Like most teachers, I am looking forward to my summer break. While this is partially due to the fact that I will no longer have to wake up before it’s light out, another reason I am looking forward to the end of the school year is because of all the awesome professional development opportunities that are happening over the summer. If I had my way I would attend every one of them, but since money is an issue and I actually want to have a bit of time to relax this summer, I have to pick only one. And boy, considering all the excellent choices out there, I am having a difficult time choosing where to go. In no particular order, here are the conferences I have read about recently that I am thinking about attending. Let me know what you think.
1. The National TPRS Conference, July 17-21, 2017. I have been using TPRS to some degree for a while now. I have attended two 1-day workshops, both with Blaine Ray, the creator of TPRS (who is the nicest guy in the universe) and one 3-day conference with Katya Paukova. I am at the point in my TPRS training where the training sessions given are too basic for me. Blaine Ray’s company gives training conferences all around the US but they are really for novices. I don’t consider myself to be a novice and probably won’t get much out of those anymore. And the only way to receive training at a higher level, according to Katya, is to go to the national conference.
Pros: It’s in a cool city, San Antonio, this year. I’m very excited by the fantastic teachers who plan to be there and will be giving workshops, like Jason Fritze, Karen Rowan, and Bryce Hedstrom. These are people that have taken TPRS and have become masters at it. I could learn so much from them. Plus, language classes will be given and I could very well start to learn another language! And the icing on the cake is that Bill Van Patten is the keynote speaker!
Cons: My teaching has evolved and I don’t do pure TPRS anymore. Plus, my nephew is getting married on July 22, 2017 and I’m not sure I want to be so jet-lagged that I can’t enjoy the wedding.
2. The International Forum on Language Teaching Conference, July 11-14, 2017. This conference addresses TPRS strategies as well as other comprehensible input methods. It will be held in Denver, Colorado. Colorado is known for being a place where comprehensible input thrives.
Pros: At this conference attendees get to observe teachers in action as they instruct classes. What a valuable experience for any teacher who wants to learn new ideas on what to do in the classroom! Additionally, everyone who I mentioned as presenters at the NTPRS conference will be presenting at this conference. Bill Van Patten will be speaking at this conference as well as Stephen Krashen. Language classes will be given at this conference also.
Cons: I would definitely want to go to the language classes at this conference, which cost extra. So that makes this conference rather pricey.
3. International TPRS Conference, July 24-29, 2017. Here is another TPRS conference. This one is held in Agen, France and it is the largest conference of its kind outside of the US.
Pros: It’s got a great reputation. Testimonials about how great this conference are numerous. And it’s in France. As a French teacher, shouldn’t I be spending time in France? This conference may be worth it just for the food alone!
Cons: Currently I can’t find much information about this conference. I don’t know which experts will be in attendance and have no idea currently how much money this conference will cost. And, as I’ve previously mentioned, my teaching has evolved so I don’t really do pure TPRS anymore.
4. Express Fluency Teacher Training, August 7-10, 2017. This is a TPRS/CI workshop in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Pros: It is a relatively local conference so I could drive there instead of having to fly, and I could probably stay with a friend that lives near there, both of which would save me some money. Also, some well-known TPRS/CI teachers will be there like Annabelle Allen and Grant Boulanger.
Cons: Brattleboro, Vermont is not exactly high on my list of places I’d like to visit.
5. TPRS Academy Trainer Prep Course for Experienced TPRS Teachers, June 25-29, 2017. This ia not really a conference but is training for TPRS teachers to train others in TPRS in Jamestown, RI. Upon completion of this course I can get a license as a certified TPRS trainer. I won’t really learn any TPRS techniques but will learn how to set up and conduct training sessions myself.
Pros: I would very much like to train others in TPRS. I have been told that I am a very good presenter and I would very much like to bring TPRS/CI language teaching into the area, where we don’t really have many language teachers using this approach. This is very close to home so I won’t have to play for a flight. And it is in a beautiful location right on the ocean!
Cons: I don’t know if I qualify as being an “experienced” TPRS teacher. I’m still learning and worry that it might be a bit premature for me to think that I have the necessary skills to train someone else. Also, the program fees included lodging, which I don’t need since I live so close, but a conference-only option is not available.
6. CI Liftoff Cascadia Conference, June 26-June 30, 2017. One of the organizers of this conference is a woman that I have been Facebook friends with for a little while now. Her posts about teaching with comprehensible input have been very informative and helpful. The other organizer is the author of two of the TPRS/CI books that I have recently puchased. This conference is held in Portland, Oregon and offers training in many CI techniques.
Pros: Stephen Krashen will be speaking there. Beniko Mason will be there. Ben Slavic will be offering coaching. Also, I have always wanted to visit Portland and the conference organizers are including Portland specialties in the breakfast and lunch menus.
Cons: If I lived near Portland, Oregon and didn’t have to pay for a hotel and flight this one would be high on my list. But since I would have to pay for lodging and airfare, I am hesitant to participate in this conference since it’s the first year. I’m not sure I want to be part of someone’s beta test since I’d have to pay so much money to attend and will wait until next year once I’ve read what others have to say about it.
Many of these programs have early-bird registration specials, so I better make up my mind soon or I am going to have to pay more money than I’d like to for one of these conferences! Decisions, decisions!