IATEFL-Hungary blog

Regularly updated blog of IATEFL-Hungary.

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Interview with James Taylor – and a taster for today’s Sugata Mitra webinar

James Taylor attended the 48th IATEFL conference in Harrogate as a representative of BELTA (the Belgian English Language Teachers Association). Bea Price recorded an interview with him before his Pecha Kucha on Friday, his first ever presentation at IATEFL.

“As always at the IATEFL conference, I had wonderful and enriching time, watching fascinating presentations, catching up with old friends, and making new ones. I can’t until next year!” – James wrote in his blog.

In his latest blog post, James offers a summary of the #ELTchat on the debate Sugata Mitra’s plenary talk has sparked among language teachers. The post lists a great number of arguments that have been raised, and you can also find the list of 25 questions Sugata Mitra will answer TODAY in a webinar. The event is free and anyone is welcome to join, so we really hope many of you can spare some time in the afternoon and join us for the debate.

Here is the call for the event from IATEFL:

Questions and answers with Sugata Mitra

19 April 2014, 6pm

Sugata Mitra will answer questions following his plenary session on ‘The future of learning’ at the IATEFL Annual Conference in Harrogate on Saturday 5 April 2014. If you have questions that you would like Sugata Mitra to answer during the webinar, please post them here. There will also be a chance to pose questions live to Sugata Mitra in the chat box during the webinar.

To join us, please click
(note we have recently changed the room link, so please make sure you use this one)

You do not need to register in advance to join this webinar, just click on the link above and then:

Select the “Enter as Guest” option, write your name and country, then click “Enter room”


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Mike Harrison’s post on the Harrogate conference

Wow. Such IATEFL

If there was one thing that interested me most during this IATEFL, it wasn’t some new view of teaching or language and it wasn’t a demonstration of any techy tool. It was a talk and pecha kucha about something that had actually been annoying me greatly over the past year or so.

‘I Speak Meme’, a talk given by Nina Jerončič on the morning of Thursday 3 April, demonstrated a really quite innovative adaptation of internet and youth culture to the language classroom and for language teaching. A meme, the shortened form of mimeme, is a term originally coined by British biologist Richard Dawkins to describe the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena (1). However, in the days of the internet and social networking, it has come to be a term used more often to refer to images, videos and catchphrases that spread over the web, determined by a few key characteristics:

  • the use of humour,
  • the way they spread virally over the net, and
  • the fact anyone can make them

Here’s Nina getting ready to deliver her session, probably looking at some memes…

These images, videos and catchphrases, which I suppose could be considered as some kind of token of digital culture, get shared again and again and again, often via social media. In fact, if you’ve ever spent even a bit of time on Twitter, Facebook, etc you have probably seen one.

Geordi LaForge note that this meme contains bad language

Nina talked about how she had taken advantage of her students’ interest in these memes (usually in the form of images with superimposed text – referred to as image macros. We were told about the changes in language that often happen in the creation of meme images, usually resulting in non-standard collocations and spellings, but Nina also showed us two memes that actually raise awareness of what are usually quite tricky grammatical concepts to contextualise (conditional structures): Captain Hindsight and Supercool Ski Instructor.

Captain Hindsight

Supercool Ski Instructor

The meme theme continued during the evening entertainment on the Friday night and Lindsay Clandfield’s pecha kucha on his research into these virally popular internet images. Lindsay showed us a few other memes, including Y U No Guy and Ffffuuuu. You can see some of his research in the link above (it is at 56:40).

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What is IATEFL’s Business Development Officer responsible for?

Alison Wallis, IATEFL’s Business Development Officer was interviewed in Harrogate by Bea Price. Alison explains her main duties in the organisation and invites you to next year’s conference in Manchester. Shall we meet there?


A special message from the patron of IATEFL-Hungary

You might wonder who the patron of IATEFL-Hungary is, and you might also find it strange that the message from our patron is called ‘special’. It is special because there is a surprise element in it. It is special because it is especially important for our association, and it is also special because we are especially proud of our patron.

Watch this video for the details:

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Frances Watkins and Rachel Appleby in Harrogate

If you read this post from some days ago, you know very well who Frances Watkins is – she is the co-author of International Express with Rachel Appleby, our colleague at the Department of English Language Pedagogy at ELTE, Budapest.

