February 28, 2014
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News From the Affiliates
Jean Frantzy Italien, President of MATE, Member A of TESOL ALC, Editor

The 9th Annual Affiliate MATE TESOL Conference for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language was held August 22–23, 2013, at Robsi Hotel, in Miragoane. The conference was held with the full support of the Office of Public Diplomacy of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and hosted about 80 participants from throughout the country. The conference theme was “Teaching English as a Global Language: Constraints and Successes.” Its principal objective was to focus on promoting and understanding of the impact of the English language in an era of changing global economy and technological development.

MATE TESOL Conference 2013

In the opening remarks, Yvenie Massolas greeted everybody and announced Mr. Jean Frantzy Italien, the founding father of MATE TESOL Haiti, who kindly welcomed the participants through a wonderful speech, highlighting the importance of English teaching in Haiti. Mr. Italien reminded the teachers of English of their responsibilities to the future generation.

We had the privilege to have among us Dr. Rosa Aronson, the executive director of TESOL International Association. In her presentation, Dr. Aronson discussed the topic “Global Trends in English Teaching” by focusing on five aspects of global change and how these mega trends affect the English language teachers and their classroom experiences. She shared her practical experience on the essential strategies to overcome challenges in the classroom.

Dr. Rosa Aronson, Executive Director of TESOL International Association, and Jean Frantzy Italien, President of MATE TESOL, at the MATE TESOL Conference 2013

Immediately, Mrs. Rose-Lourdes Elysee, professor at Quisqueya University, one of the most prestigious universities in Haiti, addressed a problem: working with large classes. She took a very high-level look at the challenges that Haitian teachers and students are confronted with: inappropriate infrastructure, insufficient learning materials, limited support, and overcrowded classrooms. She suggested a few strategies in order to reach learning objectives.

Mr. Hervé Francois Alcindor, the president advisor, engaged participants in pronunciation and phonology activities, during which he shared practical ideas for teaching pronunciation effectively in class. He also pointed out that pronunciation is important for successful English language speaking.

On Friday the 23rd, Dr. Aronson concluded her next topic, “Teaching Against the Odds,” and she raised some pertinent questions. She showed her interest to see the future of MATE. She was very happy to thank the dignitaries, leaders of MATE TESOL Haiti, Jean Frantzy Italien and Jean Francois Vilmenay. In Dr. Aronson’s first time visiting Haiti, she promptly saw the challenges of MATE members. She left the audience with a quote from Malala Yousafzai (July 12th speech at the United Nations): “One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

Finally, Dr. Renaldy Fabien, professor at Inlingua Institute in Florida, presented “Global English and Community Advancement.” From that theme, he developed a topic to show the participants the importance of a good teacher and advocated that a teacher is a good leader. Dr. Fabien took an example from the Haitian story where he talked about Bookman as a teacher and a leader who lead the Haitian slaves to get their freedom.

In conclusion, President Italien announced next year’s MATE TESOL Conference in late June and the 2014 TESOL Annual Convention and Exhibit in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. He gratefully acknowledged the support of MATE members, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, TESOL International, IATEFL, Monrovia Foundation for Haiti, Belinda Braunstein, CATESOL, and also thanked all the participants. The delegates reported that the conference was a great success.

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