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Affiliate News: February 2010

Affiliate News (January 2007)

by User Not Found | 11/11/2011
A Message... From the Editor

This is our second issue this year and we hope you enjoyed the previous Affiliate Newsletters sent a few months ago. We are trying to provide all TESOL affiliates with the opportunity to get to know first-hand what is happening within the different affiliates around the world. We are grateful that some of you have responded enthusiastically, and especially appreciative that some have sent pictures with their conference reports to make our newsletter more attractive and interesting.

The challenge and goal for the Affiliate Leadership Council has been to make sure that our voices are heard when decisions are made by the TESOL Board; Yilin, our Chair; Elke, our Chair-Elect; and Vera, our Past Chair have been working very hard this year to ensure that affiliates are well represented.

We hope you will enjoy reading this Affiliate Newsletter as much as we enjoyed putting all the information together.

Ismael Garrido, Member A
News Editor ALC

From the Chair

The beautiful autumn is here, and autumn is the season for celebrating harvest and preparing for the challenges ahead. It has been a very busy and exciting year for the Affiliate Leadership Council (ALC). So far this year, we have accomplished several major tasks. We have developed and finalized the Standing Rules and the Roles and Responsibilities for each member of the ALC. Most important, we have finalized the Affiliate Leadership Council's Mission Statement; its mission is "to provide support, quality service, and encouragement to TESOL's worldwide affiliates. Through establishing a relationship with the affiliate community and the TESOL board of directors, the ALC seeks to recognize and address the interests, concerns, and needs of the global TESOL affiliates." This mission statement has been guiding us in planning all ALC activities. To better serve the needs of our members, we have facilitated the process for local affiliate newsletter editors to access TESOL information and made a number of recommendations to TESOL based on the input and feedback from worldwide affiliates.

This year we welcomed four new affiliates who joined the TESOL family:

  • Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics (HAAL)
  • TESOL Macedonia-Thrace
  • The Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA)
  • Penang English Language Learning and Teaching Association (PELLTA) from Malaysia

We now have a total of 99 affiliates worldwide!

Promoting the TESOL 2007 Convention and planning successful events for the affiliate leaders have been other important action items for your ALC team. The theme Spanning the Globe–Tides of Change for the TESOL 2007 Convention well reflects the issues and challenges that TESOL educators face in our global society. In response to the convention theme, the ALC team decided to use "TESOL and Social Responsibility" as the title for the Affiliate Colloquium at the TESOL 2007 Convention. The panelists representing five countries and regions will share their expertise and diverse perspectives on the topic. For the Affiliate Leaders' Workshop, we have invited Dr. Jun Liu, President of TESOL, to address us, and Dr. Denise Murray to give a keynote speech. We are in the process of organizing five informative breakout sessions for the affiliate leaders to explore and exchange ideas in ways to build stronger affiliates so as to promote TESOL community, profession and students in the changing global society. Please, also mark your calendar and attend another exciting interconnection session titled "Professional Development," organized by your ALC team for you and your colleagues. It is our responsibility to put our principles into practice and to promote our profession. We need to engage in professional development at all levels and to continue sharing effective teaching ideas and strategies to prepare our students to achieve their goals. We also need to continue our campaign to win respect for the professionalism of our field, from K–12 through higher education. We have a lot to do…

Last, but not least, is a brief report on some of the affiliate events around the world.

  • In Mexico, TESOL Mexico just held its Fourth International Congress in Acapulco, Mexico, with great success.
  • In Haiti, the second annual Miragoane Association of Teachers of English (MATE) Conference for Teachers of English as a foreign language was held on June 29, 2006, with the theme "Meeting the Challenges of Teachers of English as a Global Language."
  • In the state of Washington, WAESOL held its annual conference on October 21st with the theme "Building Community with Language." Dr. Neil Anderson served as one of the keynote speakers, and TESOL 2007 Convention Co-Chair Diane Carter gave a speech promoting the TESOL 2007 Annual Convention.
  • ORTESOL (Oregon TESOL) will hold its annual conference on November 3rd and 4th. Dr. Elliot Judd, Past-President of TESOL, will be the plenary speaker.
  • Both WAESOL and ORTESOL will explore ways to work together and promote the TESOL 2007 Annual Convention in Seattle.

We are excited with all the wonderful events going on at the affiliate level and we would love to hear from you all, so we can have the opportunity to showcase your local events and activities.

In summary, I'd like to remind all that we live in a changing world where we face many challenges. However, these challenges also have created wonderful opportunities for us. We need to take advantage of those opportunities and get involved in development and growth in order to make TESOL a stronger and more "member-oriented" organization. I look forward to seeing you all in beautiful Seattle at the TESOL 2007 Annual Convention in March!

Warmest regards,

Yilin Sun, Ph.D.
Affiliate Leadership Council

Announcements ALC Announcements

An Invitation from the Affiliate Leadership Council

You are invited to get in touch with the Members of the ALC at your earliest convenience. They will be very happy to hear from you. Be sure to meet them at the 2007 Annual Convention in Seattle!

Yilin Sun, Chair,
Elke Apelbaum Savoy, Chair-Elect,
Ismael Garrido, Member A,
Vera Bradford, past Chair,

Affiliate Leadership Council Survey

The 2006 team decided that as a new council it was very important to find out what leaders thought about the Affiliate Newsletter; we wished to discover whether it was responding to the needs of our TESOL affiliates. A survey was sent to all affiliates to gain some insights that will help us provide a better service. The results can be found at:

Conference Reports & Articles 2006 Conference Reports

The Affiliate Leadership Council appreciates all of the Affiliates who responded to our invitation to share with us what they have been doing. This section provides some interesting feed-back dealing with some of the conferences held through 2006. You will learn what it is happening with some of the Affiliates around the globe.

