The 2019 Disruptive Education Conference happened last weekend, on April 6. It was a five-guest-speaker marathon on edupreneurship, immigration and learner autonomy.

Ada Draeden and MC Anesh Daya

Ada Draeden, expert on immigrant success, opened the conference with a talk on “Canadian English: How to Translate your Job Search”. As she states, “language does not exist without culture”, therefore, even simple translations won’t work in the real world if cultural contexts are not considered. From country to country, societal organization and customs set the tone of how people communicate. When newcomers start their journey in Canada, it is not enough to just master the language, it is imperative to understand the culture as well in order to navigate in their new country.

To learn more about Ada and culture in Canada, visit .

Phyllis Cohen

Phyllis Cohen, pronunciation coach edupreneur, is an enthralling speaker and it was pure joy to hear her talk about “Passion, Perils and Perseverance” when starting out as an edupreneur. According to Phyllis, “passion paints a very colourful and vivid picture when we begin, but as time passes and you are not where you thought you would be, colours fade away.” Perseverance, however, is key to success.

In order to increase one’s chances of finding a clientele, edupreneurs need to present themselves as knowledgeable and current. Clients need to know what you can do and also need to understand what they will need to do to obtain success. It is important to keep in mind that the learning process is a shared responsibility between you and your client.

If you are interested in working with Phyllis or in learning more about pronunciation, visit

Elizabeth Verwey

Elizabeth Verwey, small business guru, took the stage to share her talk on “Marketing on a Shoestring Budget”. The attendees had the opportunity to work on their own sales pitch as they thought about their mission statement and branding.

Elizabeth also made two recommendations that can take a new business owner a long way: first, “take time for marketing efforts daily to meet new prospects” and, second, “if you want to make progress: measure and test”. Small but constant efforts can take you a long way.

To learn more about small businesses and entrepreneurship, visit

Judy Thompson

After lunch, Judy Thompson, ESL author, APP developer and TEDx speaker, took the conversation away from the classroom setting and into the world of technology as she explained pronunciation and shared the ins and outs of her APP “How do you say”. According to her, what really matters in learning English is to be able to communicate effectively, as “once you start a conversation, grammar goes out of the window”.

Judy also introduced to the attendees her new book series “The Backpacker’s Guide to Teaching English”, which enables anyone to help a speaker of other languages to break the code and communicate in English.

For more on Judy and any of her publications, visit

Barbara Mendes

Our very own Barbara Mendes, teacher trainer and business English coach, closed the event with her presentation “A Tech-savvy Toolkit to Boost Student Self-Study Time”. Barbara discussed what it takes to really learn a new language and shared recent studies on the growth mindset, which can determine how successful one will be in any field.

You can read more about the topic in Barbara’s previous posts (here, here and here). You can also email us for the free content Barbara shared with the participants on Saturday. And you can follow us for weekly updates and free content on teaching and learning English.