The 2024 IATEFL conference was organized in Brighton this year, April 15-19. Situated in the Brighton Centre, a beautiful location near the seaside, it was an excellent event, full of interesting topics, presentations, and workshops. Each year the conference is usually attended by more than 2000 participants from approximately 100 countries, so it is a great opportunity to meet new people and talk with like-minded ELT professionals from all over the world.

This was my second IATEFL conference – I had attended the previous one in 2016, which took place in Birmingham. I remember being fascinated and overwhelmed by the vast selection of talks and workshops. This year was even more excited as I was an official representative of LAKMA, so
I also had a pleasure to participate in the Associates’ Day, which took place a day before the official conference start. During the Associates’ Day I met other representatives from various English teachers’ associations (Greece, Estonia, Finland, Czech Republic to name a few). We talked, exchanged contacts, and worked in groups discussing what kind of issues our organizations face nowadays and how they can be solved. Lots of associations can relate with a decreasing number of young teachers in associations, insufficient support from governments, searching for more effective ways to disseminate information about their activities. The day ended with a nice reception organized by Cambridge University Press & Assessment. We were also greeted by the IATEFL President Aleksandra Popovski, and other special guests.

The other four days of the conference went by analyzing the rather extensive conference programme and choosing the talks and workshops which I wanted to participate in. Even though all of them were interesting and informative, I would like to mention a few which left the biggest impression: “Creating puzzles for ELT escape rooms and treasure hunts’ by Sarn Rich; “Whiteness and wokeness: a primer” by Ann Roemer, “Gamification: emulating the video-game experience using everyday software” by Lynn Lybaert. I also gave my own talk “Turning “old-fashioned” into motivation: different reading lessons” in the Forum on Reading Skills, together with colleagues from Egypt and Italy. It was an unforgettable experience. Being an avid reader myself, I constantly search for ways to get my students more interested in reading too, so the chance to give this talk felt really personal and uplifting, knowing that so many different professionals from different countries were listening to my ideas and thoughts.

IATEFL conferences are not only for education, as the event also offers lots of evening entertainment. We had an Introduction to Brighton talk, and later a walking tour around the most memorable places of the beautiful town. Also, there was a fun debate-like event Dynamic Duets where a pair of participants presented the same issue from completely different sides, the International Quiz, British Council Signature Event Drinks Reception, Sharing Stories and Lip-Sync Battle. All these events give even more opportunities to network and show that English teachers are creative and funny people!

Looking back, I can only say that the IATEFL conference is an event which, if given an opportunity, an English teacher should visit at least once during their career. Our job is not easy and sometimes it can be really draining, so visiting such a huge event leaves you with many new ideas and inspiration to plan lessons. Just living in a new place for a week can completely recharge your inner batteries too. Moreover, it is a great opportunity to spread information about our association LAKMA and Lithuania in general.