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Seven Wonders of İSTEK ELT

This weekend I felt like I was in another world. The world of İSTEK ELT! It was a world full of surprises, precious treasures, magical tools and fairy tale characters. I enjoyed every minute of the splendid work of art.

Here is the list of the Seven Wonders of İSTEK ELT World:

1. Keynote Sessions & Workshops: I wish I could have copied and pasted myself into each room and attended all the sessions. They were all precious studies by precious teachers and educators.

2. The Blog Queen: She did a great job by organizing this big event with many colourful activities. She was everywhere with her gentle manners giving a hand to everyone. Elegant and modest. Thanks to Burcu. It’s such a great honour to be a member of her team.

3. Shaman Dance Theatre: An audio-visual feast! I watched the fabulous show breathless. It was a great closing after the impressive speech of Burcu Akyol.

4. Pecha Kucha: One of the most exciting activities of İSTEK ELT. It was funny, enjoyable but challenging. Presenting the slides in such a short time is not very easy! A big applause to the host Lindsay Clanfield and the participants.

5. Conference Hosts: My dear colleagues Vanessa Hatoum and Louis Savoy held the conference just like two professional speakers. Congrats to both for their successful performance.

6. Conference Team: Foreign Languages Departments and the Heads of all İSTEK Schools worked hard and did their best to make everything perfect.

7. Presentation of the İSTEK Schools: Once again I felt proud of being a teacher and also a graduate of İSTEK Schools. The video we watched about İSTEK Schools revealed how productive, cooperative, confident and talented students we have at İSTEK. The great projects they have run so far impressed everyone.

If you want to catch up with the news, please visit the blog of İSTEK ELT and have a look at the interviews by Mark Andrews. He did a great job out there as well.

Fairy Tale Characters of İSTEK ELT (Listed alphabetically)

Thumbelina – Ania Kozicka
Ania, a cute and slender lady, drew everyone’s attention with her great presentation at Pecha Kucha.

Santa Clause - Arjana Blazic
Arjana earned our hearts by giving out the heart shaped necklaces with lovely Crotian writing. What a nice memory it will be!

Conference Fairy – Burcu Akyol
Burcu waved her wand and let it all begin. The conference she organized was a magical event for the ELT World.

Fairy Godmother – Evridiki Dakos
Evridiki was, sweet and kind. She was friendly and motherly, too. She touched each of us with her magic wand and activated the little child inside of us during her great workshop.

İSTEK Red Riding Hood - Gizem Kebabçı
Very young but hard working, delicate but strong! Gizem, my dear trainee at İSTEK Acıbadem touched my heart with the amazing job she did.

Prince Charming – Jamie Keddie
“Prince Charming!” That was what I thought when I saw him first at İSTEK ELT last year. The grammar teaching techniques shared by him  were as cool as him. (I’m sure I’ve been the voice of the crowd!)

Heidi – Lenka Kroupova
The active learning strategies Lenka uses and the beautiful smile on her face will absolutely avoid drop-outs.

The Pied Piper - Louis Savoy
Starting the keynote sessions with his kind manners and charisma was so nice. He glued us into our chairs. He did not use his magical flute for that but he used his cool voice.

Merlin - Ken Wilson
Ideas and recommendations he gave were like magic spells. Thanks to our ELT wizard.

Peter Pan – Luke Meddings
The first slide of his presentation (a picture of him drawn by his father) grabbed me in the very beginning. He was very creative and successful by taking us into a dream world. How could I know that it was possible to make a connection between teaching and paintings? Wow!

Dorothy (of Wizard of Oz) - Marisa Constantinides
Marisa did not give up after all the technical problems she had just like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz:) Besides she collected each of us during her wonderful presentation at Pecha Kucha as if we were going to Oz:)

Wendy (of Peter Pan) – Maureen McGarvey
Humorous and friendly. Motherly just like Wendy. I was in a trance with her funny slides. Hilarious!

Alice in Cyberland – Özge Karaoğlu
Özge did not hesitate to share lots of helpful web based tools and she did all these through a very creative virtual tour using the character, Alice. She also made my day when she commented on my blog with the flattering marks she made.

Dancing Princes and Princesses – The Conference Team
As the Conference Team we were here and there helping out and trying to make our guests pleased. I hope we made our them happy.

Willy Wonka of the Network Factory – Willy Cardoso

Meeting him made me so happy and I enjoyed talking to him. One of the first questions I asked him was this: “Have you ever been called Willy Wonka?” Guess the answer :) )

İSTEK Mermaid – Vanessa Hatoum
My dear friend Vanessa was kind and lovely. She was so beautiful like a mermaid. The conference became more supreme with her presence on the stage.

What about you? Have you met any more fairy tale characters? Please comment and share!

I hope you will visit the 7 wonders of 3rd İSTEK ELT in 2012 and meet the fairy tale characters, use the magical tools feeling the stardust all over you.