Now you have a chance to watch a brief interview with both Frances and Rachel form Harrogate. Enjoy :)

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The conference has officially just started (by Bea Price)

… with Carol Read’s speech in the Auditorium of the Harrogate Conference Centre but it already seems to me that I’ve been here for ages.

Time and physical space are very deceptive factors in life. They can expand and shrink in no time and one can feel a very weird feeling of being somewhere present in time and space, yet still experience the whole globe and timelessness together.

Bea Price and the Mayor of Harogate

Bea Price and the Mayor of Harrogate

I could say that in the last two days I’ve embraced all the continents with their many nations, had a glimpse into the life of faraway countries and peoples, not only through the talks on education but the colours, voices, shapes and images my fellow colleagues have projected towards me via their presentations, informal talks or just their smiles or laughter.

This is my very first ‘big’ IATEFL conference. I’d heard a lot about it but I could never really imagine that it was going to be like this. It’s a place for meeting old friends and new, discovering Facebook friends you’ve never physically met before, recognising people whose books, articles, blogs and posts you’ve read before, watched their webinars, videos or online performances; these all add up in seconds and you already feel that this is big ‘family re-union’. And in a way, it is. IATEFL is our family, a place where people understand each other, share ideas, hold a mirror for each other and recognise their own vision in others’ achievements.

When I arrived on Monday I didn’t yet know how special it was to be here 2 days before the conference. I’d really thought that was when the conference started. But now, on Wednesday, although it’s only lunchtime, looking back on the past two days gives me a totally different prospective on the past days.

David Crystal, Carol Read and Hilary Crystal

David Crystal, Carol Read and Hilary Crystal at the Associates’ dinner

The conference organisers had carefully prepared a programme so that the representatives of different countries are well looked after; I would even say we have been pampered and petted. The SVA Dinner (IATEFL Staff, Volunteers and Associates) was held in the Majestic Hotel, with speeches, socialising, delicious dinner in a magnificent way. And when I heard that this event was arranged to thank us for our continued support of IATEFL, then I realised what it meant… working hard in the previous years for our own associations in our own countries but to add to the value of Global IATEFL.

On Tuesday at the Associates’ Day we already met like ‘old’ friends and spent the day together, where we shared ideas and practices from different countries, discussed important issues of interest and watched poster and other presentations.

Awards, scholarship winners, successful projects were announced and introduced; Margit Szesztay talked about the Global Issues Special Interest Group; we heard about TAs in Pakistan, Albania, Peru, Argentina and other countries.

George Pickering

George Pickering

George Pickering described what dedicated IATEFL members lacked, e.g. time, sleep, money but encouraged us with leadership management skills that we all need to proceed with our work and vision for the future: to leave a mark in our society and try to make change that we desire.

And to crown the day we had a Welcome Reception in the mind-blowingly beautiful Royal Hall (everyone from Hungary thought that we ought to give our welcome reception in the Budapest Opera House next); the Mayor of Harrogate welcomed us and made sure that the IATEFL Conference will surely come back to this pleasant town.

All in all now, as the conference has ‘really started’, I’m just trying to catch up with all the events and flow with the stream.

Please visit the conference blog; find us on Facebook and twitter; welcome our friends’ comments and good wishes and give us a wave, a smile or a nod from home.

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IATEFL-Hungary representative, Bea Price sends her greetings ;)

One representative of each IATEFL associate is invited to the conference by the organisers every year. This is a very special occasion, as it is an excellent opportunity to meet the members of other teacher associations not only at the talks or on the corridor, but at the Associates’ dinner party and the Associate’s Day. Currently IATEFL has more than 120 teacher organisations affiliated, and most of them actually use this opportunity.

This photo was taken at the Associates’ dinner, and the speaker is David Crystal, the patron of IATEFL, who greeted the members, most of whom were there for the very first time in their lives.


This year Beatrix Price, Vice-President of IATEFL-Hungary is representing our association. As this is her first time at the IATEFl conference, she was incredibly excited before she left. This is her message where she talks about her expectations, we are looking forward to hearing about Bea’s adventures in Harrogate.

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What to look for? Part 2

We asked Jeremy Harmer about his expectations of the IATEFL conference in Harrogate as well. Bea Price interviewed him at the IATEFL Slovenia conference in February – and just watch and see how incredibly excited he was already then – 6 weeks before the conference that starts tomorrow.

If you can’t join all these wonderful people in England, let’s keep an eye on them through the online channel. Be a blogger yourself and write a short post on any presentations or interviews you watch.



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