I have just spent my Friday and part of Saturday attending the NALA annual conference in lovely Stratford-upon-Avon.
NALA is the National Association for Language Advisors, and I have been a member for around 10 years now.
I find NALA a great source of CPD, information and updates on all things related to language teaching and learning. Particularly now that I am out of the classroom, it’s been one of the best ways of keeping right up to date with things.
Organised geographically, each region meets regularly (usually termly or half-termly depending on the region), to share and discuss the latest in language education.
Each year, members from all regions are invited to gather for the national conference (often in Stratford-upon-Avon). This year’s speakers brought us updates and comment from :
- John Stephens, NCSL
- Alison Peacock, on the Cambridge Primary Review
- Josephine Howarth, DfE
- Carmel O’Hagan, CfBT and Mike Humphreys, Stourport High, on Teaching Schools
- Lynn Erler, Department of Education, Oxford University
- Alex Blagona – The Language Learner of the Future?
- Hugh Baldry, Teaching Agency
- Fil Nereo, Higher Education Academy
- Domini Stone, Network for Languages
- Nikki Perry, NALA and Speak to the Future
As you can see, wide-ranging topics, and featuring key people and organisations.
Despite the name, you don’t have to be a language advisor to join. If you are involved in any way with supporting the learning and teaching of languages in the UK, no matter which sector or stage of education you work with, I would encourage you to join. As well as the CPD aspect, NALA is also a vehicle for engaging with policy makers on behalf of its members. For example, NALA is currently collating members’ comments in order to respond to the Call for Evidence on GCSE Controlled Assessment, the A level consultation. It will be doing the same for the Primary curriculum consultation, announced – with perfect timing – on the first day of the conference.