Welcome to our 2024 webconference: we hope you will join us to start the year on a positive note with our inclusive theme, Each Child, Every Child, and the Whole Child.
IATEFL YLTSIG believes the child should be at the heart of the classroom, and that when we teach children, we teach far more than just English, and so in this year’s conference we are presenting a series of plenaries and talks that showcase different ways we as teachers can put this ideal into practice. We will look at aspects of social-emotional learning, special educational needs, the use of music to unite a class, different methodologies, the impact of neuroscience, and much much more.
To go along with these free, open-access talks, there will also be a selection of short ‘Inspire’ presentations on interesting and varied topics, some fun interactive events, and also three fascinating 6-hour minicourses (available at a reduced price to SIG or IATEFL members). Discover more about them below!
The IATEFL YLTSIG committee would also like to take this opportunity to thank our two event sponsors, Glossobooks and ELTConsultants, for their generosity in helping us make this event possible. Please consider checking out their websites at the links below.
Unlocking Potential: Exploring Play-Based Learning for Young Learners
This talk delves into the transformative power of play-based learning in early childhood education. We examine how structured play activities stimulate cognitive, social, and emotional development, fostering creativity and curiosity. By integrating play into the curriculum, educators can create engaging, inclusive, and joyful learning environments. We explore evidence-based methodologies, highlighting the benefits of imaginative play, games, and role-playing for skill-building. Join us to discover the science behind play-based learning, and how it nurtures a lifelong love of learning in young minds, empowering them to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.
The Power of Self-Regulation: A lesson from Captain Marvel
Children are expected to perform a series of demanding cognitive tasks in today’s world. What people fail to notice sometimes is that they can only do that well if we help them nurture what will become their true “superpower” in life: the ability to understand and control their emotions, thoughts, and behavior. We can learn a valuable lesson from the cinematic universe of superheroes, particularly, Captain Marvel. Join me as we explore the transformative power of embracing emotions and developing self-regulation in young learners’ classes. Participants will reflect on how they can empower each child, every child, and the whole child.
Making English language learning socially just: Topics, materials, and activities
How can teachers and learners make ELT participatory, inclusive, and context-appropriate? How can ELT become relevant? How can ELT lead to equity? In this presentation I will address these provocations by sharing examples of topics (e.g., bullying, discrimination, gender diversity), materials, and activities designed by a group of secondary school EFL teachers and their teenage learners as part of a 2022-2023 collaborative action research project on social justice in ELT in Argentina. In this project, topics and materials were collaboratively selected and elaborated. I will also share the teachers’ conceptualisations, concerns, and practices as well as the learners’ coursework and their views on the experience.
Empowering Education: Nurturing Hope and Equity in Underserved Communities
In this session we will explore the often unseen challenges and learning gaps that students from underserved communities face. These young minds, brimming with potential, are hindered by a range of factors, from socio-economic disparities to inadequate resources. To ignite hope and provide opportunities for these learners, we must adapt our teaching and learning environments. This session explores the crucial role educators play in bridging the divide. It’s about recognising the untapped potential in every student, breaking down barriers, and empowering them with essential skills. We will discuss strategies that have been employed and trialled to bring these students back into the fold and equip them for success and fulfilment.
How Girlguiding helps all girls know they can do anything
I’ve been part of Girlguiding in the UK as both a child and an adult, and it’s contributed a lot to who I am as a person. As a girl I was a Rainbow and a Brownie Guide, and as an adult I’m Snowy Owl, a volunteer working with Brownie Guides. Girlguiding improved my confidence, taught me how to work with others, and added extra skills beyond what I was learning at school. It also made me part of an international family, and was probably one of the first ways I became aware of the world beyond my country. In this session, I’ll share how Girlguiding inspired me and how it continues to inspire girls and women around the world. (Note that Scouting does the same!)
Speech Language and Communication Needs
Learning a language is complicated, but we expect babies to start doing it from the moment they are born. Sometimes, as babies grow into children and teenagers, things don’t progress as we expect. There are many reasons why this might be, such as differences in cognitive development, physical development, or a combination of both. Occasionally, some intervention from speech and language therapists (SLT) is needed to help young people overcome their individual barriers to language development. In this session, I’ll outline some of the most common differences in speech, language and communication that SLTs encounter. We’ll discuss some of the signs of unusual development that language teachers could be looking out for, and how we can support those learners with their additional language learning.
