So what do all of the above cities have in common? Well, they are all places where I attended and presented at conferences in the last two months. Yes, I’ve been doing lots of travelling! (Maybe too much, says my family).
The best? Well, that’s impossible to answer as each conference was special in its own individual way. But I must say that the annual HUPE (Croatian Association of Teachers of English) conference held this year from April 7-10 in the lovely town of Opatija on the Adriatic coast was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended: impeccably organised; a great selection and range of talks (including my plenary on ‘ELT in(to) the Digital World’ and my workshop on ‘Teaching Adults ‘real’ English’ with English Unlimited); civilized half-hour coffee breaks on the terrace for networking and discussion; a Pecha Kucha evening; and a gala dinner and DJ 80’s Party (I hadn’t been forewarned about the party’s theme so just wore my HUPE t-shirt and had a great time!).
The biggest? The annual Cambridge-Pons School Association Day on Saturday, April 16, in Sofia, Bulgaria, which started with a wonderful ceremony during which the student winners of primary and secondary school competitions received prizes followed by local entertainment from members of the Cambridge—Pons School Association and then over 400 teachers attended four (!) talks by me and by Cambridge ESOL representatives.
The most northern? The Lithuanian Association of Language Teachers (LKPA) 5th annual conference on Saturday and Sunday May 20-21 in Vilnius where about 80 teachers of all
languages and from all over the Baltics, Russia, Kazakhstan and Europe met to debate and discuss ‘Languages for Work and Life: A Challenge for Teachers and Learners’. I gave a plenary on ‘Language Teaching in(to) the Digital Age’ and a workshop on ‘Teaching Teenagers’ with English in Mind 2nd edition and Interactive. (On my birthday the day before the start of this conference, I had been giving talks in Riga, Latvia, and then had a four-hour bus ride (USA)/coach journey (UK) to Vilnius.
The most unusual—for me? The 1st International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics held on May 5-7 at Burch University in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where researchers from all over the world read and gave papers on a huge variety of subjects and where I gave talks on English Profile and English 360.
And I was also in Prague on Saturday, April 30, for the Cambridge English Day for teachers of adults where I gave three different talks—including a workshop on using Cambridge Classware with mimio (a USB that turns white surfaces into interactive whiteboards) and in Amsterdam on Friday, May 13 (it wasn’t unlucky), for the Cambridge Business/ESP Day where I gave the final talk on (yes, again) ‘Teaching Adults ‘real’ English’ with English Unlimited.
Phew! Glad my travel is winding down now… Perhaps you also attended a conference or two (or six!?) these last few months as spring is the time for conferences (in the Northern hemisphere, at least). In any case, hope to see you at one of these or another upcoming conference or Cambridge English event in the future.
Gary Anderson, Cambridge ELT International Teacher Trainer