Having won the BESIG Facilitator Conference Scholarship, I could attend and give a presentation at the recent 45th Annual International IATEFL Conference & Exhibition which took place in Brighton from 15-19 April 2011

The possibility of attending such an extraordinary event was one of the most exciting and enriching moments of my professional career. It was an extraordinary opportunity for learning, sharing, networking and getting to know many excellent ELT professionals. You come across colleagues from so many different teaching backgrounds that you come to realize how much there is to learn.

When I arrived I could not believe that I was actually there. At first I felt overwhelmed with all the people I could finally get to know face to face after so many online interactions and exchanges, with all the diverse talks and workshops to attend and with the big turnout for the conference.
You can find the programme here.

I realized how much time many, many people devoted to make it happen. In a world where ‘money talks’ it is really stimulating to see people do things just because they believe in it.

I attended the BESIG Pre Conference Event on Friday. We discussed and reflected, shared and learned. There is no doubt, we grow and learn through interactions with others!
Thanks to all the BESIG team that made that amazing event possible!!!
Thanks to Carl Dowse for the recordings


At the Scholars’ Tea I had the chance to meet other scholarship winners, the IATEFL presidents and committee members, staff members, the scholarship working party, and the editor of IATEFL Voices. It was a truly emotional moment. There was also a Scholarship Winners Stand in the Exhibition Hall where we can all meet up and see photos and memorabilia from our countries.

I delivered a talk at the BESIG Programme Day on Sunday. (programme).
Some of those talks were recorded by the Brighton Online Team.
• Rachel Clark: Doing business with a spoken corpus: Grammar in action – video
• Steve Flinders & Ian McMaster Communicating internationally in English – video
• My talk: The many roles we perform as business English trainers – video
The day closed with the Open Forum; the latest information about what is happening within BESIG, the new online possibilities and a preview of the upcoming events were shared. There were different raffles and I won a year institution subscription to English360!

One of the most exhilarating and hilarious moment was David, Hillary and Ben Crystal’s performance on what writers have to say about the English language – A thousand years of words and words. They are truly marvellous storytellers and I felt honoured to be there.

The Pecha Kucha evening was unbelievably fun. The presenters were amazing!!!

It is incredible how many blogs and sites you can find now where different ELT professionals from different parts of the world give their impressions and opinions about the event Truly global!

Business Spotlight
Karen Richardson
Anthony Gaughan
Scott Thornbury
Chia Suan Chong
Yordanka Brunet

Mike Harrison’s collection of blog posts

I want to thank IATEFL and BESIG for this truly amazing opportunity; it was a dream come true.

I’m honoured to be part of the BESIG Online Team!

Photographs: Mike Hogan, Candy van Olst and Mercedes Viola – thanks Mike and Candy


  1. Pingback: English360 » Blog Archive » Mercedes Viola – English360 Community Webinar

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