Virtual International ELT Web Conference

1st International Virtual ELT Web conference is one of the lofty initiatives of  the ELC Professional Development Committee of UTAS-Ibri. The SPD committee organized its first internatual virtual ELT conference on Wednesday, 8 July 2020. The practice gained momentum and now has gained a strong foothold in the world of English Llanguage Teaching. The general theme was "The Importance of Using Innovative Methods in ELT Classrooms". It offered a wide variety to the beginners, professionals and the seasoned academicians. Some of the sub-themes were as follows:

  • Modern Technologies in Teaching English Language
  • Online Teacher Professional Development
  • Designing Online Teaching and Supplementary Materials
  • Technology in ELT Classrooms
  • Current Trends in Teaching English Language
  • Online Teaching Strategies to Enhance Students’ Motivation and Engagement
  • Online Language Testing and Assessment


 Keynote Speakers  

Heike Philp is CEO of let's talk online sprl, an immersive education specialist for language teaching and learning. She is co-initiator of EU funded LANCELOT (virtual classroom) and AVALON (virtual world) and the CAMELOT project (machinima for language teachers) and GUINEVERE (games in virtual worlds). She is founder of the Virtual Round Table Conference and co-owns EduNation in Second Life.  

Lemons or lemonade? How distance learning levels the playing field?

In these turbulent times, many teachers do a wonderful job in keeping contact with their disheartened students, in encouraging colleagues and parents and in maintaining order and they do this whilst struggling with technology. In this webinar Heike Philp presents some of the strategies which teachers around the world undertake to cope and what some do as they turn ‘lemons into lemonade’. These international initiatives also show that the online classroom greatly benefits from their students’ access to the internet and that English lessons can benefit from this new digital environment.


Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, international speaker, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning: Ways to Launch EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, Learning to Go, and Teacher Reboot Camp. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert and ambassador for the U.S. Embassy. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women and received a Bammy Award as the founder of #Edchat. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Savannah. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She currently enjoys being a PBL elementary teacher and curriculum writer in Houston, Texas.

“Zen Design for Online Learning”

Connection, simplicity and engagement are essential to effective online learning with language learners. When our students feel connected to their teachers, the content, and their peers they begin to thrive. In this keynote, Shelly Sanchez Terrell will provide tips, copyable resources and other free tools to help teachers design engaging online lessons and live classes. She will introduce tools, tips, and templates that help students navigate the online platform easily so they focus on their learning.


Rana Khan is chair to the Conferences Professional Council, TESOL International Association. Rana holds a master’s degree in English Literature and Business Administration besides a CELTA. Currently, she works as English and Business instructor at Algonquin College, Kuwait. Her main research interests are learning management systems, CALL, and blended learning.

"Engaging Language Learners for the Future Classroom"

Engaging English learners poses new challenges with the changing times. Language teaching needs to be futuristic in approach and technology-driven to engage our millennial learners who are constantly glued to their devices. The session focuses on the importance of innovative and technology driven language teaching for more engaging, meaningful, and immersive learning experience for our language learners of tomorrow. Attendees will leave the session equipped with some useful knowledge and tips for their language classrooms.



Dr. Christel Broady, chairwoman of advanced graduate programs and professor of advanced graduate education, as well as the director of the ESL teacher Education Program at Georgetown College in the USA, is an international leader in the field of English Language teaching.  At TESOL, Christel is a member of the TESOL Board of Directors and, over the past 20 years, has served in many leadership roles in Kentucky, at the Southeast TESOL, and TESOL International as chair of the EEIS, steering board member of CALL, EEIS, and VDMIS. She is an ESL and EFL material developer. Her list of domestic and international leadership roles, publications, keynotes, plenary talks, presentations, and awards, and recognitions is extensive. As an English Language Specialist for the US Department of State, Christel conducts assignments abroad. These activities allow her to learn about other countries from within from the ELT professionals, governments, and citizens with whom she works. Most importantly, and she is a fierce advocate for language teachers and learners, promoting language studies throughout the world.

What happens in the brain of an English language learner?

What differentiates English from other languages and what specific challenges may it pose for learners?  What is the difference between acquiring speaking and pronunciation versus reading? What is different in second versus first language learning? What does the brain look like when learning and while building neuropathways? What can English instructors do to maximize English literacy skills? The keynote will address all the question and leave attendees with more knowledge so they can be strategic when teaching English literacy and achieve a higher level of English mastery.



Prof. Hisham ALSaghbini Regional Head of Assessment Cambridge Assessment English (Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Russia).

Prof Al-Saghbini comes with more than 18 years of International experience. As a researcher at a number of universities in the UK, Hisham developed and built more than twenty different programmes for people with special needs including a comprehensive inclusive employment guide for government authorities in Dubai.

Prof Al-Saghbini has more than 30 different publications in the areas of Education, Inclusion and Assessment. He wrote and co-wrote a large number of materials, books and journals in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

He holds a Bachelor in Business/Education/Globalisation, a Masters in Strategy in Education and His doctorate was on “Educational Inclusion and bridging the (under)achievement gap in Higher Education in the UK.”

