FM-iFLT is Back!
By: Andrea Schweitzer
FM-iFLT is back! After not having this opportunity in 2020, it felt all the more exciting yesterday morning to dive into the long-awaited iFLT 2021. What stuck out most of all to me was the courteous tone set by Carol Gaab in her opening remarks. She acknowledged that iFLT is a place that promotes ALL Acquisition-driven approaches and ideas… that we all come together from different backgrounds, experiences and understandings… that because of that, throughout the conference there may be some things that we agree with and some that we don’t. Therefore, we were reminded that, “In essentials, unity; in differences, liberty; in all things, grace [charity].” – Philipp Melanchthon by way of Robert Harrell. The big essentials that we agree upon come from the research, the key ingredient being comprehensible input. That is our compass and in that we find unity. Lastly she pointed out that “learning and change rarely take place in a hostile environment.” Thus, we stay focused on what unites us and act with charity in those moments where we perhaps don’t see eye-to-eye. That is how we can learn and grow from one another.
Speaking of learning and growing, it’s exciting to glance through endless opportunities in Whova that we have ahead for us this week. From customized cohorts to meet each of us where we are on this Acquisition-driven instruction journey (each anchored with the finest teacher-coaches around)… to the variety of language labs (and the dynamic teachers leading them)… to the diverse offerings of content-specific sessions in the afternoons (and all of the generous presenters sharing their unique ideas with us)… to Room 10 being open all day for tech support, coaching, social meet-ups, etc. It is such a relief to know that if you’re wanting to attend conflicting sessions occurring during the same time frame, that you can pick one and still watch the video of the other one later on over the next 90 days… or, that you can go back and rewatch a session that you really liked! I guess that’s the bonus of it being virtual this year.
Regardless, make a plan so you can maximize every minute of iFLT 2021. Use the Whova app agenda to select your sessions in advance so it can keep you organized. Participate in the networking opportunities while boosting your points on the Leaderboard! Don’t miss out on the 12:30p ET surprise announcement in Room 10 on Tuesday. Connect with other teachers of the same language during the language lunches at 1:00p ET on Wednesday. Set up group chat meet-ups through Room 10 break out rooms to carry on conversations that were sparked in your cohort or afternoon sessions. Make time to be coached! Coaching is one of the best places to really put new ideas into practice while they’re fresh in your mind. Most of all, may this week be just what we all need–after the exhausting past year–to get us inspired, motivated and excited about the fresh new school year ahead.