Social Networking at IATEFL 2015


IATEFL Conference 2015 took place in Manchester from April 10 – 14, 2015. It was my first IATEFL conference since I joined IATEFL in March 2014.

IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language. IATEFL is a non-profit professional development organization for English language teachers that aims to “Link, develop and support English Language Teaching professionals worldwide” (see website). The organization is sponsored feels very British as opposed to TESOL which is very American.

As a Canadian, I find myself caught between the USA and the UK because Canadians use British spelling, but sound more American than British. I therefore decided that it would be fitting for me to become a member and serve both. I’m on the committee of IATEFL Young Learners and Teens Special Interest Group (IATEFL YLTSIG) and TESOL Computer Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (TESOL CALL-IS).

TESOL Toronto in March 2015

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or TESOL takes place a week or two before IATEFL. Generally TESOL takes place at the end of March and IATEFL in the second week of April. You get to go to both if you don’t mind the long travel. TESOL takes place in North America (mostly the USA) while IATEFL takes place in the UK.

TESOL 2015 took place from March 25-28 and was held at the convention center in Toronto was an amazing experience with over 6000 attendees. Many of teachers go to these conferences to network and job opportunities. I could barely meet everyone that I knew who was there. The sessions were excellent, but I missed many that I wish would be repeated next year. 10 days later, I would be in another EFL conference in Manchester.

IATEFL Manchester in April 2015

Aha Moments with Vicki and Janet

It’s very hard to describe the aha moments when you meet an old friend that you had only communicated with online for the first time. You can see the excitement in our faces. In my case, it was a kind of shock since I had no idea my dear friend Janet Bianchini was going to be at the conference.

The IATEFL conference in Manchester was a lot smaller in size and no escalators that took me from one convention area or floor to the next session. I was able to meet many more old and new friends at IATEFL than at TESOL in Toronto a few days back. I think smaller is better. There was less ground to cover running around to get from one session to another and more chances to meet and talk with old and new friends in Manchester.There was no snow and the weather was much warmer in Manchester than in Toronto. The food was in a central place and I could walk to my hotel instead of taking a taxi. Manchester was is an ideal place for a conference.

IATEFL Manchester Online

Not everyone can travel around the world to go to conferences. You need sponsors, scholarships, and the time. If you missed IATEFL 2015, you can still watch the plenary speakers and some of the sessions online.  You can also view the recordings of the interviews that were done during the conference.

Birmingham and Baltimore in 2016

I’m looking forward to attending the 50th anniversary of IATEFL in Birmingham and TESOL in Baltimore in 2016. The dates have changed so it’s going to be a rush from one to the other. TESOL 2016 in Baltimore will be held from April 5–8 April 2016 (Tuesday through Friday). You’re invited to send your proposals by June, 2015.  IATEFL in Birmingham will be taking place from April 12-16, 2016. Keep your eye on this IATEFL 2016 page for further information on the final proposal date. I hope to see you there, too.

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