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Last update: 27/05/2012


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The January Event 2008

Click here to see the programme and joining instructions given before the event.

Click here to read John Bald's account of the morning.

What a lovely morning we had in each other's company!  Yet another truly inspiring (yes, truly!) set of speakers: Sara Sullivan, Wendy Adeniji and Jen Sutton.

Many thanks to loads of people, but especially to our speakers, to the LSE for hosting us (Nick, Inés,  Mike and the lovely man at reception), to the corporate sponsors who contributed to our coffee & biscuits (Advance Materials + The Language Factory), to CILT/Comenius (personified by Kathryn!) who always provide really useful info, and to the committee for doing whatever Helen told them to do! (Especially Kathleen and Monna who sorted out registration and finance).   And of-course, thanks to the 120 or so who attended and created such a lovely, positive atmosphere

Here's some 'evidence' of  what we were up to uploaded at 7.55 pm on the same day.  More photos to come which will feature our fantastic speakers, Sara Sullivan, Wendy Adeniji and Jen Sutton.

As always, if anyone would rather not be featured on this page, or you don't like the gushing captions (I'd understand .. just can't help it!..I know there are far too many exclamation marks!) ...just let Helen know and she'll remove you / the comment straight away .. she won't ask questions!  Also, if you have photos, please mail them to her.

Kathryn  - offering great support (and posters)  from Comenius / CILT Stéphane and Sarah offering great coffee and biscuits provided by the super efficient SANDS catering!  (Thanks Louisa!) A chance to look at the corporate member stands before the event begins.
Olivier, our friendly photographer & questionnaire processor!  Thanks Olivier!   Catherine - our latest corporate member recruit. Joe Dale's in the building again!  A real bonus to have you with us,  Joe!
A happy delegate! Danièle i/c ICT (thanks to Mike Betts for training us up!) Lovely to meet people for 'real' having met so many of you virtually!  You know who you are!
Kathleen and Monna do a great job on registration.  We were delighted to welcome 6 new ALL members. Jen deep in conversation with Vivienne. Peter i/c certificates + badges!
The certificates!  (All signed individually by the Chair as she couldn't locate her electronic signature! (A bit worrying really!) Thanks to Advance Materials - one of our corporate sponsors.
Stéphane and Sarah keep going! Kathryn poses for us! Thanks to Language Factory - one of our corporate sponsors.
A Gallic gesture from Catherine! Literature from ALL
Vivienne Pixner - 92, and still passionate about languages!

Jen, somewhat younger, but sharing the passion!

Peter closer up! And still they keep coming ...
Danièle, camera always at the ready! Very special guest - Juliet all the way from AUSTRALIA!!!  Sitting next to Helen's Second Life friend! Leanne mingles and enthuses!
.. a second coffee break with Sarah and Stéphane.  Delighted to  have Glynis with us, as animated as ever!
Do I really look like this?!!  Heather McGuiness on the right .. VIP in Routes into Languages! Time to relax after the very swift AGM!  Joe captures it all!
I'm still trying to get a decent photo of Nick, our newly-elected Vice Chair! better? ..... best!!  (This one is being sent to Camilla!)
Time for a private tutorial with Joe on podcasting. Joe + disciples.  (The third is taking the photo!)


Some nice comments we've received within hours of the event ..!

Just wanted to thank you and your team for an inspiring conference this morning. I too have seen Wendy a few times and each time I come away with a new idea. I even had the chance to talk to Joe about digital recordings of GCSE examinations, which I asked you about a few weeks ago.
Merci encore


I just wanted to say a big thank you  to all of you for organising the conference, it was a success, I enjoyed it all. It was really nice to meet people we correspond with on the forum.

Thank you for your support.



Great day today !!!
Thanks to everyone.


Thank you for organising a wonderfully stimulating day. As I often say, I am
so glad my job is also my hobby - it makes life so much easier


I attended the event yesterday and my drive up from Bath was very well worth
it! The speakers I heard were both top-notch with some really practical and
achievable pieces of advice - nothing I felt was fantasy land.

Thanks so much to the London committee for organising such an enjoyable and
stimulating morning - and full marks to LSE for providing the facilities.



Here's an article written by John Bald who has captured the morning with journalistic flair!  Thanks for writing this John!


 “I got more out of this for £10 than from a course I went on last week that cost £195. I always go back with a new thing to try – the value for money is excellent.”

This was a typical response to another tremendous effort from Helen Myers, the London Committee, and speakers Sara Sullivan, Jen Sutton and Wendy Adeniji. 120 teachers came from far and wide – Preston, the Isle of Wight and even Australia, to listen to colleagues present work that had walked the talk and offer their contributions to tackling the crisis facing the subject.

Sara Sullivan, of Woodlands School, Basildon, summarised the reasons – perfectly valid reasons – why pupils do not like languages, and then presented her alternative – “Making them love it”. Sara’s mix involves getting as many pupils as possible to the country whose language they’re studying, theatre and drama groups, humorous competitions, organising praise, bringing in successful ex-pupils, snappy starters, beginning the GCSE course in KS3, having Year 9 pupils help in primary schools, and organising GCSE work so that no new material is presented after Christmas in Year 11.

Jen Sutton, of Davenant Foundation School, had been using the school version of Michel Thomas’s Spanish course with adults. Her presentation went straight into two of Thomas’s main strengths – his ability to get students constructing accurate sentences from the outset, and his use of common features between the student’s own language and the new language to build vocabulary without having to learn completely new words. This had an immediate appeal to those of us who were new to Spanish, as we could all understand what we were doing from the outset. Jen’s talk also brought out the compromises that have been made in adapting Thomas’s ideas to the classroom – he didn’t use writing, for example, and the National Curriculum requires it – and we await the results of current trials. Her own initial experience was positive, with a 75% retention rate in the adult class, and appreciative comments from Y11 pupils who had used the techniques. I’ve posted notes of my meetings with Michel Thomas on, with a Guardian piece written after his BBC2 demonstration lessons in 1997. Comments and further ideas welcome.

Independent consultant Wendy Adeniji’s presentation on whiteboards was down to earth and practical, both in her clear explanations of how to do it, and in her analysis of the IWB’s contribution to learning, for example, in making it easier for pupils to see the links and differences between written and spoken language. New ideas for me included’s software that lets you record video streams from the internet for around £50, and internet searches in the foreign language – fumer, for example – that quickly locate relevant material. Wendy even suggested going into European sites, such as (and .es, and .de) to get round blocks that are sometimes placed on internet access. More from Wendy on


Further photos from Danièle: