Conference Presentation Report

Reporting after IATEFL Brighton

<![CDATA[I had every good intention of writing these well informed reports about the sessions I went to at IATEFL Brighton, but somehow the conference itself took over and living the experience became more important than reporting it!

Experiencing a conference of this magnitude takes a lot of energy!

Running from session to session, stopping for a quick cup of coffee and a chat with friends who went to other sessions, then on to the next workshop or talk, required great stamina!

Then, the social get-togethers took over! That required even more stamina!  And it did, in the end, begin to tell on me!!!!

I don’t know that a learnt an earth-shaking lot of new stuff at this conference but it was a very good conference, nevertheless – despite the rather disappointing difficulties with wifi which unnerved me and made me spend an extraordinary amount of time downloading pages and preparing with my Plan B (according to Sue Lyon Jones’ advice during her great presentation on the last day)

Elisbete Thess, one of the roving reporters, wrote up a great report of my talk “From Paper to Paperless – Teachier Education in Transition“,  delivered in the strangely dark Tudor room, thankfully with wifi working properly!

Sessions I really enjoyed

Tom Farrell’s “Reflective Practice for Language Teachers was very close to my interests  and a very thought-provoking one. A pity that the talk is impossible to follow due to sound issues but these may be fixed soon.

Carla Arena’s presentation was a great highlight. A pity she hasn’t yet uploaded it to IATEFL online but Phil Bird has written up a great summary of Carla’s presentation as well as Sue Lyon Jones’ on his blog post here

Lindsay Clanfield’s presentation on ‘Critical thinking and ELT” – which I had also followed at the recent TESOL Macedonia-Thrace conference – was  really well put together proving Lindsay’s mettle as a conference speaker. Looking forward to the upload!

Bethany Cagnol’s presentation classroom discipline –Ruling the Unruly: Classroom management and solutions -a really well presented talk, even though I did not myself agree with the reactive nature of some of the things she mentioned as solutions. Bethany is a really good presenter and she had researched her topic well – which is very musch appreciated.

I loved the debate with Nicky Hockly on the side of technology pitted against Alan Waters – the lady hath style! You can watch the video of the debate on technology “Tweeting is for the birds!” and read Elisabete Thess’ report!  The pro-technology side, did of course win! 🙂

And finally, Amanda Wilson’s great presentation on Web 2.0 tools for IELTS speaking and writing success” – what a grand thing this was, to see all the tools we have all been talking about on Twitter put together to such intelligent and coherent use!

If you want to read other’s reflections on the IATEFL conference here is what I would recommend

  • Shaun Wilden’t post What I learnt in Brighton was an interesting read and reflects some, not all, of my thoughts regarding the majority of the talks I went to.
  • Diarmuid Fogarty’s discussion of the grand question of Dogme – ‘Questions which Dog me‘ – which seemed to be a prevailing topic at various points of the conference. The discussion following his wonderful blog post is more than I hoped I would read, and regret the fact that my talk was at the same time as the symposium 😦  What a missed opportunity!
  • Willy Cardoso’s post on his thoughts about the uses of pairwork during conference talksb- or rather how inane pairwork annoys him no end 🙂

Meeting up with my PLN

But, oh, I did enjoy meeting face-to-face with my PLN!   I love the daily contact with them on Twitter and Facebook and their blogs and my blog, but it was lovely to have the chance to meet and get to know them all a little better!  Some very special moments and conversations with Cecilia Lemos, Shelly Terrell, Heike Philps, Karenne Sylvester, Scott Thornbury, Luke Meddings, Dede Wislon, Sue Lyon Jones,  and so many more!!!  Must not forget to mention Carol Rainbow, my very special Second Life – and now real life – friend, who popped down to Brighton to see us all on the Pecha Kucha night!

Dear PLN, if I have left out any names, it is not because contact with you was not important, but this was such a rich experience, I am bound to have left out some names!

I am terrible with photography so I have borrowed some of the snapshots shared by friends on Facebook – thanks to them I can give you a tiny taste of the great experience on a professional and human level that this was!

Burcu Akyol and I deep in conversation with Scott Thornbury while Beyza, Shelly, Elizabeth and Isli are deep into another topic!

Burcu Akyol and I deep in conversation with Scott Thornbury while Beyza, Shelly & Elizabeth Anne are deep into another topic! Isli Boy is just looking as pretty as ever!

The great Karaoke evening organised by the fabulous Petra Pontner - here you can see Mike Harrison and Brad Patterson doing the boys' stuff on "Summer Nights" from "Grease" while Shelly

The great Karaoke evening organised by the fabulous Petra Pontner - here you can see Mike Harrison and Brad Patterson doing the boys' stuff on "Summer Nights" from "Grease" while Shelly, Anna, Vladka and more of us are bawling out the girl's lines!

With Shelly Terrell, Ken Wilson, Tara Benwell and Cecilia Lemos meeting up on the first evening at Brighton before the start of the conference!

With Shelly Terrell, Ken Wilson, Tara Benwell and Cecilia Lemos meeting up on the first evening at Brighton before the start of the conference! I loved meeting you all and especially Tara and Ceci who I hadn't met before! Very special people...

At the "Globe", the pub where we eneded up most of the evenings with Jamie Keddie and Isli Boy

At the "Globe", the pub where we eneded up most of the evenings with Jamie Keddie and Isli Boy. Shaun WIlden and Richard Whiteside can be seen in the background.

