Reflection from Kostanay

A team of speakers from Kostanay share their experiences after attending and presenting

at the 1st International Pre-Service Teachers Conference

Eight things we learned at the 1st International Pre-service Teachers Conference

“Teaching and Learning English in Transition to Tri-Lingual Education: Research, Challenges and Successes”

#1 – No Fear

We did experience some fears such as failure to grab audience attention while presenting, making mistakes, unexpected technical issues, no attendees at a session and inability to meet time requirements. Fortunately, everything went smoothly. Moreover, inspirational Sandra Lee in her plenary session managed to reignite our enthusiasm, and now we know that the first principal for every novice teachers is “No Fear!”.

# 2 – Resources

Being resourceful was among ten tips for future teachers in Tim Collins’s speech. The possibilities of free resources are limitless., definitely be helpful in our teaching career.

# 3 – Learning from Experienced Teachers

Timothy R. Collins, Paul Woodfall, Jeffrey Whitney, Martin Curtis and Sandra Lee did their great job in making teaching profession sound attractive and honorable. Their passion will encourage us not to step away when obstacles appear on our way.

# 4 – Flexibility

Being flexible is an essential part of teacher’s job. The participation in the conference helped us to develop the skill to some extent. For example, when a virus on one speaker’s flashdrive destroyed all the presentation for the round table session no one gave up and continued presentation using tried and tested board and chalk. Others faced the challenge of changing their talk format from TEDx to demonstration, poster session or workshop. Such unexpected situations made us leave comfort zone and start expanding it instead.

# 5 – Breaking Stereotypes

Myth #1 about Shymkent’s nice and warm weather in the middle of March was unclosed as instead of expected green town (Shym- green, Kent – town) we saw a white town. However, the warmth of local people made us feel comfortable and welcomed. Myth # 2 about kidnapping young girls by local jigits turned out to be just a soap bubble. 85% of all grantees were young females  butnone of them was captured. We learned that Shymkent is a safe modern and hospitable city.

# 6 – The Sense of Belonging

It is fantastic to feel that you are a member of the community of enthusiastic, creative, intelligent young people who have chosen to devote their life to teaching.It was also a great honor for us to present and share our ideas on plagiarism, listening and using  place names with other participants and attendees.

# 7 -  Having Fun

It was great that some of the speakers made their sessions as enjoyable as possible. A bright example is the ladder activity presented by Paul Woodfall. Also Sandra Lee’s rain activity left no one uninvolved. Besides sessions and talks, the conference will be remembered for coffee breaks, an amazing sightseeing tour and the final concert given by the talented young people from SKSPU.

# 8 -  Buzz Words

Finally, we have enlarged our vocabulary with a number of buzz words such as network, target language, summative assessment, scaffolding, communicative competences to name just a few.

All in all, not only the 1stInternational Pre-service Teachers Conference was fruitful and efficient, but also it was entertaining and encouraging.

Many thanks for such a useful event to TataynaLatyaikina, Regional English Language Office, US Embassy, Astana, Oxford University Press, South Kazakhstan State Pedagogical University and Miras University!

Nina Shandetskaya

Madina Kazbekova

Xeniya Zadorozhnaya

Margarita Zaitseva

A.BaitursynovKostanay State University, Kostanay