English UK Academic Conference 2019

Our Director of Studies Marianne took part in one of the most important events of the UK ELT calendar – the English UK Academic Conference. Held over two days, this year Friday was for Managers and Saturday for teachers. The conference is undoubtedly a must for ELT professionals. Read on to find out what Marianne got up to……….

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Before I share my impressions with you, a little bit about English UK. It is the national association of accredited English language schools in the UK. They promote English language teaching here and abroad and ensure our sector is represented with the government. Once a year they hold an academic conference and this year I attended the first day which focussed on leadership and management.

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English UK CEO Sarah Cooper

The event was very well organised and I received all the necessary information prior to arrival. It was buzzy and busy and straight away I met some fellow managers from various other schools and universities. After a coffee, I read the programme and decided how I was going to divide my day. What I find really interesting about these events is the different types of institutions in attendance. For instance, during the first plenary I got talking to the people next to me and one of them was a manager from a tiny school in Portsmouth and the other responsible for many, many teachers at a highly regarded university in London. They all come from different contexts and with different experiences and a simple chat and sharing session can offer insight into your own context and issues.

The day started with a presentation by the English UK team followed by a plenary session led by Silvana Richardson on Continuous Professional Development – a key element of what we do here at Tti and a particular interest of mine – updating, developing and engaging teachers!

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After that the individual sessions started – so many to choose from! Here are the choices I made:

First session – George Pickering – The vital role of mentoring in staff development and engagement. George is an educational coach, trainer and consultant. And a British Council Inspector too. It was fun and interactive, with lots of handouts and ideas on mentoring.

Second session – Strength in teaching criteria with Josh Round, teacher, teacher trainer and academic manager – and a fellow LONDOSA committee member.  It was very useful and geared towards strengthening the teaching criteria during inspections and how to exceed expectations in that area.

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Selfie moment! Me in a full room!

 Then we paused for lunch and some relaxed networking.

My first choice for the afternoon session was Rachel Jones’ talk on Making a Success of Rolling Enrolment. It was filled with good ideas and the most interactive of the sessions. Rachel, a teaching and learning manager, opened the last few minutes of her session for other managers to share successful practices. Great to see what other schools do and I walked out of there full of ideas! Watch this space.

My last session was with an HR expert Anita Wayne on Managing Poor Performance through effective feedback. Very constructive.

The day ended with a plenary by James Hilton a former headteacher turned author who delivered a very funny, very engaging final plenary. And then the much-needed refreshments after such a long – and productive – day.

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The Academic Conference is a one-stop event for ELT practitioners and their managers. It combines expert speakers, materials providers and the chance catch up with old contacts and make new ones over great food throughout the day and an evening drinks reception.

A great day. See you again next year English UK Academic Conference! 

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