IH Reggio Calabria Annual ELT Conference – Learning to be positive

Friday 15th November saw the arrival of special guest speakers from the UK and Italy for the IH British School Reggio Calabria Annual ELT Conference for English teachers.  Every year, this is a highly-anticipated event which brings fresh teaching ideas for local teachers and this year’s fully sold-out edition certainly did not disappoint!

Opening the conference was one of the Managing Directors of IH British School Reggio Calabria, Marco Goso, who highlighted some of the main achievements of the past year as well as reminding us all of the lifelong effect teachers have on their students.

Following Dr. Goso’s speech was the charismatic Simon Ward, a Senior Educational Psychologist in the UK who specialises in positive psychology.  Simon’s talk was both thought-provoking and entertaining, with a serious message:  education needs an injection of positivity in order to build the self-esteem of the learner and therefore help them achieve more.  Simon referred to research conducted by Carol Dweck into the growth mindset and reminded us all that learners can be much more successful if we believe in them and give them clear, truthful feedback on how to improve.

 The second plenary speaker was Colin Williams, a Senior Assessment Manager at Cambridge Assessment English in the UK.  Colin’s highly engaging talk, entitled “The Life Cycle of a Cambridge Exam”, explained the rigorous stages a Cambridge English exam passes through before actually making it onto the desks of the exam-takers.  Did you know that around 400 people are involved in the creation of one exam?  That was just one of the many surprising facts Colin enlightened us with in his fascinating talk.

During the break, participants had the chance to visit some delightful “poster presentations” by teachers from IH British School Reggio Calabria.  There was no break from fresh teaching ideas at this conference!

With energy levels replenished during the break, participants were then divided into two workshops.  Sarah Ellis, Senior Manager for Assessment Services (Europe) for Cambridge Assessment English, led an interactive and enjoyable workshop which provided an update on the changes to the popular Key and Preliminary exams from 2020.  In the room next door, Lucie Cotterill from IH British School Reggio Calabria held a workshop specifically for primary teachers focussing on positive ways of managing large classes of children in today’s world.

As smiling participants left the conference, many could be heard to say how much they value this annual event which gives them the chance not only to learn new ideas, but also to catch up with fellow English language teachers in an atmosphere of support and sharing.  Thanks to everyone who came, it was wonderful to welcome you. 

See you at the 2020 edition of the IH British School Reggio Calabria Annual ELT conference!