001_ahmar_mahboobAhmar 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.


Reimagining Language for Advancing the ELT Profession

Would you trust a doctor who believes in and practices bloodletting as a key medical treatment in today’s world? Or, would you wonder why a doctor in the 21st century is holding on to theories and practices that have long been shown to be wrong? If we question the use of antiquated theories and their application in sciences today, then, by extension, shouldn’t we also be challenging antiquated ways of thinking about language and their application in education (and other contexts)? In this presentation, we will consider some of the problems with drawing on antiquated, yet still pervasive, knowledge of language in educational contexts. In doing this, we will reimagine language in ways that are relevant to and beneficial for its application in educational contexts, with a specific focus on the ELT profession.

Ali Al-Issa has a Ph.D. in Education (TESOL) from University of Queensland in Australia and a Master of Arts in Education in TESOL from Institute of Education, University of London. He has extensive experience in different areas of TESOL and is currently an Associate Professor of TESOL at the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman. Dr. Al-Issa has presented and published widely about teaching English in Oman. He is a recipient of several local and international teaching and research awards and recognitions. Dr. Al-Issa is currently the most widely cited Omani TESOL researcher. His research interests include, but are not limited to, foreign/second language education policy and planning and teacher training and education.


Hiring Professionals to Do the Job: A Critical Account of the Selection Criteria of Becoming an English Language Teacher in a Gulf Country

Proficiency of English is one of the fundamental criteria determining teachers’ selection and effectiveness. The Omani Ministry of Education decided to set the score of Band 6 on the high-stakes gate-keeping International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for accepting the English language teaching (ELT) graduates of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) as full-time teachers, which has generated considerable debate and controversy amongst the different stakeholders involved in the Omani ELT system. Therefore, this qualitative content analysis research triangulates data from interviews and the pertinent literature about the different existing language proficiency measurement devices to determine the selection of SQU graduates to join the ELT force. The ideological discussion addresses the issue from a new and critical lens to help contribute to the prior research and support and expand the existing theories on the topic. The findings show that there is an ideological harmony and conflict amongst the different sources of data used in the study. The results have important implications for setting selection criteria of becoming an ELT teacher in the Sultanate of Oman and beyond.

Daniel Xerri is a lecturer in TESOL at the University of Malta, the Joint Coordinator of the IATEFL Research SIG, and the chairperson of the ELT Council within the Ministry for Education and Employment in Malta. He holds postgraduate degrees in English and Applied Linguistics, as well as a PhD in Education from the University of York. He has been awarded a number of international grants in order to conduct research in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the USA. He is the author of many publications on different areas of education and TESOL, including articles published in ELT Journal, English in Education, and International Journal of Research and Method in Education. His main research interests are creativity and teacher education. Further details about his talks and publications can be found at: www.danielxerri.com


It’s a Many Splendored Thing: Reconceptualising Teacher Creativity

In a number of contexts around the world, creativity seems to have moved to the forefront of language education. The need for learners to engage with language in creative ways is increasingly considered of paramount importance. Despite the emphasis placed on learner creativity, research indicates that this can only be maximised if there are sufficient opportunities for teacher creativity. The premise is that teachers who are capable of being creative and teaching creatively are best placed to foster learner creativity. This talk starts by examining the notion of creativity and its application to teachers. It does so through a brief consideration of the theoretical literature before proceeding to a discussion of the findings of a study focusing on the attitudes, beliefs and practices of an international sample of ELT practitioners. The study shows how there exist divergent conceptions of creativity amongst teachers, some of these conceptions seemingly barring them from positioning themselves as creative practitioners. The talk then proposes how teacher creativity may be reconceptualised to be more in synch with some of the needs of ELT practitioners and their learners.

David Palfreyman is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Zayed University, Dubai. He holds a PhD in Language Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury.  Before moving to Dubai he worked in ESOL teacher training and development in Turkey and in the UK, and taught EFL in Italy and Spain. His research interests include translingual literacy, vocabulary learning and the contributions of sociocultural context to university learning. He is the editor of “Learner Autonomy Across Cultures” (with Richard C. Smith), “Learning and Teaching Across Cultures in Higher Education” (with Dawn L. McBride) and “Academic Biliteracies” (with Christa van der Walt).


