On May 6th-7th this year I will be a speaker at Innovate English Language Teaching (iELT 2016) in Barcelona. The event will be a two day seminar with English teachers from around the globe sharing ideas and bettering themselves. If you’re in the area, I urge you to buy a ticket and check out the event. If not, you can expect plenty of coverage and new blog posts inspired by some of the industries top professionals in the coming weeks.
To get ready for the event, TEFL Express interviewed a few of the staff members to get a better understanding of the conference. Read on to find out the motivations and mechanics behind the event.
What made you decide to start an ELT conference rather than website or webinar series?
At Oxford House and ELTjam, we have attended many ELT conferences over the years. ELT conferences are great: they’re an opportunity to learn, network, make new friends. In contrast to digital events, they bring about better interaction. We aim to provide a space for teachers, publishers, edtech people and other professionals from around the world to meet, network, share ideas and become part of the #iELT community in a friendly environment. As we wrote in this blog post for last year’s edition, we also felt we could shake up the conference format and organise our ideal ELT event, which is how Innovate ELT came about.
What did you learn about teachers after your first conference and how will you use that knowledge this year?
Through the feedback we received on the conference and while observing attendees last year, we have learnt that teachers, as well as attendees coming from other ELT backgrounds love to connect with others, want to see demo lessons, enjoy group activities and specially, are passionate about their profession! We would keep up the enthusiasm we all felt last year and bring new surprises that will be revealed at the event!
How did you choose your Grassroots ELT theme and what do you hope to accomplish this year with this theme?
We are concerned about inequality in our industry, and it doesn’t seem to be discussed very often. Topics such as NNESTs (Non-Native English Teachers) or gender issues are a reality, and we wanted to provide a space to discuss them widely.
Your conference seems to have something for everyone – both well-established teachers and those just starting out. Can you elaborate on what each group will learn or take away from the conference?
The Innovate ELT conference has about 50 talks and three lesson demonstrations in the programme. One of the new suggestions this year is the recommended pathways to make navigation across the programme easier and more agile. They are recommended itineraries for different professional profiles, which include: edtech enthusiasts, empowered teachers, teacher trainers, publishers, amongst others. At iELT there is room for varied professional backgrounds in ELT and learning outcomes. The newbie teacher interested in teaching tips will have a range of talks to attend, and the teacher interested in reflecting about their practice or even transferring their teaching skills to another industry, will also have the possibility to get this insight. We even have a section on pitching ideas for those who have a great idea or product that they would like to spread the word about. They are able to receive feedback on this idea or product directly from decision makers and people working in the industry, so that is quite a special feature this year too. Finally, as the main theme of the conference is innovation, there are always opportunities to learn.
Is there a focus, either in workshops or with speakers, on any one part of the world or industry?
This year, as you know, the theme is Grassroots: Power to the teacher; and there is a focus on grassroots activism (e.g. equality and rights for teachers), entrepreneurship, self-publishing and action research. For this reason equality and empowerment will be big topics, but there is as well a wide range including edtech, young learners and teens, online teaching, etc. We receive attendees from all over the world so we have made sure that we are sensitive to those who work in different working environments and cultures too.
Not everyone can get to Spain this May. Is there a way for those unable to make it to view presenters or download materials?
If you are not able to attend the conference, you can join us on the day of the event on our social media channels (especially Twitter, but also Facebook and Instagram) as we will be posting regular news with the official hashtag #iELT16. Also, after the conference we will publish some videos on the website, to give you a taste of the event. We are still finalising details, but audiovisuals will include one or two talks, a short sneak peek to iELT, and interviews with some speakers, made by our roving reporter Jamie Miller.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?Â
The Innovate ELT conference 2016 takes place on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th of May in sunny Barcelona. In addition to the talks, demo lessons and idea pitches we have many other reasons to come. Attendees canÂ enjoy snacks and beverages, our Guinness World Record attempt, live music and the participation of local artists. We are also organising Pre-Conference Training Sessions on the 6th of May which have a strong focus on Education, Technology and Leadership, plus ELTjam’s Pre-Conference Party on the 5th of May. Attendance to the party is free so get in touch if you would like us to put you on the list.
We hope to see you there!