International House Directors’ Conference 2020 goes online

The International House Directors' Conference takes place every May, hosted by one of our IH schools. This year, school directors from across our global network in 52 different countries were due to come together in Sydney for the 2020 IH Directors' Conference, hosted by IH Sydney. Our plans included dinner at the Sydney Opera House and several days of presentations, workshops and networking together.

In the current Covid-19 crisis, travelling and getting together for a face-to-face conference is not an option, but this won’t stop IH directors from meeting, sharing and learning together. If we can teach students and train teachers online – then we can hold an IH Directors’ Conference online!

The IH Online Directors’ Conference 2020 will be held from Monday 27th April to Friday 1st May and hosted on Zoom. IH directors from around the world will log on and come together to share online teaching strategies and plan for what the future landscape of language teaching could look like.

Study Abroad schools will hold an additional group meeting the w/c 4th May to look at future plans and strategies to work closely with agents and students. This will be another essential opportunity to share experiences and best practises.

The IH network has already shown its immense strength through schools working together over the past few weeks, and the conference will be a point where we can stop and reflect on our progress so far.

At the start of this crisis, International House World Organisation (IHWO) provided Zoom training for representatives from over 70 IH schools, delivered by our Academic Head of Teacher Training, Shaun Wilden. Lucie Cotterill, IHWO DOS Community Coordinator, then coordinated an enormous sharing exercise of best practice, resources and tools across the IH academic management community, supported by the IHWO team and many DOSes and Trainers. In subsequent weeks, we were proud to lead the implementation of fully online CELTA teacher training courses across IH CELTA centres.

With online language training programmes established for this period of uncertainty, it is time to reflect on what we have learnt and turn our attention to the future. We have to plan and imagine the various scenarios of what our ‘new normal’ might look like.

Lucy Horsefield, Managing Director of IHWO, said, “The International House network has always placed a high value on sharing ideas and working together, but at this incredibly difficult time it is more crucial than ever. The IH Online Directors’ Conference will give our members the opportunity to come together as a global community and we are looking forward to engaging, sharing and learning together.”

Highlights of the conference programme include:

  • Plenary from award winning author and futurist Michael McQueen on Maintaining Momentum in Tough Times.
  • Workshops from Monica Green, Executive Director of IHWO, and Loraine Kennedy, Coach and Training Consultant, to discuss how schools have tackled the crisis so far, what has been learnt, and planning for the future.
  • Self-Assessment for Online quality.
  • Partner presentations on Online Learning (Guided E-Learning), Online Exams (LanguageCert), CRMS (Higher Education Marketing) and Wellbeing for Staff and Students (Guard Me).
  • Innovation ideas for products and services from IH directors. 
  • Listening Post sessions to discuss business support for members and how we can share as a network.
  • Online social events, including a quiz.

The response to this new online version of the event has been impressive from the whole IH Community, with Directors taking part from all over the world and numbers of participants expected to be the highest ever recorded.

Like every year, the IH Directors' Conference promises to be an event which our members look forward to for inspiration, learning and sharing ideas. This time though the perception of feeling part of a bigger community is stronger than ever with invaluable opportunities to learn together, innovate and look to the future.