More than 1,000 speakers representing 50 countries gathered in Baltimore for the TESOL 2016 International Convention from April 5-8, 2016. The gathering celebrated the 50th anniversary of the TESOL International Association and covered a range of topics including language testing and assessment, technology in language learning, bilingual education, and refugee and immigration concerns. UMBC’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs had many major roles at the event, demonstrating UMBC’s impact around the globe in TESOL.
Heidi Faust, associate director of TESOL Professional Training Programs in the education department, received a grant to research English teacher professional development through professional learning communities (PLCs). She presented her work at the convention and discussed how the global demand for access to English is increasing and more teachers are transitioning from teaching English to adults to younger learners. Faust is using her grant to gather data, surveys, and analysis of teacher reflective journals to test sustainable models for teacher professional development.
“There’s opportunity for empowerment,” Faust explained during her presentation. “My hope is that this will be transformative for teachers at the professional level and communities will continue to sustain their growth.”
Faust also organized an academic session at the convention in her position as chair of the Intercultural Communication Interest Section, and she presented as part of the newly formed TESOL Diversity Forum.
Joan Shin ’08, Ph.D., language, literacy, and culture, and professor of the practice in the education department, was an invited speaker at the convention and presented her work using song to teach young learners English and also hosted a “Tea with Distinguished TESOLers.”
Before the convention, Shin was named a “30 Up and Coming” TESOL professional for her work as an international leader in teaching English to young learners. Her work has taken her to Brazil, Turkey, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and ten other countries to train English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers to meet the needs of elementary-aged students. She has received praise and recognition for a National Geographic Learning book series that she co-edited with Jodi Crandall, founding director of the language, literacy, and culture program and professor emerita of education, designed to give learners the skills and knowledge they need to learn English and understand the world around them.
“With this honor, I feel inspired to work even harder to make a positive difference in the education of English learners through my work with teachers here in Maryland and worldwide,” Shin said after receiving the award.
The TESOL convention local committee included UMBC education department faculty members Laura Hook, Doaa Rasheed, and Yeji Yoon, and many alumni and partners connected with UMBC’s TESOL programs attended an anniversary reception at the convention. This included colleagues from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Education, National Geographic Learning, and several other organizations.
The ESOL program began at UMBC in 1979, and hundreds of alumni are currently practicing ESOL teachers locally, throughout the country, and around the world. Read more about UMBC’s ESOL programs on the education department website.
Header Image: Heidi Faust presents at the 2016 TESOL International Convention.