Attending a TESOL conference
Last week I had the opportunity to experience the TESOL international conference held in Seattle. From my perspective participating in conferences is an enriching way to seek for professional development. You are faced with so many different contexts that not only give you a chance to reflect on your own, but also help you understand the big picture of ELT.
Upon arrival at the venue I could see how big the event was, opening queues and choices to so many possibilities to enhance your participation: pre- and post-conference events, certificates for specific areas, SIG discussions, plenaries, workshops, poster presentations, talks, debates… Experiencing the full conference allows you to choose a combination of formats and speakers. Listening to Isabela Villas Boas talk about developing a solid appraisal system, participating in the workshops of an ELT leadership certificate, attending a panel discussion about topics missing from coursebooks with the participation of Scott Thornbury and heartfelt plenaries that advocate not only towards quality teaching but also empathy in a diverse world were the highlights of the conference for me.
Also, I learned a lot from experimenting with a presentation format I had not yet tried: a poster. During 1 hour and 15 minutes I talked to people from diverse contexts – large and small language schools, university language courses, regular schools, higher education – and learned so much more than I contributed with. I highly recommend this interactive presentation method.
Finally, I hope we all keep building our community towards growth and improvement in the ELT field. I am looking forward to meeting many other fellow Brazilian ELT professionals in future conferences and share our views and lessons face to face as well. What is the next conference you are heading to?