From the Caribbean

Jean Frantzy Italien, EFL Teacher, President of MATE

The second regional affiliate annual Miragoane Association of Teachers of English (MATE) conference for Teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) held June 29, 2006 at Robsi Hotel, Miragoane.

The conference was held with the full support of Dr. Michael Rudder, the RELO for Central America, based at the U.S. Embassy, San Jose, Costa, Rica, who hosted about 38 participants from throughout the Southern part of the country. The conference, for which the theme was "Meeting the Challenges of Teachers of English as a Global Language," offered a variety of workshops and presentations on topics highly relevant to teachers of English here in Haiti. Mr. Rudder, who could not come to Haiti to participate in person in the program, had generously sent us two-part DVD presentations titled "Some Misconceptions Regarding ELT and Learning" and "Motivation: the Key to Success," a package of handouts, and some excellent ELT materials. The participants were all satisfied with his presentations. We are all grateful to him for his generous contributions and especially for the handouts since language teaching resource materials are very scarce in the southern part of the country.

The keynote address was delivered by Jean Frantzy Italien, president of MATE; workshops on speaking activities were conducted by J. François Vilmenay, MATE Representative and program coordinator, and Jean René Guerrier, Public Relations Coordinator. They covered a variety of topics highlighting the importance of listening and speaking skills in the process of learning English as a foreign language, topics that form parts of everybody's daily lives, including the family, the home, and leisure activity. The second affiliate regional annual MATE conference for teachers of English as a foreign language was a great success.

Learn more about Haiti….

You are encouraged to read this interesting article submitted by Jean Frantzy who shares with us some valuable information about Haiti and its educational system.

Introduction: Educational System in Haiti

The Republic of Haiti is situated about 50 miles southeast of Cuba and about the same distance northeast of Jamaica. It occupies the western third, about 10,700 square miles, of the mountainous island which the Spaniards named Hispaniola. The remaining two-thirds constitutes the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic.

Some thirty years ago there were not enough schools in the country to accommodate a fast growing aged population; rural education was largely neglected- four out of five children in the rural area never attended school. Hundreds of well trained and highly qualified teachers, in those days, were forced into exile. They were accused of meddling too much in politics. Many believed that education was tied up too closely with politics. In addition, teachers' salaries were inadequate, some of the school buildings were hopelessly unsatisfactory, didactic equipment and textbooks were often unobtainable, teacher training was also largely neglected and the illiteracy rate was very high. Notwithstanding the material disadvantages and other obstacles - economical and social - the Haitians, with the help of some foreigners (The International Community) have progressed along the road to enlightenment.

Over the years, efforts have been made to divorce education from politics, and to reduce the high rate of illiteracy. At least one portent of democracy can be detected in Haitian schools today: the extension of secondary education to girls, which will enable more young women to enter various professions. The increase in the number of evening and part-time schools, as evidence of a really serious attempt to stamp out illiteracy, is an encouraging sign indeed.

Another encouraging development is the increasing number of scholarships awarded teachers for study abroad. Special teachers - training courses are regularly organized during which they discuss various problems and give their opinions on curricula and methods of teaching.

In Haiti, curricula for public and private schools are fixed by the government, which awards all diplomas. The examinations on which these awards depend are prepared and graded under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports. These tests, in the past, consisted of a written examination, which was eliminative, and an oral. After the written test was graded, candidates who had not been eliminated took the oral. The latter discontinued because it proved to be unnecessary.

Still, another recent development is the building of new schools in the provincial cities and intensive training for the rural teachers. The concentration of schools in the urban area is too obvious; this is why, educational system is now being decentralized.

English Language instruction in Haiti is growing from strength to strength. In fact, more and more people are interested in learning English as a foreign language in order to pursue higher studies in American universities. The United States Government encouragement of extra-school and adult continuation study of English has been continued by the furnishing of American English teaching support to the Haitian - American Institute Bi-national Center in Port-au-Prince. This locally autonomous English Language Institution, dedicated to promoting cultural interchange between Haiti and the United States, currently enrols an average of 3,500 students of English.

Haiti has witnessed, during the last two decades, a tremendous upsurge of interest in secondary education - an interest which has been reflected in a fairly consistent policy of expansion in that field. This expansion has, for the most part, taken the form of an increase in the visible facilities of secondary schooling and universities. The building of new schools and the expansion of existing schools have provided opportunities for more and more children to receive secondary education. The educational policy reforms - curricula amendment, more teacher training, the creation of a salary scale and a system of classifying and promoting teachers, the reform of provincial lycees, ESL materials have been replaced EFL textbooks, which reflect the student's language - learning needs and expectations, equal opportunity, vocational training - have been related to and influenced by the growth of national needs. The challenges that educators have to face today are more sophisticated than they were two decades ago. But valuable human resources - inspiring, conscientious, competent educators - are available. Therefore, we can optimistically envisage a bright future for the country's educational system.

