Saturday, 6 June 2015

IATEFL Manchester Feedback

I originally wrote this feedback post on another blog, but thought I would like to add it here on my main blog.  Better late than never :-)

 I was very happy to be able to travel to Manchester on Saturday April 11th to attend the IATEFL conference for 2 days. I went there by train direct from Oxford.  The journey was very smooth and in no time at all I arrived in Manchester Picadilly and met my friend and colleague Carol.  I stayed in Manchester for one night at the Abode Hotel.

The conference was a great event all round and it was wonderful to have the chance to meet up with so many members of my PLN, albeit briefly. Below the only conference image I had taken from my mobile and this is a lovely one which includes Dr Nellie Deutsch and Vicky Loras.  It was a pleasure to meet them and so many others. Here's a link to a fabulous slideshow of IATEFL 2015 Manchester created by Dr Nellie Deutsch.

It was also a great pleasure to spend a lot of time with my colleague Carol Rainbow, and some time with Sue Annan from the Project 52 blog, Marisa, who has written an excellent feedback post here , and Sue-Lyons in the break times, and members of the Consultants-e team, on Sunday over cocktails :-) 
Sadly, I missed a few people I wanted to meet such as Sandy Millin, and Sharon Hartle, but being such a huge conference centre with over 2,000 delegates, it was not possible to see everyone amongst the crowds....

I attended a super British Council hosted event on Saturday night at the Manchester Town Hall, and was blown away by the magnificence of its grandeur and the awe-inspiring gothic architecture.  I had a truly super evening there, mingling with so many delegates and people I knew.....
The canapes and refreshments were delicious and the wine flowed!!  I found out that the bees painted on the floor of the town hall denoted the symbol of Manchester as a leading industrial power in the past (as busy as a bee).

Below a collage I created using of 4 images kindly shared by Carol Rainbow:

Prior to that I had also attended a Cambridge University Press party where the new series of Empower course books was presented at the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology, and that was very enjoyable as well.  Images below reproduced with kind permission from Carol Rainbow:

I received a free copy of the new B1 level Empower coursebook, which looks impressive.

I was lucky enough to be able to sample a slice of the delicious Going Mobile cake.  Pictures below reproduced with kind permission of Carol Rainbow :-))

I asked the authors Nicky and Gavin if they could sign my personal copy of Going Mobile, and they did!  I hope to write up a book review of it on this blog, so watch this space!

All the sessions I attended were very interesting and I learned a lot.  It was good to benefit from the knowledge shared and this certainly enhanced my CPD.  In particular I would like to mention the following ones:

'Spice up your lessons with a song' by Sandra Vida from Slovenia was inspirational and offered some practical and fun examples to use straight in the classroom.  Sandra has an excellent blog called Lessons with Music, which contains a huge source of lesson plans and ideas for using contemporary pop songs.

 I discovered some new techniques for using Pink Floyd's 'We don't want no education' as a topic to get teens to brainstorm what they DO want from education.

Also the song 'Add Me' by Chumbawamba to get students to discuss the dangers of friending strangers on Facebook was thought-provoking:

Paul Driver's session on using Augmented Reality was fascinating, and the future use of AR in EFL classrooms is probably just around the corner for most of us.

He gave us some great examples of work he is already doing with his students at the British Study Centre, Oxford, in this innovative and cutting edge area.

I also found  the talk by Jason Anderson on 'Lying is the best policy', based around his new publication called 'Speaking Games', very practical and will implement some of the ideas into my future teaching.

The many uses of 'GET' by Kate Evans appealed to me and I wasn't disappointed!

In addition, I will mention the talk by Candy van Olst, called ' How does chatting become a purposeful conversation'.  I think I already apply quite a few things she pointed out to her audience.  I will make sure I include even more fillers for 'just chatting' with my classes in the future!

Finally, I found the Sunday morning plenary session by Joy Egbert to be very informative and useful.  She mentioned lots of tips on how to promote task engagement and demonstrated a variety of technological tools, including Bighugelabs Magazine app, which I love using.

I am so thankful for having had this opportunity to develop my CPD and to meet so many people I connect with online.

Next year the IATEFL conference is held in Birmingham, and I would love to attend!!!