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Looking back on Innovate ELT 2017

Now the dust has settled we would like to thank all those who attended the annual Innovate ELT 2017 conference, hosted and coorganised by Oxford TEFL. 

Innovate ELT Conference Barcelona

In this third year, the theme was given a twist from the previous teacher-themed event and the focus was placed on the learners themselves – the life of our industry. Learners were invited from far and wide to give pleneries, attend demo lessons and share their thoughts on the learning experience. Just some of the questions answered were What does it feel like to be on the learner’s side of the classroom? What can we learn about learning from learners themselves? How can we help learners become more autonomous? How can we improve the learner experience? How can learning help us teach better? We hope that some of these questions were answered (at least partly) during the conference. If you would like to share your thoughts, comment at the bottom of this post!

We would also like to thank all those who attended, whether you were presenting, giving a plenary or attending the many talks and activities as a delegate. This is the third year of the conference and each year the conference develops a more dyanmic and diverse following. Part of the reason for this is the increase in attendees, which rose from 76 in 2015 (the first year) to 148 in 2017. Hand in hand with the increase in attendees, we have seen a rise in delegates from a wider range of countries and backgrounds, from Canada and Brazil to Iran and Saudi Arabia. This brings with it a more diverse interaction between attendees, and more opportunities to learn and share experiences with a plethora of talented speakers, teachers, trainers, learners, publishers, writers and managers from 29 different countries. Although there is now a larger crowd, we have still managed to maintain the intimate feel of the conference, which is part of what makes it so special.
Innovate ELT Conference Barcelona

The conference kicked off with the first plenery (and rarther rudely interrupted by a wild parakeet!) given by Oxford TEFL Director Duncan Foord with “What have teachers ever one for us?” during which he untangled some elements of current ELT practice, suggesting they might not necessarily be empowering students as much as we think. Learner and teacher pleneries to follow during the weekend were given by Laila Khairat, Melody Philip, Jo Sayers, Ben Beaumont, Roisin, Vaughan, Marianna Knyazyan, Berta Rojals, Carlos Tutusaus and Nicola Meldrum.

Lýdia Machová
In order to help delegates navigate their way through the conference, pathways were created which enabled attendees to easily follow talks which were of particular interest to them. Whether that was learner stories and reflections, young learners & teens, edtech or coaching, management and mentoring. To name just a few speakers within these pathways, included were Ceri Jones, Claire Venables, Dan Shepherd, Daniel Barber, Geoff Jordan, Ilá Coimbra, Jo Budden, Kat Robb and poloyglot Lýdia Machová. For a full list of speakers, take a look at the programme.
Finally, to finish the event, we attended the official closing party at BareNostrum close to the school where we kicked off our shoes and got to know each other better over a beer and tapas.
Innovate ELT Conference Barcelona
Perhaps you spotted Marina or Oliver during the event who were capturing some of the best moments with their cameras. If you would like to see photos of the event or watch a video to get a feel for the conference, visit the Innovte ELT Conference Facebook page or website. Tag yourself and share your thoughts on the conference by commenting!
Innovate ELT Conference Barcelona
Congratulations to our ELT Professionals Kristina Navnyko, Adam Scott, Nicola Linde Ruiz and Barbara Muszynska who won one of our international scholarships as part of the Cambridge English competition launched in January. The task was to choose a digital product which enhances learning and is free, or freely available to teachers or learners. It was a pleasure to have you at the conference! Well done also to Gemma Webber who won a free online teacher development course with Oxford TEFL as one of our competition participants.
We would like to thank all the sponsors of the conference, including Cambridge English, ITN Edu, Pearson, Trinity College London, Cambridge University Press, Come In Llibreria Anglesa, IPA Productions, TESOL Spain, Morro Fi and Espiga beer who all contributed to help make the conference happen!
Innovate ELT Conference Barcelona
Last but not least, a special thanks to our co-organizers and buddies ELTJam who make the conference organization such an enjoyable experience, we could almost do it every week. Here’s to next year!
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