Anchoring at the Brighton Pier: A Report on the 52nd IATEFL Conference
The Brighton pier and its neighbouring city Hove in the United Kingdom are known for their creative and artistic atmosphere. So it came as no surprise to me that many famous people were drawn to this city by the sea. My favourite among them is Charles Dickens. The opportunity to represent Fortell India, an associate of IATEFL at the 52nd IATEFL Conference held at Brighton, from 9 to 13April 2018 was indeed fulfilling.
The conference began with Associates’ Day on 9 April in which representatives of different associates across the world were invited to interact and network with their global counterparts. The day began with a warm welcome by Lou Mc Laughlin, Chair of IATEFL associates. This was followed by the report for the year 2017-2018, highlighting the role of project awards. Attending associates were also encouraged to apply for these awards. In addition, IATEFL’s online events were highlighted and members were told to ask other members to participate in them. In the afternoon session, the representatives displayed their posters, interactive materials, activities, games and books etc., and engaged in lively discussions on initiatives from across the globe. Fortell was hugely appreciated by the representatives. Attendees were very keen to learn about ELT in India and enquired about Fortell’s contribution to the professional and academic development of its members. It was a proud moment for me to be an ambassador for Fortell (India), and to speak about the work done by our members. In the evening there was a presentation on the Hornby scholarship, and the day came to a close with a vote of thanks.
The conference provided space for exchange of ideas, approaches and strategies. It was indeed enriching to hear about the experiences of my peers and also to share perspectives from India. It was equally enriching to engage in dialogues on comparative frameworks in ELT. Learner-centred designs and methods to address grassroots needs were the common themes in these discussions. Future trends that emerged in the field of teacher training included innovations in curriculum design and cultural adaptation.
It is noteworthy that the conference included all aspects of ELT, ranging from teaching English to young learners, to Business English as well as approaches to assessment. In addition to world class plenaries, there were about five hundred sessions to choose from, including signature events, talks, workshops, forums, presentations and an interactive language fair. I too spoke at and facilitated the proceedings of the Forum on EAP Writing on the topic “Developing Writing across the Disciplines”.
The aims of the conference—forging connections and supporting English Language Teaching professionals—were realized in the eyes of all who attended.
Kirti Kapur is Professor of English at NCERT. She is an ELT expert and a teacher trainer. Her core areas of expertise include curriculum design, materials development, pedagogy, assessment and comparative research.