San Diego Welcomes Students’ Book Club Idea

Mar 13th, 2015 | By | Category: Conferences, Regional
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By TINA-MARIE FREEMAN and TAI HALUSZKA

As first-year graduate students, we have always found conferences intimidating and any type of presentation seemed simply unattainable. Yet as we became more and more passionate about starting an ESOL Social Book Club, teachers and professors showed enthusiasm for our project and encouraged us to begin implementation. We began bringing our idea to more audiences to receive feedback and ideas. Eventually, it was proposed that we present our pedagogical idea at the San Diego Regional CATESOL Conference in March at Grossmont College. With little knowledge of how to create a poster presentation, we once again contacted advisers and mentors throughout the San Diego CATESOL community for advice. The support and encouragement we received was overwhelming and increased our confidence exponentially.

We arrived at the conference with few expectations. Would people like our idea? Would they be critical of our youth and inexperience? Would they even bother to stop by? To our surprise and joy, we found that many experienced and inspirational educators were interested and enthusiastic about creating a social book club within their classrooms. They validated our ideas and the work we had put into researching pedagogical approaches, agreeing with the positive influence that social book clubs have on students. The interactions allowed us not only to share our ideas but to gain feedback and new insights on how to improve our approach. We left not only with a renewed confidence but also as welcomed members of the CATESOL community.

Graduate students Tina-Marie Freeman (left) and Tai Haluszka at the San Diego Regional with their first conference presentation

Graduate students Tina-Marie Freeman (left) and Tai Haluszka at the San Diego Regional with their first conference presentation

We would encourage any hesitant graduate student to pursue the opportunity to present at a CATESOL conference. While it was a chance to present our ideas, we also gained knowledge from a welcoming and supportive community. Our mentors have instilled in us a motivation to continue playing an active role in this inspiring world of educators. We will begin our first book club this week, and we look forward to presenting new insights and experiences at the next opportunity

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