April 10, 2020
TESOL Affiliate News



Dr. Deborah Healey, TESOL Past President 2020-2021, Portland, Oregon, USA

Hello everyone! On behalf of the TESOL Board and staff, I hope you and your families and friends are all healthy. I know that many of us are struggling with concerns about COVID-19 and its aftermath. For many people, that involves a move to online teaching and other activities. TESOL has created a COVID-19 Resources forum on MyTESOL that anyone can join with a free login at https://my.tesol.org/communities/community-home?CommunityKey=80115161-470c-46be-bd23-849d1e8302a4. In that forum, you will find suggestions from teachers about moving online, links to free resources, and generally the opportunity to share concerns and challenges. TESOL’s Teacher Resource Center (TRC), a member benefit, offers more resources for online teaching. Sometimes, it’s just good to know that others have similar struggles, and that there are ways to deal with them.

We are still planning a virtual convention this year. We hope that it will be sometime this summer. If you had registered for the Denver convention, you should have received email with options: get a refund, use the money toward another TESOL offering, or donate all or part to TESOL. The convention is TESOL’s primary source of revenue for the year, so we are hoping that there are some TESOLers who are willing to support our association with a donation, while we know that others simply cannot. The Conferences Professional Council has been feverishly working to provide a range of options for our virtual convention. In addition to presentations, a virtual TESOL Bookstore is planned, as is a virtual exhibition hall. Please keep an eye on the TESOL website for details. I am hoping to be able to deliver my Presidential plenary, "Teaching with Play: Games, Game-based Learning, and Gamification." You can see a short video intro for it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR4lUl4Bh3Q.

In non-convention areas, I have been delighted with the progress of the Affiliate Peer Advisory Program (APAP). This new initiative started last year with the goal of better linking affiliates to the Affiliate Network Professional Council and to each other. We hope to see this initiative continue to connect individual Council members to each affiliate. If you need more information about APAP, please contact ANPC Chair George Kormpas at georgekormpas@gmail.com. TESOL is looking to the APAP to help us in doing more outreach and advocacy with our affiliates.

TESOL's Advocacy Action Center (https://www.tesol.org/advance-the-field/tesol-advocacy-action-center) was launched last year and has been a great resource for US-based advocacy. US members can easily contact their members of Congress on current legislation that affects English language teachers and learners. For those outside the US and in the US, the Advocacy Action Center includes a new area called "Let TESOL Know about the Policies Impacting You the Most." We are hoping to get information from our members globally so that we can create and share advocacy resources for everyone. I am hoping that the ANPC and the APAP will mobilize support among members and leaders to respond to this call for information. Are there government policies that are particularly helpful or ones that create issues? It would be wonderful, for instance, to know about visa policies when hiring English language teachers (in Indonesia, for example, visas are only available for those from six specific countries). Do textbooks have to be approved by a government agency? I am sure you can think of many other areas where your work is affected by policies outside your institution.

Thank you for all the work you do to help your affiliate and to help TESOL achieve our vision: to be the trusted global authority for knowledge and expertise in English language teaching. We are better together! Let me also add my earnest wishes for good health for you and your families in this difficult time.


Georgios Vlassios Kormpas,

ANPC Chair/Director, Teaching, Learning and Development Center, Al Yamamah University, Riyadh, KSA

As the world is going through a pandemic, TESOL International Association is responding effectively to support its teachers and learners around the world. TESOL has made a very tough but wise decision to cancel the 54th TESOL International Convention in Denver, Colorado, and will be organizing an online event later in the year. It has also created a dedicated COVID-19 mytesol group, where you can find a plethora of information and practical tools to use in class. Our affiliates have responded with many different solutions around the globe, moving events later in the year, providing free online professional development, as well as moving whole conferences online.

At this time, I would like to invite you to the first Affiliate Network Forum that will take place on Monday, April 20, at 10 AM (EST), or Wednesday, April 22, at 3 PM (EST). We will be discussing how the Denver Convention events will be presented online, as well as, see some examples of our affiliates that have successfully shifted their face to face to online events. Join us to express your opinion and discuss affiliate developments! Keep a lookout for an email in your mailbox for the Zoom invitation or email vnovick@tesol.org for more information.

I would also like to share some other news from the ANPC throughout the year. This year the TESOL Board of Directors has approved the ANPC expansion from 8 to 10 members. We had our new members join us on November 1, 2019. Our team grew with Luis PentónHerrera from Maryland TESOL, Jermaine McDougald from TESOL Colombia, Cherrilynn Washington from GATESOL, Linh Phun from Three Rivers TESOL, Valerie Jakar from ETAI (Israel), and Petro Okoth from TELA (Tanzania). Returning members include James Papple from BC TEAL (Canada), Alex Monceaux (TEX TESOL III), Bessie Karras-Lazaris (CATESOL), and myself representing TESOL Greece. Altogether, the ANPC represents 10 affiliates, 5 from the USA, and 5 from around the world. The new members will help support the work of the ANPC to fulfill TESOL’s strategic plan.

At this point I would like to thank Deborah Short, the current TESOL President, who has been very supportive of the work of the Council, she has been the Board Liaison to the ANPC for last year. We sincerely thank her for all her help. Gabriela Kleckova, the current TESOL President-Elect, has already started attending our Council meetings, and we look forward to working with her. Last but not least, we are very much supported by our staff partner, Valerie Novick, who I think is the backbone of the Affiliate Network and the ANPC.

I would like to give you a little overview of the ANPC committees. The ANPC has several committees that work throughout the year to help support the work of the Council.

The Affiliate Network Year-Round Events committee (Luis, Jermaine, Alex, Linh, and Petro) is commissioned to support the Council with events throughout the year (except the Convention). The committee has organized several webinars with distinguished speakers: Dr. Christine Coombe, Dr. Garbiela Kleckova, Dr. Denise Murray, and Dr. Nikki Ashcraft. You can find recordings of the webinars here.

The Affiliate News committee (Alex, Jermaine, and Cherrilynn) are responsible for soliciting articles from affiliates, as well as proofreading, editing, and promoting it within the affiliate network.

The Communications Committee (Bessie, Linh, Petro, and Cherrilynn) are responsible for disseminating the events that the ANPC organizes in all its outlets: MyTESOL Groups, Facebook Groups, and others.

More exciting news for the Affiliate Peer Advisory Program (APAP) Committee (George, Luis, Jim, and Valerie) has been working to continue the success of the launching of the program last year. All ANPC members have been allocated 10 – 12 affiliates to work with, and you should hear soon from them. The APAP program focuses on creating extensive networks between affiliates and providing opportunities for collaborations in a local, regional, or international network. One of the initiatives of the APAP this year is to create a resource library from our affiliate members in different categories, namely: Newsletter and Journals, Governance, Communications, and Social Media, Budget and Finance, Conference, and Event Planning, Advocacy, Marketing, and others. If you have not been contacted yet for the APAP, please contact me at georgekormpas@gmail.com or Valerie Novick vnovick@tesol.org at the TESOL office. We would be happy to direct you to the dedicated ANPC member for your affiliate.

The Convention Committee (George, Bessie, Jim, and Valerie) has worked really hard to provide sessions that come from around the world and encapsulate a wide variety of topics. As the Denver Convention will not take place, please join the Affiliate Network Forum to find more information about the sessions.

I would like to remind you that all affiliates have an important annual requirement for your TESOL Affiliation, which is completing the annual report. For that report, the primary contact for your affiliate should have received it; if not, please get in touch with Valerie Novick vnovick@tesol.org to make certain that she has the most recent leadership information on your affiliate. The deadline for reports is April 30 but has been extended to June 15. Please make certain that you submit your reports, as this is the material that your APAP contact can source information to assist you. Finally, you should also complete the payment for each year at this link.

The ANPC has welcomed two new Affiliates this year, TESOL Saskatchewan and NVTESOL. We are excited to add two more affiliates, and we will be honoring the beginning of their journey in our virtual Affiliate Assembly. We are also celebrating TESOL Affiliates 50-year Affiliations this year. We will be honoring CATESOL, WATESOL, Illinois TESOL/BE, and NYSTESOL in the Affiliate Assembly as well. Please join us to congratulate new and long-lasting partners!

I would like to close by saying that we are all working together to bring the best service to all affiliates and all members. We are here to listen to your needs and make certain that we address them. No matter how small or big your association is, your voice is always important to us. If you have an idea, find a way to communicate it. Through the Affiliate Report, the APAP, via email, in a webinar, an email, a short discussion. See you around the year, and in the Affiliate Network Forum in a few days!

Georgios V. Kormpas

ANPC Chair 2019-2020


Alex Monceaux, TexTESOL III, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, USA

Hello, Affiliate Readers!

Thank you all for tuning in to this issue of the Affiliate Newsletter. Our last newsletter was a great success with a total of 20 Affiliate reports submitted! We received 7 (35%) submissions from North American affiliates, 6 (30%) submissions from South American affiliates, 3 (15%) submissions were from Mid-Eastern affiliates, and 2 (10%) submissions came from Asian and European affiliates. Several affiliates wrote in seeking help in creating reports and making submission but were not able to finalize a submission. You are commended for your efforts. It should be noted that a healthy newsletter points to a healthy willingness to connect and collaborate. Sharing demonstrates trust in our sister affiliates and confidence that others are interested in our successes and challenges.

This issue is also a success. While we have fewer affiliate reports (15), we have 4 featured articles, and an Affiliate Network Professional Council Report in addition to the staple Letters from TESOL President, and ANPC Chair and Editor. In SOUND AFFILIATE LEADERSHIP ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES, Alex Monceaux shifts the leaderships’ focus from individual managerial roles to the function of the board as a unit that collectively governs the organization. In EQUITY AND DIVERSITY IN LEADERSHIP IN TESOL, Andy Curtis, one of TESOL’s Past-Presidents reflects on his role on the Board and challenges facing diversification and equity. In THE DEPARTMENT ADVISORY BOARD AS AN ACADEMIC PARTNER, Dan French shares insight in using Advisory Boards to create effective connections with stakeholders to an organization that empowers those stakeholders to help the organization reach its goals. In ELT DAY FOR PUERTO RICO, Jim Papple and several other instrumental educators discuss how they were able to swiftly initiate, promote, and facilitate a large online conference to support a worthy cause. These articles focus on organizational leadership that explores the how of leadership to develop stronger, more nimble organizations.

Finally, we have brought back the Affiliate Network Professional Council report. Currently, the ANPC has 10 members – Georgios Kormpas (Chair), James Papple, (Incoming Chair), Bessie Karras-Lazaris, Alex Monceaux, Valerie Jakar, Jermaine McDougald, Petro Okoth, Linh Phung, Luis Pentón Herrera, and Cherrilynn Washington – on four working committees: the Affiliate Network Year-Round Events Committee, the Affiliate News Committee, the Affiliate Communications Committee, and the Convention Committee. This report enables others to gain insight into ANPC’s work, understand how the ANPC is working to better connect the Affiliates, and help potential new ANPC members see where they may fit in best as an ANPC member. I am thankful to Jermaine McDougald for his willingness to compile these committee’s reports.

I would also like to welcome to new hands to the editorial wheelhouse. The TESOL Board has approved the addition of more ANPC members allowing the creation of a stronger editorial board for the Affiliate Newsletter. We have added two committee members to the Affiliate News Committee - Dr. Cherrilynn Woods Washington from GATESOL and Jermaine S. McDougald from Colombia TESOL. Both new members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the ANPC and the newsletter committee. I would like to welcome them to the ANPC, thank them for diving in and assisting in this newsletter, and I look forward to seeing how their insight can help the bring stronger connections to affiliates across the globe!

Assistant Editors

Cherrilynn Woods Washington

Dr. Cherrilynn Woods Washington has been an educator for 24 years, working in a variety of educational settings with diverse groups of learners and cultures. She has a B.S. in Home Economics with a concentration in Child Development, an M.S. in Elementary Education, and Ed. D. in Teacher Leadership. Cherrilynn has taught Kindergarten, fourth, fifth grades, and GED classes in the Atlanta Public School System. Presently, she is an itinerant ESOL teacher providing ESOL curriculum support for three elementary schools in the South Atlanta and Carver Clusters. Her work with adults includes teaching online educational classes from Grand Canyon University, ELL professional development training, trained SIOP Coach, and co-presenting with other ESOL and Mainstream colleagues within and out of her school system. She is the retired Service Unit Director for Ben Hill Greater Atlanta Girl Scouts (21 years of service to girl scouts) and the Past President for GATESOL serving many roles on the board since 2007.

Cherrilynn has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for 25 years serving in various roles as Hostess, Membership Chair, Graduate Advisor Council, Pan-Hel Rep, Corresponding Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, Presidents Assistant, and Leadership Logistic Captain, and Foundation Member. Some of her accomplishments include two wonderful boys, WIDA educator of the month, Teacher of the Year awards by George Alexander Towns Elementary School, Outstanding Volunteerism Award from the Ben Hill community, and the Mentor-Leader Award. The Conferences Professional Council (CPC) of TESOL International selected Cherrilynn to be the PreK-12 Dream Day Team Leader for the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. Cherrilynn has been chosen to lead the SETESOL Conference in 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jermaine S. McDougald

Professor Jermaine S. McDougald has been an educator for the past 19 years, dedicating that time to the field of ELT. He holds a B.S. Business Management; he has a Specialization in Educational Management and a Specialization in University Teaching and holds a Master’s in Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). At present, he is the Director of Faculty and Research and Editor of the Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning (LACLIL), Universidad de La Sabana (Colombia). He has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and is often invited as a visiting professor throughout Latin America. He is currently an Assistant Professor for the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures´ Master’ in English Language Teaching Programs.

He is an accomplished educational ELT consultant and researcher for a number of diverse projects and programs in Colombia as well as having occupied senior managerial, administrative positions in international schools and universities, holding positions as the IB Diploma Program Coordinator, (CIE) Cambridge International Examinations Administrator & Coordinator, Bilingual Director, Coordinator of Teaching Licensure Program in Bilingual Education, Language Center Director & Academic Coordinator, among others. He actively promotes and organizes teacher training initiatives nationally and in conjunction with the local educational authorities (Secretaries of Education), Colombian Ministry of Education, the British Council Colombia, and publishing houses.

