New Festival event – Webinar by Emily Edwards, ‘Getting started with action research’ (Wednesday 24 January, 9am GMT)

Richard Smith writes …

An event just added to the Festival line-up will be this webinar, featuring Emily Edwards of the University of New South Wales, AustraliaThe webinar will take place in ReSIG’s Adobe Connect room. Join in here on Wednesday:

Summary of the webinar:

Action research is a way of systematically exploring your teaching practice that involves planning, observing and reflecting on different actions (interventions) in order to better understand or improve teaching and learning in your specific context. It can be a very useful form of continuing professional development for English language teachers, but sometimes daunting to get started with. This webinar will help you to start thinking about how you might engage in action research yourself, or together with colleagues. First, I will introduce some different contexts for doing action research, and the processes and stages involved in conducting an action research project. I will then spend most of the webinar focusing on how to get started with action research, including how to choose a topic, refine a research question and plan the intervention(s). I will also discuss ways that you might observe the effects of your action(s), and how you could analyse and reflect on the data gathered in order to continue with another cycle of research.

Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 21.29.32Emily answered three questions about the webinar, as follows:

Who’s the webinar targeted at?

Mainly targeted at English language teachers who are interested in knowing more about or getting started with action research – either individually or as part of a collaboration. It might also be useful for Coordinators/Senior Teachers who are in charge of professional development programs and who are keen to mentor teachers in conducting action research.

And what do you hope to achieve by means of the webinar?

I will focus on the beginning stage of an action research project – so how to choose a topic, design a research question and then start the first cycle with an intervention or exploration. I hope the attendees will leave the webinar feeling confident about getting started with their research, or feeling inspired to look into options for doing action research in their own contexts.

Finally, what experience are you mainly talking from? 

From three key experiences: (1) my experience as an English language teacher conducting action research myself in 2012 as part of the Cambridge English/English Australia Action Research program; (2) my experience setting up an action research program in a language school in Australia in 2015 and mentoring teachers in that program; and (3) my PhD research (completed in 2017) which explored the impact of the English Australia Action Research program.

More about Emily Edwards:

She works as a Lecturer and Research Project Manager at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She recently completed her PhD in Education (TESOL), which explored the impact of a national action research program on the professional development and identities of in-service English language teachers in Australia. Before commencing her PhD, Emily worked as an ESL teacher and conducted action research together with her students to improve teaching materials. In 2015, she set up a localised annual action research program within the English language college where she was teaching. Her publications on action research that are freely accessible online include articles in ELT Research (Issue 31), ELT Journal (Volume 70, Issue 1), English Australia journal (Volume 29, Issue 1) and Cambridge Research Notes (Issue 53).



Electronic Village Online 2018 – Classroom-based research – first webinar

Richard Smith writes …

The EVO2018 on classroom-based research (particularly designed for teachers in relatively ‘difficult circumstances’, but open to all) officially got underway a week ago with opening-up of a website page encouraging the 240 registered participants to Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 01.29.57describe their classroom and, in a separate task, a recent success in their teaching.  They were also invited to watch and comment on videos from the British Council’s ‘Teaching in Low-resource classrooms’ video resource.

The second week’s website page was launched today with a webinar hosted by Paula Rebolledo and Richard Smith in which they explained how to develop a research focus and identify research questions. During the coming week participants will share their own concerns and research questions via a Google+ community and receive mentoring – this year  twenty-five mentors volunteered to be on hand to offer guidance, though participants will also be interacting with one another as critical friends to clarify problems and questions. The next webinar (about research methods)  is on Saturday 27th January at 3pm GMT. All – whether registered or not – are welcome to the Adobe Connect online webinar room kindly loaned by IATEFL Research SIG. And all are also welcome to join the EVO’s Facebook group and interact there.

In preparation: Classroom-based research for professional development Electronic Village Online, January–February 2018

With a focus on teacher-research for difficult circumstances, this TESOL CALL-IS Electronic Village Online (EVO) experience will be live again in January–February 2018, with a large team of voluntary mentors. Mentoring is available to all, and the EVO provides a hands-on introduction to inquiry-based teacher development, especially (though not exclusively) for teachers working in difficult circumstances (large classes, low-resource classrooms, etc.). The five-week syllabus will take participants through different stages of teacher-research, engaging them in practical activities to gradually build their confidence in teacher-research. 

Registration begins on 1st January 2018 and activities begin on 14th January, going on until 17th February, requiring a commitment of 2-3 hours per week. There will also be some final presentations by participants online in March. Participation will be absolutely free. 

