Monday 12 April 2010

Let us Now Praise Famous Women

This is a post that I have been trying to find time to write for over a year now and the urge and urgency to write it has grown every time I go to conference and every time I hear a few irritating comments.

The comments usually fit into one or more of these categories
  • Where is all the new talent?
  • Why aren’t there more women speakers around?
  • Well technology that’s for the guys.
I think that more than anything, after this years' IATEFL conference these kinds of comments should stop once and for all.

So I’ve chosen focus this post on just a few of the many great tech savvy speakers, teachers, tweeters and of course women from this years conference.

Shelly Turrell & Ozge Karaoglu
One of the great presentations that everyone was talking about this year was by Shelly and Ozge.
Ozge based in Turkey and Shelly based in Germany were reporting on a project they created between their classes of young learners. They shared the results of their work and information about the kinds of tools and the issues involved in running a project of this kind with young students.
Shelly publishes her own blog ‘Teacher Reboot Camp’ which focuses not on technology, but on the pedagogical exploitation of technology with students. So be sure to check that out.

Ozge also has her own blog 'Ozge Karaoglu’s Blog' where she writes about and reviews Web 2.0 type tools for learning with a particular focus on using these tools with young learners.

Marisa Constantinides
Marisa was just one of the stars of this years’ Pecha Kucha presentations (20 slides in 6.40 minutes). You can watch the Pecha Kuchas here: IATEFL 2010 Pecha Kucha
  • Marisa also has her own blog ' TEFL Matters' where she publishes information on language teaching, teacher education and new technologies. Marisa is a teacher trainer and also runs a busy teacher training school in Athens. Among the things you can find on her blog are links to her recent presentation on animating course books with digital materials and some of her reflections on being an online teacher in a virtual world.
  • You can also add Marisa to your PLN and start following her on Twitter at:

Burcu Akyol
Burcu was also one of the star presenters at this years’ Pecha Kucha event and she opened the event with 20 slides of 20 seconds about how Twitter had effected her professional life and its impact on conference events such as IATEFL and the recent ISTEK International ELT Conference (27-28 March 2010 ) which she helped to organise in Turkey.
  • Burcu also publishes her own blog 'Burcu Akyol's Blog' on a range of teaching and ELT related topics and I can highly recommend it particularly if you are looking for somewhere to find information about building your PLN.
  • Yes you’ve already guessed that she too is prolific producer of tweets, so be sure to add her to your network.

Petra Pointner

Among Petra’s striking contributions to this years’ IATEFL conference was her presentation 'What students can get out of Twitter' on her use of Twitter with her students. Petra talks in this interview about how she became interested in Twitter and how it has impacted on her professional life. Interview with Petra Pointner
Karenne Joy Sylvester
Last but by no means least is Karenne Sylvester. Karenne’s presentation was on working in educational online communities and she explored some of the issues involved in being an e-moderator and working online with learners.
  • You can also see Karenne doing, what for me was one of the highlights of the entire conference, her Pecha Kucha presentation on the history of the English language.
  • Karenne also writes her own blog 'Kalingo English' which explores many of the pedagogical issues surrounding the use of educational technology with a particular focus towards business English. It’s a great read so do check that out.
  • You can also follow her on Twitter at:

So here are just six of the many great women who were presenting at IATEFL this year. I have picked these six, not just because they are women, not because they blog or tweet and not because they use technology, but because all six are primarily great teachers and educators with great ideas that they want to share and because they critically apply their knowledge of education to the way they exploit technology with their students.

For me this is of key importance and significance. Technology was a huge feature of this years’ IATEFL conference and it’s very easy to be blinded or pulled along by the technology, but in the work of these six women there is for me some sign of the beginnings of a state of normalisation of technology in language teaching. A state when we can move past talking about technology and get back to talking about teaching of which technology is just a normal part and an enabler in that process of learning. I'm sure that time of normalisation will still be a long time coming, but it's great to see that at least it's beginning.

Related links:

Nik Peachey


Tara Benwell said...

