TESOL 2017: Highlights


I have just returned from an enriching and exciting week at TESOL 2017 in Seattle. Anytime I attend a convention like this, I come home energized with a head full of ideas that I am itching to incorporate into my teaching and training practice. It is also a wonderful opportunity to analyze trends in the field and network with like-minded professionals. All this being said, I understand that attending an event like this can be quite costly. Hopefully, I can share some ideas with you in this post so that you can get some well-deserved PD without the price of a plane ticket!

First tip, if you have some time and a Twitter account, scan the #tesol17 hashtag. There are always people live-tweeting the convention and you can often find tweets with links, slides and/or notes on convention sessions. A lot of PD, with very minimal effort. You can check out my conference tweets here.

Second tip, feel free to access my notes from the convention. You are also more than welcome to pass these along to anyone who may benefit. The only issue with my notes is that you are limited to the topics that I find interesting!

Lastly, I would like to share with you a few common trends that really stood out this conference:

  1. Translanguaging: This is the process that a multilingual speaker will use to access all her available language resources to best negotiate social and cognitive activities. It is different from code-switching in that all the languages known are seen to interact with each other in a fluid manner as opposed to turn off or on based on the speaker’s choice. You can read an interesting article about this here. The idea of translanguaging in the English language teaching is controversial as it challenges the idea of an English only classroom being the best environment for our students (particularly young learners). I attended a session on this topic; you can read about it in my notes that I shared above.
  2. Neuromyths: While this is in no way a new topic, it is still good to see that the discussion is still on the table. A neuromyth is a commonly accepted misconception about how the brain works. You can read up on one of the most common neuromyths (learning styles) here.  Again, I attended a neat session on this that you can read about in my notes.
  3. Non-native English Speaking Teachers: I was happy to see this topic continuing to get a lot of time in the spotlight. The discussion of equity in the field of TESOL for native and non-native teachers alike has been a hot topic since the ’90s. However, this TESOL convention presented a call to action, in a way. If we want to change the prejudices in the field, we need to act on what we believe. To read more about how you can get involved, TEFL Equity Advocates is a great resource.

If you were in attendance or if you have been following the convention from a far, I hope you have found these resources helpful. Feel free to leave a comment to share additional ideas or ask any questions!



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Zhenya says:

    Hi Autumn

    Thank you for your generous sharing! Wish I could attend this year, and hope it will be possible in 2018. Translanguaging is a new term for me, and I am looking forward to reading your notes. Were you presenting this year?

    Thank you for the great post!

    1. Rennert New York TESOL Center says:

      Hi Zhenya,

      Thank you for reading! I am so happy to hear you found the post helpful. Sadly, I wasn’t presenting this year, but hopefully in 2018. I would love to meet up in Chicago if you can come!


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