CONNECTIVITY AND SHARED EXPERIENCES
During my presidential year, I have had many opportunities for connecting with new members and places. The Affiliate Speaker Program took me to the Southeast TESOL conference in Birmingham, Alabama (USA) last October. SETESOL is a regional conference that represents member affiliates from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. More than 950 individuals attended the conference! Presentations and poster sessions provided a mix of practical how-to workshops and research-based presentations that considered implications for practice. The 44th MEXTESOL convention was my next engagement as part of the Affiliate Speaker Program. The convention was held in the shoe-and-leather capital: León, Mexico. MEXTESOL’s conference theme focused on strengthening learning communities. Luciana de Oliveira, our current President-elect, wrote a wonderful reflection on the benefits of the Affiliate Speaker Program for both the affiliate and the board member.
I also had the opportunity to visit Sunshine State TESOL in Florida, USA last May and had the pleasure of presenting a keynote address at our New York Affiliate, NYSTESOL in Melville, Long Island, USA. The latter conference had social pedagogy and advocacy as its theme.
I will vividly remember the amazing commitment, enthusiasm, deep passion, and professionalism that I witnessed at each of these conferences! Together we advance English language teaching as a profession and partner to support English language teachers, administrators, and researchers in moving our field forward. Talking with participants at these conferences, I realized yet again how powerful our international TESOL International Association‘s Annual Convention and our affiliate conferences are to connect us across borders and boundaries, and to provide a professional space to share our success stories, our challenges, and our resources.
I hope to see you in Chicago for TESOL’s International Convention & English Language Expo, March 27-30, 2018!
Ester de Jong
WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME
A very warm welcome awaits you at the upcoming TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Chicago, Illinois, USA, 27–30 March 2018.
I, Debbie West, current Chair of the Affiliate Leadership Council (ALC), would like to personally invite you to join us in March at the TESOL convention. The ALC has planned a very exciting workshop on Tuesday (27 March) for affiliate leaders, which will help you on an individual and institutional level. We will have the honor of welcoming five facilitators to guide us through the day’s activities as we focus on advocacy.
We also have some other exciting events during the week including the Communications Workshop on Wednesday (28 March), which will enable us to know more about social media and how an affiliate can achieve external communication goals even on a low budget. Thursday (29 March) rounds off the week with the business meeting of the affiliates (the Affiliate Assembly) and the Affiliate Colloquium which is organized around presentations given by individuals from affiliates sharing what advocacy looks like where they are.
Aside from these scheduled events, we will be introducing the members of the newly formed Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC). We hope that you will join us for the events Tuesday through Thursday!
As you attend the rest of the conference, I encourage you to meet up with colleagues to share your experiences and what you learned in sessions, especially if it is your first time at the conference. You will have many choices of sessions, many people to meet from all over the world, and opportunities for networking that should give you a busy four days. Nevertheless, don’t forget to have some enjoyable social moments outside of the conference!
Before traveling to Chicago, take a moment now to catch up with colleagues through this newsletter, to gain some insights, be updated, and be inspired by our fellow colleagues.
Enjoy enjoy enjoy!
EXPANDING OUR AFFILIATE'S INFLUENCE
The theme of the upcoming Chicago convention is “Sustaining Dialogues across the TESOL Community”.
Of course, before sustaining a dialogue we first have to initiate a dialogue with someone. And, as an affiliate, we probably have to take stock of ourselves even before initiating: where we are, what our mission, objectives and goals are, and also how busy the human resources we have available are.
Although each of our affiliates is necessarily a part of multiple communities, this message focusses on TESOL Affiliate Communities.
As one of TESOL’s 100+ affiliates, we can look around our affiliate “geographically”. Which affiliates are we next to? These could be our direct neighbors across political borders or neighbors on the other side of geographical barriers (especially if our affiliate is on an island). They could also be “culturally neighboring affiliates”; either ones with which we share a common history, or especially those with which we do not. Do we already have partnerships with our neighboring TESOL affiliates or English Language Teachers Associations (ELTAs)? Are there any affiliate historical facts that need to be taken into account? Perhaps times have changed and a new relationship can be forged. It’s easy to find the contact information for neighboring affiliates in the TESOL Worldwide Affiliate Directory. Then, we can open up a dialogue and establish contact with them, write them an email, introduce ourselves and say that we would like to establish closer contact with them and look for opportunities for collaboration. In order to begin the conversation without being condescending or patronizing or, at the opposite extreme, too humble, we can mention or inquire, if convenient and appropriate, some of the following:
- What do we have in common?
