Monday, March 18, 2019

TESOL 2019 Report - from a haptic perspective!

Every year after attending the TESOL convention, I do a slightly tongue in cheek report back to my program and friends. Here are some excerpts from this year's:

Next year it is in Denver. Denver was snowed in while we were in Atlanta two days. 8 years ago Denver was snowed in during the TESOL convention while we were there . . .

Our haptic workshop went really well. Especially nice doing it with two of TWU MATESOL’s most distinguished and successful grads, Amanda Baker and Mike .Burri! Had about 50 participants. My favorite feedback/comment: “Pronunciation teaching cannot possibly be this much fun.” It can . . . 

The Electronic Village, the area where eLearning and software ideas are hatched every year, continues to appear to be something of a bellwetter of where we are going. If we assume that is the case:
  • The future is in our hand(held)s.
  • Anyone not highly visual with short attention span need not apply.
  • Vetting of presentations is really not that critical (caveat emptor . . . )
  • The “dead tree” textbook is . . . dead.
There were about 6500 at the conference. (Down about 3500 from two years ago in Seattle.) TESOL is beginning to suffer from the maturation of the field. There are probably a dozen specialization, beginning with Applied Linguistics about 20 years ago, that have spun off and have their own conferences annually now. 

What that means is if you are more experienced and are looking for more advanced thinking in any skill area—you will probably find less and less of it at TESOL. Heard several reports that what is being presented is (understandably)  aimed more and more at beginners in the field. The same thing has happened to every discipline, of course. For some, like MLA or APA, however, the conferences just keep getting bigger to accommodate all interests and strands.

The convention is also getting expensive, too much for many, I’m sure (around $400 US, in addition to special events, etc.) We had ordered the same booth in the exhibition area for what (we thought) was about the same price as two years ago. Different this time, however. Everything else was al a carte, to the tune of about $1000 US. Ouch . . .

(#@&!%) Mac users. One of the tech support people commented to me that the TESOLers, almost exclusively MAC, were amazingly clueless about working with the projection and sound interfaces, compared to the previous “business” conference people who were all PC. The fact that I use a PC and didn’t need hand holding—and probably seemed like one of the really “old” guard, made me something of a celeb . . . “

Some of my TESOL friends my age looked REALLY old and wrinkled . . . They all recognized me but I didn’t recognize many of them. May be time for me to either make new friends or get new glasses!

Put the next Haptic Pronunciation Teaching webinars (May 17th and 18th) on your calendar. To reserve a spot, contact:

Keep in touch!

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