Two SLW Networking Sessions at TESOL 2018

In last month’s blog, I described various social and professional opportunities that the Second Language Writing Interest Section (SLWIS) has prepared for the upcoming TESOL 2018 convention. Today, I’d like to share more details on two networking sessions that I mentioned in the previous blog. Networking sessions are a fairly new format at TESOL annual conventions—they are organized and facilitated by TESOL professionals who share their expertise about a particular topic related to professional development, and allow attendees to learn about this topic in an informal and interactive way.

For this year’s convention, SLWIS has prepared one networking session related to conference proposal writing and one related to job search. Below is the information about each session.

I would like to thank Aylin B. Atilgan Relyea, one of the organizers of Session 2, who has kindly provided the information about that session.

Session 1: Tips for Writing a Successful L2 Writing Conference Proposal

  • Organizers/Facilitators: Betsy Gilliland, Hee-Seung Kang, Soo Hyon Kim, Elena Shvidko
  • Time: March 29, 3:00–3:45 pm
  • Location: Networking Session Area in Expo Hall (McCormick Place, Lakeside Center)


The purpose of this session is to help attendees write a high quality second language writing–related proposal for TESOL conventions. Getting a proposal accepted is becoming more competitive every year, so it is important to understand genre-related principles of an effective conference proposal, a list of criteria used for proposal evaluation, and common pitfalls that should be avoided in proposal writing.


The session has two parts. In Part One, the organizers/facilitators will discuss various aspects of proposal writing (see below) and analyze examples of effective proposals. Part Two will allow the attendees to share their presentation ideas and receive suggestions on how to develop those ideas in the proposal format.

Topics Covered in the Session

  • Acceptance rate for all second language writing-related proposals
  • Acceptance rate for different types of sessions (e.g., teaching tips vs. research-based)
  • Proposal checklist and rubric that TESOL reviewers use to evaluate proposals
  • Two proposal benchmarks

Session 2: How to Get a TESL/SLW Academic Job in Today’s Market

  • Organizers/Facilitators: Aylin B. Atilgan Relyea, llka Kostka, Veronika Maliborska, Sandra Zappa
  • Time: March 29, 4:00–4:45 pm
  • Location: Networking Session Area in Expo Hall (McCormick Place, Lakeside Center)


The purpose of this session is to help attendees navigate the job market in today’s highly competitive professional world. The attendees will have the opportunity to meet second language writing professionals in order to exchange information and receive helpful advice about the academic job market in the U.S. and Canada. The session will include information about applying for academic jobs, creating an application portfolio, interviewing, and useful tips.


This session aims to promote conversation between SLWIS leaders and graduate students/job seekers about the academic job market. The session has two parts. In Part One, each organizer/facilitator will provide information on a particular topic (see below). Part Two will continue in the Q&A format.

Topics Covered in the Session

  • Where to look for academic jobs and how the TESOL Recruiter Pavilion operates
  • How to create a job application portfolio
  • How the interview process works in Canada and the United States
  • Useful tips related to the application process (e.g., portfolio system, recommendation letters, managing applications and correspondence, contacting employers, and more).

I encourage TESOL 2018 attendees to join these valuable sessions!

from TESOL Blog


Becoming a TESOL Ambassador

Let me begin with an anecdote. My teaching career started when I was 18 but without any experience. During my initial days as a teacher, I had no idea what all those teaching methods—CLT, learner-centered, task-based—meant, and, thus, chiefly employed methods that my teacher had used when I was a student. I was totally unaware of all the latest developments in teaching and learning contexts in terms of teaching methodologies and pedagogical approaches to address the needs and challenges of the changing contexts.

I realized the need to enhance my teaching skills, however, only after being associated with a TESOL affiliate, Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA) and attending its annual international conference. After joining TESOL as a Global Professional member, I had an opportunity to attend the 2014 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Portland, which was, indeed, a long-awaited and much anticipated dream-come-true event for me. My first-time attendance at TESOL left an indelible impression on me.

