Because of the pandemic, the Agen Workshop 2020 is being moved on-line. Those who have already registered will be able to attend both the on-line 2020 conference and the physical conference in Agen in 2021. We will be opening registration for new-comers to the on-line conference by Wednesday, May 20th and will announce prices shortly. As you can imagine, there is a lot to do, a lot of questions to answer and decisions to be made. Please be patient with us because part of the charm of Agen has always been that we are a small operation and suddenly we are being asked to up-grade in ways we had not foreseen. Just like teachers around the world are doing. To be honest, until last week we were still hoping that it would be possible to see so many old friends back in Agen by the end of July, so we were not really considering the possibility of going on-line. Here is the message which we sent out last week:
First of all, I want to thank all of you for your kind patience as I have been struggling to try to understand the current situation and foresee the future decisions of governments, medical experts and transporters. I felt like a fortune teller with a very cloudy crystal ball. I was amazed to receive so few inquiries from you, which I could only interpret as silent support, imagining that you, like me, had your fingers crossed and were praying for a miracle that this conference would happen.
Today I have both bad news and good news. My final decision was based on the fact that if one hundred people came to Agen and only one of them got seriously ill, it would not be acceptable. I do not want to endanger anyone or be responsible for their suffering. Even though Agen has been extremely fortunate compared with other parts of the country, people coming into the area could bring the virus with them without knowing it. So, I feel forced to cancel the conference for this summer.
The good news is that I am now working with Karen Rowan, Scott Benedict, Robert Harrell and others of our team to plan how to go on-line and have a virtual conference. Those of you who have registered and paid for the Agen Workshop 2020 are automatically registered for 2021 and will have access to the on-line conference of 2020 free of charge. Your children and family members can also enroll in the language classes free of charge, as they have done in the past in Agen.
It is still early days, but our goal is to create an on-line conference that has the relaxed and intimate feeling that made Agen so different from other conferences. We also want to feature teachers and presenters that are not often seen elsewhere. Currently we are thinking along the lines of a first week of language classes to model a variety of Comprehensible Input strategies as well as incorporating techniques that can be used in on-line classes. This would be the week of July 20th-July 24th. During the week of July 27th-31st there would be live presentations, coaching and round tables, along with times to chat with colleagues and share thoughts, ideas and questions. Those of you who have already been to Agen know how important the long, relaxed lunch hours with good food and good company were. We want to preserve that as much as we can. This is why the live sessions will be scheduled during half a day so that they can be accessible to everyone at a fairly reasonable hour, whether you are in Europe, the States or Asia. They will also be recorded so that you can watch them at your leisure. We don’t want people sitting in front of a screen for eight hours, five days in a row, or getting up at three in the morning to see a presentation. That wouldn’t do in Agen, would it?
So this is my news. I’m looking forward to your ideas and suggestions. Some of you may have hesitated to make a proposal for a presentation because of the doubtful situation. Please, if you think you have something to present to other teachers, contact me directly and I will send you a proposal form. We are very fluid and the on-line format will allow us to adapt.
I am also in the process of contacting some old favorites and new stars who were, for various reasons, unable to commit to coming to France this year, and may be prepared to do something on-line for us.
Please stay safe,
Virtual hugs for all of you,