The TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Convention is the largest international English language teaching conference of its kind, featuring over 1000 lecture/discussion sessions given by more than 3000 speakers. Topics included were: curriculum development, language testing and assessment, technology in language learning, education standards, and advocacy in TESOL. This year TESOL was held in New Orleans, Louisiana offering a perfect combination of intensive professional development during the day and abundant opportunities for extended discussions over leisurely strolls and dinners with colleagues in the evenings.
Anna’s presentation at TESOL addressed the topic of argumentation in speaking classes. She presented strategies for discourse analysis of debate speeches (from the film “The Great Debaters“) and discussed how these could be used as a springboard to teach the format and spirit of a formal debate to international students. Her presentation was well attended and well received.
Jim’s presentation was part of a group presentation on relationship-building in ITA programs. He talked about our efforts to change student attitudes toward courses, specifically the attempt to urge students to see language instruction in the context of career development rather than compliance with requirements.
Many of the sessions we attended were focused on working with international graduate students and/or Teaching Assistants, who make up the largest segment of our student population. In addition to meeting with representatives of several of the Special Interest Sections (ESP, ITA) we also attended the annual meeting of the ITA Interest Section. All in all it was a very busy and productive conference!