Rasa Midverienė:  IATEFL Conference 2018, Brighton

This year the 52nd International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition was held in Brighton. It was a fantastic event where professionals from all over the world met to share, discuss and exchange ideas. Around 3,000 delegates attended the conference events. I was delegated by the LAKMA Board to represent LAKMA at the conference and I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity where I could learn a lot, meet interesting people and exchange contacts for future cooperation.

I tried to do my best at the IATEFL Associates professional development day on behalf of LAKMA. The theme of this day was “Engagement with and between Associates”. The main focus of attention was the teacher, teaching challenges and teacher’s development. Another important issue was Communication Channels between Associates. The question was how Social Media and Voices could help Associates to communicate better and spread information faster to every single member all over the world. At the end of the Associates professional development day, plans for 2018–2019 were presented and discussed.

The conference was opened by the IATEFL President Margit Szesztay. Every day of the conference started with a plenary session. Lourdes Ortega, Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, researcher of second language acquisition shared her research results on how learning about SLA shifted teachers’ thinking about their teaching practice and their approach to teaching. Dorothy Zemach, a prolific textbook author and editor gave a talk „Sausage and the law: how textbooks are made”. Brita Fernandez Schmidt declared that knowledge is power and talked about the huge work of International organization Women for Women which helps marginalized women get access to education. Barry O’Sullivan,  Head of Assessment Research & Development at the British Council, creator of the Aptis testing service told us a story of the test from its first appearance in China about 2,250 years ago to the industry it has developed into over the past century. The last plenary session was dedicated to poetry. A wide selection of poetry for children and adults was read by John Agard, a Queen’s Gold Medal winning poet.

During this conference, there were over 600 presentations consisting of talks, workshops, poster presentations and forums. It was difficult to choose the favorites. I enjoyed the following sessions most of all: “Values and short films in language teaching” by Kieran Donaghy, “Promoting group cohesiveness through creative writing” by Mariana Rodrigues Sigueira, “Assessing projects: a framework” by Leticia Moraes, “Effective peer assessment as a step towards independent learning” by Agnieszka Luczak, “Look out! Grammar!” by Bruno Leys. The delegates could also visit the Exhibition to have a look at the latest ELT books, materials and resources.

In the evenings there were lots of opportunities to relax, get to know other delegates, and enjoy ourselves. The most memorable evening was Comedy night: For one night only! Mrs. Hoover Rises from the Gravy. That evening Mrs. Hoover looked back fondly at four decades of cost-conscious catering for English language learners, and shared her thoughts on the future of Britain post-Brexit. There were lots of laughter, tears and songs.

Thank you once again to the LAKMA Board for this great opportunity to participate at the IATEFL conference. I had a great time. This conference gave me a chance to step out of my daily routine, get a wider perspective on my ELT profession and meet many colorful personalities.

For more information please go to https://conference.iatefl.org/