- What kind of mutual relationship can we establish?
- What could we possibly contribute?
- What could you (the other affiliate) possibly contribute?
- What do we/you need?
- What information can we mutually share?
- How can we take the next step and collaborate in some way? A simple project? Possible postings on each other’s webpages or through social media?
- Would it be possible to host joint conferences or exchange speakers/board members at events?
To paraphrase Confucius, we have to take that first step…so we need to reach out and contact our neighboring affiliates. On a map, we can color in our affiliate’s geographical area and then draw a bigger circle in all directions around it. Expand it, when possible and convenient. Obviously it doesn’t have to be a simple circle, depending on the shape of the Affiliate’s current reach.
Other points for us to ponder:
How many of us know all of the acronyms of all of TESOL’s 100+ affiliates? How many of us know where each of them is geographically located around the globe?
How many other affiliates has our affiliate been engagingly in touch with in the last ten years? Had a partnership? Had a collaborative agreement? Had a “Sister Affiliate” relationship?
It’s undoubtedly an enriching experience to see what other affiliates are like and what they are doing and how their issues are similar to and different from ours.
Then what? Let’s not miss out! Through electronic media a network of regional TESOL affiliates can easily be formed. Several already exist.
We can choose five or ten neighboring affiliates to contact during 2018 and see what kind of response we get. Let’s not wait for the other affiliate to act. We need to act. We might be surprised at what magic can happen after the initial ice has been broken and contact has been made.
As with people seeking new friendships, affiliates may be yearning for friendly affiliate collaboration. Let’s make sure that first friendly affiliate is ours and reach out!
Then we can report on our new experiences in forthcoming issues of the Affiliate News.
Right now, you can check the following articles and reports in this Newsletter to learn about some multi-affiliate partnerships that already exist.
Let’s think out of our affiliate box and look around us and reach out to establish a dialogue with a neighboring affiliate and then sustain that dialogue!
WELCOME THE MEMBERS OF THE NEW AFFILIATE NETWORK PROFESSIONAL COUNCIL
This month the Affiliate Leadership Council will transition to become the Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC). This shift is the result of a larger governance review undertaken by TESOL International Association. Past President Dudley Reynolds addresses the history of the governance review in a January 2017 blog post. More directly addressing the changes affecting affiliates, TESOL President Ester de Jong and Executive Director Chris Powers hosted a November 2017 virtual town hall to discuss the newly approved Affiliate Network Policy, under which the Affiliate Network Professional Council was created. You can view the town hall on YouTube.
The ANPC will differ from the ALC in that it will have a broader role to collaborate with and advise staff and the Board in support of the Affiliate Network. While the ANPC may have some of the same duties and activities as the ALC, there will be opportunities to do much more.
Please welcome the members of the 2018 Affiliate Network Professional Council.
- Debbie West (Chair): TESOL France
- Ulrich Schrader (Incoming Chair): Mexico TESOL
- Ana Maria Rocca: Argentina TESOL
- Naziha Ali Raza: TESOL Arabia, SPELT
- Georgios Kormpas: TESOL Greece, TESOL Arabia, KSAALT TESOL, SPELT
- Bessie Karras-Lazaris: California TESOL
- Sarah Elia, New York State TESOL
THE POWER OF TWO: COTEACHING TO SUPPORT ELLS
Editor’s Note: This article links directly to a previously published blog post. To put the blog post in context, here the author provides a description of coteaching in the United States.
Introduction to Coteaching
Coteaching is a method of instruction that involves two teachers implementing curriculum simultaneously in the same classroom, one with expertise in content, the other in language development. It is widely accepted in the United States’ public education system as an effective way to provide academic language support to English learners in their mainstream classrooms and utilized around the world in various school settings. It is especially helpful when a school has a high incidence of English learners. Coteaching relies on the dedication of administrators. It is a creative shift in scheduling and use of existing resources to provide students and teachers with an enriched educational experience.
Link to the original Blog.
Sarah Forbes is a K–1 English language learner teacher in Winooski, Vermont, USA. She began her teaching career in Japan in 2004 and received her MATESOL from Saint Michael’s College, Vermont in 2008. She joined the regional TESOL affiliate, NNETESOL, in 2014 after returning from Japan.
