TESOL International Conventions provide a plethora of learning, professional development, and networking opportunities. As the convention comes to a close, I am always so pleased with all of the photos, handouts, electronic presentations, and business cards that I acquire. These materials help me to put my new learning into practice within my classroom and affiliate leadership.
Though these materials are helpful and handy, it can be hard to organize these new materials in a productive and accessible way. This is where I must ask, “What happens to all of your TESOL Convention materials when you go home?” I’m sure that many of us are well intentioned when we put all of our documents and materials into a file titled “TESOL Convention 2019.” However, as we file away our materials, we often file away our hopes and goals for implementing our new learning and development.
This is where I would like to present the 5-step PROVE model to organize your convention materials so that you use them all year long.
- Take all of the materials that you gathered from TESOL and prioritize them.
- Pick a few key areas, themes, or takeaways from the convention. The most important things should always be on top.
- Provide clear labeling for each of these themes or areas. I would suggest using color to help you code the most importance to the least important.
- If you choose to use a “TESOL Convention 2019” folder, you will at least be able to identify the key themes from the convention months down the road.
- If you are looking to step away from this traditional folder filing system, you now have key groupings to display in vertical folders, on boards, and even on your desktop.
- Create a document in your schedule book, notebook, professional development folder, or computer where you list the main takeaways and themes from the convention. This does not have to be long.
- You are essentially outlining the experience for yourself for later use. You might choose to keep this in an area you view often and/or use it as a table of contents to organize your general convention filing system.
- Open up the “TESOL Convention” folders!
- Schedule times in your schedule book or calendar to review the materials from this convention and all previous conventions. Try to review these materials at least once per semester.
- You might reorganize your materials, focus on specific areas, or share with others. You could also use your same outlining or coding system to pull all of your materials by theme.
- Keep your notes and materials visible. It’s a good idea to file professional development materials based on when you hope to use them.
- You might have a traditional “TESOL Convention 2019” folder for general notes; however, this isn’t always enough. Whatever is in this folder should be grouped, organized, and labeled.
- The areas that you hope to prioritize should be in separate folders, vertical filing folders, or hung in a visible area in your work space.
- As our world continues to favor technology, it’s a good idea to think about organizing your materials online. This is a great place to file all of your handouts and documents from the convention.
- You can create subfolders regarding different topics or themes explored. You can also share with other people who might have more information to share in those categories. This is more of a long-term archival note project.
The 5-step PROVE model is a great way to start organizing you materials for best use now, next year, and way into the future. It is simply not enough to gather materials. These materials need to be organized so that they can be used in meaningful ways.
Be proud of all you have learned and all that you hope to explore with the PROVE model for material organization.
Stephanie Marcotte is an AESL professor at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. She is a doctoral student at the University of New England, where she studies transformational leadership within higher education. Stephanie is also the past-president for NNETESOL, a TESOL affiliate organization.