ELTAF conference 2008

Jeremycomfort,York AssociatesOne of the best things about a PNS (or a participants-no-show in KMP speak) is not that you get paid for not teaching, but that you get to rush back on home and finally catch up on the long list of things to blog about instead!

Teaching conferences are super fun - if you don't believe me, just ask any teacher who's been to one recently.

Allison Schöne, Language Solutions

Generally, if you belong to a good teaching association, you'll get a newsletter or yahoo group notification from them about once a year, pleading with you to fork over some cash and go attend a conference.

Guys: ignore the cost, write it off of taxes for heaven's sake, plead with your DOS to take you seriously and fund at least half... and go to these things - there's really little else more fulfilling as a language trainer than some great professional development.

We EFL teachers have it rough, I really don't have to tell you that - and many times it feels like we're wading somewhere at the bottom on the barrel in terms of getting enough moola to pay the bills - or what is that other value I like so much? Getting self-worth when you're just plugging away at planning and teaching and planning and teaching and planning and...

The other day, a fellow teacher said to me "you mean, you still prepare your classes?" - er, duh.

This blog entry is for er, the teachers who know that you can never learn or know enough about teaching English and there's absolutely always another teacher out there who's got more tips and tricks they can share with you. This blog's for the planners ;-)

Alright, enough of the lecture-hat. Let me get on with telling you about what happened at the very exciting ELTAF conference held in Frankfurt, Germany.

The line-up was extraordinary: trainers from all over Europe, from all the great ELT publishing houses, writers of the methodology books (you know the ones on your shelf that you haven't read yet) and over 40 workshops were on offer.

From this list you could only choose 4 - Yikes! Dilemmmmmmmaaa?!?!

I must say that back in July, when I did my on-line registration, I fretted and fussed about which ones to go to... I mean what do you do when you've got Comfort, Rosenberg, Newbolt - all scheduled at the same time? Not to mention that there'd be a workshop on using youtube, testing intercultural competence, English for engineers, speaking skills with the six-hats method, a Sharma workshop...clashes abounded, how could I be in three rooms at the same time?

IanMcMasterOh heck, I mean how'dya choose? This is money we're talking about. Who can teach me the most? What is something I know nothing about but really should, ARGH, headache. I clicked and then promptly forgot which I'd chosen, sounds like me.

Well, a mix-up and a wrong email address, 2.5 months later (from my side, of course) - I never use my real website account address when signing up for things, it's a spam phobia thing - occurs, and this mix-up almost led me to missing the whole conference!

But phew, the ELTAF administrators (Tricia Hunter and Daniel Payne) were super helpful and they sorted out my app in no time at all - and even let me change around one of them ;-) you'll never know which, so don't even ask.

Anyhoo, I happily found myself scheduled for the Comfort, Laing, Dudeney and Beder workshops. Unfortunately, Beder ended up being unable to present that day which meant being shoved, last minute, into McMaster's - a workshop I wasn't really looking forward to going to.

Reason: deep rooted fear of the 'blah, blah' factor.

McMaster is editor of Business Spotlight and the workshop was unfortunately titled "Natives and non-natives: good, bad or ugly?" Yeah, really.

Teachers: every now and then, the "blah, blah" is really, really good. I'll be giving you the skinny on that one later.

BUT in order not to turn this entry into a war epic, actually I'll blog about each workshop separately. You'll just have to come back - if you want the juicy details.

So I'll wrap this one up by saying it was a great conference - in three words: professional, well-organized and dynamic.

There could have been more coffee - I missed it three times, seriously!

The SMARTboards were for a techie like me - the coolest bananas.

Overall, ELTAF and the Frankfurt international school students were efficent and everything went smoothly - we got some free books - er, hallo, Heinle and OUP I'm still waiting for my promised post to arrive!

And... there was loads of chatting and networking with super teachers and trainers, I got to meet the Timberlake of ELT, Mr Sharma himself, laughed and touched base with my dear friend Laura who I miss oodles since she took a job with Macmillan as a sales rep and I had lunch and a mini argument with Gavin Dudeney over the values of Twitter vs. Facebook.

The Raffle

Ya kno' - fun, fun.


3 Responses to “ELTAF conference 2008”

  • Gavin Dudeney says:
    September 18, 2008

    Was good to meet you - not sure it was an argument, more of a 'gentle discussion on the merits of each one' :-)

    Hope to see you again, if I ever get back to Germany.


  • Anonymous says:
    September 18, 2008

    would love to hear more about any sessions you went to regarding intercultural competence...

    September 22, 2008

    Hi Gavin,

    Hope to see you again -too that was a super workshop. Can I post the Pechua video you gave me to go with the blog on your workshop? Hope so!

    Hi Anonymous,

    Intercultural competence workshop notes coming soon!

    Hi OUP,

    Your book arrived today! Yippee.


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