This post could go down as Blog Post of the year for 2010. Excellent collection, Nik! Even though I wasn't able to attend the conference, I truly enjoyed watching these talented women via IATEFL online.

Nik Peachey said...

Thanks to both Tara and Gavin for the comments.
Gavin you are right about the impossibility of including so many great people and of course the greatest missing person of all in this post is your friend and mine Nicky Hockley. She would need an article all of her own.



Unknown said...


Thank you! I know all of us appreciate these words dearly from you because you have been a vital part of our love for technology due to your constant dedication to blogging about its various uses. When I first entered the world of web 2.0 you were one of the first bloggers I followed and many of your posts have been digested and explored by me and my students. So thank you for continuing to dedicate so much time and passion to ensuring educators in all fields learn the art of using technology effectively with their students.

admin said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post, Nik!!I've learnt so much from you and I keep on learning everyday.It's such an honor for me to be named on one of your blog posts!!
I'm one of your biggest fans!!

Marisa Constantinides said...

I am overwhelmed by this post mentionening me along my new old friends, all extremely talented, beautiful strong women with a passion and dedication which inspires me daily.

Thank you so much for this great honour - it was unexpected and it has given me great joy and happiness.

You have given us all so much inspiration and knowledge, Nik, and here you are setting a new example with your incredible kindness and generosity.

You really do deserve pride of place in my personal hall of fame.


Burcu Akyol said...

It was great to meet you Nik! Like Shelly, Özge and Marisa said you are truly a great source of inspiration to all of us. Thanks a lot for the great post! I loved the pictures! Now, I feel more connected to the people I've met online:-)




Golly Nik,

This is the third time I've tried to say something here so this time I'm going to force my fingers to keep typing.

Thank you so much for your praise of my PK, it was wonderfully fun preparing and convincing the poem to come on out to play with us (that's what it felt like while I was writing it :-), like it had its own character)!

I'm so glad you mentioned the normalization of technology: it's something I feel so strongly about - that we just get on with the teaching and stop talking about the bells and whistles because, while on the one hand it does help provide motivation for our students, on the other hand it really does help us to explore methods, provide authentic content and become better teachers.

And, like all the others have said already, before me in their comments, you Nik, above all, have been absolutely instrumental in helping that to occur.

Okay, must dash off before becoming sentimental, for the 100th time, it was soooo cool to meet you in real life.

Thank you again for your recognition.

Take care,

Ken Wilson said...

Thanks for that, Nik - a great reminder of a super bunch of talented people.

I can't let this praise of talented women go by without a mention of the doyenne of techie females, Nicky Hockly.

Nicky combines so many talents, but for a hopeless techie like me, she also offers warm understanding and a refreshing lack of evangelism.

And can I just praise another rising star? Naomi Moir, who is an OUP employee and therefore mainly has to do commercial presentations. She is a totally brilliant presenter, and also does a good impersonation of a teenager who has 'I'm not listening' written across her forehead.

sandrina vlahou said...

Well I must say Nik you would make Simone de Beauvoir a really happy person. What you have accomplished is what she had been looking for all her life namely a man writing about women and "praising" their "transcendence". Concepts unheard of at her time and very much taboo still nowadays. I haven't met you but I know Marisa hence my access to your blog, and I am happy to say that there are men around there that appreciate women for what they themselves are and not as man's projection

Nik Peachey said...

Many thanks for all the kind comments.

I'd be very glad to make Simone de Beauvoir happy (I've read most of her books - and very few of Jean Paul Sartre's!) but I can't make any claims to be any kind of feminist despite the title (which refers to a book written by Andrea Fisher about women photographers - the title of which was a play on the title of an earlier book by James Agee that has fantastic photographs by Walker Evans - both equally worth checking out if you have any interest in photography).

I chose these women because I have followed their work, in some cases over a period of years, and because they all still work in the classroom (something that I haven't done for quite some time).

There are many other I'm sure. Vicky for example who appears in the first photograph and many men too. I hope nobody feels left out.