February 28, 2014
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News From the Affiliates
TESOL ARABIA
Rehab Rejab, President, TESOL Arabia

 

At the recent TESOL Arabia International conference, and as part of the presidential line plenary, I was asked to give a short speech about the future of TESOL Arabia and our vision for the next few years. Answering such a question for any organization requires strategic planning and the ability to read into the changes around us. This task has become quite a challenge due to the rapid changes in educational settings in the Middle East in general and the Gulf region in particular. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, English has become the medium of instruction in many public schools, so one of our goals for the future is to cater to the needs of CLIL(content and language integrated learning) in the region.

Another noticeable change is the amount of technology that has been introduced with 1:1 tablet programs and other technological initiatives at both tertiary and K–12 levels. For this reason, one of the goals of the TESOL Arabia retreat this year will be to consider the growing need for professional development related to technology integration.

It gives me pleasure to report that TESOL Arabia has been as dynamic as ever under the leadership of the past president, James McDonald. We have had over 40 Chapter and Special Interest Group local events this year. We have an increased interest in hands-on and practical professional development activities, as opposed to research-based presentations. This could be a result of the growing membership from K–12 schools.

The online presence of the organization has grown substantially this year through social media with over 2,300 Facebook fans, 2,255 Twitter followers, and 1,255 members of the TA group on LinkedIn. We post all the news related to upcoming PD activities by TESOL Arabia as well as PD opportunities by other institutions on our social media pages, so like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to hear about interesting sessions all year long. We hope to see TESOL Arabia flourish online in order to extend professional development beyond geographical boundaries and to cultivate the benefits of reaching a wider audience.

A successful 19th International Conference, co-chaired by Les Kirkham and Sandra Oddy, attracted over 1,600 attendees this year. The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai from March 14-16, 2013. The conference co-chairs are organizing the upcoming 20th TESOL Arabia International Conference. More information about the theme of the conference and the proposals submission deadline will be announced soon.

One of the new benefits for TESOL Arabia members is the possibility to get one of the seven complimentary 1-year TESOL International Association memberships. This year seven TA members who renewed or joined the organization between November 15, 2012, and January 15, 2013, qualified for a draw and won a membership worth $95. The criteria to grant these complimentary memberships to TA members will vary from year to year, so we will make an announcement about this soon after the retreat.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all TESOL Arabia volunteers who devote hundreds of hours serving the organization. Special thanks go to three TESOL Arabia Executive Council members who have relinquished their leadership positions: Peter Davidson, publications coordinator; Sandra Oddy, member-at-large (who continues to be the 2014 conference co-chair); and Sandra Zaher, SIG coordinator. All three have supported TA for years, and we would like to wish them all the best. We would also like to congratulate the reelected TESOL Arabia Executive Council members: Sally McQuinn, Eastern Region Chapter representative; Ian Taylor, Al Ain Chapter representative; and Sufian Abu Rmailah, executive treasurer. And welcome to new members: Cynthia Weston, executive secretary; Peter McLaren, publications coordinator; and Daniel Stebbins, acting SIG coordinator.

We would like to wish you all a great summer break and hope to hear more about other affiliates’ news in the coming year.
Twitter: @tesolarabia | #TESOLArabia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tesolarabia
Linked In Group: TESOL Arabia


TESOL Arabia Volunteers

 


Rehab Rajab has been involved in professional development activities for teachers in the UAE through her work with TESOL Arabia since 2007. Currently She is the President of the organization. She worked as an ESL teacher for 12 years in Egypt and the UAE before becoming Instructional Technology Supervisor and Teacher Trainer at The Institute of Applied Technology in 2012 where she designs Educational Technology professional development courses for 600 teachers. Rehab is passionate about sharing innovative teaching ideas and developing online learning communities. She holds an MA in Educational Technology from Michigan State University; she’s also an Apple Distinguished Educator and an Authorized Apple Professional Development Trainer.

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