  1. OK now I am GREEN with envy. I want to come to ISTEK next year. green green greeen

    1. :) Thank you Coffee Addict. We would be very pleased to see you here at İSTEK.

    1. Dear Alex,

      Thank you for reading my post and sharing the link.

      Of course, I respect others and their opinions. As a graduate and a teacher of İSTEK I spent a long time in this institution. I have encountered many colleagues who loved being a part of İSTEK family. Some stayed at İSTEK for a long time, some are still here.

      I think it is very normal for people to have different ideas. Besides each culture and each character require different features and that explains the expectations and disappointments.

      We would be very much pleased to see you at the upcoming İSTEK ELT Conference as our guest.

      1. That comment was not by me. Someone has been going around blogs posting that comment as me, for some odd reason. Could you possibly delete the comment and your reply, and then email with details about who really left that comment, e.g. what country they were using a computer in?


        Alex (in Japan)

        1. Comment on my blog also now deleted.

        2. On second thoughts, a bit silly to delete comments when there are so many replies below. Really wasn’t me though!

          1. Dear Alex,
            I’m sorry for my late reply but as you can understand I didn’t know what to do at first as a new blogger. I didn’t delete the comment of the fake ‘Alex’ because that would affect all the other comments and replies. I thought your replies would be enough to explain everything.
            It’s so sad for bloggers to be used by people who have bad intentions like this one. Gosh! That really freaks me out now! I wish there was something to prevent this.
            Thank you very much for revealing this thing out. Hope to see ‘the real’ you and your comments in the Blogosphere.

  2. Hi Merve,

    Great to meet you and connect with you on this magical journey to the land of Oz!!

    Thank you for your support and looking forward to more encounters and connections through the aPLaNet project, and not only!


    1. Dear Marisa,

      Thank you for your comment and support! Looking forward to other events to meet you.

  3. Dear Merve,

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope we will meet again.


    1. Hi Eva,
      Thanks for your nice comment. It was a pleasure for me to meet you at the conference. I’m so sorry I missed your workshop :(
      Hope to see you, too.

  4. Great post, Merve – the flavour of the conference shines through and I like the way you’ve presented the experience – really makes me sad that I missed it this year.

    Just wanted to respond to what Alex posted. The first thing that struck me was the date of the posts – 2008. I know that ISTEK has been going through quite a transformation since then – the conference I was fortunate to attend last year was probably the watershed for that change. It certainly acted as a big, bold, public statement to both what the new ISTEK (if this is the case – I wasn’t aware of them beforehand) is and promises to be in the future. Since then, it seems to be going from strength to strength, and I’m certain this has much to do with the expert guiding hand of Burcu Akyol.

    The comments in the forum certainly don’t ring true with what I heard from teachers I talked to when I was there. The majority of those seemed to be very happy with their lot. The couple who did criticise ISTEK said the same kind of things I’m likely to hear from teachers where I work with, so I didn’t pay much attention to this.

    Of course, you get a different impression when you visit an organisation and when you work there, but still, you also get a feeling for what the teachers feel about the place they work – I’ve certainly got that from other places I’ve visited on my travels, and the feeling I got while at ISTEK was very positive.

    1. Dear Graham,

      I’m so pleased to receive nice comments from you.

      I remember your great plenary about e-portfolios at the first İSTEK ELT. It was really fruitful for all of us.

      I would also like to thank you for sharing your İSTEK experience. That’s worth reading.

      I hope I will have other chances to attend your workshops in the future.

  5. Wow! I am speechless!

    What a brief, clear and very expressive blog post! It should be an example to many bloggers including me first! Well done Merve! I am impressed of your talent and your imagination……….. :)

    Keep up the good work and your writing style! :)

    Fairy Godmother Evridiki :)

    1. Hello Fairy Godmother:)

      I’m so pleased to read your lovely comments. It’s great to be supported by colleagues.

      I should also mention that I was lucky to have you all around to be inspired.

      Hope to see you again!

  6. Hello Merve,
    What a fabulous post and summary of the best ELT Conference in the world! It was a great pleasure to be given the chance to participate in this magical event – unforgettable and inspirational experience.
    Thank you Merve for looking after us! You are amazing!
    Look forward to meeting you again.

    All the best,
    Thumbelina —> Ania :-)

    1. Hello Thumbelina:)

      The pleasure is mine. I’m glad you liked it all.

      Hope to see you again!

  7. What a great summary – just like CoffeeAddict I’m so jealous;) I wanted so much to come – next year maybe. The conference sounds fairy tale like:)

    1. Dear Anna,

      Ignore the sweet evil and don’t be jealous:)) İSTEK Family will be glad to host you, too and I will happy to meet you.

      Looking forward to see you.

