The English UK Academic Conference: inspiration and ideas for teaching a language “full of quirks, eccentricities and mistakes”
22 January 2019

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Ways to look after teacher and student well-being, make CPD more effective, using technology and teaching academic writing were just some of the most popular themes at the English UK Academic Conference this weekend.

Around 270 people from UK ELT attended one or both days of the London conference, which opened with Silvana Richardson's suggestions on improving the impact of CPD and closed with Countdown host Susie Dent's musings on the glories of the English language.

"English is a mess, but what a glorious mess it is," she said, adding: "It makes the mastery of spelling one of the trickiest education journeys we will ever make… it's full of quirks, eccentricities and mistakes."

In between were over 30 possible elective sessions aimed at teachers or managers, two networking receptions, and two further plenary sessions on assessment and dealing with stress.

English UK Conference Producer Tom Weatherley said: "It's been a great couple of days with a very positive atmosphere."

Sessions highlighted by delegates included Nik Peachey on managing the digital classroom, Edward de Chazal on academic teaching and learning, and Silvana Richardson's suggestions on getting teachers to record their tutorials for personal and critical friend evaluation.

Sara Vaghefian of the University of the Arts loved the chance to not only hear experts but ask them questions: "I found it inspiring. Today was just a nice opportunity to approach people giving talks on a 121 basis and ask them questions."

Jo Kroussaniotakis of the Wimbledon School of English said: "I really enjoyed it and found everything useful. The focus on mental health was really interesting and something that came up very regularly last year in teacher meetings. There were also some really good ideas to take back." Ollie Hinds of the Victoria School of English enjoyed meeting other teachers, while first-timer Colin Spicer, academic director of Ardmore Language Schools, was planning to take new ideas back to the office.

The conference has become a fixture for John Watson of Into Manchester. He said: "I've come for about eight years. I enjoy it, I learn a lot, it's a really good day for reflecting. You get these ideas during the day and reality is never like that when you go back and try to use these ideas, but you come up with other things as you listen to the talk and it triggers other activities."

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