This year the conference was at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, in Laie, which is up on the North Shore. It's sort of a different world up there, so beautiful and relaxing and peaceful and just totally separate from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. I love it, although getting there on the bus is quite a journey. Especially in the pouring rain which we experienced for part of Saturday!
This was my first TESOL conference, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it was really cool! There were lots of my fellow HPU MATESOL students there. Some of the us were presenting in a panel and the rest were there for professional development and fun. I love seeing my classmates outside of school, actually, so it was really nice!
|Some (but not all!) of the HPU MATESOL students who attended.|
After the address, we went to smaller sessions. You can look at all the options here (you might notice my name missing from the panel I was one... rude!). There were lots of good ones, but I chose "The Impact of Culture on English Language Proficiency" and "Changing Learners' Attitudes toward Foreign Accented English" for the morning. They were both so interesting! In the first one, the speaker talked about how Japanese culture might affect English proficiency. She analyzed it using Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions, and it was really cool... Definitely made me think about my target cultures! The second speaker talked about the negative attitudes lots of learners have toward non-native accents and her action research about changing those attitudes through more exposure.
Lunch was provided by North Shore Tacos and it was delicious (who doesn't love tacos?!). I sat with most of the rest of the HPU crowd, and we had a surprise special guest: Rebecca Oxford! She was really nice, and very interesting to talk to. She's taught at University of Maryland and Penn State, so we talked about MD and PA (the best states!). At the end of the lunch, the Hawaii TESOL officers sat with us and they were really nice too! I was intimidated at first by all these important people, but they were so friendly.
After lunch it was time for the panel. Several of the grad students from the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) class had been asked to be part of the panel with our professor, Dr. Hanh Nguyen. That is one of the coolest things about HPU's TESOL professors - they really encourage us to get out in the field starting now and to participate in things like this! We had presented the day before at an AL Talk here at HPU, but this was a bigger venue and I was pretty nervous! The dress rehearsal definitely helped though, because the panel were pretty smoothly overall (despite a few technological issues). My friend Nick and I presented on Praat, Aya talked about Spreeder, Kristine talked about VoiceThread, Martin presented on using Siri to teach pronunciation, and Kat presented on TutorMike. After we all finished, it was a pretty exciting feeling of accomplishment to be able to say we had presented at a conference! It was really nice to have some of our other HPU friends in the audience too!
|After the panel, with our certificates (so official!) From left to right: Nick, Aya, Kat, me, Kristine, Dr. Nguyen, Martin.|
This week is a short week but we have a History of the English Language exam tomorrow, so wish me luck!