Submitted by:
J. Francois Vilmenay
EFL Teacher
Authorized MATE Representative
TESOL Affiliate- Haiti & USA

From Central and South America

Central America and the Caribbean Affiliates Meeting Report
September 17, 2006

The group met for a working breakfast on Sunday, September 17th at the Plaza Paitilla Inn Hotel, site of the 20th Panama TESOL Congress and the 8th Central America and Caribbean Affiliates Meeting. The proposed agenda was as follows:

a. Appoint a secretary to take minutes and make copies for every country
b. Clarify information about the last regional conference
c. Regional fee: who pays whom and when
d. Next regional congress: where and when
e. Definition of objectives for next conference
f. Appointing a liaison from each country (communication purposes)
g. Official meeting of affiliates in every congress
h. Make list of e-mail and mailing addresses. This list will be e-mailed to all affiliates. It should be updated every year. The liaison is responsible for sending new data to the rest of the affiliates.
i. Other topics as suggested by affiliates

The group consisted of:

Ana Cecilia Madrigal, president of Costa Rica TESOL
Olga Galarraga, 3rd vice president of Venezuela TESOL
Davina Cole, president of Panama TESOL
Ana L. Garcia de Paredes, first vice president of Panama TESOL

Members of Colombia TESOL (Asociación Colombiana de Profesores de Inglés) attended the congress in Panama, but no one attended the meeting.

Given the importance of what had transpired the previous day during the Socio-Political Concerns Panel, the group started the meeting by reading the report of that panel in which Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Venezuela participated. A copy of that report is attached to this one.

Points in the agenda:

a. Ana Garcia de Paredes was appointed secretary of the meeting.
b. There had been some confusion as to where the last affiliates meeting had taken place. Ana Cecilia Madrigal said it had been in Costa Rica in 2004.
c. A regional fee of US$500.00 is paid by the last host country to the new one on the day the meeting starts. Costa Rica dutifully paid the amount to the Panama TESOL treasurer on Friday, September 15th, 2006.
d. Because only three countries were present, it was decided that Venezuela would host the next regional meeting in May, 2008.
e. One of our objectives is to attract more members. It was decided that the three countries would work together during the next TESOL convention in Seattle to establish new contacts and promote the next affiliates meeting. We will also advertise it on the Web site.

The objectives of the meeting will be to

- discuss the progress made in some of the problems shared in the Socio Political Panel discussion in Panama 2006,
- share other problems English teachers and English teaching have in each country,
- share some of the solutions each country has found,
- evaluate the impact TESOL organizations have on the solution of these problems, and
- to produce a document for TESOL and each country's ministry of Education.

f. The president of each affiliate will be responsible for keeping communication flowing and making sure each affiliate is informed of changes in the respective boards. In the case of Venezuela, it will be the third vice president.
g. It was established that an official meeting of affiliates must be part of the regional congresses and that attendance and participation of affiliates are mandatory.
h. The names and e-mail addresses of the participants were taken, and data from other affiliates will be gathered in Seattle, if not before.
i. It was determined that a copy of this report would be sent to Laura Bryant
Other issues:

Venezuela expressed the concern over the low academic level of high school graduates in general. These children leave schools with a serious difficulty expressing their ideas clearly, not only in English but also in their native tongues. This concern was shared by all.

Panama commented that it was necessary to stop trying to impose change but instead to invite teachers to reflect on their teaching and skills. In some educational institutions, teachers who have low evaluations are told to take courses or enroll in a master's program. The result of this is that teachers only take professional development courses to comply with the requirement, but resent having to do so; therefore they experience little or no change.

Panama asked for ideas on how to reach those teachers who need help the most and invite them to participate. Some of the ideas suggested were:

- Obtain more grants to pay for teachers to attend the annual congress
- Find a member with Web publishing skills to design and maintain a Web page.
- Try to obtain free space on the internet from one of the local internet service providers
- Encourage publishers to work with TESOL and not against us

In Panama, publishers have started organizing their own small congresses sometimes as close as two weeks before the annual TESOL Congress. Many school principals consider it unnecessary to send teachers to the TESOL congress after they have attended the commercial presentations the publishers offer. Panama TESOL has invited these publishers to use the annual congress to do this because ours is a very small community and we are all targeting the same teachers, but so far we haven't succeeded.

Costa Rica informed that the ministry of education of this country has closed its doors to all publishers of ELT books. Public schools are now using materials written by local authors from the Ministry of Education. Panama expressed concern over this because there have been two motions by some lawmakers to limit the use of textbooks in public schools to local author-produced materials. Both motions have been rejected, but the threat is still present.

Costa Rica mentioned that there seems to be trend in which middle-class parents dedicate all their means to pay for private schools so that they don't have to pay for college. Private school graduates are the ones who pass admission exams to public universities and win most of the scholarships. Meanwhile, poor families that can't afford private schools are forced to get loans to pay for private universities that sometimes don't offer solid academic instruction.

Costa Rica would like to see a low-cost program that offers English teachers the opportunity to spend some time in an English-speaking country to improve their language skills and learn about the culture. There is an agreement between the public university and the French Embassy to provide room and board to students finishing their B.A. in French. Participation in this program is mandatory. The Costa Rica representative proposes something similar be done with English teachers.

This concern is shared by the three countries and comes from the fact that students who receive their bachelor's degrees in English are lacking in both fluency and accuracy. Panama suggested TESOL become more active in trying to fight accelerated university programs that attempt to produce English teachers in reduced amounts of time.

The representatives of the three countries finished by exchanging ideas on how to obtain funds to ensure the participation of their presidents in the international and regional TESOL conventions.

