ISfTE 2014 Antalya, Turkey - A Seminar to Remember
Located in the beauty of Turkey's historic Mediterranean coastline, Belek in Antalya proved a wonderful venue for this, the 34th annual ISfTE seminar. Nuray Senemoglu (Convener), and Gultekin Cakmakci (Co-convener), our gracious hosts, along with their magnificent organizational team, put together an event that will linger professionally and personally in the memory of participants for a very long time. Hosted by Hacettepe University, the setting was perfect and the accommodation facilities exceptional. The excellent seminar arrangements meant that our global gathering of teacher educators was able to focus its full energy on the critical issues confronting teacher education in 2014 and beyond. The seminar theme Teacher Education in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) World provided a perfect basis for this.
This was a well-attended affair. Over 150 professional teacher educators from more than 45 countries from around the globe gathered in Belek. Moreover, many were first-time attendees representing new parts of the world for ISfTE. The combination of old and new was truly inspirational, leading to an extraordinary level of interaction and a cohesive "meeting of minds." Most of all, this collective gathering has already begun to follow up with one another by sharing research and resources, planning student and faculty exchanges and exploring new ways to achieve common goals.
As usual, the intellectual and professional bonds forged within paper groups proved to be the key element. Every person distributed his or her paper draft to everyone else in the group to read in preparation for discussion. This long-established ISfTE format has proved the test of time, and in Antalya this was no exception. The idea of colleagues sharing "work in progress", discussing their thinking and ideas with peers, and finding ways to enrich their papers, remains a unique and much-valued part of the ISfTE seminar approach.
Keynote presentations provided the opportunity for participants to jointly focus on and discuss three focal issues. Lively questions from the floor and informal discussions beyond confirmed the value of these sessions.
- David C Bertliner, from Arizona State University, USA, explained how poverty and culture affect achievement scores around the world; and, while teachers may be able to influence individual achievement test scores, they have little power to affect aggregate achievement.
- Professor Ali Baykai, from Turkey's Bahcesehir University, drew upon Edward DeBono's colored hats metaphor as he reported his survey findings from an exploration of close to three thousand teachers' modes of thinking.
- Steve Walsh from the Newcastle University, UK, introduced a conceptualization of classroom interactional competence (CIC) as a tool for mediating and assisting learning, understanding interactional strategies that can be linked to teaching and learning goals, and using CIC to shape learner contributions to their own learning.
Participants were entertained by the superb musical talents of students from Hacettepe University, who graciously performed at the ISfTE reception and farewell banquet. Participants also had the opportunity to explore archaeological sites. These included Side with its wealth of Greco-Roman remains, some dating back as far the 10th Century BC, and Antalya – thought to have been founded in the 3rd Century BC, and one of the historically most important sea ports of the Mediterranean.
We wish everyone well in their educational careers, and offer our sincere thanks to all those who made this event possible. Through it, we learned a great deal, discovered new colleagues, created new networks, and advanced the mission and goals of ISfTE.
Colin Mably, Executive Director, ISfTE