Three Highlights from IATEFL Manchester Talks and Workshops

IMG_5698While technology has become a powerful tool to share information, talking to people face-to-face still remains unrivalled. Enjoying a meal together or connecting with others through a handshake — or even a few words, creates a synergy that promotes feelings of trust and collaboration;  it helps us build stronger relationships and a feeling of belonging. Conferences are mostly about all this energy flow that creates a unique learning environment by bringing people closer together.

Highlight #1: Pronunciation:

A cool activity that you can do with your students is ask them how the Queen would ask to go to the loo when visiting someone’s house. I learned this one from Luke Meddings’s hilarious workshop entitled ‘People, Pronunciation & Play.’ In this awareness raising activity, students are encouraged to play with register and intonation as they come up with the words the Queen would use in such an awkward situation. He also teaches us some tricks to impersonate the Queen, such as keeping your teeth together. Here are some other variations for the Queen in case you’re interested in trying it out:

The Queen is hungry;

The Queen is feeling sick;

My idea: The Queen is having a Portuguese lesson.

Here’s the link to  Olya Sergeeva’s summary on Meddings’ presentation. Check out the other great suggestions of activities:

Highlight #2: Critical Thinking

In his session entitled ‘Passive Users or Critical Thinkers,’ Dimitrios Primalis shared his experiences with his fifth graders in Greece. Obvious though we judge, thinking critically about online content and sources is key. He suggests selecting a piece of information that people take for granted: ‘Alexander the Great was born in Greece,’ for example, and asking your students to prove that he was born in Greece by using search tools and websites.

For more details of Primalis’ project, visit the Microsoft Educator Network site:

Highlight # 3: Error Correction and Feedback

A few highlights of the forum on different perspectives on feedback by Anna Hasper and Christopher Smith:

Basically there are 2 mindsets regarding error correction:
1) Fixed mindsets: The belief that talent alone, not effort, creates success;
2) Growth mindsets: The belief that effort and hard work lead to change and learning.

Mindsets have nothing to do with intelligence, but many teachers tend to believe that some learners are more capable of learning than others.

Our views about intelligence affect the way we teach and treat our learners and affect the way learners learn.

Before helping learners change their views, we should change our own views because these views may be more embedded in our teaching than we realize , and therefore we sometimes fail to show our students that they can learn through effort and hard work. It is also by welcoming mistakes that we create a safe, anxiety free environment for our students.

One simple rule for providing feedback: Create opportunities for students to speak.

If you don’t wish to interrupt the flow of the activity, hand out slips of paper to students when they make a mistake — or say something right or brilliant, during the activity so that they can glance at it while they’re still carrying out the activity.

This way they won’t compare their mistake with those of their peers and think his mistake is worse than others’ mistakes — it’s especially effective for adults.

This requires preparation. Leave some slips of paper ready so that you can jot down the mistakes — or even better, the successful attempts students have made.

Here’s the link to their talk:

Here are just a few among so many great lessons I’ve learned from all the talks and workshops I’ve attended this year.  When you have about 500 talks to choose from, FOMO (fear of missing out syndrome) becomes inevitable, but it doesn’t matter if it is a session that you’ve planned ahead to attend   or one you’re attending by chance:  There’s always something to learn from it.

Teresa Carvalho

Teresa holds a B.A. in Linguistics from USP and Delta Modules 1 and 2 Certificates. She has been teaching for over 25 years and has presented at webinars and at both local and international Conferences, including ABCI, IATEFL, and the Image Conference. She also holds a Specialization degree in English Language from PUC-Rio. She is interested in visual literacy and in language development for teachers of English as a foreign language. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Language Studies and is conducting research in the role of images in the construction of identity.

  • Marjorie Rosenberg
    Posted at 03:44h, 24 maio Responder

    Lovely post, Teresa. Wonderful to see write-ups of talks I couldn’t get to. Very glad to see what people bring home from IATEFL!

  • Teresa Carvalho
    Teresa Carvalho
    Posted at 21:06h, 24 maio Responder

    Thanks, Marjorie. The beauty of conferences is that we always bring so many brilliant ideas back home. The IATEFL conference committee have done a great job making it possible for us delegates to have a such a wide range of sessions to choose from.

  • Priscila Mateini
    Posted at 00:11h, 26 maio Responder

    Just another great post from you Teresa. How memorable were the talks, such a great atmosphere of learning and sharing with friends all over the globe.

    • Teresa Carvalho
      Teresa Carvalho
      Posted at 22:09h, 31 maio Responder

      Hi Priscila, thanks for reading it. You are an incredible travel companion and a great educator. I’m so glad we got to laugh together and share the things we learned from the talks.

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