Socio-Political Concerns in the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language
Panel Report September 16, 2006


Gilma Zúñiga - Member of Asociación Colombiana de Profesores de Inglés
Ana Cecilia Madrigal - President, Costa Rica TESOL
Olga Galarreaga - 3rd Vice President, Venezuela TESOL
Davina Cole - President, Panamá TESOL
Lizzie García de Paredes - Vice President, Panamá TESOL (moderator)

The four delegates presented the situation of English language teaching in their countries, the government policies, and the profile of their English teachers. Following is a list of problems common to all four countries:

  • TESOLers: The majority of the teachers who attend local TESOL conventions are better speakers and have more resources and teaching skills. They usually work in private schools and have studied or lived in English-speaking countries.
  • The minimum proficiency level required for English teachers seems to be lower than the one most programs expect students to obtain. Teachers in charge of implementing programs to raise the level of English don't have enough command of the language to be good models for their students.
  • There are not enough teachers to implement government programs that make English a mandatory subject in schools.
  • Students graduating from public schools don't speak English even after as many as 5 years of classes.
  • There are too many students per group in public schools.
  • There is a noticeable difference between the English spoken by students graduating from private schools and that of students graduating from public schools.
  • Language centers seem to produce better results teaching English in less time than schools do.

The points above seem to suggest that local TESOL organizations may not be reaching the teachers who need professional development the most. The reasons for this, regarding teachers who are not members of TESOL, range from lack of motivation to lack of funds. This point warrants a separate discussion. Another conclusion may be that governments are quick to dictate rules and regulations without the infrastructure, means, and human resources to implement them.

Interventions by members of the audience:

  • Carlos Prescott, former president of Panamá TESOL, brought up the issue of whether teachers were to blame for the state of English speaking in their countries. He thought that perhaps the fact that the four countries present shared so many similar problems suggested otherwise. Olga Gallarreaga replied that although teachers were somewhat at fault, the system seemed to have failed, pointing out the difference between public and private school results.
  • A participant who works in the United States expressed her concern over the class size in public schools. Ana Cecilia Madrigal reported that in Costa Rica they try to divide classes into work stations so teachers deal with smaller groups at one time.
  • Another member of the audience expressed her skepticism about the (Panamanian) government's willingness to commit to the development of educational projects. She said that Project "Panamá Habla Inglés" looked very good on paper, but so had many other previous programs. Another teacher expressed her agreement, asking whether it was going to be more of the same.
  • A last participant commented that at the end of the day it was up to the teacher to do the best job he or she could, and that teachers shouldn't expect TESOL to fix everything.

The Ministry of Education's Intervention:

Mr. Rogelio Douglas from MEDUCA said that teachers don't consider themselves part of the system and usually regard it as having two parts: teachers and the Ministry of Education. He reminded teachers that it is one single unit. He talked about the need to raise the standard of English teachers, commenting on the fact that they are allowed to remain in the system even when they do not update their techniques. Mr. Douglas said most teachers talk about the language but don't really teach it, and that this is a common problem in many countries. He called for teachers to work hand in hand with the Ministry of Education on the improvement of English language teaching.

From Peru

Our colleagues from Peru share with us what took place during their 2006 PERU TESOL Convention held in Iquitos.

Sharing Teaching and Learning Experiences in a Global World
By Prof. C. Nefdy Falconi Salazar, PERU TESOL President

The 14th PERU TESOL National Convention had Elisa Gonzales Mera as its Convention Chair and C. Nefdy Falconi Salazar as its Co-Convention Chair. The convention was held in Iquitos (in the Peruvian Jungle) from July 31st to August 2nd, and the theme was, "Sharing Teaching and Learning Experiences in a Global World."

The organizing of the PERU TESOL convention in Iquitos was a great challenge for all of us who represent the PERU TESOL National council, particularly because of the budget the organization of an event like this requires, the quality of the presenters and the number of attendees, and the high transport prices the speakers and the participants had to pay to get to Iquitos.

Everything went smoothly at the convention and we had 245 attendees, 13 speakers from the United States (most of them were TESOL members), 1 Speaker from England, 1 Speaker from the Netherlands, 1 Speaker from Australia, 1 Speaker from South Africa, 1 Speaker from Hong Kong, 1 Speaker from Mexico, 2 Speakers from Chile, and more than 10 Speakers from Peru. They have all contributed to the success of our conference, especially in the academic aspect.

Our Conference Keynote Speakers were:
Dr. Mary Lou McCloskey – Past President of TESOL from Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Dr. Diane Boothe from the College of Education at Boise State University, Idaho, USA
Dr. Karen Jogan from Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

The participation of Mary Lou McCloskey, who represented TESOL, was integral to the success of our conference. The VIF Program (Visiting International Faculty) sponsored our convention. The U.S. Embassy and the Fulbright Commission in Lima, Peru, were also giving us a hand.

We unfortunately didn't have the help of the Book Dealers this time, though we had sent them an invitation; we hope to count with them in our next Convention in Tacna, Peru.

To our understanding, this was a very good conference, considering the place it was held and the difficulties our attendees faced to come. We had a completely academic convention.

Our 2007 National Convention will be held in Tacna in the southwest of Peru. We have already started organizing:

We thank TESOL again for its support, and we look forward to seeing more TESOL members in our 2007 Convention in Tacna.

Some pictures from colleagues who attended the convention in Iquitos.

Sharing Teaching and Learning Experiences In a Global World
By Elisa Gonzales Mera, reporting from Iquitos, Peru

When we set out on the challenge of organising the PERU TESOL 14th National Convention, we wanted to give it a name that represents the capacities and feelings of speakers and participants towards the essence of our field, which is teaching and learning to communicate in English.

