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
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
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.