The third annual symposium “ELT in a Connected World” was lauded by participants from various parts of the world when it was broadcast from the English Language Center (ELC), University of Technology and Applied Sciences – Salalah College of Technology on March 18, 2021.
The third edition of the symposium was officially opened by Mr. Saeed Al-Mashikhi, Head of the ELC. He welcomed the participants, researchers, and research papers owners. He explained the necessity for this symposium to be conducted virtually, for the first time, due to social distancing measures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The activities sponsored by the symposium varied from topics as diverse as research papers to more structurally-based virtual gatherings, such as workshops and scientific posters. The symposium convened together researchers, teachers, authors published in ELT, and specialists in the field of educational and academic curricula from both inside and outside the Sultanate. Accordingly, all of these elements formed the basis of the slogan for the symposium this year which was "ELT in a Connected World".
Several prominent speakers engaged in the theory and practice of teaching English, from a wide range of countries and contexts, including some emanating from Oman, participated in the symposium. The plenary speaker was Scott Thornbury, ELT lecturer and trainer, author, and award-winning researcher from New Zealand. The three keynote speakers at the symposium included Jonathan Hadley, teacher, trainer and advisor at Macmillan Education- an educational conglomerate publisher and multimedia company from the United Kingdom; Chris Farrell, Head of Training and Development for CES Group Ireland; and John Hughes, presenter and trainer working at Oxford University and composer of the award-winning written content in many different forums and spanning an array of editorial contexts from the National Geographic Learning.
Mr. Thornbury discussed the notion of returning to what is conventionally referred to as “the old normal” in education, the challenges that teachers face in teaching in the current environment, and the differences that are spotlighted when future circumstances may merit returning to the real time classroom.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hadley highlighted his personal experience over the past 20 years in teaching English, along with his insights on many aspects of English language teaching, including important issues that should be addressed, contemporary challenges that should be confronted, and possible future developments, from his perspective, that should be taken into account.
As for Mr. Farrell, he provided his own perspective on the burgeoning number of English language courses that are taught over the internet and the current state of the general field of education in all its various forms and contexts around the world.
In his research paper, Mr. Hughes, on the other hand, touched upon the dimension of critical and creative thinking in teaching English. He focused on critical thinking, writing materials and designing training courses using technology, and their implications for teachers, curriculum and examination developers.
The effective contributions in the symposium, offered by researchers and educational specialists from multiple outposts around the globe, were academically expansive yet distinctive and diverse when considered together, with the participation of a large virtual audience interested in ELT.
The success of the said symposium was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the ELC organizing committee headed by Ms. Huda Al-Huraibi and Ms. Muna Kashoob.