The 14th PERU TESOL National Convention will be held in Escuela de Post Grado de la Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana in Iquitos, Loreto, Peru, from July 31st to August 2nd, and the theme will be, "Sharing Teaching and Learning Experiences in a Global World."

Iquitos is a romantic and seductive city with a rustic charm and unique culture reflecting an intriguing history. It is located in the Amazon Peruvian jungle and is well-known as the gateway to the Amazon River.

The main purpose of this event is to present and discuss some topics about education issues in order to reach some conclusions and make some suggestions regarding the ongoing struggle to develop successful students and well-trained English teachers in this part of the world.

Speakers from different countries are eager to make it the most interesting and useful event attendees have ever seen before; Mary Lou McCloskey, our keynote speaker, is in charge of the Opening Plenary, titled "The Multiplier Effect of Foreign Language Learning."

From Colombia

This article provides a feedback from the 41st Annual Conference of the Colombian Association of Teachers of English (ASOCOPI) that took place in Ibagué, Colombia.

Language Policies and Classroom Realities: Bridging the Gap
By Javier Rojas-Serrano, ASOCOPI Office Manager

On October 13–16, 2006, the 41st ASOCOPI Annual Conference took place in the beautiful city of Ibagué, Colombia. The Champagnat School offered its huge campus for over 900 participants to enjoy the activities offered during this event, which validated the ASOCOPI Convention as the biggest and most important forum in Colombia for the ELT community.

The main topic of the conference, 'Language Policies and Classroom Realities: Bridging the Gap,' was developed during the 4-day event in 10 plenary sessions, 2 panel sessions, 1 coplenary session, and over 70 workshops and awareness presentations, which structured the academic program. Additionally, there were interesting cultural activities such as the play 'Pirates Island' by The Argentine theatre troop The Performers, as well as the presentations of native musical groups and dances, which introduced participants to the culture and traditions of this central part of Colombia.

The conference served as a forum for different actors involved in Colombian language policies to present their viewpoints with regards to the application of national programs to the classroom realities presented in our country. At a time when the National Bilingual Program is being implemented and the standards for Foreign Languages are launched, plenary sessions, concurrent sessions and, particularly, the panels at the ASOCOPI Conference presented the pros and cons of the official plans for introducing 'bilingualism' in Colombia.

In order to fulfil the aim of the conference to be a forum for different perspectives, the following Colombian speakers presented their views in plenary sessions: Melba Libia Cárdenas (Universidad Nacional), Ricardo Romero (former British Council consultant), Rosa Maria Cely (Ministry of Education representative), Alvaro Quintero (Distrital University), Adriana González (University of Antioquia), Aida Salamanca, (British Council consultant), and Silvia Valencia (University of Quindío). Most plenary speakers were also invited to answer the questions asked by participants during the panels with regards to the implementation of Bilingualism.

On the other hand, international speakers such as Edythe Johnson Holubec (sponsored by the U.S. Embassy), Jenny Dooley, Manuel dos Santos, Arlen Gargagliano, JoEllen Simpson, Nick Perkins, and Costas Pexos also enriched the conference with topics as varied as teaching writing, brain-based studies applied to language teaching and learning, cooperative learning, and teaching grammar in context, among others.

The annual conference would not have been as successful as it was without the participation of the publishing houses that filled the 20-stand area of the book exhibit and presented the most updated materials, textbooks, books, programs, and technologies for teaching and learning English.

In addition, this conference had an impact on the governance of the Association since changes and new positions in the National Board of Directors were presented during the Annual ASOCOPI Assembly. A big thank you goes to Dr. Rigoberto Castillo who made part of the BOD for several years and served as president during the last 9 months. The new structure of the board appears as follows:

Melba Libia Cárdenas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia - President
Gabriel Obando, Universidad de Nariño - Vice President
Carlos Rico, Universidad Javieriana - Treasurer
Adriana González, Universidad de Antioquia - Secretary
Nancy Villamizar, Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander - Spokesperson

The 41st ASOCOPI Annual Conference reaffirmed the commitment of the Colombian Association of Teachers of English to the professional development of teachers as well as the improvement of the teaching of English in Colombia by offering academic and other spaces where everyone involved can make his or her voice be heard. Learn more about this event and the association by visiting the website

Some pictures from the ASOCOPI Conference.


This article talks about the celebration of 20 years of hard work.

20 Years of BRAZ-TESOL: From Chapel to Palace
By Eleonor Benicio, reporting from Brasilia

Try to imagine a huge recently-refurbished, high-tech, modern palace with four auditoriums which can sit up to 9,000 people from different events (3,800 just in the main one!), with wide corridors and stairways in-between leading to most of the 20 rooms in it—always impeccably ready to accommodate between 50–100 participants each. Add to your picture an open saloon which can easily fit up to 50 exhibitors, plus a self-service restaurant, a cafeteria, ample granite-decorated restrooms, plenty of parking space and a lot of green around it, and guess what you have: a recipe for true success. If you are able to visualize all that, congratulations! For you have just visualized the Brasília Convention Centre, where the 10th Biennial National BRAZ-TESOL Convention (Brazilian branch of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Association) took place July 8th–11th this year. A big splash!!!

