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Thoughts on Talks at ELT Ireland 2023 - Ben's Report

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Saturday 18th February

"The international education mark and the vision for ELT in Ireland" by Mary Grennan

QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) is the state agency responsible for promoting the quality, integrity and reputation of Ireland’s further and higher education system. In ELT Ireland's opening plenary, Mary Grennan spoke about how Irish-based ELT providers can be part of the community of award providers.

Mary made interesting points about quality assurance and the 10-level NFQ (National Framework for Qualifications) in Ireland and went on to speak about the International Education Mark (IEM) and the impact it will have. Involving significant amounts of due diligence, this is awarded to higher education and English language education providers who have demonstrated that they meet set national standards. This is one mark for any provider of education.

The aim is to ensure a high-quality experience for international students. This is voluntary unless schools take non-EEA students. Mary highlighted the differing codes of practice for HE and ELE providers and how they compare and contrast. Implementation of the IEM has involved significant consultation with schools and other bodies.

Applications for the IEM will open in Q3.


'Beyond the correction slot" by Emma Meade-Flynn

Emma started off talking about opportunities for feedback in the training room and emerging language.

She talked about emerging (or emergent) language and unplanned language that the teacher chooses to focus on. This might be for clarification or modification.

Emma posed the interesting question of where we focus our feedback and if we focus on errors, communication breakdowns, phrasing or something else. Her recommendation was to make dealing with emerging language the target of a lesson. She pointed out how "learning is more durable when noticed". Emma also stressed the need not just for responsive reactive feedback but also feedforward.

She went on to differentiate between language in the form of exercises and genuine, interesting communication in which there are no set or known answers. Course books, Emma said, are about language and don't tend to be used in a motivational way. Using material is different to using activities she claimed!


"A framework for academic managers' CPD" by Lou McLaughlin

Lou introduced some background to Eaquals and its objectives including to develop quality standards, to deliver accreditation and to develop practical resources.

Lou discussed the Eaquals framework for language teacher training and development of 2016 and it's equivalent for academic purposes in 2020 and academic management in 2021.

She stressed the importance of values being displayed in the classroom.

Lou posed interesting questions about what academic management is, what am academic manager does and how the role if academic manager can be more attractive. She talked about four levels of development:

1. deliver existing systems 2. evaluate these systems 3. create the new at institutional level 4. facilitate development of people for benefit of the organisation.

Lou also mentioned eight levels of competence for managers each with a range of skills and functions:

- Managing self

- People systems and processes

- Professional development

- Course and assessment design

- Planning and administration

- Managing resources

- Change management

- Quality, marketing and customer service


"VR in the Classroom" by Anna Maroutian

Anna opened her talk with a personal recollection about her international experiences growing up.

This was a hugely confident talk with no slides in which Anna posed questions about the audience's views on and experiences of VR and how it links to language training.

Anna stated that VR today is viewed much like IWBs were years ago and now these are standard tools; space and costs, however, are two limiting factors. She gave us a demonstration of VR using "Noun Town" and an open critique of how VR fit educational purposes is at the moment and the sharp contrast in quality between VR in games and VR used for educational purposes.

We were also introduced us to


"Embracing Change: the Heart of the Matter" by Julia Aliverti

In a characteristically inspiring plenary talk, Julia spoke about changes in her teaching and practice in Greece as experienced during demands for changes in working practice and the Covid-19 pandemic. She raised the issue of digital literacy and what level is needed in order to successfully learn virtually.

Julia continued to introduce the principles of "techno-ethics" and the importance this has in ensuring success in virtual learning. She went on to describe what is needed for successful intercultural communication and what it takes to be an "intercultural speaker" with key traits such as empathy, active listening, adaptability, flexibility in communication and more. These are essential, Julia stated, for the internal environment of the classroom to be conducive.

Julia proposed the use of empathy mapping and "I am from ..." poems in the classroom to develop understanding, empathy, self-awareness and authenticity. She firmly advocated the role of the teacher as an agent of improvement and change and helping others to "explore".

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