Sunday, 3 April 2011

IATEFL Brighton - An Exclusive Interview with Janet

With IATEFL Brighton looming in less than 2 weeks, it is time for an interview with Janet, the blogging teacher from Abruzzo.

Laura Lidiana, an extremely close contact from Civitaquana, Abruzzo, very kindly agreed to interview her. Below is a faithful rendition of the interview which took place in Oxford, England yesterday.

LL: Are you ready for IATEFL Brighton?

Janet: No, I'm not.

LL: Oh, I see. Why not?

Janet: Well, it's been a bit hectic the past few weeks what with a few virtual conferences and face to face workshops that I have had the great pleasure to present at, so I haven't had enough time to get down to doing it completely.

LL: What is the title that you are presenting?

Janet: It's on one of my favourite teaching topics!! It's called "Teaching Idioms Effectively with Web 2.0 Tools".

LL: When are you presenting?

Janet: I'm presenting on Sunday April 17th at 16.55pm.

LL: That sounds fab! Have you done your research for your presentation?

Janet: Yes, I have. I've already done about 15+ hours of collating information, reading, finding some useful references and so on.

LL: Well, that sounds positive. How about your slides. Have you organised them yet?

Janet: I've already got about 15 done, but ideally I'd like to have about 30 - 35 slides ready.

LL : How do you actually prepare for a major presentation like IATEFL Brighton?

Janet: I have a lot of brainstorming sessions first, where I just sit down with a pen and an A4 piece of paper. I just sit and stare at the blank piece of paper and wait for inspiration to happen. It usually does happen and then there is an explosion of ideas, and that's when it gets a bit manic. I jot everything down using circles, arrows, bubbles and all sorts! After that, it's linking, linking and more linking. Then I stop, and leave this first basic draft.

LL: I see. Then what happens next?

Janet: Well, then I wait for the next stage to miraculously happen, and as soon as I get an inkling that inspiration is on the cards, I sit down again with the original draft and then start to sift through all the many ideas. That is my second draft. After that, I do a third draft, always following the same sort of procedure until I finally have the Final draft with the ideas I definitely want to include in the presentation. All this takes quite a few hours!!

LL: That sounds good. Ok, so are you on track to deliver the presentation in 10 days or so?

Janet: I have no choice. It has to be ready. I usually work very well to a deadline and my pre - final or penultimate deadline is Sunday April 10th. That will give me 4 clear nights to finalise everything to my complete satisfaction.

LL: Have you been working hard on it recently?

Janet: Yes, I've been a bit snowed under with work and family commitments, and I have been burning the midnight oil. I hit the sack at 2am last night. I suddenly got inspired at about midnight and I couldn't stop! I was doing screenshots of images, looking through all my folders and I was as busy as this bee below!

LL: My goodness, DO make sure you don't overdo it, as you need to be on the ball for Brighton, don't you??

Janet: Absolutely!!

LL: Do you mind my asking? How come it's taken you so long to present at IATEFL in England?

Janet: Yes, that's a good question. My tutor in Hastings at a Teacher Refresher course in the early 1990s suggested back then that I should apply to present at IATEFL. The only thing that stopped me from actually following his excellent advice was myself, that is the honest answer. I did not push myself, I didn't really want to, nor need to step out of my "comfort zone", as I was extremely happy the way I was back then, in my pre-technology era.

LL: Do you regret not pushing yourself in your pre-technology era?

Janet: It's best not to look back with regret at things that are not possible to change now, as that is detrimental to the present.

LL: Ermm, I don't think you have really answered this question, so if you don't mind, I will ask you again.

Do you regret not pushing yourself in your pre-technology era?

Janet: What can I say? I was very happy back in those days and I am happy now. That's my final answer.

LL: Right, ok. I feel you are hedging somewhat, but ok, let's move on. So what prompted you to start doing so many presentations recently?

Janet: I was inspired by some very kind members of my PLN who invited me to participate in virtual conferences and Face to Face conferences. They had the confidence in me that I would be able to deliver on a big stage in front of many educators from around the world.

  • Virtual Round Table in 2010, and 2011
  • Reform Symposium in 2010,
  • Connecting Online 2011
  • TESOL Italy - Rome National Convention 2010
  • Tesol Italy L'Aquila in 2010, and 2011
I feel very happy that I have presented at all these venues. I would never ever have believed I would do this before 2008, when my life changed overnight.

LL: I see! Ok, so my final question of the day is: Have you read any blog posts on presenting that have inspired you?

Janet: Yes, I have read quite a few and I am going to be reading them again over the next few days before I get to Brighton.

LL: Well, Janet - thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. I know how reclusive you are and how difficult it is to pin you down, especially with you looking after all your chickens, cats, dogs, seedlings and olive trees!
Below we can see a rather hen-pecked Kelly surrounded by his flock of followers, all trying to grab his food.

LL: I'd like to wish you good luck and I hope you enjoy Brighton!

Janet: Thank you very much Laura! See you there?

LL: Yes, absolutely! I will definitely be there.

Janet: Great, we'll have to meet up for a Montepulciano or two?

LL: Yes, that sounds fab! Or even a Trebbiano?

Janet: Maybe we won't find any Abruzzo wines in Brighton, but anyway, I look forward to seeing you there!!!

End of Interview

Link to image here.

Links to Helpful Posts on Presenting at Conferences
The Power of Presentations by David Deubel
It's Conference time, and I'm getting nervous... by Ken Wilson
How to present at a conference: Part 1 taking the first steps by Darren Elliot
How do you plan a successful presentation? by Jeremy Harmer
Death by PowerPoint (and how to avoid it!) by Seth Dickens
Improve Your PowerPoints in 45 Minutes by Seth Dickens


Brad said...

Hey Janet-

Didn't know that you were going to #IATEFL too. I'll make sure to be at your session, then! :)

Interesting to jump inside your preparation before it all goes down. Break a leg! (if you can say that in the EFL world...) cheers, brad

popps said...

talking to yourself is the first sign of madness!
But now i know what Brighton is all about, thanks.
Good luck.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Chris

You guessed that LL is my alter ego!! It was just a bit of fun, rather than a sign of going bananas :)

Thanks for the good wishes. I'll need them!!

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Brad

I look forward to meeting you in Brighton and it would be lovely to see you at my presentation.

Brighton's going to be great fun and hopefully it will all go ok!!

Anne Hodgson said...

You'll be great, dear Janet! Hhave fun and I hope you meet lots of nice people!

Janet said...

Dear Anne

Thank you so much for your good wishes. Look forward to going there next week.

Hope to see you at another conference in the future, if you are not going to Brighton :)