North & South

I’m borrowing Gaskell’s title to talk about the two Teacher’s Associations conferences I attended last week – from Braz-Tesol National Conference in Fortaleza, in the north-east of Brazil, to APIRS Convention in Porto Alegre, in the extreme south, one after the other.

Braz-Tesol was a brilliant conference in terms of diversity and quality of presentations and I’d like to highlight Andy Maldenez, Graham Stanley’s on Second Life and Ron Waring’s on Extensive Reading. We also had our Critical Literacy SIG pre-conference event on Critical Teaching and the Hornby Forum running parallel to the main programme. However, the most amazing thing was to make new friends, meet old ones and also meet face-to-face for the first time people who I had just met online before.

I left Fortaleza on Thursday late evening and Friday morning I was already back in Porto Alegre for APIRS conference at PUC. As usual, our local TA event was a success. My own presentation on the ELT e-Reading Group attracted more participants than I expected and the response to it was amazing. We had a hands-on workshop on The Sick Rose by Blake and I’ll always remember a participant who came to me at the end of the session and said, ‘Thanks so much, I never thought I would be able to understand and write about poetry in English; now I know I can.’

Crossing the country and facing delays at airports was really tiring, but the fantastic people we meet make it really worth doing it.