Autonomy together: group work and autonomous learning

Autonomous learning, lifelong learning or self-regulated learning is a goal for many teachers, materials writers and official policies. Learner autonomy encompasses various aspects of learning, including agency, freedom, learning skills and strategies, reflection, decision-making and motivation. All of these are found in individual learners, but develop in interaction with other people. This session looks at how the widely favoured notion of autonomous learning is related to the long-popular idea of collaboration between learners in pairs and groups. Research and practice in various areas of education/development (including professional development and primary, secondary and tertiary education in different disciplines) suggests that group work can help learning; but does it help make learners more autonomous? What kinds of groups or group work foster autonomy? Is learner autonomy good for the individual learner, or for the group as well?

Dudley Reynolds is the 2016-17 President of the TESOL International Association and a Teaching Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar where he teaches first-year writing. His research focuses on the development, assessment, and teaching of second language reading and writing. He is the author of One on One with Second Language Writers: A Guide for Writing Tutors, Teachers, and Consultants (University of Michigan Press, 2009) and Assessing Writing, Assessing Learning (University of Michigan Press, 2010) as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Over his career he has taught elementary, IEP, and MA TESOL students. He was the Lead-PI for a Qatar National Research Fund grant on “Improving Reading Skills in the Middle School Science Classroom” and is currently working on a second project: “Learning4Teaching-Qatar: Examining Qatari teachers’ experiences of professional development in English language teaching.”


Advancing as an ELT Professional

Imagine an EL classroom with no textbooks, no prepared curriculum, and no assessment instruments. What would you do? What could you do?

Since language is something that is often learned without formal instruction, too many people think of language teachers either as unnecessary or as practice coaches. In this plenary, we will step through a scenario of starting from scratch with a group of language learners. We will identify knowledge you might draw on and strategies you might use to plan assessment, design curriculum, and promote active learning in the classroom. Along the way, we will develop an argument for why having professional English language teachers matters. Because you are a professional, what do you know? How do you think and solve problems? How do you promote learning?

Helena Curtain, Ph. D. is an internationally known expert on second language teaching methodology, curriculum development, and bilingual immersion education. Her special interest is in teaching language to young learners. She is the co-author of Languages and Children: Making the Match, now in its fifth edition– a book used in universities throughout the USA for preparing language teachers to work in grades K-8. Dr. Curtain directed the English as a Second Language and World Language teacher preparation programs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for ten years. Previously she coordinated the foreign language and ESL programs grades K-12 in the Milwaukee Public Schools, and taught at the elementary, middle school and high school levels. In the Milwaukee Public Schools she started three full immersion programs in German, Spanish and French and was one of the pioneers of the immersion movement in the United States. In 2012 she received the Two-Way Immersion CABE Research on Bilingualism Award, and in 2013 the Founders Award from the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She is an internationally known expert on second language teaching methodology, curriculum development, bilingual education, immersion programs and two-way immersion programs, especially at the elementary school level. She has broad experience working with schools and school districts, teaching and conducting workshops throughout the United States and internationally in thirty-four countries.


Head, Heart, and Hands: The Important Mission of English Teachers 

This session will examine the important mission of teachers of English as they work to provide learning experiences that encompass “head,” “heart,” and “hands.”  We will examine the idea that “The best teachers teach from the heart and not from the book.” and will also consider the corollary that in doing so, teachers must also touch students’ hearts. This session will focus on teaching both from the language perspective and from the humanistic perspective in the balance of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. The talk will also present the need to promote teachers’ ability to nurture themselves as they work to inform minds, move hearts and direct hands.

Jihad M. Hamdan is a professor of Linguistics at the University of Jordan. He obtained his PhD from the University of Reading, UK in 1994. He has published extensively in the areas of language acquisition, lexicography, contrastive studies and translation. Many of his papers appeared in international journals such as World Englishes, Babel, International Journal of Arabic-English Studies and International Journal of Lexicography. Moreover, he has co-authored a series of English Language Textbooks for Arab learners, titled Better English Now, covering Grades 1-10. He is also a professional interpreter and has translated a number of books from English into Arabic and vice versa. Professor Hamdan has over thirty years of experience in teaching at Higher Education Institutions, 22 of which are at the University of Jordan. During this period, he has taught different courses at both the undergraduate (BA) and the graduate (MA & PhD) levels. In addition, Professor Hamdan served as Chief of the Education Programme at UNRWA, Jordan. The Programme runs 172 schools which offer basic education to 120,000 students taught by 4000 teachers.

