An invaluable learning and networking experience
Conferences, seminars and workshops have always played an important part in my life. Not only do they help me grow professionally but also personally. In June 2017, I participated in the TESL Canada conference.
The conference was well-organized and managed with standout diversity of food, great accommodation with world class Niagara Falls views.
Out of 14 sessions I participated in, I would like to present three that caught my attention and focused on topics I am particularly interested in. The first session was run by Bonnie Nicholas, Jennifer Chow and Svetlana Lupasco. Its main topic was how to build a community of connected educators with Twitter chat. Speakers shared their personal stories about how their participation in #LINCchat and other chats related to education helped them become more passionate about the TESL community and more confident and engaged with other educators. As a very active Twitter user, I could not miss that session. Building meaningful connections has never been easier.
The second workshop I really enjoyed was run by Patrice Palmer, an ESL teacher and TESL trainer in Canada and Hong Kong. Palmer showed why planning for one’s professional learning and growth should be important for all ESL teachers no matter what their experience is. By giving an insight into a 8-step process ( watching webinars, volunteering, serving on a board, editing journals, publishing ESL/TESL related articles, taking a course to learn another language, mentoring, attending a conference session) , participants were given practical and well-thought out examples of how to work with professional development in a continous way. Palmer provided us also with assessment and tracking tools and with a wide range of resources for professional development.
The third workshop I participated in that I found relevant and interesting was held by Anna Bartosik. Bartosik who is a college professor at Sheridan College talked about sketchnoting in ELL classroom. As an ESL teacher myself, I see big potenial in the use of visual notetaking and sketchnoting in language classrooms. Quite often students who are not able to express their thoughts verbally would have no problems doing that using pictures or symbols. In her workshop, Bartosik demonstrated how educators can use Paper 53 which is an app that helps one capture and connect photos, sketches and notes with their students. By the end of this session, teachers become acquainted with tools they could use later on in their classrooms and examples of activities they could design for their students.
Out of the plenaries, I will especially remember a Friday’s visit to Antica Restaurant and Ristorante together with a group of educators. It was great to build up my own professional network in real life and learn about Canadian culture and life.
In short, this conference has met my expectations and I really hope that connections I made last week will shape my career. Thank you all for such a wonderful time, especially those that took the time to talk with me during the breaks and coffee.