Dear members, colleagues, and friends,

I want to tell you about our recent gathering of teachers and educators at EdYouFest!

The 2018 event was held at Millfield School, a large and very well-equipped private school in Somerset, South West England. Of course, during the summer break, there are no Millfield students around and so we slotted in as the highly successful ELT summer school was finishing and before regular students returned.

This year we had attendees from 14 countries coming from as far afield as Japan and the USA with many from Europe and the Middle East too. A wonderful mix of teachers of all ages and levels of experience, sharing their ideas and thoughts during 3 days of exceptionally stimulating plenaries and workshops. The first plenary was presented by Tim Bowen who gave a very engaging, interactive talk called “What on earth is happening to English?” exploring the way English is changing for the worst and maybe for the better in some cases!

The second plenary was by Ken Paterson on his special area of interest: Spoken Grammar. Ken explained how he had researched the area over some years, examining many examples of spoken language culminating in the creation of his book for teachers and students on the way that spoken language can be recognised as conforming to ‘rules’ and thus be explainable and teachable.

Our third plenary was from Susanne Lewis who laid out some accessible and interesting ideas on keeping an audience engaged while presenting, whether in business or teaching; information which is useful for teachers and students alike.

EdYouFest was conceived to be different! We want to be small, familiar and relevant, offering teachers opportunities to tell colleagues about their classroom ideas in an atmosphere of professional respect and encouragement. EdYouFest is informal, flexible and inclined towards a bottom-up approach to conference programming, listening to what teachers are saying about their needs and wants in order to provide the attendees with as much relevant material as possible.

As a result of this philosophy, we had workshops on a wide range of topics from teachers and educators covering: Using Song in the Classroom, the debate on Fluency vs Accuracy, Using Internet Tools to Enhance Learning, Managing Teenage Learners, Using Games and Quizzes, Brain-Friendly Learning, Teaching Spoken Grammar, Teaching Pronunciation, Charisma, Running an English Club, Presentation Skills and Using the Cuisenaire Rods; too many to comment on individually!

Not all our workshop presenters were English teachers thus providing us with a view from outside our own area of focus – something which is essential if teachers are not to become closed in amongst their own topics, methodologies and interests.

Of course it wasn’t all work and no play; Millfield Enterprises kindly offered evening activities and even a half day trip to nearby Wells, with its wonderful cathedral, and also to Glastonbury, home to many a witch and wizard!

EdYouFest has a Facebook group which provides a platform for teachers who attended and those who couldn’t to share information as well as discussing further ideas. In addition, EFL Magazine, an online resource with a Facebook presence too, is posting videos and some of the available presentations from the event so that you can catch up with all of the teachers and their experiences at this great occasion.

All of us on the EdYouFest team, hope to see you at next year’s event, if not before.

Happy teaching and learning.
August 2018
Steve Hirschhorn
Chair of Gallery Teachers Membership Committee.