RECONSIDERING CONCEPTUAL PARADIGMS IN ENGLISH STUDIES
At the outset, a brief historical overview of English studies in the 19th and 20th centuries, with its emphasis on grammar and rhetoric, set the background to the challenges facing the English learning-teaching scene today. Grammar schools, following the Latin grammar teaching model, promoted rote learning of grammar rules; used isolated, disconnected texts; practiced the writing of sample sentences; and used translation. Apart from grammar, literary texts were mostly used as content material. Overall, a top-down, rigorous learning environment was promoted.
However, two major developments in the second half of the 20th century were considered a breakthrough. As language teaching became a full-fledged profession, applied linguists and educationists drew on the developing fields of linguistics, psychology, sociology, and mainstream education to support a succession of ideas that enlightened the teaching/learning phenomenon. The most important among them was the realization that the learner was not an unthinking being at the receiving end of knowledge transmission but an active human with his or her own preferences on ways of learning. Applied linguists and educationists also developed principles and procedures for designing methods and materials for English language learning, a more humanized classroom methodology and a credible form of assessment.
Rationale for Reconsidering Perceptions Regarding English Language Studies
I then went on to provide the rationale for reconsidering perceptions regarding English language studies in today’s world. I pointed out that South Asian countries are convinced of the high value of English and its transforming power (Graddol, 2010; Erling & Seargeant, 2013). Governments and education planners consider English important for competition in a globalised world. As a result, their agenda is now to develop generations of young people who are able to use their language skills nationally and internationally.
In terms of perceptions regarding English language education in Bangladesh, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a major shift took place when there was a formal recognition of the teaching of English language as a specialized discipline, with universities opening graduate programs in ELT and TESOL. However, this was not considered a happy state of affairs by the traditional teaching community, which clung to previous schools of thought that believed literature should be the material content for English learning. This has resulted in a literature-language divide among Bangladeshi academics that persists even today.
Some Basic Facts about Bangladesh
At this point, to put things in perspective, I provided some basic socioeconomic and educational facts regarding the country.
Bangladesh is a lower middle income country, according to the World Bank 2015 and the eighth most densely populated country (160 million packed into approximately 56,000 sq. miles, slightly bigger than the size of New York State). I provided the following statistics (2015 Statistical Yearbook Bangladesh):
- Per capita income (US$1602 per annum)
- Urban population (27%)
- Basic literacy rate(61.5% )
- School dropout rates (urban secondary school dropouts 38 %, rural dropouts 61%)
- Education budget (12.6 % of total annual budget)Thus the country faces serious challenges providing access to quality education for all.
Responding to current perspectives in general, Bangladesh, despite its depressing set of statistics on socioeconomic and educational variables, promised in its National Education Policy (2010) a life-skills approach to education. It advocated
- a modern, quality, suitable education for all;
- an attractive and enjoyable learning environment, methodology, and learning materials;
- professional training for all teachers; and
- a commitment to revise or develop training programs to make them more purposeful, if necessary.
- English is not a content-based subject but a skills-based one.
- English has to be recognized as a work-oriented skill needed for employment, development, and higher education.
These declared objectives in the curriculum appear to strike the right rhetorical chord, but are they reflected in reality? In Bangladesh, English is a mandatory school subject for Classes 1–12 and students are exposed to nearly 1,800 hours of English lessons over a period of 12 years. However, English language competence remains quite poor. Why? Research has shown that learners learn all about the English language but do not learn to use the language in any realistic or meaningful way (Hamid & Baldauf, 2008; Rahman, 2015). This failure to acquire the language was analyzed as being the result of a mismatch between policy and implementation, with the real culprit identified as the state testing system (Khan 2010). The two gatekeeper tests at the secondary and higher secondary levels are designed in ways that promote rote learning and have a vicious wash back effect on teaching and learning, spawning a massive private coaching business throughout the country.
Major Areas for Serious Reconsideration
I next discussed the four major areas that needed serious reconsideration if English learning were to improve in the country. These areas all related to basic concepts that underlie any curriculum framework:
- Correct understanding of the needs of the learners with regard to English
- Clear formulation of the aims and objectives of English language courses
- Restructuring of the curriculum, materials, and methodology to implement programs
- Reliable assessment systems to test English skills
I presented the challenges in attaining the aforementioned objectives. The challenges were mainly related to issues of dealing with innovation and change. Besides the reality of human resistance to any form of change, the process appeared to be complex and sometimes messy, partly because of difficulties in recognizing contexts and social practices and partly because of the unpredictability of users’ perceptions and responses. Moreover, the proposed intentions and practices may be partially or fully subverted by the target group. Whatever the reality, the change literature speaks clearly of the fact that innovative practices take much longer than their respective proposed time frame (Fullan 2007).
