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Make the most out of a conference: activating professional knowledge 馃榿

Updated: May 24, 2020

I've been planning to write this post for ages but the end of the school year was so busy that I couldn't get round to it 馃槬 But here I am !! 馃帀 馃帀

This post is a little bit different than my usual stuff. There'll be no velcro, no tape, no laminating involved 馃槄 It's all about professional development! And what's the best part of professional development? CONFERENCES!!

I've attended many conferences this last 5 years. I have one that will forever be my favourite: IATEFL Conference. It's an annual event, taking place in a different British city each year. So far I've attended 3 and boy have I learnt a lot! But here's the thing: I only learnt a lot from conference number 2 and conference number 3. I literally have no recollection of my first IATEFL conference and it is not because the parties were so good 馃槤 It's because, as silly as it may sound, I didn't know how to attend a conference.

So in this post I'd like to share with you what I've changed after conference number one. Now, it is basically what I do every time I attend a conference 馃槉

Take notes

I know, I know ... for some of you it may seem obvious but it wasn't for me. I though "if something is interesting I will remember it, surely!". Well, on day 3 of the conference I could barely remember what my name was after the amount of information that I was fed.

How you take your notes is up to you. I really dislike handwriting anything so I now when I go to a conference I have my laptop with me (it's tiny and weighs close to nothing).

Don't write down everything the speaker says. I've seen so many people taking notes like there would be a test coming up! What I've learnt is to take notes specifically for yourself. What I mean is, if I hear something interesting but I know I can't use it, I don't make a note of it; if I hear something that I know will work in my classroom, I write it down and make a note of what student/class to use it with.

If an interesting website is mentioned I immediately google it and save it in my tabs to look at later. That's one of the perks of note taking on your computer, by the way.

Very often something that's being said doesn't specifically work for my classroom but it might inspire me and I get a totally unrelated idea of what to do when I go back to work. I write this thought down immediately!

Stop taking photos of slides

Seriously ... just ... don't 馃槓 I don't know about you, but I have NEVER looked back at the 100 photos I took on that conference ...