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IH Annual Academic Managers and Teacher Trainer’s Conference

Published Bernice on Thursday, January 19, 2023 3:26 PM

IH Annual Academic Managers and Teacher Trainer’s Conference

International House World Organisation held its annual conference for International House Academic Managers and Trainers in London from the 12th to the 14th of January 2023.

The delegates included IH Directors of Studies and Teacher Trainers from all over the world; London, Mexico, Argentina, Romania, South Africa, Australia, Italy, Portugal, Spain and more. It was the first time the event took place in person since January 2020 so not only was there great excitement at being reunited in one place, but it was also the first IH conference for many people who joined IH in the last three years.

The event took place for the first time at The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London Bridge. In previous years, the conference has always been held at Devonport House in Greenwich, but the venue sadly closed due to the pandemic. The new location, many new faces and the new Managing Director of IHWO, Emma Hoyle, all added to the excitement for new ideas and discussions.

“The 2023 IH AMT conference was the perfect reflection of what the IH community stands for; dedication to teaching and development, commitment to quality, sharing with and inspiring others and participating with enthusiasm”, said Emma Hoyle, Managing Director of IH World. “It was a fantastic event and a great introduction to the IH family. The delegates left filled with inspiration and motivation to share what they had learned with their teams and that’s the whole point of this conference.

Thursday marked the start of the conference, which opened with the ‘Star Power’ simulation led by Lindsay Clandfield. The simulation aims to make participants reflect on the nature of power and systems and give them a better understanding of their own power in the workplace.

We had an update from the IHWO team, covering topics such as upcoming courses and materials available to IH schools, plans for the 70th anniversary of the IH network such as the return of the IH Journal and the launch of an IH podcast, sustainability projects and recruitment updates. Katja Preston, the IH Online Teacher Training Institute Coordinator, reminded the audience of the CPD courses running in 2023 and the discounts available.

Hannah Youell of IHWO and Giovanni Licata from International House – Accademia Britannica Roma, presented a session on IH World’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion initiative. They raised important questions and challenged the audience to consider the systems in their own schools. They invited delegates to join the IHWO EDI working group to participate in policies and discussions around the

There was a range of fascinating plenary sessions across Thursday and Saturday each exploring a different topic. These sessions were not only engaging but they also touched on current pressing issues that IH Academic Managers and Teacher Trainers are facing. Sarah Ultsch from Oxford University Press was a highlight for many with her presentation on global trends in education and how IH schools can assess these trends in order to plan for the future and be leaders in innovation. Adrian Underhill held an engaging session along a similar line ‘Learning from a future that has not yet happened’, where he encouraged everyone to think outside the box in order to formulate a strategy in the face of disruption.

The third plenary speaker, Lucie Cotterill, gave a highly interactive session exploring what are the best questions to model curiosity and promote development in teachers. The next plenary, Dr Jason Anderson explored how teacher expertise research can give a much-needed measuring factor in assessing good teaching and help us avoid drawing upon assumptions. In the afternoon, we had an opportunity to get creative as our final plenary speaker, Emily Bryson, led a workshop exploring innovative, engaging and collaborative ways to engage teams or trainees. Adam Scott from Sensations English gave an inspiring session leading us to consider how inclusive learning resources, spaces, and teacher support combine to value learners’ lives and voices and reflect the diversity beyond and often within classrooms, with examples from Sensations English.

Friday was dedicated to sessions run by the IH DoSes and it was a showcase of the innovation, curiosity and dedication that IH staff are known for. Sessions covered topics such as the risk of using labels in education, the role of women’s health in our schools and how to navigate YLs’ emotions and challenging discussions. Another theme was exploring challenges in teacher training such as how to respect and challenge the beliefs of teachers in feedback and another session looked at how a school created a community of practice by using dialogic reflection activities. Speakers explored using new tools and improving existing ones in the classroom, there was a session on using VR for language learners, another on how to teach conversation successfully and a demonstration of a new teacher training platform from IH London. Valuable sessions were so plentiful that many delegates had difficulty deciding which ones to attend.

Social events were another highlight with everyone embarking on a treasure hunt around London Bridge on Thursday. On the final night, the group gathered at the historic Golden Hinde boat for drinks and dinner.

They thank, their longstanding partner, their gold sponsors Macmillan Education, LanguageCert and Trinity College London and their bronze sponsors Cambridge University Press & Assessment, Oxford University Press and Sensations English. They had fantastic sponsors who continue to support IH World and allow them to put on these important events.

After a very busy and exciting few days, the IH network now looks forward to a year of celebrations for the 70th anniversary. Keep an eye on their social media for more details. Their next conference will be for the Directors from 8th-10th of May.

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