We’re really pleased to announce the sessions for Innovate ELT 2017. In order to help you navigate your way through this huge selection of fantastic talks and workshops, we created six pathways for you to follow:


Learner stories and reflections

What does it feel like to be on the learner’s side of the classroom? What can we learn about learning from learners themselves? In this pathway you’ll hear learner experiences that can change the way we teach.

Young Learners and Teens

A space to share ideas, class tips and theoretical approaches for ELT professionals working with those who’ll shape our future: young learners and teens.

Theories and approaches

Many of our teaching practices and approaches are supported by theoretical frameworks that help us craft our methodologies. In this pathway you’ll find inspiring new or revisited ways to approach pedagogy. Interesting for anyone in materials writing, publishing, as well as teachers and teacher trainers looking for fresh ideas.

Edtech enthusiast

Although EdTech touches on a lot of the content in other pathways, these talks focus more explicitly on tech advances and how they are being used by and for learners in and out of the classroom.

Coaching, management and mentoring

An interesting itinerary curated for school owners, managers and DoSs, but also anyone interested in leadership.

Classroom tips

A pathway designed for teachers and teacher trainers looking for practical activities and lesson plans they can put into practice right after the event.



What have teachers ever done for us?

I will take an irreverent look at some elements of current ELT practice and suggest they might not necessarily be empowering students as much as we think and suggest what teachers and their students could be focusing on more to maximize student power in the classroom and outside it.
Duncan Foord

When the learner is the teacher!

Melody (a teacher) and Marianna (a learner) will co-present a plenary based on the learning journey and the relationship between learning and teaching. The learner and their needs are ever-changing in the fast-paced 21st century environment but is teaching able to adapt to this new challenge or is it failing to catch up? Breaking down the barriers of traditional teaching and how the dialogue between teacher and learner might be navigated will form some of the central themes to our talk.
Marianna Knyazyan
Melody Philip

The importance of powerful questions

Despite sitting in the same office and working on various projects together, Jo and Berta had never really discussed the challenges and the rewards Berta felt from learning English. This talk looks at Berta’s journey with English through the use of a technique called Powerful Questions – a way of getting a deeper understanding of what it’s really like to be a learner.
Jo Sayers
Berta Rojals

Key concepts for a practical learning experience

There are so many things we look forward to about turning 18 but I had one very clear and urgent objective, which was getting my driver’s license. I associated it with freedom and discovery. The funny thing is, I didn’t know much about cars and nothing at all about how to manage one. I realized that the minute I sat in the driver’s seat for my first class. I had passed the theoretical part of the test with flying colours, but of course the books and the roads were completely different worlds. It turned out to be a greater challenge than I had anticipated and yet I learnt a lot about some very helpful tools for any learning process.
Laila Khairat

7 lessons from learning 7 languages by myself

I realized quite early in my life that I learn languages by myself much more effectively than at school and so I started learning a new language every two years up to a comfortable B2 level. I am better at learning with every new language because of the experience I have gained from the previous languages. Let me share some of my best insights with you in this plenary.
Lýdia Machová

Getting lesson feedback from those in the thick of it

The only people that experience more lessons than teachers are the students themselves, and as such, they are knowledgeable about a variety of teaching methodologies and techniques. With such a resource available, why don’t observers make greater use of their experiences when crafting feedback to those observed? This plenary will question the existing orthodoxy surrounding lesson observations and suggest possible ways to integrate those who are most affected by teacher behaviour: the students.
Ben Beaumont

Ten reasons to learn a language

There are different reasons why people decide to start the long road to learn a language. The journey is long, and is full of unforeseen events that are overcome using various motivational reasons that give us strength to move forward. We are going to talk about some of them.
Carles Tutusaus

Open Badges: A new way to prove skills

In an increasingly competitive job market how can you make sure your credentials stand out? Open badges are a new way of recognising, verifying and credentialing skills and experience beyond the key planks on a CV. In this plenary we will explore what Open Badges are, the value of Open Badges to educators and learners and how you can use them.
Roisin Vaughan

What have I learned at this conference?

This talk will be a wrap up of the conference, pulling together key learning moments I experienced. I will share three things I learned, as a speaker and delegate, about empowering learners. Firstly, what did I learn through incidental exchanges with other delegates? Secondly, What key thread did I discover from talks I attended. And lastly, what did I learn from being at a conference where learners are involved in the programme? I will also share some ideas for acting on these learning moments. All too often we fail to capitalize on what we learn at conferences: how will I turn my learning into professional development?
Nicola Meldrum

All talks by pathway

Learner stories and reflections

The student voice in observation feedback: they can contribute too!

