Saudi INTERLINK Language Centers at Al Yamamah University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, hosted the first international Conference on Motivation in ELT, followed by post-conference Signature Event workshop days, November 15-17, 2014. More than 250 people from ten countries participated in the one day of workshops, plenary sessions, and presentations of peer-reviewed research papers, reports, and posters. The conference focused on three themes: understanding the “motivated language learner,” using techniques and strategies to motivate students and faculty, and facilitating and supporting ongoing professional development.
The conference opened with Neil J. Anderson’s (Brigham Young University, Hawaii) plenary session on motivational techniques through partnerships. In his session, Anderson focused on defining motivational strategies. He then advised participants that classroom and test tasks should be within the proficiency level of their students, and explained the ratio between ability and effort. Anderson finished his session by listing trust, communication, accountability, and contribution to partnerships as factors of effective or ineffective partnerships.
Conference participants later attended five sets of concurrent sessions. Speakers, poster presenters, and workshop facilitators contributed insightful ideas to the theme of the conference. Participants explored and shared ideas and practices on how to maintain and increase motivation, using strategies, technology, as well as students’ and teachers’ own strengths. New conclusions were reached.
The conference day concluded with the closing plenary by Dudley Reynolds (Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar) titled: “Motivating Reading”. For his session, Reynolds discussed ways in which language professionals might see useful patterns in how students should approach textual comprehension and he shared his experiences as a reader of texts in Arabic.
The following day, the post-conference Signature Event workshops were held for SILC teachers. The sessions focused on building student motivation to read led by Neil J Anderson, and the complexities of writing assignments led by Dudley Reynolds.
Conference Chair, Dr. Dhieb-Henia of Saudi INTERLINK Language Centers (SILC),
presents Professor Neil Anderson from Brigham Young University with the Al
Yamamah University medal and the SILC trophy in appreciation for his
outstanding plenary session on motivation.
Post-conference comments from participants included the following remarks:
“…Thank you very much. It was a pleasure to be there and I feel I learned a great deal. On a personal note, thank you for your hard work to make this conference a success”
– C. M. (Fujairah Men’s College, UAE)
“…I participated in the international conference and really appreciate the professional way it has been managed. It is one of the most meaningful days of my academic life. I will always cherish the memory of it. I am grateful to all the members of Al Yamamah University and the Saudi INTERLINK Language Center for their hard work in organizing such a wonderful event. It has helped us grow professionally.”
– M. A. Choudhury, Assistant Professor of English (King Khalid University, Bisha)
“…Thank you for a great conference over the weekend”
– C. A. (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, KSA)
Thank you again for making the SILC Conference such a success and memorable event. Everyone that I spoke with had a great time. Can you please add me to the email list for Professional Development so that I can notify people in the future of such great events?
– I. J. (TVTC, Riyadh, KSA)
I want to thank you again for inviting me this weekend. I enjoyed the interactions around the conference very much and also the opportunity to learn about the Saudi INTERLINK center. Your program is quite impressive. I appreciate all the work that you and Costas did to make everything run smoothly and take care of us while we were there…
– (D.R., Qatar)