A one-day conference on Spontaneity in Language Teaching was held at the University on Saturday 23 February. In all 89 people braved the winter weather for a stimulating day at what may have been the first conference on this topic ever! Participants came from many parts of the south-west and a few from places further afield, such as Germany, Iraq and Chile.
The day got off to a flying start with an introduction from Professor Richard Kiely, head of the MA TESOL programme at the University of St Mark & St John, and the scene was set with an excellent presentation from Adrian Underhill, a veteran of English Language Teaching conferences. In addition to guest speakers, participants were able to take part in “open space” sessions on topics such as: helping learners to overcome their anxiety and be more spontaneous, how teachers can be spontaneous when constrained by the curriculum and exams, and how to exploit spontaneity in student writing.
A group of Malaysian students, who are currently studying for a degree in teaching English as a second language at the University, prepared a Malaysian feast for the conference participants which was very well received.
The day wrapped up with a masterclass from Luke Meddings, in spontaneity and professionalism.
In addition to all those who helped out, our special thanks go to Nick Bilbrough for the courage to convert an idea into a reality, and to everyone who came and contributed to what turned out to be a memorable day.
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