TESOL Conference in Qatar on Putting Research Into Practice

The TESOL International Association hosted a conference in Qatar titled “Putting Research into Practice” on 1-3 October at Qatar National Convention Center in Doha, Qatar. This event was the first in the new convention center. More than 400 people from 30 countries participated in the three days of workshops, plenary sessions, panels, and presentations of peer-reviewed research papers, reports, and posters. The conference focused on three themes: understanding the “good language learner,” bridging the gap between goals and results, and facilitating and supporting ongoing professional development.

Before the conference officially opened, preconference workshops were held on modeling and assessing writing led by Alister Cumming (University of Toronto), teaching and learning vocabulary led by Norbert Schmitt (University of Nottingham), English for specific purposes led by Brian Paltridge (University of Sydney), teaching young learners led by Annamaria Pinter (University of Warwick), teaching and learning L2 reading led by Bill Grabe (Northern Arizona University), and a sociocultural approach to languages and literacies led by Maggie Hawkins (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

The conference opened with a panel discussion on the implications of research for practice in the areas of second language writing, vocabulary teaching, and working with young learners. In their discussion Alister Cumming, Norbert Schmitt, and Annamaria Pinter focused on how research reveals the complexities of learning a language and in turn often challenges pat assumptions about what students need to learn or how they should learn. Day 1 concluded with a reception hosted by Carnegie Mellon University Qatar under the giant metal Sidra tree that forms the façade of the Qatar National Convention Center.

Day 2 of the conference featured plenary talks by Kassim Shaaban (American University of Beirut) titled “The Good Language Learner: What We Have Learned from Research about Attitude and Motivation” and Martin Bygate (University of Lancaster) titled “Bridging the Gap Between Tasks and Learning: Patterns in the Language People Use on Communication Tasks and Why It Might Matter.” For his talk, Shaaban related various research studies that have been done in international contexts on issues specifically faced in classrooms across the Middle East. Bygate, on the other hand, discussed ways in which we might see useful patterns in how students complete classroom tasks even though at first glance the interaction that happens around tasks seems totally unpredictable. Day 2 concluded with an evening of Qatari culture hosted by the College of the North Atlantic Qatar. In addition to sampling local delicacies, guests had the opportunity to pet falcons, ride camels, and learn about regional crafts and music.

The final day of the conference opened with a plenary talk by Deena Boraie (American University of Cairo) titled “Professional Development Matters: Bridging Research and Practice Introduction.” In her talk Boraie related the findings of research studies on quality professional development to a new system being implemented in Egypt for supporting and encouraging the professional development of teachers in the K-12 sector.

The conference closed with a panel discussion on the implications that practice holds for research with respect to English for specific purposes (ESP), reading instruction, and the development of languages and literacies. Interestingly, each panelist viewed the question from a different perspective. Brian Paltridge outlined a number of different topics that are addressed in ESP classes but which have had very little actual research done on them.

Bill Grabe, on the other hand, talked about the need for researchers to think about questions that matter to reading teachers, and Maggie Hawkins talked about the need for researchers to collaborate actively with teachers in both identifying and addressing questions.

TESOL International Association greatly appreciates the generous support for this conference provided by









About Dudley Reynolds

Dudley Reynolds
Dudley Reynolds is the 2016-2017 president of TESOL International Association and a teaching professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, where he teaches first-year writing. Over his career he has also taught elementary school learners in Egypt, intensive English students at Indiana University, and MA TESOL candidates at the University of Houston. His research focuses on teacher development and second language literacy issues.
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5 Responses to TESOL Conference in Qatar on Putting Research Into Practice

  1. Rayhanul Islam says:

    Dear Sir,
    It was really an amazing experience of my life as this conference opened my eyes regarding many things related to teaching English. It was my first convention after becoming a TESOL member. It gave me an opportunity to meet and share my experience with the scholars came from the different parts of the world.
    Your arrangement was nonparallel. Everything went smoothly.
    I thank you from the core of my heart for making the convention center a place of meeting and training for three days. Hope you will try to arrange other programs for TESOL practitioners in this convention center.

    Thank you once again.

  2. ABEER SIDAWI says:

    Dear Dudley,
    i have attended the conference and i mark it as one of a kind experience, its so great to meet different people with the same aim and to get exposed to different ideas that can add to one’s knowledge. i wish i can have another experience of that kind and highly proud i made it there.

  3. Farzana S. Lone says:

    Dear Dudley,

    I attended the conference and was pleased with the arrangements and the topics under discussion. Congratulations on your work and efforts in putting together this event. Is it possible to access any of th eproceedings on the website?


  4. Sandy Briggs says:

    Dear Dudley,
    Thanks for the excellent report of the TESOL Conference in Qatar, which sounds as if it was a great success. Congratulations on your work as Chair of the Conference. Will any of the proceedings be avail on the TESOL website for those of us who were not there?

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