Are conferences worth it? You bet. For me, each day is a month’s worth of professional development. You meet amazing people, you listen to their stories and of course you attend all kinds of interesting workshops. If you have a chance to speak, it’s even better! That’s why I’m so keen on these events, and I’m always sorry I don’t have enough time for all the cool events that happen in Kyiv (to say nothing of more distant places).
So, what did I gain from the yesterday’s conference? (By the way, it was really well organised by Kateryna Protsenko and her team, they are absolute superstars.)
I saw six talks and workshops:
- Adrian Underhill is always a pleasure to listen to, and I’m really happy for the participants who saw him in person for the first time. And pronunciation, ‘the Cinderella of teaching’, needs all the attention it can get, really! His advice to NNSTs and I suppose any speakers of English: ‘Teach your own accent and expose students to multiple others’.
2. My wonderful colleagues, Alina and Mariya, spoke about the neuropsychology of signposting in perhaps the most memorable talk of the day.
3. Kris Kirby gave loads of helpful advice about how to tweak speaking tasks so that students use the target language and keep speaking.
4. Tony Prince, one of the amazing NILE tutors I’ve been privileged to study with, was there with a great plenary on critical thinking. Such an important topic nowadays, and never enough time to go into it deep enough.
5. A team of academic managers/teachers from Lviv spoke about their favourite ways to engage learners (and used Mentimeter – nice).
6. Irina Sushko spoke about the importance of good learning habits. Now this is definitely something I’ll discuss with my teens!
And, of course, I presented my own talk and really enjoyed talking to the participants and listening to their ideas. It was a bit of a challenge, to speak in the last slot, but I think we all did really well 🙂
Now I have lots of new ideas to try out in my classroom – what a breath of fresh air!