“Innovative Approaches to Assessments” 

“Learning-Oriented Assessment" represents an attempt to reconcile formative and summative assessment and focus all assessments on the development of productive student learning. Learning-oriented assessment comprises three interlocking dimensions: assessment tasks as learning tasks; student involvement in assessment; and the closing of feedback loops. The Learning-oriented Assessment Model that the University of Cambridge developed over the years promotes and disseminates useful assessment practices.


Georgios Kormpas is currently the Director of the Teaching, Learning and Development Center, at Al Yamamah University.  He has taught in various different contexts and has been involved with teacher education for a good amount of time.  Georgios is pursuing a Ph.D. in researching Technology Enhanced Learning at Lancaster University in the UK. He is also the chair of the ANPC (Affiliate Network Professional Council) of TESOL International Association.

Is online education temporary or here to stay?

Online education has been viewed as not equivalent to face to face education in many aspects.  Distance education that started in the 1950’s with letter exchanges has progressed to Virtual Reality education in our era.  When the pandemic hit the educational world, there was a tremendous shift to online education.  Many schools, universities, tutoring centers were asked to shift to online education overnight.  Will this shift be permanent, or will it end once the COVID-19 pandemic is over?


Dr. Ali Al-Issa has a Ph.D. in Education. He is currently an Associate Professor of English Language Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University. He presented and published widely about ELT in Oman. He is currently the best cited Omani ELT scholar.

Integrating Technology in English Language Teaching through a Community of Practice “Implications for Policy Implementation”

This presentation reports on the use of a Community of Practice (CoP) in promoting technology integration among 11 public school English language teachers in the Sultanate of Oman. Data were collected qualitatively. Three themes emerged from the data analysis. Those were benefits of using technology, ways of using technology, and challenges of using technology. Despite certain challenges, the findings revealed that integrating technology through a CoP had positive implications for Communicative Language Teaching policy implementation.”


Joshua O’Neil has three years’ experience working across the Middle East with schools and Higher Education Institutes. In his role as Area Coordinator he focuses on adult ELT by consulting with Higher Education institutes across the region to ensure they achieve their goals. Prior to moving to the Middle East Josh focused on private language schools and University accounts in Europe and was able to draw upon his experience as a CELTA qualified teacher. 

 "Making the Most of Your Online Teaching Experience"


This webinar will acknowledge that we are adapting to a new teaching and learning environment, we will explore tools available to help motivate and engage learners in live online classes. We will also discuss ways to adapt your course to an online environment. 


Christine Coombe has a Ph.D in Foreign/Second Language Education from The Ohio State University. She is currently an Associate Professor of General Studies at Dubai Men's College. She is the former Testing and Measurements Supervisor at UAE University and Assessment Coordinator of Zayed University. Christine is co-editor of Assessment Practices (2003, TESOL Publications); co-author, A Practical Guide to Assessing English Language Learners (2007, University of Michigan Press); co-editor, Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness in EF/SL Contexts (2007, UMP); co-editor, Language Teacher Research in the Middle East (2007, TESOL Publications), Leadership in English Language Teaching and Learning (2008, UMP) Applications of Task-based Learning in TESOL (2010, TESOL Publications), The Cambridge Guide to Second Language Assessment (2012, Cambridge University Press), Reigniting, Retooling and Retiring in English Language Teaching (2012, University of Michigan Press) and The Cambridge Guide to Research in Language Teaching and Learning (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Volume 8 of the TESOL Encyclopedia of ELT (Wiley Blackwell, 2018) and The Role of Language Teacher Associations in Professional Development (2018, Springer). Christine’s forthcoming books are on innovation in the MENA, research questions in TESOL and Applied Linguistics and professionalism in education. 

Christine has lived and worked in the Gulf for the past 27 years. In this capacity, she has served as the President and Conference Chair of one of the largest TESOL affiliates in the world and is the founder and co-chair of its Testing Special Interest Group. 

During her tenure in the Middle East, she has won many awards including: 2002 Spaan Fellowship for Research in Second/Foreign Language Assessment; 2002-03 TOEFL Outstanding Young Scholar Award; TOEFL Board Grant for 2003-04, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2009-10 for her work in delivering assessment training assessment in developing countries. She served on the TESOL Board of Directors as Convention Chair for Tampa 2006 and was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Teacher of the Year for 2003-04. She served as TESOL President (2011-2012) and was a member of the TESOL Board of Directors (2010-2013). Christine received the British Council’s International Assessment Award for 2013. Her most recent honor was being named to TESOL’s 50@50 which “recognizes professionals who have made significant contributions to the TESOL profession within the past 50 years.” Dr Coombe is the 2018 recipient of the James E. Alatis Award which recognizes exemplary service to TESOL.

How the Most Productive TESOLers Fit It All In: Strategies for Productivity and Efficiency 


It doesn't matter what you do or where you work, everyone is looking for ways to be more productive on the job and in life. In a general review of the literature and one specific to teaching professionals, the characteristics of highly productive people are discussed, and the strategies for improving personal and professional productivity and attaining better work life balance are shared.