Can it really be 60 years since John and Brita Haycraft took the intrepid step to move to Spain and 60 years since the first IH was born in that tiny flat in Cordoba? Has so much changed since then? I think the answer would be yes, and no. The network has obviously mushroomed in size – there are now 154 International House schools around the world with over 6,000 teachers teaching over 27 languages which is a far cry from the original teaching team of John, Brita and Shaun McCarthy giving classes to a handful of keen students. Methodology has also come on in leaps and bounds and new technology has meant that we can now communicate in a way that was unimaginable 60 years ago. But what has remained is the essence of the International House school; the emphasis on teacher development, on providing an excellent overall learning experience for the student, on innovation in the EFL classroom.
In this Diamond Anniversary issue of the IH Journal, we hope to reflect the dramatic changes that have taken place in the EFL industry but also emphasise the continuity in teaching practices over the last 60 years. We have included articles from IH teachers from all four corners of the globe who have share their expertise, their insights and their knowledge on a wide variety of topics.
It only seems appropriate that there should be a special section from IH Cordoba in this issue. Current teachers have shared their findings from their Action Research projects , an interview with Claudio Cremades, Director of IH Cordoba, and a comparison of the school in 1953 and 2013 from the Director of Studies. Finally an article from Brita herself on the birth of the school in Cordoba.
Brita was the guest of honour at the recent ELTons awards hosted by the British Council where she received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Liz Soars gave a very moving tribute to Brita and for all of us who attended from IHWO we all felt extremely proud to be part of such an amazing organisation.
Special online events are taking place throughout the year. We had the IH Teachers’ Online Conference (IH TOC 60) which took place in May. It was a little different to previous events as we had sixty speakers presenting Sixty Ideas in 10 minute slots over two days. It was an ambitious undertaking but we were thrilled with the result and, incredibly, we managed to keep to time! Teachers could dip in and out of sessions between their classes and hopefully there was something to interest everyone. Don’t worry if you missed any of the sessions as you can see them here – IH TOC 60 blog
We will be holding another very special online event on 29th – 30th November so make sure you join us then.
IH Journal Editor