6 of the best of the Harrogate Online Registered Bloggers' posts

Now that the conference has finished, I'm looking forward to catching up on some of the things I missed, and the first place I've started is with the Harrogate Online Registered Bloggers (HORB). What follows is my personal selection of some of the best blog posts from the HORB bloggers.

1) TEFL GEEK: The Sugata Mitra Debate

I suspect the over-riding memory of The IATEFL 2014 Harrogate conference for many of those who participated in person and online will be the presence of Sugata Mitra and the hullabaloo that followed his plenary and interview. Here, David Petrie, writes a reflective and balanced account of the controversy. He also had the opportunity to ask Mitra about his ideas on the train from Harrogate, something a lot of other conference participants thought they should have had the opportunity to do (most of the plenary speakers had follow-up Q&A sessions). 

David "got the distinct impression that he sees no need for specialized language instruction." and comments that in all Mitra's experiments "the language development has been largely incidental" and perhaps David has discovered the crux of the matter and why so many people were offended by the views Mitra stated on Saturday. He seems to have little interest in all of the research and good practice that has taken place over the years in language classrooms, preferring to ignore this and focus on his own instinct and on what the children say they want. 

Lizzie reminds us that although the IATEFL conference experience is intense and brief, we should rise to some of the challenges that emerge from what we learn from interacting with others and their ideas in order to fully take advantage of the time and experience. 

She encourages us to also not just stick to what we know and to  "fully engage with anything you disagree with. Debate it. Argue with it. But don’t just say it’s wrong and dismiss it." Finally, and most importantly, she encourages everyone to share what we learn with others. Blogging about it seems to be a very fitting way of doing this. 

Christina has developed a wonderfully creative way of note-taking and reflection of what she experienced at the conference, called "sketch-noting" and she shares here her sketch-notes made while listening to Katherine Bilsborough's session at the MaWSIG PCE on 'Becoming a digital author'

Her sketch-notes shared with us here are fascinating and very informative. For anyone who is interested in following her lead and having a go themselves, she has written another blog post explaining how to get started with sketch-noting

It looks likely that I am going to India in May as a consultant, and before I go, I have been trying to get a better idea of how things are in ELT. I found Partha's blog post interesting, not only because it pointed me to an interview that I probably would have overlooked, but also because Partha shares with us reflections provoked by the interview of his own experience in the 90s when he was at "a small village of Sonitpur, Assam where we had gone for an in-service teacher training programme."

5) David Read: The Spelunky Revolution in ELT Edutech

David Read shares his reflections after the ELTJAm presentation at the conference. He thinks the warnings to us all about the threat of us all losing our jobs because of MOOCs, SOLEs and moves by large corproations into the language learning game are exaggerated. The rest of the post elabroates on why he thinks our jobs are safe, but also why he thinks we should have our 'Spelunky revolution in ELT' - a very thoughtful and interesting post indeed.

6) Dave Dodgeson: Teaching English via Computer Games

This talk is top of my list of the recordings I need to watch, and I will surely blog about it myself, but it was very interesting to read Dave's reflections on the presentation beforehand. 

In particular, I was very interested to read some of the observations Dave made while watching the talk and his blog posts is useful both as a summary of the main points made and also notes about areas to explore in the future. Looking forward to watching the actual session by Mykhailo Noschecko now. 

This is just a selection of what the HORB have been writing about, and I am sure that more will follow - why not go to the HORB page and check out some of the other posts people have been writing?


  1. Oh, wow, Graham, thanks for the mention! I feel very honored indeed to be in this list, especially with David and Lizzie--they've written some good things indeed on the conference. Now I need to read the other blogs you mentioned here too :) Cheers!

    1. A pleasure, Christina - I love what you've been doing with the sketch-noting - fabulous idea!

  2. Anonymous9:47 am

    Thank you Graham. Welcome to India. English in India is the symbol of upward social mobility and economic emancipation. Please come and explore the Indian ELT world.


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