IH Barcelona ELT Conference: Marshmallows, McNuggets and Comfort Food

SLB member Laura Hesse recounts her recent experiences at the IH Barcelona ELT Conference, which took place on February 3rd and 4th, 2017.

Inspiration on all levels was what I found at my first IH Barcelona ELT Conference. It was fantastic having the opportunity to network with local and international teachers. I had the good fortune to acquaint myself with Scott Thornbury’s fascinating views on Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) versus “Grammar McNuggets”, a topic we have previously investigated in our SLB training sessions.

Mr Thornbury also mentioned a tremendous online teaching project with kids in Gaza, which you can check out here: https://handsupproject.org/. After an educative hour on TBL (Task-Based Learning) and CLT, I couldn’t resist mentioning SLB to Scott. The reply: “That co-op that Geoff Jordan is always banging on about?” He gave us the thumbs up and said that what we are doing is great!

Other big-name speakers included Antonia Claire, author of Total English and Speakout, who boosted my motivation for creative teaching. Kieran Donaghy from Film English delivered a wonderful talk on the importance of empathy. And Multi-lingual Nayr Ibrahim dazzled everyone with her linguistic knowledge.

Apart from the big names in the main hall there were also some great workshops going on in the other rooms. Rosie Burk, the director of IH Sabadell set the audience the amusing marshmallow challenge to demonstrate collaborative learning. Shaun Sweeney from IH BCN used his audience as a teaching resource for developing listening lessons. Using our phones, we all recorded ourselves talking about our favourite comfort food and then emailed him the sound clips, which were then shared with everyone in an online folder.

Finally, Silvana Richardson rounded up the conference with a watertight argument on why employing only NESTs (Native Speaker English Teachers) is ridiculous. Again, this is a topic we are passionate about at SLB!

A big thanks Sam Whitely and all the organisers at International House for putting on such a well-organised and professional conference! I’ll definitely be back next year!

SLB supports its members to attend conferences and training sessions such as the IH Barcelona ELT Conference. For more information about becoming a member, see here.

Featured image: Scott Thornbury gives his plenary at the 2016 IH Barcelona ELT Conference. And he was back with a plenary session in 2017, for a 12th consecutive year!

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