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domingo, 8 de abril de 2018

IATEFL 2018- BRIGHTON


This year I will attend the IATEFL Conference for the third time. Not so many years ago, this was only a dream for me, and I have made it not once, not twice, but three times.  The first year  I won a scholarship, and I enjoyed the experience of presenting for an international audience. For the first time in my life, I was speaking English because it was necesary.  English was the only means of communication, it was the lingua franca. If I spoke Spanish there, nobody would understand me. This seems to be obvious, but it is not obvious for all those of us who  have always talked in English to people who could have understood if we spoke our native language.

The following year, after pondering and evaluating, I decided to go to Glasgow. I wanted to live the thrill again. I needed to share again.  This conference couldn’t start without me. And that is how I invested a good portion of my salary to live the thrill again. And I did. And it was worth it!

This year, Im ready for Brighton. Social media, similar interests, the passion for what we do has connected me to a lot of people who I am going to meet again in Brighton. And we are making plans, and we are eager, and we are waiting.

Sometimes I wonder,  why is it that English teachers are so enthusiastic about professional development? I should say that it is because teaching English is much more than teaching a language. It is about teaching a lingua franca,  and a style, and a means of communicating with different cultures, and the language of business, and the language of pop and rock cultures, and the language that opens doors for job  opportunities. So, to teach English makes us think of the most diverse issues like inclusion, heterogeneous classrooms, learners of all ages, vulnerable contexts and privileged ones.  And we study how humans make meaning, how the verb, and how the noun, and how the tone, and how the style…  We are teachers of English as a lingua Franca, and some of us are are concerned about technology, others about the discrimination of non native speakers of English, others about  students with special needs, others about  professional development, business English, and I  could go on.

That is why what we breathe in these conferences is good energy, the energy given by passion, an energy that is copied and pasted in other conferences around the globe, big and small, where we can find passionate teachers. At IATEFL I have met a Russian teacher who transformed Shakespeare into a fortune teller, a Pakistani teacher who could turn a story into a magical tool, a Brazilian teacher who designed a method to help  blind students to learn, and I have seen dozens of teachers eager to share what they had been working on.

So, tomorrow starts the new adventure. Tomorrow starts the 52nd IATEFL Conference and Exhibition in Brighton.  Let the show begin.

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