March 1, 2018
TESOL HOME Convention Jobs Book Store TESOL Community
Ivonne Gonzalez, President,TESOL Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia
Although Colombia is making big efforts to improve the level of proficiency in English, the results of evaluations and tests show poor scores and a weakness in the development of communication competences. Unfortunately, it is a steady trend in Latin American countries, where Colombia is not the exception and, actually, Colombia is in 11th position out of 15 countries of the region and in 57th position out of 80 countries that were evaluated.
2017 EF EPI (English First – English Proficiency Index) results indicate that the average score of Latin American countries is lower than the global average and place our region at very low and low levels, with the exception of Argentina (25/80), Costa Rica (26/80) and The Dominican Republic (35/80) at a moderate level. 
It is disappointing to find little improvement in the English level of Colombians after so many years of hard work and investment of the government and academic institutions, but at the same time, low results are a motivation for thinking about solutions and triggering creativity to find ways to help and support the country’s initiatives on English proficiency progress.
The creation of TESOL Colombia was the result of the analysis on how to implement effective actions at scale to foster English language competences development, enhance learning outcomes and develop better teaching skills. After over 22 years of experience running a successful English Program and more than 10 years implementing programs for English teacher training (including 2 Masters’ Programs), the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures of the Universidad de La Sabana presented a project for the creation of an association that would work to gather English teachers, researchers, academic authorities, institutions and companies in the ELT field to share knowledge and expertise.
Everything started as a dream. The big question was: how a department from a private university would make it possible to exploit years of classroom practice and help other teachers be updated and inspired to engage students and improve learning outcomes? Even though it sounded very ambitious, there shouldn´t be any limits when you dream. The next question was: How to make this dream come true?
There is not a magic answer to bring to life big ideas, but we can be sure that it has to do with a mixture of commitment, willingness, hard work, collaboration and support. Support was given by the Universidad de La Sabana which sponsors TESOL Colombia and assigns a budget to help it run. Collaboration is the result of asking for help from different stakeholders who share knowledge, time, work, ideas and information. Hard work, willingness and commitment are the key assets that a group of people, led by the director of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, added to the formula to start implementing the project. After a year and a half of hard work, in October 2016, the affiliate status of TESOL Colombia was approved by the TESOL International Association. 

TESOL Colombia has organized 2 conventions with the participation of more than 350 teachers from the private and public sectors from all over Colombia, international and national speakers, academic authorities and researchers. The program of the events has included relevant topics for all levels of education, from Pre-K to Higher Education; also research results have been presented. TESOL Colombia works hard to share information on new trends in ELT, the use of technology in language teaching, as well as best practices and publications. It also looks for ways to inspire teachers and helps them to be updated.

There is still a lot to do but we feel we are on the right track and are committed to not stop dreaming! Our next goal is to make the association grow in terms of the number of attendees at the events, the publications produced and collaboration with other TESOL associations, especially in Latin America. We are convinced that we will improve English language competences in the region by helping each other, sharing and networking. 
TESOL Colombia is a young association with big dreams and which works hard to make them come true!
Ivonne Gonzalez is the General Director of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures at the Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia and the President of TESOL Colombia. Ivonne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management, a Specialization in University Teaching, and a High Management Diploma from INALDE Business School. Her main interests are innovation in education, the use of technology in education, international collaboration, CLIL and materials development for language teaching.
« Previous Newsletter Home Print Article Next »
In This Issue
Search Back Issues
Forward to a Friend
Print Issue
RSS Feed
Upcoming Affiliate Conferences

For full conference information or to submit an event, visit the Worldwide Calendar of Events online.

March 2018
April 2018
May 2018