Thus, the change in the proposed English learning scheme in Bangladesh needed to be managed with sensitivity, bringing together all stakeholders in the process. Fullan (2007) proposed the phenomenon of “re-culturing”—the kind of psychological acceptance required of users when faced with new or changed modalities of delivery. By the same token, Weddel (2009) proposed that this same sense of re-culturing needs to be recognized and practised by change agents themselves in their attempts to understand the context and to empathize with long-practised culture and social practices that users are often loathe to give up.
In addition, I raised a cautionary note regarding the lack of skilled teachers and qualified trainers, which could be a huge constraint and would become even more challenging as the country industrialized and the skills required for growth become more technical and specific.
I concluded the session by emphasizing the need for a quality basic education system right from the elementary level. English is likely to be learned well if there is a strong base for general education—built on first language literacy and numeracy and supporting the development of generic skills. A robust policy would be to invest heavily on a quality basic education system with required resources and mandated operations in place for the whole population, which would likely lead to English language competence and skills, especially at the tertiary level.
2015 Statistical Yearbook Bangladesh (published September 2016). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, Government of Bangladesh.
Erling, J. E.,& Seargent, P.(Eds.).(2013).English and development: Policy, pedagogy and globalization. Bristol, United Kingdom: Multilingual Matters.
Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change (5th ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Graddol, D. (2010). English next India. London, United Kingdom: British Council.
Hamid, M. O., & Baldauf, R. B., Jr. (2008). Will CLT bail out the bogged down ELT in Bangladesh? English Today, 24(3), 16–24. Available at: doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078408000254
Khan, R. (2010). English language assessment in Bangladesh: Developments and challenges. In Y. Moon & B. Spolsky (Eds.), Language assessment in Asia: Local, regional or global? (pp. 121–157). South Korea: Asia TEFL.
National Curriculum and Textbook Board. (1996). Secondary School English Curriculum. Directorate of Secondary Education, Dhaka.
National Education Policy 2010 Bangladesh. Available online at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/02.National-Education-Policy-2010-English.pdf
Rahman, A. (2015).Secondary English education in Bangladesh. In B. Spolsky & K.Sung (Eds.), Secondary school English education in Asia: From policy to practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
Weddel, M. (2009). Planning for Educational Change (First Edition). London: Continuum.
World Bank 2015. Available online at: https://data.worldbank.org/income-level/lower-middle-income
DELVING DEEPER INTO LOCAL ADVOCACY
The Alabama – Mississippi TESOL affiliate (AMTESOL) is excited to announce its first Advocacy Conference to be held October 13, 2018, in Oxford, Mississippi. AMTESOL hosted the Southeast TESOL conference in 2017, and knowing that the 2019 TESOL conference will be in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the board decided 2018 would be the perfect year to host a smaller conference for local professional development opportunities. Due to increased interest in advocacy at the local, regional, and national levels, the AMTESOL board chose to hold a two-day advocacy conference using the national TESOL Advocacy Summit as a model.
Advocacy is considered a key aspect of the ESOL teacher’s role and is currently on the TESOL International Research Agenda (2014). The TESOL Advocacy Summits in Washington, D. C. have drawn TESOL professionals from across the country. Participants learn key advocacy skills, participate in workshops, and spend a day on Capitol Hill meeting legislators to explain TESOL positions on upcoming legislation before the US Congress.
AMTESOL is planning to have several guest speakers as well as break-out sessions devoted to understanding key issues and developing advocacy skills. TESOL educators and those interested in advocacy in their local context will enjoy this invigorating day of learning the skills to take their advocacy to the next level. More information will soon be available at www.amtesol.org.
Jamie Harrison is an assistant professor of ESOL Education at Auburn University. She was an ESOL teacher in K12 public schools in Georgia and also taught adult ESL in a variety of settings including Taegu, South Korea; intensive English programs in Florida and Georgia, and community English classes in Georgia and Alabama. Her research interests include implicit and explicit beliefs and attitudes, and the role of an ESOL teacher as advocate.
