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Third Annual Conference on the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages

New York City, 18–19 March 1966

During the business meeting of the Third Annual Conference at the Statler-Hilton Hotel in New York in March 1966, the proposed constitution was presented to the conference participants. At the suggestion of the chair, and without dissent, the words "and research" were inserted in Article II. Upon motion, a sentence in Article V stipulating the succession of the vice president to the presidency was deleted. The conference participants adopted the constitution by unanimous vote and thereby created a new association!

The ensuing election of officers resulted as follows: President, Harold B. Allen, University of Minnesota; First Vice President, Robert Lado, Georgetown University; Second Vice President and Program Chair, David P. Harris, Georgetown University. Additional members of the executive committee were elected also: for 3-year terms, Virginia French Allen, Teachers College, Columbia University; Edward M. Anthony, University of Pittsburgh; and Betty W. Robinett, Ball State University: for 2-year terms, Paul D. Holtzman, The Pennsylvania State University; Mary McDonald, New York City Board of Education: Adela Mendez, Puerto Rico Department of Education; for 1-year terms, John B. King, New York City Board of Education; Afton Dill Nance, California State Department of Education; Hildegard Thompson, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior. And the following were appointed: TESOL Quarterly Editor, B.W. Robinett; and local chair for the Fourth Annual Conference in Miami, Paul Bell, Dade County Public Schools.

James E. Alatis became executive secretary by invitation of Harold B. Allen with unanimous approval of the Executive Committee for the period from August 1, 1966 through July 31, 1967. In February 1967, TESOL Executive Secretary Alatis invited Alfred Aarons of the Florida FL Reporter to assume the responsibility of editing the TESOL Newsletter.

It was a source of deep gratification to everyone in the field that there developed among the five aforementioned groups, the full-hearted and harmonious joint action that led to the significant action taken at the Third Annual TESOL Conference in the Statler-Hilton Hotel in New York, March 17, 1966, when the conference adopted a constitution and bylaws by unanimous vote and this created Teachers of English to Speaker of Other Languages (TESOL): a professional association for those concerned with the teaching of English as a second or foreign language. The name of the organization deliberately avoided such terms as "American" or "National" because its founders wished it to be an international organization that welcomed membership from individuals and groups all over the world.

Here was an organization with central concern for professional competence among all who teach English to speakers of other languages, which would create a structure of professional integrity upon which ESOL professionals could base their insistence for professional recognition. The creation of TESOL provided professionals, at last, with an independent, individual membership organization in which all persons and groups interested in the quality of English as a second language teaching might participate directly.

This abbreviated version of the organizational groundwork forms the foundation for an early history to TESOL. The more complete history of TESOL, that I have been asked by the Executive Board to prepare, will be undertaken in the next year or so, and will bring together information presently held for our archives by Harold B. Allen, the Central Office archival material, minutes of the Executive Board meetings, etc., and a number of articles already in print which have documented our growth.

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