IATEFL 2016 Impressions

I’m writing this on a train taking me towards home from Birmingham, from the IATEFL 2016 conference. I can overhear energetic conversations that tell me I’m not the only IATEFLer on this train, and that I’m not the only one reflecting and pulling together the strands of thought and input I’ve gained this last week. The girls two rows behind me (it seems first-time attendees) are discussing preconceptions or beliefs they had that conference talks prompted them to question, and a guy I was talking to before he got off the train was trying to decide which of the plenaries is going to change his teaching the most this years. A colleague I parted ways with at New Street station left me with a very good question to contemplate on my journey home: What was IATEFL 2016 for you – in three words????

So I’m here writing this and wondering what three words I would use to sum up my take-home impressions from this week….
Hers were Community, Critical thinking, and Collaboration, by the way, after her first time at an IATEFL conference.

My first thought is to say
… Is it just me, or did time just fly by?? I ran from Hall 9 to Executive room 1,2,whatever and back a few times, then before I knew it I was chanting “he he Bama” in Jan Blake’s touching final plenary, and it was all over!

But that’s not a take-home message or lasting impression, so I guess I need to try again…

Affirming. I feel integrated, welcomed, and appreciated in the ELT family; my belonging, as a valuable member of this professional community has been confirmed by the warm, inclusive & supportive atmosphere of the whole event.
I did give a talk this year, and was delighted to have a really good size audience and positive response, but that’s not even the main source of this affirming feeling, just the whole event has an atmosphere that reminds us all of our individual value to a professional community of ELTers. I hope that especially new teachers come to feel this as well as the big names.

As a second key term for me would be Cooperation &Collaboration. I went to Birmingham with one of my goals being to meet new colleagues and potential cooperation partners for materials writing projects, and I feel that I’ve made some good first steps in this direction. I suppose the real test will be how the contact pans out in future, but IATEFL has left me cautiously hopeful that I might have some really exciting collaborative probes in the offing!

What are you taking away from IATEFL 2016??
Share your impressions below! I look forward to hearing from you all!


2 thoughts on “IATEFL 2016 Impressions

  1. I love this post Clare, and I definitely agree with the ‘hectic’ – I’ve never experienced a conference on such grand scale before!
    Affirming is also a lovely word; it was a very warm and fuzzy feeling that accompanied me home down the M1 on Wednesday evening, despite my sadness to be leaving early.
    Glad it was so productive for you, and perhaps next year we’ll get to meet!

    Liked by 1 person

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