A Way for Professional Development: TESOL 2015
TESOL in General
Toronto, Canada that embraces bilingualism and multiculturalism, got an opportunity to host TESOL International Conference and language expo this year which graced more than 7,000 ELT delegates from more than 120 countries. Having a freezing temperature outside that recorded minus often times, it could raise some provocative ELT issues along with new ELT trends and improved pedagogical techniques. The keynote and invited speakers sessions, more than 800 concurrent sessions, ticketed events- Pre- and Postconvention Institutes, preconvention Master’s Student and Doctoral Student Forums, the Electronic Village, the poster sessions, the Job Market Place, Tea with distinguished TESOLers and the English Language Expo were major events.
The opening keynote on ‘Teachers’ Roles in Crossing Boarders and Building Bridges’ was delivered by Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The President Keynote was on ‘Building Bridges: Journey to a Better Future for TESOL’ by the TESOL President, Yilin Sun. Similarly, another keynote was by Jim Cummins, a professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto on ‘Evidence-based TESOL: Teaching Through a Multilingual Lens’. There was also a plenary session on ‘Redefining Communicative Competence and Redesigning ELT in the 21st Century’ by Jun Liu, Lourdes Ortega and Michael Byram. Besides these, other sessions focused on diversity and global professional issues, professional growth in TESOL, research approaches, new trends: approaches, methods and techniques in ELT and public policy and advocacy of US and Canada. Overall the sessions were impressive as most of the sessions were blended with research output exploring new ELT dimensions.
Nepal in TESOL:
As an affiliate leader representing NELTA, Hemanta Raj Dahal, IPP of NELTA was present in TESOL. Moti Kala Subba Dewan, NELTA Senior Vice-president, Sarita Dewan, NELTA treasurer presented a joint paper on ‘Slam Poetry: A creative Tool for Critical Litercy Skills in EFL’. They showed how slam poetry can be a creative tool in EFL classroom allowing participants to have some experience in writing slam poetry and reflect on them. Similarly, Mr. Sagun Shrestha and Ganesh Gnawali presented their joint paper on ‘Tuning Radio: Training for Nepali Teachers’. It was a research paper exploring how English by Radio program, funded by Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy and implemented by NELTA, has reached to majority of ELT community in Nepal and what can be the further steps to fortify this program. There was a poster session on ‘Motivation in EFL: Learning English in a Low-Resourced Context’ by Suman Laudari. Another poster session was on ‘Exploring Options for Teachers’ Professional Development’ by Madhukar K.C. and Suman Laudari. They shared the options the teachers of English in Nepal have opted for their own professional development. Khila Pokharel presented his paper on ‘Beat the teacher’ which was a teaching tip to arouse young learners’ desire to challenge and compete with their teachers and to encourage teachers to learn new words with their young learners. His another poster session was on ‘Preparing to Teach EFL/ESL abroad’. Hima Rawal, from the University of Michigan was there as one of the coordinators of TESOL Master’s Forum. It was an amazing delegation from Nepal.
TESOL conference has been the biggest platform for the people working in English language education. A truly international conference, it helps teachers/ ELT experts broaden the networking and establish global professional and academic relationship with different people working on education across the globe.
Something that does not fall in but comes aside is site visit. Our primary objective was to attend the TESOL, however, extending a couple of days of our stay, we visited Niagara falls, the largest fall of the world, that lies at the boarder of Canada and USA, climbed CN tower, the tallest tower overlooking the entire Toronto and walked on the glass floor, a scary experience. The next day, we went to Brampton, west of Greater Toronto and visited school there. It is the city where the majority of dwellers are from India. Mississauga was another city where we explored lake shore. The Ontario lake was very big, bigger than the total area of Nepal. Via Subway, we visited Kennedy and Scarborough and met some ex-NELTA friends. We learnt about the Canadian curriculum and culture.
TESOLers in Pictures:
(*Sagun Shrestha is the Assistant Coordinator of English Access Microscholarship Program, Nepal. A teacher and teacher trainer, Mr. Shrestha has co-authered ‘English Teaching Methods’ and has worked in the capacity of Editor-in-chief of ‘ The GEM’, an annual magazine of GEMS . He is particularly interested in cyberculture, researches in new trends in ELT and oriental and western Literature. )