What's NEW@TACON 2017

 TACON 2017 Publications Forum  

Friday, March 10th, 2017 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM Salon 1

Moderated by Wafa Zoghbor

Wafa Zoghbor is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English Language and Writing Studies at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. She is currently the Assistant Dean for Research at the University College, ZU, and the Publications Coordinator of TESOL Arabia.

Session 1: Disambiguating the journal publication process: Tips for authors

001-whatsnew-ahmarThe goal of this session is to empower participants to increase their chances of successfully publishing their research in esteemed journals. Participants will leave the workshop with tips, ideas and insights about how to prepare their manuscripts for submission to key journals in their field so as to increase their chances of being reviewed and published.

Ahmar Mahboob teaches linguistics at the University of Sydney, Australia. Ahmar has a keen interest in critical language variation. His research focuses on different facets of how language variation relates to a range of educational, social, professional, and political issues. Ahmar has published two co-authored books, eight (co-)edited books, six special issues of journals, 30 journal articles, and over 40 book chapters and other articles. In addition to research, Ahmar also established and runs an annual conference, Free Linguistics Conference. He is also the current Co-Editor of TESOL Quarterly.

Session 2: Self-publishing: A realistic alternative or an expensive hobby?

001-whatsnew-richardIncreasing corporatisation of mainstream publishing has meant fewer opportunities for authors following the traditional route. However, changing technology has also meant a huge rise in self-publishing as authors, frustrated by the slow processes of traditional publishing, relish the empowerment that self-publishing provides. Total control over content and design seem like an attractive alternative!

In this open session, Richard Harrison outlines his own experience of self-publishing over the last three years pointing out the pitfalls as well as the pluses. Contributions from others with experience of print and non-printing publishing are welcome.

Richard Harrison is an ELT author, publisher and teacher-trainer based in Muscat. He has worked in many countries in the region, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. In Oman he was the Head of the Foundation Programme at GUtech until 2013 when he retired to focus on writing and setting up his company, Canford Publishing.

Session 3: Leadership in Publishing Research

Today, publishing research is hitting virtually all universities and colleges around the world. However, high quality publishing continues to be a real challenge for many researchers and practitioners, in particular novice researchers and research students. Using his vast and extensive experience as a published author, reviewer and editor, the presenter will demonstrate with real examples in this interactive presentation ways of providing an instructive and practical leadership in publishing research. These include: (1) Providing leadership in the workplace in the form of mentoring junior faculty and research students. (2) Providing leadership in the form of informal reviewing and providing feedback to junior faculty and research students’ work. (3) Providing leadership in the form of co-authoring with junior faculty and research students. (4) Providing leadership in the form of presenting and co-presenting with junior faculty and research students specific case studies of successful (or unsuccessful) publishing cases in local, regional and international conferences. (5) Providing leadership by journal editors, members of the editorial boards, and reviewers in the form of providing detailed and informative feedback to authors on their submitted work with respect to what needs to be done, and how it must be done. (6) Finally, providing leadership by journal editorial teams in the form of creating a mentoring scheme as part of the reviewing process.

Ali Shehadeh is Professor at UAE University. He published in top-tier journals like Language Learning, TESOL Quarterly, and System, and with international publishers like Cambridge UP, TESOL, John Benjamin’s.

  TACON 2017 Career Readiness Forum  

Thursday, March 9th, 2017 3 PM – 5 PM Samaya D

Moderated by Christine Coombe

Dr Christine Coombe is a faculty member at Dubai Men’s College.  She served as President of the TESOL International Association from 2011 to 2012 and is the current co-chair of TESOL Arabia 2017.

Session 1:   Job Searching and Job Getting in TESOL

Liz England

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM Samaya D

How to search for a job and how to get one:  This interactive session on employment in TESOL emphasizes and exposes our individual efforts to create dynamic, satisfying careers in TESOL.  The presenter will lead participants through a process designed to increase self-awareness and self-promotion skills in today’s job market.  Please bring your CV and a job description of your choice (I will have some samples too).  Join us for a chance to move forward on your TESOL career path.