He has chaired TESOL Colombia I (2015), II (2017), and III (2019), as well as the International Biennial CLIL Symposium in 2014, 2018, and co-Chair for the 2016 and 2020 versions.

He is categorized as an Associate Researcher, publishing both nationally and internationally on areas that include CLIL, ICTs in ELT, Teacher Training & professional development, and International Education. At present, he directs the research group: LALETUS – Language Learning and Teaching, categorized by COLCIENCIAS and co-founder of TESOL Colombia, where he is currently the association’s Liaison Officer.

Call for Papers

Finally, I would like to invite readers to submit Featured Articles focusing on Organizational Leadership and Affiliate Leaders to submit reports on their affiliates. Submissions should be received by June 15th, 2020 and should be made to Alex Monceaux at admonceaux@lamar.edu. Please see the Call for Papers for all the necessary information.

We hope you hear from you soon!

Alex Monceaux
Editor, Affiliate News, ANPC, TESOL
Director, Lamar University Pathway Program



Alex Monceaux, Editor ANPC Newsletter, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, USA


Almost a decade ago, I encountered a professor who preached a service obligation. She talked about it every class, in the halls, and in her office; she never let it go. Her point was, there has to be a point of praxis – that place where practice and theory intersect and inform each other. For her, this meant that each practitioner had an obligation to feed back into the system, no matter his/her level – BA, MA, Ph.D. – and that his/her voice was critical to the guiding process of the discipline. Her message resonated with me. I believed that research, teaching (practice), and service formed a triangle that informed each other and that the practitioner is best served when these are balanced. She plugged me into a service position.

At the time, I was a new professor at the college, and the old board was just looking for volunteers. I said, “Yes, I’ll help.”In the following weeks, I was nominated and elected to the position of “President.” My new “board” consisted of two graduate students, five empty positions, and two older board members that lingered on in elevated positions but with no real active duties. Before our first Board meeting, I was plunged into intrigue, power struggles, and all manner of hardships. Lucky for me, the organization I was newly representing was part of a large organization with a reliable, state office that offered exceptional board training. When I called the state office and began explaining my challenges, the CEO immediately signed me up for training. We discussed and shared policies and methods for a plethora of topics, including advocacy, social media, membership involvement, and raising leaders, but the things that stuck closest to me were the organizational structure of a Board and the fundamental duties of all Officers.

Board Organizational Structure

Understanding the organizational structure was one of the most empowering facets of my training. Because many are serving on the board were working in a school system with strict hierarchal systems, I found that many officers place themselves on a hierarchy that diminishes their influence. Consider the two different types of hierarchies:

Triangular Hierarchy


Circular  Hierarchy

In these two hierarchal models, everything is different. Consider the relationship among the President, the Officers, their committees, and the membership. In the Triangular Hierarchal model, the President is the symbolic pinnacle guiding officers, committees, and ultimately membership. This is a typical top-down model most are familiar with based on educational and work settings. In this case, the officers respond to Presidential directives and, ultimately, the results of those directives funnel back to the members. The Circular Hierarchical modal establishes the members as the central focus and imagines that the officers each share a role to support the members. Furthermore, the President’s position becomes one of equal standing to each of the other officers. This critical difference can dynamically alter an officer’s perception of his/her role and responsibility and repositions an officer to be more directly responsive to the members they serve. When the Circular Hierarchal modal is utilized, each board member is able to see themselves as having an equal position at the table while sharing the responsibilities of the association. In this way, officers can better understand their three Fiduciary Responsibilities - Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty, and Duty of Obedience

Fiduciary Responsibilities

Many board members would ask, “What is a Fiduciary Responsibility?” It’s a great question. On most of the boards I have served, the officer had never heard of these concepts, nor did they understand that these were legal principles for which Board members can be held legally accountable. Further, it is essential to point out that an officer’s not knowing about these responsibilities does not relieve the officer from their mandated responsibility or liability if they fail to fulfill these critical duties. Because Board members are responsible for managing an entity’s assets, each officer is individually responsible for the governance of that board. Officers are often called upon to manage funds, materials, properties, as well as personnel. Price writes that recruiting and appointing new board directors, hiring and firing managers and other staff members, monitoring financial reports, and conducting annual audits all fall under the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, or the duty of obedience (Price 2018).

Duty of Care

The first duty is the Duty of Care. BoardSource defines the Duty of Care as:

“Duty of Care — Each board member has a legal responsibility to participate actively in making decisions on behalf of the organization and to exercise his or her best judgment while doing so.” (BoardSource)

This duty manifests in several ways. Initially, this is demonstrated as the legal responsibility for all officers to participate in the work of the board actively. They must “exercise ordinary and reasonable care in the performance of their duties, exhibiting honesty and good faith” (Tenebaum, 2002). This participation extends beyond the table work of a board’s meetings and is reflected in several processes. First, officers must prepare accurate reports of their activities for dissemination prior to board meetings. Additionally, any actionable item on the agenda must also have supporting documentation that enables an officer’s mindful discussion of the item. Additionally, the reports and action items must be compiled and disseminated to each officer in a timely manner so that each officer is able to read, review, research, and understand items prior to the meeting. A presenting officer must be able to succinctly summarize his/her activities and actionable items. This leads to the second responsibility - presiding officers must understand the context, the impact, and be able to ask apt questions and offer appropriate responses to move decisions forward in a decisive fashion. Officers who do not participate in these two vital processes are, in effect, working against the association’s forward progress. These officers are failing in their first fiduciary responsibility – their duty to care for the association.

Duty of Loyalty

The Duty of Loyalty is the second fiduciary responsibility and is invoked in the process of one’s Duty to Care. The Duty of Loyalty “means that board directors must place the interests of the organization ahead of their own interests at all times. Duty of loyalty means publicly disclosing any conflicts of interests and not using board service as a means for personal or commercial gain” (Price 2018). The Duty of Loyalty suggests that the officer places the association’s best interest before their own, their job, their friend, or anyone else’s interest; the officer guards the association, places it first, and protects the association from harm. One way to do this is through care – the critical participating in board decision-making processes. A second way to exercise the Duty of Loyalty is through recognizance of one’s conflict of interest. Prior to discussing new business, allowing officers to reflect on how this new business impacts them and its intersections in their personal and professional lives is critical. There is no harm in having a conflict of interest; all officers are sure to have conflicts along the way; the harm comes when the conflict is not announced. In this case, an officer may harbor biases or inclinations that can be detrimental to the association’s decision-making processes. Acknowledging the conflict in writing enables each officer to recognize the limits of an officer’s impartial decision-making capacity and helps regulate external influences that may derail an association’s mission or ability to accomplish that mission. There may be times when an officer may need to withdraw from the discussions and voting on an issue due to his/her conflict. This is exercising loyalty to the association through the exercise of care and acknowledgment of one’s limits based on personal and professional interest.

Duty of Obedience

The Duty of Obedience reminds the officer of his/her call to service – the board serves at the will of the members and is responsible for and is regulated by the law and the members. Price suggests that the “Duty of obedience means that board directors must make sure that the nonprofit is abiding by all applicable laws and regulations and doesn’t engage in illegal or unauthorized activities. The duty of obedience also means that board directors must carry out the organization’s mission in accordance with the purpose they stated in getting qualified as a nonprofit organization” (Price 2018).

The Board has a mandate to act in accordance with local and national laws. Thus, it is imperative that officers individually seek out and know legal mandates and ensure that the association is in compliance with these regulations and policies. Associations may represent various types of businesses; however, as most associations receive and disperse money, reporting of those funds is a critical duty. Failing in this duty jeopardizes the association’s ability to continue operations and can severely limit whom it can do business with. However, there are other mandates, regulations, and policies that are equally important for associations.

It is just as critical for the association to follow its own legal documents as it is to follow tax law. The lack of transparency and inequity in governance practices may make board members as equally susceptible to litigation and lawsuits as failing to report taxes would. A member who discovers the board's failure to adhere to governance practices can sue individual officers as well as the association as a whole. Thus, the duty to know, understand, and follow the organization’s governance documents is critical to the officer’s ability to be obedient to those charters and, should litigation occur, the officer’s first line of defense.

Finally, the board must ensure that it is acting in compliance with its mission. Thus, it is vital for the board to evaluate its mission and the strategic goals that it sets to accomplish that mission. This step is perhaps one of the most empowering processes an organization can take as it enables officers to construct the ways and means to accomplish their segment of the association’s mission and gives a direct charge to the work of committees and task forces. This, in essence, is the very fuel to the association’s engine, without which it is sure to flounder – agencies cannot operate without a mandate.


Understanding and following these four fundamental components of board work - organizational board structure, the Duty of Care, the Duty of Loyalty, and the Duty of Obedience - critically empowered my time on various boards. Applying these elements also allowed my officers to invest intelligently, understand their role, and know their responsibilities in a more fundamental way than reading the simple job duties listed in the officer’s section of the charter. These elements establish a board as a unit, the officers as cogs in the wheel, and energize our efforts.

Dr. Monceaux is Director/Instructor of Lamar University Pathway Program, Lamar Universities’ language program. In rebuilding the Southeast Texas Counseling Association, his board was able to realize substantial financial and membership growth in one year. Additionally, he worked with the 42 Texas Counseling Associations to develop strategic plans through re-writing by-laws and charters to come in compliance with state and federal laws while re-evaluating member goals and the association’s direction. In his service on TexTESOL IV Board of Directors, he oversaw two Editorial Boards and initiated the first board member onboarding process and the first board member leadership training event to help develop new leaders in the Texas region.


BoardSource. Role and Responsibilities. Boardsource.org. 2020. https://boardsource.org/fundamental-topics-of-nonprofit-board-service/roles-responsibilities/

Price, Nick. The Fiduciary Responsibilities of a Nonprofit Board of Directors. The Board Effect. March 12, 2018. https://www.boardeffect.com/blog/fiduciary-responsibilities-nonprofit-board-directors/

Tenenbaum, Jeffrey. Legal duties of association board members. Washington, DC: American Society of Association Executives. June 2002.


Andy Curtis, Graduate School of Education, Anaheim University, CA, USA

One Thousand Days Later

When the call for featured articles for this issue of the TESOL Affiliate News was posted, there was one topic that stood out for me: “ensuring equity and diversity in leadership opportunities.” Having served, from 2015 to 2016, as the 50th President of TESOL International Association (henceforth, ‘the Association’), the topic of Leadership is close to my heart. Also, as the first (and so far, only) Brown-Person President in the Association in its more than half-century history, Diversity is a topic that I have been researching, writing about, publishing and presenting on for many years now (see, for example, Colour, Race and English Language Teaching: Shades of Meaning, Curtis & Romney, 2006). Also, in terms of equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as ethnicity and race, I was one of only a few Presidents of the Association not born in the USA and/or not living in the USA during my presidency. In addition, I was the first Association President of Indian origin (Patna, Bihar) and the first from an African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States, known as the ACP [LINK 1], of which Guyana (previously British Guiana, where my parents were born) is a member. Also, I have chosen to focus on “ensuring equity and diversity in leadership opportunities” as I am now at around the 1,000 daymarks in my TESOL Association membership lifecycle, having spent three years in the presidential line, which I completed nearly three years – or about 1,000 days – ago. The passage of that much time helps to create the distance needed to reflect deeply on such intense leadership experiences. Based on my reflections on this topic over that time, here are five things I have learned about “equity and diversity in leadership.”

Reflecting on Leadership Diversity

My apologies for starting with a bit of bad news - equity and diversity cannot be ensured. They can be enabled, encouraged, supported, but they cannot be ensured. The point here is that many of us, in countries such as the USA, the UK, (other) countries in Europe and elsewhere, are living through a time when the assumption that equity and diversity are inherently good things is vigorously – and in some cases, even violently – resisted. My first point, then, is that we must be realistic about what can be ‘ensured’ versus what can be ‘enabled’ and ‘encouraged.’

My second learning point is: Define Your Terms. As language teaching professionals, we are experts at helping our learners understand what words mean. However, over the years, I have sat in so many meetings – long days in windowless sensory deprivation chamber-type rooms – in which impassioned speeches about the importance of equity and diversity were given. But without a clear, concise statement of what we meant by those terms, the discussions faltered, and a consensus was often unattainable. One of the challenges of talking about equity and diversity is the lexical density of such words, as they carry many different meanings. As a language teacher and learner, when faced with words that embody such complex and complicated meanings, I end up going back to basics, which in my case means consulting the dictionary. For example, the online Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary gives ten meanings of the word ‘equity,’ the most relevant of which is a “situation in which everyone is treated fairly and equally.” However, even with such relatively short and seemingly straightforward definitions, there are complications. For example, is treating everyone ‘fairly’ the same as treating everyone ‘equally’?

The same dictionary gives five definitions for ‘inclusion,’ including, under the sub-heading “Social Responsibility”: “the act of allowing many different types of people to do something and treating them fairly and equally.” Do ‘equity’ and ‘inclusion’ mean the same thing? And if so, why do we keep using two terms to mean the same thing? However, under the sub-heading “Education and Social Science,” ‘equity’ is defined as: “the idea that everyone should be able to use the same facilities, take part in the same activities, and enjoy the same experiences, including people who have a disability or other disadvantage.” Then there is ‘diversity,’ defined more generally as “the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something; a range of different things or people” and more specifically, under “Social Studies,” as “the mixture of races and religions that make up a group of people.” And this is not even getting into even more complex words and ideas such as ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity.’ So, to reiterate my second point, when we use words like ‘equity’ and ‘diversity,’ as well as ‘inclusion,’ ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity,’ we need to be clear what we mean.

My third reflective learning point in this area is: Recognize the Centrality of Context. In Methods and Methodologies in Language Teaching: The Centrality of Context (Curtis, 2017), I highlight the fact that language and context are inextricably bound. Therefore, when we talk about “equity and diversity in leadership,” we must consider the context in which that discussion is taking place, including how the past has shaped the present, as every situation and setting is different. Consequently, what may be seen, in one context, as positive equitable and diverse practices to be encouraged, maybe seen elsewhere negatively and as something to be resisted. For example, as we can see from the title of the 2017 book by New York Times best-selling author Heather Mac Donald, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, there are some loud and influential voices that very strongly disagree with the idea that diversity is good, and that the more diverse, the better.

