TESOL Spain 2013 conference review

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Once again, the TESOL-SPAIN Annual National Convention has served to enlighten and entertain, this year at the stunning location of the University of Seville. The theme, Teaching with Technology and the Human Touch, provided a focussed and informative event for all, with multiple opportunities to refresh, update, and expand our professional repertoires in an ever-changing world.

Scott Thornbury kicked off the weekend with his opening plenary, The Human Touch: How We Learn with Our Bodies, and took us on a fascinating tour of language, mind and body. The closing plenary, From Technology to the Human Touch: A Map of ELT, given by Mark Hancock, offered an illuminating bird’s eye view of the many regions and landmarks with the help of a map of contemporary ELT – so contemporary that it also positioned many of the presentations at the 36th Convention!

There were three concurrent Special Saturday Keynote presentations, Carol Read on Creative Teaching: Creative Learning, Hannah Kryszewska on How to Humanistically Intergrate Teachnology into ELT and Robin Walker on Technology for Teaching Pronunciation.

For each slot on the programme, there was at least one Keynote session, given by speakers who’ve generously contributed to the World of ELT over the years. The topics on offer - Personalisation at Primary (Andrea Littlewood), ICT Tools (Russell Stannard), Digital Citizenship and Etiquette (Nina Lauder), Reading to Learn (Claire Acevedo), Bringing Technology to Life (Gabriela Kleckova) , Technology and Principles in Language Teaching (Hugh Dellar), The Brain’s  Reward System (Herbert Puchta), Getting the Reading Habit (Ceri Jones), Creative Pedagogy, Language Learning and Technology (Graham Stanley), Writing an Exam Coursebook  (Roy Norris) and Putting Creative Back in Writing (Fiona Mauchline) – reflect the range and richness of this year’s convention programme.

In between the plenaries and keynotes, there were over 110 talks and workshops given by speakers, many of whom are well-known and others starting off as ELT presenters sharing their ideas, experiences and insights. Areas of interest appealed to techies, humanistic folk, disciples of the various approaches and methodologies, those interested in skills development and so on … and were aimed at those working with students at different levels and in various ELT sectors. We offer a summary of the following sessions – Use of Authentic Audio-visual Resources in ELT, A Dogme Approach to Coursebooks, Storytelling, Digital Language Teaching Materials: Principles and Practice, Examining Questions: Challenging Students to Critically Think, Using Presentation Steps and Skills in the Classroom, Peer Response in the Writing Process,CLIL: Ideas for Keeping Things Moving - see here - with apologies to the 100 or so presentations we never managed to get to!

The buzz in the University courtyard at the Opening Cocktail, the banter at the Saturday night dinner, and the camaraderie at the Closing Ceremony and Raffle (so generously sponsored by many of the publishing houses supporting the convention) all added to the TESOL-SPAIN-and-beyond ELT community spirit. The energy and enthusiasm of Karen McDonald (Convention Co-ordinator) and her team of convention volunteers, TESOL-SPAIN board members, Regional and Local officers, and many at the University of Seville, all who selflessly gave up their free time to make the 36th National Convention a brilliant success, leaves us with much food for thought and many practical ideas that will keep us going, well, … at least until the next one. See you there, at the Univerisad Complutense, Facultad de Educación, Madrid, Match 7th - 9th!

 

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Thanks very much Annie! This is really useful stuff and I'm proud and very grateful to be included. Tom

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