This workshop will consider why student feedback is rarely sought in teacher development programmes and then, by way of a mini-lesson, will experiment with getting lesson feedback from both students and teacher participants. I will teach a short class and then compare feedback between students and teachers. Using this ‘hot’ data, we will draw out suggestions about how we can use the student voice, in addition to that of teacher educators, to help teachers develop their day-to-day practice.
Ben Beaumont

How learning German has made me reflect about the way I teach English

In this talk I am going to tell you about the influence of starting learning a new language in the teaching process. German is a language that I did not like so much and had no clue about its structures and vocabulary; although I have a sister who has been living in Germany for more than six years. I decided to learn it after my second time in the country. However, the it has offered me an interesting perspective and I’ve been able to apply some new techniques to my teaching.
Tatiane da Silva

Reaching refugees

Over the past year we at Cambridge English have been working with a range of organisations to understand how to redeploy our resources and expertise to better reach and serve refugee and internally-displaced populations. Our rapid journey has lead us to understand the value for larger organisations in finding and leveraging a wide and varied ecosystem of local specialists to ensure that needs are properly understood and that the response is focused, useful, appropriate and empowering.
Anna Lloyd

Pimped up language learning – the polyglot principles

When it comes to language learning, there’s a small elite who do it so well, so effectively, so fast, they put our efforts to shame. I’m talking about polyglots, that strange species who might speak five, ten, even twenty languages, and to a decent level. What are their secrets? And why aren’t we learning their tricks? Come and meet one, my guest Lýdia Machová (eight languages so far), find out about their methods, and let’s talk about what they can teach us teachers. It’s a whole other world.
Lýdia Machová
Daniel Barber

My learning journey – crossing bridges from mentoring to ELT classrooms

This workshop, with mentor and teacher as the learner, will explore my 1 year journey of mentoring, teaching & the bridges I’ve built and crossed. What tools & skills from mentoring teachers can be transferred to the ELT classroom? Two areas that I have been developing will be examined : effective questioning and encouraging learner reflection. Thoughts from my learners will be shared, as well as my own reflections on my learning.
Sarah Priestley

Into the Wild (of EFL)

How does an English language learner become an English language teacher? Is there a change in the teaching-learning cycle? How does a teacher’s researched methodology play out from a learner’s perspective? A teacher and his student (both as an ELL and ELT) will discuss all of these questions and more… before demonstrating exactly why a teacher and their student must never stop learning.
Ollie Wood
Young Learners and teens

Loving to Learn

Children are currently suffering the ricochet of our hectic schedules and our adult worries. They are wound up in a constant turmoil of activities, of information and inappropriate influences that compress their childhood and stifle their emotional maturity. Through personal experience and practical suggestions, this workshop will discuss how small gestures of empathy and connection can change the way students learn and thrive.
Lucy Crichton

Helping our learners to survive in the digital world

Even tech-savvy teenagers need help and support to to become responsible digital citizens. This talk will look at how we can help young learners be best prepared for our digital, screen-obsessed world. We will look at digital citizenship, online safety and also consider when it’s maybe time to switch off our devices and take a digital detox. We will look at the typical digital diet of teens today and some free, online materials that can help you bring these tricky topics into the classroom.
Jo Budden

Embracing the L1: Getting your Teens to Speak More English in Class

We are often taught in initial teacher training courses that the L1 is evil and must be avoided at all costs. However, the more I tried to ban it in my classes, the more I’d struggle to get my students speaking English. In this practical workshop we’ll explore the reasons why our students rely so much on their mother tongue and look at ways to maximize the use of the L2.
Dan Shepherd

How gamification helps to adapt a coursebook for millennial teens

Teachers all around the world are trying to find new technologies for teaching the millennial generation. One of them is gamification. If computer games are so appealing and fun to play, why don’t we bring a game-design approach to our English class? In my talk I’ll explain what computer games can teach us and I’ll give a few simple examples how you can gamify your coursebook using a game-design approach.
Elena Peresada

Aligning Parental Objectives with Young Learner Programmes

Incorporating parental objectives into YL programmes means we are better able to develop and deliver programmes that meet the needs of our YL language learners and their parents more effectively. As a freelance, I am responsible for the creation of the curriculum for my YL students. For my action research project I used a questionnaire which enabled me to develop a curriculum that had the needs of my learners at its core, thus reflecting the theme for iELT “Power to the Learner.”
Shay Coyne
Theories and approaches

