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Pilot Meeting, 12 September 1963

Previous: The Early History of TESOL

At the April 1963 annual conference of the National Association for Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA) held in Pasadena, California, the suggestion was made that Charles A. Ferguson of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) call a small conference of representatives from various kinds of ESOL programs to determine the advisability of a unique, more inclusive organization for teachers of English to speakers of languages.

A pilot meeting was held in Washington, DC, on 12 September 1963, with representatives from NAFSA, CAL, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Modern Language Association (MLA), and the Speech Association of America (SAA), now the Speech Communication Association, as well as representatives from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the state educational systems of California, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, the city of New York and Canada. The formation of a comprehensive professional organization was discussed at length.

Although the group decided to leave open the question of the eventual formation of a national organization, the following decisions were made at this meeting:
A national convention on the teaching of English to speakers of other languages should be held in Arizona May 8-9, 1964, under the joint auspices of NAFSA, CAL, NCTE, MLA, and SAA. This conference would become an annual event, on the model of the Northeast Conference, for the purposes of establishing lines of communication and disseminating professional information among the various interested groups represented in a number of associations, and considering a professional status for those who teach ESOL.

The need for a professional journal associated with the conference was established.

A program and planning committee was appointed under the chair of James Squire (Executive Secretary of NCTE) to make preparations for this first national conference devoted to the teaching of English to speakers of other languages.