There are so many things you get out of attending a conference like this that it’s hard to summarise. Here are some of my observations...
|Luke Meddings takes us on a dogme tour of Paris|
- Luke Medding’s fascinating plenary compared the city planning of Paris with the planning of a lesson. I loved his analogy of how we explore cities and language. And in case you are wondering why we dogme fans keep banging the drum for this particular approach to teaching and learning, there are still many misunderstandings about dogme teaching that won’t go away, and I heard them repeated at the conference. It’s the usual stuff (dogme = anti-technology, it’s only for experienced teachers and so on) and it’s the reason why we have to keep making people aware of what dogme teaching really is, or indeed, isn't.
|Cecilia Lemos during her excellent presentation on writing|
- Someone really needs to find a way for us to be able to attend simultaneous sessions. How can I choose between Mike Harrison or Vladimira Michalkova? Or between Elizabeth Anne, Cecilia Lemos, Divya Brochier or Nick Robinson? Or Matt Ledding, Marisa Constantinides, Mike Hogan or Fiona Mauchline? And that was just on the Saturday!
- Poland is producing some great teachers. Both Ania Musielak’s drama session and Weronika Salandyk’s session on vocabulary revision were brilliant and full of useful ideas. I just wish I could have got to see their compatriots Milada Krajewska or Ania Kozicka as well, but hopefully I can make it to IATEFL Poland next year instead.
|During Weronika Salandyk's extremely useful presentation on vocabulary revision. (Thanks to TESOL France for the photo)|
- Willy Cardoso is one clever chap. His talk, which questioned the whole idea of how we organise our classrooms, both literally and figuratively, incorporated both practical ideas, and theories from outside ELT, even outside wider education. I’m still digesting it now, to be honest. He used a term, ‘enabling constraints’ which continues to fascinate me. I’m going to come back to this many times, I think.
- The other speakers I saw (Mike Harrison, Cecilia Lemos, Dale Coulter, Fiona Mauchline, Shelly Terrell, and plenary speakers Geoff Tranter and Stephen Brewer) all educated, informed and entertained me, and I thank them for their fantastic presentations.
|Dale Coulter having a well deserved breather during his great session on reflective practice.|
- Bethany Cagnol and her team were magnificent. It was a great conference, extremely well organised with a fantastic line up of speakers. Congratulations to everyone involved.
|Me with Bethany Cagnol, president of TESOL France and all round legend. (Thanks to Ania Musielak for the photo)|
- As amazing as all the presentations were, the main reason to go to a conference like this is the people. Brad Patterson has written a lovely post on this subject, as has Matt Ledding, and I couldn’t agree with them more. Something special happens when the PLN comes together and it leaves all of us changed for the better. Until next time my friends...
|Le PLN on Le Metro (l-r Dale, Ania, Me, Mike, Hieke, Shelly, Dave, Matt, Brad & Mike). (Thanks to Cecilia Lemos for the photo)|
- And finally... English teachers in Belgium need to be given an opportunity like this.
Some other Paris posts:
Vicky Loras gives us a day by day breakdown (day one, day two, day three).
Mike Harrison’s thoughts.
ELTchat goes to TESOL France.
Dale Coulter’s talk on reflection and journal writing for teachers.
Brad Patterson (again!) is thinking about classroom management.
The recollections of Arjana Blazic
Shelly Terrell reflects on a great conference.
Ceri Jones is feeling the echoes of Paris.