With an academic career that began in the Middle East and now anchored in the United States, Liz England enjoys leading projects focused on language program design, implementation and evaluation for universities, ministries, and private and government agencies.  She has led presentations and workshops at TESOL Arabia in the past and has traveled extensively on both short- and long-term assignments in over 30 countries worldwide.  Objectives include project impact assessment, program development, teacher education, language and cross-cultural communication training and sustainable capacity building.  Liz seeks new opportunities and enthusiastically anticipates a new chapter following completion of ten years at Shenandoah University in 2016.  Her publications (books, journal articles and chapters) span a variety of topics in professional development for English language teachers in the Arabic-speaking world and worldwide.

Session 2:   A Practical Hands-on Guide to Interviewing Effectively

Phil Quirke

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Samaya D

The key to effective interviews is ensuring you understand the position and institute you are applying for and demonstrating your fit, motivation and energy for that position. Remember most interviewers today have been trained in behavioural interviewing techniques which means they believe that PAST EXPERIENCE is the best indicator of FUTURE PERFORMANCE, so ensure you have clear examples ready for the attributes of the position stated in the job description. In this interactive workshop style session, participants will be asked to prepare themselves for an interview for a specific job and then tackle how they would answer the questions that the presenter / interviewer asks before reflecting on the group’s performance.

Dr Phil Quirke is currently Executive Dean of General Studies and Education, Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, and he was also the founding Director of the Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Higher Colleges of Technology in the Western Region in 2006. He has been in ELT Leadership positions for over twenty years and has published on areas as diverse as face, action research, appraisal and journaling.  His book, An Exploration of Teacher Knowledge is widely available, and his publication on Reflective Writing with Jill Burton, Joy Peyton and Carla Reichmann is available online at http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/books/. Over the last ten years Dr Quirke has developed an educational leadership philosophy, DREAM Management, that places students and staff at the core of the institution and he has published widely on this approach, including his latest book on Managing the Language Classroom.

Session 3: What They Don’t Teach You About Career Advancement: Intercultural Communication

Kathy O’Sullivan

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM Samaya D

Today, more than ever before, intercultural communication characterizes education in the Gulf. The teaching faculties of most education institutions in the Gulf comprise a vast number of different nationalities. This provides numerous opportunities for meaningful intercultural communication. Similarly, it also presents a number of challenges, as creating positive communication and relationships with a number of different cultures is by no means an easy task. Misunderstandings, misconceptions and miscommunications abound, which makes leading complex organizations an uncertain endeavor that is potentially fraught with conflict. Anyone who has spent any length of time in an intercultural environment will have, unwittingly or otherwise, made fundamental errors in intercultural communication. Drawing upon research in the field, this session explores the centrality of intercultural communication in career advancement, and offers a balanced view as to how communication between and across cultures can be fostered in education environments.

With a Bachelor and Master’s degree in European Studies from University of Limerick (Ireland) and University of Surrey (UK), respectively, in addition to a Master’s degree in English Language Teaching from the University of Manchester (UK) and a Ph.D. degree in Applied Linguistics from Portsmouth University (UK), Kathy’s varied career has taken her in many directions, to many different places, and yet her passion will always be languages, specifically ELT. Kathy O’Sullivan is the Director of the Center for Language Education at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, China.

 TACON 2017 Reading & Research Symposium  

Friday, March 10 from 10:15 am to 1:00 pm Sahab 1

The TESOL Arabia READ/WRITE SIG and the RESEARCH SIG will be holding a special symposium on “Research in Reading in the Arab World” in celebration of the UAE’s Year of Reading and new UAE National Reading Law. Invited speakers accepted from the TESOL Arabia Conference Proposals will have their TACON Early Bird Registration fee paid by the MENA Extensive Reading Foundation, who are co-sponsors of the event. If you feel that your TACON Conference Proposal addresses the theme of “Research in Reading in the Arab World,” please contact the READ/WRITE SIG Chair Bridie Farah and RESEARCH SIG Chair Sahbi Hidri with a copy of your bio and abstract and TACON Proposal Acceptance email. The symposium organizers will award 5 to 6 speakers with a conference fee waiver. The symposium will end with a panel discussion on future directions and best practices in Reading in the Arab World.