Post Conference Note

The graceful,  flawless hospitality with which Simon Greenall and his wife Jill Florent took us in (Shelly , Cecilia and myself) after Brighton and gave us three bright and sweetly memorable days in Oxford was the cherry on the cake of this trip.  I was shaken out of the sorry illusion that Greeks are the masters of hospitality – sorry! We  have been truly had here!

Suffice it to say I am already on a really strict diet to shed off Simon’s delicious cooking!

The weather was on our side too and so we enjoyed the glory of a beautiful English garden and some great walking tours (and shopping sprees with Ceci! ) around Oxford!

with Shelly & Cecilia - Simon looking a bit bemused by all this photographic activity

with Shelly & Cecilia - Simon looking a bit bemused by all this photographic activity

with Cecilia & Jill in the garden

with Cecilia & Jill in the garden

One of Simon & Jill's feasts!

One of Simon & Jill's feasts!

More IATEFL?

Have a look at this link which lists all the videotaped talks  here: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2011/sessions/videos. And if you can’t make it to the next one in Glasgow, I hope I have given you an idea of how a great conference like this – and like ISTEK of course! – can bring us all closer together.

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  • Post Script

    I will be adding more reports on other blogs as they come up!]]>

    14 replies »

    1. Marisa,

      I’ve been greatly enjoying all the reflections and post about IATEFL, but yours had a special “flavor” for me 🙂

      It was amazing getting to know you, spend time with you, get advice from you. I hope to meet you again soon.

      On a more professional approach 😉 your post was great for me because I didn’t attend many of the sessions you mentioned, and following the links and reading about them really made me wish I could have been in more than one place at the same time!

      Thanks for sharing Marisa!

      Ceci

    2. Thank you for sharing your experiences, insights, and many links. Consider me a tad jealous of your delightful conference and social gatherings. IATEFL seems like a very engaging, lively atmosphere. Perhaps I will find a way over next year.

      Finally, you had with your first two lines since the gap between my vague intentions of writing about conferences and actual writing about conferences remains an annual self-disappointment. From my perspective, you’ve done an admirable job of concisely summarizing a stunning diverse range of presentations and discussions. Good job!

    3. As you wrote Marisa, it takes a lot of stamina to attend a 5 day IATEFL conference these days and you have more than captured that experience with your report here.

      I like the way you divided your report up into a bit on your own session, the sessions you enjoyed, the links to other people’s reflections, meeting your PLN, the photos , the post-conference unwind in Oxford and the link to the IATEFL online site where we can watch the interviews that were made and some of the sessions.

      I really think it’s useful to help other people to follow up what happened, as Ceci mentioned, and you are very good at being inclusive, always with an eye on community building and resource sharing.

      How we share resources and give each other encouragement is for me one of the key aspects of participating in the online ELT community and you are one of the most empathetic people in this respect Marisa.

      Thanks for the great report, glad you enjoyed a place where I enjoyed two very happy ELT years over 20 years ago and it’s through reports like yours that people who weren’t at the conference are brought much closer to what happened and are also encouraged to make use of the online resources connected to the conference.

      We have a stream of materials available to us all online and a whole lot of faces behind those materials. There is more than ever a bigger need to help people and signpost people who are not so at ease with making their way around the vibrant ELT community ,which some of us feel very much a part of now, so that they too feel initiated into it and a part of it.

      As at conferences, where first time conferences goers need a bit of help from more seasoned conference goers, we also need people to be doing this online. You are a great example of this!

      Thanks Marisa!

      • Thank you so much, Mark, for your kind words. In fact, I would have written something about ISTEK, too, had you not done such a wonderful job of reporting it and doing exactly what you claim I’ve been doing in this post, only so much better!

        You know you were a very special reporter – methinks you are developing a whole new genre here. And I look forward to more of this.

        Meeting you and talking with you at ISTEK was very very special.

        I am grateful to technology for making this happen.

        And very happy that the people I have come to call my online community of passion have turned out to be such great human beings face to face as well.

        Marisa

    4. You had me at “living the experience became more important than reporting it”. This is exactly how I felt and you expressed it so perfectly in this post. It was almost like the lack of wifi was a blessing in disguise. I needed a few days of being unplugged to hang out with likeminded friends face-to-face. I feel like I already know you very well through ELTChat and VRT, but it was still great to hang out and see your personality shine in real life. Other than Lindsay’s it seems we went to different sessions, so I really enjoyed your summaries. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on an amazing journey. So when can I come to Greece?

    5. Hey Marisa, I keep putting my own IATEFL post off, and all these good posts reporting on it are not helping me!

      I’m finding it hard to put into words what IATEFL was for me, and I think you’re right that the experience is/was exhausting!

      I also have to agree that meeting people from Twitter and blogs for real was a particular highlight of the conference for me. Like you, though, the regret is to have had only such a fleeting time to talk to people. On to the next one!

      • On to the next one, indeed!

        I think we should go for conferences with longer breaks next time round so we can all huddle together and talk!

        Or may be we should organise our own individual tweet-up conf and we can all present PKs or short presentations – then get that out of the way and make some time for real discussions!

        What do you think?

        Should I organise one in Athens?

    6. Hi Marissa – How lovely to read you – I can hear the seagulls again.
      The slides you’ve added to that super post
      braving-it-in-the-virtual-world
      are really clear – and since I couldn’t say it there, I’m saying it here !

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