Friday, March 13, 2015

Inspiring and Being Inspired: ELTDP Symposium 2015

Thanks to British Council and Malaysia Ministry of Education, I had the opportunity to present at the English Language Teachers Development Project (ELTDP) Symposium 2015 which was held at Hilton Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak on the 4th to 6th March 2015. It was my second time after the ELTDP 'Teacher as Researcher' Symposium in 2013.

The theme for this year's symposium is 'Keeping It Going: Sustaining Professional Growth.' You can visit the symposium's main website for more info.

I went with ELTDP mentor Justyna Skowronska (she was also the mentor in my former school in Kunak from 2011 to 2013, we went to the previous symposium together). I moved to Kota Kinabalu in January this year, so this time I went with the team from PPD KK.

My Session

I saw my session at this symposium as a continuation to what I did in the first one. In the first symposium, I talked about how my work with the parents had succeeded in changing my students' perception of reading. After ELTDP ended in my former school in 2013, the work with the parents continued. It had expanded beyond the project and transformed into a home-school partnership. Through my session in this second symposium, I narrated my journey and experience in trying to develop that partnership. Here's the summary of my session:

Reaching Beyond the Classroom: Creating Sustainable Learning Opportunities through Home-School Partnership

The community outreach in SK Kunak 2, Kunak, Sabah started in 2011 through several meetings and workshops with the parents under the British Council’s English Language Teachers Development Project (ELTDP). Today, it has expanded beyond the project and has transformed into a home-school partnership. The main aim is to create better learning opportunities for the students. This partnership is built through parent-teacher conferences, collaborative projects, home visits and other outreach activities. In this session, we will share our journey – how the partnership started and developed, the challenges that we faced, how it finally transformed into a long-term collaboration and how we plan to keep it going. We will also show how we inspire others with our story by sharing it in conferences, blog and publications. The impact of the partnership on teachers, parents and students is reflected through feedback from the community members, the students’ attitudes towards learning and the school’s academic performance. Throughout this session, we will share our story by showing pictures and videos that would prompt interactive discussions with the participants. Participants will be invited to reflect on the question: “Is going beyond the classroom worth it?”

I think the session went well - better than I expected. A lot more people attended my session this time, and I also got some encouraging feedback from the audience. After my session, a few people came to me and told me that my story had inspired them. Some expressed their interests in learning more about the work I did with the community. I didn't remember anything special about my presentation, I just tried my best to tell the story. Apparently, something about the story had moved people.

Anyway, I also received some requests for my presentation slides, so I decided to make it available here. Also embedded in this post are the 'uncut' version of the videos that I used. Send me an e-mail or drop a comment below this post if you need the shorter version (the ones that I used in the presentation).

Presentation Slides

Reaching Beyond the Classroom: Creating Sustainable Learning Opportunities through Home-School Partnership from Cynthia James

Also available here: Presentation Slides on Academia
and here: Dropbox

Video: What is 'reading'?

Video: LearnEnglish Family (LEF) Workshops in SK Kunak 2

Video: Students' Feedback (Two Weeks After the Second Workshop)

Video: Parents' Feedback (A Mother's Story)

Video: Puppet Workshop with Parents

Video: Children Working on the Audiobook Project

Video: Ahmad reading 'Sand Castle' by J. Patrick Lewis for the Audiobook Project

You can find more videos / audios of students reading on the school's Book Club blog.

'Inspiring and Being Inspired'

One of the keynote speakers for the symposium was Dr Angi Malderez. She attended my session! :) Right after my presentation she came to me, shook my hand and said, "Inspiring and being inspired. You did it."

It took a while to sink in, but after a few seconds I realised what she was referring to. It was that 'selfie' I did for the symposium's  #itis Twitter campaign:

My 'Symposium Selfie'

So Dr Angi Malderez didn't just attend my session - she also remembered my symposium selfie! Haha. How cool was that.

It actually summed up what I felt about the symposium. I wanted to be inspired. I expected that this symposium - just like the previous one - was going to be an inspiring event for me. And it was! I was inspired by all the keynote sessions, the teachers' workshops, the Creative Teacher Showcase and many more of the things that I saw, listened to and experienced. I was inspired by the conversations I had with the mentors and other teachers. I was inspired by the passion and enthusiasm of the people around me. It was an amazing event. 

I also hoped that I would be able to inspire others through my sharing. Based on the feedback on my session, I believe I had succeeded in inspiring at least a few people. So, yeah. Mission accomplished, I think.

Till the next post! -ccj

Some links:

ELTDP Symposium 2015

Reaching Beyond the Classroom

ELTDP Symposium 2013


  1. It was a great session Cynthia that showed people how much can be done if one believes in one's work. Congratulations again, never stop inspiring us all! J

    1. Justyna, I could never have done it without you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...