REFLECTIONS FROM THE 18TH INTERNATIONAL INGED ELT CONFERENCE
INGED (İngilizce Egitimi Dernegi) or ELEA (English Language Education Association) is the association of English language teachers in Turkey. Based in Ankara, INGED basically aims to bring together English language teaching (ELT) professionals from all levels of education ranging from K-12 to tertiary level and to provide them with professional development opportunities since its foundation in 1995. To achieve this goal, the association creates platforms for sharing opinions, experiences, and knowledge such as conferences, seminars, and workshops.
The association is administered by a seven-member executive board, which is elected every year at the annual general assembly. The current president of INGED is Dr. Aydan Ersöz, a renowned scholar in the field of ELT in Turkey. INGED is an affiliate of TESOL International Association and an associate of IATEFL and it has partnership agreements with several associations from the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Poland, Macedonia, Serbia, and Greece.
As mentioned before, INGED organizes various events all around Turkey in order to encourage ELT professionals’ development and to create a sense of belonging within the profession. Some prominent events are the INGED Drama Fest, which takes place every year in May both in Ankara and in Izmir as well as seminars and workshops that take place almost every month of the academic year and that function as teacher training sessions. Another important event of the association is its biannual international conference, a prestigious event not only for ELT professionals in Turkey, but also for those outside Turkey.
The 18th International INGED ELT Conference, themed “Winds of Change” took place on 20-22 October 2017 and was hosted by Istanbul Aydin University. With a full program spanning three whole days, it included 4 plenary sessions, 63 paper presentations, and 12 workshop sessions along with a panel discussion. The conference has kept its international spirit alive with participants from the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Morocco, Poland, the UK and the USA.
The conference started with the opening speeches of the rector of the host institution, Istanbul Aydin University, Dr. Yadigar Izmirli; the president of INGED, Dr. Aydan Ersöz, and the director of the preparatory school, Dr. Necmiye Karatas, which were followed by the first plenary session of the conference: Richard Smith’s talk titled “Learner and Teacher Autonomy in Difficult Circumstances”. In his session, Dr. Smith dissected the concept of autonomy, pointed out how difficult achieving autonomy under difficult circumstances can be, and shared some success stories drawing examples from his studies in Nepal and Chile.
The second plenary speech of the first day was delivered by Dr. Miroslaw Pawlak, who focused on the role of grammar teaching in the language classroom. Dr. Pawlak touched on various aspects of grammar teaching ranging from picking the right syllabus to selecting the appropriate techniques for teaching the right structures.
The second day of the conference began with another plenary session, which was given by Dr. Peter Medyges. His inspiring and fun session was titled “The Native/Non-Native Conundrum” and it was on the change in non-native speaker teachers’ (NNESTs) status in the world of ELT.
The last plenary speaker was Dr. Birsen Tutunis with her session on pre-service English teachers’ identity development, which happens during their transformation from a future teacher to a novice teacher.
In this year’s conference, there was a new section: a panel discussion. The theme of the discussion was language teaching in Turkey. The panelists were INGED President Dr. Aydan Ersöz, Dr. Birsen Tutunis, Dr. Yasemin Bayyurt, Dr. Dincay Koksal and Dr. Richard Smith and they tried to find the answer to the question why changing policies do not make any differences in the language performances of students. There were contributions from the audience as well.
Despite the tight schedule and a packed program including a cocktail party, a great conference dinner, and a raffle, it was a satisfactory experience with all new lessons learned and old ones revised—and—all in all, it was fun.
Büşra Çelen has an MA in ELT from Gazi University, Turkey. She is pursuing a PhD degree on second language teacher education at the same university. Ms.Çelen has been serving as a board member of INGED Turkey since 2012.
HELTA HONDURAS TESOL: WHAT HAS HAPPENED AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING 2018
HELTA Honduras TESOL has come a long way since it began its work in 2014 through regional and annual events in Honduras, and through international representation at TESOL and IATEFL Conventions, as well as in other TESOL affiliate events.
