Grateful Grad Student Welcomes Chance to Engage at OC Workshop

May 17th, 2017 | By | Category: Chapters, Orange County
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author image of Alice Chiamenti

Alice Chiamenti


—The CATESOL Orange County Spring Workshop in late April was entertaining, fun, and it offered a pool of information to participants about research topics and teaching techniques. This event gave the attendees the opportunity to spend a day engaging with fellow ESL instructors and graduate students coming from all over the Los Angeles area and beyond. I was able to participate thanks to the “Graduate Student Initiative” offered by the CATESOL OC Chapter, and I am grateful that it gave me this opportunity. It led me to spend a day making connections, getting to know my colleagues better, and proudly representing my university, California State University, Long Beach.

group of six folks for alice chiamenti story on OC workshop

Alice’s colleagues, with their professor Dr. Hatami in the center, present their poster about a teaching practicum they carried out at the American Language Institute at CSULB.

Throughout the event the participants were able to look at presenters’ posters about different areas, from teaching practicum experiences to vocabulary instruction, and I can say that I am proud of the posters presented by my colleagues from CSULB. Moreover, the workshop was structured so that every participant would be able to attend three out of the six concurrent presentations led by the featured speakers, and I have to say that of the three whose discussion I witnessed, I particularly enjoyed listening to Susan Gaer and to Meg Parker. Susan discussed “ESL Activities for Mobile Devices” and she shared with her audience great tools and apps that every ESL instructor should know about when teaching in a class with low technical equipment. Via the aid of websites such as NearPod or Kahoot, instructors can delineate their lessons so that students can interact with them through their mobile devices, creating a fun and alluring learning environment. On the other hand, Meg Parker shared ideas on how to incorporate filmmaking in ESL classrooms and engaged attendees by having them create scripts to enact in videos for classroom use. We formed groups, wrote the script addressing a grammatical topic, and filmed ourselves. Knowing how to do that in a timely manner could be valuable for any teacher who likes to involve his or her students through visual learning but who cannot find any preexisting videos online.

feature image for OC chapter grad student report/poster sessionI feel confident in saying that the CATESOL workshop was a success. Taking part in this kind of event should be something that teachers, linguists, or even just English aficionados should attempt to do regularly. It provides great chances to build connections or simply to get ideas about possible research topics and overlooked teaching methods. The speakers’ presentations reminded me why I chose to pursue ESL teaching; it is fun, certainly never boring and, if it does get boring and repetitive, what better way is there to find new teaching methodologies if not by taking part in this kind of event and sharing tips with your colleagues? Last but not least, I would like to take a moment to thank the CATESOL OC Chapter board members for giving us, the three lucky chosen graduate students, the opportunity to take part in this event and attend their board meeting, but also for awarding us with a certificate at the beginning of the workshop. We were welcomed with open arms and it could not have been better.

Alice Chiamenti is an Italian international student at CSULB pursuing a master’s degree in Linguistics and a TESOL certificate; she will be graduating next spring. She also serves as an ESL specialist at the Learning Assistance Center at CSULB, where she tutors students in English writing.


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