What could the English UK Academic Conference do for you?
10 December 2018

Academic Conference 2018 43 David Crystal

One of our newest conferences, the Academic Conference is for everyone involved in teaching and managing English language classrooms.

It's flexible: you can join for classroom practice on Friday, academic leadership on Saturday or the whole event – and there are great early bird discounts if you book before Friday 14 December.

How do delegates use the Academic Conference?

We chatted to our friendly delegates as they enjoyed networking time over refreshments, lunch and a drinks reception – all part of the package because we know it's important to connect with others doing similar jobs. What did they gain from it?

Good for small schools

Joanne Venter, principal and director of studies at Central Language School, Cambridge, said: "We are a very small school, so you need to learn. It's this little bite-sized process which helps. This event is good for networking."

Ms Venter was joined by another teacher for the Saturday sessions focussion on classroom practice.

Rosa Lucia, director of studies of Oxford School of English, enjoyed Hannah Alexander-Wright's coaching session and planned to implement it back at school. She said: "What I particularly like about this is the management aspect. As directors of studies, we're in the middle and that means it's nice to speak to peers, but in my small school I have no peers."

Inspiration and time to think about work

"This is great and really inspiring," said Amanda Reeves of Stafford House Canterbury.

"Everything I've been to has been great and I've got information overload, but Silvana and Vic Richardson were really good. But it's all been really good and really inspiring for me. I didn't come last year. I have come back because of the support and networking."

Silvana and Vic Richardson will be returning to our Academic Conference 2019 with discussions on continuing professional development and transforming assessment practices.

Mel Judge, academic director of Stafford House Study Holidays said: "It's a nice opportunity to reflect on practice - this is quite a luxury for us. We don't have time. Although it's work here, it's nice to relax and think about it. At work there are constant interruptions with people reporting that the photocopier has broken or a student needs to change class.

"The Academic Conference is an academic spa."

New ideas, new skills, and time to meet peers

David Byrne, of EC London, attended the conference and its predecessor, the Teachers' Conference, every year. "You come to this because want to spend more time with people who understand you. What I always take away is being re-energised a little bit.

"I liked the sessions on goal-setting CPD and observation – I want to do that this year and because this is early on, it sets you up for the rest of the year. It's a nice way to start the year."

Clare Hayward of Basil Paterson attended both days, getting ideas to pass on to her team on the teacher day and then getting even more benefit from the manager day: "I always think of myself as a teacher first, manager second. The sessions I've been to today were really helpful – I liked the overview of the industry, and the coaching was quite new to me."

New Director of Studies Kate Smook, of Millfield Enterprises, liked Michael Carrier's session about making ELT more UK-centric, and as someone awaiting inspection, the British Council session. She had also learned about supported experimentation. "You think about ideas and try to learn how to apply them in your own setting. I will have three academic managers in the summer and I might use the coaching information. It's good to have new ideas and practical things."

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