Before we open registration on January 1st 2018, you can, in the meantime, join the Classroom-based research for professional development Facebook group, to obtain updates and reminders.

New Festival event – 2017 Action Research in ELICOS colloquium at English Australia Conference, 21 September 2017

Sophie O’Keefe writes: 

This year English Australia, in partnership with Cambridge English Language Assessment and with the support of key reference person Anne Burns, marks the eighth year of the Action Research in ELICOS Program. This award-winning program supports teachers to systematically plan, act, observe and reflect on practical approaches to a ‘problematic’ aspect of their teaching and share the outcomes of their research with others.

In 2017, nine teachers from around Australia worked on six projects related to the theme of Teaching, learning and assessing listening. In the colloquium at the English Australia conference, following a brief introduction to the program, the theme and to action research by Anne Burns and Sophie O’Keefe, the teachers who participated will each present a brief outline of the main findings of their research.

This year’s projects explored the following themes:

  • How mobile based technologies influence the teaching of listening and student engagement in listening tasks;
  • Comparing the outcomes of student controlled and teacher controlled intensive listening tasks;
  • SIP and Listen: How does raising awareness of Stress, Intonation and Pausing affect listening skills?;
  • Exploring the effects of metacognitive and grammatical awareness on students’ listening of short bursts of speech;
  • Using active listening skills to improve listening comprehension in expository discussions; and
  • How can teaching phonemic awareness impact on students’ listening (& note-taking) skills?

Sophie O’Keefe is Professional Development Manager, English Australia

Online conversation about teacher-research books – recording available!


Today’s Festival event was a conversation chaired by Mark Wyatt about the above three recently published books on/of teacher-research, with Kenan Dikilitas, Sian Etherington and Richard Smith.

The (one-and-a-half hour) recording is now available in case you missed it.

The conversation was wide-ranging,and took in several interesting aspects of teacher-research, as well as how it can be written about. There were participants from Brazil, Chile, India, Turkey and other countries who played an active role in posting questions and comments, several of which were addressed during the conversation. Many thanks to Mark Wyatt for organizing this event, and to IATEFL Research SIG for providing the Adobe Connect room in which it took place.

We’re now looking forward to our next event, which will be a 26 July discussion about teacher-education involving practitioner research at PUC-Rio in Rio de Janeiro, one of the homes of Exploratory Practice. We’ll be tweeting about this @trfestiva and Cecilia Nobre will blog about it here for us. Looking forward to it!

New Festival event announced: 18–21 September Introduction to Exploratory Action Research in ELT, Gauhati University, Assam, India

Following the 14–15 September All-India Network of English Teachers (AINET) International Teacher Research Conference in Nagpur, Amol Padwad and Richard Smith will lead a 4-day workshop in Guwahati, Assam, organized by the Department of ELT, Gauhati University, to introduce teachers of English to the principles and practices of exploratory action research. The workshop will be followed up with mentoring and other support by volunteers from AINET and by the Department of ELT, Gauhati University.

This Festival event is generously supported by the All-India Network of English Teachers (AINET),  the IATEFL Teacher Development SIG, British Council India, and by a University of Warwick / Economic and Social Science Research Council (UK) Impact Acceleration Award. Further details

New event in Festival programme: 14th July online conversation

As part of the ‘International Festival of Teacher-research in ELT’,  the following event is being organised and sponsored by IATEFL Research SIG:

A conversation around new books showcasing and discussing teacher-research hosted by Mark Wyatt in IATEFL’s Adobe Connect Room

This will take place on 14th July 2017 at 1 pm (British Summer Time).

The conversation will feature:

Kenan Dikilitaş on his recent book with Carol Griffiths on developing language teacher autonomy through action research.

Sian Etherington on her recent book (co-edited with Mark Daubney) on developing as an EFL researcher: stories from the field.

Richard Smith on his recent book (co-edited with Anne Burns, Kenan Dikilitaş and Mark Wyatt) on developing insights into teacher-research.

 References with links:

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 00.21.46


Burns, A., Dikilitaş, K., Smith, R., & Wyatt, M. (eds.) (2017), Developing insights into teacher research. Faversham, Kent: IATEFL.



Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 21.34.06


Dikilitaş, K. & Griffiths, C. (2017). Developing language teacher autonomy through action research. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.



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Etherington, S. & Daubney, M. (eds.) (2017), Developing as an EFL researcher: stories from the field. Faversham, Kent: IATEFL.



Interestingly, the first word in all three book titles is ‘Developing…’