Building Bridges to a Bilingual Future

In this, the age of highspeed technology and enlightenment, monolingualism is like a heavy chain around our ankles that impedes us from swiftly reaching our goals. Now, more than ever, in all walks of professional and academic life we feel the need to iron out our differences and reach out to bond with people of different cultures all over the world. What better way of touching other peoples' lives and gaining new perspectives than by adding a second or even third tongue to our own? Healthy intercultural relationships can only stem from mutual respect and understanding and it is our duty as shrewd educators to enable future generations to communicate fluently, accurately and with cultural awareness in a shared, global language.

It therefore lies upon us, teachers of foreign languages, to ensure that our learners can function effectively as proficient bilinguals or even trilinguals in their future careers. We believe our responsibility is not just to help our students to achieve high marks or enable them to pass foreign language exams, but to help students to reach their full potential in communicating competently in a foreign language. As lifelong learners ourselves, we also believe that we constantly need to further explore the ways in which we can assist our students to become successful bilingual citizens in the multicultural societies of the future. We have organised this conference with this goal in mind.

Thus, we cordially invite you to join us in what we hope will be a thought-provoking and fruitful conference and collaboratively consider how best to go about our shared goal of "Building Bridges for a Bilingual Future".

Istanbul Bilim College English Department

Who's Speaking



March 11th, 2017

09:00 – 09:30 Registration
09:30 – 10:00 Opening
10:00 – 10:45 Tony Gurr
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 – 11:45 Claire Selby
11:45 – 12:00 Coffee Break
12:00 – 12:20 Turkish National Committee for UNICEF
12:20 – 12:40 Patrick Shortt
12:40 – 13:40 Lunch Break
13:40 – 14:00 Elaine Vaccarello
14:00 – 14:20 Najla Rasuli
14:20 – 14:35 Coffee Break
14:35 – 15:20 Christopher Sheen
15:20 – 15:45 Raffle





Tony Gurr is a seasoned teacher, trainer, consultant – and LEARNer. He draws on his wide range of ‘hands-on’ experience in schools, colleges and higher education institutions in the UK, Middle East, the US, Australia, and Türkiye.

A popular workshop facilitator / keynote presenter, Tony is well-known for his creative and thought-provoking sessions with educators and trainee teachers. He has also worked on a series of major learning and teaching transformation initiatives, managed innovative curriculum and assessment renewal projects, and led a range of quality and institutional effectiveness programmes over his 30+ years in ELT and education.

Tony consults for a wide range of institutions, supports the development of in-house CPD programmes and mentors specialist / leadership teams across the region. He is married (to a Turkish national), has one daughter (plus a ‘son’ called Dexter) and is very proud of his status as an ‘educational enişte’. He holds the following qualifications – PGCE, CELTA, RSA Dip. TEFLA, M.Sc., M.Ed., and MBA. He is passionate about all forms of student, teacher and institutional LEARNing.


What Type of Teachers Build the ‘Best’ Bridges?

Many educational commentators and schools talk about building or being the best school, however they forget that there is no such thing as a ‘great’ school – only schools full of ‘great teachers’.

In this session, Tony will show how we need to pay more attention to those that ‘build’ our bridges to a bilingual future in English Language Learning. He’ll do this by cutting through the noise of 21st Century Learning, the 4C’s and Next Generation Learning – and highlight, from both a students’ and teachers’ perspective, what it is that makes teachers ‘great’. He’ll also focus on the areas that teachers need to prioritise to improve their teaching (and bridge-construction) skills on a life-long basis.

Tony will use a number of interactive activities in the session – so come prepared to participate and use your ‘voice’.


Claire Diana Selby has been a best-selling English Language Teaching (ELT) author for over 15 years. She specialises in English language learning and phonics materials for young learners.

Claire has written award-winning school courses, home-learning materials, stories, songs, game apps and teacher training manuals, as well as a handbook for parents. Her honours include a song-writing award from the Beijing Olympic Committee for an international Olympic song for children. A graduate in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, her works are published by Cambridge University Press (Course – Hippo and Friends), Oxford University Press (Course – Oxford Playtime), Collins (Multimedia readers – Little Red Dragon), Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press, Beijing (Courses – Phonics Wonderland and Phonics Superland, plus Levelled and Graded Readers) in addition to the publishing operation she co-founded, Yellow House English, that launched the ground-breaking Universal Preschool Course. Claire has campaigned for many years to encourage parents and teachers to introduce children to an additional language as young as possible in order to give them the benefits of a bilingual future. She brought up her own two children as bilingual and has over 12 years’ experience of living abroad. Currently based in Oxfordshire, UK, Claire is a popular speaker at IATEFL and other international conferences.

BF Future or fantasy summary for Dunya

Making every child bilingual with English – future or fantasy?

Claire Selby


Poland is the first country in the EU to make an additional language obligatory for all preschool aged children. In the majority of cases, preschools are choosing to offer English. Is this possible with the teachers currently available? Will other countries follow? What are the long-term implications for the teaching of English? The talk will explore and address some of these key issues.


When Poland became the first country to make a second language obligatory for all pupils aged three to five years from September 2017, most preschools chose to offer English.