Address: Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, University of Jordan, Amman 11942. Jordan

Mob. No. + 962799724218

Email: jihaddan@yahoo.com


Effective Communication though Defective: Errors in the EFL Classroom

Foreign language instruction aims, among other things, at enabling the learners to communicate effectively using the target language. Effective communication, however, does not necessarily mean a complete absence of errors. Errors are a natural product of the learning process, particularly at early and intermediate stages. The focus of this presentation is communicative competence in foreign language. Its main argument is that learners’ errors are not equally grave. While some of them may lead to a total breakdown of Communication, others are too marginal to negatively impact the communicative act. Further, some errors which occur during the lesson may not directly link to its objectives. How can teachers interact with all types of errors? Ideas and professional experience will be shared in the session.

Jonathan Newton is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the B.Ed.(TESOL) Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has worked in language teaching and teacher education for more than 25 years in New Zealand, Malaysia and China. His research spans five areas of classroom language teaching and learning: teaching L2 listening and speaking, L2 vocabulary learning, task-based language teaching (TBLT), intercultural language teaching and learning (ICLT), and communication training for the multicultural workplace. He has published more than 50 book chapters and articles in leading applied linguistics journals and has co-authored two books, one with Paul Nation, Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking (2009), and a second with Nicky Riddiford, Workplace Talk in Action: An ESOL Resource (2010). He is currently working on a co-authored book, Teaching English Language Learners in Colleges and Universities: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, due for publication in early 2017.


Putting the ‘teaching’ back into task-based language teaching (TBLT)

Given the important role teachers play in implementing classroom tasks, it is surprising that until relatively recently it was rare for task research to even mention the teacher! This is even more surprising when we note how prominent “teaching” is in the acronym ‘TBLT’.

Fortunately, the teacher is now a visible and indeed prominent feature of and actor in much current TBLT research (e.g., East, 2012; Edwards & Willis, 2005; Newton, 2016; Shehadeh & Coombe, 2012; Van der Braden, 2006). In this talk I will discuss key themes emerging from teacher-focused TBLT research, research which, among other things, explores alignments and misalignments between teacher cognition (i.e., what teachers believe, perceive and understand) and the practices teachers adopt when teaching with tasks (e.g., Erlam, 2016). I will illustrate these themes with findings from a number of classroom research studies I’m involved in which investigate how teachers in various countries are making sense of task-based teaching. I discuss key challenges these teachers face when teaching through tasks and the innovative practices they have adopted to address these challenges. Finally, and drawing on this research, I discuss how collaboration between teachers and researchers can be used to inform the practice-theory nexus which lies at the heart of this talk.

Kathleen Graves is Associate Professor of Education Practice at the University of Michigan. She started her career as an English teacher in Taiwan and later taught in the US, Japan and Brazil.  She has worked on curriculum renewal and language teacher education in the US, Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Japan, and Korea.  Her research focuses on the role of classroom practice in curriculum renewal and supporting teachers’ professional development as the key to successful educational reform.  She is the editor/author of three books on curriculum design, series editor of the TESOL Language Curriculum Development series and co-editor of International Perspectives on Materials in ELT.  She has also co-authored two coursebook series for English language learners.


Kathy O’Sullivan is the Director of the Center for Language Education at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, China. She is the first non-Chinese national to hold such a management position in a mainland Chinese university. She is also a special advisor to the UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation in Shenzhen (ICHEI-SHENZHEN), China, which focuses on the development of innovation and ICT in higher education in countries in the Asian and African regions. Her scholarly interests range widely, from language policy planning & professional development of faculty and students to educational leadership, sociolinguistics and how the increasing globalization of education is affecting the macro, meso and micro contexts.

Kathy has an extensive professional background in K-12 and higher education within an international context, having held positions both as a faculty member (chair, assistant professor, coordinator) and educational leader (consultant, deputy project director, executive principal, curriculum director, registrar, executive director of student affairs), in China, the UAE, Oman, UK, Egypt, Japan and Ireland. Her research on mentoring, sustainability in education, second language acquisition and leadership has been presented at conferences at MIT, Harvard, Cornell and Berkeley, amongst other universities. An award-winning academic and children’s fiction author, her leadership skills were most recently recognized with a ‘Women in Language Education Award’ in 2016 by the Venus International Forum.