Nice to meet you Miss Subject…

Imagine learners become “Object” or “Verb” and you have a chat with them in those roles. “Hi Mr. Auxiliary?” You invite others and they spontaneously interact at that moment. Moreno’s Theory of Roles in Psychodrama describes process of role playing as “cognition, perception, behaviour and action”. Learners become acquainted with English personally in a student-centred, active and enjoyable classroom atmosphere. Would you like to be a Subject? Come and take your part. – Fun? – No doubt!
Sinem Darıdere

Re-Imagining Respect: Understanding Respectful Communication from the Adult ELL’s Perspective

Due to the intercultural nature of EFL/ESL classrooms, respectful communication presents a unique challenge. The purpose of this presentation is to share findings from my research which examined how English language learners (ELLs) conceptualize respect and believe it is communicated in the classroom. Those attending the presentation will leave with a greater awareness of how ELLs understand respect and an enhanced ability to identify classroom communication which ELLs may deem disrespectful.
Mark Van Ness

Critical pedagogy, coursebooks and what is ‘normal’

Covert syllabus, or hidden curriculum, is a term used by J.Hadfield to describe the values, behaviors, beliefs, and perspectives that are subtly expressed in classroom activities in course books. The aim of this talk is to identify what lies behind some common classroom activities and how teachers can adapt these activities in order to lead learners to critically question what is ‘normal’ inside and outside the classroom.
Ilá Coimbra

Low ‘affective filter’ and ‘teacher talk’ come together

This talk reviews Krashen’s ‘affective filter hypothesis’ embedded in a great understanding of the ‘teacher talk’ concept. By analyzing this two topics together, the author believes that second language teachers can find better ways to enable students’ learning.
Mary Ramirez

How can students benefit from a teacher-teacherpreneur?

We as English teachers have many transferrable skills which we can use outside our English language classrooms. We as English teachers have students who look up to us and follow our examples. When we develop a teacherpreneurial mindset, we can lead our students by example and encourage them to develop 21st century skills – initiative, collaborating, creative thinking ,etc. During the workshop we will have a look at some examples of teacherpreneurs and what impact they had on their students
Marina Kladova

Student Feedback: We Must Try Harder

Teachers can empower learners by giving more importance to student feedback. In this talk I’ll discuss making, analysing and discussing · video recordings of the class in action · student diaries · student to student talk on social media · feedback questionnaires
Geoff Jordan

There is no way to language, language is the way

In this talk, power to the learner is provided by giving students freedom to create. In the Sociocultural Theory (SCT), internal self-regulation and language development take place in the interactions of learner and interlocutor. It’s a continuous development in which intrinsic motivation is fostered through the formulation of shared intentions and purposes. Motivation, autonomy and agency are closely related to the SCT and allow students to make their learning significant.
Dirk Lagerwaard

The Questions We Ask

30 to 70% of a teachers’ talk is composed of different types of questions, and with experience we develop our own patterns of asking various questions, including elicitation, concept checking questions, and questions aimed at practice. In this presentation, I would like to explore how different types of questions we ask in vocabulary teaching sequences can change the way our learners retain and use new lexis.
Kateryna Protsenko

Taking the Task-Based Approach to the Extreme

The task-based approach has been applied by teachers around the world for decades, and it is rightly so, because the approach does work! However, as it is often confined to the classroom, its power to push learners out of their comfort zones into the areas of real challenge (i.e. learning) diminishes. The talk will present a few of my ideas on how to make the most out of the task-based approach in and out of the classroom by taking it to the extreme. Students’ work and projects will feature.
Daniel Zuchowski
Edtech enthusiast

Practising oral skills beyond the classroom: engaging tasks and feedback practices

Using video and audio tools to record students speaking production allows teachers to give both formative and corrective feedback that the students can go back to. This helps make the students reflect back on their speaking practice and incorporates the feedback provided into the student’s learning process. We will use existing video tools that students and teachers can use from their phones to engage the students in synchronous and asynchronous tasks to provide additional speaking practice.
Pedro Fernandez
Laia Canals

Learning by Doing: Integrating technology to support teaching and learning

Learners need teachers with digital skills who can help them learn in today’s world. Cambridge English has developed a new free website, The Digital Teacher, to inspire and support teachers and trainers and to provide them with principled practice. This workshop will set out the thinking behind the site and demonstrate practical resources to help you integrate technology effectively in language teaching and learning, whatever your starting point.
Helen Allen
Andrew Nye

