The picture of a boat going across a bridge over the Garonne River seems like a good image of the strange journey we have undertaken.
All the members of the Agen Workshop team are grateful for the patience our fans have shown while we tried to figure out how to plan a conference which will be very different from the one we wanted to offer. We want to thank Karen Rowan who convinced me that it could be possible for Agen to go on-line. I want to thank Lillian Stirling who has ridden the roller coaster with me and managed to be both encouraging and sensible. Robert Harrell gave me some frank and much needed advice. And I particularly want to thank all the patient souls who had been looking forward to a wonderful time in Agen this summer who will now have to wait until July 2021. Their kind acceptance of this unforeseen and unimaginable situation helped me to keep my sanity and motivated me to find a way to at least give them a taste of what could have been.
The silver lining to all this is that now people who have been saying, “I wish I could go to Agen one day” can come to us through the magic of the internet. We are making changes in order to adapt to the format so that our participants, who live all around the globe, will follow a maximum of live sessions without spending six hours a day in front of the screen. We also hope to give you a little taste of Agen, a little town in the country beside the Garonne River, where people play rugby, eat potted duck, drink good wine and enjoy life.
We have moved the Language Labs to the week of July 20th to July 24th. We are offering Mandarin with Annick Chen, French for mixed levels with Sabrina Sebban-Janczak and Daniel Kline Dubois who will be team teaching a mixed level class , Elementary Spanish for Beginners with Jason Fritze followed by a second hour with Jason teaching young Heritage Learners, Advanced Spanish for Teachers with Adriana Ramirez, Arabic with Fadi Abughoush, English for Beginners with Tamara Galvan and Advanced English with Sule Yilmaz who will be teaching the novel Holes. On the registration form we ask you to choose a language for the first session. Teachers who wish to move from one session to another in order to see different teaching techniques and styles can do so, but we need to know how to organize the classes for the first day.
During the week of July 27th to July 31st, we are offering a wide variety of presentations and round tables. There are some wonderful people who you have heard of before, such as Laurie Clarcq, Jim Tripp, Michele Whaley, Robert Harrell, Karen Rowan, Cécile Lainé, Anna Gilcher, Dahiana Castro, Scott Benedict, Teri Wiechart, Diane Neubauer and others. But there are others who you may not have seen on the other side of the Atlantic. Normally you have to come to Agen, France to meet Alice Ayel, Hélène Colinet, Liam Printer, Kathrin Shechtman, Margarita Perez Garcia, Jayne Cooke, Carol Bausor, Pilar Reyes Sierra, César Gonzalez Paso and Janique Vanderstocken. For many years now teachers around the world have been discovering Krashen’s principles and the teachers who have applied his ideas to the classroom. The Agen Workshop has always been special because it allowed teachers from very different horizons to become good friends. A hundred people came together and spent a week together in a little town in southwest France, learning together but also eating together and partying together, sharing their ideas, their experience, their stories and their passion for teaching. Our challenge as we go on-line will be to try to encourage the same informal conversations that were so important for everyone. We hope to do so by organizing more Round Tables and Break out rooms, where you can listen, exchange ideas and ask questions. We also hope to integrate in each presentation a few tips and tricks about teaching on-line.
The conference finished on July 31st and the feedback I have received is very enthusiastic. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to its success. It is still possible to gain access to the recorded sessions on the Fluency Fast website.