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InnovateELT 2023: 5 reasons to attend the conference!

It’s that time of year again! Oxford TEFL is back with another edition of InnovateELT, our yearly conference that aims to celebrate the exciting new innovations in our industry and to bring together a community of like minded ELT professionals for one weekend, and one weekend only. From newcomers to the industry to seasoned pros, we think the InnovateELT conference has a little something for everyone and we can’t wait to open our doors to you all once again.   

And guess what?

This will be our first fully face-to-face InnovateELT conference since the dark days of the pandemic. After last year’s hybrid conference gave us a little reminder of what we’ve been missing over the last few years, we’ve decided to bring the conference home. The Oxford TEFL garden, the Barcelona sunshine, and our fabulous array of speakers await you. 

The theme

Over the last seven years that we have been organising the InnovateELT conference, every year has had a theme. This is something for our speakers to consider when submitting their talk proposals and something for our attendees to reflect on throughout the weekend.

This year we’ve chosen ‘Who needs theory in ELT?’ 

According to Kurt Lewin “There is nothing more practical than a good theory”. Is he right? We’ll be exploring whether the English Language Training industry is driven by theories and this will be the common thread as attendees move from session to session.

Still unsure whether the InnovateELT conference is for you?

Well, here are just 5 reasons we think you should come join us at Oxford TEFL in Barcelona on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st May. 

1. Attend inspiring talks

First and foremost, the InnovateELT conference would be nothing without it’s speakers and once again we are truly proud of the lineup we’ve put together for you. Our speakers will deliver a mix of dynamic plenaries, workshops and Q&As that will get you involved and leave you brimming with ideas. 

Our wide range of speakers

Our speakers are the movers and shakers of the ELT world. Our typical conference speaker is someone truly passionate about the English Language teaching industry and full of ideas that they want to share with the community.

Joining us on the bill this year are course directors, international communication specialists, young learner teachers, business teachers, materials writers, games producers, entrepreneurs, teacher trainers and more!

Altogether, they cover pretty much every corner of the ELT world and show us just how far reaching this industry can be. 

Our wide range of sessions

Each conference speaker will bring something a little different to the table, be it an activity directly applicable to your English lessons, insight into new technology and games, or something more theoretical (to name a few examples!). 

Topics range from reducing language anxiety in your students to traditional ELT theory in a world of apps and AI; from speaking homework to game-based pragmatic learning. We hope sessions such as ‘How a Soviet-era philosopher can help your students listen better’ and ‘Atomic classroom habits’ will pique the interest of the most curious amongst you.

And if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea you can pick the brain of seasoned ELT veteran Scott Thornbury in his Q&A session, or grab some new ideas for your English classes after the conference in the aptly named session ‘15 things to use on Monday’. 

2. Come away with ideas you can use on Monday

And that’s exactly what we hope you will take away with you at the end of the weekend. The InnovateELT team has planned this conference with a clear goal: attendees should leave with tons of practical ideas that they can start using in their English classes the very next day.

Who can argue with that? We all go through moments of feeling uninspired and stale, pushing the same tried and tested games and methods on our students. Whether you’re in a rut or just want to add some new skills to your English teaching repertoire, we think the InnovateELT conference will provide a little shake up, giving you some new and exciting ways to approach your classes. 

So, with that in mind, you’ll be able to attend sessions on how to create 10 minute activities using music videos, new approaches to extensive reading and creating original teaching materials using online resources. What kind of conference would we be if we didn’t include a session on engaging unenthusiastic teens? Essentially, we’ve got you covered and if it all sounds a little stressful we’ve even got a session on therapeutic teaching.

What’s more, these sessions will be hands-on, making sure that you actively test out these methods in a class of enthusiastic peers, so you can roll right into your next English class ready to utilise them. 

3. Network with like-minded people

We love the sense of community generated at Innovate. Our international community is packed with friendly, like-minded ELTers who are eager to learn from one another. There is plenty of time throughout the weekend to chat, and make new friends and connections in the ELT world. We have a lot of regulars who come back every year and we welcome all new faces to the InnovateELT family.

“There is a family feel about it that is enhanced by the frequent generous breaks in the lovely garden. It’s well worth going every year, as then there are more and more familiar faces among the speakers and the attendees.” – Chris Fry InnovateELT speaker 2023. 

Now that the conference is back in-person we have full use of Oxford TEFL and our sunny garden. When you’re not in a session you are free to relax, have a coffee, soak up the sunshine and chat to attendees and speakers alike. New to the industry? Here’s your chance to meet some exciting people in the ELT world. Interested in different ways to explore the industry or change your career? A couple of circles of the garden might just serve up the answers you’re looking for… 

4. Participate to win top prizes 

Over the weekend there will be opportunities to walk away from the conference with some goodies! Prizes, provided by OxfordTEFL, will be given out during the coffee breaks and will include various discounts and courses for some lucky winners, including:

🏆Presenting Workshops and Presenting in ELT course (worth €375)
This prize would be particularly useful for anyone inspired by the conference to share their own ideas with the world! Receive expert guidance from Oxford TEFL Director, Duncan Foord.

🏆 Observing Teachers and Giving Feedback course (worth €375)
A really useful course for anyone hoping to be a director of studies and to deliver useful, practical feedback when observing their teachers. Receive expert guidance from CELTA Course Director, Anna Stubbs. 

🏆 Credit towards any Oxford TEFL course in 2023 (worth €100)
Oxford TEFL provide a wide range of teacher development courses designed to boost your teaching skills and the TrinityDipTESOL course. Advance your career and impress employers working with our team of trainers.

🏆 Six months of Oxford TEFL Connect (worth €60)
If you’re just starting out in TEFL and feel a little lost, Oxford TEFL Connect, our online community for teachers, can help you with your lesson planning, provide a bank of useful resources and offer 1-to-1 guidance from an experienced teacher. 

All prizes are transferable, so if you’d prefer, you could give it to someone else, be that a colleague at your school or someone you’ve just met at the conference! 

5. Enjoy a trip to sunny Barcelona

We hope all of the above will have convinced you that attending this year’s InnovateELT conference is a no-brainer. But, if you’re unconvinced, we have an ace in the hole. The conference takes place right in the centre of beautiful, bustling Barcelona. 

Located just off the city’s famous Passeig de Gracia, a stone’s throw from Gaudi’s famous architecture, the gothic quarter, countless bars, restaurants… the conference is nestled right in the middle of it all. 

We have planned the schedule this year to include plenty of time on both days for attendees to enjoy the city as well as attend the conference.

Once the sessions are over and you’ve enjoyed a drink and a natter under the palm trees of the garden, the city is your oyster. Why not take a refreshing dip in the sea, take a stroll around El Born and waste away the evening wining and dining on the famous Spanish tapas.

So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a ticket and book your place at InnovateELT2023

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