Madhukar K.C., Headshot

Madhukar K.C.

Now, as one of the TESOL 2018 Ambassadors, I have three ways in mind to fulfill my responsibilities: Networking, Volunteering, and Inspiring Others.

Since TESOL hosts an annual international convention every year with more than 6,500 attendees, 1000 education sessions, and 150 exhibits, TESOL for me is an ideal place for global professional development. As always, I will be looking forward to meeting like-minded professionals: teachers and teacher-educators from around the world with whom to share and exchange ideas on classroom teaching practices and research issues. Meanwhile, I will also have a unique opportunity to learn about the latest teaching and research issues in the field of TESOL. I am sure those attending or presenting at the TESOL convention will benefit from professional networks that will enhance their teaching career and professional growth.

As an ambassador, I will be actively engaged in volunteering at convention registration, bag and certificate distribution, the TESOL-IS booth, and other events. I will also provide information about TESOL and the benefits of being associated with the world’s largest English language teacher’s association and professional network, and I will share my TESOL convention experience with TESOL professionals before, during, and even after the convention. What would interest me most would be to welcome first-time attendees and share my experience as to what they can expect and how they can get the most of their convention attendance.

Inspiring Others
TESOL has significantly enhanced my teaching career and professional growth. It has been one of the best professional development platforms for me as a TESOL professional. My purpose this year as a TESOL Ambassador has not only been to benefit myself but also to inspire other TESOL professionals from across the globe. I will help TESOL professionals engage with TESOL and encourage them to attend education sessions they’re interested in so that they will gain knowledge of current trends in TESOL. I will also encourage them to gain international exposure through professional networking with like-minded professional from around the world.

Author Bio
Madhukar K.C., a graduate in ELT from Kathmandu University, is a dedicated EFL professional with wide experience in teaching K-12 English classes for more than a decade. He has also worked as a teacher trainer and supervisor. His areas of interest include using literature in the language classroom, content-based language teaching, nonnative-English-speaking (NNES) teacher professional development, NNES teachers’ role and identity, World Englishes, and English as an international language. He has presented at the TESOL, IATEFL, and NELTA conferences.

from TESOL Blog

💫St Patrick’s Day Idioms💫

💫💫St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner!  

  I love using this holiday to teach about idioms!
💫St Patrick’s Day Idioms💫

What is an idiom? are words that don’t mean what they say!  They are usually a group of words, well known and used by native speakers of a language, that can’t be understood by the individual meaning of the words.

Why teach idioms?
Students develop a clear understanding of idioms with direct instruction, read-alouds, teacher modeling and student-centered activities.  According to readwritethinkteaching idioms offers students the ability to further comprehend texts that contain metaphorical and lexical meanings beyond the basic word level.

Here is one way to teach idioms: 
·      When presenting idioms to students, introduce a group of 4 to 5 idioms together.   It is best to group the idioms into a category, for  example; before St. Patrick’s Day teach idioms that use green in them!
·      Always use stories or relate personal conversations to introduce each idiom in context.
·      Use an Idiom Journal to record the idiom and it’s meanings.  Don’t forget a picture.
·      Practice by offering students a student centered activity.

Now you are on your way to teaching idioms!

I like these idioms for green!
·      Get or give someone the green light
·      Green with envy
·      Grass is always greener on the other side
·      To be green
·      Green thumb
·      Green around the gills

Here are some fun sites for idioms!
·      My English Teacher
·      Learn English

What are some of your favorite idiom activities!  I would love to hear about them.

Happy Teaching,

Happy Teaching! Lori
from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language

ELTpics: A Digital Picture File for English Language Teachers

In the previous blog post in this series, How to Create More Engaging Conference Presentations, I talked about how conference presentations can be made more interesting by using images that fill the entire screen to convey ideas. Of course, as teachers, we also want to use images in our own classrooms. Although the Internet is full of wonderful pictures, it can sometimes be a challenge to find just the right picture that is also free of copyright restrictions.

