#KELTchat (live and) Unplugged at the Seoul KOTESOL Conference

The #KELTchat team invite you to join us LIVE this Saturday, March 29th, at the Seoul KOTESOL conference. The theme of the conference is “Think Global, Teach Local” – a perfect theme for #KELTchat as we reach out to our global PLN in order to become better teachers in our Korean classrooms. In Saturday’s session we hope to give participants a taste of #KELTchat discussion 140 characters at a time. Keep reading for the abstract and a description of what we plan to do and come join us Saturday morning at 11. Of course if any global PLN people want to share some thoughts on #KELTchat or any of the below topics around 11:00 Korea time such thoughts will be read and appreciated.

Abstract

In Korea, teachers’ access to professional development is often limited by time and distance. In this session, we will introduce an online group aimed at connecting teachers and conducting discussions about English language teaching related topics, especially those relevant to Korea. This introduction will briefly cover the history of #KELTChat, the online structure and the aims. Following this, a flavour of the online discussions will be given in a breakout session, in which three topics will be discussed in small groups. Participants are free to choose a topic of interest to them, and to move between groups. The three topics offered will be solving a specific teaching problem, considering how a certain theory may apply to Korea, and discussing how to teach a certain skill in the Korean context. Each discussion will be moderated by one of the #KELTChat team. Although this is a demonstration of an online discussion group, it will be conducted almost entirely offline, and thus technological expertise or even technology is not required. The session will conclude with information as to how participants can get involved with online discussions.

  1. Introduction

#KELTChat has now been running for two years as a place for teachers of English in Korea to meet online and talk about teaching. It was created to provide a useful source of information on Twitter, specifically for teachers in Korea, and was originally modelled on the global #eltchat hashtag. Similar to #eltchat we also hold regular “chats” on Twitter about a range of topics. #KELTChat now consists of a Facebook group, a blog and regular Twitter activity including hour long “chats” and all day “Slowburn”™ discussions. The purpose of this conference session is to introduce teachers from all teaching contexts in Korea to #KELTChat, enable them to share their views and hear from others on key issues related to teaching in Korea, and to share information on how to get involved with #KELTChat online if they wish.

  1. Structure of the session

We will begin by briefly introducing ourselves and #KELTChat, including the background, goals and style of discussions. We plan for this to take no more than ten minutes. Following this we will break out into three small group discussions, in which participants will be free to move between groups as they wish. The topics for each discussion are given in the section that follows. These sessions will last for around twenty-five minutes, after which there will be time for summing up, information on how to get involved with #KELTChat and questions. We’d like to emphasize again that no part of the session requires participants to have technological skills or even technology.

Breakout group topics

These topics will be the subjects of three concurrent sessions. Participants are free to choose and move groups as they wish. An outline of what we may discuss is given below in order to help participants to choose their session(s). All sessions will be focused on the Korean context, but experience and insight from other countries is very welcome.

1. Solving Problems – Motivating Unwilling Learners (moderated by Anne Hendler)

The topic of this session will surely be something that participants have encountered at some stage of their career, and something that they may well be encountering at the moment. Participants will be asked to share stories of student demotivation and their solutions, and we will look to build these experiences into some helpful suggestions for identifying, explaining and combating unwillingness to learn.

2. Applying Theory – Macro Strategies (moderated by Michael Griffin)

Kumaravadivelu (1993) proposed ten macrostrategies to guide teacher actions in a post-method world. In this session participants will explore what four of these macrostrategies may mean for teachers in Korea, and how they could be applied in various contexts. This session will require some advance knowledge of the macrostrategies. A handout outlining the four strategies to be discussed is included in this programme, and participants are invited to read it before the session.

3. Teaching Skills – (How) Can we teach pronunciation? (moderated by Alex Grevett)        

Pronunciation is often considered the “Cinderella” of pronunciation teaching, sidelined by a focus on grammar, lexis and communication to the extent that some teachers believe that it is impossible or unnecessary to teach pronunciation. This session explores whether this is really the case, and will ask questions of why students make errors, what should be taught, when pronunciation teaching should start and useful techniques for teaching.

  1. Conclusion

This session will benefit anyone who is craving a more interactive conference experience. Participants will experience the benefit of conceptualizing and sharing their own experiences in order to help others as well as hearing and learning from other teachers’ experiences and ways of understanding. Thus participants should come to the session willing to listen to each other and share their experiences, as the bulk of learning will come from group members rather than moderators. This is the way we tend to work during #KELTchat online discussions, and we hope that this live session will be an enjoyable and helpful experience you will want to repeat online.

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