We have reached and surpassed our expectations by training 1104 teachers directly at annual conventions in SanPedro Sula 2015, La Ceiba 2016 and El Progreso 2017. During regional events since 2014 onsite trainings have included 1036 teachers from the different regions in Honduras and 6 International teachers from El Salvador and Nicaragua who attended our conference as participants in 2017 in El Progreso. This adds up to 2146 Honduran teachers and 6 international teachers trained in regional and annual events. Out of this number, 73% are female and 27% male; 67% come from public school contexts while 33% come from private school contexts (20% private monolingual schools and 13% bilingual schools). Statistically, we have seen an increase in training attendance of more than 100% from 2015 to 2017; this means we double and almost triple attendance at each convention. To us it means there is a need for training and we have been able to establish good rapport and credibility during regional events. The quality of the training we secure is also part of the reasons for this success. We have worked with presenters who have shared their expertise with our participants from countries such as: Canada, the US, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, the UK, New Zealand, Portugal, Greece, Moldova and of course Honduras. 2017 has meant reaching new milestones and these are indirect trainings facilitated by
teachers who have attended workshops: 82 teachers in the South Region, 85 in the North Region and there are plans to work with 200 teachers from Pre-Service Regional centers in the South plus 150 in the North on specific aspects of methodological trainings and 200 more for the Bay Islands and Western Regionals guaranteeing replication that trains 150 additional teachers.
HELTA has increased international connections in addition to its connection to TESOL International and the Regional TESOL Group for Central America and the Caribbean Basin. In February 2017 HELTA became an IATEFL associate, expanding connections to Europe. HELTA also became a member of YLAI Network in order to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities for young teachers in Honduras and we are looking into partnerships with other affiliates and regional groups. HELTA, as 2016-2018 leader of the Regional TESOL Group, coordinated an online conference with EFL talks in order to promote the work and expertise of the region. HELTA recruited presenters from different countries in Central America and the Caribbean and two of its board members participated in online presentations for teachers worldwide. The talks can be found by clicking this link: EFL Talks Central America.
HELTA Honduras has been granted augmented exposure and due to this work during the past three years, HELTA’s President will be awarded the Virginia French Allen Award for Scholarship and Service at the next Affiliate Assembly in TESOL Chicago for the work done.
With regards to International performance, in 2018 HELTA will deliver four presentations at TESOL in Chicago: One as a panel to discuss English for Hope, a second presentation related to the follow up work HELTA has done regarding the Summit for the TESOL Profession, a third one as a round table to discuss Dual Immersion and a fourth presentation related to the use of Social Media for Affiliate Promotion to be presented at the TESOL Affiliate Communications Workshop.
Regarding training for 2018, HELTA is expecting to train 1000 additional teachers at its annual convention. 2018 marks reaching an important achievement as we have been honored by TESOL International Association in allowing us to host a TESOL International event. Click on this link to learn more: TESOL Academy. The Academy will gather 200 teachers who will learn about: a) K – 12 Methodology, b) Teachers Empowered through Action Research, c) CALL in various scenarios and d) Grammar: Theories and Methodologies. The Academy will run from July 11-12. Additionally, we will host the 14th Biannual Regional TESOL Group for Central America and the Caribbean. Representatives will visit us from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru. We are also expecting presenters from the US, the UK, Afghanistan, Dubai, Portugal, Greece and speakers from other countries who have submitted proposals.
Finally, HELTA launched its website through wordpress.com and has information about the work developed since 2014 at this link: heltahondurastesol.wordpress.com. In April, our Newsletter found at this link: HELTA Insider Volume 3 will be launched with news, updates, conference proceedings and many more things!
While we surely feel the last three and a half years have been successful and fulfilling, we are looking at more years of growth and great professional development for our teachers and our country!
Grazzia María Mendoza has Master’s degrees in International Education and TESOL. She has been teaching English for 25 years and has been an international presenter since 2007. She is the Current Chair of the EFLIS, HELTA Honduras TESOL’s President, and President of the Regional TESOL Group for Central America and the Caribbean for the 2016-2018 period.
THE FIRST PROVINCIAL LEVEL REGIONAL CONFERENCE OF NELTA AND THE CELEBRATION OF 70 YEARS OF US-NEPAL FRIENDSHIP
The two-day Provincial Level Regional Conference of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA) was held on 3-4 November 2017 with the theme, ‘Teaching Practices and Learners Engagement in the Modern Classroom’ at the K.K. International School, Dharan, Sunsari, Province No 1, in the eastern part of Nepal. Nepal is divided into seven provinces for political and administrative purposes. The Morang, Solukhumbu, Jhapa, Ilam, Udahyapur, Sankhuwasabha, and Sunsari branches of NELTA belong to this province. The provincial conference is a new practice.
