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Eaquals conference in Prague 2018

Eaquals conference in Prague 2018

Thursday 7th June 2018
Raphael Miller

Earlier this year I was absolutely delighted to be accepted as an individual member of the organisation Eaquals - a group which works towards fostering excellence in language education. I then attended their fantastic annual conference in Prague at the end of April - the first teaching conference for Your English Summer!

The conference was a great opportunity to learn about some of the latest advice on best practice and guidance on so many aspects of language teaching, school management, student and also staff welfare.

With so many great speakers and talks to choose from it was often hard to pick, but on day 1 the focus was on Continuous Professional Development and how to maintain a dynamic feel and energy in staff teams and institutions. A key point was how managers can actually reflect on what has been learnt and how they can consciously think about the way they and staff are developing as well as how this process might be practically applied. A simple tip was just to ask yourself basic questions such as "What have I learnt? How do I want to improve? Who will benefit...?"

There were also sessions on ways to integrate and support new staff, address under performance and generally keeping an open mind in order to keep a school moving forward positively.

On Day 2 there were some fantastic discussions around ways in which course books can be adapted and teachers can move away from them to create class activities that empower students and are essentially more interesting. I also saw a presentation of the superb resource Mooveez - an interactive tool which enables teachers to build classes around movie clips with the use of transcripts and dialogue exercises for practising things like pronunciation.

Continuing with the theme of technology in the classroom we were also introduced to various VR platforms and tools to look at the way English language teaching is adapting to new tools and formats and consider the changing way students may learn in the future.
After enjoying an incredible meal, stunning views and delicious beer (brewed by the resident monks!) at the 12th Century Strahov Monastery it was on to the final day. This was when speakers explored topics such as teacher welfare more deeply and how to avoid negativity as well as setting "SMART" goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timed). We heard about nurturing a positive mindset and doing things like gratitude practices and creating positivity portfolios.

Lastly, one of the last and best talks I attended was on student projects and the effectiveness of producing a well-structured, student-centred project. There were huge benefits such as learner autonomy, interaction and ownership which were presented through the case study.

In summary, I cannot congratulate the organisers enough for putting on such a great event! It really was an excellent opportunity for me to pick up so many tips that can be introduced to improve the Your English Summer language course and it was also excellent to meet so many people in the industry, exchange ideas and makes contacts from all over the world network, all in a relaxed atmosphere and the incredible city of Prague!

For more on Eaquals visit their website: https://www.eaquals.org/