Thailand TESOL 2012 Conference: Shaping the Classroom of the Future

photo_tt We landed in Thailand – the land, which had been tantalizing me for many years and was promising me something new now. I was going to Thailand TESOL’s 32nd Annual International Conference (January 27-28, 2012) in Bangkok. I was “dwelling in possibilities”, as my beloved Emily Dickinson wrote.

In spite of the floods in Bangkok last year that had a devastating impact on many of their schools, teachers, and students, the committee succeeded in overcoming myriad difficulties and organized everything perfectly.

The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel where we stayed all those days was located not far away from the centre of the town. The most pleasant thing about it was that the conference was held right there, in a multi-storey building that provided all we needed: meeting space and excellent technology to work fruitfully; swimming pools, delicious food, and a beautiful park nearby to get pleasure from.

The conference “Teacher Collaboration: Shaping the Classroom of the Future” gathered about 600 guests from Malaysia, Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and from different parts of Thailand. Thai TESOL has six affiliates located in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Rio-et, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Naradhiwas and Kanchanaburu. All of them together have been doing a great job. This not very prosperous country knows that the best investment is investment into education. And they do everything possible to provide a brilliant future for their children and for the whole nation.

I was honored to represent FEELTA, so, the aim of my being at the conference was to take part in the PAC Business meeting, announce the theme and the date of our upcoming conference in Vladivostok, persuade colleagues to join us in November, and to present my paper “Climbing the Irregular Verbs Mountain”.

As the conference is annual, there were not many plenary speakers. Christine Coombe, TESOL president, opened the conference with the paper “Best Practice in ELT: 10 Traits of a Highly Effective Teacher”. She explored the ten characteristics for success in the classroom and in educational institutions. By the way, her Top Three are:

  1. A Calling for the Profession.
  2. Professional Knowledge.
  3. Personal Qualities.

The second plenary speaker was the world renowned Jeremy Harmer, a teacher trainer, a writer, and a brilliant performer. He tried to persuade us that multi-tasking is a myth. He is sure that in order to get a good, teachers should avoid the “too much information” syndrome and focus students’ attention on the things that matter. He also gave a workshop on using poetry and music in language teaching.

Another speaker I would like to mention is Rose Senior, a senior honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia. Her report “Community-building: the Key to Effective Classroom Teaching and Continuing Professional Development” provoked a great interest from the audience. (For those who might be interested in hearing/seeing her speaking in a podcast in the Applied Linguistics zone of the Cambridge University Press website:¤tSubjectID=2325595)

Besides some plenary speeches, there were eleven featured sessions and plenty of interesting presentations at the conference. My teaching experience was enriched with many appealing ideas worth thinking over and using in my practice. When I was listening to the talks I thought that the topics for our discussions would never run out. Now, looking back, I think all of us are not “shaping the classroom of the future”, but touching the future. As Christa McAuliffe, an American teacher, said, “I touch the future, I teach”.

Tatyana Anikeeva
FEELTA member

AYF: A Way to Unite the World

photo_ayf Even though tastes differ, not everyone is ready to deal with it. The more marked the difference is, the harder it is to accept it. Difference itself may become a formidable challenge when it comes to communication between nations, and even peace becomes uneasy since nations often fail to find something in common.

Fortunately, recognizing this, the current generation is moving step by step towards mutual understanding of nations, and the ways elaborated for that are sometimes tremendously creative. For instance, Asian youth are blessed to have an opportunity to gather together once a year to learn about each other’s cultures, using English as a tool for that, to build bonds of friendship and to smooth over contradictions if there are some at a very special event for aspiring young people aged 18-25. And Russia never fails to turn up. In 2011 Marina Rashchepkina, a junior in the School of Regional and International Studies at the Far Eastern Federal University, took part in the 9thAsian Youth Forum “Embracing One Humanity”, which was held in Taipei, Taiwan on November 8–16.

The Asian Youth Forum (AYF) is a network organization for college-aged students and young people founded in 1999 by Professor Kip Cates of Tottori University (Japan) with the help of language educators and academic professionals who are an active part of the Pan Asian Consortium (PAC) and members of English language teaching associations in Asia. The idea of AYF is to bring together college and university students and young people from all over Asia at an international convention to meet with other young people and educators. AYF provides them with a venue where they can share their ideas, views and knowledge on culture, language, leadership and social and global issues, as well as learn from each other.

This year high on the AYF agenda were various global issues (war and peace, social security, human rights, sustainable development), language learning, intercultural communication, and leadership. Moreover, young diplomats had two extensive tasks to prepare beforehand. The first one was a 30-minute presentation about their home country, embracing geography, history, politics, cultural and social issues. The second task was a cultural performance which reflected the peculiarities of the participant’s native country.

77 representatives from 12 countries joined the AYF meeting in Taipei, though Marina was the only Russian delegate there. It was a great challenge for her to represent Russia by herself, since it is always easier and better to prepare with a team. However, she was excited to present Russian cultural traditions. She also participated in the PAC Conference on Language Teaching and spoke about the challenges of English language learning in the Russian Federation. Since AYF is held within the PAC framework, it has the purpose of bringing together the maturity of talented teachers and the bright outlook of promising young people from all over Asia.

Besides making lots of friends and contacts, Marina was honored to be elected Vice-President of the next (the 10th) AYF in Vladivostok. With her colleagues from Taiwan and Indonesia and with the greatest assistance of FEELTA (the Far-Eastern English Language Teachers’ Association) she will strive to do her best for the success of this Forum in Russia.

Marina Rashchepkina
FEFU student

Страница 3 из 3123