NELTA has 51 branches (chapters) and covers 55 districts out of 77 in the country. It has more than 5000 members including 3970 life members across Nepal and beyond. The branches and the members are the organization’s strength and inspiration.
Amidst 550 participants, the provincial conference was addressed by the Key Speakers, Prof. Jai Raj Awasthi, PhD on “Engaging students in language learning: in and outside the class”; Prof. Abhi Subedi, PhD on the topic “Teaching practices and learners' engagement in the modern ELT classrooms”; Prof. Dr. Vishnu Singh Rai on “Postmodernism and ELT” and Dr. Dennis Yang Tao (Regional English Language Officer, the U.S. Embassy of Nepal) on “Research/Publications in American Academia”.
Similarly, Dr. Laxman Gnawali, Mr. Hemanta Raj Dahal and Ms. Rhona Brown (British Council) delivered their plenary speeches on “Know your learners before you teach”, “Teaching listening and speaking: Implications on fluency development in EFL” and “Learner-centered teaching: What lies behind the label?” respectively. The other speakers were Ms. Deborah Silver, English Language Fellow for Far-western University, Mr. Matthew Nelson, English Language Fellow for the Prithvi Narayan Campus, Pokhara, and Mr. Bishwa Raj Gautam, Regional Language Office, Program Specialist, U.S. Embassy. There were 36 concurrent sessions covering diverse topics related to ELT, and the challenges and opportunities for teachers in Nepal.Twenty-four first-time presenters/attendees were sponsored by the Regional English Language Office, U.S. Embassy, Nepal. The success of the program relied on local support from four municipalities, four colleges, eight private schools and the District Education Office, community schools, the US Embassy, and the British Council.
President Ms. Motikala Subba Dewan in her inaugural speech expressed appreciation of the excellent performance of NELTA Sunsaribranch for hosting the regional conference as per the demand of the nation by exhibiting the adaptability, preparedness, and pro-activeness of NELTA. Likewise, Dr. Bhoj Raj Sharma Kafle, Director of the Ministry of Education, Regional Directorate of Education, highlighted the importance of English education in Nepal and expressed his commitment to partner with NELTA on behalf of the Government of Nepal.
On completion of the regional conference, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Sunsari branch of NELTA took place, which passed the most important resolution and also elected the new branch committee.
The Celebration of 70 Years of US-Nepal Friendship
The theme of the first talk was Education with a view to creating awareness about the challenges for girls’ such as early marriage, menstruation (bunk the class), no family support, involvement in household chores, etc. The talk was concentrated on access to quality education and the scope for girls to address their problems. The talk also focused on the American education system and the opportunities for online study in the US universities.
The second theme, the burning issue of Combating Trafficking in Persons, covered awareness of trafficking that drew the attention of the participants through sharing various examples and incidents. The third theme, Prosperity/Entrepreneurship, motivated the entrepreneurs in the audience to adopt strategies on how to use local resources, technologies, skills, knowledge and experiences. Returnee migrant workers, both male and female entrepreneurs, from Korea, Gulf countries and Malaysia, interested in starting up small businesses in Nepal raised the pertinent issues.
In the fourth talk with the theme, Democracy and Good Governance in the context of Nepal, the participants presented their views on the qualities of democracy, good citizenship, and the role of the local government. The fifth talk on the theme, Health, focused on the strategies for improvement and suggestions for awareness regarding the health of adolescents, such as mass hysteria, lunacy due to frustration, especially among young people, and malnutrition. Issues on the serious threats to school children in rural communities were also advocated.
PERU TESOL ASSOCIATION AT 25
Peru TESOL Association proudly celebrates 25 years as an affiliate of TESOL International Association. This silver anniversary is an opportunity to recall the challenges, the commitment, and the successes of Peru TESOL Association and its membership.
REGIONAL SOUTHEAST TESOL DRAWS ATTENDEES FROM 23 STATES
Professionals from 23 states attended the 2017 Regional Southeast (SETESOL) TESOL Conference hosted in Birmingham by the Alabama-Mississippi TESOL (AMTESOL) affiliate. Over 900 attendees participated in this four-day program on Transforming Lives through Languages and Cultures. Sessions spanned a range of English language teaching and learning, from pre-school to graduate school and from community programs to academic English, reports Susan Spezzini, Conference Chair.
