With TESOL 2018, IATEFL and now InnovateELT, it’s been a busy couple of months for the Pearson team, who have been traveling far and wide to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of ELT.  

Last weekend we jetted off to Barcelona for InnovateELT 2018 and had an absolute blast.

There really was something for everyone; including sun, rain and mini-plenaries in a garden surrounded by palm trees; a quiz about English language teaching; demo lessons, workshops and drop in-sessions; as well as a number of fantastic networking opportunities.

The focus of this year’s event, which was co-organized by ELTjam and Oxford TEFL, was Fun?! delight and struggle in ELT. There was a fascinating mix of talks covering everything from chatbots and authentic materials, to using online games and pop culture as language learning tools.

We caught up with some of the attendees and found out what they thought of the conference.

Plenaries at Innovate ELT

Jane Forrest (Product Marketing Director at Pearson)

“I’d heard a lot about previous InnovateELT conferences, so it was great to have the chance to attend and find that it was all true! It’s a real coming-together of different players in the world of ELT who share a common passion for exploring new ideas. The ‘Fun?!’ theme (Delight and Struggle in ELT) brought home how much ELT, as a profession, has evolved. We’ve moved from trying to make it entertaining to supporting learners in achieving cherished life goals in an ever more competitive world. InnovateELT was a fantastic forum for discussing how we can make this happen.”

Iwonna Dubicka (Co-author Business Partner and Market Leader)

“My friend Brian recommended the conference and I’m really glad I went. I loved the 10-minute plenaries in the garden! Sara Priestley’s antidote to fun was very thought-provoking. I saw some great talks including Nick Robinson’s who gave us some great insights into why many students find learning English challenging, yet others succeed. The message was clear: it’s down to hard ‘grit’, not natural talent – students need to work on their weaknesses and apply feedback from their teachers.”

Shay Coyne (Educational consultant and conference presenter)

“Innovate is one conference not to be missed due to the high calibre of organisations, speakers and themes that make us think and debate big questions. Personally, I took away the satisfaction of presenting my ideas about teaching YL, helping to address the misconceptions about the profession. And finally, the conference has motivated me to take the next step and start my DipTESOL in October.”

Authenticity in the classroom


Philip Warrick and Authenticity
We also spoke to Phil Warwick, one of our teacher trainers, who entertained a packed out room of enthusiastic teachers and ELT professionals.

“Crowd-sourcing vocabulary, the similarities between prison routine and conventional education, improving my personal best for pen-catching and the overuse of the word “fun” in describing things that obviously weren’t, this year’s Innovate ELT was nothing if not original.”

The aim of Phil’s talk was to get teachers to be more creative in their lessons by applying authenticity.

Here are the five main takeaways from his session:

  1. Authenticity should be broken down into the key concepts of authentic learning, authentic tasks, authentic situations, authentic materials and authentic teachers.
  2. Video is a perfect medium to introduce authentic situations and materials with a view to creating authentic tasks and authentic learning.
  3. When choosing a course book, look for student-centric activities, personalization and embedded video elements throughout the units.
  4. Authentic learning is not just confined to the students’ English proficiency, it is designed to enhance their performance in other areas (such as critical thinking and collaboration) and it is important that we see this happening in the classroom.
  5. Whatever is happening in a class at any moment, it should be authentic in one of the five areas outlined above.

Discover more takeaways from InnovateELT with this collection of resources including delegate reflections, conference slides and other links and ideas.  

Using English to access a Wider World of knowledge, skills and experience

Digital Literacy and Wider World

At Pearson we have a number of courses for different ages and stages of education which incorporate authentic video from the BBC with a range of authentic tasks designed to boost 21st century skills while encouraging authentic learning.

Wider World is fast becoming one of the world’s favorite secondary courses, and reflects the way that today’s teenagers access information and entertainment from the internet, using personal devices such as tablets, laptops and mobiles. The content and the style in which it is presented is designed to inspire and challenge young minds. By interacting with the content, rather than just practicing it, students acquire the language at a deeper cognitive level.

Download a sample now.

In this article