The scenario was perfect for the circulation of not only 1,107 English language teachers and educators from Latin America—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay—but also of ELT stars from different corners of the world—Israel, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Those ELT professionals, together with 43 exhibitors and 60 minders, turned this event into an unforgettable encounter of cultures and peoples as well as a melting pot of languages all united by the one current Lingua Franca: the English language.

A convention of such magnitude could not have happened without the right actors and actresses in the right places at the right time. They were absolutely all over the place—some you just had to look to see, others you had to search to find. The former consisted mainly of keynote speakers, namely: Telma Gimenez, Penny Ur, Peter Grundy and George Pickering ( IATEFL ), Vera Bradford ( TESOL ), Scott Thornbury, Ron Martinez, Luke Prodromou, Leo Van Lier, José Luis Morales, Susan Stempleski, and Lucy Chriton, (hope I have not forgotten anyone), whose contributions enlightened whilst at the same time shook up some of the mainstream concepts in current ELT theory and practice.

The latter groups of actors and actresses had been backstage for a long time, weaving the convention together, and were very difficult to keep track of during the event: special thanks and applause should go to the brilliant work carried out by the Local Organization Committee (Marisa Troncoso, Shaun Dowling, Sara Walker, Gilmara Bezerra, just to mention a few names) and the Academic Committee (Inez Woortmann, Isabela Villas Boas and Paul Kol); behind them, supervising and supporting their work, were the experienced General and Advisory Councils led by Bob Carrington, Marcelo Barros, Luiz Otávio Barros, Albina Escobar and Socorro Guimarães.

It is worth pointing out a couple of innovations that took place in this convention. First, hiding in a backroom below the stage of the main auditorium of the convention centre were the TA Forum representatives of nine Brazilian State English Teachers' Associations as well as BRAZ-TESOL's own Regional Chapters, who were all assisted by ELTeCS funding and brought together for very useful and enjoyable workshops and meetings. Second, flying around the corridors, stairways, auditoriums, rooms, and stands was the British Council team led by Mike Thornton and Julian Wing, with cameras and microphones in hand ready to make the interviews and filming of parts of the event on video available to a wider community online. Thanks to them as well!

If you have missed Brazil's biggest ELT event of the year, you can still see some of the plenaries and workshops, including interviews, on the British Council ELT community Web site

A "rags-to-riches" story
And to think that it all started 20 years ago in an old monastery with the book exhibition taking place in what used to be its chapel—sounds most extraordinary! But that is exactly what Bob Carrington, current president (2nd term of office) and executive director as well as founder of BRAZ-TESOL , tells us has happened. It was May 1986 when a group of 25 English teachers got together in Curitiba and decided they would form an association which would operate at a national level. In fact, some of those teachers from Cultura Inglesa had been toying with that idea for a few years until the final shape of the decision came into fruition and materialized itself in the form of the first BRAZ-TESOL convention held at Faculdade TUIUTI— a converted monastery turned into a simple private faculty located in Curitiba—in the cold winter of July, 1988.

Despite its humble start, BRAZ-TESOL was born to shine. Although the initial participant target was a modest one at 200 teachers, the association managed to attract 550. Moreover, from its very onset, BRAZ-TESOL was able to count on international support: ELT stars of the time such as Dick Allright, Ron White, and L.G. Alexander. Since then, the association has evolved to become the national teacher association network in Brazil, which has had an average of 1,000 members per year over its 20 years of existence; at peak times (the 1990s), membership reached 4,000. Despite certain unevenness in the services offered, it has grown to become a nondenominational catalyst for teacher improvement and a stronger voice for the English teaching community within the country.

This year's convention has celebrated 20 years of "Teaching, Learning and Leading" in Brazil. This umbrella term has been most fortunate in covering all sorts of vices and virtues which pervade the current "state of the art" in ELT worldwide. Some of them are listed below in binaries raised by the experts as key issues to be thought through by the ELT practitioner, for they display the polarities we have all been swinging to and fro. Thus, as the ELT pendulum of time sways back and forward, it moves from English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), from native-speaker to nonnative speaker, from intranational to international, from local competence to intercultural competence, from monologue to dialogue, from truth to trust (is it possible?), from product to process (e.g., from language to "languaging"), from grammar to "grammaring"1, from formal to informal, from difficult to easy, from giving lectures to telling stories, from cognitive to kinaesthetic, from whiteboard to boxes of tricks, from mind to body, from logical to experiential, from farse/fiction to real, from linear to holistic, from focus to flow, from meaning to meanings, from apathetic communities to synergetic communities, from "flowers to buds," from "great big happenings" to "little miracles" through "transition smoothness" in the so-called "knowledge society."

Transitions are key: from RAP (rapport, attitude, presence) to rhapsody, from linguistics to education, from single to multiple intelligences, from past into present into future, from science to art, from chapel to palace to… the next convention, July 18–21, 2008 in Fortaleza-Ceará.

Start warming up for it because if you fancy mixing work and fun, Fortaleza is the place to come (wow, it rhymes!). Although the theme for the next convention has not been decided yet, surely the local committee chair members Fábio Delano, and Elaine and Graeme Hodgson ( have every intention of taking up some of the key issues raised during this convention. Despite the uncertainty about the umbrella theme, you can be reassured of two very important certainties regarding place and time: the beaches in Fortaleza are among the most beautiful on the planet (if I'm not mistaken, Jericoacoara was elected the most beautiful or second most beautiful in the world), and July is summertime in Ceará, and also the month in which FORTAL—the Carnival in Fortaleza—takes place. So come along and get ready to enroll! It would be great to see more Argentine and Latin American colleagues there!

The message
Last but not least, please do not forget that "It is unbelievable the strength that things have when they have to happen. The universe conspires in favour of them."3 Whether you are for or against such conspiracy theories, try collaborating with the universe at least once in a professional lifetime: do conspire together with EFL/ELF theoreticians, practitioners, and educators for the future of our own profession: join teachers´ associations, join TESOL anywhere you are, attend conventions, show your work, participate somehow. This is what the BRAZ-TESOL 20th National Convention was all about. This past is now over. Here comes the sun: the future lies in Fortaleza 2008—at chapel or palace, wherever-see YOU there.

Some pictures from BrazTESOL.

From North America


Pragmatics, Semantics, and Cultural Awareness in ELT
By Ismael Garrido

ANUPI hosted its Fourth International Congress "Pragmatics, Semantics, and Cultural Awareness in ELT" from September 28th to October 1st in the beautiful city of Acapulco. After several months of hard work, ANUPI was confident and glad to offer the participants of the congress the quality they deserved: an academic program which provided each one of them with something interesting, challenging and stimulating to bring back to their home institutions.

ANUPI appreciated the presence of all first-comers as well as the regulars, especially those who have been with ANUPI year after year since 2002. Their return only confirmed that ANUPI has been providing participants not only with a rewarding, repeat-worthy experience, but with another opportunity to invest their time and effort to enhance their professional growth and development.

The plenary speakers were Dr. Robert Anderson (USA), Dr. Jim Milton (UK), Dr. Rajul Bharjava (India), and Ylda Farré (Puerto Rico); the panel plenary speakers were Dr. Frances Boyd (USA), MA's Teresa Mallen (Mexico) and Dixie Santana (Mexico); and the leader of ANUPI's first precongress seminar was Dr Armando Gonzalez (Mexico). All of these people helped ANUPI make this fourth congress a reality.

ANUPI is accomplishing its goals, which benefit current and prospective members as well as anyone interested in the organization. ANUPI is always keeping in mind that its mission is to improve the quality of the teaching of English as a foreign language in Mexico and ESL abroad, to initiate and support research in this area, and to promote the professional development of all those involved in the profession.

ANUPI also shared in this congress a special thought to remember by Henry Adams:
A teacher affects eternity; he/she can never tell where his/her influence stops.

Some highlights from the ANUPI Conference.

From Illinois TESOL-BE

By Yasmin Ranney, Past President, ITBE

Illinois TESOL-BE is a professional, nonprofit organization founded in 1970 by and for teachers of English as a second language and teachers involved in bilingual education. Its goals include promoting scholarship and professional interest, disseminating information, supporting research and instruction in the teaching of standard English to speakers of other languages or dialects and in bilingual education, and cooperating with other groups and organizations having similar concerns.
Illinois TESOL-BE members enjoy a range of benefits that allow them to strengthen their sense of belonging and to grow professionally. The various events that ITBE offers-the annual convention, the fall and spring workshops, the occasional Special Interest Groups' events, to name just a few—create fora at which members can express their interests, voice their concerns, and share their values and experiences. The quarterly ITBE Newsletter creates an additional opportunity for members to exchange their views.

The 2007 Annual ITBE Convention will be on March 9 and 10 at the Holiday Inn Select in Naperville. This year's theme is "Learning Today for Tomorrow." This theme reflects the desire of educators to learn about new developments and challenges that will impact their work in ESL and bilingual education.

At the convention there will be 60 different sessions on research, instructional methods, and professional issues. Registration is available for individual days or both Friday and Saturday and a buffet lunch is included for both days.

Our Friday plenary speaker is Mary Ann Christison, Ph.D., professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of Utah, USA, author of over 75 articles and numerous books, and former President of TESOL (1997–98). Mary Ann will introduce 6 strategies for brain-based language learning. Al Gini, professor of business ethics in the School of Business Administration at Loyola University, Chicago, USA, will share on "Work and the Immigrant Experience." On Saturday, John Segota, TESOL's Advocacy and Communications Manager, will bring us an update from Washington regarding legislation which could be impacted by the upcoming elections. The closing plenary on Friday will be presented by Al Gini, who is also the cofounder and associate editor of Business Ethics Quarterly, the journal of the Society for Business Ethics. Al Gini can be heard on National Public Radio's Chicago affiliate, WBEZ-FM. His books include: My Job My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual (Routledge, 2000); The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vacations (Routledge, 2003); and he has written and produced two plays: Working Ourselves to Death and Letters of a Consumaholic . His most recent book is titled, Why It's Hard to Be Good (Routledge, 2006) and the theme of his presentation is "Work and the Immigrant Experience." For more information, please visit the Illinois TESOL-BE convention webpage at
On October 7, 2006, ITBE hosted a professional development Fall Workshop at St.Xavier University, Chicago, featuring keynote speaker Edwin Silverman, chief of the Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services on "Serving the New Americans." Currently he serves as immediate past president of the national association for State Coordinators of Refugee Resettlement (SCORR). He has received awards from the federal government and various community groups for his contributions to the area of refugee resettlement. He also received the Assistant Secretary's Public Service Award from DHHS and was one of five national recipients in 1995 of the American Society for Public Administration's National Public Service Award. The keynote address was followed by breakout sessions on a variety of ESL and language learning topics. Participants earned cpdu credits for attending the Fall Workshop.

From Tex TESOL V

Reinvigorating Introspection
by Don Weasenforth, President, TexTESOL V

The Sam Veda admonishment to spend some time in introspection as a means to success is equally applicable to organizations. It's with some soul searching that TexTESOL V (North Texas) has reinvigorated itself and established a pathway toward continued success for the future.

It's not difficult to understand why organizations, especially those whose members are volunteers, can not often afford the luxury of introspection. There are numerous interests competing for time and energy, and often volunteer work has to take second or third place behind work and family concerns as well as occasional self-sustaining personal enrichment. The amount of work necessary to maintain the organization can in itself leave the best of multi-taskers frustrated and tired. The lack of time and energy is compounded by the reality that board members might serve only 2 or 3 years on a board. Once a board member has grasped the ropes firmly, he or she may leave the board or be asked to take on a new set of duties for the organization.

It is thus easy to fall into the trap of replicating from year to year what was done in the past. Doing so can be a safe way to maintain an organization; the old tried-and-true minimizes the risk of failure. But sticking to the same ol' same ol', however, can also leave the organization stale and unresponsive to the members it serves.

It was last year that the TexTESOL V board, under the direction of our current past president, Zarina Blankenbaker, did a bit of introspection. We asked ourselves some of the "big," difficult questions: What is the organization's raison d'être? What do we want the organization to look like in 5 years, in 10 years? What vision can not only sustain the organization but also propel it to higher levels of success?

In response to these questions, the board articulated a mission statement, a vision statement, and a 3-year strategic plan. The self-evident nature of the mission statement belies the complexities involved in its fulfillment: "to provide information, direction, and support to its membership in promoting excellence in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages." How does one distribute information across such a wide region (all of North Texas)? What direction do we provide, to whom, and how? What type of support is needed or wanted? These are but few of the questions entailed in what seems to be a very obvious statement. But these questions were evoked by the processes of introspecting about the organization's mission and manifesting it in written form; indeed, it's doubtful that they would have been asked without having reflected on the mission of the organization.

Our vision statement establishes a long-term goal for the organization: "TexTESOL V will become the organization of choice for teachers of English to speakers of other languages across the region." The statement drew a mix of responses from the board members, responses from quiet agreement, to excitement over the challenge, to disbelief over what apparently seemed an unattainable dream or an unbridled ambition at best. Regardless of the immediate response, the process of introspecting about what the organization could be in several years ended up invigorating the board members and challenging us to push toward realization of this vision.

Our mission and vision statements have been somewhat fleshed out by a 3-year strategic plan, providing more focused attention to professional development opportunities, membership recruitment, leadership mentoring, and partnering more closely with other Texas affiliates. The board has yet to fully flesh out these goals in terms of specific objectives, but a general framework has been established and will serve as a guide for future boards to provide direction.

The legacy of the board's introspection, I expect, will continue to invigorate this and next year's boards and provide a foundation for the future success of TexTESOL V. However, it's critical to remember that success will depend in part on continued introspection about the organization's mission and vision.

From Oceania and Asia


Report to TESOL on the CLESOL 2006 Conference
By Terry Greatrex, Convenor, CLESOL 2006

From September 29 to October 2, TESOLANZ and Community Languages Association of New Zealand (CLANZ) combined to hold their biennial conference, CLESOL, in Napier, New Zealand. The theme of the conference was "Origins and Connections: Linking Theory, Research, and Practice." Keynote speakers included David Crystal, Rod Ellis, Aida Walqui, Marc Helgesen, Stefan Romaniw, and Cynthia White. Over 450 local and overseas delegates attended seven plenary sessions and 51 workshops covering a wide range of language learning and teaching topics.

Three workshops were held on Friday, by David Crystal, Marc Helgesen, and Aida Walqui. David Crystal speech was titled "Language Play: From Scrabble to Babble," and he discussed how a study of language play can lead to insights into child language acquisition, especially during the first year. Examples of later language play were drawn from its use in conversation, graphic games, the communication professions, and literature.

Marc Helgesen's workshop was on "The Science of Happiness" in the ELT classroom. He explored how the relatively new field of positive psychology has implications for motivating students and facilitating the positive attitudes that engage learners with their subject.

Aida Walqui focussed on the provision of deep and substantive education to adolescent second language learners. She presented and illustrated five principles that underscore quality teaching.

Papers and workshops more particularly related to community languages were presented on Monday. During the conference the Extensive Reading Foundation's 2006 Language Learner Literature Awards were announced and presented to the winning publishers. The conference received very positive feedback from participants and generous support from sponsors. We particularly appreciate the contribution by TESOL toward the transport costs of bringing Aida Walqui from the United States.

Some pictures from TESOLANZ.

From Hong-Kong

An Introduction to the Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics (HAAL)
By Icy Lee, University of Hong Kong

Established in 1980, HAAL is a professional, nonpolitical organization of about 100 applied linguists working together to promote applied linguistics in Hong Kong. In September 2006, HAAL became the 99th affiliate of TESOL, Inc. Currently, HAAL has about 100 members.

HAAL holds regular seminars for both members and nonmembers. Well-known figures who have conducted seminars include Michael Halliday, Jack Richards, David Nunan, Ron Carter, Lyle Bachman, David Li, Angel Lin, Liz Hamp-Lyons, Icy Lee, John Flowerdew, and Merrill Swain.

HAAL conducts a Research Forum every few years. The next Research Forum will be held in June 2007. Each year, postgraduate student grants are offered to student members for international conference presentations. Currently, the executive committee of HAAL is chaired by George Braine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

For more information about HAAL, please visit our Web site at