Slide Sorter

A rack for sorting 35 mm slides

When I was first starting out in the field, about 35 years ago, no self-respecting English language teacher would venture into the classroom without that key audiovisual aid known as the magazine picture file. To make a picture file, a teacher would painstakingly comb through popular magazines, cut out photographs that might be useful in the classroom, and then paste them on construction paper or card stock. Some teachers even laminated their pictures. You would then organize these in some kind of filing system, perhaps by category. So you might have one set of pictures that you would use for a lesson talking about food and another set of pictures for a lesson talking about clothing. You might have a section of pictures representing action verbs that you could use in the classroom as prompts. Teachers would also organize 35 mm slides to use in class to show images.

Today’s teachers, of course, are much more likely to use of digital materials. And now the picture file has gone digital as well. Fortunately for you, an enterprising group of teachers got together and harnessed the power of their collective knowledge and cameras to create a massive online picture file for English language teachers. The website is called ELTpics. The idea came from a group of international teachers who gather regularly on Twitter to discuss classroom ideas and other issues of interest to language teachers. They combined their knowledge and put out a call to teachers to contribute photographs of their own that could be used without any royalty payments.

ELTpics Albums

Albums by category on the ELTpics Flickr site

ELTpics exists in two locations. The first is at This website explains how ELTpics works. Every two weeks teachers and others involved in ELT are invited to take and share photos on a given theme. This theme is publicized on Facebook and Twitter and users are encouraged to post photos related to the theme. The site’s curators then take the pictures and upload them to the ELTpics photo-sharing Flickr site. Teachers are then free to go to the Flickr site and download photos for noncommercial use.

On the Flickr site, the pictures are organized in more than a hundred categories called albums. The albums are listed in alphabetical order. They include photos on such themes as adjectives, animals, beverages, body, colors, daily routines, and so on. Instructions on the ELTpics website explain how to download the photos for classroom use.

Dolphins from ELTpics website

A photo of dolphins from the ELTpics category of animals. Photo by ELTpics/@cerirhiannon

So, the next time you are looking for good pictures to use for teaching purposes or for a blog post, check out ELTpics. And if you feel like giving something back, take a look at the categories and consider contributing some photos of your own.

from TESOL Blog

💕Friday Freebie!💕

Hello everyone,
It is Friday and time for another freebie!
Today if you click over to our Teachers Pay Teachers Store you can download this great unit:
Polish up your students’ bathroom vocabulary.
This ESL and ELD unit builds upon the ever-popular children’s story – The Lady with the Alligator Purse. Kids love this sing-song rhyme, and we do, too!

The Lady with the Alligator Purse provides the strong foundation from which we build schema and expand students’ knowledge of BATHROOM VOCABULARY. We provide all you need to teach the English your students need to DESCRIBE LOCATION and COMPARE.
This unit includes reproducible black lines for advanced level of language instruction. This unit has approximately 49 pages.

This unit includes:
-Grammatical forms to go with each lesson.
-Word lists for topic vocabulary, nouns, verbs, idioms, and more
-ESL Lesson plans that connect grammatical forms to two language functions
-Songs and Chants
-Say It Quick picture sheets
-Student booklets
-Picture cards
-Picture cards with words
-Game boards and game cards
-Assessment rubric  

Click here to download this unit and don’t forget to follow us and rate this great product!

Happy teaching💕,

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language

The 5 Habits of Highly Effective TESOLers

The TESOL Annual Convention & English Language Expo is an incredible event, for teachers looking to find their ground and develop as professionals as well as for seasoned experts striving to share their knowledge and experience with others.

Kira Kondratkova Headshot

Kira Kondratkova

If this is your first convention, or if you would like to improve your experience for next time, here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of TESOL 2018.

