Last week Claire visited the IATEFL Conference and Exhibition in Brighton, UK. During her three days there she attended some excellent plenaries, in particular Brita Fernandez Schmidt’s on the work that Women for Women International carries out helping women in countries affected by conflict. It was an incredibly sobering, yet inspirational talk, which left a strong impression on Claire. (The plenary can be watched at: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/knowledge-power-access-education-marginalised-women.) She also attended as many workshops as she could in the time, which focussed on research, teaching with technology and teacher training. She found these really stimulating and they left her buzzing with ideas to develop further.
As a book lover Claire enjoyed visiting the publishers’ stands scanning them for new publications. She was excited to pick up a copy of Best Practices for Blended Learning by Pete Sharma and Barney Barrett, and was delighted to see that they have drawn on her questions for blended learning course designers from her book Blended Learning in English Language Teaching: Course Design to Implementation to create a checklist for successfully implementing Blended Learning. The two other books that she came away with were Mind the App! 2.0 by Thomas Strasser, and a new British Council publication entitled A Handbook for Exploratory Action Research by Richard Smith and Paula Rebolledo, so she has plenty to keep her occupied!
Last, but not least, IATEFL is about catching up with friends and former colleagues, and Claire was delighted to spend a sunny lunchtime on Brighton’s beautiful beach with three members of the Macedonian team, Snezana, Jasmina and Aco, who she’s worked extensively with over the years! She also found the time to take a flight on British Airway’s i360, a 162-metre/531-foot vertical cable car, which provided stunning 360-degree views across Brighton and the South Downs.
All in all, she found it to be a highly enjoyable, productive and stimulating conference – roll on IATEFL 2019!