Empowering the digital language learner

Research has demonstrated increased engagement when learners are in control of their learning. We explore strategies which practitioners can employ in order to empower learners on blended digital language programmes to become more autonomous. We’ll identify some of the barriers and possible solutions to creating an environment that puts the learner at the centre of the learning experience, and explores whether lessons learned in the classroom can be applied to the digital world.
Sylvia Johnson
Bindi Clements

Developing Products your Learners Need

Do you have an idea for a product or service that will improve the lives of your learners? Have you noticed a problem in the industry that needs addressing, but haven’t been able to come up with a cohesive, compelling way of solving it? This presentation provides a concrete set of steps for going from an idea to a product that really benefits you and your learners.
Tim Gifford
Jo Sayers

English for the underserved: technology to close the digital divide

Much of our work in ELT technology helps ‘first world’ kids with first world tech access. This talk looks at the other world – the next billion learners, in rural areas of Africa & Asia. These learners and communities have difficulty accessing electricity, connectivity, textbooks – we can fix that with new edtech. The talk addresses how we can & should use new technologies to help reach these learners, giving them links to global knowledge and English, moving past their local disadvantages.
Michael Carrier

OK Class, let’s watch TV…

Join us to hear about the latest techniques in video pedagogy and take a sneak preview of the type of video you’ll be using in class for 2018. You’ll hear why one of the biggest independent production companies in the UK is investing in Language Teaching. Learn from Elena Deleyto, a Barcelona-based ELT Teacher in the ITN ELT production team, about her experiences using our authentic video content to benefit 21st Century skills and CLIL. Look out for our showcase on Friday evening in room 17 too!
Elena Deleyto
Dan Mills

Filling the gap between research and practice in EdTech

This talk identifies a consistent gap between research and practice in EdTech and explores how specific research in linguistics has a strong potential for being applied in educational practice. We will look at how applied linguistics research could be used to create technology that facilitates students understanding of what elements compose a sentence (syntax) and how a group of words are attached to the same vocabulary list (lexicon).
Caroline Haurie

Writing to learn – motivating learners to write and improve

We present lessons learned about learner motivation from observing users of a new online writing practice tool for learners of English. Write & Improve provides essay prompts and instant, automated feedback at word and sentence level and an estimated CEFR level. Its goal is to motivate learners to practise writing, edit their work, and learn from their mistakes. We will take an in-depth look at how learners respond to the tool and what it tells us about motivating learners to write.
Henry Garner
Diane Nicholls

Typing is faster than writing – getting better at digital classrooms

Digital technology in the classroom often results in an ocean of frustration: the internet fails, students forget their passwords, teachers tend to be rather clumsy with devices, Facebook is (arguably) often more appealing than the PDF, etc. We’ve learned a couple of things building such products and we would like to share some of the lessons and stories from our recent experience working with a very respectable and conservative college in the UK. Important: bring your own devices, we are doing a live demo. You will become students in a digital classroom for the duration of the talk and be able to share the pleasures and pains of students today. (GOOD!)
Cristian Dinu
Coaching, management and mentoring

5 Coaching Techniques To Empower Learning

In this practical session, you will learn to use five coaching techniques for your EFL classes to help empower your students to become more pro-active as language learners. These techniques are often used by coaches to help their clients achieve their goals and I have adapted them for use by non-coach EFL/ESL teachers who want to add a coaching angle to their work with students.
Rachel Playfair

Empowering learners through teacher training

In this talk the course director and a course participant will share their stories of how OxfordTEFL’s Dip TESOL helps teachers to empower their learners. They will offer some ideas for fostering learner independence through teacher research and reflection. They will also discuss how preparing this talk helped Nicky, the “learner” presenter, develop and feel empowered to do more talks in the future.
Nicholas Whitley
Nicola Meldrum

Self-esteem matters: owning your identity as an English speaker

Self-esteem. Self-confidence. Self-assertiveness. Self-efficacy. Self-acceptance. Self-concept. Self-image. Self-respect. Self. Ego. To kill the inner pessimist. To reclaim your identity. To own your English-speaking self. All these concepts participate in the journey of the English learner regardless of their competence. Improving your learner’s self-esteem, helping them identify and embrace who they are as English speakers will help them see themselves as competent language learners.
Maribel Ortega

Masterminding for Learner Coaching and Empowerment

A Mastermind group can be described as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” After years of being part of a successful Mastermind group myself, I’ve begun to use the same framework in my language coaching sessions. This has led to learners who have clearer goals and rely more on each other and less on the teacher to achieve them. In this workshop I’ll share the principles of masterminding, the framework I use, and we’ll hear from the learners who have used it to transform the way they learn English.
Claire Venables