  • Take risks. (This does not mean parachuting in to Chicago, but if you decide to do this, be sure to post pictures with #TESOL18 in your Instagram!) Do not limit yourself by choosing only sessions on topics you are most proficient in. Discover fields you know little about and you will learn a lot of new information and get fresh meaningful knowledge.
  • Engage. The TESOL convention is a wonderful opportunity to meet teaching professionals from all over the world and learn from them in the environment of understanding and exchange of experience. It was amazing to look around and realize that everyone around me was my colleague, that I could come up to literally anyone and speak about teaching English, about the ups and downs of our profession, our joys and challenges. Everyone I talked to was extremely friendly and as excited as I was, and each had their unique story to share. Be sure to do lots of networking and exchange contact information to stay in touch and continue sharing your experience and practical resources after the convention.
  • Speak up. The convention brings together teachers of English from multiple countries, who are truly passionate about what they do and are ready to share this passion. The presenters always welcome comments and questions from the audience, and they are usually willing to stay after their presentation to exchange their contact information and answer any additional questions. I was delighted to find that the people who write the articles and textbooks I have read are extremely approachable and happy to talk.
  • Organize. The convention website and the TESOL app (available in February) have all the necessary information to help you prepare for the event in advance. Be sure to plan your time before you get to Chicago: Prioritize the sessions you most want to attend, but have other options available. Make a contingency plan in case you feel overwhelmed or want to explore more.
  • Log in. Here I do not only mean the convention app, which is definitely a wonderful tool to use before, during, and after the event. Log in to all your social media and discover the magic of hashtags and location sharing! Find the people, with whom you have had this most amazing conversation, in LinkedIn or Facebook; like and share pictures from the convention on Instagram; tweet about your TESOL discoveries. And definitely do not forget to take a selfie with your favorite presenter! Your experience may help other people, and of course it is simply excellent to be able to keep up with your colleagues’ successes and achievements.

Author Bio
Kira Kondratkova is a Fulbright student from Volgograd, Russia, currently studying at MA TESOL program at San Francisco State University. Graduating with a major in teaching Mandarin Chinese and English, Kira had taught at Russian language schools and as a private teacher for several years. Fulbright scholarship brought her to California, where she is continuing her education in the atmosphere of cultural diversity and unlimited opportunities for professional growth.

from TESOL Blog

ESP Project Leader Profile: Andrew Silberman

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

Can you believe that this is the 40th ESP project leader profile published on the TESOL Blog since May 2015? This profile features a recognized leader, ESP practitioner, and lead singer in a rock band in Tokyo, Japan.

Please read Andrew Silberman’s bio:

Andrew Silberman has been coaching high performance individuals and teams since 1989.  At AMT Group, which he co-founded in Tokyo in 1992, he leads a team of multinational facilitators and staff whose mission is “developing global thinkers.” His clients are managers and executives from leading firms throughout Asia (as well as occasionally in the U.S. and Europe).

Since 2010 he has been an adjunct professor of HR (Managing and Developing Human Capital) for the Temple University Japan Executive MBA program and since 2016 guest professor for Keio University’s business school’s Global Passport Program. His volunteer activities include leadership positions at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), where he was awarded Leader of the Year in both 2006 and 2009 and was elected governor in 2012–2014. He is also a board member of International Secondary School (ISS), a high school for kids who have difficulties adapting to the regular school system.

In his “spare” time, under the alias Andy Atkins, he is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Moonshots, a feel-good/roots rock band, playing for weddings, charity events, private parties and “live houses” in Tokyo.

Andrew holds an A.B. in the political economy of industrial societies from U.C. Berkeley (1984) and an MBA in international management from the Fisher School of Business at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies in Monterrey, CA (with distinction, 1988).

In his ESP success story, he focuses on a program that prepares employees for successful communication in teleconferences.

Andrew W. Silberman
President and Chief Enthusiast, AMT Group

Define leadership in your own words.

Leadership is “influence.”  Anyone can demonstrate leadership by the influence they wield over a group.

