IATEFL 2019 One-Sentence Summaries

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What a great conference!

Many thanks to all the volunteers and staff, who were friendly, professional and essential.

You may have noticed that there’s no ‘Day 4’ review, unlike Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. I had to travel back home on Friday, and missed the final day’s sessions. I’ll catch up with Day 4’s sessions (and all the other sessions that I missed) at the British Council site.

I’ve set a challenge for myself: to summarise every talk I saw in one sentence. This will force me to reflect deeply, and hopefully help me to understand better and remember longer.

After each summary, I’ve added a links to my reviews, videos and the speaker’s website, where available.

Apologies to any presenters if I’ve misrepresented your talk, feel free to let me know and I’ll correct it.

After that, just for fun I’ve added some quotes that stood out to me while I was in sessions.

Oh, and when you’ve finished, if you’re keen for more, listen to the podcast, where the folks at TEFL Training Institute, some TEFL friends and myself chat about the sessions we watched!


Day 1 Summaries

Harry Kuchah: Opening Ceremony

  • IATEFL is becoming more inclusive, both in mindset and actions. Video.

Paula Rebolledo: Teacher Empowerment - leaving the twilight zone

  • Teacher empowerment (i.e. autonomy to make teaching decisions) needs internal will, external support, and independence from ‘gurus’. Video. Review.

David Nunan & Julie Choi: Co-constructing teaching and learning through multi-modal tasks

  • Help learners develop autonomy through activities that encourage reflection on their own learning experiences. Review.

Ben Beaumont: Contextualised CPD: bringing equality to teaching and professional qualifications.

  • Trinity College is piloting teaching qualifications that allow students to take assessments in their L1, so no teachers are excluded due to their English level. Review. Website.

Jane Willis: Task-based learning, online teaching?

  • Task-based learning can be adapted to online teaching in a number of ways, especially using thinking / offline time between tasks. Review.

Mark Hancock: Muscle, mind, meaning, memory.

  • Phonology can be categorised into four categories: muscle (feel it!), mind (think it!), meaning (use it!) and memory (hear it!). Review. Website.

Sarn Rich: Learning through connecting: contributions from cognitive linguistics

  • Students will better understand metaphors if they understand the ‘meta-metaphors’ (called conceptual metaphors) behind them; we also rob learners of connections with language when we divide words into grammatical silos. Review.

Day 2 Summaries

John Gray: Gender and sexuality in ELT - inclusive education vs queer pedagogy

  • LGBT people are under-represented in coursbooks. Video. Review.

Carol Read: Promoting high quality thinking in the early years

  • To teach high quality thinking to young learners you need a welcoming learning environment, an effective teaching strategy and children’s responses. Review. Website.

Brian Tomlinson: Performing the Coursebook

  • Teacher performance is a way to energise the learners and better exploit material in coursebooks. Review.

Ross Thorburn: Is TEFL Recruitment Racist?

Heike Philp: GUINEVERE - Learn a language through games in a virtual world.

  • VR games can motivate and encourage learners to better learn language online. Review.

Jason Anderson: deconstructing jigsaw activities

  • Jigsaw activities arguably lost nuance when moving to ELT, and have more applications that you might think. Review. Website. Article.

Day 3 Summaries

Aleksandra Zaparucha: Under one roof: considerations on integrating content and language (CLIL)

  • Every subject teacher is in part a language teacher; every language teacher is also a subject teacher as we teach myriad topics in classes. Review. Video.

Melissa Lamb: What if we took away input?

  • We removed all input sessions from a CELTA course and replaced them practice session (along with self-access online study modules). Review.

Richard Harrison: Improving critical thinking through asking questions

  • Teach your students three questions to help teach critical thinking: “What exactly do you mean by…?” “What evidence is there?” and “What are your sources?”. Review.

Cecilia Nobre: How do videos enhance online teacher development programmes and self-development?

  • Cecilia’s research showed three ways that videos can be used effectively for CPD: video self-reflection, video clubs and blogs. Review.

Eleni Seymeonidou: Mirror, mirror on the wall: reflective meta-skills

  • Experiment with reflective tools (i.e. messaging apps) to improve reflection on initial teacher trainee qualifications. Review.

Silvana Richardson: Continuing professional development for deeper learning and impact.

  • Guskey’s ‘five levels of information model’ is an excellent framework for reflecting on CPD at every level in your context. Review.

Carol Lethaby: Discovery learning or direct instruction? Cognitive load theory and ELT.

  • Cognitive load is important to consider in lessons, and suggest that often direct instruction is a better choice than discovery learning. Review. Website. Slides.

Matt Courtois: Adding online components to your training course

  • You can successfully use technology to overcome teacher training problems. Review.

Favourite IATEFL Quotations

Another quirk of IATEFL note-taking is that you end up with a bunch of cool quotes. Here are a handful of my favourites (in no particular order):

  • “There is a new kind of president standing in front of you” - Harry Kuchah, sounding like a boss.

  • “You need to engage learners affectively before you engage them cognitively” - Brian Tomlinson

  • “There is no content without language, and no language without content”. - Aleksandra Zaparucha

  • “The organisation can be the most powerful catalyst of the worst barrier to success of CPD” - Silvana Richardson

Final Thoughts

It was a wonderful conference, good to meet old friends and make new ones. It’s good of IATEFL to keep the discussion alive, introduce new ideas, and to push us all to develop.

Looking forward to next year in Manchester!

The gang meeting George Pickering (and Charlie) at IATEFL 2019 (that’s me on the far right!)

The gang meeting George Pickering (and Charlie) at IATEFL 2019 (that’s me on the far right!)