IATEFL Conference Speaker Guidelines

Please make sure you have read these guidelines carefully and in full before submitting your proposal. If you do not meet the requirements listed below, your proposal will be rejected.

Download a PDF of these guidelines here: 

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The proposals selection process

The IATEFL Conference is one of the key events in the global ELT calendar. The international nature of the conference provides a unique opportunity for all IATEFL members to submit proposals for inclusion in the programme, reflecting the diversity and variety of the profession. The deadline for proposal submissions is 16.00 (UK time) Wednesday 13 September 2023, results will be sent by 1 December 2023.

The selection of proposals is made by the Proposals Committee. This follows a policy of inclusivity and aims to ensure that the Conference Programme includes a balanced representation of:

  • ELT topics and professional concerns
  • first-time and established presenters
  • geographical regions and countries
  • different professional associations and organisations
  • different teaching contexts, including the private and public sectors, business, ESP, ESOL, publishers, exam boards and other non-teaching organisations
  • mainstream and alternative systems of education and development
  • research and research in progress.

Conference delegates will be asked for feedback on all sessions at the IATEFL Conference in order to continue to monitor the range, quality and content of presentations.

Eligibility for submitting a proposal

In order to submit a proposal for the IATEFL Conference you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Speaker proposals must be submitted online via your own IATEFL Dashboard. It is not possible to submit a proposal via email, nor is it possible to submit a proposal on behalf of someone else.
  • The deadline for submitting a speaker proposal (including adding any joint speakers) is 16.00 (UK time) Wednesday 13 September 2023. We cannot accept late submissions.
  • You must have a current IATEFL membership at the time of submitting your proposal. This membership must be paid for and activated before you can access the proposals form. For assistance with your IATEFL membership, please contact [email protected].
  • You will hear the result of your proposal submission by 1 December 2023. If you have been accepted into the programme you will then need to make a conference booking and make full payment by Friday 15 December 2023. If the programmers ask you to write an element of your proposal, or you are placed on the reserve list, you will not be required to pay until your place in the programme is confirmed.
  • All presenters must be at the conference to present; remote presenting for a conference session is not permitted.
  • Members may only submit ONE proposal. No one may be involved in more than one presentation, either as a main or joint speaker.

Sharing your information

By submitting a speaker proposal, you will be agreeing that IATEFL shares the following information:

  • Your name and affiliation will be passed to our Conference Programmer and, if selected to present at the conference, these details will be in the Conference Programme and on our website.
  • Your name and affiliation will be passed to our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for consideration to be part of a SIG Showcase, unless you say otherwise on your speaker proposal. If selected as part of a SIG Showcase, your email address will be passed to the relevant SIG Coordinator to enable them to contact you.
  • If you indicate that you would be happy to be interviewed for IATEFL Live, and if we do indeed include your interview on the filming schedule, your name, affiliation and email address will be passed to the IATEFL Live team to enable them to contact you.
  • The Proposals Committee reserves the right to programme you in a Forum with two other presentations instead of an individual session. If this is the case, the names, affiliations and email addresses of all presenters in the forum will be shared with each other in the speaker acceptance letter in December to enable you to liaise with each other. You and they must treat each other’s details with confidentiality in accordance with IATEFL’s Privacy Policy.

Other terms and conditions

  • If you are unable to deliver your presentation and do not inform the Conference Programme Coordinator (Sarah Ward, [email protected]) in writing at least one hour before the start of their session will not be entitled to submit a proposal for conference the following year.
  • You will be programmed on any of the conference days and we will let you know on which day your session takes place in your acceptance email. If you are not available for all days of the conference, please make this clear within your proposal submission.
  • You must ensure that you have permission to use any materials that you plan to show in your presentation and that there is nothing in your presentation that may contravene copyright law.
  • All session rooms will be equipped with a laptop and projector, large rooms will have one microphone for the speaker to use. Accepted speakers will be contacted at a later date to arrange any additional equipment requirements.

Watch Madeleine du Vivier’s session on How to write an effective IATEFL conference proposal: https://youtu.be/5Gexv0fQ0dI

Watch the recorded IATEFL Live session on submitting a proposal: https://youtu.be/0KtEhejugqk


Guidance for completing the proposal form

In order to be considered for inclusion in the Conference Programme, your proposal must fulfil the following set of technical and content criteria:

1. Joint presenters

If two or more people work together to submit and present one proposal, they are “joint presenters”. They must each be a member of IATEFL and be added to the main proposal record by the proposal deadline. One of the joint presenters must submit the proposal online using the guidelines below and this person then becomes the “main presenter”, the key contact for everything related to the proposal and presentation. Any subsequent joint presenters for this proposal must be added by following these steps:

  1. When completing your proposal, please ensure you write the name(s) of your joint presenter(s) where requested. This helps us to identify any joint speakers that you are intending to link to your proposal.
  2. You must then link your joint presenter(s) to the proposal via your IATEFL Dashboard. Please enter your joint presenter’s place of work for the Programme and their Personal ID, which can be found in the Membership Info on their Dashboard. Click ‘verify’ to ensure this data is correct and then submit once confirmed. If the account cannot be verified, check with your joint speaker that they have a current IATEFL membership.

