Hornby Report: Spring in Devon

Time does fly! So many things happened since my last report, about two months ago, that I suppose now I have a couple of things to write to you about.

First of all, we were involved with the IATEFL Annual Conference in Cardiff. All Hornby Scholars attended the event and we had a special presentation about Classrooms Around the World. Five members of the group, representing colleagues in the five UK universities, presented to an international audience about different aspects involving classroom realities in our countries.  For many Hornbies it was a unique opportunity to get in contact with professionals from all over the world and attend presentations from well-known ELT names.

Apart from the Hornby Session, my own IATEFL highlights were:

  • the Literature, Media and Cultural SIG pre-conference event, where we discussed Teens Reading,
  • Bonny Norton’s plenary on ‘Identity, literacy and English language teaching’
  • Robert Hill’s session on ‘Intertextuality’
  • The ELT Journal debate on Research, with Rod Bolitho and Catharine Walter
  • The British Council Signature event on Equal Opportunities and Diversity
  • The Art and Artistry of ELT Symposium, where I had the honour to present with Alan Maley, Benjamin Russell and Joseph Guerra.
  • Claudia Ferradas, closing plenary on ‘Intercultural and intermedial encounters in ELT’ – simply superb!

Professional matters apart, Cardiff is a fantastic city. The venue of the event was the City Hall , a magnificent Edwardian building just next door to the 2000 year-old Cardiff Castle and to the impressive art collection housed in the National Museum of Wales . I confess I missed a couple of sessions one afternoon to visit the Sisley Exhibition and lose myself among the finest collection of paintings in the country, apart from the National Gallery.

After Cardiff, we had to go back to the reality of writing assignments. I have just handed in the last one and now we are already in Dissertation Time. This is the final work of our Masters programme and, here at Marjon, we are expected to write a 20,000 word study on a topic related to teacher education.

Spring has arrived in the country and we have been experiencing a spell of dry and hot weather which makes me wish to stay outdoors instead of in front of this computer. A couple of weeks ago my son and I went to Totnes, a picturesque, medieval little town with a Norman castle, just 30 minutes by train from Plymouth. Beautiful scenery and good pub food! The English countryside in the summer is just gorgeous; the whole country is now like a big garden: the little yellow and white flowers cover the grass of the lawns as a carpet and the bushes are painted in hues of yellow, pink, purple and white.