Friday, April 12, 2019
March is always a super exciting month for us as not only do we have the opportunity to travel to different cities in Spain for the annual TESOLSpain conference, but we also get to host everyone on home turf in San Sebastián for our own ELT conference, now in its third year! Both experiences were both fun and enlightening in equal measure and we especially enjoyed our little weekend trip along the coast to Oviedo.
For those of you we saw at these events, it was great to see you again. For those we didn’t see, it would be great to see you in either Salamanca or San Sebastián next year.
Here are some of our personal highlights of both events. Enjoy!
Who doesn’t love to throw around colourful balloons on a Saturday morning? In JJ Wilson’s inspiringly named talk ‘The Dream Lives of Teachers’ we were asked to write teaching advice on a balloon and then set it free so that everyone else could benefit from the advice we had accumulated over our years of teaching. Not only was this a helpful exercise in order for us to reflect on our teaching but it was great to see all those different coloured balloons flying around the room, with the Palacio Miramar providing the perfect backdrop.
The best thing about attending a conference away from home is definitely sampling the local food, and our trip to Asturias was no exception. After driving for 4 hours we were hungry for some kind of hearty menú del día and we weren’t disappointed by the restaurant we stumbled across, which was interestingly also a go-kart track. Unfortunately for us, there was no go-karting, but we did have the most amazing lunch and were able to taste fabadas, a traditional bean stew. It definitely fuelled us for the long day of talks ahead of us at the conference in the famous Palacio de Congresos in the centre of Oviedo.
This year our resident Teacher Trainers Karen McGhie and Iñigo Casis treated the attendees of both conferences to their talk about the benefits of using translation in the classroom. We were happy that, despite being at 9am on Saturday morning in Oviedo, lots of people made the effort to come along and listen to what we had to say. It was great to speak at home in San Sebastián and see many familiar faces in the audience. Read the next blog post to see what it was all about!
This year we were spoilt by the organisers of both conferences and were treated to performances of traditional music and dancing before the opening plenaries. In Oviedo, we had no idea what was happening when a huge group of pipers and drummers entered the room from both sides and serenaded us. Everyone in the audience was captivated and it was definitely the best way to welcome us to Oviedo. In San Sebastián, a local English teacher and her student did some traditional Basque dancing for the speakers and entered with a troupe of teachers carrying arches and swords, which also added to the spectacle. Thank you very much to all involved, we can’t wait to see what performances we’ll be treated to next year.
We can’t let the opportunity to comment on the weather pass us by, we are English teachers, after all. Unlike past years, we had glorious weather in San Sebastián, which allowed us to enjoy our coffee break overlooking the beautiful bay and take in the fresh air in between talks. Fingers crossed the rain stays away again next March.