In my MBA HR class, Dr. Loren Moore wrote, “Leadership = f (L, F, S).” He explained that leadership is a function of the leader,  follower(s) and a situation.

And then there’s my little brother Blaze, who, at age 14 was told by my step-mom that he needed to “be more of a leader.”  “I am a leader,” he said. “I just don’t have any followers yet.”

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?


A challenge in Asia is global teleconferences.  The time differences often mean late nights calls, but that’s just an inconvenience. More difficult are the cultural barriers when faced with assertive and sometimes aggressive participants on the other side of the world.  Companies want to help their more reticent participants participate more effectively.


A large financial news gathering and reporting organization contracted AMT Group to implement “global teleconference impact” training for their Tokyo office.  The training takes a total of three hours and requires no preparation by participants.

The workshop opened with a fuel-tank analogy. We asked how much people like conference calls. In this case, like most, the average of all “tanks” was less than one-quarter full.  The purpose of the training, therefore, is to move the needle just a few notches up, so that everyone is at least more than half-way looking forward to their next call.

We then used a flip chart and asked, “What are the first impressions given by people who are on a call but who don’t speak up?” The answers included “not interested,” “not prepared,” “bored,” “shy,” “intimidated.” One said, “not even there,” and another, “doing something else.” One person said, “good listener.”

“Most of these are negative.  So why don’t we speak up more often? What are the barriers to speaking up?”  We listed possible reasons, some of which matched the impressions given above:  “not interested,” “not prepared.” Also “didn’t understand,” and one said, “didn’t want to interrupt.”

We then shared that all of those may be their reasons but that  “other people have excuses, I have my reasons.” And we went through this second list, one by one, checking to see if it’s worth creating the negative impression that silence gives. Instead of “not understanding, “ and giving the possible impression of “not interested,” how about  asking for clarification?  After all, no company is paying you to be “not prepared,” and this client was no exception.

What about that person who said the silent one was a “good listener”?  We asked, “When was the last time you heard someone complimented on how well they ‘listened’ on a teleconference?”  That brought laughter from the whole group.

We then introduced the analogy of a crew team (rowing) and shared that a teleconference has an objective, just like the rowers on a crew team, and that all call participants can help the call reach that objective efficiently.  We shared seven “conversational oars” that can get the job done, among them, breaking in with a compliment, asking questions, recapping, paraphrasing, and three more.

Finally, we ran through three simulated calls, and recorded them on a digital audio recorder, playing back for review. We encouraged participants to jump in whenever they wanted by stating a speaker’s name so the speaker would stop for a split second, and they experienced what it feels like to be acknowledged with a “great point” or an “I agree,” and how that differs being interrupted.


Participants and call leaders learned that just like successful crew teams, conference calls have no dead weight (silence).  The Tokyo office earned kudos from their New York counterparts on their next call, and some brought the list of seven oars to their next call.  Another client did the same, and he received a congratulatory email from his overseas boss on how well he participated on the call. We’ve now delivered the training across Asia and have licensed their in-house trainers to deliver it around the globe.


What I love most about this training is that people can put what they learned into practice immediately, and they can raise their profile inside the company.  And some great ideas that used to go unsaid are now openly and freely discussed.  For those who successfully completed the training, their tanks are now way more than half full.

After reading Andrew’s success story, I thought carefully about the “deliverables.” The training left his students with a set of communication strategies that they could take with them to their various sites of engagements to get the job done. I am currently working on a program in which such a set of communication strategies will be especially important takeaways, so Andrew’s profile is particularly relevant to my own work at this moment.

I was also inspired by Andrew’s accomplishments in a wide range of fields. The connection between them seems to be leadership and professional communication, which are the two themes that appear in the ESP project leader profiles. You can access all of the profiles on the TESOL Blog or, if you are a TESOL member, in the TESOL ESPIS Library.

Do you have any questions or comments for Andrew? Please feel free to contact him directly.

All the best,

from TESOL Blog