By MARGI WALD
—Join the international community March 20-25, 2017, in Seattle, Washington, for the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo, our 51st annual gathering. Experience what makes TESOL and its affiliates unique: present and future teachers, administrators, researchers, and advocacy leaders engaging in conversation about language education and policy; enriching their knowledge, networks, and professional experience; and empowering themselves and their students to learn and lead in a 2.0 world.
The convention offers participants multiple ways to develop their own English language teaching and learning knowledge with the most up-to-date research and practices alongside a network of colleagues from around the world. Opportunities include:
- Featured speakers and concurrent sessions that draw on the latest developments in TESOL;
- Pre- and postconvention institutes that comprise in-depth workshops on hot topics in the field;
- Doctoral and master student forums that encourage our field’s future teachers and scholars to hone their research and presentation skills;
- The Electronic Village and Technology Showcase that demonstrate the use of current computer-based and other technology resources for language teaching and learning;
- PreK-12 Day that presents sessions on new strategies and resources for working with English language learners;
- The Expo Hall that features the latest classroom and training materials;
- Association, affiliate, and interest section colloquia and business meetings that provide forums for member updates and input;
- Educational Site Visits that provide a real-life glimpse into diverse educational settings for linguistically and culturally diverse populations; and
- Many social events that allow for informal networking, including the all-TESOL closing celebration on Friday.
Here’s a preview of the TESOL 2017 featured speakers, who will set the tone as we embark on the next half-century as an association.
Opening Keynote: “Power and Empowerment: An Urban Indian’s Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World”
The convention will open with a not-to-be-missed keynote by world-renowned author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie. Alexie will share Native Indian stories of language and identity, and pain and perseverance—and the ways those stories can empower EFL/ESL teachers and students.
James E. Alatis Plenary: “Ruminations of an Old Language Teacher”
We also welcome Guadalupe Valdez from Stanford University, eminent expert on bilingualism, who will reflect on her evolution as a language teacher, from the assumptions she made about language learning and classroom practices in her early days to the changes she has made as her practice has become better informed by theory and research. And she will encourage all of us to keep evolving as language educators.
Keynotes on Teaching and Learning in a 2.0 World
In his presidential address “Professional English Language Teachers in a 2.0 World,” Dudley Reynolds, 2016-2017 TESOL International Association president, will ask us to think about our roles, responsibilities, and contributions as language and teaching professionals in a changing world of education that prizes nontraditional learning, interdisciplinarity, and technology.
Yong Zhao, originally from Sichuan Province and now a professor and fellow at several institutions worldwide, will put forth in his plenary “Perils or Promises: Education in the Age of Smart Machines” a plan for a new paradigm for student learning—what he calls “creative, entrepreneurial, and global 21st century education.”
The invited speakers for this year’s convention share their professional-development experiences and discuss programs that support research as a fundamental activity for all TESOLers, not only one that generates knowledge but also one that we all engage in and use results from to evolve our practices.
Colloquia: “What the Research Shows.” Learn about pedagogical implications of current research findings in three invited colloquia: “Teaching and Assessing Vocabulary,” “Teaching Second Language Reading,” and “Teaching and Responding to Second Language Writing.” These “What the Research Shows” colloquia bring together experts in the fields of vocabulary, reading, and writing (Keith Folse, Norbert Schmitt, Averil Coxhead, Neil J. Anderson, Dana Ferris, William Grabe, Xiangying Jiang, Ann Johns, Cui Zhang, and more!) to highlight best practices for teaching and learning.
Topics for a Global, Multicultural World. Hone strategies for teaching in a 2.0 world: enhancing teacher development through TESOL affiliates (Aymen Elsheikh, Okon Effiong), developing ESL/EFL professional “expertise” (Aida Walqui), building students’ multicultural capital (Sylvia Acevedo), working with at-risk high schoolers (Yasuko Kanno), constructing culturally linguistically sustaining pedagogies (Shondel Nero), among others.
Two Special Sessions. Gain practical ideas and participate in hands-on materials development in our first-ever invited workshop, “Fear Not the Virtual Classroom: Student Engagement in Online Learning.” And join fellow TESOLers in memorializing and honoring Braj Kachru, the originator of World Englishes and the circles of English model, at a panel discussion of his legacy for the future of English(es).
The Venue: Seattle, The Emerald City
Surrounded by the lush, magnificent beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle boasts a rich cultural history that includes contributions from the Native peoples as well as the Scandinavian, African American, Asian, and Latino people who were later drawn by the city’s booming economy. Today Seattle is the home of innovation where companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon got their start.
The Washington State Convention Center is in the heart of downtown, just steps from everything Seattle has to offer. In minutes you can walk to the iconic Pike Place Market, where you can browse the stalls for specialty foods, jewelry, and unique souvenirs. You’ll also be in easy walking distance of the Seattle Art Museum, Aquarium, and several theaters, cinemas, and music venues. Downtown Seattle offers world-class shopping as well as a broad spectrum of eclectic boutiques in the nearby Capitol Hill neighborhood. When it’s time to eat and drink, you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of restaurants, featuring cuisine from nearly every region of the world. In the birthplace of Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, and Tully’s Coffee, you’ll never be far from your next latte. And you’ll find plenty of friendly bars serving locals’ favorite craft beers and Washington wines.
On behalf of the 2017 Convention Team, I invite you to connect with colleagues in Seattle this March. For complete program, registration, hotel, and visa information, please visit the convention website. Get involved. Join the conversation. Explore the future. Engage, enrich, empower yourself, the association, and the field!
Margi Wald is a lecturer in the College Writing Programs and director of the Summer ESL program at the University of California, Berkeley. She co-edits The CATESOL Journal and is chair of TESOL’s Conferences Professional Council for 2016-2017.
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