my city and all over the world. Sharing ideas, exchanging information, learning from each other- all of that makes teaching so much more exciting. 
10) We should remember that even though we are from different places, we have different opportunities and chances in life, we all want the same things from life. 

Cecilia Lemos talked about 10 commandments which can help us to get to ELT heaven. I really loved some of the statements I heard in her Pecha Kucha. I would like to quote the ones which seemed especially interesting to me.
"Keep calm and go to ELT heaven"
"You have to be a teacher all the time. You can't breathe without thinking about your students. When you hear a song, you think how to incorporate it in class".
"If David Crystal says:"Jump" you say "How high".
"If Nicky Hockly and Gavin say:"Use technology in class" you do that".
"Saturday's for work. Maybe half of Sunday you have for rest and relaxing"(I actually work on Saturdays,so that is so much about me!)

Well, it was fun. Do you want to watch it with your own eyes and enjoy it as much as I did? Here you are, you can watch the recording at Harrogate Online webpage or right here:


Sandy said...

Hi Elena,
Thanks so much for this. It's great to see how some of the points I made have resonated with you. I'm glad that the online access means that more people can benefit from the IATEFL conference.

Elena Matveeva said...

Sandy, thank you for reading my blog:) I always get excited when I get comments :)

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