Thoughts about Agen conference:
My overwhelming sense is of gratitude that I got to be there. It was wonderful to see European TPRS teachers, who were usually alone in their school or sometimes even country, find other like-minded teachers. Hearing from internationally-known professionals (Stephen Krashen and Beniko Mason Nanki, in addition to several well-known language teacher-trainers) in a setting in which participants could really interact directly with them was a rare opportunity. I also got to meet several people I have known for years online!
I chose to participate in a language class all week, so I missed the chance to watch other teachers in their classrooms. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a student. Many of my greatest take-aways from the conference relate to being a language student: ways in which to make language meaning clear, engaging all students, using student jobs, and personalizing content. I also was able to speak in understandable sentences in French for the first time. That was wonderful.
Sessions in the afternoons were a nice mix of theoretical and practical. I heard some of each kind of presentation, and gave some of my own presentations that varied between theoretical overview & practical strategies. I also enjoyed sitting in on coaching sessions in which other teachers tried out new approaches or worked on familiar approaches.
The charm of being in Agen, with its beautiful, walkable downtown, wonderful restaurants, and old buildings, was wonderful. I’d never been in France before, so I was experiencing firsthand some of what I’ve heard people rave about: great food, beautiful surroundings, and warm social interaction. I really enjoyed spending time with colleagues from around the world over meals. Connecting in person, then staying in contact through the school year, can help us a lot.
~ Diane Neubauer