Two days in Brussels, the first ‘Image’ conference that I’ve had the chance to attend and I return home with educational batteries recharged, perhaps also feeling a bit physically and certainly mentally drained! But I don’t think I have ever attended such an event that has felt like it fitted me quite so well.
The thrust of the conference content is focussed on the role of imagery, in its various forms, and how it can be integrated into the language classroom. Most of those present seemed to be language teachers who were enthusiastic about art, film or photography. I arrived kind of from the other direction, an art teacher with a rather heightened interest in language.
Added to this there was an extra strand of presentations relating to refugees and immigration, a subject that I also explore in some of my lessons.
Highlights? Too many to name, but my colleague and I return with plans to place the medium of film more centrally into our schools teaching. Also extensive resources for the language classroom relating to refugees and other pressing world issues. Further there were keynote presentations relating to the use of art in the classroom setting for purposes of narrative and cultural identity and reasons to celebrate multilingualism in the classroom.
I’m sure that in the coming months elements of what I have seen and heard will find their way into my own lessons and maybe also onto my blog. My only regret really is that this relatively small conference doesn’t have a wider public. From my own perspective as a bilingual educator in the Netherlands absolutely everything I have participated in in Brussels this weekend is utterly relevant and useful to the Dutch bilingual context. It is such a pity that only me and my colleague were representatives of this particular educational stream.
So when and where is the next ‘Image’ conference? Well that is as soon as the spring of 2020……what will make it a little more difficult for me is that it is in Vancouver, Canada! Although for the North American readers of my blog it could very well be of interest. The conference after that? Well, I hear whispers that it may be the UK, a chance to take a few more of my Dutch colleagues perhaps.