March 2016
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LEADERSHIP UPDATES
LETTER FROM THE INCOMING CHAIR
David Olsher, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA

Dear ALIS Members,

Greetings to all at the start of 2016. I am very glad to be serving as chair-elect of the interest section and look forward to serving as chair in the coming year. We are a large and diverse interest section, representing many facets of applied linguistics as well as many parts of the global TESOL community, and it is my hope that I can help to represent your interests in the coming year.

One way we can connect as an interest section is at the TESOL convention. Thanks to the leadership of our chair, Nihat Polat, we will have a TESOL-sponsored reception following the ALIS Business Meeting on Wednesday, 6 April, in Baltimore. I encourage all who are able to join for the Business Meeting on Wednesday, where we will continue discussions, started last year in Toronto, about ways to get involved, including but not limited to reviewing abstracts for the 2017 convention. Even if you are not able to join us at the Business Meeting, please come to the reception, where we will have more time to talk with each other and exchange ideas!

I also want to second Nihat’s encouragement to all to attend the panels organized by ALIS leadership for the Baltimore convention. Nihat has co-organized a great InterSection that will feature current insights into a highly relevant area of language acquisition research on the role of age in language learning, which will make a valuable contribution to the program.

Filling out our ALIS leadership-organized panels is the academic session I have put together, “Beyond Functions: Current Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Pragmatics,” which represents the intersection of sociolinguistics research on language use with language acquisition and pedagogy. This panel assembles leading scholars in the field of L2 pragmatics, including research on the social use of language for communication in English and other languages as well as the teaching and learning of pragmatics by English learners as part of their overall communicative competence. Topics will include research on development of conversation skills, teacher training in the area of pragmatics, and effective uses of technology for the development of English pragmatics skills. The panelists are: Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig (contributor to our ALIS February issue), Noriko Ishihara, Zohreh Eslami, Noël Houck, and Donna Tatsuki. This promises to be an exciting chance to spotlight an area of applied linguistics not often featured in major panels at TESOL, and one that will engage the interests of classroom teachers, teacher trainers, and materials developers as well as researchers in the field.

Of course, there will also be a great lineup of submitted presentations at the convention, so be sure to check the program for AL Interest Section offerings.

For those who are not able to attend this year’s convention, please consider participating in the listserv or even contributing to the newsletter. As you know, we have an email listserv that we only make occasional use of, and I am hoping we can find ways to instigate some timely exchanges in the coming year to bring more of our members into dialog. At the business meeting last year in Toronto, new members asked for ways they could get involved. Following their lead, and with input from our members, I hope to work with the rest of our excellent ALIS leadership to look for new ways to spur discussion and provide opportunities for engagement across our far flung global ALIS community.

I hope to get a chance to talk with many of you at the convention in Baltimore, and wish everyone a happy and successful 2016.

David Olsher

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As a member of the ALIS community, would you be willing to undertake TESOL training and review proposals in the area of applied linguistics for the TESOL 2017 Convention?
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