The Shadow of Section 28
Join Peter for a brief talk about the history and legacy of Section 28 in the UK. Section 28 was a very damaging and restrictive law against LGBTQIA+ people in the UK. Peter will look at how Section 28 started, what restrictions it imposed, as well as the personal legacy it held for him.
What’s STRONG with You? Shifting from Deficits to Strengths
What if we embrace more salutogenic, strengths-based approaches in our field? What is made possible when we see wholeness and inherent assets in learners rather than what is lacking, missing or what’s wrong in them? If we shift the lens and narratives in which we approach learning, we also shift our attention and practices. We also get to shift the culture to one that focuses on well-being, growth, self-awareness, and resilience. In this session, Lana will talk about what it means to be salutogenic rather than pathogenic and why we need to move away from the golden rule and embrace the platinum rule.
6-hour Mini Courses
Friday 19 January
Saturday 20 January
Sunday 21 January
introduced by Sandie Mourão
introduced by Alex Popovski
‘Better Together’ webpage designed by
Reaching refugee children – What can you do?
The number of children displaced by wars and conflict is staggering. How they are portrayed in the media is even worse. But the worst is, they are the children that are left behind. Their hopes and dreams crushed under political turmoil, their voices silenced, or they struggle to express themselves or have nobody to listen. The more we move to an education for profit model, as with most language and private school setups, the more these children are left behind. This talk will highlight how a small contribution of time and commitment can have long lasting effects on the hopes of these children, but also on the empathy and understanding your own students might have. We will look at: What can teachers do? What can managers do? What can schools do? Worst case scenario, you will leave the talk with some empathy. Best case scenario, with a renewed purpose.
Museum of Emotions: exploring identity using CLIL and virtual collections
Museums offer a trove of inspiration for English language learning and CLIL. With online collections, students can explore cultural riches from the classroom when ‘the real thing’ remains out of reach, firmly ticking the ‘culture’ box of CLIL’s four C’s. But how can we use these resources for language teaching within the context of ‘Each Child, Every Child, and the Whole Child’? This presentation delves into a primary school project: ‘The Museum of Emotions’. It explores: · how virtual collections can be used to create engaging CLIL activities, including examples of games, activities and where to find online collections. · how objects can spark conversation and encourage students to express their opinions and feelings even with limited language. · how storytelling and objects can help students to express opinions, feelings and life experiences. During the project, students acquired functional language and developed communication and self-reflection skills, allowing them to express their individuality and unique identities.
Nurturing young minds through creative storytelling
Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of storytelling with Manuela & Simona, seasoned CrESt storytellers. More than just a timeless human tradition, storytelling in schools proves to be a potent force for fostering imagination, empathy, and essential language skills.
Beyond mere entertainment, Manuela & Simona view storytelling as a portal to a world rich in knowledge and emotional intelligence. In this dynamic 6-hour course, participants will explore the art of integrating compelling narratives into the educational experience, sparking students’ curiosity and cultivating a genuine enthusiasm for learning.
Through thoughtfully selected tales, participants will journey through diverse cultures, historical epochs, and perspectives, broadening their horizons and instilling a profound appreciation for diversity. Storytelling, as a vibrant tool for enhancing language proficiency, enables students to express ideas with eloquence and construct compelling narratives—a foundational skill set indispensable in academia and beyond.
Join Manuela & Simona in this transformative minicourse, where they will not only share captivating tales and stories but also provide invaluable strategies and techniques inspired by the most renowned storytellers in ELT education. Discover the power of storytelling to inspire, engage, and empower both educators and students alike.
The Joy of Reading!
Reading is one of the best ways to learn a new language, acquire an extensive vocabulary and a range of natural idiomatic language structures. However, teachers around the world often complain that young learners and teenagers are reading less and less. Is this true, and if so, how can we engage our learners with the joy of reading (and help improve their English as a result!)?
Day 1: Michelle will discuss the importance of selecting engaging reading materials in order to foster a love of reading through the natural curiosity that Primary learners have about the world. Using a selection of reading materials (fiction and nonfiction), she’ll explore the different purposes of reading and look at how we can design activities that exploit the text without taking over.