The theme for SETESOL’s 2017 conference highlighted the transformational nature of the work of TESOL professionals who support the learning of language and culture across the country and world. Whether teaching pre-schoolers or international teaching assistants, refugees or heritage learners, non-English speakers or prospective ESL teachers, TESOL professionals transform the lives not only of English learners and their families but also of the communities where these learners live, work, and study.
AMTESOL organizers designed the 2017 SETESOL program to create a time and place for all ESL educators. This SETESOL program started on Wednesday, October 4th with 230 attendees who selected either the PK-12 Dream Day (20 concurrent sessions in 5 strands) or the Adult Learner Institute (6 half-day workshops). From Thursday to Saturday, the program offered eight keynote addresses, 13 posters, 16 exhibits, 184 concurrent presentations, and two receptions. Keynoters and featured speakers included Stephen Krashen, Ester de Jong, Rebecca Oxford, Ofelia Garcia, Catherine Davies, Amy Hewett-Olatunde, Tery Medina, April Muchmore-Vokoun, Paulette Dilworth, Christel Broady, Ayanna Cooper, and Diane Carter.
“After a successful conference like this one, we feel reenergized about our teaching practices and our professional organization,” says Spezzini. “We look forward to seeing everyone at the next SETESOL conference as we continue to transform lives through languages and cultures.”
Dr. Susan Spezzini is Associate Professor of English Learner Education and Program Director of ESL and Secondary Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She teaches linguistics and applied phonology. She also directs grants for training P-12 teachers in the effective instruction of English learners.
TESOL COLOMBIA, A DREAM THAT CAME TRUE
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.
TESOL KUWAIT CONFERENCE, 2017: BUILDING AND BRIDGING ELT COMMUNITIES
TESOL Kuwait held its 4th Annual conference successfully from 16th to 18th November, 2017. It was hosted by Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) and supported by sponsors like Qatar Airways and ThatAlsalasil. The event was attended by roughly 250 educators from different backgrounds and levels in English language teaching: public and private sector schools, colleges and universities. The conference also had representation from leading academics and delegates from the region namely: the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Rana Khan has been with TESOL Kuwait since 2015 as its secretary. She organized the annual TESOL Kuwait Conference, 2017, as its conference chair. She holds a Masters’ degree in English Literature and Business Administration along with a teacher’s certificate in CELTA. She has extensive teaching experience. Currently, she is working as an English Instructor at Algonquin College, Kuwait. Her main research interests are learning management systems, CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) and blended learning.
2018 TESOL INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXPO
BEST OF AFFILIATE SESSIONS
Center for English Teaching Excellence (Republic of Georgia)
The presenter found that teaching foreign languages came closer to teaching real communication in large and mixed-ability classes, especially in heterogeneous language environments. This was despite methodology being unable to establish an effective system for teaching communication skills and only a minority of students managing to acquire such skills.
Emphasizing the interconnection between academic reading and writing, the presenters discuss ways of engaging students in using context clues as an effective strategy to promote active vocabulary learning and use in academic writing.
Inspired by first hearing her grandfather’s ancestral language spoken in 1980, the presenter explores the history of Native American boarding schools, including their role in education today. The presenter discusses the societal impact boarding schools have had and what this means to ELLs and Native education in current contexts.
FRIDAY, 30 MARCH
AFFILIATE NETWORK SESSIONS
These sessions were organized by the Affiliate Leadership Council (ALC). All sessions are located in the McCormick Place Convention Center. To ensure sufficient seating and materials for each session, please sign up in advance by 12 March
Tuesday, 27 March
8:30 am–5:30 pm: Affiliate Leaders' Workshop (N226)
Wednesday, 28 March
12:30 pm–2:30 pm: Affiliate Communications Workshop (E270)
Thursday, 29 March
Affiliate Leaders’ Workshop
Order of the Day
- Express their views and concerns at all levels (personal, professional, individual, associative, institutional and/or international)
- Discover and access information and services available.
- Defend and promote the rights and responsibilities of self and others.
- Explore choices and options for oneself and for passing it on to others and options to support oneself, support students and turnkey options to empower others.
- Define and understand advocacy in various forms and contexts for educators, students and programs
- Articulate in one sentence the idea, cause, people or group for whom they wish to support
- Identify the key concerns or needs as related to the cause or person/group of people
- Develop a plan to educate oneself and key stakeholders about the cause
- Identify SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to their plan
- Create a tentative, feasible timeline for implementing the plan
Affiliate Communications Workshop
Grazzia Maria Mendoza: HELTA Honduras TESOL