Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Video Conference at the American Embassy

Today, I have attended teleconference at the American Embassy, Sudan.Maria Snarski talked and discussed her experience in Slovenia, based on her article on English Language Forum:" Methodology Material: Braking the Teacher-Fronted Cycle in the Classroom".About 30 teachers of English from Khartoum universities, gathered *in time* for the even.It was nice that I knew most of them, except those two from Al Gazeera, outside Khartoum.On the other hand, it was sad to meet "same faces same names" who are keen to participate and eager to develop professionally.There were so many questions from Sudan part and all attendee had enjoyed the discussion a lot.It was the first time for most of them to attend such sessions.
What I pity,a pity mentioned before the event over a discussion with one of the Sudanese staff at the Embassy, was our "tie"( authentic translation from /Arabic), that anything American or British always holds a glowing look, whatever the content is!
I mean,Conferences like this one, and much more, could be done with many community of teachers around the world.Teachers around the globe are much interested in discussing common problems and issues.Problems like big classes or motivating students to learn English, could be addressed form different prospectives and all are eager to share experiences and find solutions.
When I held my presentation at the British Council, I sent emails and SMS for two weeks to about 100 teachers inside and outside Sudan. Only 30 attended!But, when I announced Vance Stevens coming to Sudan for a workshop, all started to call and email me asking about the date and time! I guess this is found in many parts of the world, not only here.
"Release the power" to your students was what I took away with me."What will the students do with it? Will they abuse it? Will they think you are not serious? Will it be teacher-centered or learner-centered approach? will it work with large classes like ours? Maybe it will a mess if you couldn't manage the classes.It is not an easy task." (Maria Snarski). I imagine my students will be resistance to change, but after I get a one heart attach and two stokes, they will finally say; "Aha! This is how we need to learn!!In a fun way!"

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