Annual Conference 2021 “Teaching Resilience” – Q&A with Katharine Carruthers

Today we are speaking to Katharine Carruthers (KC), the IOE Confucius Institute Director & UCL Pro-Vice-Provost for East Asia, about the upcoming Annual Conference. We are also pleased to be able to share the programme for this year’s conference!

Q: Katharine, how do you feel about the prospect of being able to see everyone at the conference this year? How do you think this year’s conference will be different?

KC: We hope very much to be able to see everyone face to face at the IOE for the conference this year. We still, at the time of speaking, have to wait a little while longer before we can confirm that, but assuming it happens, it will be a terrific opportunity to bring our network of teachers together, after what will have been over 2 years since the last time we gathered at the IOE. So I expect this year’s conference will be even more lively and even more engaging than ever. I am looking forward to it very much indeed and think it will be a terrific start to the new academic year.  

We are also delighted to be having a pre-conference online seminar on Friday 10th September too, with Andrew Scrimgeour- lecturer on Chinese language teaching, pedagogy and curriculum design at the University of South Australia. He co-authored “Teaching Chinese as a Second Language: the way of the learner” with Jane Orton whom regular conference attendees will remember speaking so eloquently at our conference in 2019, and we are greatly looking forward to the insight and food-for-thought that Andrew will generate.

Q: Which part of the conference are you looking forward to the most?

KC: This is a very hard question, as I enjoy all aspects of the conference. I guess seeing teachers is the most exciting thing, but we have had some great proposals for workshops and Philippa, our Teacher Training Coordinator who manages the conference, has been working with each and every speaker to ensure that you as delegates have an excellent experience at the workshops. I am looking forward to a very busy day on Saturday September 11th and to it being a thought-provoking start to the new academic year.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the opening plenary for this year’s conference?

KC: The opening plenary is always a good opportunity for us to share new initiatives and plans with you and we shall hope to do just that – we have a lot of interesting ideas to present and to ask your advice about. We shall, of course, want to introduce you to the new director of the IOE, Professor Li Wei, who is a staunch supporter of our work. We will also introduce you to UCL’s new President and Provost, Dr Michael Spence who is a fluent Chinese speaker and really interested in Chinese teaching in schools. Other senior colleagues from the Chinese Embassy and from the Department for Education and the British Council will be joining us too  and will be there to take your questions and talk to you before and after the plenary. Arrangements for this will be available in due course.

Q: Looking at the conference programme this year, what are the main ideas being covered in this year’s conference?

KC: The ideas round this year’s conference are:

To look at the state of the field and to consider how we can develop – particularly around assessment and teacher-led classroom enquiry with respect to curriculum and pedagogy. Our workshops will reflect on the tremendous amount that we have all learned/had to learn during the pandemic about online teaching and learning and what lessons we can take from that for the future for our teaching and for our students. Schools and teachers and learners have demonstrated remarkable resilience in the last 15 months; how can independent autonomous learning be best supported to continue? We have a huge variety of workshops, covering all the range of our usual topics, but this question will underpin them all.

Thank you, Katharine!

Click below to see the conference programme, and don’t forget, tickets will be going on sale soon!

Annual Conference 2021 Programme, Saturday 11th September 2021 (click to enlarge)