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Exploring spontaneity in the ELT classroom, 2 Nov 2019


Research SIG

Event place

Haldane Room, Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford, UK

About this event

The event will take place from 09.30-16.30.


Planning lessons is a well-known preoccupation in ELT. Yet teachers also realize that much of what is best in the class happens spontaneously in response to the moment. While spontaneity is everywhere in our daily practice, yet it has no discourse, is not researched, and remains an unobserved skill in teacher development. How can we open to the potential spontaneity that is in each moment?

We propose that a vital part of enacting any plan with professional artistry lies in developing the human creative capacity for spontaneity. We hope this conference will put spontaneity on the ELT map, so we can get better at inquiring into spontaneity and allowing it into learning, teaching, training and supervision.  


The activities of the day will start from participant experience of spontaneity, through recall, reflection on prior critical incidents, and through activities evoking relevant spontaneity and its observation during the day. At the same time, we will explore different inquiry tools for capturing such experience. We aim to develop a discourse of spontaneity in ELT, and a methodology for researching it. 

Activities will include:

  • Sharing ‘critical incidents’ and how we responded to them. Reliving such incidents with different outcomes. Use of participating actors …
  • Case studies and brainstorming of triggers and constraints to spontaneity
  • Exploring research methodologies and techniques for the investigation of spontaneous moments in teaching
  • Four actors participating in the day will improvise different responses to scenarios with the guidance of the audience 


  • To develop understanding of the role of spontaneity in learning and teaching
  • To see whether and how this human attribute can be learnt/developed within language teaching contexts

·         To offer tools that enable these untracked moments in a teacher’s craft to be seen and researched. 

Pre-conference preparation: Potential participants are invited to submit a 250-abstract outlining their contribution to the day. The abstract should focus on an object, text or image representing a spontaneous moment or critical incident relating to spontaneity in your teaching and provide a short explanation of how this artefact relates to your experience of spontaneity. Please bring this artefact or a physical representation of it to the seminar. We also invite participants to follow up after the event with a joint or individual report on the day from the perspective of teacher/learner/or researcher. If participants need an official letter of acceptance, then we can provide this for institutions.

Find out more here

Your booking is not confirmed until full payment has been received.

All booking fees are set in GBP Sterling. 

All booking fees are set in GBP Sterling.

IATEFL reserves the right to cancel an event at its sole discretion. Please note that if the event is cancelled by IATEFL we will be unable to reimburse you for travel and other associated costs related to the event. In the event of the cancellation of an event, IATEFL will endeavour to contact all attendees wherever possible, through contact details given at the time of booking. We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance to cover any cancellation charges or losses that may occur. Cancellations of bookings before 20 Aug 2019 will incur a 50% cancellation charge. Cancellations of bookings after this date will not be refunded. All bank charges must be paid by the delegate.

Event dates

Event date(s)
2 Nov 2019
Online booking opens on
4 Dec 2018
Online booking closes on
21 Oct 2019
Cancellation deadline
20 Aug 2019

Event fees

Booking fees
  • IATEFL member - £90.00
  • IATEFL ReSIG member - £80.00
  • Non member - £100.00