The Art and Passion of Language Teaching-CATESOL 2011

The Hyatt Hotel and Convention Center in Long Beach photo by: Sarah Hoch

April 7-9 was this year’s annual CATESOL conference, held at the Long Beach Convention Center. The theme of the weekend was The Art and Passion of Language Teaching and hundreds of language teachers from California and Nevada attended. Among them, a few MIIS faculty members like Kathi Bailey, Patricia Szasz, Kelly Calvert and ESL teacher Yulia Nikolskaya gave presentations throughout the weekend. 4th semester Tetsuko Fukawa also gave a presentation at the conference, and several TESOL grad students attended the conference.

MIIS grad students Sarah Colburn and Sarah Hoch at the Conference

Patricia Szasz, Kathi Bailey and Yulia Nikolskaya gave a presenation called, “Getting Past Perceptions: Strengths of Non-Native-Speaking Teachers of English”. This panel presentation examined the situation of nonnative-speaking teachers (NNSTs) of English from the perspective of an administrator, a teacher educator, and an ESL/EFL teacher. The panelists commented on the rewards and challenges of (1) employing, (2) educating, and (3) being non-native teachers of English.

Patricia also led an Intensive English Programs Level Rap. This presentation discussed how an important element of any Intensive English Program is supporting students in getting out and experiencing life outside the classroom. The presenation asked participants, how does your program support students who are interested in meeting “real Americans?” Topics included service learning opportunities, conversation exchange and mentoring programs, student involvement in campus clubs, and more.

Patricia also led an Intensvie English Program Level Workshop called, “Addressing the Diverse Needs of Second Language Writers”. Her panelists were Kelly Calvert, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Mark Roberge, San Francisco State University and Margi Wald, University of California, Berkeley. This workshop discussed how diversity in the Intensive English Program population is continuing to grow. How do we support such a varied student body in achieving their academic goals, especially in teaching them how to write for the U.S. college and university audience? How can we as IEP teachers address the various needs of our students? The panel addressed such issues as improving sentence level accuracy, the fundamentals of comparative rhetoric, and the challenge of plagiarism.

Original image from New York Times, Jim Wilson. Spoofed image from:

This picture was shown during the panel discussion about the use of writing and technology in the second language classroom.

The weekend was a success in many ways, and ideas about environmental literacy, leadership, language idioms, educational policy and how to be an effective teacher with very little resources have been brought back by students to add to the already enriching language education classes here at MIIS.

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