IATEFL Conference 2022

Last month I attended the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL), held in Belfast, Northern Ireland from 17-20 May 2022. This was my first time at an IATEFL. I was looking for ideas to use in the PhD level course that I teach at Uppsala University: “Writing Scientific English.” For most of these PhD students, English is not their first language.

With over 300 lectures to choose from, it was an intense week. Most days I was at the conference site from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. so as not to miss anything. Exhausting, but worth it.

What was the most useful tip I learned? Storytelling. No matter what you are writing—fiction or non-fiction, popular science or academic papers—it’s all about constructing a coherent story line.

If you can make that story line engaging, all the better. And yes, you can do that even in academic papers.

Teaching English in Laos

I was in Luang Prabang Laos last week where I volunteered at the Big Brother Mouse program. I spent a few days of my vacation chatting in English with young people who drop into this center from 9 to 11 a.m., or in the evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. A lot of them are 20 to 25 years old and want to improve their English to get jobs in the tourist sector. I got to learn about their lives and they got to practice their English with me. This was so fun that I hope to go again next year.