Postgraduate Lauren Perkins is an Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching student. With a group of fellow King’s students, she traveled to Scotland to attend the IATEFL conference (The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language), through funding from the Student Opportunity Fund.
King’s maintains a regular presence at this prestigious conference.What did you set out to achieve with your Student Opportunity Fund project? What was your inspiration?
As a group of students on the Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Masters programmes, the IATEFL Conference represented an amazing opportunity for professional, personal and academic development. During the first term, we studied the issues raised by gaps in the field between theory and practice. Our lecturers suggested that we attend the conference as an excellent way of bridging this gap. We were also looking for inspiration for our coursework as well as to keep abreast of current linguistic and pedagogical research. Without the Student Opportunity Fund, this wouldn’t have been possible.
Did the project change from its original plan as it took shape? Please describe any challenges as the project evolved:
We planned on attending as many talks as possible over the four days of the conference. To maximise this, we frequently split up and attended different presentations, before meeting up later to exchange notes. We were able to follow this plan and the whole thing went without a hitch.
What skills and learning experiences have you gained through the project?
Through attending the conference, we were able to gain a better understanding of best practice and contemporary language teaching methodologies. We were also able to meet key people in the field, put famous names to faces and interact with them to clarify issues. This enabled us to extend our interests and learn about new areas, as well as previously unexplored facets of familiar topics. In addition, we met researchers and teachers from all over the world, which was a great opportunity to share ideas and experiences, as well as networking to enhance future professional development.
How has your project enhanced the student academic experience at King’s?
We are sharing what we learned with our fellow students. We are planning a presentation to summarise some of the most interesting and relevant ideas and findings from the conference. We also actively encourage everyone to participate in conferences such as this, as we found it to be such a useful and valuable experience.
The Student Opportunity Fund closes on Friday 26th May 2017. Visit our website for more details.