Spring Conference Recap

On the morning of May 11 an eager audience of language teachers gathered at Mount Saint Vincent University to attend presentations by their colleagues. As we mingled over coffee, tea and muffins we deliberated over which concurrent sessions to attend. Our networking was an enjoyable mix of meeting familiar colleagues, new teachers, new members, recent graduates and volunteer ESL tutors and teachers. With over 50 attendees, a full schedule, a table full of door prizes and a generous spread of lunch to linger over at the end of the scheduled sessions—this mini-conference offered a complete buffet of springtime socialization and professional development.

In our first session a panel of presenters discussed the educational culture of Saudi Arabia and China; Arwa Altamimi, Sarah Ibrahim and Weifang Liu shared their insight and experience of classrooms around the globe. In the next room, Dr. Rory Leitch shared his research and reflection on humour in the classroom and helped us explore humour’s function in professional language teaching.

In the next session, two board members gave information packed presentations. Jennifer MacDonald gave us explanations and demonstrations of the use of digital tools in the EAP classroom. I imagine I was not the only one in the audience imagining what university could have been like had I been using such devices and applications! Also, utilizing the digital media next door, Fe Baculi was able to share a full range od highlights and links from the TESOL International Conference she attended in the earlier this spring. The slides from Jen’s presentation and many links and resources from Fe’s presentation are available on the TESLNS website.

Dr. Oksana Shkurska and Shazia Nawaz gave one of the final presentations. Both Oksana and Shazia are teachers at Dalhousie and shared techniques through a demonstration of how to teach vocabulary in context and to help students practice productive skills for EAP. The concurrent session described and shared examples of Action Research for teachers. Dr. Esther Enns presented the concept and practice of action research in active individual teaching practice. To explore the methodologies and share results of action research, TESLNS board member Mary Lou Harnish joined Dr. Enns to present her recent action research project and the conclusions she reached in exploring her research question.

Slides for some of the presentations are available for download on this page.

We’d like to thank all of our presenters for the generous contribution of time, professional experience and knowledge to the engaging morning of shared research and reflection. We’d also like to thank the TESL NS membership, both new and returning, for taking the time from mother’s day weekend to join your colleagues, to encourage the shared knowledge and support of our gatherings, and to continue to strengthen the Nova Scotia community of professional and volunteer English language teachers.

-text by Jessie Crabill, photos by Olga Sarycheva

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