Day 2: Elizabeth will introduce ways of working with graded readers in the YL ELT classroom – a super way to engage students in meaningful, age-appropriate content which can spark a love of reading. She will xplore how these specifically designed books can caterer to both linguistic and cognitive needs of young learners, as well as incorporating cultural and moral values eririching the educational experience, and empowering teachers to differentiate instruction.
Day 3: Laura will look at ways to introduce Secondary learners to authentic texts in various formats including poetry and graphic novels, exploiting their motivational power and ability to be a vehicle for looking at real-world issues teens are facing today. She will also explore with you ways to promote extensive reading with (often reluctant to read) teenagers.
Gen A: who they are and how they can change the classroom
Post-pandemic, teachers in different contexts are looking to apply new strategies to offer meaningful experiences to learners. But something has changed… who are these learners? Generation Alpha includes all children born in or after 2010 (with the oldest turning 13 this year), what does that mean to us, teachers? In this mini-course, participants will have the opportunity to analyze the profile of these learners, understand the implications of some of the characteristics of the teaching-learning process, and leave with a bag of ideas and activities built collaboratively.
Day 1: We will start the first day of the course learning the characteristics of Gen A and how they are value-oriented. We will also consider how growing up in the Covid-19 pandemic might have affected their lives.
Day 2: On the second day of the course, we will understand the implications of some of the Gen A characteristics to the teaching-learning process. We will suggest a range of activities to use with learners in light of their demographic profile.
Day 3: As we have a more thorough understanding of learning disabilities, diagnoses are becoming more common. To round off, we will understand how that can affect the learning process and how teachers can help shape a more inclusive classroom.
Growing our social emotional competences- the key to classroom management
In the training of teachers of young learners, it still seems that a lot of attention in the training room is given to the cognitive aspects or learning and teaching. However, is if having knowledge of the English language and developmentally appropriate methods and techniques enough to make learning happen in a primary context? Whereas having knowledge of these key areas for teachers is essential for effective practice and the importance of pair and group work is acknowledge, one area seems to receive limited attention in most ELT teacher training programs: the affective dimension (Richards, 2020). Research has shown, however, that creating a supportive learning environment where emotional are managed is the foundation of any learning to happen, with learners of all ages (Corrie, 2009). Now this might well be even more important if we want to create a communicative learning environment in a classroom with primary learners who are often still learning to work with others and to discover their own emotions. I strongly believe that if we want all learners to feel included and enabled to participate, good teaching not only includes pedagogical expertise and subject expertise, but also requires teachers to be aware of social-emotional competences and emotional regulation systems. Creating a social and emotionally managed classroom begins with the teacher and for that we need to explore and grow our own social-emotional competences. Simply because we can’t model what we don’t have ourselves and because these competences greatly contribute to our own well-being. In this interactive session, we will explore the concept of social and emotional learning, what it entails and why it is so important in the primary classroom. We will then focus in on exploring emotions and how teachers’ awareness and regulation of their own emotions can help guide learners in exploring theirs and provide a more emotionally managed learning and teaching environment.
Teaching through music and mime, rhythm and rhyme
The language learning process is never instantaneous. Some children interiorize words and structures faster than others. There are many factors involved, not least what kind of mind your pupil has – whether he or she is a more visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learner or has a greater or lesser level of linguistic intelligence. However when learners are repeatedly exposed to meaningful sounds which they understand and appreciate, internalisation takes place. It’s the same with a song you like. The more you hear it, the more you like it. In your learners, this presentative method of teaching new language through action songs – music and mime, rhythm and thyme – can result in PMA – Permanent Memory Acquisition. In this talk I will describe my experiences working with primary school classes and provide some suggestions teachers interested in using action songs may find useful.
Towards self-regulation and autonomy in the early years
Do you ever find it challenging to manage young children? In this interactive webinar, we will explore how to lead children towards self-regulation and autonomy so that they increasingly manage themselves. The main thesis will be that by integrating pro-active classroom management strategies with key aspects of social and emotional learning, we create conditions for children to flourish as motivated, self-directed learners and achieve successful learning outcomes. You will leave the webinar with an understanding of the dynamic interrelationship between classroom management and social and emotional learning in the early years as ‘two sides of the same coin’. The session will also provide you with a tool kit of practical ideas and activities to enhance your everyday classroom management skills and foster the unique development and learning potential of every child you teach.