Session 1: Holi Ali

Title: Lecture Comprehension Difficulties in English-Medium Programmes

Session 2: Paul Goldberg

Title: The Case for No Choice in ER

Session 3: Marie Claude Toriida

Title: So You Want Your Students to Read?

Session 4: Niamh Dunne

Title: Reading Strategies for Young EFL Learners

Session 5: Helene Demirci and Melanie Gobert

Title: Reading Motivation Theory in Practice

  TACON 2017 Ambassador Program  

The TESOL Arabia Conference Organizing Committee is looking for teachers of English to serve as Conference Ambassadors for the 2017 Conference. Ambassadors’ primary role is to provide a better overall conference experience for all delegates. As an Ambassador we would like you to do the following:

  • talk to attendees at the conference and make note of aspects they like and new ideas to improve the conference
  • take pictures and videos that document the highlights of the Conference
  • use your social media accounts to update others about the event
  • write a report on your conference experience for Perspectives magazine.
  • help delegates download and use the Conference Mobile App so they make the most of their Conference experience
  • be accessible, in person or by phone, to appropriately respond to questions about the Conference
  • follow all procedures and be held accountable to the expectations outlined by Conference Co-chairs
  • encourage delegates to fill in the Conference evaluation form

Conference Ambassadors should represent diverse backgrounds and experiences, and demonstrate excellent leadership, communication and problem solving skills. They must possess advanced skills in using information technology.

In exchange for your service, we will provide you with a free conference registration for TESOL Arabia 2017. Your name and photograph will appear in the Conference Book.

If you are interested in this opportunity to volunteer for the Conference, please submit your application to become a TESOL Arabia 2017 Conference Ambassador below.

Please provide a 150 to 200 word testimonial on what attendance to TESOL Arabia means to you and why you would like to serve as an Ambassador.

A mandatory Ambassador orientation will take place on the Wednesday before Conference. The orientation will provide you with valuable information about the Conference, and is a great opportunity to meet and network with Conference organizers. You must attend the orientation in order to be an ambassador for TESOL Arabia 2017 Conference.

Once selected, Ambassadors will be able to communicate with Conference Co-chairs to better familiarize themselves with the expectations of the assignment.

By completing the form below, you are indicating interest in participating in the TESOL Arabia 2017 Conference Ambassador Program.

CLOSED! The last day for submitting applications was 20 DEC 2016. We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

New TACON 2017 Sessions:

FREE for all conference registrants

  •  TACON Publications Forum:  Join a forum of distinguished speakers and experts to get a deeper insight into the opportunities provided for you by TESOL Arabia to get published.


  •  TACON Reading & Research Symposium (with the Extensive Reading Foundation): Jointly organized by the TESOL Arabia Read & Write Special Interest Group (SIG), The Research SIG and the Extensive Reading Foundation, the symposium offers researchers the opportunity to share their findings and compete for a prize. Selected applicants will win a free conference registration.


TACON 2017 Updates:

  • Conference Ambassadors:  Apply now to join a vibrant and enthusiastic team of Conference Ambassadors charged with building excitement and support for the Conference by motivating and inspiring participants around the world.


  • Partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education:  TESOL Arabia is very keep on providing service to the local teaching community. Negotiations is currently underway to offer subsidized Professional Development Courses to as many as 300 MoE teachers during the 3 days of the Conference.


  •  NEW  Conference Venue:  The Ritz Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre. This downtown five-star Dubai hotel is conveniently located to offer us a unique conference experience with state-of-the-art facilities. Valet parking and Internet access are provided for all delegates on a complimentary basis..


  • On the lighter side of TACON 2017, enjoy complimentary food and drinks; ice-cream bonanzas, quizzes and gifts, daily raffles, and much, much more… 🙂

TACON 2017 Sponsorship Information

Sponsorship Packages

Past Conferences

Teach more. Learn more. Be here. Be there. Now.

TESOL Arabia | EFL/ESL Professional Development Network