That resistance to notions of equity, diversity, and inclusion leads me to my fourth learning point: Why be Equitable and Diverse? It may seem like a no-brainer, but we are seeing world leaders in a number of different countries around the world “feed off the fear of the other” for their own political and financial gain (Curtis, 2020). As a result, rather than optimistically assuming that equity, diversity, and inclusion are generally understood to be desirable, the case may need to be made for that desirability. In the Fall 2017 issue of the newsletter of the Association’s Interest Section, TESOLers for Social Responsibility, I published an article titled ‘Diversity and Inclusion in Another World: Beyond Rhetoric to Reality.’ In that article, I made the fundamental biological case for diversity: “Drawing on my years working in hospitals in the U.K, as a Medical Science Officer, I was able to show that a 100% pure strain of any living thing has … Zero Environmental Adaptability. Consequently, even the smallest change in the environment – a cough or a sneeze, or a change in the room temperature, even of a small degree – results in death. The idea that ‘Purity is Death. Diversity is Life’ is not a political slogan, but a Fact of Life”(cite this).

Making the Most of Leadership Opportunities

As some readers may have noticed, I lopped off the last word in the list of items of interest in the call for contributions: “ensuring equity and diversity in leadership opportunities” (emphasis added). Now that we have considered the four points above, I can conclude with a fifth learning point and piece of advice: Always Be Looking for Leadership Opportunities. During my three years in the Association’s presidential line (2014-2017), I met one-to-one, and face-to-face with TESOL affiliate leaders all over the world, including some of whom I believe could one day be the first Association Presidents from, for example, the Middle East, and the first from Africa. But in order to reach that stage, leadership opportunities must be sought by those who could help to make the Association’s leadership more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

To the Association’s credit, it has made resources and supports available for all TESOL members who wish to pursue a leadership pathway. For example, there is the ELT Leadership Management Certificate Program, which “provides leadership training for ELT professionals in various kinds of ELT organizations and institutions” and which “will be especially useful to those in leadership, administrative, or management roles.” You do not have to be a member of the Association to attend that program, which is offered two times online and in-person at the TESOL annual convention. However, the current cost of that program is 400 USD for TESOL members (and 500 USD for non-members). As that may be unaffordable for some members, the Association also offers the Leadership Development Certificate Program (LDCP), which is completely free-of-charge for TESOL members. The LDCP is a “40-hour self-paced online program [which] provides quality professional development and leadership training for current or future leaders within the TESOL International Association [and] current or future leaders of other English language teacher associations”. There are other leadership development opportunities as well, such as the Association’sLeadership Mentoring Program, which is specifically designed to support, enable and encourage “equity and diversity in leadership opportunities” as “Preference is given to individuals from underrepresented groups within TESOL.” In May 2017, I posted a blog on the Association’s website titled ‘Becoming a Leader in TESOL International Association,’ which summarizes all of these leadership development opportunities. I very much look forward to hearing from TESOL Affiliate leaders – past, present, and especially future!

Andy Curtis has (co)authored and (co)edited more than 150 articles, book chapters, and books, and has presented to 25,000 teachers in 50 countries. He is the editor of the upcoming book, Reflecting on Leadership in Language Education (Equinox, 2020), and he is based in Ontario, Canada, from where he works as a consultant for language education organizations worldwide.


Curtis, A. & Romney, R. (Eds.). (2006). Colour, race and English language teaching: Shades of meaning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Curtis, A. (2017). Methods and methodologies for language teaching: The centrality of context. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Curtis, A. (2020). The new peace linguistics and the role of language in conflict. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press

Donald, H.M. (2017). The diversity delusion: How race and gender pandering corrupt the university and undermine our culture. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.



Dan W. French, Dean, Galloway College of Business, Lamar University, Texas, USA


Many academic departments have advisory boards comprised of individuals who have an interest in the department’s academic area. A successful board serves more than to be just a list of noted individuals for purposes of department publicity. An effectively utilized department advisory board can provide a practical and functional organization for developing relationships with department alumni and other outside individuals who would have an interest in supporting the mission of an academic department.

The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of the organization and execution of a successful advisory board. It draws upon my 7 years’ experience as Chair of the Department of Finance in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business of the University of Missouri, working with the Finance Advisory Board (FAB). While the FAB has been quite a successful and productive organization, my examples should serve as only one way of doing things well; there are many avenues that lead to a thriving department advisory board.

An advisory board can provide a number of benefits to a department, including:

  • providing guidance and counsel
    • to the department chair
    • to individual faculty members
  • interaction with department major students in a variety of ways such as
    • individual mentoring
    • job shadowing
  • serving as classroom guest speakers
  • fundraising


Board Bylaws Organization

A good set of bylaws is a vital tool for maintaining a board. Items noted in the following subsections are good candidates for specifying in the bylaws. Bylaws can help with the transition from one set of officers to another, and they can provide a set of guidelines that can help reduce any disagreements that might arise.

Board Member

Finding the right balance between having a sufficient number of board members and a number that becomes too cumbersome is an act that probably comes more with experience than with a rule of thumb. There should be enough members to represent a broad cross-section of the various sub-areas that your department covers. For example, a modern language department would want board members representing each of the languages taught in the department.

My experience has shown that a board of about 25 members serves us well. There will usually be between 5 and 10 members who cannot make a meeting, so attendance of 15 to 20 at a meeting is a manageable number and allows each individual the opportunity to contribute.


The title, responsibility, number of officers to empower is another area that the bylaws should address. The number and responsibilities are probably best determined by the board based on its needs. The FAB has only a Chair and a Vice-Chair who assumes the position of Chair in the following year. There are several minor officer positions (committee chairs) that may or may not have many duties in any one given year. Also, individual members take on ad hoc duties and responsibilities as needs arise.

The board has 4 standing committees:

  • Promotion
  • Student Relations
  • Membership
  • Fundraising
  • Each committee has a chair. There is no secretary position; the department’s administrative assistant has the task of taking minutes at each meeting. The board needs no treasurer because all funds flow through the department’s official account with the university.

Recruiting and Retaining Members

Recruiting new members is essential to an advisory board’s health. New members bring fresh ideas and can re-energize a board that might be starting to founder. The bylaws should identify

  • procedures for inviting prospective new members and placing them on the board
  • terms for members
  • processes for inviting members to recommit or graciously exit at the end of their term.

I have found 2 useful sources of candidates for membership. Most obvious is the current board membership and their circle of connections. The second is faculty who can recommend former students with whom they may have maintained contact. Alumni are usually the best prospects; they have an already-established loyalty to the department and often look forward to reconnecting with faculty members who may still be teaching for the department.

The FAB invites prospective members to a trial meeting in which the candidate “decides whether he or she wants to join such a notorious group.” In that way, the board avoids giving the prospect the impression of being on probation and allows the candidate a way out if there is no fit. Following this first meeting, the board extends a formal invitation to join.

Department Chair Role

The leadership of the board should be vested in its officers with the department chair in the role of a non-voting, permanent member. Board members will take ownership of their organization and are more likely to offer their services and resources if the department chair serves more as a consultant than a participant. Board members will respect a department chair that offers suggestions and guidance but allows the board to make its own decisions.

During FAB meetings, after the chair calls the meeting to order and introduces prospective new members, I present a 45-minute report on the department and sum up by outlining the topics that I hope the board will address and act on during the meeting. During the remainder of the meeting, members regularly direct questions to me about the topic they are addressing, so I serve an informational and guidance role during that time.

Effective Board Member Characteristics

An effective board member will

  • be proactive
  • attend meetings on a regular basis
  • participate in the board’s activities to the extent possible

 Board Meetings 

How often, where, when should the board meet?

Choose a balance in the number of board meetings. Too few meetings will lead to board members losing interest; too many will cause burnout. The campus makes a great place to meet as long as adequate facilities are available. Make it as easy as possible for board members to get more for their trip to campus by combining events, if possible.

The FAB has 2 meetings per year, each starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending by about 2:45. (They tend to start getting restless soon after lunch, and some members like to have a post-meeting session at one of the nearby pubs.) The fall meeting is on Friday preceding the homecoming football game, and the spring meeting coincides with the College’s Honors Luncheon. Basketball games and other events can also provide a nice draw.


Pre-meeting organization

Members appreciate a well-organized and executed meeting. Set and announce the date of the next meeting during the current meeting, and planning should begin months before the meeting date so that everything will proceed smoothly including

  • Reminder emails leading up to the meeting day, including a copy of the previous meeting’s minutes
  •  Meeting facility and catering arrangements (light breakfast for those arriving early and full lunch recommended, and be sure to have coffee available all day)
  • Table tents and name tags

 Conducting effective meetings

Board officers should lead meetings will hopefully have the skills to facilitate a productive meeting. Sometimes the department chair can gently guide the discussion back to its intended target, and providing an agenda with topics and times helps keep the meeting on schedule.


Successfully Engaging Advisory Board Members

A successful board is actively engaged with the department. However, left on their own, boards tend to lose steam, so the department chair should continually work to involve members. Board members need to know that their contributions make a difference and that their commitments of time and other valuable resources are not wasted. Participation and engagement create a rewarding experience for members and lead to continued and additional participation. The following are suggestions for projects that keep members involved and contributing to the mission of the department:

  • Plan and host major events – bring in a noted speaker or practitioner in the field (department chairs should offer resources such as department staff for planning and executing an event)
  • Engagement with students – serve as a student’s mentor, host a student to job-shadow, sponsor a reception for students to meet board members (chairs and staff can help coordinate these)
  • Professor for a day – speak to a class (chairs should encourage department faculty to invite board members)
  • Student trips – members can host student trips or arrange them with acquaintances (chairs can offer operational assistance)

The following are department chair activities that can help keep the board thriving:

  • Visits – periodically arrange a brief visit with board members at their work, home, or for lunch
  • Communication – keep members informed of what’s going on, use emails, publish a newsletter, maintain a web site


If fundraising is the primary reason that a department sponsors a board, then the board will probably neither effectively contribute to the department’s mission nor successfully raise funds. On the other hand, active and engaged board members who feel that their contributions of valuable time and effort have made a positive difference will often be willing (and possibly wanting) to make a financial contribution.

Any of the special projects noted in the previous section provide opportunities for raising funds. For example, there are expenses associated with bringing in a noted guest speaker, and the board could make it a priority that members would provide or solicit funding for the event.

Any department chair who works with board members during meetings and in activities such as those mentioned in the previous section will develop close relationships with board members. As part of this relationship, it is certainly appropriate to have a frank discussion with the member about the financial challenges that higher education faces and possible contributions that the member could make to help the department achieve its goals.

 In closing…

Sponsoring a department advisory board can be a fulfilling undertaking for an academic department chair, and it can lead to benefits that help the department advance its goals. However, department chairs who take the challenge to form and maintain an advisory board will be first to admit that success comes only through many hours of work and months or years of developing working relationships.


Dan French President has served on multiple boards over the past several decades, including the Southwestern Finance Association, 1990-91, 2012-13, Vice-Pres. and Program Chair, Southwestern Finance Association, 1989-1990, 2011-12, Member, Board of Directors, Southwestern Finance Association, 1986-1988, and Treasurer, Rio Grande Chapter, Financial Executives Institute, 1995-1997. Additionally, he is currently active in the American Finance Association, Southern Finance Association, Financial Management Association, Southwestern Finance Association, Eastern Finance Association, American Real Estate Society, and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.


This article was originally published in the following publications:

1. Dan W. French. “The Department Advisory Board as an Academic Partner” The Department Chair, 21 (Summer 2010), 1-3.

2. Special Issues in Chairing Academic Departments, by Carolyn Allard


James Papple, TESL Ontario, Canada,

Henrick Oprea, BrazTESOL, Brazil,

Susan Gaer, CATESOL, USA,

Grazzia Maria Mendoza, TESOL International Board of Directors/HELTA Honduras TESOL, Honduras, Suzanne Rajkumar, ACTION TESOL Caribbean, Trinidad, and Tobago,

Maria Trapero, Mexico,

"I will treasure this activity forever and hope that when you have an idea, you share it with others, you never know... maybe there is someone out there who thinks alike, and together you can run an activity like ELT DAY FOR PUERTO RICO." —Online Presenter

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, a group of over 90 ELT professionals all across the globe gathered virtually to help Puerto Rico through a 24-hour Online Teachers Conference titled ELT Day for Puerto Rico. The beautiful and resilient Caribbean island was in a slow recovery process after the 2017 hurricane that left much of the country without power and severe damage to its infrastructure. However, the country was again devastated when earthquakes wreaked havoc on Monday, January 6, 2020. Several Latin American, Caribbean, and North American associations and affiliates worked together with EFLtalks to host this online conference. The event was a great example of building knowledge and expertise on global citizenship, which brought the TESOL community together in solidarity.

Through the efforts led by these affiliates and associations in contacting colleagues and experts, over 90 presenters from over 50 different countries volunteered their time and efforts to contribute. Presenters donated time and knowledge to help raise over $3,000 in support of the relief effort. Each of the presenters delivered spirited, 10-minute online talks or 30-minute plenaries with the goal of raising funds for the Puerto Rican Office of the American Red Cross. One of the presenters stated, "As a brand new online presenter, for me, it was a way to leave my comfort zone […], but most importantly, it was going to help our colleagues in Puerto Rico raising awareness about the power and responsibility teachers have." By mid-day of the conference, the event had already surpassed the halfway point of the goal.

The audience was as diverse as the presenters, with dozens in attendance in each of the separate presentation blocks. Even though the conference was organized in short order, the presentations went off mostly without a hitch. The topics examined issues in ELT, as well as global citizenship, transformative learning, education in crisis and conflict, and the promotion of peace through language teaching, among many others. The audience was definitely in for an academic treat!

The Process

EFLTalks was the platform used to ensure as many participants as possible were able to attend over the 24 hour-long mini-conference. EFL Talks generously provided free access to the highest number of participants (1000 from other platforms) and the possibility to have blocks of sessions. Moreover, organizers were familiar with the platform as it had hosted TESOL affiliate and IS events in the past. EFL Talks' track record with TESOL influenced the decision to use this platform for this event.

It was essential to choose a trusted charity, and the decision was made to select the Puerto Rico Red Cross. This funding mechanism was chosen due to its ease of service and as a recommendation from Puerto Rican colleagues. It was essential to consider their input in every step of the procedures. Donations went directly to the fund and were managed in-country, without third parties being involved, allowing for a transparent process.

