By contrast to Lenka Kroupová, I hardly ever ‘feel a great compulsion to write a follow-up blog post’ after a conference. But like her, this time … I have probably been to most IATEFL Hungary conferences over the past 15 or so years. And although all of them have been an experience, this year’s conference in Eger was somehow special, extraordinarily vibrant and exciting. Here are few thoughts on why that might have been…
Was it because there was always a good crowd filling the venue, even on Friday afternoon and Sunday midday? That kind of attendance is so hard to achieve and yet so crucial for the overall feel of such a gathering. Or was it the good mix of teacher generations? – it does make a difference to see so many young faces in the plenaries and workshops, to feel their youthful curiosity and enthusiasm in the sessions as well as during the cracking karaoke evening. Perhaps it was the outstanding quality of the presentations I experienced which gave the event a very professional edge. Then, again, it might have been the readiness of all those teachers, trainers, materials writers and other ELT professionals attending to be in real community mode: to be inspired and to inspire, to give freely of their own ideas, experiences and energy. It seems to me that there is a deep craving in all of us for this kind of experience and I wish it was easier to (re)create.
Anyway, the success of this year’s conference probably was the happy combination of all the things I mentioned and more. But whatever it was, the event will be a hard act to follow. Luckily, there is a tried and tested committee who know how organise and run a conference smoothly while remaining on top of things and approachable throughout. Well done! I very much look forward to seeing how you will match your own yardstick next year!
Written by Uwe Pohl (ELTE-DELP)