PLEASE NOTE: You will not be able to add a joint presenter after the proposal submission deadline.

2. Length and type of presentation

All presenters must adhere strictly to the time they are allocated. IATEFL will end any sessions that continue over the allowed time. You must indicate what type of session you wish to present. The Proposals Committee will look at your preference but may programme your presentation differently, for example amending a Talk to a Workshop, placing you within a Forum, an ILF or as a Poster Presentation, if they feel it’s appropriate. Successful speakers will be informed of their session type in their acceptance letter.

Session types

Forum 75 minutes for 3 presentations (20 minutes per presentation plus Q&A)
Panel discussion 75 minutes (for a panel of 4-5 speakers)
Poster 2x 10 minutes
Talk 30 minutes (including Q&A)
Workshop 45 minutes (including audience participation and Q&A)
Interactive Language Fair 40 minutes (during which time the audience will move between presenters)



A 75-minute session that gives three speakers the opportunity to present together on a given topic, led by one of the speakers also acting as facilitator. Speakers can either present for 20 minutes followed by a 5-minute individual Q&A session, or speakers can present for 20 minutes each followed by a 15-minute group Q&A session.

If submitting as a planned forum, please say so on your proposals, suggesting a title and informing us which of you is to be the facilitator. Each speaker proposal must be submitted separately as three proposals make a forum. They will be evaluated on an individual basis (not as a group).

Panel discussion

A 75-minute session allowing four or five people to present their views on a topic, after which the discussion is opened up to the audience. There should be at least 20 minutes for audience discussion.


All poster presenters are guaranteed acceptance, subject only to the normal criteria, relevance to ELT, etc.  Your poster must be displayed for the full length of the Conference and you will be timetabled to stand with your poster for two 10 minutes slots during break times. This gives delegates the chance to chat to you about your poster and ask any questions they may have. You will not be required to prepare a presentation for this slot. There are no facilities in the Poster Forum for electronic equipment, internet, etc. The minimum size of a poster is A1 portrait (594mm wide x 841mm high) and maximum size is B1 portrait (707mm wide x 1000mm high). An electronic version of each poster may be posted on the IATEFL website for 12 months following the conference.


A 30-minute session that describes what you are doing, or have done, in relation to theory and practice or that focusses on commercial materials or products. We strongly recommend that you focus on the most important points (3-4 points max) of your subject matter, use visual aids during the session and include some interaction with the audience. We also request you allow adequate time for a Q&A session. If you would like to restrict the size of your audience to 50 participants, there is a place on the speaker proposal to indicate this.


A 45-minute session which must maximise active audience participation through experiencing and discussing tasks provided by the presenter. You must make clear when and how you plan to do this in your proposal summary, for example, by giving a brief outline of activities that will involve the audience. If you would like to restrict the size of your audience to 50 participants, there is a place on the speaker proposal to indicate this. All session rooms will be set out in theatre style for the duration of the conference and it will not be possible to rearrange the furniture for workshops.

Interactive Language Fair (ILF)

A 40-minute session that begins with the facilitators outlining each presentation, followed by time for the audience to move freely between each of the ILF stands. The presenters interact with the audience through a combination of handouts and other teaching aids. Each presenter is allocated a table where you may display any material you like and bring your own laptop with interactive activities. You’ll need to operate your laptop in battery mode as there are no facilities for power, projection or wired internet. Please bear in mind that members of the audience will want to visit several tables in 40 minutes so traditional presentations will not be possible. You should enable interaction with your display and set things up in a way that permits your audience to drop in and move on as and when they wish.

3. Details of presenters

Your name will be replicated within the Programme as shown on your IATEFL contact records. If you wish to amend this, please advise within the comment section. Please type your place of work carefully as this information will be printed in the Programme. If you would like your workplace listed on your delegate badge, this information will need to be separately entered on your delegate record and does not need to match the affiliation in the Programme.

As we send all communication regarding your proposal and conference registration to the email address you supply on your IATEFL account, please make sure it is correct.

If the named person is unable to attend the conference, IATEFL will not normally allow another person to present the session.

Joint presenters must be added to your proposal before the deadline. See above for clear instructions on how to submit a joint presentation.

4. Materials focus and speaker affiliation

Please tell us if you are focussing on/promoting published or commercial products, and who you are talking on behalf of. As a result of continuous feedback, the speaker proposal asks you to indicate if you intend to promote or focus on a book or product in your presentation and you must mention the title of any book or product in your abstract. This helps delegates know before they attend a session whether there will be a particular focus on a specific product or publication, or even the promotion of one. Delegates can therefore make an informed decision on whether to attend, based on their interest in the subject or specifically on that product or publication and we will note as such within the Conference Programme.