Many questions arise from this, including: How can the profession cope when there are not enough qualified English teachers? How can English be delivered often enough at preschool for children to learn a worthwhile amount of the language? Will other EU and non-EU countries follow this example? How does Poland plan to roll out this policy? How will the advantage of an early start in English be developed in primary and beyond? What are the implications for teaching English at those levels?

As a response to these issues, the Bilingual Future Social Education Programme was set up through a British-Polish joint venture. The Bilingual Future Social Education Programme aims to offer solutions to the issues raised through a combination of coordinated plans. These include working with publishing houses to provide materials for all teachers to use and building a long-term English-language professional development programme for teachers that could transform English attainment levels across the education system.

The talk will explore how that has been put into place so far and the potential opportunities for Turkey. Questions will be taken at the end of the presentation.


Patrick Manuel Francis Shortt has taught English for longer than he would like to confess, working with students of all levels and ages, from pre-school to adult. His main area of interest, however, are young learners and teenagers, having worked exclusively with them over the vast majority of those years.Although Patrick´s teaching experience has been equally divided between Spain and Turkey,he has also extensively given workshops and talks to teachers in UK, Europe, North Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East,having delivered hundreds of presentations at conferences, and schools and other major institutions such as universities, the British Council, IATEFL, TESOL, Oxford University, as well as for all the major publishing companies. Among his most recent posts,he has  worked as a teacher trainer and Foreign Language instructor of English and Spanish at Istanbul Technical University where he currently works, Istanbul Bilgi University,as well as at Bosphorous and Bahcesehir Universities and as trainer and educational consultant for Morocco for an international university press. Patrick is based in Istanbul where he has predominantly lived and worked over the last 14 years.


Building Bridges To Bilingualism Through The Arts

Role play, story-telling, arts, crafts and music are all ways in which the learner can be involved directly and totally immersed within the learning and use of the target language while encouraging them to take steps towards bilingualism in a holistic, highly motivational and natural manner. In this workshop we will look at a series of example, practical activities and techniques that will help our students recycle and use the target language through a variety of methods and techniques, using various artistic mediums from crafts to music, from visuals and literature to play acting and composition.


Najla Rasouli graduated from UCNA of  Iran with bachelor`s degree in English Translation studies. She had an oral interpretation experience in the international concrete conference. She got her master`s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from the Tabriz University and while she was studying the program, she got a CELTA certification. She has taught every level of primary, secondary and high school for eight years. She has been teaching secondary and high school for three years in Turkey and has prepared the students for KET, PET and TOEFL exams. She tries to utilize methods and techniques to provide active and experiential learning in her classes. She believes inspired and passionate teachers have the significant influence on student progression.


        The Impact of Gestures on Bilingual Children`s Foreign Language Memorization

It was commonly believed that the only means of communication was speech and it was considered to be the only actuality in communication. As research in the area of nonverbal behavior flourished, this conception faded away. Nowadays, communication is considered as multi-channeled. The nonverbal communication is an important issue in foreign language classrooms. It is important to note that gesture is a part of nonverbal communication as a whole but gesture studies have become a discipline in its own right. The effective use of gestures (or other nonverbal features) by teachers in L2 classrooms may create a positive atmosphere and enhance the comprehension level of students. As a result, some researchers advocated that language teachers become aware of their gesture use in the classroom through explicit training. The presentation is an effort to show how utilizing gestures in vocabulary teaching for young children could lead to the long-term memorization of vocabulary items in a foreign language classroom.


Elaine Vaccarello graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. She has taught in Turkey for nineteen years. She has taught every level of primary and middle school as an ESL teacher. Currently, she is teaching fourth grade math and science.  Her favorite style of teaching is through learning centers. She also likes to take education outside of her classroom with hands-on activities and cross-curriculum projects.   Her teaching philosophy is CLIL based not only for her students, but also for her own bilingual education. She is starting her master’s program in special education, which will be the follow-up to course work that she has already completed in this field. She has authored and published fifteen ESL story books designed for Turkish government school children. She is dedicated to being a life-long learner and enjoys giving back to her profession by being a teacher trainer.




Bilingual Education using CLIL

There are many types of bilingual education in schools today.  The operational definition of bilingual education that will be used in this session refers to any program that has academic content in two languages.  Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a teaching methodology that has been in practice for centuries.  The term CLIL was coined in the early 1990’s and has gained popularity in many educational circles.  CLIL teaching is engaging and motivating for both teachers and students. It helps to foster an intrinsic learning environment that is based on real and effective communication.  CLIL educators are preparing their students with 21st Century skills.  In this session, we will discuss the amazing benefits of using CLIL in bilingual education and how to plan and integrate this teaching practice immediately into your classroom.


Chris is a full-time teacher trainer and coordinator with Oxford University Press. His nearly twenty years in the ELT field have included all learner profiles from multiple countries, particularly from Asia. Before joining OUP Turkey he was the lead trainer in the corporate sales division of Japan’s largest language company in addition to being a full-time English instructor in several departments in the largest university in western Japan. He has a keen interest in classroom dynamics and student ownership of the learning process.


How would you prefer to travel through life-riding a unicycle or bicycle? With this analogy in mind, this presentation discusses, ‘What is bilingualism and what role may it play in our children’s journey through life? What do we as teachers know about it and how can it influence our classrooms?’ Though a grand topic, this presentation looks to enlighten participants by looking at bilingualism through various interactive prisms, touching upon concepts such as desirability, practicality, and functionality.