Thursday, October 24, 2013

HIghlights from the 2013 WAESOL Conference

First I'll say that my presentation went as planned. However, because I didn't sleep well the night before I think I could have executed it better. Yet, there were a few folks who came up to me afterwards with questions and also comments about how this was really helpful for them. All in all, I am glad I presented and know what I would like to do better next time. Such as doing something that involves the audience more. I think I just became too anxious the day before.

I'm the 1:30 to 1:50 spot.

As for the conference itself I had a really good time and found the other presentations to be really useful and spot on. I tried my best to avoid the commercial presenters, however was duped during the first one I attended. After that I enjoyed some great topics and useful information:

  • Writing as a process: Practical strategies for ESL students (By Young Kyung Min)
    • This was an incredibly well presented and thoughtful presentation. 
    • Concept of writing as a process where students keep writing process logs and reflect as the go along. Collecting feedback from peers and writing professionals.
    • Her portfolio concept was also very thoughtful.
  • Teaching Arabic Speakers: Daphne Mackey and Barbara Hansen
    • This was useful as I find myself teaching arabic students these days and want to know more about their culture and also the differences with English.
    • They did a lot of group work but it was useful to talk about the grammatical and speech differences between the languages. People also suggested a lot of helpful tips.

In comparison to the KOTESOL International Conference I attended last year in Korea, I can say this was a much smaller put together. However, it made for a less intimidating number of presentations to attend and also felt like a cohesive crowd of participants.

Lunch was generous and well balanced in healthy choices. Also they had snacks available after the presentations. The commercial tables weren't in your face and instead separated into a large room. 

Generally, it felt rewarding to be at a conference with local people in the profession and to hear thoughtful ideas on how to do the job.

The huge TESOL conference is coming up in March and will be in Portland, Oregon. I hope to go to that and also enjoy the local area, if I could. This conference was at a community college a little south of Seattle, and reminded me of my days as a fledgling undergrad.

Well these days I am swamped with school work, but I think I have a good hold on things. I recall that at this time last year I was dreaming of my life in America and started to mentally process the fact I was leaving Korea. Wow! Time sure does fly. As you know I'm enjoying my life here and have a lot of dreams for my future. One step at a time!

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