IATEFL Harrogate 2014 – Chain reaction, Paula Lyra, Mustafa Polat, Feyzan Bedenli

Adam Simpson started the Chain reaction blog challenge as a way of marking this year’s IATEFL conference at Harrogate. See his first post here with Lizzie Pinard who tagged me in the reaction here. As all of the people I know from social media were already tagged it gave me the opportunity to get to know some new (to me) bloggers. Paula Lyra, Mustafa Polat and Feyzan Bedenli kindly agreed. Thanks guys.

Paula Lyra is based in Brasil and blogs here.

1. Please introduce yourself.
I am 58 years old and I have been teaching English at International schools, Language Courses and now I only tutor students at home. That´s why I have the blog- to help people develop their language skills and enjoy in their studies.

2. What areas of the conference are you interested in?
This is going to be the first time that I take part in it, so I don´t know exactly what to expect. I hope to listen to good and experience people talking about developement in the area of English Language Teaching.

I am also not very good with computing skills, so I am not sure if I will be able to access the site correctly or enven attend to the conferences due to my schedule (3 hours behind UK). I am going to need help!

Mustafa Polat is from Turkey and blogs here.

Before starting to answer the following questions, I would like to thank Mura Nava for giving me this opportunity to share about me as part of Harrogate blogger chain.

1. Please introduce yourself.
To briefly mention who I am, my name is Mustafa Polat, and I am currently studying at Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) PhD program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.

I am a graduate of Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey at the department of Foreign Language Education in addition to my minor in General Management. Due to my interest in business administration and language teaching, I completed my MA at the same university focusing on ‘teaching conflict management as part of EFL curricula’.

As for my teaching experience, I taught English for 6 years at various foundation universities in Turkey starting at TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara, then at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul and finally at Ozyegin University in Istanbul. I taught various pre-faculty courses in writing and other skills.

In addition to my studies, I am currently sharing my ideas on my blog and webpage in addition to the twitter account, which I mostly use for academic purposes, by sharing feeds. Just like Mura Nava, I am one of those registered ELT bloggers at Harrogate Online. It has been a really nice experience to meet new colleagues and share ideas by also following several important sessions so far.

2. What areas of the conference are you interested in?
In fact, I am interested in mainly keeping myself updated with all innovations and improvements in the field. it is obvious that IATEFL is one of those cornerstone events to do this in addition to the opportunity to build a network of colleagues sharing similar interests and aims. As a person who could not physically participate in this event, most of these objectives might seem difficult to achieve, but thanks to all possibilities on Harrogate Online, and also most participants sharing their ideas on Twitter, it becomes really easy to do so with the ease of some clicks. More specifically, I am really interested in following sessions related to the current status of English in the world in addition to educational technology, which is one of my special interests. Moreover, there are really reputable and esteemed ELT figures at this conference such as David Graddol, Sugata Mitra, Kathleen Graves, and Michael Hoey who make this event for me worth following closely.

3. Could you tell us about your blog?
Although we are at a time when technology improves and changes everything very quickly and when blogging is said to be almost dead, I started writing for my blog last year in order to share my experience with my colleagues and the ones interested about teaching, technology, Fulbright, graduate studies in the States, and Turkey. Moreover, I am person who closely follows technological innovations and new devices especially produced by Apple, which also urges me to share my knowledge and experience related to how we can use our devices that are an important part of ours today in the areas we are working and doing research. So far, I have felt a great satisfaction by doing this, and it is good to know that a lot of people are interested in what you are struggling to do. This makes me believe that blogging seems to be an obsolete tool for some; however depending on how you use this tool, not form but function, it still prospectively have a long life span at least concerning our field of study.

4. What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to?
I think I have said enough and would not wish to take a lot of time of yours reading this, but one of the forthcoming aspects of this conference is the possibility and the opportunity to make new contacts with whom it may be possible to do research and create a network of sharing ideas and experience. At this age when technology erases all borders, I believe this is really significant both for our professional development and also more importantly for potential improvements and advancements in the field of language learning and teaching. Therefore, the conference is really important for me personally and, as said before, it is vital for our field, which makes me really excited about. Hopefully, I may also find the chance to participate in this event physically as well, but thanks to Harrogate Online team, there are so many things and even more you can do online, too.


A late but welcome entry by Feyzan Bedenli who blogs here.

1. Please introduce yourself.

I’m a newly qualified teacher of English in my first year of practice. I work part-time at a language school, teaching kids mostly. I’m looking forward to beginning my new full-time job in a kindergarten, soon. I’m very keen on following conferences and developing professionally.

2. What areas of the conference are you interested in?

My areas of interest are educational technologies and demand high. I’m willing to listen to the related speeches online. I think it’s a great opportunity for us, the newly qualified teachers, to be able to attend the conference “virtually”.

3. Could you tell us about your blog?

I have started blogging as an assignment for an ed-tech course I’m attending. Now, the course ended, but I’ve already got very used to it. Since I’m new at it, all of your comments to my posts are very welcomed. Please check it out at: feyzana.blogspot.com

4. What other aspects of the conference are you looking forward to?

If I were able to make it to Harrogate, I’d make many new friends. So, I hope this chain-blogging and being a registered conference blogger will help me make new connections. I’m also looking forward to reading these bloggers’ reflections post-conference.

3 thoughts on “IATEFL Harrogate 2014 – Chain reaction, Paula Lyra, Mustafa Polat, Feyzan Bedenli

  1. Mura,
    I have read your post and enjoyed reading it. This chain idea has been really good to know people who have a lot of valuable ideas to share.
    Soon, I will hopefully post my interview with another Harrogate blogger. Looking forward to your upcoming post on your blog.
    Mustafa P.

    1. hi mustafa

      it was a pleasure to read about your background and interests in the conference, and i too look forward to your next blog posts 🙂

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