IATEFL Glasgow 2017

My IATEFL report will once again focus on the presentations that where part of the Literature SIG conference programme. The pre-conference event (PCE) was a joint event with the Creativity Group and I would also like to express my gratitude to Alan Maley for the support and for helping promote the event.

This year the theme of the LitSIG PCE was Using Films for English Language Teaching and I believe we managed to put together a quite comprehensive, diverse and interesting programme. I would like to publicly thank all the speakers for sharing their expertise and experiences with us. Very special thanks to the British Film Institute for the support and sponsoring Mark Reid to come to the event and give a talk on how films can facilitate the learning of a foreign language. His short film Taps will not be forgotten.

Kieran Donaghy gave the first talk on using film and shared a wealth of techniques and sources that can be quite easily used and adapted by teachers around the world. Richard Wilson presented on how using British films can help students develop gender awareness. He was followed by Rob Hill presenting of a series of short films based on Shakespeare’s plays developed by the British Council for the Shakespeare Lives project – after last year we definitely needed to have dear Will back and Rob’s presentation was as informative and entertaining as ever. Claudia Ferradas presented on transmedia narratives focusing on the National Gallery fascinating 2012 project Metamorphosis. In the afternoon Malu Sciamarelli shared a project she has done with her students producing films. Jamie Keddie closed the event using a Tarantino film for storytelling.

I was a co-presenter with Eduardo Lima who guided participants to look at narrative in films from a developmental point of view – form oral narratives, to writing, drama, and finally moving images. He proposed an approach to close reading films that is analogous to the kind of closing reading we do with texts but which takes film literacy to the core of the task. It is indeed a shame that we had so little time and participants did not really have the opportunity to do some close reading of the film trailers he used as examples – Ian McKellen’s Richard III and 007 Skyfall.

On the SIG day we had speakers presenting on a variety of topics that well represent the areas of interest covered by the Literature SIG. We started with Peter Grundy’s workshop on Extensive Reading followed by Lena Vaneyan presenting on the work she has been doing for the Boris Pasternak Museum in Russia – I was really impressed by her dedication and enthusiasm work in very difficult conditions and with very little official support. Robert Hill then presented on creative writing based on classic novels; Sam Duncan and Amos Paran shared the findings of their research on teachers’ perceptions and practices when using literature with students preparing for the International Baccalaureate in a number of countries around the world; Malu Sciamarelli presented on using paintings to develop students writing skills.

Shakespeare was back on stage with John Gardine presenting on a fantastic and inspiring project that brought together secondary students from Russia, Italy and the UK creating their production and performing it during a weekend workshop in London. He was followed by Frank Prescott on using Shakespeare in the classroom with his students in Hungary also using material developed for the British Council as part of the Shakespeare Lives project.

I am afraid I have almost nothing to say about the rest of the conference as I was engaged as an exhibitor in one of the days and attended very little of the workshops and talks. The highlight goes to J J Wilson on his brilliant plenary on how stories, drama, poetry, images, and community projects can help students and teachers to develop their critical thinking skills and “challenge the status-quo”.

For more details on the presentations in the LitSIG Glasgow programme, please click here

For more on the IATEFL Conference, visit Glasgow Online