I am really thankful to all my colleagues in Agadir Regional Branch to give me this chance to represent them in Mate 34th annual conference in Tangiers. So, here’s a humble report about the conference:
Tangiers hosted MATE 34th annual conference from January 1st to 4th, 2014 at hotels Almohads and Rif. Local branches were represented by some of their board members and I (Brahim Ait Hsain) represented Agadir regional branch. There was also a respectful attendance of teachers, University students and sponsors representers as well as some teachers from Tunisia. The conference revolved around two themes: innovation in Language education and issues in language education for learners with special needs: focus on learning difficulties. The speakers in the conference came from different parts of Morocco and abroad ( USA, Britain, Egypt and Tunisia).
The first day of the conference started with a speech of the Délégué of National Education Ministry in Tangiers and a long speech of Mr Abdellatif Zaki who talked about different issues related to the concerns of MATE generally and introduced the themes and some related topics of this conference. He also welcomed the participants as well as thanking the sponsors. After a short break, comes the two inaugurating keynote speeches. The first one presented by Mr Mohamed MLellouk and tackled the issue of innovation in Language teaching whereas the second one was about Dyslexia by the Egyptian scholar Gad Elbeheri.
The second and Third days were concerned with presentations, papers in the mornings and workshops in the afternoons. The speakers and participants tackled and discussed the two themes and issues related to them in different ways and angles. They also suggested some potential solutions to the difficulties and obstacles that may hinder the implementation of innovation in our classes. As for the workshops the local branches contributed to their organization; the Agadir branch took charge of room 5 beside Salé and Laayoune. They supplied every room with the material that every speaker is in need. After the discussions of the 10 workshops contents, comes the time for the Special Interest Groups: the spelling bee group conducted by James Dana for teachers who haven’t participated in the competition last year; for the organization of spelling bee competitions, the organizers agreed to extend the deadline of registration for a week more than what is planned before so as to give more chance to more schools to register; as for the district and the regional competitions organization, it is to be decided afterwards. The second group was about a writing Conntest conducted by Mr Aghllem and Mr Saadouni but most teachers didn’t show any interest to participate in the contest. The last special interest group was an interview between Mr Gad Elbeheri and the participants as he answered different questions and queries about Dyslexia. The two days ended with social evenings animated by the teacher singer Said Khalil from Rabat.
The fourth and last day of the conference was short and divided in two parts. The first part contained four presentations in Room 1 and tackled different issues related to innovation in our classrooms and ways to implement it. The second part was devoted to the amendment of the constitution as the president handed out two papers of articles to be amended but after a hard discussion the participants agreed to change only one article which is the address of the association as it becomes “ IAV Rabat” where the president works and no longer where he lives, because it is urgent whereas the participants insisted that they need more time and advice to study the other articles that the president wants to amend; they agreed to postpone that till next middle school conference in April 2014.
As for the evaluation, most participants agreed it was generally a successful conference as the accommodation was excellent and the outcomes were great because of the varied programme. However, there are so many other points that may be mentioned as negative; the programme is very condensed which affects quality of what is presented; lack of free time and social evening activities are not varied as it was only singing with Mr Said Khalil; many presentations and workshops were programmed but didn’t take place; some participants didn’t get their conference bags. On the whole the Tangiers conference was an opportunity for MATERS to exchange experiences and ideas and discuss issues related to the job and thus grow professionally.