Sarah Mercer vs. The Robots …

… does not only sound like a badass action movie title but was also the beginning of Sarah Mercer’s plenary session about the psychologies of learners and teachers. She started her talk by rejecting this new trend of replacing teachers with technology and talked about the importance of human interactions in language teaching. She did not only talk about learner-teacher relationships and the importance of looking after one’s wellbeing in order to be a successful teacher but also field tested her patented ‘clapping and raising one’s hand’-method for acquiring attention in an auditorium with an audience of a several hundred listeners talkers.

Another very interesting talk today was called ‘Creative use of language through humor’, which was a delightful session in which we learned about using wordplays, cartoons and acronyms to make our future lessons more fun.

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In between talks we took some time to explore the city and visit the University of Glasgow (after a short stop at a pub, of course :D). The university with its beautiful architecture looks just like something out of a Harry Potter movie and we felt like we were visiting Hogwarts. We also explored the Hunterian Museum, which is located within university grounds, but more on that in a later blog post … 😉

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After this little detour into the city we went back to the conference for a few more sessions. The most interesting of these talks was a session titled ‘From Teacher to Business Owner’, in which an American ‘language consultant’ talked about how we as teachers could start our own business and make a lot of money by giving lessons to corporations and wealthy individuals. It was interesting because it was something entirely different compared to the other talks I had seen so far and it opened my eyes to the vast private teaching industry that I did not know existed. She claimed that with the right niche and clients we could charge around 400$ per hour and clients would be willing to pay that. However, it seemed to me that her clients entirely consisted of Asian business men and Saudi oil magnates, which is not really the crowd I want to teach in my future career and asking Austrian teenagers to pay 400$ per lesson is not really a sustainable business model :D.

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