English teaching conventions are always fun. The people who teach English are people persons, and are easy to get along with. However, imagine a trip that combines the areas that most interest you: in my case, technology, material light learning, and teacher development, with not only many of the best minds around, but many of the nicest neurons on the planet.
Burcu Akyol and her posse organized everything beautifully. Talking to the volunteers, they enjoyed the whole process... a great compliment indeed. The framework was strong enough that everything went forward yet open enough to enjoy and have space to visit.
The other protagonists were the Turkish teachers. Like at the other conferences... they emanate vitality and some of it sticks onto whoever passes by. Lovely magical beings that seem more from a fairy tale than a classroom. (By this, I mean one of the highest compliments I can give. I believe hopelessly in Fairy Tales. I suspect that the most exciting things that happened to me were the result of following the faint drift of music over the hills and far away... )
Onto practicalities, which are not incompatible with fairytales, the open discussion hours allowed me to spend some small time group work time learning with, and from, the turkish teachers and teachers in training... I hope they continue in the direction they are going, as they came up with very sensible and student centered ideas. People I have no choice but to admire and respect, and who make me feel as comfortable as an overused sweater.
I love how it ended, with the faint drift of music turning into an impromptu sing-a-long .
Luke and Marissa at the piano, Ken and Maureen leading the choir, and Anthony playing the drums with his fingers, and the rest of us singing, yes, even Graham, and discussing complexity theory with Willy, while Burcu offered us turkish coffee.. (Scott had long since turned into a bottle of wine by that time, but this was no lugubrious* transubstantiation as he had turned into a fine bottle of Rioja. )
Time to carry a faint drift of music back home, over the hills and far away.
* if I use it three more times it will be in my active vocabulary. Beware.