LA Regional Explores SustainingAbility

Mar 22nd, 2014 | By | Category: Conferences, Regional
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LA Regional Explores SustainingAbility—
Through Support, Scholarship, Success

Anna D. L. Joaquin

Anna Dina L. Joaquin

By ANNA DINA L. JOAQUIN

—Approximately 450 English teachers, future English teachers, and other English language professionals exchanged teaching tips, learned new strategies, and discussed common practices at the 2014 LA Regional CATESOL Conference, held March 8, 2014, on the campus of California State University, Northridge.

The annual LA Regional Conference theme, “SustainAbility: Support, Scholarship, and Success,” emphasized exploring ways to sustain our commitments as TESOL educators to make a difference globally, to support educators who are dedicated to their profession as English language educators, and to promote scholarship. The conference theme also reflected CSUN’s goal to be a leader in sustainable systems for academic institutions worldwide.

The all-day conference offered a wide range of activities, workshops, paper presentations, and a busy publishers’ exhibit hall in University Student Union and in several buildings on campus. The conference included three featured speakers, a plenary, and 79 concurrent sessions throughout the day. The conference also included 12 poster sessions and 20 exhibitors. Presenters came from various institutions, community colleges, and universities across Southern California, Northern California, Texas, and Utah.

The first of the three featured speakers, Dr. Neil Anderson, sponsored by Reading Horizons, gave a speech on “Sustaining a Balanced Approach for L2 Reading Instruction” and focused on systematic decoding instruction in addition to effective use of top-down strategies. He also shared very practical strategies to develop strong reading skills. The second featured speaker, Dr. Karen Russikoff, discussed how “Better Topic Prompts=Better Writing Assignments!” Her talk focused on the use of instructional verbs to scaffold topic design, the purpose and development of “priming,” the management of cognitive load, and the ease of assessment for papers written in response to well-constructed topic prompts. Third, Dr. Anna Dina L. Joaquin, in her talk “Embracing Individual Differences: A Perspective for Language Teaching,” explored individual differences and second language development as a dynamic system, and what such a perspective means for the teacher in a language classroom through the stimulus appraisal model.

The plenary speaker, Dave Sperling, creator and developer of Dave’s ESL Café, spoke to an enthusiastic full house, sharing the history of the popular website, which has continued to inspire, contribute to, and assist educators. He also shared how his continued passion for the field, love for TESL, and interest in technology have allowed him to build and maintain his site.

Co-conference chair Bessie Karras-Lazaris, director of the Intensive English Program at CSUN and who teaches in the MA TESL program, said, “I am so proud of all the CSUN students, teachers, and IEP teachers who came together and worked so hard to bring CATESOL to CSUN. We had over 50 volunteers, who were exceptional and professional throughout.” Co-conference chair John Gides, who teaches in the Department of Linguistics and TESL, said, “The day was an extremely successful LA Regional CATESOL Conference. One of the best that I have ever attended. I couldn’t have been more pleased!” Gides also said, “We’re particularly proud that both new and experienced English teachers learned something new and found that the conference met and often exceeded their expectations.” For more detailed information on the successful 2014 LA Regional CATESOL Conference, including the 48-page conference program and pictures from the conference, go to the conference’s website www.catesol.org/laregional.

The co-chairs, Bessie Karras-Lazaris and John Gides, would like to thank CATESOL and CSUN’s Linguistic Student Organization (LSO) for co-sponsoring this event. They also wish to credit the wonderful former and current students of LSO and the faculty and staff of Tseng’s Intensive English Program, the Linguistics and TESL Department of CSUN, and other institutions who tirelessly organized an engaging and educational conference. Furthermore, the dedicated conference chairs would like to thank the generous conference exhibitors and event sponsors. Finally, the chairs would like to express their gratitude to the student and attendee volunteers who gave their time, effort, and support throughout the day, making this a successful conference in so many ways!

 

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