The bad news is that none of the MC directors or teachers can attend IATEFL this year. But the good news, is that like the past few years, much of it can be watched online. It is not as much fun, but there is still a lot to be learnt. The range of themes and topics covered during the 3 days in Birmingham is amazing. Some of the things MC are interested in are obviously the topics relating to younger learners and teenagers, and the learning resources available for them, and the classroom practices that teachers can witness, practice, discuss and reflect on during the seminars. However, ITAEFL is an opportunity to discuss and learn much more than just teaching. As a school there is always something for managers to learn and find ways to improve their systems, which will eventually lead to improved teachers’ performance, and better learning by the students.
We will be following the debates and finding out what is new in TEFL, and what other teachers, students and schools are doing. Hopefully there will be something to share via our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Some things that we will need to consider before summer comes is a set of classroom coursebooks for some of our higher levels with our older students. Usually the IATEFL conference gives us a chance to see new books and software in action, but this year we will be selecting a few new coursebooks by trialling them ourselves in the office.
This summer we will be inspected by the British Council, and it is always good to pick up on trends in professional development that we can pass on to our teachers during summer. Two years ago we made improvements to our peer observation scheme, where teachers watch each other in action, and get to reflect on it afterwards. This was only possible after post-seminar discussions at previous IATEFLs on the topic, gaining confidence from other schools and teachers who are believers in the benefits it can bring to teacher performance.
Technology is always changing, and it is not something we have much opportunity to experiment with during our short courses, and we do not always have the ideal equipment for all students to use. Again, IATEFL is always a chance to learn and get new tips of now to adapt everyday technology for learning resources. Let’s see what gets recommended during this year’s event.