Claire Potter, Jessica Maxwell and John Hayward from CLIC IH Malaga and CLIC IH Seville spoke for IH at ACEIA Málaga (Andalusian association of language schools) conference in Spain. Here they tell us their experience.
Claire Potter with Jessica Maxwell - Reflection & Action! Taking professional development seriously
Applying to speak at ACEIA Málaga was an easy decision – it is a fantastically organised conference with 200+ attendees and in its 5th year we really wanted to promote professional development in the Málaga area and raise awareness of the CELTA and DELTA courses we offer at Clic IH Málaga and Sevilla. Being able to Speak for IH was an extra bonus – having worked for IH schools here in Andalucia (Córdoba, Sevilla and Malaga) for the past 25 years it is fair to say that I feel extreme loyalty to an organisation that has offered me so many opportunities and growth, and being able to share the importance of professional development with the audience saw me speaking from the heart.
It was the fantastic that my fellow trainer Jessie and I had the opportunity to speak together, and in some ways that made me feel more nervous as being the more ‘experienced’ speaker I did not want to let her down. Working out who would say what, how we would manage the slides, the time and the room all added to the level of challenge. But I shouldn’t have worried; I think our passion for what we were talking about carried us through, and I hope that the sixty odd attendees left the session feeling sufficiently motivated to reflect and act on their own PD, whether in a teaching, management or administrative role.
It was Jessie’s first presentation at a conference, and in her words, “While it was certainly nerve wrecking in the moments preceding the talk, once we got started, all the preparation we had done fell into place and it went smoothly. It was so interesting hearing different participants´ views and experiences on professional development and how encouraging everyone to share their goals for the future seemed to motivate them further. We received some very nice feedback afterwards and it felt great to know you provided people with something valuable when they chose your talk over other options.”
Thanks to IHWO for allowing us to carry the flag, hopefully we helped it to fly high!
John Hayward - Maybe You’re Right, Maybe You’re Wrong
After spending a year raising my daughter, Sofía, I decided to throw myself back in the ring and speak again. This time at ACEIA Malaga on the sunny southern coast of Spain and I was happy to present for IH through the Speak for IH programme. Despite having spoken before, it is still a lot of hard work, effort and nerves that go into delivering a successful talk. However, the satisfaction after having completed it is hard to compare.Speaking at conferences in front of a crowd of people isn’t something that you just wake up one day and decide to do. For me, it’s been a slow build-up from doing sessions at my summer school to training groups of peers at IH Seville to finally doing my first conference at ACEIA Seville in 2017. That first conference left me a bundle of nerves, but it went well and motivated me to keep on moving forward on the speaking track.
The ACEIA Malaga conference itself was a great experience. There were four time slots each with five speakers to choose from who spoke about a huge range of topics. Following my own talk on error correction in the ELT classroom, I attended some thought-provoking talks by colleagues of mine on using corpus data, the dogme methodology and breaking classroom myths. All the talks I attended were well worth it. Also, the opportunity to talk to wonderful and interesting people who attended and spoke at the conference was an invaluable experience.
Having now given two talks at two different events, I am more interested than ever to keep producing support materials for teachers. There is a clear reward that comes from helping your peers improve their teaching and there’s no doubt that the process helps me improve my own. As I look forward, I expect and hope that this becomes a larger part of my teaching career.