(For some really useful tips on how to manipulate words on Wordle, have a look at Jamie Keddie's blog.)
From Virtual to Reality
I made friends with English teachers and educators from Italy and shared experiences with them. This gave me a fascinating insight into the status quo of English language teaching in Italy. I was also able to meet two of my Twitter contacts and this was a fantastic feeling. I spoke to Valentina Dodge, who gave an excellent talk on wikis. When we saw each other, we greeted each other very warmly. From virtual contact to real life contact was a very exciting experience for me. Valentina's talk on wikis was both entertaining and practical. I learned about a new tool which I will highlight later. I also met Lindsay Clandfield, of Six Things Blog fame, who gave a very interesting and informative workshop on meeting the challenge of mixed ability classes.
Use It or Lose It!!
One fascinating plenary talk was given by Dr. Janet Zadina. The title was "Multiple Pathways: using brain research to orchestrate language learning." I discovered new pathways to learning and I came out of the lecture theatre feeling re-energised and on a high. I treated myself to Dr Zadina's book "Six Weeks to a Brain-Compatible Classroom - a workbook for educators." I read it from cover to cover on the train on the way home from Rome and it is definitely money well spent. In fact, it has made me question some of my long-held pedagogical principles! I was utterly fascinated by the study of the multiple ways the brain can learn new things. We need to use what we learn and recycle new information, or else, we run the risk of losing the ability to retain the new information. Hence, "Use It or Lose It!!"
The participants of this year's Convention were invited to a literary wine tasting event with music and poetry. It was hosted by TESOL-Italy and Boccadigabbia. It was a memorable evening and whilst listening to romantic poems and relaxing music, I tasted the following delectable fine wines:
- Boccadigabbia "Le Grane Colli Macerati, ribona DOC"
- Boccadigabbia "Rosso Piceno"
- Boccadigabbia "Saltapicchio"
During Valentina Dodge's excellent presentation on wikis, she introduced a site which was new to me. You can find it at www.magmypic.com. I had great fun doing the magazine cover below. It took seconds to generate.
I reckon Joe is quite a well-known feline by now!
A Big Thank You
Thank you very much to all the organisers of TESOL-Italy Convention. A lot of dedicated work was involved. I had a fabulous time and I feel enriched as a result. Thanks to Patrizia for making me feel so welcome as a newbie Tesol-er and also thanks to Rosanna, who very kindly took the time to answer questions and give advice to newcomers. It was greatly appreciated!
Many thanks to Sister Serafina for looking after me so well at Casa Betania. I had a lovely time!
A big hello to Filomena, Luisa, Daniela, Esterina, Melanie, Jose and Laura. I enjoyed meeting you. Hope we will keep in contact.