The IATEFL Annual Conference in Cardiff was a fantastic experience in many aspects, and I’m referring both to the face-to-face conference and the virtual one. Starting with Cardiff Online, I believe we have advanced a lot in terms of online coverage. Each year new changes are introduced, new challenges have to be met and new problems have to be solved, but on the whole we are all learning and trying to improve the quality and the quantity of material available to the more than 13,000 online delegates. When we visit the website and simply click on the various links, we usually have no idea of the number of hours spent on uploading material and solving some little technical issues. What comes so easily to us is sometimes the result of a lot of hard work. Congratulations Julian, Nik and all the Team for all your efforts and great job. Needless to say that the IATEFL Board, local committee and conference committee also deserve our praise and thanks – wonderful venue, great organisation, unforgettable moments.
There was so much going on that it was impossible to get hold of everything. We were spoilt for choice. However, for me there were some major threads I could identify in many presentations in one way or another.
- The place of technology: perhaps we are entering in a phase that we will stop advocating for technology in ELT and start making sense of it, but I still want to see presentations where we will be discussing the teaching/learning principles behind the use of various tech tools instead to just advocating for their inclusion and use.
- The place of arts: hopefully a coming back much waited for. After the functionalism of the 80’s and 90’s we are now discussing visual arts, literature and music in ELT beyond the usual workshops on songs and videos. The LMCS pre-conference event was a good example of a serious reflection on the use of fiction with Young Adults; the Art Symposium and the Writing Workshop on Art also added a new artistic dimension to the Conference – Well-inspired by the wonderful, superb collection in the National Museum of Wales next door.
- Equal Opportunities and Diversity: a recurrent theme present not only in the BC signature event but also embedded in sessions about identity, critical pedagogies and the broader socio-political, cultural implications of teaching and learning English.
If you missed the conference, there is still time to access it because Cardiff Online is still live and more material is being uploaded.