Saturday, April 9, 2011

TESOL Conference, 2011

There is just so much that I could say about my experiences at the TESOL Convention.  I guess first of all, I should explain what TESOL means.  It stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.  This is the name of an international organization of teachers, and they have a convention every year to get teachers together to share research, classroom insights, presentations on activities, and teaching materials.

It is a huge professional development opportunity!  I loved it because of all of the things that I learned.  It is definitely something very beneficial to English teachers everywhere.  I am already so excited to go again next year!  It was in New Orleans this year (I'll describe my New Orleans experience in another post).  In the next few years, here is where the TESOL Convention will be:
     2012: Philadelphia
     2013: Dallas
     2014: Portland
     2015: Toronto

I really enjoyed the presentations that I went to during the convention.  There are 3 groups of presentations that I'd like to talk about:

1. My presentation and the Graduate Student Forum
2. Presentations and TESOL Superstars
3. Presentations and my MA project

If those don't sound interesting, this is the point where you should skip to the next post!

1. My presentation and the Graduate Student Forum

I was very fortunate to be able to present at TESOL.  I submitted a proposal to present about some research that I was participating in, but the proposal wasn't accepted.  Then my classmate and friend Carrie Drake suggested that I present with her.  So I was still able to present at the conference and get my first experience at TESOL.  Thanks Carrie!

Here is a picture of me presenting at the Graduate Student Forum (GSF).

The GSF is a way for graduate students to get used to how TESOL works, so that when they graduate they are familiar with the process and they are motivated to get involved in the Convention.  This was really intimidating to me before I went to TESOL.  I mean, a presentation by a novice TESOL professional could be attended by TESOL Superstars (see next section).  Intimidating, no?  But the GSF did its job and I am now not so nervous about someday presenting by myself in the "real" TESOL Convention.

2. Presentations and TESOL Superstars

I went to several presentations at TESOL that were made be some famous TESOL professionals.  These are people who are prolific writers, who are published multiple times a year, who are cited hundreds of times a year, and who have made significant contributions to the TESOL field.  These people include Bill Grabe, Fredricka Stoller, and Keith Folse.  This list is obviously not all-inclusive, but these are the people whose presentations I went to, and here are the pictures to prove it:

Here are Bill Grabe and Fredricka Stoller.

They are faculty members at NAU, in my hometown.  They are also married, and they frequently present and publish together.  I have been known to remark (thinking about these two) that it would be heavenly to be married to your research partner.

Here is Keith Folse.

For my TESOL Seminar course this semester, we had do spotlight presentations on TESOL Superstars, and I chose Keith Folse.  I may have a little bit of a TESOL crush on him.  He is an amazing teacher and researcher.  His is an expert in the area of ESL vocabulary, which relates a lot to my MA project and my course of study.

3. Presentations and my MA project
Speaking of which, I got so many good ideas for my MA project while I was at TESOL. I went to several of Dr. Folse's presentations about vocabulary.  One of the presentations talked about various ways to assess vocabulary and to help students practice vocabulary they have learned.  Since part of my project is teaching vocabulary that is specific to US History, I want to use some of these ideas in the lesson plans that I'm writing.

Also, I went to a presentation by Dr. Stoller and Dr. Grabe about reading instruction.  I am going to be having students at Project Read do a lot of reading in the college skills lesson plans, so this was interesting.

Altogether, it was a fun, educational, interesting, and exciting event!


  1. That sounds like a fun trip!

    I REALLY love your green jacket, too!

  2. Thanks Steff! I wore it for St. Patrick's Day.