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.


Onwards and upwards in your profession: so what’s stopping you?

Teacher leadership is seen by many as a catch-all phrase, an umbrella term that constitutes a myriad of roles and titles: coordinator, lead teacher, department chair and division head, to name just a few. It is something that is not clearly defined, which makes it intriguing to some, who see they can potentially fit into any situation, yet is seen as a cause for concern by others, who see people trying to create positions for themselves without any firm basis. Many teachers wonder why they do not seem to be recognized for what they do, others wonder why their careers seem to have stalled and others still have no idea what is required after a Masters or a PhD for career advancement. The truth as to what stops teachers moving forward in their career is in essence a simple, though perhaps unpalatable truth to some. The only person standing in your way is you. You. Not someone else. This session, drawing upon empirical research, explores the reasons that prevent people from moving ahead with their careers, offering practical tips and advice about making the transition from teaching to teacher leadership, and from there to administration and management. Though it deals specifically with a Middle Eastern context, the issues that arise are transferable to any international context.

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 have 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. Countries in which Liz has lived and completed long-term projects (a year or more): Egypt, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Countries where she has done short-term consultancies (in some cases, more than one):  Afghanistan, Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Venezuela and Vietnam.


ELT Career Path Development for the 21st Century

In all stages of our professional lives, we need to change and grow – skills, habits and knowledge. This presentation offers insights and effective strategies for enhancing our whole selves in TESOL. Drawing on her career and professional development experience in TESOL and on principles of effective professional development, the presenter provides guidelines and examples for educators in their quest to walk career paths that are both successful and satisfying.

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 have 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. Countries in which Liz has lived and completed long-term projects (a year or more): Egypt, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Countries where she has done short-term consultancies (in some cases, more than one):  Afghanistan, Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Venezuela and Vietnam.

Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D., is Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami, Florida. Her research focuses on issues related to teaching English language learners (ELLs) at the K-12 level, including the role of language in learning the content areas and teacher education, advocacy and social justice. Her latest books include Focus on Grammar and Meaning (Oxford University Press, 2015; co-authored with M. Schleppegrell), Preparing Teachers to Work with English Language Learners in Mainstream Classrooms (TESOL Press and Information Age Publishing, 2015; co-edited with M. Yough), Preparing School Counselors for English Language Learners (TESOL Press, 2016; co-authored with C. Wachter-Morris), Second Language Writing in Elementary Classrooms: Instructional Issues, Content-Area Writing, and Teacher Education (Palgrave Macmillan, in press; co-edited with T. Silva), and L2 Writing in Secondary Classrooms: Academic Issues, Student Experiences, and Teacher Education (Routledge, 2013; co-edited with T. Silva). Prior to coming to UM, Dr. de Oliveira served on the faculty of Purdue University and Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. de Oliveira has over 20 years of teaching experience in the field of TESOL and was an elected board member for the TESOL International Association (2013-2016).


Teaching Writing across Elementary, Secondary and University Levels

This presentation describes a genre-based approach to writing instruction and provides specific strategies to incorporate writing in lessons. The presenter provides a model of writing instruction and describes a teaching/learning cycle with specific strategies and tips for teachers to address the writing demands for elementary, secondary and university students.

Dr. Myriam Met is an independent consultant who works K-12 with language programs and teacher professional development. She was Acting Director of the NFLC and a senior research associate prior to her retirement. Mimi was also a supervisor of foreign language instruction for major urban and suburban school districts for over 25 years. In that capacity, and as a consultant to educational agencies, she planned, implemented, and evaluated language programs K-12 including elementary and secondary programs.


