By Tyson Seburn11136967_1598692720345156_1019889976_n

The TDSIG pre-conference event at this year’s IATEFL in Manchester was well into its afternoon activities. Our main speakers had problematized and illuminated; our attendees were putting into action the law of two feet; and our Divya was a half-dozen live posts into her blogging madness. I had been asked to do an interview with TDSIG founder, Adrian Underhill, at around 3PM, which was swiftly approaching. Doubt raced through my mind: are my questions lame? will my my iPhone record our conversation clearly enough? will Adrian and I have any rapport?

I’d actually met Adrian in early 2009 when I was working for English Central (a North American distributor), who had brought him to Toronto for its first conference. But that was a long time ago and I predicted any recognition would long have faded away. At 3PM, Adrian popped into Exchange 4/5 amidst the noise, smiled at me, and said he’d been told we wanted to chat with him at this time. I shook his hand and introduced myself. Tyson! Yes, from the conference in Toronto a few years back! (Sidenote: I’d been exposed to my first Open Space Technology session at that conference, led by Adrian himself, and now incidentally, another OST was occurring all around us at that very moment–divine intervention for replicating context? You decide.). Relieved, I sat with him and said that I was the interviewer, to which he replied, Brilliant then, and we began.

During the 10-minute interview, we discussed the following topics:

  1. how the TDSIG started, what prompted his involvement, and what the context of IATEFL was at the time
  2. the evolution of teacher development (or the perception of)
  3. his belief in the ideal of a ‘learning organisation’
  4. whether problematization is a vehicle for development


Notable points (at least for me)

  • Is TDSIG the first IATEFL SIG? Adrian acknowledges another SIG’s claim here too and laughs that “we’re both in there somewhere.”
  • The term “teacher development” at the time was new for ELT.
  • Before our SIG was an official SIG, we started with a newsletter (and it’s still going on today!).
  • We share ideals for teacher development. Yay!
  • Before he answered my question about problematization, he asked me to define it, not because he didn’t know what it meant, but because he wanted to be clear what I meant by it.


Listen to the full interview by clicking on the play button (or go directly to soundcloud):