Look back on the event TESOL and RANACLES

As is customary annually, the ELT (English Language Teaching), TOEIC, and TOEFL iBT teams had the pleasure of attending these two educational events.

The TESOL France Colloquium (Teachers of English to Speakers of Foreign Languages) was held at the Cité Scolaire Internationale Honoré-de-Balzac in Paris, between 17 and 19 November 2023. This year's theme, "An educator's journey," set the tone for thoughtful discussions.

The RANACLES congress, hosted this year on the picturesque campus of ENS Lyon from November 23 to 25, 2023, delved into the themes of intercomprehension, internationalization, ecological transition, and the hybridization of courses through Artificial Intelligence.

Enriched by numerous exchanges with teachers from diverse backgrounds, our team reflects on the highlights and insights gained from both events.

Enhancing Learning through Effective Note-taking

Our ELT expert, Celestina CARDOZ-MAURY, significantly contributed to these reflections by delivering a conference on the art of note-taking. Often overlooked by educators, note-taking is a vital skill in organizing information and fostering a profound understanding of lessons. Effective note-taking enhances the retention (or memorization) of learning content, leading to success in exams, including the TOEFL iBT test.

The intervention drew from two empirical studies on the cognitive benefits of note-taking1. These studies shed light on the encoding effect, providing positive short-term effects, and highlighted the importance of external storage effect, yielding long-term cognitive benefits, brought about by the review and repetition of notes taken.

Teachers participating in the session were introduced to recommended note-taking methods, such as the keyword method, charting method, outline method, Cornell method, and Calligrams.

1Jansen, Renée S., et al.“An Integrative Review of the Cognitive Costs and Benefits ofNote-Taking.” Educational Research Review, vol. 22, Nov. 2017, pp. 223–233.

Teachers can assist each student in discovering their preferred note-taking method based on the content of their courses

Celestina CARDOZ-MAURY, Senior ELT Coordinator, ETS Global

The Reflective Teacher

How does one become, or re-become, a reflective teacher? 

This theme, thoughtfully explored by several speakers during plenary sessions and conferences, resonated strongly with participants. Engaging in reflection on one's teaching practices doesn't demand excessive time or discipline. Every teacher can cultivate this practice by stepping back to assess and evaluate their teaching methods. Self-observation, considering student feedback, empathy, mutual exchange, broadening pedagogical and didactic skills, and continuing professional development all contribute to shaping reflective teachers.

The significance of continuing professional development (CPD) was underscored by many speakers at the congress. It can take the form of skill-building workshops or teacher training programs. Ongoing teacher training ensures the quality of teaching and encourages adaptability in the face of sectoral disruptions, notably with the advent of AI.

ChatGPT and Chatbots: Navigating or Leveraging?

In conclusion, an entire day was dedicated to pedagogical practices in the era of Artificial Intelligence. The advent of AI, particularly the ChatGPT program, has sparked concerns in educational circles. The exploration of chatbots in language learning proves to be even more captivating.

A study unveiled students' preference for learning a language with chatbots over a classmate or teacher2. The study underscores that students are drawn to these AI language companions due to personalized learning paths, tailored feedback, and 24/7 access to AI learning platforms — all without stepping into a conventional classroom and, notably, without the fear of being judged during the language course.

While we acknowledge that chatbots should not replace human interaction, understanding students' needs and preferences is crucial. This enables the teaching community to adapt and harness AI as a valuable tool in their service.

2Belda-Medina, Jose, and José Ramón Calvo-Ferrer. “Using Chatbots as AI Conversational Partners in Language Learning.”Applied Sciences, vol. 12, no. 17, 24 Aug. 2022, p. 8427.

Once again, our heartfelt gratitude goes to the organizers and participants for making these two events not only successful but also instructive and enriching. The showcased themes and the insights shared by experts have undeniably crafted a memorable experience. The dynamic exchange of ideas and fruitful interactions have not only expanded our knowledge but also offered illuminating perspectives on the path of teaching and learning.