Are you feeling invigorated and re-energized after the 2015 TESOL Annual Convention & English Language Expo? Here are my top five highlights from the TESOL 2015 convention in Toronto.
In the opening keynote, Dr. Sonia Nieto’s talk on culturally responsive teaching was truly inspiring. ‘‘Bridges suggest that you can have two homes and move between them. You needn’t discard one when you reach the other.’’ I was moved by the stories she shared from teachers who embrace this idea and teach gently with sensitivity and humour. Great teachers form personal connections with students, care about them as people and empower them to be members of the community. As Dr. Nieto says, ”We must affirm students’ identities and expand students’ worlds.’’ This quote resonates with my personal teaching philosophy and interest in global citizenship education. In order to instill the values of global citizenship in our students, we must first serve as models by creating a classroom community based on mutual respect, empathy, and empowerment.
Hanging out in the Electronic Village with techies is always one of my favourite things to do during the convention, because I value the face-to-face interaction and intimate exchange with presenters that make the transition to going online much less scary! “Blended Learning with Google Drive – the Teacher and Student Perspective” with Susan Churchill, “Empowering Emerging Writers With Wikis” with Rich Lauria, and “Collaborate and Create: Wiki Tasks for EAP Learners” with Heather Benucci were my top three!
I appreciate sessions that promote exchange and interaction! “Giving Them Something to Talk About: Encouraging Reluctant Speaker Participation” from presenters at Samford University was a lot of fun – the room was buzzing with excitement as participants played with speaking cards to liven up any speaking class. “Building Bridges From Online Faculty to Adult English Language Learners” with the panel at Grand Canyon University was a golden nugget! The takeaway: tools, activities, and an action plan to implement a more blended approach with my learners.
If you presented at TESOL this year or in the past, then you know how it feels to receive praise and feedback on your work! Presenting allows us to connect with other educators who share a common interest and motivates us to delve deeper in these areas. TESOLers are friendly, kind, and open minded, and this stems from the top down in the association. TESOL President Yilin Sun is so warm and approachable, and this sets the culture of the association. That is why TESOL is successful in bringing together educators from every part of the world annually to share common passions and forge new connections.
Being recognized by TESOL as Teacher of the Year was obviously one of the top moments for me. I want to thank Vincent Grosso at National Geographic Learning, National Geographic Learning for sponsoring this award, as well as TESOL for this special acknowledgement. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by family, good friends, and supportive colleagues on that special evening. A very special thank you to Cydny Black at TESOL for her support and assistance these past months.
Did you attend TESOL 2015 in Toronto? What were your highlights?