One great way to keep up to date with what's happening in ELT or get new ideas for you classes has always been the conference.

They provide us with the opportunity to meet other teachers face to face and benefit from the knowledge of teacher trainers, authors and experienced teachers. Sometimes, this happens through large events that last an entire weekend and sometimes, it happens through smaller, local events in or near our own school.

I'm always on the look out for such events and here is how I found out about them:

  • This sounds obvious but ask your employer to let you know about any upcoming events in your area.
  • Subscribe to the mailing list or website of an organisation like the British Council or a local university as they often organise such events.
  • Check Twitter - this is always a great source of information!


Virtual Conferences

It's not always possible to go to conferences in person: timing, location and cost all effect our ability to attend but have you ever tried a virtual conference? These are events held entirely online and are usually free! You don't need any special software or technological know-how. All you need to do is log on at the right time, watch and listen!

Here's a list of some of the main online events and links to their websites:


Why stop at attending?

Attending conferences is great but why not try presenting at one? Presenting is not just for 'experts' in the field - most face-to-face conferences want teachers to give practical workshops based on real classroom experience and they accept applications from all comers.

Virtual conferences usually have many sessions running concurrently at all hours of the day (to reach teachers in different time zones) and so they need lots of presenters. If you have a presentation idea, you can literally share it with the world and all without leaving your home!

I have given workshops at the TED conference and presented online for the Global Education Conference and it ia a really great way to think about what you do in class and share your ideas with other teachers.


Because the school I work for considers PD a priority, I am lucky enough to be able to attend many seminars and conferences every year. Several times a year we are also offered in-house training in the form of workshops. I do feel lucky - but... I'm sorry to say that often, too often, these seminars/workshops are a waste of time. They are to "general" in scope to offer me anything I can use. Many are clearly meant to be "inspirational" and are too, but with the workload ı already have, I often feel like my time would have been better spent marking those 75 essays on my desk...
I need a cup of coffee after that outburst... :-)
Have a nice evening!
:-) CoffeeAddict

Thanks for letting us know about the ideas and the events Dave. I'm interested in the Virtual Round Table. I think I will sign up soon.

Hi Coffee Addict,You have a point that sometimes, unfortunately, the workshops & conferences we attend are either not relevant to our teaching context or are not executed very well. That's one of the reasons I also suggest virtual conferences a sit is easier to choose exactly which sessiosn you want to attend or miss. It's also another reason to do your own workshops - avoid the flaws you've seen in other sessions and give the attendees what they want ;)

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