Innovative. Exciting. Reassuring. Energizing. Varied. That’s what the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo has come to mean in my professional life. I know for sure that I’m not the only one feeling this way about the TESOL convention. A highlight of the convention is the variety of sessions that cater to the different needs and expectations of the participants.
For me, the pre- and postconvention institutes (PCIs) are a must-attend event. I always look forward to them because they help me broaden my understanding of concepts and strategies. Many times, PCIs provided key information for making a decision for my school: Is this topic worth discussing or implementing in my school? Is this speaker someone I’d like to bring to my language school to share his or her experience and expertise?
PCIs are varied and because they are scheduled before and after the convention, they won’t interfere with the hundreds of concurrent sessions offered during the converntion. When it comes to making a decision as to which PCIs to attend, I will first think about the needs of my language institute and its faculty. Once I’m clear with what it is that I’m looking for, I’ll take a look at the PCIs options and make a decision. There’s always a wide range of options to choose from.
Though I have attended both full-day and half-day PCIs, I have especially enjoyed the full day PCIs because they more fully develop a topic. Of course, not every PCI is satisfactory to every attendee; I have seen PCIs where an attendee seems not pleased and will leave the session. Fortunately, every PCI at the TESOL International Convention website has an abstract explaining the outcomes of the session, which is good to know before you make a final decision.
I clearly remember PCIs where I met colleagues with the same interests and concerns. Most of the PCIs allow for some pair or group work, and it’s amazing to see how much you can learn from your colleagues.