The 19th annual English Language Teaching Conference organized by the Centre for Preparatory Studies at Sultan Qaboos University commenced at the on Thursday, 11 April 2019 under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Said Hamed Al Rubaiee, Secretary General of the Education Council. This year’s theme of the conference is “Innovative Approaches to English Language Teaching and Learning”. In two days, the conference will showcase current research projects, and demonstrate innovative approaches to classroom and on line teaching and learning.
As many as 500 participants are attending the conference. The plenary speakers include Dr. Adam Biscoe, director of Higher Quality Management, Dr. Richard Smith from the University of Warwick in the UK, and Dr. Dudley Reynolds, Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar. Each will contribute to this year’s theme from a unique perspective and through their wide-ranging experiences in the ELT field.
The conference is a great opportunity for teachers and administrators from different sectors and nationalities to come together to share their challenges and innovative ideas with one another. There will be 87 presentations and 24 workshops by ELT professionals from SQU and other academic and professional institutions in Oman and abroad. There will also be 4 certified workshops and 12 exhibitors from leading ELT institutions and publishers, including the British Council, Majan University College, and Macmillian Education & Express Publishing.
With nearly 150 staff and student volunteers on hand, this year’s conference is sure to be a great success. Over the years, the conference has welcomed English language teaching professionals from the region and further afield, attracting an increasing number of delegates from a variety of institutions.
Addressing the conference participants virtually during the opening of the conference, Hon. Dr. Badria Ibrahim Al Shihi, Director of the Centre of Preparatory Studies, highlighted the importance of the conference theme this year. “How we train the young minds to think decides their future. We do not want to limit our students to our own learning, instead we want to give them the liberty to think, learn and grow in their own unique way. The innovations in the field of education are not just affecting teachers but the learners too. The most popular and innovative ideas in the field doing the rounds currently are – blended learning and flipped classrooms both of which involve the use of technology. Our young learners are not only tech-savvy but interact and function with technology much more easily than many of us. Any innovative approach should cater to students’ educational needs and enhance the experience of teaching and learning in general”, she said.
Dr. Anfal Al Wahaibi, Standing Member of Central Research & Conference Committee, said that this year’s conference aims to be relevant to the fast changing context of ELT and to provide opportunities for reflection to act as a facilitator for exploring innovative ways of thinking about teaching in the field of ELT. “The theme: “Innovative Approaches to English Language Teaching and Learning”, invites us to share best practices, to promote learner autonomy and to consider strategies to encourage engagement for all stakeholders in ELT. The theme can be explored via practical, theoretical or research strands”, she said.