The 50th Annual IATEFL Conference
The date for the 50th Annual IATEFL Conference is soon approaching. Some 2,500 delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors are already booked in to attend this milestone event which will take place from 13-16 April 2016 at the first-class conference center, the ICC, in Birmingham, UK. Onsite registration is possible as well and the IATEFL website provides a form which can be filled in in advance to save time at the venue.
The conference will kick-off on 12 April with 14 Pre-Conference Events (PCE’s) run by our 15 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and our Associates Day for representatives who will be attending from our more than 120 Teaching Associations around the world. This will be followed by the Opening Ceremony in which we are delighted to welcome the Telc cyclists Thom Jones and Julian Sayarer and IATEFL Trustee Gary Motteram who are cycling from Manchester to Birmingham to raise money for IATEFL Projects. This scheme, which began when Eric Baber and Carol Read were at the helm of IATEFL has since awarded grants for teacher training to ELTAI in India and CAMELTA in Cameroon and will be looking into the next awards after the conference.
This year IATEFL received a record number of proposals, and due to hard work put in by the Proposals Committee, the programme was set up to offer 22 parallel sessions of talks and forums. Each of the four days will start off with a plenary and we are delighted to have Professor David Crystal, the IATEFL Patron, starting off on Wednesday, 13 April. On Thursday, 14 April Silvana Richardson will start off the day and on Friday, 15 April Professor Emerita Diane Larsen-Freeman will hold the opening plenary. On Saturday, 16 April we will begin with Scott Thornbury for our morning plenary and close with the renowned storyteller, Jan Blake in the afternoon. The conference has lots to offer and the days are packed with a variety of talks as well as events taking place in the exhibition hall. These include two interactive Language Fairs, a number of ‘How to … Session’, six Signature Events, two ‘Meet the Patron Events, the ELT Conversation, the IATEFL AGM, the IATEFL Jobs Market and events on our ‘pop-up stage’. Delegates will have the chance to join us in fundraising for IATEFL Projects by taking part in a raffle, a ‘Lucky Dip’ or by buying an IATEFL mug or Teddy Bear to take home with them. A new feature this year is the special ‘Celebration Tree’ where attendees can take a moment to jot down their thoughts about IATEFL and pin a leaf to the tree or have their photo taken in the ‘50th Conference Frame’ in order to have a personalized souvenir of the conference. There is also a diverse range of evening events offering something for everyone. These include a gathering for the 50+ scholarship winners, three Shakespeare themed events, a special musical event, storytelling sessions, the UK Fair List Awards, a Pecha Kucha, the IATEFL Quiz, the Extensive Reading Foundation Awards an event by the Creativity Group and a number of off site events offered by sponsors and other organisations. A new mobile app will be available to help delegates keep track of everything that is going on and even allow them to exchange business cards with each other on the spot.
If Manchester was an indication of what we can expect, then we hope to see some 2,600 delegates from over 110 countries around the world. In addition, we are celebrating our 10th year of the collaboration with the British Council who generously sponsors the live-stream of the conference. Plenaries, sessions, special events and interviewed are available to ELT professionals around the world and the live stream has attracted as many as 60,000 viewers helping IATEFL in its mission to link, develop and support educators around the globe. Please join us to help us celebrate 50 years of IATEFL conferences and to take part in this exciting and momentous event.