  8. Dear Merve,
    I just adored your blog. It was so imaginative and at the same time a complete definition of Istek seminar. I also enjoyed it a great deal and look forward to another journey to the land of oz with all those precious characters of the story -:))

    1. Dear Gita,

      Thank you for drooping by and commenting. The land of Oz and the fairy tale characters will be waiting for you. You may also be one them next time. We would all be happy:)
      Hope to see you again!

  9. What a wonderful post, dear Merve:-)
    I’m so honored to be in your fairytale, thank you so much:-) Meeting you and all the other wonderf fairytale characters was a real pleasure. It was an absolutely amazing conference and I’m delighted to have taken part in it.
    All the best

    1. Hello Arjana,

      I agree with you. The conference was great and with all people attended it became awesome:) Nice to meet you and hope to see you again my dear…

  10. Hi Merve,

    Such a great and inspiring post. It made me feel like I was at the conference. Great to see schools are improving and raising such great students. Thanks for the great review!

  11. Dear Solmaz,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. It’ s nice to hear that you felt the atmosphere.

    Hope to see you there next year!

  12. Hi, Merve …

    we’re just back from ISTEK, and I’m thinking back to the very beginning, meeting you and Roger at the airport, the first of many warm, friendly Turkish welcomes that we visitors received over the three days. In Dede’s and my case, for another two days in Istanbul as well.

    My attention was drawn to Alex’s cold-water link above.

    Alex, if you come back and read any of the subsequent notes, I hope you will take that as an indication of ISTEK (organisation AND conference) now. And you can dump that dumb out-of-date site and join in the general warm and good feeling that almost ALL the people who work for ISTEK created last weekend.

    Warm best wishes to everyone else :)

    1. Dear Ken,

      Thank you for your comments. I’m so happy to hear about your warm feelings. You were all very friendly, too.

      You are so thoughtful to write what you really think and feel about ISTEK. Hope to see you at another event or blog post:)

    2. Lots of comments here and nearly all, it would seem, from people who attended the event. Many of my colleagues were there and apart from a few small gripes said that it was a worthwhile weekend.

      Ken, I seem to remember you leading the praise for Dave Sperling when he showed up on Twitter a while back (although we suspect it wasn’t him in the end). What happened? Where did all the love go?

      I’m commenting here as I also received a similar comment from Alex about these negative aspects of ISTEK’s work. I tend to actually agree with you about Dave’s ESL cafe and the info on the site being highly dubious to say the least. It did, however, make me wonder where all the money came from to host this event. Many – a huge number – plenary speakers were flown in, all expenses paid, from around the world for this and it made for a great conference. But that money had to come from somewhere. Perhaps it was concluded that allocating a weighty budget for this event would lead to noteworthy figures in our profession praising ISTEK to the high hilt without looking too far beyond their magical weekend away in Istanbul. Pretty smart business decision, I’d say. Anyway, I went into this issue in more detail on my blog recently and don’t want you to dwell much more on this: it might upset you. You all had a lovely time and my colleagues reiterated the fact that it was a good event

      I’d like to make it clear that I don’t work for ISTEK, I never have and never will*. I’ve heard good things about the school and I’ve heard bad things. I certainly don’t anything on Dave’s ESL Cafe as sacrosanct.

      Thanks to Merve for initiating this discussion with her great summary of the event.

      *I’d be happy to discuss any of these issues further on my blog.

      1. Dear Adam,
        Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts as a foreign educator who lives in Turkey. I do respect your ideas and feelings. People can have different opinions and sharing these in a respectful way is the proper thing we should do.
        Hope to see you and your comments again:)

        1. You definitely will. Good luck with your great blog.

  13. Merve,
    I just want to say that you and everyone who made this conference possible deserve all the chocolate in the world!!!

    Willy Wonka

    1. Hello Willy Wonka;)

      Mmmm! I love chocolate:) Thank you for your cute comment. It was so nice to talk to you. Hope to see you at another conference or post:)

  14. [...] read Merve’s beautiful post : Seven Wonders of İSTEK ELT addthis_url = [...]

    1. Dear Eva,

      I’m flattered. Thank you for mentioning about my post in your blog post. That’s very sweet of you.

  15. Wooow! This is an excellent post Merve. It couldn’t have been expressed better!

    Another thing I would like to add is that it was a great pleasure to also have met such a great educator like you:)


    1. Hello Nesrin,

      Thanks for dropping by. The feeling is mutual! I feel happy to meet lots of wonderful teachers bloggers like you. Thanks to Blogathon :)

      Hope to see you!

  16. The comment wasn’t by me! Whoever it was obviously has something against me as well as against ISTEK, an organisation I know nothing about!

    1. I’m now thinking that they probably just used my name to get more attention for the link rather than to stitch me up. Still quite annoying though…

  17. Hi Tinkerbell,
    This couln’t have been expressed better! You have such a lovely style and tone :)