The project had several stages starting at planting the seed for collaboration through a WhatsApp group set up back in 2018 at the HELTA TESOL conference, to the 24-hour online conference. It is essential to highlight that the commitment and availability of all the volunteers were precious, with people dedicating long hours to the task. The hard work paid off, as the mini-conference attracted over 1000 attendees.

Final Reflections

These efforts can be easily replicated in other contexts when there is a need for such action. The organization of a collaborative, international event requires time and organizational skills, plus high levels of motivation. Additionally, having collaborative documents in place and making them available to all those involved can be a tremendous value to the dedicated ELT professionals going beyond the classroom and borders to help.

With tremors and aftershocks still affecting Puerto Rico, relief efforts are still badly needed. For those that were unable to make the live talk, the site continues to raise awareness of the situation in Puerto Rico. If you missed the live presentation, the EFLTalks website is hosting the videos along with hundreds of other valuable resources.

Araceli Salas has a Ph.D. in Language Science and an MA in ELT. She is a teacher educator and researcher at BUAP Mexico. Dr. Salas is an editor at various journals in the field and has been involved in TESOL for the last six years. She is the current Chair-Elect for the EFLIS. Her research interests are teacher education, ESP, Discourse Analysis, and Leadership in ELT.

Henrick Oprea- BrazTESOL, Brazil, has been working in education for since 1997. Since then, he has worked as a teacher-trainer, Director of Studies, university professor at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, college counselor, project coordinator for high school students, and high school principal. His primary focus is on education and teacher education. In this regard, he gives workshops and talks in Brazil and other countries, both online and in-person, with a keen interest in technology and its applications in education. He is a Google Certified Educator who is continually looking for ways in which technology can support methodology in the classroom. He is currently the president of BRAZ-TESOL, the largest association for teachers of English in Brazil, and is working alongside outstanding professionals from the field of ELT in Brazil to foster better training and opportunities for other English teachers.

Grazzia Maria Mendoza is a US DoS Alumna, recognized for project development for teachers. She has 27 years of TESOL field experience and research interests that include CBLT, Methodological Improvements PD. She is the founder, Past-President, current advisor of HELTA TESOL (Honduras), a representative of the Latin America Regional TESOL Group, Board Member for TESOL International Association and an Education Specialist for the US Government USAID Honduras

Glenda Gallardo is a highly experienced EFL teacher, teacher trainer, and educational consultant who has been working in the field of language and language development for over 20 years. She has worked with a wide variety of levels and students from schools, language centers, and universities in Peru and England. Currently, she works for Universidad De Lima and Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, teaching on-site and online courses. Ms. Gallardo has a professional degree in Foreign Language Education from IPNM – UPCH, holds the CPE, TKT CLIL, and has completed MA TEFL studies at FUNIBER. In addition to teaching, Ms. Gallardo is a Cambridge Speaking Examiner and freelance speaker in conventions, seminars, and conferences in Peru, Bolivia, and Honduras. Finally, Ms. Gallardo is the coordinator of the IATEFL-Peru Learner Autonomy SIG.

James Papple is an EAP Manager at York University English Language Institute, a past chair of TESL Ontario, and is presently on the board for the CCLB and the ANPC. With over 20 years of experience, and a Masters in TESL from Brock University, he is an avid presenter both locally and abroad. Jim is an author of two EAP textbooks and enjoys tinkering with educational technology as well as exploring vocabulary acquisition.

María Trapero is passionate about education and believes in the importance of the role of the teachers and the difference they make in their students' lives. As a teacher, a teacher trainer, an educational consultant, and an inter/national speaker, she devotes her professional life to the English Language Teaching field and advocating for teachers serving as a member of TESOL, the Latin American TESOL Group, and as a former President, Mexico TESOL.

Susan Gaer is a Professor Emeritus of ESL, the current CATESOL president, and a presenter at TESOL and other international conferences around the world. She is a Google Certified Innovator who enjoys sharing her technology integration knowledge with teachers and students. Her service experience includes Chairing the TESOL's CALL IS, Nominations Committee, and the standing committee to rewrite the nomination committee rules for TESOL in addition to serving on both the TESOL Technology and Professional Development Committees.

Suzanne Rajkumar is one of the 2019 Tesol International Ambassadors, Assistant Coordinator ACTION TESOL Caribbean- Trinidad & Tobago, Regional Secretary ATC, Innovator of the CBC Codebreaker ESL game, Vice-president II of Honduras Tesol with over 29,000 teaching hours accumulated teaching both adults and young adults custom-designed ESL classes focused on meaningful learning, currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Linguistics & TESOL.


Suzanne Rajkumar, Director Biliterate Culture Development

When I was given leadership roles in Latin America and the Caribbean, in two teachers' associations, I embraced them not because of the love of leading but because of a love of volunteering. Having worked in the manufacturing industry as an ESL business teacher, I saw the impact and value of continuous improvement in processes and professional development by volunteering at a Teacher's association. I was able to share my experiences to help others, and myself, grow professionally.

I am a global citizen, because I am a Trinidadian working on behalf of my twin-island republic, and because I live in Honduras. It is like listening to my bilingual son singing reggae music in Jamaican English Creole while living in Honduras. I never taught him that. However, it is in our nature as human beings to identify with what we are exposed to, even remotely. That is why I was drawn to ATC (Action TESOL Caribbean), it satisfied the " beyond borders potential" that was already part of my nature and experience.

I am of Indian ancestry, serving French-Canadian, North American, Indian, European, Mauritian and Latin American clients in Honduras, and serving Creole-speaking, and other ELLs in Trinidad and Tobago. How global is that? However, there are a few lessons of leadership that are different in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the Caribbean, we are taught to rise above our circumstances and strive to be successful despite the odds, whereas poverty in Honduras is very oppressive. Many citizens do not have ample opportunities to develop their public speaking or leadership skills. A teacher's association in Honduras becomes a safe place to support, uplift, train, and cultivate communication skills that are so necessary when developing leadership among educators.

Honduras is also open to English culture, and as a teacher here, my role would be to sort out the culturally sensitive "chistes" from hip-hop, and reggaeton, which would offend if spoken outside of the music context, because they are just not polite. I would also see beyond ethnic groups and navigate between them, because that is what my Trinidadian heritage has taught me.

Being interculturally competent is described as being an extension of communicative competence related to "knowledge of what to do when cultural norms of appropriate linguistic behavior may not be shared, but strategic communicative goals still need to be achieved. Such knowledge requires that ESOL learners are mindful and sensitive to "the possibility of different culturally conditioned interactional styles" (Corbett, 2014, para. 3). In my experience, immersing myself in the local culture, learning my students' stories, and seeing their context all helped to shape my perspective as a global teacher of influence. It allowed me to connect more deeply with my Honduran and Latin American peers to foster better collaboration, teamwork, and communication. Also, we either do not speak English in Honduras, or we need it for social mobility, especially in the face of poverty and potential marginalization. To speak English sets you up to figuratively run with the wolves.

However, in the English-speaking Caribbean, particularly Trinidad and Tobago, everyone has some English, so the strategy is different. It has to be! We can be cloistered within our language group and be just happy doing things the way we are used to. So, coming alongside teachers to support what they are already doing is key. They are already TESOLers with multilingual English backgrounds and indigenous approaches. It is all about building awareness about TESOL best practices in Trinidad and Tobago- very different from what I have been experiencing for the last 20 years in Latin America. In this context, being flexible and listening with empathy are two key qualities to have when working with teachers who know English, but have not been exposed to the Tesol culture of professional development, research opportunities, among others. Their needs are different, and they have not yet discovered how much they have to offer in the TESOL arena.

In Honduras, English is a gift. In the English speaking Caribbean, the strategy is to help teachers unwrap the gifts they already have. This is the lesson in this in-between space - to listen more, meaning that I have to lay down my skills of technological ease, experience in ELT, and entrepreneurship before a different public that is more selective. It is challenging and fun.

The greatest learning opportunities have arisen from the "hard conversations," where the message that is intended is not necessarily the message that is received and where misunderstanding ensues it takes patience to switch cultural listening caps and not be defensive. Instead, it is about being open to what others have to say in the interest of a broader perspective. It is a place for expanding our growth mindset, as cross-country collaborations foster global citizenship in practice.

The recent ELT day for Puerto Rico event is clear of an example of a seamless collaborative effort among approximately 67 participants I have experienced to date. An idea was sparked in Brazil and set ablaze in a WhatsApp group chat where more than 66 integrants from all over Latin America and the Caribbean shared ideas, worked on documents online, discussed ideas, edited video content and networked to pull off a 24-hour marathon of 10-minute presentations on www.EFLTalks.com Over 93 presenters said yes to supporting the fundraising initiative for disaster relief in Puerto Rico after the recent earthquake episodes.

This event showed the real power of self-less collaboration; time was of the essence, available people said "Yes" and those who could not; they supported by networking or sending suggestions via the chat. No one was left out. The level of planning and organization was phenomenal- those with the skill set to set up spreadsheets that collected data did so and shared with the group. Everyone paid attention to instructions when given and responded quickly regarding their availability- their prompt replies facilitated effective and productive decision-making during this process.

Being digitally literate was also an asset during the ELT day for Puerto Rico collaboration. Are you comfortable using spreadsheets, online collaborations tools, video editing software, learning platforms? If not, it is time to step out of your comfort zone and raise your hand to participate in your local affiliate. It just might be the beginning of a wonderful adventure in learning and professional development. That is what we learn when we step outside of our comfort zones. TESOL is not a field only of the classroom; it is a global arena of influence!


Corbett, J. (2014). Communicative competence, Key Concepts in Intercultural Design,9 retrieved from https://centerforinterculturaldialogue.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/key-concept-communicative-competence.pdf

Lindholm, T. Mednick, Myles, J., and Deardorff, D. (2019). Navigating the Intercultural Classroom, Tesol International Association, P.47


In the spirit of collaboration, I wish to thank Dr. Renee Figuera for sharing her insight regarding this article.

Suzanne Rajkumar, one of the 2019 TESOL International Ambassadors, Assistant Coordinator ACTION TESOL Caribbean- Trinidad & Tobago, Regional Secretary ATC, Innovator of the CBC Codebreaker ESL game, Ex-president and past Vice-president II of Honduras TESOL with over 29,000 teaching hours accumulated teaching both adults and young adults custom-designed ESL classes focused on meaningful learning, currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Linguistics & TESOL.

Dr. Renee Figuera is the Founder and Local Coordinator of ACTION TESOL, Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago. She is a Lecturer in Linguistics and TESOL at the University of the West Indies and a researcher and advocates for language in interdisciplinary contexts of peace, resilience and critical discourse studies.



Dr. Mira Namsrai, President of the English Language Teachers' Association of Mongolia/Mongolia TESOL, Mongolia

For more than 20 year’s English Language Teachers Association/Mongolia TESOL has been serving secondary school and university English language teachers around the country by collaborating with national and international organizations.


ELTAM initiates and organizes annual conferences, workshops, research projects, materials development, and in-service teacher training programs to promote English language teachers’ professional development and contribute to the English education development in the country as well. One of the major projects is the national English teaching curriculum and textbook development for secondary schools. By the request of the Ministry of Education, the team of teachers and educators appointed by ELTAM produced national standards, core curriculum, and learning materials for teaching English at the secondary school level.

Success and Achievements

We are proud of our success and achievements because our team has set up a new level of standards for teaching and learning materials production (including printed and audio materials), which served as a good example for materials production for other secondary school subjects. The project products have also contributed to the national capacity development in English language education, mainly training Mongolian ELT materials writers and a team of curriculum developers. Other groups of human resources benefited from the project were English language teachers and learners, publishers and designers, education administrators, and decision-makers.

Curriculum and Textbook Development

In recent years, the curriculum and textbook development team revised the English language curriculum and textbooks in line with the Ministry’s education reform. Newly revised materials aim to meet international standards and new trends in the ELT field. Incorporating a learner-centered approach, which includes constructive, creative, and task-based learning is the main feature of the curriculum and textbooks that are currently used in all secondary schools. In 2002, the English–1 set won the Mongolian President’s Award for the best textbook of the year. In 2009, the series of English textbooks received the ELTons Award for Innovations in an international category from the British Council. Our textbooks have been nationally and internationally recognized.

Finally, I am happy to say that our successful long-term work on national curriculum and textbook development has been making a significant contribution to the development of English education in our country. Therefore, we are proudly sharing our achievements and progress with the wider ELT community.


Manana Rusieshvili, ETAG President, Tbilisi, Georgia & Rusudan Tkemaladze, ETAG Director, Tbilisi, Georgia

The English Teachers’ Association of Georgia (ETAG) was one of the first professional organizations founded in Tbilisi, Georgia (which is a small country situated in the South Caucasus, on the border of Asia and Europe) 25 years ago in January 1995. Since then, ETAG has been assisting teachers of English to become successful and grow professionally. ETAG was developed in close cooperation with the American Embassy in Georgia and the British Council of Georgia.

With the assistance of these lifelong partners, ETAG has designed and developed 14 teacher training courses and many courses for trainers of teachers. These courses ran in all nine branches of the organization and situated in all the major cities of Georgia. The courses focused on specific aspects of teaching English, and they endeavor to improve English language teaching and learning standards by introducing innovative approaches and methods.

ETAG is actively involved in organizing annual national and several regional conferences. As well as this, over 30 of our members have participated in TESOL, IATEFL, and other international conferences. Over 100 of our members have won international exchange program awards for English teachers funded by the Department of State. During 25 years of existence, ETAG has implemented over 40 small and large-scale projects supported by the US Embassy in Georgia, British Council, Hornby Trust (4 times), Peace Corps, Project Harmony, the Black Sea University,OSGF, Coalition-Education for All, Teachers’ House, etc.

The most recent and very successful project has been the English Clubs' development and teacher training in 13 villages near to the administrative borderlines (British Council, FCO, UK). These clubs have reached 1,572 students and 84 regional teachers within 6 months. Additionally, specialists invited by the American Embassy have assisted ETAG in working with our teachers to design joint courses and conduct training courses.