5. Audience focus

You must indicate the audience focus (experienced, less-experienced, primary teaching, adult teaching, etc.)

6. Content focus categories

GEN = General
AL = Applied Linguistics
BE = Business English
EAP = English for Academic Purposes
ESOL=English for Speakers of Other Languages
ESP = English for Specific Purposes
GI = Global Issues
IPSEN = Inclusive Practices & SEN
LA = Learner Autonomy
LAM = Leadership & Management
Lit = Literature
LT = Learning Technologies
MaW = Materials Writing
MD = Materials Development
PRON = Pronunciation
RES = Research
TD = Teacher Development
TEA = Testing, Evaluation & Assessment
TTEd = Teacher Training & Education
YLT = Young Learners & Teenagers

You must choose one or two content categories. If you are choosing General, then please note any further categories will be removed as this encompasses all possibilities. If you select more than two categories we will automatically amend your content focus to General.

Some proposals are selected to feature in a Special Interest Group (SIG) Showcase based on the category. These are one day events within the conference that allow delegates to follow a track of sessions from within their area of interest. Please indicate whether you wish your presentation to be included in a SIG Showcase. The Proposals Committee or SIGs may change the content focus category that you tick if they feel it is not really relevant to that area.

7. Speaker interviews

During the IATEFL Conference, we intend to have short interviews with speakers that will go on our social media channels to give those not attending a flavour of the Conference. Some of these will be pre-recorded and others will be live. Please indicate if you are willing to be interviewed by the IATEFL Live team. IATEFL will write to presenters who have been selected for interviews nearer the conference. If we include your interview on the filming schedule, your name, affiliation and email address will be passed to the IATEFL Live team to enable them to contact you.

8. Mentoring

Mentoring offers an opportunity for first time speakers at the conference to benefit from the advice and support of an experienced speaker. Mentoring includes contact before the conference, e.g., by email or video call and/or meeting up at the conference to talk things through before the session takes place. If you would like the opportunity to ask an experienced speaker for advice, or if you’re an experienced speaker and are willing to act as a mentor, please complete the mentoring section of the form.

9. Session Title, Abstract and Summary

Please ensure you check for spelling and grammar within your proposal. The proposals committee will read all proposals blind so please do not include any information that would make you identifiable. Your session title, summary and abstract must clearly reflect each other. You must not have given this session, or a version of this session, at a previous IATEFL Annual Conference.


10 words maximum.

  • This should be submitted in Sentence case, not Title Case.
  • It should communicate effectively what you are going to be talking about to your potential audience without being gimmicky or using technical jargon.

Between 50 and 60 words.

  • This will appear in the online Conference Programme but not in the printed version. It is on the basis of this abstract that delegates will choose whether they wish to attend your session. Your abstract must therefore accurately and clearly reflect the content of your presentation.
  • No abstract may contain an offer of free books or other materials, although titles of any publications or products that will be mentioned during your presentation must appear in the abstract ‘in inverted commas’.
  • It should be clear that you have something new to say or that you plan to shed some new light on a topic.
  • It must be clear how your audience can apply what you say to their own context. This is especially important if you are planning to describe a course, project or product, or if your presentation relies heavily on a description of a local situation.
  • If your session is based on research, it must be clear in your abstract and summary that you are going to report on a completed study or on a significant phase that has been completed and that what you report is applicable or relevant to the wider ELT sector.
  • It must be clear from your abstract and summary that you have catered for the level of knowledge of your target audience indicated in your choice of audience focus.
  • You must clearly indicate whether the focus of your session is mainly theoretical or practical, or a combination of both.
  • Please write your abstract in the first person and avoid the use of bullet points and multiple paragraphs.
  • If you want to see some example abstracts, you can download past Conference Programmes at www.iatefl.org/conference/past-and-future-conferences.

Between 200 and 250 words.

  • The summary is used by the Proposals Committee as a basis of selection. It will not be included in the Conference Programme nor shared with delegates in any other way.
  • Poster presentation proposals must indicate the topic area and structure of the poster.
  • All other proposals must outline exactly what you are going to talk about in the presentation and how the presentation will be structured and organised.
  • Do not repeat your title or abstract or include biodata in your summary. If you have to make a reference, please make it very short.
  • For a talk or panel discussion, it must be clear in your summary that there is sufficient time for the audience to ask questions.
  • For a workshop, it must be clear in your summary that there will be a substantial amount of time allocated for audience participation.
  • If your session is reallocated a different session type from what you originally submitted, you will be expected to adapt the content of your session to the length of time allocated.


10. Questions and comments for IATEFL

Please use this box to ask IATEFL any questions you may have about the conference or inform the programmers of anything important, such as if you have limited availability during the conference.

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