On the morning of Thursday 11th January, nearly 100 delegates made their way to our AMT venue, 10 Union Street for their first day of the 2024 International House Conference for Academic Managers and Teacher Trainers.
The weather was cold but the welcome was warm. It is always a beautiful occasion to see old friends who have worked together in different corners of the globe greeting one another after a year apart. Every year we see new connections being made and new members of the network being welcomed in with open arms.
The AMT conference is a very special event in the DoS calendar. Being a director of studies or academic manager can be an isolated position, there is often no one else in the school with the same job. This conference gives delegates the opportunity to share with people from around the world who are facing similar challenges and having similar experiences on a day-to-day basis.
There were recurring themes in the presentations from both external speakers and our IH DoSes. AI was a popular topic, and speakers explored how it can be employed to help busy academic managers carry out certain tasks.
Compassion was the buzzword of the conference and rightly so. IH World EDIB Advisor, Hannah Youell, explored how compassion is key to creating a deeper culture of belonging at schools. Plenary speaker, Dr Kate Brierton really captured the audience’s attention with her session on the importance of learning the skills of self-compassion as an educational leader. Similarly, Orsolya Dunn, who was another of our plenary speakers on Saturday, talked about how important manager’s self-compassion is to lead and specifically to effectively carry out trauma-informed language teaching in challenging times. IH World DoS Coordinator, Lucie Cotterill, pinpointed compassion as an essential tool for dealing with challenging people.
Across the three days we enjoyed a diverse range of plenary sessions. The first day started with a workshop on Ethical Issues in ELT, led by Lindsay Clandfield and Shaun Wilden. It was a great starting activity to break the ice and promote collaboration.
Alex Warren from Cengage (National Geographic Learning) who spoke at the Directors’ Conference in May 2023 returned to speak to our DoSes about Bringing Education for Sustainable Development into the ELT environment. It was a great session to engage the audience and spark conversations. It was inspiring to see how much IH schools are already doing to educate students on sustainability and adapt the classroom for the future.
Jennifer Holden, DoS at IH Palermo Language Centre, explored the importance of managers and trainers perceiving patterns in their work and developing integrating thinking skills to better see the bigger picture for staff, systems and students.
A familiar face to many in the IH network, Sandy Millin, shared her work on a competency framework for language learning materials writing, which she created while writing her MA dissertation.
Thank you to all our IH DoSes, academic managers and trainers for preparing such inspiring sessions. Any IH members who missed the conference can see the presentations on the IH Member’s Area.
It was great to spend time together in the evenings at social events. On Thursday we returned to Omeara’s bar in London Bridge where delegates chatted over drinks. On Saturday, we spent the evening in a converted church called Amazing Grace. Guests chatted and laughed against the backdrop of a singer with an acoustic guitar, and later on a full band. In true AMT style, people danced long into the night and sang at the top of their lungs.
We received lots of emails from people suffering from post-conference blues which is a great testament to the reputation of the event.
Until next year!
Thank you to our Partner Guard.me International Insurance. Thank you to our Gold Sponsors Trinity College London, Macmillan Education and Avallain. Finally, thank you to our Silver Sponsors Oxford University Press, BEBC and LanguageCert.