The dos and don’ts of change management

Innovation automatically entails change. Change is often scary. Middle management – in ELT terms DOSes, centre managers, educational coordinators – are often left with the scary task of implementing change with little support or preparation. In this session I’ll be sharing my take on the 3 Cs of successful change management and how this relates specifically to ELT contexts.
Ceri Jones

Language Mentoring: Don’t Teach Me, Make Me Learn

After 10 years of trying to teach my students English, and after 16 years of learning 7 languages by myself, I’ve understood that students shouldn’t be taught – they need to learn by themselves. I took a 100 students at a university and told them about ways to learn their languages by themselves. What happened was incredible. They improved immensely in just 2 months, found a new passion for their languages and are now learning in a totally new way. Let me tell you more about this in my talk.
Lýdia Machová
Classroom tips

Together We Are Strong!

The workshop presents a snapshot from an inclusive class where the teacher aims to empower learners focusing on their ‘abilities’ and develop empathy among them. The lesson is based on the principles of psychodrama which does not separate any kind of learning from personal development. Thus, in the lesson learners will both use English creatively and try out how to support each other in life. The workshop also offers a chance for participants to experience being a learner in an inclusive lesson.
Aysen Cem Deger

Engaging Learners and Offering Real Choices in Reading Lessons

In this demonstration lesson we will consider how giving learners real choice in materials and approaches allows for reading lessons that are highly motivating and tailored to learner needs. We will consider how a task-based approach enables us to focus on the processes of learning and why this is useful. I will also argue that, through judicious choice of materials, we can bring the world into the class; political debate and challenging topics have an important role in engaging learners
Ben Nazer

Using short video to empower students

Feature films may be the benchmark for cinematic excellence, but today students can relate to short, authentic, online videos; this popular format also offers a range of benefits for them as learners of English. We will explore these benefits and outline best practices for exploiting short videos in class. We will also look at how to empowering students to use available technology to produce their own videos. Then, in the feedback session we will discuss in further detail.
Elena Merino

Concordances in the ELT classroom

How can we achieve the goal of shifting the classroom focus from teacher to learner? In this workshop, we will consider the potential for using corpora in the ELT classroom to facilitate learner autonomy. Specifically, we will look at how concordances may be used to help learners identify collocations, grammatical patterns and semantic prosody. The session will include user friendly concordance ideas to take away and will hopefully be beneficial to both teachers and learners.  
Philip Cardiff

Whiteboards: The Force Awakens. Board work tips for teachers

The board at the end of a class reflects the content of the lesson and influences what learners will take away with them. We need to make sure we’re providing them with useful and detailed information to help their understanding, note-taking and subsequent autonomous studying. This session will discuss how teachers use their non-interactive (white)boards and offer some practical tips for improving board work for the benefit of the learners.
Amy Blanchard

Digital learner support for Cambridge exams

This talk is aimed at teachers and learners of the Cambridge English suite of exams and aims to share practical ideas for how learners can develop their own autonomous learning skills. With close reference to the free digital support available to learners wishing to take the Cambridge exams, I discuss how it can be exploited to develop independent learning skills.
Kat Robb

Three ways to hand over pronunciation to your learners

We, teachers, tend to deal with every skill or system in a tedious, methodical way, sometimes following our course book, other times guided by years of experience teaching that particular item. My talk will show you that you can and should give your learners the tools necessary to allow them to “teach” themselves, improve outside the classroom, increase their motivation levels and spike their curiosity. The learners are in our same boat and our aim is to gear them so that we can relinquish the rudder and they still float, or rather, are happy to be in command and able to do so. Raising learner awareness, giving basic phonological insight calibrated to their comprehension capacity and introducing a steady use of educational games and technology in the classroom, all these can achieve the previously stated aim.
Oana Samoila

Integrating negotiation skills into student-centred classrooms for a 21st century education

In this workshop I will outline different ways of integrating negotiation theory, content and skills into language lessons. I will demonstrate techniques to adapt authentic content (from academic journals to clips from Games of Thrones) into student-centred activities which help learners develop both language proficiency and negotiation skills. Based on my experience I will discuss the impact of this CLIL approach on student motivation, achievement and 21st Century ELT approaches.
Colm Downes

Improv(e) your teaching: Improvisation/drama techniques to add pzazz to ELT

Want to try some experiential and heuristic learning? Fancy adding some spontaneity and creativity to your classes whilst encouraging some emergent language at the same time? Then this session is for you! Add to the mix the opportunity reflect on the learning process with other like-minded souls. You will try out improvisation and drama techniques in the session with other participants and will have some “ready mades” to take into your class next week.
Melody Philip