During the 2019-2020 academic year, ETAG conducted training in brain-based strategies for teaching English. Five sessions were held so far in different cities in Georgia. The training content emphasizes how current neuroscience findings can be applied to teaching methods. The biological activity driving the need for active engagement lesson planning is explained in the training as well as the importance of the use of essential questions, explicit learning targets, and formative assessments. The training sessions also covered an explanation of memory techniques for long-term memory storage and retrieval. Dr. Mary Baldridge, English Language Fellow and ETAG/TESOL member, conducted the workshops. In the Spring semester, ETAG will conduct training in brain-based lesson planning for teachers of English for Special Purposes (ESP). The spring training will include specific applications of active learning techniques and backward design lesson planning for reading, writing, and speaking classes.

ETAG celebrated an essential day in its life – its 25th anniversary this January. Many members who have done a lot for the development of ETAG, as well as young members of the association, gathered together on that day and remembered the first days of ETAG. Rusudan, Tkemaladze, ETAG director, and co-founder spoke about the achievements as well as ETAG's contribution to the development of the ELT field in Georgia. This day confirmed again that we are ready for future challenges and will continue to be the first to share new ideas and approaches in ELT in Georgia. ETAG aspires to exemplify a highly.

(The Board)


Manana Rusieshvili is the ETAG president. As well as this, she is a Full Professor and Head of English Philology at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University ( TSU). Manana is a Teacher Trainer and teaches English and Linguistics at TSU.

Rusiko Tkemaladze is one of the founders of ETAG and its first President. Currently, she works at the National Examinations and Assessment Centre of Georgia as the Head of the Foreign Languages Group. Rusiko also teaches English to MA students at Tbilisi State University.

The Professional Development Sessions)


25th Anniversary)


V.S.Jakar, ETAI, Jerusalem, Israel

As you read this account, you may recognize the types of events or circumstances that you have experienced in your own organization. When grassroots initiatives develop into successful enterprises, they not only flourish, they change. The changes are influenced – or even caused – by the environment, the climate, the conditions under which they exist, and, most importantly, the people who are involved. Where ETAI (English Teachers’ Association, Israel) is concerned, this long-time TESOL affiliate has gone through a number of cycles of growth, development, climate change…., and set-backs. Such is life!

Early Days

In the 70s, a group of university teachers of English for Academic Purposes had got together to form an association that came to be known as ISRATESOL. It was an early affiliate of TESOL International. They met periodically at one of the (then) five universities to discuss current TESOL issues and usually to hear from a guest speaker about ESOL or educational linguistics.

Sound familiar?

A few years later, ETAI began - with much help, encouragement, and sponsorship from the British Council - as a small band of school teachers, from Elementary through to High Schools, getting together to form their own Association. The early committee consisted of three or four teachers, a university professor, the chief inspector (Ministry of Education) for English studies, and some volunteer teacher-mentors, plus an adviser (known then as an English Language Officer) representing the British Council.

In the 80s, ETAI meetings were held in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beer Sheva (the main four urban areas of the country). These local meetings, organized by volunteers, took place on school premises, after school time (4.30 p.m. – 7.30 p.m.), usually consisting of a presentation or lecture, given by a volunteer speaker, followed by discussion, or a workshop on a related topic.

This format must sound familiar, too!

ETAI’s Vital Role

For many years, there were very few professional development opportunities offered by the authorities (Ministry of Education). It was at ETAI that teachers got to learn more about popular issues in ESOL, about methodologies, and about the course-textbooks that were being prepared for use in the public sector. A popular local ETAI event was the ‘Textbook Fest,” where teachers were invited to bring along and present a (favorite) textbook that they were using currently. They selected which group to join (e.g., high school upper level) according to their teaching goals, and in an unthreatening, group atmosphere they discussed the pros and cons of their chosen books, offering their recommendations and reservations. The culminating plenum and feedback sessions were enjoyed and valued. Reports on these events were made available locally or appeared in the ‘ETAI Forum’ - the Newsletter, which had by then become well established as one of the benefits of ETAI membership.

My Friends! How You’ve Grown

The ETAI committee grew, incorporating members from various regions and educational authorities. Thus, the membership was multicultural and became increasingly multiethnic and multilingual. The common denominator was that every member (and non-member conference attendee) was a teacher of EFL. That continues until today. ETAI received a great deal of support from the British Council in terms of guidance, resources, mentoring, professional development opportunities, guest speakers of renown, and organizational expertise. Membership drives were instituted, and Annual National Conferences were organized, bringing members – and prospective members - together for full-day (and later, two- and three-day) events. They were held in the summer, in Jerusalem (coolest place, climate-wise) at, initially, large schools. They featured guest speakers, regular presentations, and longer workshops, with input from the Ministry of Education representatives.

Again, familiar format, folks??

After a few years, ETAI joined forces with IsraTESOL , thus becoming part of the TESOL ‘family.’ This enabled ETAI to benefit from the TESOL awards which included bringing guest speakers of repute as plenary speakers to International Conferences that were held every few years.n

The Conferences, Through the Years

At the Annual National (and International) Conferences, there were the ‘usual’ presentations given by teachers on Best Lesson Plans, Teaching Grammar, Games in the Classroom, and the like, plus sessions on innovations in the classroom, on culturally related topics, on innovations in technology - i.e., the beginnings of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Teaching - and of course English Literature. Theoretical topics, such as Second Language Acquisition, Communicative Competence, and then , Multiple Intelligences and Multicultural Education, were addressed, often by local university professors who gave their services voluntarily. It was due to these types of sessions that our ‘Peace Studies,’ ‘Peacebuilding’ events, and ‘Mutual Understanding’ groups were formed. Other types of events at the conferences included workshops on a variety of (then) current methodologies and practice, discussion sessions, presentation of textbooks, and experiential activities where participants were encouraged to come together to hammer out policies and ideas that they wanted to see promoted in the education system.

Books and Materials

Local publishers had flourished in the late 80s, so gave increasing support to ETAI. The Book and Materials Exhibition at each conference became an increasingly important draw. There were publishers’ presentations, which formed a considerable part of some of the local and national conferences. The publishers had begun creating course textbooks for the schools program, which was mandated for compulsory English (EFL) classes from Grade 5 onwards (until matriculation in Grade 12)*. Thus, when an ETAI meeting took place, publishers would display their wares, and, where the opportunity presented itself, demonstrate the use of the materials. They began sponsoring events, entertainment, and refreshments at the conferences, making it special for all!

Sound familiar?

Professional Development Courses Become Mandatory

In the 90s, with the advent of the Ministry of Education Professional Development programs, and the establishment of Teachers’ Centers in the main cities, the role of ETAI became less significant. Professional development sessions and courses had become mandatory, so certain types of ETAI events became less attractive. Online learning programs for ESOL teachers were introduced by both the American Center (under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State) and the British Council. Recently, a system of ‘Professional Learning Communities’ for teachers of EFL has become part of the professional development program of the Ministry of Education English Language Studies Department, adding yet another element to the ‘reduction process’ of ETAI’s functions. However, being aware of the value of a voluntary professional association, the current education authorities now recognize certain ETAI events and sessions (including local ‘mini’ conferences which serve outlying areas ) as possible credit-bearing sessions. This has brought new impetus to the planning committee’s program. And this is where the Hackathon** comes in! In the spirit of innovation and development, some committee members came up with a different format for some ETAI events. They scheduled four meetings, in locales which are on the periphery of urban areas, but nevertheless accessible. Wanting to find out more about this pilot venture, we asked Mitzi Gefen, current Chair of the ETAI committee:

VSJ: “So what’s a Hackathon, ETAI -style?”

Mitzi: It’s an event where many teachers work together to come up with solutions to a pedagogical challenge.

VSJ: What is the goal of ETAI’s vocabulary hackathon?

Mitzi: To create a bank of lesson plans, games, and engaging activities whose goal it is to teach and practice vocabulary effectively.

VSJ: What will we ETAI members do?

Mitzi: We will collaborate in teams to create these plans and games and activities, we’ll share feedback, and create a document so that all participants will leave with a set of ready-to-use plans for the classroom. We’ll get prizes and goodies. We will shmooze, eat, laugh, share, create, and generally have a great time together - a new and exciting conference experience!

VSJ: Who will come?

Mitzi: You!! Teachers of all levels – elementary, junior high, and high school.

The Reports Are in!

We have now had four events. The leaders of the sessions were delighted with the outcomes and the feedback following all four of the Hackathon sessions. Format for future Hackathons may be adjusted. This is particularly significant regarding the need for a lead-in or trigger presentation, which will spur on the participants or inspire them to delve further into their topic. The element of competition is a tricky one, and the whole issue of assessment can be a Hackathon unto itself. But the spirit of adventure is there, and the achievement of a group venture gives credence to the belief that ETAI, a voluntary professional organization, has a place and a role in our current educational world. Yes. Things have changed, needs have changed, but the communion of like minds, and the stimulating encounters that members have experienced, are evidence that belonging to a professional Association such as ETAI benefits all, teachers and students alike.

For more information, contact Bridget Schvarcz at bridget.schvarcz@gmail.com

*Policy dictated that only Ministry Approved Textbooks could be used for class courses.

**‘Hacking’, these days, means exploratory programming; ‘Marathon’ is a strenuous race, often long and arduous. So a Hackathon is a competition, but it is cooperative or collaborative in its venture.

See https://apiumhub.com/tech-blog-barcelona/what-is-a-hackathon/ for further information.

Valerie S. Jakar, Ph.D., is a veteran member of ETAI, joining the Association shortly after she arrived in Jerusalem from London, England. She served on other ETAI committees for many years, in a range of capacities, but was most active as Conference Convenor, for several local and three International Conferences. Contact Dr. Jakar to share other ideas, memories of past events, and, perhaps, some innovations or adaptations that will contribute to sustaining our organizations. vsjakar@gmail.com



Ana Madrigal Rimola, President ACPI, San Jose, Costa Rica

ACPI (Costa Rican Association of Teachers of English) is an association of professionals concerned with the education of English language learners at all levels of public and private education in Costa Rica. ACPI was created to approach teachers and professors with the educational and political areas in the government. Our interests include classroom practices, research, program and curriculum development, employment, funding, and legislation, all of them focusing on the benefits for educators.

ACPI was founded in 1960 by a group of pioneer teachers interested in improving the use of English in our country. They began the first contact with the people in charge of important roles in education to call attention to the need for English as a Second Language teaching as English is a plus for jobs from border to border, taking into account that Costa Rica is touristic country.

ACPI was created to protect the interests of all educators in the seven provinces. On the other hand, it was a window to open opportunities abroad. Our mission is to be an association of professionals concerned with the education of English language learners at all levels of public and private education. It is also a vehicle to disseminate information to organizations inside and outside the country. Since the foundation, ACPI has celebrated its convention once a year; we are 60 years old and happy to celebrate this anniversary with another convention and visiting all regions around the country with workshops to teachers in public schools.


Jorge Torres Almazán, MEXTESOL-TESOL Liaison, Tampico, Mexico

It was my great pleasure to act as Master of Ceremonies and welcome 3,000 enthusiastic colleagues to our 46th International Convention in Queretaro, Mexico. The theme of the conference this year was “Eclectic Teaching Trends for the ELT World.”

The theme was reflected well with all five plenaries and many of the presentations throughout the conference. Our five plenary speakers shared their expertise with our great audience. Sarah Hillyard told us about how drama is, in itself, an eclectic approach. She says drama involves a rich combination of activity types and does not exclude one approach or another. She gave some examples of how it may work to enhance the effectiveness of some methods, Total Physical Response, and Drilling, for instance.


Jeremy Harmer presented “How to Learn from Communicative Activities.” In his presentation, he mentioned the excitement generated by the arrival of the Communicative Approach years ago and the included attention to activities in which students had a communicative purpose, focused on content rather than language form. He challenged how useful suchactivities are. In his talk, he revisited the concept of communicative activities and tried to see how to re-fashion them so that they are communicative learning activities. “Putting the Human Centre Stage in the Classroom” presented by Mark Almond invited us to look beyond mainstream language teaching methodology and enquire why and how teachers can apply principles found in other areas and adopt a more multi-disciplinary approach in the classroom. He proposed how, through training theatre skills, educators can apply these to their own classrooms to improve classroom climate, group dynamics, teacher presence, and rapport. Simon Brewster examined the causes of teacher burnout, workload, being evaluated, classroom management issues, self-esteem, and self-confidence, which are linked to environmental and personality factors. He also examined different coping strategies that depend to some extent on each individual, but also on support systems available in the workplace. Jim Citron’s presentation invited teachers to reflect, participate, and laugh as they asked, how are culture and language-related, how can miscommunication occur, and what does it mean for today´s English language teacher in Mexico?

This convention also was a special occasion to honor Jorge Vazquez Gonzalez, current National Secretary, who was given recognition for more than 40 years of service to our association. Jorge has served MEXTESOL at different times and posts as volunteer, Nuevo Leon chapter board member, & National Board member. He has attended almost all of MEXTESOL´s International, National, & Local conventions. We are proud of having Jorge as a friend and colleague.

Our renewed readers committee prepared a broad and diverse program in order to fit different audiences and contexts. Featured and concurrent sessions showed their work. We learn a lot from them; the ambiance was friendly and professional; the conference planners did an excellent job. We love to attend and learn new things, especially social programs, an excellent place for networking that can help participants make connections to new people and ideas, too. We are now looking forward to our 2020 convention in Zacatecas!


Jorge Torres Almazán is MEXTESOL-TESOL Liaison. He has taught EFL for more than 15 years, holds an MA in Education Administration and a BA in Pedagogy. He is a teacher at the American School of Tampico. He has been a speaker at TESOL, MEXTESOL, & BBELT conferences and a member of U. S. Alumni Global Community.



Jeremy Levin, FRANCE TESOL President, Paris, France

New Structure & Location

We have redefined our internal structure and roles. The biggest issue we have faced is that we are still looking for a new headquarters in Paris. Our conference venue of over 27 years moved out of town and cut ties to its partnered organizations massively impacting how we do things. We are currently looking for a new long-term venue partnership with any school in Paris that will welcome us; as of late, we have fallen short. French bureaucracy is tedious, and the political state of the country may not help either. Because of this, we decided to hold our annual colloquium last year in a different city where we have a regional branch. That city was Lille, my home for the past 17 years. We were fortunate enough that my employer, SKEMA Business School, was kind enough to let us use their facilities at no charge. For those of you who do not know Lille, it is at the literal crossroads of Europe, within a 90-minute train ride from London, one hour from Paris, and 50 minutes from Brussels. Its strategic location was key to our decision-making process. After all, it is not easy competing with Paris when it comes to attracting conference-goers! Although it was outside of Paris, the conference was well attended and, overall, a success.

