World Teachers' Day Web Conference 2020

Find out more about our World Teachers' Day 2020 web conference, a collaboration between IATEFL and British Council.

2020 has been a challenging year for schools and teachers who have had to adjust to new ways of working. More than ever, there is a need for educators around the world to connect and learn from each other in order to find effective ways of ensuring students continue learning, either remotely from home, in physically-distanced face-to-face classrooms or a combination of the two.

The UNESCO World Teachers' Day 2020, celebrated on 5 October every year, is a perfect opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the hard work and effort that everyone involved in education has done to adapt and continue teaching in new and difficult circumstances. The theme for this year's World Teachers' Day is appropriately titled 'Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future'.

Join British Council and IATEFL on Saturday 3 October 2020 for a series of online talks, workshops and panel discussions. Each session will focus on different elements of this year's theme, including how we move forward with teaching in challenging contexts, future Englishes, teacher stories from around the world, teacher wellbeing, and discussions on how we ensure that we continue to take an inclusive approach to learning for all students. 

The 2020 World Teachers' Day web conference from British Council and IATEFL will provide you with ideas, support and a space to engage with colleagues from across the globe. 

Visit the conference website

Speakers and presentations

See the provisional schedule below (all times are UK)

09.00am-10.00am: The hybrid classroom. Dilemmas, choices and solutions | Sophia Mavridi

The lessons learnt during the first phases of Covid-19 have provided school systems with the opportunity to proactively plan and design the next phases. One of the most promising scenarios is moving to a hybrid-learning model which, in general terms, aims to combine face-to-face and remote tuition into a coherent whole. What will the implications be for the teacher and the student? How can we plan and prepare for the hybrid classroom? Informed by digital learning pedagogies, this session will look at effective and practical ways of planning and integrating hybrid-learning models in language education.

Watch a recording of this talk and the opening of the conference

10.10am-11.10am: Teacher wellbeing – An individual and collective responsibility | Sarah Mercer

In this talk, we will consider how and why teacher wellbeing is critical for good practice. We will reflect on the fact it can be influenced by individual factors and strategies as well as actions at policy and institutional level. We will look at a range of strategies that teachers can engage in to support their own and their colleagues’ wellbeing, and we will discuss what institutions and the field as a whole can do to collectively take action on language teacher wellbeing. The talk hopes to be both practical and thought-provoking.

Watch a recording of this talk

11.20am-12.20pm: Online teaching- establishing connections that go beyond the screen | Tamires Gama

The aim of this talk is to empower and better equip teachers who would like to get into online teaching, or those who are already teaching online,but still need to overcome fears, lack of intimacy with online students, online platforms and activities. Participants’ attention will be drawn to students’ language acquisition process and its affective factors in the online environment by providing ideas, strategies and possible solutions for technical and pedagogical problems that might arise in this teaching context. Based on Krashen’s Affective filter hypothesis and Hayo Reinders’ suggestions on the best practices in online instruction, research-based evidence will be provided to suggest that the realization of the potentiality of the online instruction as a facilitator for the students depend on the ability of the teacher to draw the pedagogical advantage of this context by getting better prepared to wisely and efficiently face its pitfalls.

Watch a recording of this talk

12.30pm-13.30pm: Changing our teaching in challenging times

For most of us in teaching, the coronavirus pandemic has probably been our biggest challenge.  And because teachers are resilient and creative, there are many inspiring stories of how teachers have coped with those challenges. In this presentation a panel of three teachers from Africa and Europe will discuss some of the ways in which they have managed to sustain teaching and learning while their schools have been closed. We will show some short videos of teachers talking about their innovations and discuss some of the issues with technologies and resources that we have confronted and how teachers have overcome these.

Speakers: Tim Phillips (UK), Rabia Chaudhry (Pakistan), Daniela Cuccurullo (Italy), Lazarous Sinkala (Zambia), Wonderboy (Wanda) Mpisi (South Africa) 

Watch a recording of this session

14:00pm-15.00pm: Panel discussion - the future of education

Join us for this roundtable discussion to look at different challenges that schools, teachers, and learners have faced around the world in the past six months, as well as exploring how education systems and learning is changing in response to these challenges. We will discuss how the current changes may eventually inform longer-term strategies for schools and language learning in the future.

Panellists include Hala Ahmed and Kamini Taneja from the British Council. Further panellists will be confirmed soon. Shaun Wilden (IATEFL) and Paul Braddock (British Council) will be chairing the discussion.

Watch a recording of the panel discussion

15.10pm-16.10pm: Which English? Whose English? | Tony Young

There’s considerable controversy in academic circles around which models and targets of English(es) are suitable for different learners and teachers worldwide. This webinar presents research which addresses these controversies and which sought the views of practitioners on present and future realities as they see them. It will:

  • explore the suitability of available models and targets such as American English, British English, English as a Lingua Franca and ‘local’ varieties like Indian or Chinese English.
  • highlight some of the controversies surrounding available ‘Englishes’.
  • consider which varieties currently are, should be and (perhaps) will be learned in language classrooms around the world.

Watch a recording of this talk

16.20pm-16.50pm: Navigating language learning through WhatsApp during the lockdown: an experience from Cameroon | Abigail Ekangouo Awanga

Like everywhere else in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has, no doubt, affected every aspect of human life in sub-Saharan Africa. In Cameroon, for example, the Government-imposed lockdown from March to June this meant that school children were left with little or no access to formal school-based education. Efforts by the Ministries in charge of Education to organise lessons for final year students on National television and radio proved useful for children with access to TV but many students and their teachers were left either frustrated or dependent on their own pragmatic solutions to education in the crisis. In this presentation, I share my experience of using WhatsApp to support my students’ learning during the lockdown and highlight the different possibilities which this commonly used app in my context can provide for teachers working in low-resourced contexts like mine. Then I showcase some of the activities and learning outcomes from my work with the students.

Watch a recording of this session

16.50pm-17.20pm: Hitting home runs from home: keeping students ‘school fit’ during Covid-19 | Monique Bachmann

This talk will look at the underserved communities and under-resourced reality most South African learners faced even before COVID. It will  identify the driving force behind reaching success during COVID and when distance learning becomes everyone's main objective and collaboration becomes easy. It will show how using a blend of WhatsApp and an online platform with paper-based teaching ensured learners remain “academically fit”, focusing on the benefits experienced first-hand regarding learner's skill development despite school closures.

Watch a recording of this session

17.30pm-18.30pm: How to build a secure online environment to protect young learners and teens | Jennifer Dobson

The sudden move to emergency remote teaching also brought increased safety risks. Having well-established child protection procedures in place provides secure foundations which can be adapted to changing circumstances. We will explore key safeguarding issues and consider how to set up flexible guidelines to protect both ourselves and our young learners for future eventualities.  

Watch a recording of this talk

18.40-19.40: Staying safe online in the new school year | Boris Radanovic

The future is here. We can no longer say 'the future' of digital technologies - it is now and today. While we have had decades to prepare, we are now at the centre of technological assistance to our way of life. Teaching, socialising, educating, working, and much more has changed in recent months. How are educators prepared, what are the things to keep vigilant about? Join me for a talk on online safety, the current trends and challenges of the digital world and let's find out together how we can make the internet a better and safer place for children. We all have a responsibility to learn more and to raise awareness about the benefits and challenges of the digital space. So, let's lead by example and imagine the future together. 

Watch a recording of this closing plenary talk

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight