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A TESOL Symposium: Facilitating Learning Through Student Empowerment

  • Date: 15 November 2012
  • Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Contact: TESOL Education Programs
  • Email:

Program Overview

Worldwide, university graduates are faced with one of the biggest transitions of their lives: leaving the routine of school to face the “real world.”  English language learners (ELLs) tend to confront this challenge with an even greater concern: finding work in an English-speaking context.

This 1-day symposium guides educators in empowering their university and adult learners. English language educators interact with leading experts in the field and learn about collaborating with colleagues, fostering learner autonomy, and guiding ELLs through the complicated steps to becoming professionals in their chosen fields. Participants learn systemic approaches and a wide variety of practical strategies and techniques to more effectively meet the needs of their students.

This TESOL Symposium precedes the 39th PRTESOL Convention and the 11th Cental American & Caribbean Basin Regional Conference, Journey Into English as a Global Language: Embracing Diversity, 16–17 November 2012. For more information on the 39th PRTESOL Convention and the 11th CA & CB Regional Conference, please visit the conference website or email Puerto Rico TESOL.

You can also download the symposium brochure (PDF).

Who Should Attend?

  • Adult education teachers
  • University professors and facility members
  • All educators involved in helping students succeed at the postsecondary level, including helping students become lifelong learners empowered to succeed in their chosen professions

Registration Information

Registration Option 1:  Secure Online Payment
Online Registration
Registration fee: US$75
Deadline: 5 November 2012

Registration Option 2: Register by E-mail, Pay On Site
To register by e-mail contact by 5 November.  Make sure to provide your complete name, title, organization, postal mailing address, e-mail, and phone number.
Registration fee:  US$75 (pay on site in cash)
Deadline: 5 November 2012

Hotel Information

Symposium attendees are responsible for making their own arrangements for local accommodations. To receive a discounted rate, you must book your reservation before 23 October 2013.

Intercontinental Hotel, Isla Verde
Reservations: 787.791.6100 or 1.800.443.2009.
Further assistance: Helen Delgado, 787.982.4315.

TESOL's Strategic Partner

TESOL thanks its strategic partner National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning, whose generous support made this event possible.

National Geographic Learning logo

About the Featured Speakers

Kimberly A. Johnson is assistant professor in the School of Education at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Director of the ATLAS Center, a center that provides resources and professional development for teachers of adult learners throughout Minnesota (  As the ATLAS Director, Dr. Johnson coordinates research and training on topics in curriculum and instruction, language teaching and learning, teacher supervision, and academic readiness.  She has published in multiple journals, including Teaching and Teacher Education, TESOL Quarterly, and the Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal.  She holds a bachelors degree in English, a master's degree in TESOL, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota.

Leni Dam currently coordinates the IATEFL Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group while giving talks and running courses on the development of language learner autonomy around the world. Previously she served as an educational adviser at the Pedagogic University of Copenhagen, a language teacher at a comprehensive folkeskole near Copenhagen, and joint coordinator (with Sara Cotterall) of the AILA Scientific Committee of Learner Autonomy. Working with Lienhard Legenhausen (Münster University, Germany),  she ran the LAALE project (Language Acquisition in an Autonomous Language Learning Environment), which observed the linguistic development of mixed-ability learners.  Dr. Leni Dam was awarded an honorary doctorate in pedagogy from Karlstad University, Sweden (2004), and has published widely on aspects of learner autonomy in language learning, including Learner Autonomy 3: From Theory to Classroom Practice.

Charles Hall is associate professor of applied linguistics, University of Memphis, and former chair of the TESOL ESP Interest Session. He has led training workshops sponsored by various organizations, such as the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations, in over 30 countries, including Iraq and Sudan. His publications include American Legal English. He has been awarded two senior Fulbrights for the Czech Republic. Since 1990 he has directed summer TEFL training courses at the University of West Bohemia, the Czech Republic, and since 2010 at the University of Alicante, Spain.

Symposium Host

María Antonia Irizarry
is a professor and coordinator of the Graduate TESL Program at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). She holds a bachelors degree in TESL from UPR, a master's degree in TESL, a master's in education in the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language, and a doctorate in education in languages and literature from Columbia University.  She taught in New York public schools, Essex County College in New Jersey, and was Associate Superintendent of Schools in Newark, New Jersey. Her commitment to TESOL has been unwavering. She is a past member of the PRTESOL Board of Directors and served the organization as President in 1988. She is a frequent presenter at regional and national activities and has offered her expertise to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Chile, Dominican Republic, and Panama, among others