Thursday, April 18, 2013

My first conference proposal

Thanks to a little inspiration (okay, a lot of inspiration) from TESOL13, and a little help (okay, a lot of help) from my PLN, I successfuly drafted and submitted my very first proposal to present at a conferece. There was a lot of fear and uncertainty, a lot of feedback, and a lot of editing (some of which can be seen here), but at the end of the day I got it done, and hit submit. I felt satisfied with the work I had done and happy that I had come up with the courage to take the next step and put myself out there in an unfamiliar new area. That was enough for me. The cherry on top of the whole experience was the email I received today...

Dear Ava,
Congratulations! Your proposal "The Great Scavenger Hunt: English Language Learning with Found Materials" for the Northern Regional CATESOL Conference, “Celebrating Learning, Appreciating Teaching,” which will take place May 4 at the Loma Vista Adult Center in Concord, has been accepted. You will receive another e-mail with the time and room for your session as we set up the conference schedule. We will also be posting the program on the website as soon as it is available so you can also check there. proposal was accepted! I am thrilled, I am excited, I am absolutely terrified that I now have to actually PRESENT this project which has been floating around in my head and on paper for so long. But I couldn't be happier. And I couldn't be more grateful to those who replied to my last post and gave me feedback on my proposal (Rachael Roberts, Mike Griffin, Jo Cummins, Barbara Tassa, Josette LeBlanc, among others). I couldn't have done it without you! Below you will find the "final draft" of my proposal which I submitted, and around which I will be building my presentation.

 For those who have followed me for a while, you may (or may not) know that this is an adaptation of my master's thesis, an ongoing project which has been at the center of my experience as a language teacher for a long time. I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to share it with a greater audience. I will, of course, be sharing more with you here as I prepare to present this at the CATESOL Northern Regional, but mostly I just want to say thanks and tell you how grateful I am for your support in this process and on this journey. I am so excited about taking this next step in my career and am so grateful for those who have shown me the way on this path.

The Great Scavenger Hunt: English Language Learning with Found Materials

Type of Session: Demonstration
Title of Presentation: The Great Scavenger Hunt: English Language Learning with Found Materials

Presentation Abstract (50 words max): How often do teachers find themselves stuck with insufficient or unsuitable materials? This session will demonstrate a communicative approach to activities using found materials; participants will walk away with the confidence to know they can arrive in a classroom and teach with whatever is readily available in the local environment.

Presentation Summary (200 words max): In the summer of 2011, the presenter arrived at a high school in rural Tibet, prepared with what she thought was an appropriate curriculum and collection of materials. What she found was completely different; not only were the students ill-prepared with poorly translated and outdated textbooks, but the classroom rarely had electricity, let alone wi-fi or online resources. Thus was the idea born to create a curriculum which teachers could bring into any classroom where traditional resources were lacking, especially in rural or isolated regions. The lessons were designed around the use of found or readily-available materials, items which could be obtained with ease in the natural and local environment. By applying the theory of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) to these classrooms with limited resources, the teacher made use of what could be found in the immediate surroundings; these pre-existing and familiar items became the vehicle for English language learning. In this session, the presenter will demonstrate a communicative approach to lesson plans and activities using found and readily-available materials. Participants will be able to explore and engage in these activities, walking away with the ability to discover and use found materials in their classrooms around the world.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Need Help from my PLN!

Dear PLN,

I need your help! I am inspired and fired-up after my recent experience at TESOL 2013, and am determined to do whatever I can to keep this fire alive! I am taking the next steps toward more conferences, greater participation, and continued professional development; I am going to attempt to present! To be honest, this is pretty scary for me! However, I feel that I have a thing or two to offer, and want to pursue the opportunity to share my experience with others! So, I am applying to present at two upcoming conferences, the CATESOL Northern Regional Conference and the CATESOL statewide conferences.

This is where you, my beloved PLN, can be of great help to me. I have never done this before, and while I am becoming more comfortable every day, this is an area in which I have no experience. I don't know what they are looking for in a proposal! I have two ideas which I am interested in pursuing, and since I can't decide between them at this point, I am going to go ahead, submit both, and hope for the best. Below you will find the titles and abstracts for my proposals. I am working on the presentation summaries now, and will update as soon as I finish. In the meantime (and time is of the essence, as proposal deadlines are rapidly approaching), I would love to hear a little feedback. Are these titles/abstracts interesting? Will they attract the attention and interest of conference attendees? Will they attract the attention and interest of the reading committee, for that matter? What can I do to enhance them in any way? Like I said, I am finding my way in the dark here, and would totally welcome and really appreciate any and all feedback. Please let me know what you think in the comments below!
Thanks, PLN! And as always, lots of love!

Title of Presentation: Social Media for English Language Teachers: Personalizing Professional Development

Presentation Abstract: How can we as teachers take personal responsibility for our professional development? This session will examine and demonstrate the use of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs as important tools for the ELT professional. Teachers will leave this session with an understanding of how and why to use social media to enhance skills and effectiveness in and outside the classroom.

Title of Presentation: English Language Learning with Found Materials

Presentation Abstract: How often do teachers find themselves in situations with insufficient, limited, or inappropriate materials to use in the classroom? This session will present lesson plans and activities to be used with found materials; participants will learn how to arrive in a classroom and teach using whatever is readily available in the local environment.