Literature at IATEFL 2017

This week, I focused on sessions about how to incorporate literature into the classroom.

Thursday was the Literature SIG (Special Interest Group) day, and these are the special events offered by the group:

  • Extensive Reading in Translation by Peter Grundy (Durham University)
    Everyone was given a piece of paper with half a sentence on it and we were supposed to find the person with the matching rest of the sentence, which took up most of the time of the workshop. Then we tried to fill in dialogue and narrative of a 26 pages translated novel. The main idea of Peter Grundy was that if you first read a novel in English and then read the novel in your native language, you will be able to confirm your understanding of the English version.
  • IATEFL Literature Special Interest Group Forum


  • Learning and Teaching English in a Literary Museum by Elena Vaneyan (The Pasternak Museum in Peredelkino)
    This was an interesting talk as the audience was able to see how young learners in Russia are taught English in a literary museum and one could really see how much fun they had in the videoclips Elena Vaneyan presented. Should anyone wish to contact her or have a virtual tour of the museum, send her an e-mail to: The museum’s website can be found here:


  • Rewriting classics: writing inspired by reading by Robert Hill (Black Cat Publishing)
    This talk was about teaching creativity and writing to students by letting them pretend to write missing letters. The talk was interesting and the Black Cat Publishing books are, in my opinion, very useful. If anyone is interested in having a look at one of their books, I bought a copy of Wuthering Heights (Language Level C1 accordind to Black Cat Publishing) and I would be happy to let you have a look at it. They also have a huge variety of books on their website:


  • Shakespeare lives! (in the classroom) by Francis Prescott (Karoli Gaspar University, Budapest, Hungary)
    This was my favourite talk of the day. We were divided into groups of three and explored various teaching techniques. First, we were each assigned the role of Witch 1, 2 or 3 from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and read the dialogue out loud. We then posed as the characters and after that, everyone had to think of a character, was placed in the “hot seat” and had to quickly answer questions by the other two group members. Francis Prescott’s e-mail address is:


  • The difference literature makes: exploring literature in foreign language teaching by Sam Duncan & Amos Paran (University College London, Institute of Education)
    This was a talk where a study of how important literature is for teachers, both professionally and privately.


  • From art to writing by Malu Sciamarelli (Language School)
    In this workshop, Malu Sciamarelli gave each group the choice between two paintings where you could either write a poem, description or something else that’s considered creative writing about. Her website is

To sum up the Literature Sig day, I would also like to mention that if you are a part of the SIG, you can try to publish something written by students on their blog.

On Friday, there was another workshop that wasn’t part of the SIG day. It was called Young learners, storytelling and story-making! and was held by Karen Saxby (Cambridge English Language Assessment). It was interesting to see how easy it is to create a spontaneous short story in the classroom and I had the impression that everyone had a lot of fun. She pointed at someone in the audience and that person began with a character’s name, age or a sentence and she had everyone repeat that part by pointing at them; and I still vividly remember the story word-by-word, therefore her technique was successful.




Happy 51st Birthday, IATEFL


Teacher-Centered Professional Development



The first day of the 51st IATEFL conference is over, with more than 2.500 speakers at this conference compared to 125 at the first conference half a century ago.

Gabriel Diaz Maggioli from Uruguay talked about empowering teachers through continued professional development, if anyone is looking for further information about this, you might be interested in his book. Teacher-Centered Professional Development (2014).

After the plenary session, it quickly got impossible to go every talk, workshop or forum you want to see, but one very interesting workshop was “Portraying yourself online” by Sophia Mavridi, whom you can find at, the slides from today’s presentation are available there too. You might learn a lot about digital footprints you leave that can’t be erased; and how you can avoid putting your foot into your mouth via your online presence.

Another interesting session was a forum about online teaching by Joseline Cataños, Karin Heuert Galvão, Neenaz Ichaporia and Beth Caldwell. The main topics were the required skills for online teaching, i.e. technical and interpersonal skills, and especially time management.

The fourth session I went to was a talk by someone I’m quite sure everyone who’s reading this knows: Michael Swan. He is releasing a new edition of Practical English Usage as language is changing, he even included a chapter about discriminatory and offensive language. The most innovative part though is that there’s now an online version, you have the choice between an online subscription (1 year), a printed copy and a printed + digital copy.

All copies can be found on



One more night…

… and we’ll be in Scotland.

Although I’ve been to the UK before, I’ve never set foot on Scottish ground, and I’m particularly looking forward to exploring the Scottish culture. Of course, I’ve already browsed tripadvisor and it seems like I’ll have to make some tough decisions about what I want to see.

Not only Glasgow has a lot to offer, but the IATEFL conference has an interesting array of sessions too, so I’ll probably be planning (and packing) until the wee hours of the night.

See you all tomorrow,