Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Haptic Highlights at TESOL 2015 - 3 (Hand to hand combat!)

Random notes from TESOL 2015 
  • Hot topic: Identity
  • Hot topic: Teacher cognition
  • Waning topic: Action research (being replaced by more “empirical” quantitative studies before long that teachers don’t have time to do) 
  • Applied linguists were polled (at AAAL) and found to be not too concerned about application of their research to teaching or whatever
  • Shrinking number of exhibits and sellers of books, souvenirs and ethnic stuff – Some of that, of course, has to do with online shopping; some with bringing goods into Canada from US, etc. 
  • Twitter impact – The number of people not walking around with an iPhone- like device was negligible . . . 
  • Weather was generally windchill -5 to -15c but there was a tunnel that we discovered last day back to the hotel, 30 minutes away. 
  • 8 a.m. Plenary, in massive room, plus streaming – Unintended consequence: people were watching it from their hotel rooms and Starbucks
  • Small rooms for popular talks – Could not get in to 5 or 6 of them.
  • (Really) Cheap bags with no goodies in them – serious issue!
  • Expensive taxi from the airport ($60) or $3, 2-hour journey/adventure on public transportation
  • Recognition because of haptic videos on the web – Had several stop me and ask if I am me . . .
  • Expansion and development of education technology - probably the most significant “change” evident in the event. 
  • Conference attendance – classified, but apparently down substantially. (Some US visa issues, etc.) 
  • Ribbons saying what you are doing at the conference or what you did earlier – you could stick on as many as you wanted to. Started out w/8 but felt guilty and backed off to just one, deserved. 
  • Opening plenary – Inauspicious – 3 “veterans” began last gasp attempt to salvage the Communicative Competence model, outlining initially a 5-point framework by Richards which they never referred to again . . . 
  • Interest section quotas of presentations – The Speech Pronunciation Listening Interest section (SPLIS)--mine--like all others got a number of presentations on the program based on the number of proposals submitted. This year proposals were down; so were the number of presentations, from about 35 to 23
  • Haptic adherent – One conference attendee identified herself that way, as doing haptic pronunciation teaching. Great haptic metaphor, eh!
  • Staying awake during presentations – Had rough time with one talk but ran into colleague who loved it and recapped it for me immediately--before running into the presenter! 
  • Bathroom icons issue – the pic of the boy looked much too much like the girl . . . 
  • Bad food in exhibition area; spoiled veggie wrap was days beyond edible.
  • Cost for beer at President’s reception: $11 domestic and bad food as well: uncooked chicken and bacon, spoiled tabouli-like filling of pastry; rock hard, dried mini French bread slices
  • The Haptic Pronunciation teaching workshop could not have gone better!


  1. Your post does not make me sorry that I decided to attend AAAL and skip TESOL this year. One bitpick--the $3.00 public transport ride from the airport to the hotel only takes ONE hour not two, and is one of the few redeeming factors about having a conference in Toronto in the end of March with the wind-chills that you referenced. Another redeeming factor would be the good Indian/Pakistani restaurants.

  2. Forgot to mention that when we came in the subway line was partially closed for construction! And the food outside the convention centre, especially at the Real Sports Bar next to the hockey stadium, was excellent!