It was an honor to represent TESOL International Association at the 21st International Symposium of the English Teacher Association Republic of China (ETA-ROC), TESOL’s affiliate in Taiwan. I have been involved with ETA-ROC for a number of years, and have participated in annual conferences regularly since 2006, so reconnecting with the association in my role as TESOL board member was a pleasure.
This year’s conference theme was the forward-looking, “What is next for the future of language teaching?”, a topic that let participants use the conference to think about how their jobs as language teaching professionals will change and how they can be prepared. Ten featured speakers gave invited plenary presentations on topics as diverse as:
- Changes in Educational Design in the Era of Web 2.0
- Autonomy in Language Teaching and Learning
- Innovative and Efficient Construction Grammar
I presented on the topic of “What’s
Wrong Right with eTextbooks,” which examined why ebook sales are growing in every sector except higher education. Conference participants were able to find out why students are not buying ebooks, and discover ways to make these innovative publications more attractive and useful to students. Hundreds of other sessions from members complemented the conference theme.
The is year’s conference was ably organized by Dr. Yiu Nam Leung of National Ilan University, and the conference venue in central Taipei was comfortable and convenient.
As always, this conference provided an opportunity for networking and collaboration among member associations of Pan-Asian Consortium of Language Teaching Societies, which held a board meeting at the conference. This regional association creates a valuable professional network across Asia, and helps professionals address transnational issues that affect many countries in the area.
As in past years, a group of foreign participants gave presentations at several locations throughout Taiwan before and after the conference. Dr. Lee Gunderson (University of British Colombia), Martin Bygate (Lancaster University), and I traveled to two locations in northern Taiwan to present at two half- day workshops, one at a local university and another at a local technical college. After the conference I, along with Dr. Gunderson, travelled to Hsinchu, a city south of Taipei, to present at a leading university of technology. These trips helped extend the reach of the association to all parts of the island, and gave invited guests the opportunity to get into actual classrooms, and to meet colleagues and students at their schools, a rare treat when attending an international conference in a capital city.
I felt I learned a lot about how languages are studied and learned in Taiwan, and was happy to meet so many dedicated and talented colleagues and students at the conference and the remote locations.