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Session Abstracts & Presenter Bios

Mark AlgrenCollaborating Locally to Globally: Teacher-to-Teacher Innovations and Breakthroughs

Mark Algren
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri, USA

Teaching used to be a solitary and isolated activity, and the content of infrequent professional development opportunities was typically decided by educational leaders. The Internet has changed that paradigm.

Today, teachers can chart their own professional development by developing local-to-global networks of colleagues, organizations, and materials, with much of the content provided by teachers just like themselves. Publishing material on the Internet has become incredibly easy, so now it is just a matter of finding what you need, and sharing what you create. Discussion groups, if managed well, can be a tremendous resource for sharing knowledge.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to efficiently tap the enormous potential and resources of the Internet to benefit themselves and their students, as well as how to develop a network of colleagues and resources to aid their own professional development.

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to
  • identify and use key search terms to conduct efficient Internet searches for resources and materials for classroom use, curriculum development, and professional development
  • create a bibliography of student-centered materials for English learning, practice, and language reference
  • use keyboard shortcuts for capturing Internet information
  • create a simple website
  • create and manage a Facebook page for classroom or professional use

Mark Algren
has been an ESL/EFL teacher and program administrator since 1979.  He spent 14 years teaching and directing intensive English programs in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, he taught for one year in Hong Kong, and has held similar positions for over 20 years in the USA at the University of Kansas and now the University of Missouri. He has been active in TESOL International as a presenter, author, TESOL 2003 convention chair, and served as TESOL International Association President from 2009-2010. ​Mark has made over 100 invited, juried, keynote, and featured speaker presentations in 18 countries on 4 continents.  With a strong interest in professionalism, standards, and accreditation, he has served on the TESOL Professional Development Committee and is a program site reviewer for the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).

Deena BoraieTeachers Engaging with Research: Why and How?

Deena Boraie
The American University in Cairo
Cairo, Egypt

The relationship between research and teaching is important because teachers need useful and practical knowledge that is empirically based about how students learn and how to help them learn better.

For most teachers, however, the source of professional learning is their classroom experience, interaction with students, and discussions with their colleagues. Teachers may not engage with research because they believe that many researchers are not practitioners and thus, the pedagogical implications of their research may not be relevant to teachers.

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss why or why not do teachers engage with research in order to bridge this gap. Participants will reflect on their level of engagement with research, differentiate between teacher and action research, and identify possible research questions in their context.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to
  • differentiate between teacher and action research
  • describe teacher engagement with and in research
  • assess their own level of engagement with research
  • engage with research critically
  • identify possible research questions in their own context

Deena Boraie
is the Dean and Professor of Practice of the School of Continuing Education at the American University in Cairo. She leads a school that offers a wide range of continuing education and training programs in the areas of English and Arabic language, IT and business studies, translation, and teacher training. She recently served as Past President (2012–2015) of TESOL International Association. ​Deena is a language testing expert and an assessment and evaluation consultant and trainer with extensive experience in Egypt and the region. She has published on topics such as assessment literacy, language assessment, teacher beliefs, and student and teacher motivation. ​Deena has presented in several countries on issues of English as a lingua franca, language classroom assessment, teacher professional development, and teacher effectiveness. She is also a visiting professor in the graduate program in applied linguistics at the Faculty of Arts, English Department of Cairo University, where she teaches research methods.

Mario HerreraMexican Students and Updated Methodology: A Perfect Match!

Mario Herrera
Pearson ELT and State Language School
Nuevo León, Mexico 

Current ELT methodology requires that teachers not just assess learning, but assess for learning. This method gives them the opportunity to influence their instructional interventions as they occur, based on data that they collect as they teach. They do not have to wait until their students take a test to know if the interventions have succeeded.

It is also important that teachers revisit 21st century skills—now 15 years into the century—so that they can
  • better target the formation of a contributing, knowledgeable individual
  • strengthen the basic skills by enriching their use with CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)
  • use technology as a tool for developing a more efficient process
Putting these methods into practice requires an enthusiastic student—and Mexican students fit the profile perfectly! They are eclectic and open to trying new things. They are amazed and amused and not afraid to show it. They are open to expressing their insights and doubts in front of their peers. Mexican students flourish when teachers embrace these current teaching methodologies.  

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to 
  • identify how assessment for learning can help teachers secure the success of most students, by focusing on the cause of their learning; and giving them more confidence, independence, and responsibility
  • define the current role of 21st century skills in ELT and how they can support a more efficient, integral learning process, focusing on forming contributing individuals who can speak English beyond social interaction and use a more transactional, academic, and professional language
  • identify how technology can be a teacher’s ally through blended learning, with the perfect combination of face-to-face time and the use of different devices and means that are currently available in our ELT world
  • match students with specific profiles to these updated ELT methodologies

Mario Herrera
is a well-known ELT author for young learners. He has a bachelor's degree in education and a master's in TEFL. He has taught English at all levels up to postgraduate programs but specializes in teaching English to young learners. ​Mario has authored or co-authored several bestselling ELT programs worldwide, including Balloons, Pockets, and Big Fun for pre-school; Parade, Backpack, and Big English, and Big English Plus for primary school; and Cool Chat Connected for secondary schools. ​​He has been involved in teacher training for 28 years and travels extensively around the world directing seminars and workshops, which are highly regarded and well known for their level of participant involvement. Mario is also the recipient of several academic awards.

