Istek 2011, Thoughts on Competing

ISTEK 2011
ISTEK 2011

I feel honoured that my video has been chosen amongst the top three videos to become the roving reporter at the upcoming ISTEK ELT conference in Istanbul.  I enjoy reporting from conferences a lot as I have done in this last year from Croatia, Hungary and Macedonia. It’s great to bring events to a wider audience.

I was particularly interested in the ISTEK conference as I spent the whole weekend watching it last year from my flat in Budapest and then blogged about the experience afterwards. This was the outcome.

Key Note Speakers at ISTEK 2011
Key Note Speakers at ISTEK 2011

When I learned about the opportunity to be a reporter at this year’s ISTEK conference I thought this was something I should definitely go in for.

It was a very creative idea to get us to submit a short video of a report of a conference or workshop that we had been to, in order to demonstrate our reporting skills.


Criteria I considered in the making of the video

In the video I wanted to contexualise the conference at which the workshop took place at the beginning, introduce a bit of background of the workshop presenter, include a pic from the workshop, scan in parts of the handout, show practical activities that were done in the workshop, and to capture the theoretical thrust of the workshop which was to develop learner responsibility in the classroom. It was important to reflect the balance of theory and practice with a healthy dose of humour along with a few slides to signpost the talk.  Basically I felt that the video should reflect the approach that I would try to take if I found myself at the ISTEK conference  in person this year.


istekpresenters1It’s strange being in a competitive situation with Sabrina and Anna when everything else we do is collaborative and supportive. Very odd! It feels like being in the middle of an x-factor or eurovision song contest without the music.  It certainly brings the conference to a wider audience though which is an excellent idea and if 20% of those who voted also sign up for the online coverage, it will have been a great success. Am sure that some of the people who I have passed the competition on to will get involved as some people have written back to me and asked me what ISTEK is all about.

Didn’t know either whether to write a blogpost about the conference and the competition before the actual event or not but after Sabrina put up a blogpost I was persuaded to join in.

Anyway, I passed on the webpage where you vote on the roving reporter competition to English teachers and English teacher trainees who I know and asked them to have a look at the three videos and if they thought mine was the best to vote for me.  Here is the link to Burcu Akyol’s blog where you can look at the three videos and vote.

To promote or not to promote?

istekpresenters3Since I’ve used electronic media for passing on good ideas about teaching and learning, particularly with twitter and facebook, it has always been in the spirit of mutual help, co-operation and encouragement. Finding myself in a competition with two other excellent sharers and co-operators is a very strange feeling. Has anyone else ever found themselves in this position?

In the past when I’ve campaigned for causes and political parties I’ve done it with a sense of conviction and enthusiasm without being unduly bothered about the other parties I was campaigning against. In this vote it’s much more difficult.

In the end, whatever the outcome, there will be a good person to take up the role of roving reporter at the ISTEK conference, but I just wanted to share what it feels like to be in an unfamiliar situation competing against two other very decent people who I normally co-operate with.

istekpresenters4I would encourage anybody who is able to get to the conference to go and anybody who can watch online on the weekend of April 2/3 to take that opportunity too. Last year the online coverage was superb and I expect it to be the same this year. This is the provisional conference line up for anyone interested in following the conference, a formidable array of talent if ever there was on, with years of experience in turkishflagour profession. You can identify their faces amongst the rest of this blogpost and Ken and Andrew aren’t bigger because they are better than everybody else but just because they were the final two on the website and the picture came out that size!

If you haven’t done so already please spread the news about the conference and the competition and I hope to meet up with some of you “virtually” or in person at the beginning of April.

Best Wishes


4 thoughts on “Istek 2011, Thoughts on Competing

  1. Not quite the same as Eurovision (though I reckon you’d do OK!!) because the winner will have a lot of work to do and SHOULD also be the best person from the conference’s point of view. Whoever wins will deserve the free place if they do a good job and I have no doubt you would be the one, judging by the three video entries submitted and knowing the way you work.
    I know that you would want to win, but not from a selfish point of view (though I am sure you’d love to be there) but rather because you want to do the best job, as you always do! I hope you get the vote … it’ll be to everyone’s benefit!

  2. thanks very much Grenville, that’s very kind of you. And yeah I really would like to do a good job there. Am sure if I won I would work harder at ISTEK than any other conference I’ve been to in my life!

  3. Mark,

    Thanks for the interesting article and a link to the equally well-portrayed video on the important aspects you took away from the competition. Of the three videos posted, I found yours to be the most intellectually stimulating. Good job!

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