The 53rd IATEFL experience

This is, in fact, my first experience at an IATEFL event. I have been to BRAZ-TESOL and BRELT events, however, the IATEFL is quite different.

You see names from all over the world, talking about their teaching experiences in Japan, in Nigeria, Uganda, etc and the verdict is all the same: we need to improve the teachers’ training so the students’ experience gets better.

You get to socialise, take pictures, post them on Instagram. You get to write about the event for blogs. There are so many things to see, to do, people to talk to. It’s all so overwhelming.

One of my first tips is to choose the talks you want to see beforehand and have at least two option in case there is a cancelation. Also, have a line to follow “young learners” for instance.

Have time for breaks, your mind and body will ask for those. Let all the information you have just acquired sink in and for that, you may have a blog or a notebook where you can take notes.

Today I had the pleasure of participating in one of the most fun and life-changing talks 0 Creative Writing by Mario Rinvolucri. He is a funny and very humble guy. He was talking about his book by Richmond and then mentioned – and I quote – a much better book on the topic, called  “Sing me the creation” by Paul Matthews.

He started reading a letter from an 8-year-old- girl talking about grandmas. It was fantastic to see that “grandmas do not have children of their own and that’s why they like other’s boys and girls. They are adults who have time and answers to everything. When they read to us, they don’t skip any words and they don’t mind if it is the same story being told again and again” – I mean, have you ever put yourselves into a little girl’s shoes and thought of a story about grandmas?

The other tip he gave us was to work with “the whole writing to parts” or vice-versa. We, for instance, had to write about a river and its meanders.

I decided I’d be the meander and wrote something like this:

“Hey, there river. How’s it going? I’m a bit slow today. You know, I feel you have been stealing my thunder because nobody knows who I am. If you say “river” – oh “river” everybody knows. You see what I mean? I mean, people please don’t take me for granted. I have feelings you know”

I have shared this here because I would never ever have thought of writing a text like this. And it made me wonder about all the other kinds of things we can do differently in our classrooms. The different perspectives we should use.  

And it was fun. I had big laughs while thinking, writing and sharing and listening to all of the different stories people came up with.

My message here is: think outside the box, don’t be afraid of being funny.

Beatriz Solino de Francisco

Beatriz holds the Cambridge Train the Trainer and the DELTA Mods II and III(Teaching Exam Lessons). She has a Licentiate’s degree in English Language from PUC SP (2007). CPE level of proficiency and she has been teaching for 15 years. She is an Academic and Pedagogic Coordinator. She is currently doing a Company Management MBA at FGV.

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