In January, keynote speakers Elizabeth Allen and Beth Puma were welcomed to Taipei European School (TES), Taiwan, to present on a wide range of hot topics concerning English language learners and current models of best practice. With over 35 delegates from across the network in attendance for a two-day conference, there were ample opportunities for discussion and sharing of best practice. Everyone was delighted to engage face-to-face once again and build connections with fellow educators.

Head of the International Foundation Programme at the University of Bristol, Elizabeth Allen, presented on the first day of the conference with a key message of Building on What Students Already Know, including principles of language acquisition, the role and place of translation and how we can develop students’ academic writing skills across both the primary and secondary age groups. A particular highlight for attendees was the workshop on the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) on academic writing, examining not only the shockwaves this is having on primary, secondary and tertiary education, but also ways we as teachers can leverage its potential to aid students and our own practice. Delegates enjoyed practical demonstrations of its potential and had the opportunity to explore and discuss further in their own school context.

Our second day, we welcomed Beth Puma, EAL specialist, coach and consultant. She invited delegates to reflect on their own practice and consider how Additive Bilingualism and Learner Agency are viewed in our schools and ways in which we can strengthen our own pedagogical approach. It was fascinating to delve more deeply into students’ asset maps and explore how those strengths can be leveraged in the classroom. Through group activities and discussion, delegates considered ways many of the great resources shared by Beth will have both immediate and longer-term impact on language learners of all ages.

A strength of FOBISIA Jaws events is the opportunity for attendees to share their own best practice at the delegate workshops. Special thanks to the team from British International School, HCMC, and the EAL team from TES for preparing such engaging content – there truly was something for everyone.

It was a pleasure to welcome our keynote speakers and such a diverse, enthusiastic cohort of educators to TES and we keenly look forward to cementing the connections made across FOBISIA in the coming weeks and months.