Content and Language Integrated Learning: A Continuum

The umbrella term ‘CLIL’ (Content and Language Integrated Learning), includes a range of programs that fall on a continuum with their position determined by the relative roles played by content and language. The continuum can suggest key decision points for program planners and implementers, help inform approaches to student assessment, and define roles for teachers and the kinds of teaching skills needed. While all of the programs, models, and approaches that integrate language and content share a common phenomenon – students engage in some way with content while using a non-native language – the instructional experiences and outcomes for students may differ. A range of programs and approaches may be positioned on a continuum that, at each extreme, may be primarily content-driven or language-driven. In content-driven programs, student learning of content is of greater importance than language learning. Content outcomes are a driving force of instruction, and student mastery of content is held to be of paramount importance. In language-driven programs, content is a useful tool for furthering the aims of the language curriculum. Content learning may be considered incidental, and neither teachers nor students are held accountable for content outcomes. Examples of programs that lie across the continuum can be found at all levels of education. The relative primacy of language or content (or their equal importance) has significant implications for the outcomes students are likely to achieve, the skill set required for effective program delivery by teachers, for determining which earning outcomes are assessed and how.

Marjorie Rosenberg teaches at the University of Graz, in companies, trains teachers and writes materials. Marjorie has written extensively in the field of business English for (Cambridge University Press, Cengage, Macmillan), is the author of ‘Spotlight on learning styles’ (Delta Publishing) and has co-authored textbooks for the Austrian school market. Her book is called ‘Creating Activities for Different Learner Types’ has just been published by Wayzgoose Press as an ebook or print-on-demand. Marjorie is currently the IATEFL president.


Making lessons memorable

There are a variety of ways in which you can make your lessons memorable in order to help your learners take valuable information with them when they leave your classroom. In this plenary we will look at a number of ideas and practical examples which you can use to liven up your lessons, make them fun, relevant, engaging, and creative so that both you and your learners feel you have gotten the most out of the face-to-face time you can spend together. You will have the chance to think about different ways to engage your learners and liven up your classroom making lessons enjoyable for all.

Thomas S.C. Farrell is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Brock University, Canada. Professor Farrell’s professional interests include Reflective Practice, and Language Teacher Education & Development. Professor Farrell has published widely in academic journals and has presented at major conferences worldwide on these topics. His latest books are Promoting teacher reflection in language education: a framework for TESOL professionals (Routledge, 2015), From Trainee to Teacher: Reflective Practice For Novice Teachers (Equinox, 2016). His webpage is: www.reflectiveinquiry.ca


Advancing the ELT Profession Through Reflective Practice

The teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) profession has come a long way in the past 50 years but with this development teachers are faced with an increasing and sometime bewildering choice of teaching approaches and methods that makes us wonder if we really have advanced much in all these years. In this plenary I outline how language teachers can use a ‘framework for reflecting on practice’ so that the teacher becomes the method rather than the method becoming the teacher. The framework has five stages that teachers can use to reflect on their practice and suggests that our teaching experience is not enough, for we do not learn much from experience as much as we learn from reflecting on that experience; thus experience combined with reflections can lead to growth and this is how we become more effective language teachers. Thus by engaging in reflective practice language teachers can develop resourcefulness and resilience required to face future challenges and changes so we can advance our profession even further.

Yilin Sun, Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics/Curriculum & Instruction, OISE/University of Toronto, Canada. President of TESOL International Association (2014-2015). Chair of the Affiliate Leadership Council of TESOL (2007) and President of WAESOL (2003, 2007). Fulbright Senior Scholar (2011-12). English Language Specialist for the U.S. Department of State since 2009. Yilin teaches at South Seattle College in Seattle, USA, who has over 28 years of experience in the field of TESOL as a MA-TESL teacher trainer, a researcher, a classroom teacher, and a program leader with a variety of higher educational institutions in China, Canada and U.S.A.  Yilin is the author and co-author of books, book chapters and research papers in refereed professional journals. She has presented frequently at national and international conferences as keynote and featured speakers. Her research interests include curriculum development, program assessment and evaluation, Critical thinking and L2 reading, vocabulary learning, classroom-based action research, teacher education, World Englishes, ESP and non-native English speaking teachers (NNEST) in the ELT field.


Co-constructing English Teaching and Learning through Glocalization

The 21st century ELT field is diverse, complicated, multifaceted and ‘glocal’. What can ELT educators do to advance the profession? How can ELT educators best utilize opportunities for ourselves to stay current in the glocalized ELT field? What can ELT professionals do to maximize learning potentials for our learners? This invited session will focus on issues and strategies to empower ELT educators and learners in the process of co-constructing English teaching and learning in the 21st Century. The speaker will also discuss the roles and the responsibilities of ELT professionals in our changing global TESOL field.

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