Promoting kindness and empathy in the Upper Secondary exam classroom
Exam environments are often characterized by a product-oriented teaching approach which shifts the emphasis from learners’ needs and language learning to excessive testing and exam results. In these highly demanding contexts, a focus on values teaching is often seen as a luxury that cannot be afforded due to the pressures imposed by course demands and stakeholders’ expectations. Incorporating, however, activities that focus on values such as kindness and empathy does not only enable learners to cultivate skills such as perspective taking and problem solving which are essential for their exam success, but also helps them manage their well-being and cope with the pressures of their lives in general. In this presentation, we will explore the journey of empathy and kindness in ELT, discuss some of their numerous benefits and also focus on some practical activities that we can use to build a kind and empathetic classroom.
Child Development and Language Teaching: how much should we know?
In this session, we will learn about child development from early childhood to adolescence, and how it relates to their language acquisition abilities. We will explore various stages of cognitive, emotional, and social growth that influence language learning. Participants through hands-on activities will discover the multifaceted aspects of child development and their connection with language acquisition. This session explores the depth of knowledge educators need to enhance the language acquisition skills of their learners. The session will also explore the impact of cultural and societal factors on language development, emphasizing the importance of creating inclusive and culturally responsive classrooms. Finally, I will be sharing practical strategies necessary for nurturing the language abilities of young learners effectively.
Dyslexia and EAL: support that works for ALL
In my presentation, I will briefly dwell on what dyslexia is and how it represents itself from the primary students’ perspective. I will then share a few practical ideas about which EAL scaffolds and strategies work well in my context for students with dyslexia, and are thus beneficial for ALL English language learners. Although my background is in EAL (English as an Additional Language subject at international schools), I believe this talk will be useful for anyone teaching English to primary students, regardless of their teaching context.
Doodles for all: practical activities to boost creativity, communication and collaboration!
If we want each child, every child and the whole child to succeed, our teaching techniques have to be as effective, motivating and adaptable as possible. In order to support each unique learner, we can incorporate the 21st century skills of creativity, communication and collaboration. This talk will demonstrate practical activities using simple drawings which will engage learners, support them to express themselves and develop key literacy and study skills. Delegates will be guided to draw a variety of simple, minimal (or zero) preparation, innovative classroom activities which are perfect for online or face to face delivery. Many people believe that they ‘can’t draw’; but this workshop will convince them otherwise and give them the confidence to recreate these minimal preparation activities in their own classroom and support their students to do the same. It will be active, fun, fast-paced, and will provide practical teaching tips for immediate classroom use.
3 lessons in Inclusivity for ELT
Inclusivity is arguably the most important issue in teaching. In this talk we will look at some key ideas and common problems we face in the classroom. I will present three recently learnt lessons in inclusivity and after each lesson there will be the opportunity to reflect, discuss and share experiences, thoughts and questions. I hope you will leave the session with practical ideas about how to make your classes (even) more inclusive.
The magic of Active Storytelling and Drama
Teaching English through Active Storytelling is an innovative, holistic approach centered on the student. My presentation is based on the premise that Drama is a way of teaching English leading to effective language acquisition, especially in the area of listening and speaking and articulation. By using Storytelling, Drama games and techniques we invite students to actively participate in the learning process. Students become confident communicators, work in groups, use their imagination and thinking skills, take part in conflict resolution and develop their emotional skills. This hands-on workshop sets out to present the benefits of incorporating Storytelling and Drama as a way of teaching English as a second language to enhance the learning process. Together, we will practice the procedures for using Storytelling and Drama strategies with young students.
Successful inclusion of gifted children in our regular classes
This session aims at helping teachers cater for the needs of young gifted learners and as a consequence, allow those learners to thrive. For this reason, teachers will receive tips to identify what giftedness in young children involves, and strategies on how to successfully include young gifted learners in the regular ELT class. When teachers and school leaders talk about differentiated instruction and inclusion, it is paramount that gifted learners are taken into account as early as possible.