Mira_MalupaKimOptimizing Integrated Skills Development: Re-examining Technology and Teacher Roles

Mira Malupa-Kim
Alliant International University
San Diego, California, USA

As technology continues to establish its presence and involvement in language learning classrooms, teacher roles evolve. Through examining traditional and technology supported integrated-skill activities, this workshop aims to
  • prepare teachers for these new roles to further enhance student learning
  • identify technology tools that support both teaching and learning of integrated skills
  • assist teachers in creating their own technology-supported, contextualized activities for the development of their learners' integrated skills
Background information and theoretical framework are provided in an interactive, hands-on style presentation. Participants leave with various lesson activities and project ideas on developing integrated skills using technology and an understanding of teacher roles in each stage of the activity. Also provided are handouts with sample projects, instructional templates for using technology, workshop bar codes, and a voluntary email list.

 At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to
  • examine the effectiveness of some common traditional integrated-skill activities and identify areas of improvement or enhancement by utilizing available technology
  • determine appropriate teacher roles before, during, and after any given activity and create various support systems for these roles (i.e., checklists, rubrics and lesson templates)
  • design adaptable integrated-skill activities (using a technology tool of their choice) according to one's teaching context and share with other participants for feedback and further discussion

Mira Malupa-Kim has been in the TESOL profession for 20 years. She taught ESL/EFL at university-based intensive English programs and government institutions in Texas, California, and language institutes in South Korea and the Philippines. She served as a language training supervisor at the Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, and served as a language instructor at the Defense Language Institute for both the English and Foreign Language Centers. Mira has been working for the ETS Online Scoring Program (TOEFLiBT) for ten years. 
Mira has a doctorate in education with a TESOL concentration and a master’s degree in TESOL from Alliant International University, San Diego, where she currently works as a professor of TESOL. She holds an RSA/Cambridge CELTA certificate from St. Giles International, San Francisco. ​Mira's research interests include teacher discourse, teacher cognition, oral language proficiency assessment, and computer-assisted language learning. Mira is also serving as a standing committee member of the TESOL Professional Development Committee.

Street Food: Fresh Ideas for Class  

Luke Meddings
United Kingdom

Teacher training and course books tend to focus on formal presentation, as if teachers were running a restaurant where every lesson has to be a perfectly structured three-course meal. But sometimes the best teaching is more like street food, in which we whip something up in response to student needs and the mood of the day. What ingredients do we need in our teaching “cupboard” to improvise in this way? And why does the simplest food often taste the best?

We'll focus on teaching with minimal resources, stocking our mental cupboard each day with new ideas and, of course, using fresh ingredients.

Mexican street food is super fashionable in London right now—let's find out if antojitos hold the key to more engaging teaching and learning!

By the end of this workshop, participants will
  • obtain practical ideas they can try out in class
  • have the confidence to improvise more often
  • increase their curiosity to find out more about teaching "unplugged"

Luke Meddings
is an international speaker, author, and teacher trainer with over 25 years' experience in ELT. After training at International House in London, he taught for eight years before becoming Deputy Editor at EL Gazette, which he left to help set up and manage an experimental language school. In 2000, he co-founded the Dogme in ELT movement with Scott Thornbury. Their book, "Teaching Unplugged" (Delta, 2009), won a British Council ELTon Award for Innovation in 2010.

Since then he has trained extensively on unplugged approaches, given plenary talks, and developed workshops and courses on five continents. In 2011 he started the independent e-publishing collective, The Round, with Lindsay Clandfield. Their first book, "52: A Year of Subversive Activity for the ELT Classroom," appeared in 2012. Luke has also written an online column on education for The Guardian. A passionate opponent of standardization, he is currently writing a book on education, protest, and change.

HIGINIO OBetter English = Better Teachers?

Higinio Ordonez
Escuela Normal de Atlacomulco
Atlacomulco, Mexico

Teaching English in Mexico and in all other countries presents many challenges. It has been taken for granted that English is the lingua franca, and that learning English is a necessity. However, linguistic and communicative competence are among the challenges that any professional encounters before going into teaching and then later in life as a teacher.

Language teachers need to speak English, but the best speaker is not always an excellent teacher. It may sound strange, but this is the reality in many parts of the world, not only in Mexico. English language teachers are often not proficient enough in English to teach their classes in the target language. Why? Reasons will be presented in this workshop along with some strategies that public institutions and some state governments have implemented with much success.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to
  • understand the challenges that emerging language teachers face in the EFL teaching profession in Mexico
  • identify and describe a critical event that may have influenced them  to become a language teacher
  • identify the areas that need to be revised or reshaped to enhance their careers, and  describe how they plan to do it
  • differentiate the new English language program (2011) for public schools from others
  • understand some of the new skills that the English language teacher might need to face within the challenges of public education in Mexico

Higinio Ordonez
was born in Atlacomulco, Mexico. He studied English teaching, and has a BA in History, an MA in Higher Education, and a Master’s Degree in Administration of Educational Institutions. He has taught English for over 27 years. From 1997 to 2009 he worked for Atlacomulco Normal School, an institution dedicated to the preparation of English teachers for secondary schools. At the international level, he developed the Master’s Degree in Education program with San Diego State University. From 2009 to January 2015, he was the State Coordinator of the National English Program in Basic Education in the State of Mexico.

Higinio has conducted research and academic activities in England, Japan, and the United States. He concluded the project “Teaching English to Young Learners” at the University of Maryland in the United States in 2012. Currently, he is a freelance English language consultant, particularly in topics related to teacher training and teaching English to young learners.