Pre-Conference Day 2019

ESOL Special Interest Group: IATEFL Pre-Conference Day – 1st April 2019, in Liverpool

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Our Pre-Conference Day was extremely successful; a day packed full day of talks, sharing best practice, networking with colleagues from near and far AND a special guest appearance!

now 064Dr. Mike Chick kicked off our day by discussing the contextual challenges that ES(O)L practitioners currently face. Basing his talk on research carried out in Wales, he shared the lessons he has learnt about ESOL in the UK and, in particular, his work with the Syrian resettlement Programme in South Wales. He also made the case for creating a more unified ESOL profession, reinforcing Simpson and Cooke’s (2009) call for practitioners to ensure that they are informed and organised. Mike’s rousing call has never been more relevant than during this current populist political climate.

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Jenifah Abu-Hassan passionately, yet sensitively, explored the challenge of how ESOL practitioners can take a subject such as feminism into the class without creating tension among learners.

She also shared a moving, and thought-provoking, video entitled: Inspiring the Future – Redraw the Balance

now 079Johanna Sterling spoke about supporting weak spellers in teaching environments. With her usual energetic and enthusiastic style, the room were soon on their feet playing some games to liven up spelling activities – what fun!

Johanna’s techniques, and more, can be found in her book teaching Spelling for English Language Learners and on her website.

We were extremely lucky to have the pleasure of welcoming a special guest just before our lunch break – none other than the eminent Jeremy Harmer!

Jeremy spoke eloquently about the myriad of issues facing ESOL practitioners today and encouraged us all to keep up the good fight in these challenging political and financial times.


Jeremy also shared…

“A high point of IATEFL 2019 was my visit to the ESOL SIG Pre-Conference event. the honesty and openness of the participants to dsicsusing fundamental issue concerning their work was truly inspriirng anhd deeply moving.”



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After lunch, we were treated to Emily Bryson running a workshop on creating accessible learning materials for the ES(O)L classroom. Emily emphasised that materials needed to be looked at critically from many angles to ensure they are both engaging and motivating. More of Emily’s thoughts, and information about her publications, can be accessed on her blog.

now 086.JPGPhilida Schellekens was our last speaker of the day and rounded off our event by looking at activities which address the challenges that multilevel classrooms present.  She suggested ideas that will ensure teachers can meet students’ individual needs, but also examined the question of how to differentiate tasks for classrooms.

We ended our the day with final thoughts, a panel discussion and networking, hosted by Roshii Jolly, our Social Media Co-ordinator.

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What a terrific day, with engaging and thought-provoking speakers and plenty of opportunities to mingle with the other delegates and the ESOL SIG Committee.

Thanks to all for attending and we’re already looking forward to welcoming you in Manchester next year!

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