Oh the Places We Go

As usual, we had people travel from all over the world to speak and attend the event: the USA, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Poland, Ukraine, Japan, Egypt, Morocco, and a few more! Our three plenaries did not let us down. Thomas Strasser, from Vienna, Austria, gave a captivating presentation on the state of educational technology. His slides are available on our website (www.tesol-france.org) under the 2019 colloquium page. Dennis Davy spoke about how the English language has evolved and broke down the processes behind the creation of new words. Pointing out the connection between drones that may soon deliver our every need to our doorsteps and the busy bees that diligently serve their queen. We rounded out the conference with Silvia Breiburd, who came from Argentina. She dazzled us with her eye-opening presentation on how to connect generational theory to the ELT class.

Environmentally Friendly

This was also the first colloquium where we appointed someone with the task of making our conference as environmentally friendly as possible. Jen Taylor spearheaded this ELT Footprint coordinator role and put in place concrete actions like a carpooling Facebook group, using mugs instead of paper cups for coffee, and including a reusable water bottle in the conference goodie tote bag. At the start of the conference, we even showed a video with Will Grant called the "Four Levels of Action," which explains how we can have a more significant impact on our environmental actions.

Building Membership Eco-Friendly

On the downside, our current membership is low, and we are thinking of what strategies can be put in place to turn it around. To tackle this head-on, we are updating how we communicate about TESOL France. Physical brochures, to social media campaigns, to revamping our website to give it a fresh look and, most of all, make it mobile-friendly. We are going to also send out some friendly modern-looking e-mail campaigns via Mail Chimp to those who have not renewed membership in the past few years. Although, I think that the main way to rebuild our membership is to make our members feel like they are genuinely involved and part of a community of practice. This is why we are transforming our Spring Day event, on June 6th, into a Nationwide Swapshop. The idea is that everyone brings one lesson to share and goes home with 100. People will be sharing lessons and ideas about what they do in class. There will be small discussion circles about professional development and the types of obstacles that we face. On top of all this, we have confirmed Mary Shepard Wong as our plenary speaker. She has already come up with a tentative title to her talk, "Better Together than Apart: Supportive Communities of Collaborative Practices in ELT," and I think it is perfect with what we are trying to do in France in 2020.


Olena Ilienko, TESOL-Ukraine President, Ukraine

TESOL-Ukraine was established in 1995 by enthusiastic and concerned people just several years after the foundation of independent Ukraine. On June 16, 1995, a country-wide conference to organize a TESOL Affiliate in Ukraine was held at the Vinnytsia Pedagogical Institute. It was the culminating event of Zirka Voronka, now retired Professor of ESL at Passaic County College, who led activities in Ukraine as the USIA Liaison Fellow during the 1994-1995 academic year. Professors Svitlana Chuhu, Svitlana Gladio, O. Tarnopolsky, and V. Parashchuk were instrumental in all phases of preparing and organizing this one-day event. Dr. Viktor Kytatsky, the director of America House in Kyiv and his assistant Lilia Shylo, supported the conference by providing books and teaching materials for all attendees and hosted a reception at the end of the event. Over 200 English teaching professionals from all regions of Ukraine attended. Officers and regional leaders were elected, a plan of activities for the coming academic year was drafted and work on publishing a newsletter initiated.

At the very beginning, TESOL-Ukraine encountered a very modest number of enthusiasts, and, like a living being, TESOL-Ukraine went through different stages of its development. Our organization has tried various ways of connecting and uniting English language teachers from all over Ukraine and abroad.

Thanks to the efforts of Sally La Luzerne-Oi, who was teaching at Hawaii Pacific University and involved with Hawaii TESOL, where the connection between the two organizations started in 1996. As the Internet and e-mail were becoming more widely used at that time, TESOL Ukraine President Svitlana Chuhu was able to keep me up-to-date on what was happening in those early years. Later TESOL Ukraine presidents and Sally worked remotely on several projects. For example, TESOL, Inc. suggested that U.S. affiliates consider forming a “sister” relationship with an international affiliate. Svitlana Gladio and Sally La Luzerne-Oi exchanged a flurry of e-mails in order to establish a partnership between TESOL Ukraine and Hawaii TESOL. Nina Lyulkun strove to connect our sister affiliates with technology, specifically a blog for members and online student conferences. All the presidents and newsletter editors attempted to keep our two affiliates connected. At the TESOL Convention 2000 in Salt Lake City, TESOL-Ukraine and Hawaii TESOL signed an agreement to become sister affiliates. Since that time, both organizations have been keeping in touch through annual meetings at TESOL Conventions, exchanging newsletter articles, and collaborating on common projects.

This sistership gave a lot to TESOL-Ukraine, and in 25 years, it has grown into an influential association with its history, traditions, and values. Today our association embraces professionals from all the regions of Ukraine who seek self-development, collaboration, and advocacy. It unites people of different ages and positions. Its democratic nature is the greatest achievement of TESOL-Ukraine, which attracts new members and turns them into a friendly community. Teachers of English in Ukraine are full of energy and enthusiasm to teach their students English as a means of cross-cultural communication. We believe it will help us integrate Ukraine into the world community of highly developed countries.

Twenty-five years of the Association have been marked with unforgettable professional events and meetings, conferences, conventions, Winter and Summer Institutes, and training during which remarkable, very often unique ideas were shared and discussed. Participation in TESOL-Ukraine events always means inspiration, collaboration, and getting perspectives for the future professional work of English language instructors.

Olena Ilienko, TESOL-Ukraine President, the founder of TESOL-Ukraine. Now works as Head of the Department of Foreign Languages, O.M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv.



Michael Galli, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

In 1986, the association of British Columbia teachers of English as an additional language (BC TEAL) was the first English as an additional language (EAL) association to establish a charitable foundation, and 34 years later, the TEAL Charitable Foundation (TCF) is running stronger than ever. The foundation supports the teaching and learning of EAL, and with its recently established Nicholas Collins Founders Refugee Award, the TCF’s endowments now total over one million Canadian dollars (1 CAD = approx. 0.75 USD). These endowment funds produce healthy annual awards for TEAL practitioners and students, and to date, the TCF has paid out over CA$500,000 in bursaries and awards.

The TCF was the brainchild of Nicholas Collins and several other BC TEAL Directors, and over the past thirty-plus years, 11 different awards and bursaries were created. These awards and bursaries can be found on the BC TEAL website (https://www.bcteal.org/teal-charitable-foundation), and they include:

  • David Lam/BC TEAL English Language Learner Scholarship
  • Health Education Award
  • Mary Ashworth Scholarship
  • Nan Poliakoff Memorial Award
  • Pat Wakefield Scholarship
  • Project Funding Award
  • Settlement Language Resource Award
  • Taiga Galli Memorial Refugee Award
  • TCF Refugee Award
  • Nicholas Collins Founders Refugee Award

Over the past decade, the TCF set about fundraising to establish new endowments and awards, specifically to assist students with refugee experiences in affording post-secondary tuition. Three refugee awards have been established, two with $100,000 endowments, and the most recent, with a planned goal of $250,000.

The support the TCF has received for the refugee awards, from within the EAL community as well as the broader community, has been enormous. One important factor in the creation of these awards was the matching funds that were pledged. BC TEAL very generously matched every dollar donated to the TCF Refugee Award as well as the Taiga Galli Memorial Refugee Award. However, the most recent award was kick-started with the single largest private donation in the history of the Foundation: CA$125,000. This generous gift was donated contingent on matching funds, to which the TCF has already contributed an additional CA$70,000, leaving us with approximately CA$50,000 to raise to reach our goal.

Our Benefactor

Nicholas Collins has been a longstanding supporter of BC TEAL, contributing in a variety of ways for the past four decades. His list of roles include:

President: BC TEAL (1981–1985)

Past president: BC TEAL (1985–1989)

Conference Chair: 26th Annual TESOL Convention (1992)

Conference Chair: BC TEAL Conference (2012)

President, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President: TESL Canada (1980s)

In 1986, as one of the founding members of the TEAL Charitable Foundation, Nick chaired the committee for three terms. What started with a mere CA$5,000 endowment has grown to a combined endowment of over one million Canadian dollars.

It is fair to say that Nicholas Collins has touched the lives of many people during the 40 years that he has been involved in language education, and this new award in his name will continue in perpetuity to help students who require financial assistance to advance their education. In a world where some seek to create division and disparity, Nick stands out as one person committed to bringing us together in pursuit of a common goal.

The TCF has a long and proud history of providing financial assistance to BC TEAL members in their pursuit of professional development opportunities, as well as EAL students who have demonstrated their ambition to seek post-secondary education. With outstanding leaders and gracious donors, we have carried on a tradition of philanthropy that injects life into the fabric of our profession and our community. This is something that all BC TEAL members can derive a sense of pride in, and there is a feeling that these positive effects will continue to reverberate throughout our community as those who have felt the benefits of receiving often develop a deeper understanding of the benefits of giving.

Michael Galli was President of BC TEAL from 2007–2012, and is now the Chair of the TEAL Charitable Foundation. He is the Manager of International Recruitment and Admissions with BCIT International.


Jennifer Walsh Marr, BCTEAL, Vancouver, Canada

Backgrounder: Rationale and Process

At the 2018 AGM for the British Columbia Teachers of English as an Additional Language (BCTEAL), a motion was passed to prepare, present, and ratify a bullying and harassment policy statement, with clear language in place in the event of discrimination or harassment by our next AGM. Considering BCTEAL’s various roles and responsibilities, the newly struck Advocacy committee was charged with drafting a policy that would address what to do in case of conflict. In researching peer organizations’ similar policies, however, I felt most were perfunctory or punitive, revealing an opportunity to be and say more as an organization that represents such varied communities and performs a wide range of functions. While admittedly intimidating, here was an opportunity to ‘be all things to all participants’ and position ourselves and our statements in a more proactive, guiding way rather than reductive and reactive.

The Advocacy committee met online several times and drafted the Respectful Interactions Guidelines, which we then took to regional events around the province for face to face feedback sessions with the conference participants. In an attempt to share them with the broader membership, I also prepared an introduction and submitted them to the BCTEAL Newsletter for further comment. The Advocacy committee met again to compile and incorporate the feedback received; the following BCTEAL Respectful Interactions Guidelines were unanimously ratified at the 2019 BCTEAL conference:

BCTEAL Respectful Interactions Guidelines framework

BCTEAL strives to provide a supportive and stimulating environment for professional development and growth for our various members and community affiliations. As such, we aim to foster inclusive, collegial, and respectful interactions and have created the following Respectful Interactions guidelines:

  • Engaging in speaking and questioning in respectful and appropriate ways
  • Considering the implications that your comments or remarks have on others
  • Taking responsibility for your actions
  • Acting in a collegial manner
  • Supporting a dynamic and engaging dialogue

When defining these terms, BCTEAL recognizes and celebrates the diversity within our field and includes the following factors: life experience, cultural background, religious or political affiliation, gender or sexual orientation, physical or health capacity, and employment status. Despite the persistent underlying power differences within society that have privileged certain cultures, languages, genders, abilities, and identities, BCTEAL expects respectful and inclusive interactions. As such, we remind ourselves to make space for the backgrounds and opinions of others, even when they challenge our own. We acknowledge that participants in our community may represent different breadth and depth of experience and expertise and different cultural stances; the principles of humility and openness enhance respectful interactions across differences.

Recognition and exploration of difference can lead to greater insight, empathy, and professional growth; we must insist on respectful interactions in all dealings associated with BCTEAL and when representing the organization when engaging with the larger community.

By joining the Association of BC Teachers of English as an Additional Language as a conference delegate or presenter, as a member of the Board of Directors, as a contractual or regular employee, or for any other online or in-person event, you agree to abide by and support our Respectful Interactions guidelines.

Conflict is a reality, and positive engagement with it can generate deeper understanding and respect. Dismissing the differences and the importance of those differences can unintentionally lead to hurt feelings, silencing, bullying, and even harassment. This undermines the principles of inclusion and growth BCTEAL seeks to foster and, therefore, cannot be condoned through our inaction. BC TEAL is committed to the formative growth of the membership through feedback through respectful interactions. Those who fail to respect and enact these guidelines may be asked to leave the event and membership and may be prevented from participating in future BCTEAL associated activities.

Looking ahead: Operationalizing and expanding our focus

As is, the Respectful Interactions Guidelines do not have formal or internalized support in the form of implementation and enforcement; this is our next scope of work. We put out a call for proposals for implementing the RIGs, with an explicit criterion that such an initiative would be to build capacity in our organization as a whole, moving from policy to culture. In a move away from “one and done” workshops that rarely make a lasting impact, we are currently reviewing a plan to have a series of sessions that produce sustainable resources and artifacts to archive, refer to, and build upon as our association continues to support EAL in British Columbia. As this may be a significant expenditure, we need to prioritize the sustainability of monitoring and supporting the guidelines within and by a primarily volunteer-run organization.

Jennifer Walsh Marr teaches academic writing and discourse analysis at UBC Vantage College, a first year program offering embedded, disciplinary English language support. Her research and writing have focused on multilingual students’ identity formation shifts in transitional and transformative contexts, on intercultural learning and teaching, and SFL informed pedagogy for paraphrasing. She is the 1st VP of BCTEAL and chair of the Advocacy committee. She has the unfair advantage of working with the following exceptionally talented, organized and passionate Advocacy committee members: Amea Wilbur, Beth Konomoto, Diana Jeffries, Indi Kaur, and Sara Yuen to draft policy and take on many of the world’s problems.


With content from BCTEAL newsletter



Marsha J. Chan, CATESOL Interest Group Chair, Teaching of Pronunciation Interest Group Co-coordinator, and Website advisor, California, USA

Slam! Bam! Suddenly and with resounding repetition, the doors shut to schools and universities in response to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. On March 9, Northern California’s largest school district, Elk Grove Unified School District, canceled classes, and many colleges and universities throughout the state followed suit over the next few days. On March 16, residents of San Francisco and six other Bay Area Counties were ordered to stay at home and implement social distancing standards. And on March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide shelter-in-place mandate.

