What a rush! I’m now in Santiago do Chile for the 2-day 9th IATEFL conference and only now got a free moment to report on the week in Brasilia (from July 7th to 11th).
Got there Friday evening (7th) and Isa Peixoto, who kindly offered to host me for the whole week, came to fetch me at the airport. Jose Antonio, who was at the exit door organizing the van service, told me Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel were also there to meet me. It was much fun to get together. Photos here.
On Saturday afternoon, we held our first pre-convention SIG meeting. Leo Van Lier, introduced the work he is developing with CALL and project based language learning at the Monterey Institute, Almerinda Garibaldi gave us an overview of how the Centro Interescolar de Lìnguas of Taguatinga came into being and introduced the IEARN project while Carla and Erika showed some practical activities they have conducted in Casa Thomas Jefferson with their students based on the IEARN project and other ICT tools. It was an interesting afternoon of exchanges and meeting other teachers from all over Brazil. This was followed by the opening ceremony with Telma Gimenez in the conference hall. You can find more details at the British Council site, who did not measure efforts (Julian and team, you were fantastic!) to cover the event recording the main presentations on video and interviewing people on the spot.
As I mentioned on the forum, this was the first time I attended and presented at a Braz-Tesol event and was impressed by the quality and variety of workshops and plenaries. I was particularly interested in meeting and talking to teachers from other schools and realities, something we do not have the opportunity to do in most events, which remained closed inside themselves.
On Wednesday, I went to the Centro Interescolar de Lìnguas (Elefante Branco) with Leo van Lier and Melvia Haussman (American Embassy) to see the premises and meet the coordinators. What I loved about it is that they give the opportunity for state school children to study Spanish, French and English with some of the best teachers around at almost no cost. Unfortunately, the ICT area is not much developed (only 4 computers) and most teachers do not know how to use it and consequently have not yet implemented it in their classes. IN the afternoon, Isabel Teixeira drove me to Taguatinga to visit the CILT where she and Almerinda work. I had a nice conversation with the French coordinator.
I talked about networks and communities of practice and also extended it to the Spanish and French departments. I promised to put them in contact with Jean Michel Chaupart who is trying to assemble teachers of French in Latin America and the Caribbean.