Tuesday 15 February 2011

#ililc Inspiration in a hashtag

The ability to bottle the ambience from the weekend's ICT Links into Languages conference in Southampton could have made someone a large amount of money. To say that delegates were left enthused and inspired is an understatement.

It was such a pleasure to meet some of the MFL Twitterati for the first time, and it felt like meeting old friends for many of the others. It is the curse of the Northern Irish to constantly feel inadequate, but who could fail to be humbled in the presence of the demi-gods that are Joe Dale and Rachel Hawkes? Their keynote speeches were the perfect bookends to an excellent conference.

There were several noteworthy things about the weekend. Firstly, all the delegates seemed to be singing from the same hymnsheet. Aside from Joe and Rachel, Wendy Adeniji had so many excellent ideas on how to turn language teaching and topics on their head, Clare Seccombe made me want to pass her the contents of my netbook, as well as giving us loads of excellent sites to check out, Dale Hardy's G&T talk was truely thought-provoking and from Chris Harte came the superb 'Languages:Reboot' (yes, I know this post is all superlatives, but what can you do?!) which left us ready to throw out the textbooks and the SOWs, and embrace all that is postive about spontaneous language and pupil independence. Oh, and then there was the Show and Tell, the socialising and all the injokes that have left other non-attending Twitterati a little bemused.

On a personal note, I owe Joe Dale a debt of gratitude, for without his coaxing, reassuring and general cheerleading, I would not have presented, and would have missed out on the opportunity. Yes, despite the stress and the lack of sleep worrying, it was worth it. Though note to self, 'footery' is a Norn Irish word that has no meaning for anyone not from the wee isle, and no matter how slowly I think I am speaking, there will still be those who will fail to understand me.

Returning home from such a weekend can bring you down to earth with a bump, but the power of Twitter is such that #ililc must surely still be trending. People have been tweeting lessons they have taught using ideas from the conference, as well as tweeting and teasing online acquaintances who are now considered friends.

Stealing @charte's idea from his blogpost, a whole lotta MFL Twitterati love to the following: @bootleian @chrisfullerisms @charte @bellaale @blagona @lwelsh @lisibo @icpjones @suzibewell @joedale @froggyval @reesiepie @smaguire777 @sghani @wendadeniji @mariefrance @JulietDPark @purer_ethics @kath52 @mrshampson @estherhardman and those I have missed. I only wish I wasn't a plane ride away...

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