2015 Teacher of the Year’s Most Memorable TESOL Moments

What are your most memorable TESOL moments? Here are some of my most memorable moments from past TESOL conventions.

1. Cerebral Moments

How can you satisfy your intellectual curiosity as an ESL educator? The impressive diversity of scholars each year at the convention satisfies my intellectual curiosity, as ESL is such an emerging field and each year I have new questions to answer. My top moments are Howard Gardner’s Five Minds for the Future (Boston, 2010), and Penny Ur’s Correctness and Correction (New York, 2007). The golden nuggets taken away from Schmitt, Goldstein, Ferris and Cumming’s Academic Writing in IEP Programs (New Orleans, 2011) led to a dynamic faculty workshop examining genre in reading and writing assignments in our program and the decision to introduce certain academic skills earlier in the program.

2. Hands-On Learning Moments

Implementing hands-on, classroom-based activities helps me stay on the edge of my teaching practice and engage students. New activities breathe new life into the classroom and keep me excited about teaching. Some of my top moments are from classroom teachers who anchor best practices with creativity and innovation. The PCI Exploring and Learning Vocabulary Through Authentic Texts by Tibbitts, Pashyby, and Going (Denver, 2009) taught me about analytic and association processes and transformed the way I teach vocabulary today. Saltzman’s novel way of combining grammar instruction and realia in Using Crime to Teach Grammar (Seattle, 2007) and Preventing Plagiarism with Overman and Karma (Seattle, 2007) have become staples in my teaching toolbox.

3. Community Moments

Seeking authentic opportunities for students to practice English outside of the classroom and creating opportunities for students to connect with locals requires a copious amount of time and coordination. Teachers who want to instill the values of global citizenship are truly inspirational. By far, my most memorable moment was Bridges and Lander’s presentation on Integrating the IEP Curriculum and Local Community (Denver, 2009), which inspired me to implement more outreach activities in my program and gave me the tools to do so.

4. Technology Moments

Implementing technology in the classroom can be intimidating if we aren’t technologically inclined; however, I find these presentations to be the most dynamic. Randall Davis always delivers an informative and entertaining session which critically evaluates the value of technology in learning. To prove his point, he raffled off different gadgets, and I took home a gigantic calculator in my carry-on. Point proven!  Techies in the Electronic Village enthusiastically share their newest educational projects for classroom, online, or blended contexts.

5. Diversity Moments

I value the diversity of the sessions, the speakers, and the opportunities to travel to new cities, meet new people and exchange ideas.  TESOL has taken me from coast to coast, to experience spring in Seattle, the bright lights of Broadway, and the blues on Bourbon Street. All of my experiences have made a lasting impression on me.  I hope you will take time to discover Toronto during your time at the convention and experience the diversity in culture and people of the city.

I look forward to connecting with you at TESOL. Join me for my presentation on Global Citizenship: Transformative Practices in ELT Excellence on Thursday, 26 March, at 10:30 am (Room 206a). I will be tweeting about my TESOL experience, and I hope you will too. Connect with me on twitter at @sherryblok.

About Sherry Blok

Sherry Blok
Sherry Blok is the assistant director of programs at the Centre for Continuing Education, Concordia University. Montreal, Canada. She holds a master’s degree in second language education from McGill University and has more than 20 years of experience as an ESL lecturer in the intensive English program at Concordia University. She received the TESOL Teacher of the Year Award in 2015 and has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to English for academic purposes, global citizenship education, assessment, and teacher feedback.
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2 Responses to 2015 Teacher of the Year’s Most Memorable TESOL Moments

  1. Valerie S. Jakar says:

    Sherry! Hi! I enjoyed reading about your memorable moments. It reminded me about how much I cherished my time at conventions, and why I continue to promote them to folks from all around the Globe.
    I was gratified to see that one of your “cerebral” highlights was Penny Ur’s ” Correctness and Correction” which – I must correct you !! – was in New York, NY, in 2008.
    I wish you every success in your TESOL presentations.

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