The IATEFL International Annual Conference and Exhibition each spring is one of the main events in the English Language Teaching calendar. Attended by 3,000 ELT professionals from more than 100 countries, it involves a 4-day programme of around 500 talks, workshops and forums as well as a vibrant social programme. It is a unique opportunity to meet leading trainers, theorists, practising teachers, materials writers and publishers, and exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of English language teaching and learning.
Alongside the conference is a large resources Exhibition involving over 50 ELT-related exhibitors: your one-stop shop to see all the latest ELT publications and services. Plus, the IATEFL Careers Fair continues to grow in popularity as a one-stop-shop for careers guidance, job opportunities, how-to sessions and much more!
Educational Inclusion, is it possible? The myths, challenges and realities
with Marie Delaney
Inclusion is a popular concept now in education in many countries. Many governments are following policies of educational inclusion for all, particularly for students with special educational needs. This presents challenges and opportunities for language institutions and for teachers. This talk will look at some of these challenges, some of the myths around inclusion and some of the possible ways forward.
Integrating teaching, testing and technology: where angels fear to tread
with Thom Kiddle
This plenary presentation will address the areas of language teaching, testing, and digital technology, with the language teacher at the centre of the interaction between the three. We will ask and suggest answers to the questions of whether we are measuring the right things when we test students’ language; whether we are measuring in the best ways; why teachers mistrust tests and examinations; and how developments in digital technology are impacting on both classroom-based assessment and the world of international high-stakes language testing. The empowerment of teachers in terms of decision-making, competences, and confidence will be the central theme in an exploration of teacher fears and expectations of how teaching relates to testing, and whether digital technology offers solutions or threats for the classroom and beyond. There will be a particular focus on the assessment of spoken English, and we will address the question of whether inter-language mediation may be a better and more useful benchmark of linguistic competence than the traditional measurement of oral proficiency in English. With practical experiments, special guests, and insights from research and from learners, the session will entertain, challenge and engage participants to re-examine their assumptions and beliefs, and propose how we can take principled decisions, and avoid being the fools who rush in.
ELT in underserved contexts: empowering young learners through life skills
with Sameh Marzouki
In a dramatically changing world, the gap between privileged schools and underserved ones is expanding to the point where the process of education and its outcomes are incomparable. My talk is going to unpack those divides, starting from the conditions of schools and the materials used, to the methods and strategies adopted to keep learners engaged and motivated. Using authentic photos and videos from my 15 years of experience in low-resource contexts, I’ll demonstrate how we collaboratively transformed underserved schools in deplorable conditions into well-equipped, comfortable spaces where learning could occur in a non-threatening environment and where a quality education could motivate learners to acquire a wide range of life skills and implement them in different contexts. I’ll specifically focus on how teaching life skills improves the well-being of underprivileged children and promotes a positive mindset and healthy behavior, as well as how they enhance the socialization processing of learners, who move from being able to act collaboratively to promoting their communicative and problem-solving skills. Teaching life skills helps both teacher and learners to build resolution and take positive steps towards changing conditions, rather than giving in to complaining, discontent, or resentment. While this transformation is particularly dramatic in hardship conditions, the skills are equally useful for learners and teachers worldwide, and I hope you’ll leave the plenary session full of ideas to benefit your own learners and the enthusiasm to carry.
Embedding a culture of empathy in English language teaching
with Kieran Donaghy
Over recent years, empathy has become something of a buzzword. Numerous articles have argued that empathy in individuals is essential to healthy social and emotional functioning, and contributes to the enrichment of civic society and education. However, the concept of empathy, which is a complex construct, is usually not defined clearly and is rarely discussed in depth. In this plenary, we will start by exploring what empathy is, its neurological foundations, and its three main components: cognitive empathy, affective empathy and empathetic concern.
I will draw on general education literature to present what research findings suggest about the role of empathy in education. I will then draw on language education literature and research to support my argument that empathy is particularly important in language education. I will propose that in contemporary language classrooms, which focus on communicative competence, cultural diversity and the centrality of social interactions, positive teacher-learner and learner-learner relationships and positive group dynamics are vital. We will try to determine whether there is an empathy deficit in language teaching and look at hindering factors which may make it challenging to embed a culture of empathy in the profession.
Moving from theory to practice, we will explore how we could explicitly develop empathy as a skill among learners, teachers, teacher trainers and researchers. We will explore how a variety of techniques and approaches from diverse sources such as cognitive behavioural therapy, humanistic education, the Slow Education movement, literature, drama and the visual arts can be used to help to embed a culture of empathy in language education.
In sum, this talk aims to show that empathy is central to successful language learning and to making language teaching a more compassionate and fairer profession.
The Pre-Conference Events (PCEs), organised by Special Interest Groups (SIGs), are being held on Friday 17 April 2020.
The events allow you to explore a particular subject area in more depth, network with colleagues from around the world and to continue your professional development. Each PCE runs for the full day and it is only possible to register for one PCE. All PCE delegates will receive a certificate of attendance.