International Convention & English Language Expo
Derek Braun, TESOL/OFLA Liaison
Columbus City Schools, EL Science Teacher
Like so many parts of our lives now, the International TESOL Conference that took place in March of 2021 was of course, virtual. Beginning on Tuesday, March 2021 and occurring over a four day period, the conference offered hundreds of presentations, workshops and networking opportunities. More than 8000 plus English language professionals gathered virtually to share experiences and expertise in the field of English language instruction. Clint Smith, one of the keynote speakers and staff writer at The Atlantic, discussed the power a teacher can have on creating a transformative classroom in which students can have conversations to deconstruct and reconstruct ideas to build something better. On Thursday, James Alatis presented on the topic of Courageous Conversation™: Building Bridges, Not Borders. In this presentation, James presented his work engaging with a protocol and framework entitled Courageous Conversation™ in which he develops methods for individuals to achieve sustained and deepened dialogue. Also on Thursday, Cindy Mi, founder and CEO of VIPkid, which connects English Learners in China to online teachers for virtual lessons, discussed the current and future implications of the new global classroom experienced through online learning. Friday began with a Keynote address from Dr. Janet Zadina, author and neuroscientist, who presented on the science and strategies for optimal learning. Finally, the conference concluded with remarks from the Presidential Keynote, Dr. Deborah Short, in which she recounted many stories of resilience and reinvention from teachers in the field of English language instruction.