Teachers, prevented from offering face-to-face instruction, were advised to find a way to teach their students remotely. Many schools and administrators had not prepared for such a profoundly different system of education and were unable to give much support or guidance.

CATESOL to the Rescue

Even before the Governor’s stay-at-home mandate, CATESOL had already started responding to this emergency by providing free online training for teachers. CATESOL is the California Affiliate of TESOL, which has been serving anyone concerned with the teaching of English as a second or foreign language, standard English as a second dialect, or bilingual education since 1969. A dozen passionate teachers with online teacher training skills answered CATESOL President Susan Gaer’s call for support, and in just 72 hours sprang into action. Jayme Adelson-Goldstein, Suzanne Bardasz, Marsha Chan, Weina Li Chen, Ryan Detwiler, Susan Gaer, Lori Howard, Nancy Kwang Johnson, Lily Lewis, Vincent Nunez, Sylvia Ramirez, Roz Tolliver, and Margi Wald graciously gave their time to serve on the front lines helping teachers transition from face-to-face to remote instruction.

For nine straight days, from March 13 to March 25, morning, afternoon, and evening, these CATESOL coaches conducted 65 hours of interactive workshops and discussion sessions to help ESL teachers consider how their lessons and presentations can be recast for online delivery, to give suggestions for creating community and engaging students, and to reassure, encourage and support them through this new and challenging conversion.

CATESOL Fills an Important Gap

While some college and university teachers already are familiar with digital instruction through a learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas, K-12 school teachers and adult education centers often do not have LMS access or know the first thing about technology-mediated teaching. And their students may not have access to laptops or WiFi. The training that CATESOL implemented has given teachers methods and confidence to begin teaching English language learners online during our stay-at-home emergency directive.

Our colleagues learned how to use Zoom video conferencing, from the basics of audio and video use by participants to selecting the desktop or specific documents to screen share. They practiced as hosts and participants in breakout rooms, simulating the small group work that they usually have students in the class. They tried their hands at integrating a variety of apps into their instruction, such as Google Docs, Kahoot, Quizlet, Spark, and Flipgrid. They role-played limited English speaking students with low-tech skills meeting in a high-tech environment. They compared the limitations that students may face in accessing instruction remotely due to the devices that they use (computers, tablets, phones) and the problems they encounter connecting to the Internet. They learned about different learning management systems and discussed the differences between face-to-face pedagogy and remote instruction.

Participants post positive reactions

With an e-blast to our membership, announcements, and shares via social media, we received over 700 registrations and scores of “walk-ins” to the CATESOL Zoom Workshop room for coaching. Both CATESOL members and non-members zoomed in. Sixty percent of participants identified themselves as members; non-members included teachers from other states in the US as well as many other countries around the world who eagerly signed up to CATESOL’s free offer to help teachers adjust and convert their curriculum. In a survey asking if they had learned something from a session they attended, 98% of respondents chose “Yes.” Over 400 respondents took the time to write a comment on how the training helped. A sampling follows.

  • Thanks very much for these workshops -- you really save lives in these times.
  • Many great ideas about how to teach online and manage a classroom as well as present lessons.
  • Especially liked the concept of triage and needing to limit choices and doing simple things slowly.
  • Most students have little or no computer experience and limited speaking skills. I received great ideas on how to modify an online class to fit their needs.
  • Super great to be able to practice as a host before having to do this with my students.
  • Helped me to rethink how putting your in-class lessons online is not equal and we need to adjust.
  • I’ve learned many helpful techniques to help support and engage learners in our online lesson.
  • Learning from other teachers’ experiences is like “teaching gold”.
  • It made me feel more confident. The possibilities are exciting.
  • Thanks so much for your hard work and dedication, especially putting all of this together on such a short notice!

A selection of video recordings and ancillary materials is available to members at www.catesol.org.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Based on the overwhelmingly positive response to this just-in-time training and coaching series, CATESOL is now organizing a virtual Spring Conference using the platform Big Marker and sponsored by our annual conference IT partners, Showgear. It will be open to everyone. As school campuses across the land are expected to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year in response to the escalating coronavirus pandemic, educators will need to gear up for the challenges of not just a temporary emergency, but long-term, distance learning. Keep your dial tuned to www.catesol.org for details about this professional development event to be held during Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

Marsha Chan, BA, MA, Stanford University, is President of Sunburst Media, ESL Professor Emerita at Mission College, textbook and multimedia author, and presenter of over 300 professional workshops. She has served the US Department of State as an English Language Specialist. As Pronunciation Doctor, she offers thousands of free videos for English language learners at youtube.com/PronunciationDoctor.


Saihua Xia, Kentucky TESOL,

Murray State University, Murray, KY

Latricia Trites, Kentucky TESOL,

Murray State University, Murray, KY

In October 2019, Kentucky TESOL celebrated it’s 40th anniversary of history and affiliation with TESOL International, in Louisville, KY. About 250 TESOL professionals and educators from Kentucky and our neighboring states joined the celebration at the 2019 KYTESOL Conference venue, the ESL Newcomer Academy, Louisville Campus here in Louisville, where we started our first fall Kentucky TESOL conference in 1979. While our venue may have changed over the past 40 years, our professional endeavors and explorations have also never stopped. Instead, we have consistently charged forward to new territories, different areas, creative methodologies, innovative strategies, and techniques in the pursuit of high quality and contemporary professional development for Kentucky TESOL professionals and educators.

Our Legacy

As we celebrate our anniversary, we would never be able to celebrate it without proudly citing the exciting history that one of our founding members Ron Eckard chronicled in the first Kentucky TESOL Newsletter, Volume 1, No1, Aug. 1979, not to mention including a picture of our founding members taken with Dr. James Alatis, one of the founders of the TESOL organization. Without their dedication, initiative, and TESOL International’s consistent leadership support, we might not be celebrating our legacy and achievements today.



We Are Connected

In the past 40 years, our organization’s professional work has focused on teachers and students in our field. We have worked diligently and innovatively to provide high quality and contemporary professional development services to Kentucky TESOL educators. In 1979, when the organization was started with 36 charter members, we hosted both spring and fall conferences. Because of the organization development and its new responsibilities, in 2003, the Board turned the Spring conference into a half-day professional development (PD) program/workshop with a spring board meeting. At this writing, we have kept the tradition of spring and fall board meetings and a fall annual conference. Since 2004, the Board has begun providing PD credit to conference participants and organizing annual conferences around public school teaching schedules such as on Friday and Saturday so that more public school teachers and educators are able to participate and earn the PD credit.

To keep members well connected, KYTESOL has been an affiliate of TESOL international for 40 years and a council member of Southeast Regional TESOL (SETESOL) since 1986 when we first posted SETESOL Conference information in our KY TESOL Newsletter. During our history, we have collaborated with other TESOL councils such as Midwest TESOL and OKI TESOL, with which we maintained our involvement until 2008. Finally, because of the vast area represented and the emphasis of our organizational mission, we have focused and continued our active membership and contribution to TESOL International and SETESOL. Our commitment to SETESOL is evidenced in the successful hosting of the two SETESOL Regional Conferences. In 2007, Ms. Daniele Novak and Ms. Nicole Neuhard co-chaired the 2007 SETESOL Conference in Louisville, KY, and in 2016, Dr. Latricia Trites and Dr. Saihua Xia co-chaired the 2016 SETESOL Conference in Louisville, KY. Approximately 500-600 TESOL professionals from the region and neighboring states participated in the conferences.

Our annual conferences would not be successful without the partnership of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). KDE became a partnership with KYTESOL in the Spring of 2004. This partnership was for the purpose of jointly hosting the annual conference for KYTESOL teachers and professionals, as well as offering a long-term collaboration for the visions and goals of professional development. Due to this collaboration, a separate PD Committee on the Board was established and continues to function. Since 2004, we have invited the Title III Coordinator of KDE to serve as an ex-officio member to our Board. Denise Baily, Shelda Hale, and Gary Martin have all served in this capacity, providing generous funding and professional service to the organization.

We are Dedicated

The following is a list of dedicated leaders who have committed their time and dedication to volunteer and successfully maintain our tradition of an annual conference without interruption from 1979 to 2019, hosting either one or two annual conferences. Several of the presidents have served two terms; two of them, Angie Reimer and Carrie Cook, have even volunteered three terms to faithfully serve our members and professionals. Without this list of members’ commitment and leadership, joined by all the year-by-year board members’ dedication, our organization would not be here to celebrate the 40th anniversary.


Teachers and Students Are the Center of Our Service

In 2002, to support teachers to attend conferences, the KYTESOL Professional Development Award was established to support KYTESOL members with partial funding of expenses to attend state, regional, or international conferences. In 2018, to recognize teachers’ professional excellence at our annual conference, we established the KYTESOL Teacher of the Year Award. Mrs. Ginny Garner was recognized as our 2019 KYTESOL Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Garner is an ESL/Bilingual teacher at Mayfield Elementary School in Mayfield, KY. Her school has over 200 K-4 ELLs. Her featured Teacher of the Year presentation at the conference was fully packed with enthusiastic participants.

To encourage teachers’ innovations in serving students, in 2002, we established an ESL (Project) Recognition Award to the person with the most innovative lesson, project, and teaching techniques. This name was used until 2008. Later we changed that award into Student Scholarship Program to support students’ success. The program has been well managed by our lifetime Board member, Angie Reimer. Since 2008, KYTESOL has continued to offer annual scholarships through the program to ELL students who are graduating from a Kentucky high school and have been accepted into a two- or four-year post-secondary institution in Kentucky. To protect the scholarship funds and guarantee the funding yearly, we have implemented two strategies: Initially, we held auctions at our conferences and accepted donations, and currently, we designate $5 dollars from each conference registration to the scholarship fund. Here is our 2019 Scholarship Recipient, Tram Ngoc Bao Nguyen, who spent the first 16 years of her life in Vietnam. She studied her first year at the ESL Newcomer Academy and then graduated from Fairdale High School in Louisville, KY. She is now studying at the University of Louisville.

Our annual conference wouldn’t be successful without the dedicated and full participation of the TESOL Program at Murray State University (MSU). Notably, over the last 10 years, the program faculty have made recognizable efforts to serve the board and encourage TESOL students to attend, volunteer, and present at the conference. Each year, almost half of the presentations, workshops, and poster sessions are given by MSU faculty and students. This effort has promoted participation from faculty and students at other institutions of higher education, including the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Spalding, Asbury, and Western Kentucky.

While we place teachers and students at the center of our service, one distinctive strand repeated with received popularity at the concerns of the conference newcomers in the last 10 years.

Due to the unique situation of Kentucky, we receive many refugee ELLs every year from various countries around the world. Our KYTESOL annual conferences have invited speakers and continued to hold talks, presentations, workshops, and exhibits on this strand to address English learning needs. For example, during the 2016 SETESOL regional conference, we organized ESL Newcomer Academy Tours in addition to the workshops given by Ms. Gwen Snow, principal of the ESL Newcomer Academy, and her teaching staff during our Dream Day event. This ticketed event to the Academy was sold out very quickly and was very well received. In 2019, Dr. Elizabeth Patton and Ms. Lisa Cox, serving as conference organizers, moved the conference location to the ESL Newcomer Academy in Louisville, providing teachers with an authentic and meaningful venue. Conference participants were happy with the opportunity to see such a positive learning atmosphere for English language learners.


Since professional development is critical to our organization, we have dedicated our service to providing quality training and support to our members. For example, we have invited the Southern Poverty Law Center, World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA), and Understanding Language to give presentations and training. We have consistently invited national and internationally renowned scholars and TESOL professionals to present as keynotes, plenary speakers, and quality workshops. In addition, locally renowned educators and authors have also been invited to provide quality workshops and contextualized training for our members. For the first time in KYTESOL history, a young immigrant college student named Mehwish Zamikhan was invited to give a keynote address about her refugee life at the 2019 conference. Mehwish, one of the nine young authors, contributed her story to the book entitled No Single Sparrow Makes a Summer that documents the stories of people and communities in Louisville through the Louisville Story Program.

Professional development services provided by KYTESOL has evolved from teacher perspectives such as specific classroom issues/strategies/techniques to teacher-and-learner perspectives. We not only care about how learners learn with well-trained, qualified, and effective teachers but also care about who the learners are and whom they would like to be under the facilitation of our teachers! We have put teachers and learners at the forefront while we serve the KYTESOL professional circle faithfully and innovatively.

Our KYTESOL organization has worked diligently to serve our members over the past 40 years. We welcome more involvement and dedication from our members and other ESL teaching professionals. Let’s continue our tradition and collaborate with greater dedication and innovation, serving our teachers and students to new heights as we face challenges of globalization, virtual learning, edutainment, and more during this digital English language teaching and learning age.

Dr. Saihua Xia, an Associate Professor in the TESOL Programs at Murray State University, is the current PD Liaison to TESOL International and SETESOL for KYTESOL Board. She has been serving on the Board in various leadership roles since 2010. She currently also serves on the TESOL International PDPC.

Dr. Latricia Trites is Professor of TESOL and English and Director of the TESOL Programs at Murray State University. She has been an active member of TESOL and KYTESOL for over two decades, serving KYTESOL as an at large member, publications liaison, president, TESOL Liaison, and is currently treasurer.


LeighAnn Matthews, NJTESOL/NJBE Liaison, New Jersey, USA

New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/New Jersey Bilingual Educators (NJTESOL/NJBE) is delighted to share some exciting news about a new initiative.

NJTESOL/ NJBE is thrilled to announce our very first Executive Director. Our organization currently has approximately 1,500 members. We are continually growing and branching into new areas of professional development and advocacy. The Executive Board has been in discussions for several years about the need for an executive director who will help steer our organization as we continue to explore new opportunities to represent better educators in New Jersey, as well as their students and families.

Ms. Kathleen Fernandez began this position in January 2020. She previously taught ESL for more than 30 years, including one year as a bilingual teacher. She taught Kindergarten - 8th grade for 21 years in New Jersey. She has had experience with Pre-K through 12th grade, as well as instructing teacher candidates at Rowan University in New Jersey. She has presented for our organization multiple times at the annual Spring Conference and participated as an active volunteer at the conference for many years.

Ms. Fernandez reactivated the NJTESOL/NJBE Burlington County chapter. She served as Chapter Leader for 19 years. Additionally, she presented at the Tri-County Speech and Language Association, West Jersey Reading Council, New Jersey Education Association Conference in Atlantic City, and several school districts. Ms. Fernandez also participated in committee work/advocacy on the state level as a member of the New Jersey Department of Education Bilingual Advisory Committee and at the national level as a consultant/trainer/validator for Educational Testing Service in the development of the English as a New Language Praxis and assessments for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

As the Executive Director of NJTESOL/NJBE, Ms. Fernandez will work closely with our Executive Board to further our mission. Already, she is connecting with our membership by creating a professional development survey that will identify the specific content of professional development that our members are interested in having presented. We will continue to keep our members and our affiliates updated as we develop new initiatives like this one.

If you are interested in collaborating with NJTESOL/NJBE feel free to contact Liaison, lmatthews@njtesol-njbe.org

LeighAnn Matthews, NJTESOL/NJBE Liaison, is a K-12 ESL Instructional Coach in Bridgewater, New Jersey. She is also a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University. During the summer months, she teaches English as a Foreign Language at Rider University’s Study Tours Program.


Laura Baecher, President of NYS TESOL, New York, NY USA

A half-century mark is a great time to pause and reflect, as well as to consider the future. I should know, having reached that milestone myself recently! As an organization, New York State TESOL is nearing its 50th anniversary and is spending some time reflecting on our history. It is a true blessing to reach this Golden Anniversary and an excellent time for contemplation and appreciation. Our conference (please submit your proposals and join us!):

https://sites.google.com/nystesol.org/nys-tesol-50th-ac will be November 12-14, 2020, and recognizing how much we owe to our past presidents will be a cornerstone of our conference.

Our history begins with Harvey Nadler, who was our first president in 1970. He recalls, “As the first President of New York TESOL, I had the opportunity to work with a great group of people whom all had a common goal. Our mission was to build an organization that would provide a forum for educators teaching English to speakers of other languages. While it was a period of great unrest in the United States (remember the Nixon impeachment!), it was our time. During these early years of TESOL, we worked on writing the by-laws, planning the annual conference, and publishing a journal. It was a busy, productive time in which we all promoted the new organization. As the field of working with speakers of other languages expanded in private and public schools and at the college level, our state TESOL membership increased. As our knowledge base continues to grow and change, I am hopeful that as our county and our world face the many challenges to come, we can do so with the understanding that change can be a positive force.”

John Fanselow played a critical role as our ninth president in 1978. During his tenure, bilingual educationwas becoming part of our K-12 school systems, and the board began advocating for state certification for ESOL teachers, which was granted by the New York State Board of Regents. NYS TESOL found a permanent home at Teachers College, Columbia University, thanks to John, and his leadership is still felt throughout our organization today. He embodies mentorship, and his belief in the strengths we all bring has fostered generations of caring volunteers.

Each one of our 49 past presidents has been a truly passionate advocate for English learners and their teachers, contributing in lasting ways to our communities and making a difference in educational policy and practice. From fighting for funding for English learners to educating political leaders and the public, to help the organization move into each successive technological innovation, our presidents are our backbone, and we are so grateful to each of them and the thousands of volunteers who have served NYS TESOL over the past 50 years. We look forward to recognizing all of you at our conference in November!

Laura Baecher is an Associate Professor of TESOL at Hunter College. Her research interests relate to the professional learning of English language teachers, including content-language integration, teacher leadership, the use of video for feedback, and practicum and supervision in teaching English learners. She is currently the President of NYS TESOL.


John Haught, Ph.D., President, Ohio TESOL

Our 2019 Conference theme was Collaborate! Educate! Initiate! Ohio TESOL continues to grow and is developing new partnerships with outside agencies that work to help immigrant and EL populations. OTESOL’s newly formed Advocacy Interest Section has led our efforts to put collaboration into practice.

For many years our annual conference was a full day on Friday, followed by a half-day on Saturday. In 2019 we expanded Saturday to a full day of sessions by inviting presenters from the Ohio New African Immigrants Commission (NAIC), COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus US Together, and El Cadre, an advocacy group, sponsored by the Ohio Education Association.

COSI partnered with educators from Ohio State University to present a workshop entitled Hands-On & Inquiry-Based Science with English Learners. This interactive workshop allowed educators the opportunity to experience what inquiry-based learning looks like and how it can benefit our EL populations.

NAIC’s workshop, ELs in the Classroom & Community: Responding with Best Practices, focused on the history and diversity of Ohio’s diverse and growing African immigrant and refugee populations and the circumstance surrounding the different groups. They touched upon the many different services needed to assist these learners to succeed.

The local Columbus office of US Together focused on the struggles of immigrant families and the many social and legal designations they may bring. Participants heard from families and gained better understanding of the hurdles they must face.

The OEA sponsored El Cadre’s presentation, Celebrate, Embrace, Restore, helped familiarize attendees about advocacy efforts at the student, school, and legislative levels. This was followed by four break-out sessions covering best practices and strategies to help our Els succeed.

The sessions were well attended and drew local educators and content area teachers seeking advice and ideas for working with our incredibly diverse population. All agreed that it was a tremendous success and not only allows us to offer more sessions to non-TESOL educators but serves to bring many like-minded individuals and organizations together so that we may advocate more effectively at all levels for our Els and their families and communities.

The 2020 Ohio TESOL Conference will be held on October 23rd and 24th at the Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Saturday will again have a full day of sessions from area organizations, and separate admission is available for local educators and others for the Saturday workshops. For more information, please visit our website at ohiotesol.org.



John Haught is a Professor of Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has been serving on the Ohio TESOL board for five years and has served as the affiliate representative twice. He works closely with school districts and supervises TESOL endorsement students.


This October 14-17, 2020, Virginia TESOL (VATESOL), an affiliate of Southeastern TESOL (SETESOL), will be hosting the annual SETESOL regional conference in Richmond, Virginia. SETESOL is a consortium of 9 affiliates representing 11 states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee). Each fall, one of the affiliates is responsible for hosting, and 2020 is Virginia’s time to welcome TESOL professionals to our state and Richmond.

Hosting a regional conference is a major undertaking for a small affiliate like VATESOL. More specifically, VATESOL has experienced growing pains for several years as our membership, board participation, and annual conference attendance declined throughout the early 2010s. In 2016, under the leadership of Katya Koubek and Monica Starkweather, the board began revamping outreach efforts, cognizant that it would be our turn to host SETESOL in 2020.

Currently, VATESOL has about 330 members, and our annual conferences typically draw 150-250 attendees. Thus, hosting SETESOL 2020 has challenged (and inspired) the current board to think outside the box to make SETESOL a success. SETESOL conferences in the past have drawn between 450-1,000 attendees, a wide range to consider when planning a multi-day conference. Many questions came to mind as we tried to estimate our attendance, especially given our membership size and typical conference attendance. Moreover, planning SETESOL has pushed many of our board members to become budding experts in negotiating conference center, AV, and hotel contracts, a skill many of us did not have before joining the board.

As we reflect on our conference planning, we wanted to share with affiliate leaders several steps we have taken to prepare for hosting this multi-day conference with many unknowns (e.g., estimating how many people will come). Some of the steps we have taken include:

  • Solidifying conference location, dates, and contracts early (1.5 years in advance)
  • Offering exhibitors at our 2019 conference a discount for exhibiting at SETESOL 2020
  • Extending membership to all VATESOL 2019 conference attendees, which increased our membership
  • Filling all VATESOL board positions as we realized that our organization needed to march into SETESOL with a full board
  • Revamping the VATESOL newsletter into a blog, which is allowing VATESOL increased engagement and conference promotion: http://www.vatesol.com/BLOG
  • Attending educational conferences as exhibitors to promote SETESOL and engage with potential exhibitors
  • Connecting with past SETESOL affiliate leaders to learn from their planning experiences
  • Partnering with Richmond Region Tourism to learn about how to engage local businesses and take advantage of promotional opportunities

Moreover, we realized early on that the success of SETESOL 2020 depends on spreading the word about this fantastic professional development experience in an excellent location—Richmond is a great city to explore. Thus, we encourage all affiliate leaders to consider presenting and attending SETESOL 2020, and we want all to know that participation is not limited to SETESOL affiliates. We are accepting proposals until April 15, and conference registration opens in March. For more information, including submitting a proposal, please visit www.vatesol.com.

Lastly, if the thought of connecting with affiliate leaders is not enough to woo you to Virginia in the fall, Richmond was recently listed as one of the 52 places to visit in 2020 by The New York Times (number 39 to be exact)! Read the article here, and we hope to see you in Richmond in October: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/travel/places-to-visit.html.



Dear Affiliate Leaders,

Now is the time to make your voice heard around the world!!!! The Affiliate Network Professional Council publishes the TESOL Affiliate News twice a year. Please consider submitting an article for our next publication. We would love to hear from you.

We make the submission and editing process as painless as possible. Furthermore, we want to assure you that you do not need to write a book or research article. We simply want to hear about what's happing in your world. Pieces can range from 300-1700 words, have pictures, and are written in a conversational tone. Your voice is essential, the work you do matters, and we want the opportunity to showcase the work of your Board and members! Let us hear from you!


Send to: Admonceaux@lamar.edu

Due Date: June 15th, 2020


Some topics we are looking for are the following:

Featured Articles: We invite affiliates to discuss critical leadership issues such as leadership, fiscal responsibility, and membership relations. Some topics could be -

Featured Article - Leadership:

  • cultivating leaders
  • continuity of leadership
  • fidelity in leadership
  • ensuring equity and diversity in leadership opportunities
  • dealing with conflicts of interest

Featured Article - Finances:

  • fiscal responsibility
  • developing budgets

Featured Article - Member Relations:

  • leadership responsibility to members
  • transparency and openness between leadership and membership
  • Reporting to members
  • Building Affiliates:
    • growing membership,
    • connecting to important stakeholders internally and externally

Affiliate Report - Sharing an Anniversary: Is your affiliate group celebrating an important anniversary in 2019? Perhaps you can share some of your organization's history: when it was started and by whom, what significant events your group organized, what changes have you helped make in the field?

Affiliate Report - Shared Stories of Success and Learning: Has your affiliate experienced success or learned something from one or several of your initiatives? Sharing your story empowers other affiliates to pick up those initiatives with greater Additionally, your experience can help establish you as a powerful resource for other affiliates engaged in similar challenges or looking for innovative ways of doing things to revive or strengthen the organization.

Affiliate Report - Hot Topics: Has a particular topic impacted your affiliate in the field, and has it taken action to resolve it? Then feel free to share with others who may have similar issues and want to know what steps you made for a resolution.

Affiliate Report - New Initiatives Report: Is your affiliate launching a new initiative? Share this experience with the global network. Your ideas may empower other affiliates, and your experience may open doors for collaboration with other affiliates who have undertaken similar initiatives or who may be looking to try something new.

Affiliate Report - Association Leadership or Association Membership Resources: Has your affiliate found helpful resources to develop its leadership, engage its members, impact its community? Have you found resources that your members love and consistently interact with? Share these resources to help create an active and engaged global discipline.


Your submission does not have to be a technical report or research study, but rather a simple testimony of your affiliate's activities to help us as a global community connect, share, and engage more deeply.

All submissions should follow the TESOL style guide (see the attached PDF). We edit and publish submissions globally.

Deadline for receiving submissions: 15th June 2020

The ANCP appreciates those affiliates who send in articles. Each of us must recognize the importance of our voice, our work, and the opportunities we are given to use them to enhance our field. Thank you for your contributions to our field and our leadership capacity.

It is important to note that we are only able to grow to the extent that we reflect on, share, discuss, and revisit our practices. And while we may do this frequently in the context of our classes, this is also a critical process in our leadership. The ANPC newsletter is the one place were leaders can freely do this in a global context.

Alex Monceaux
, Ed.D

Director / Instructor, Lamar University Pathway Program,

A unit of the Division of Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Intercultural Affairs


Body text here.


Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC) is a council of ELT professionals serving 1-year term from 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020, with the option to renew at the end of the appointment. The maximum continuous service period on the ANPC is three years. All ANPC members are members of TESOL International Association and have served in a leadership role in an affiliate association within the past five years.

The Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC) supports TESOL International Association by helping to build and sustain a robust Affiliate Network. The ANPC advises on initiatives and activities that advance the association’s strategic direction through the Affiliate Network, helps to shape the Affiliate Network, and facilitates clear and timely communication between and among affiliate associations and the TESOL Board of Directors.

More information on the responsibilities and duties of the ANPC is available in its charter. Visit TESOL’s website for more information about the TESOL Affiliate Network.


The ANPC works on projects throughout the calendar year. In addition to online collaborations, the council meets monthly by conference call. Council members are expected to dedicate up to 10 hours on average per month to the work of the council. The number of hours may vary depending on the time of year and status of projects.

Responsibilities and Duties

The ANPC collaborates with staff to facilitate activities that support the Affiliate Network. It will also provide oversight and advice for projects pursued as part of this partnership.

The ANPC works as a team and in committees to complete its ongoing tasks as well as annual and developing projects.

The ANPC shall

  • assist with procedural elements to develop and maintain the Affiliate Network
  • review and revise additional criteria as needed for joining and remaining in the Affiliate Network.
  • facilitate methods to collect and share information on emerging professional issues through the Affiliate Network.
  • Facilitate communication between and among TESOL International Association and affiliate associations.
  • Support networking and professional development events for leaders within the Affiliate Network.
  • Support, facilitate, and advise on collaborations with affiliate associations.
  • Specific activities currently organized by the ANPC include a semi-annual newsletter and the organization of workshops at the annual TESOL Convention & English Language Expo. The ANPC also engages with affiliates throughout the year through webinars and online discussions. Additionally, the ANPC is working on best practices resources.

To achieve these responsibilities and duties, the council members

  • attend the annual TESOL International Convention (highly recommended).
    • participate in the TESOL Leadership Forum one day before the convention and the council team meeting during the convention.
    • attend the Town Meeting and the TESOL Annual Business Meeting at the convention.
  • participate in monthly conference calls.
  • actively participate in online discussions and committee assignments.
  • collaborate on shared documents by designated deadlines.
  • respond to requests from TESOL International Association entities for comment and feedback on issues and matters that arise relating to the Affiliate Network.
  • respond to queries from the chair in a timely manner.
  • perform other tasks as necessary.