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TESOL 2024 International Convention & Expo Highlights

by TESOL International Association |

➢ “Loved this conference.” 

➢ “Great people, engaging expo hall, and informative sessions.” 

➢ “I have enjoyed being a part of the TESOL community.” 

These are just a few of the comments from attendees that describe the TESOL 2024 International Convention & Expo, held in the vibrant and welcoming city of Tampa, Florida, USA, 21–23 March!

With more than 3,400 attendees pouring in from more than 100 countries, the TESOL convention was buzzing with energy starting on Wednesday afternoon for the Opening Keynote, “Diving With a Purpose: Preserving Heritage and Challenging Assumptions.” Tara Roberts, 2022 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year, took attendees on her life-changing journey, showcasing the profound impact of following her passion and finding her purpose. By studying slave shipwrecks alongside Black scuba divers, she met divers, historians, archaeologists, and many others and found ways to amplify their voices to help preserve history and support healing. Following her keynote, convention participants caught up with colleagues and made new connections at the Opening Celebration.

Continuing the momentum on Thursday, TESOL 2023–24 President Shelley K. Taylor provided a platform for a diverse panel of four English language teaching professionals (Ryuko Kubota, Ryan W. Pontier, David Schwarzer, and Melissa Rivera Screven) for the Presidential Plenary, “Our Stories Informing Our Theories: Preparing, Persevering, and Envisioning.” After presenting on the power of stories, Taylor invited panelists to share their personal narratives intertwined with insights related to three career stages. The panelists covered topics including reenvisioning teacher education in a way that better supports bi- and multilingualism, translingualism as a possible central component for the English language teaching (ELT) field in the future, and equity and justice in language learning and teaching.

Later that morning, 2023–24 Past President Joyce Kling and 2023–24 board member Okon Effiong opened the Expo with a large crowd at the ribbon cutting. Serving as a hub for engagement, attendees enjoyed a new interactive space with yard games and selfie stations in addition to sponsored treats throughout the three days!

Also new this year, TESOL hosted sponsor spotlights and a networking lounge. TESOL is grateful for the support of all our exhibitors, including long-time exhibitors Cambridge University Press & Assessment, Center for Applied Linguistics, iTEP International, Michigan Language Assessment, MM Publications, Peace Corps, Pro Lingua Learning, UCLA Extension, University of San Francisco, and Vista Higher Learning, as well as returning exhibitors British Council and Pearson English. We are also excited to have welcomed 25 new exhibitors this year! 

With more than 800 sessions, workshops, and teaching tips, convention-goers from all areas of ELT delved into current topics, research, and issues that mattered to them.

Here are some of the most popular sessions:

      • Little Cards, Big Impact: No-Prep Activities for Literacy and Oracy
      • Science of Reading for ELs: Practical Strategies and Instructional Routines
      • Practical Tools for Learning, Applying, and Practicing Vocabulary
      • AI: Help Me Teach, Help Them Write!
      • A Language-Based Approach to Content Instruction: Scaffolding Functional Language
      • ChatGPT and Pedagogy: Pedagogical Possibilities and Liabilities of AI

  • Five Ways to Proactively Differentiate ELT
  • Integrating Social-Emotional Learning and Trauma-Sensitive Teaching Practices in the Classroom
  • Advice on Publishing Your Work in ELT-Related Journals
  • MagicSchool: The Power of AI in the Language Classroom
  • Science of Reading for ELs: Practical Strategies and Instructional Routines
  • Create Your Own Digital Pronunciation Activities With AI Feedback
  • Creating Real-Life Conversations Using AI
  • Empowering Students in Responsible Writing Practices Using AI

Friday morning kicked off with a Morning Yoga session so that attendees could take a moment to center their convention experience with controlled breathing, quiet meditation, and simple stretches. On Saturday afternoon, educators, authors, DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access) champions Kass and Cornelius Minor lifted the spirits of attendees with their keynote, “To the Newest Among Us: A Love Letter to What We Do and to Whom We Serve.” They encouraged educators to think more holistically about their students and how what they teach will be used outside of the classroom. In their experience, they’ve found it to be really impactful when they’ve brought students into the community, where they can pick up invaluable knowledge and skills that they couldn’t teach in a classroom. The Minors shared strategies for facing difficulties in education and ways to “decenter the institution and recenter the people.” Following their keynote, they signed copies of their books at the bustling TESOL bookstore! 

Amidst the flurry of learning and networking, TESOL took time to honor the 2024 award, grant, and scholarship recipients. We especially appreciate the support of National Geographic Learning for sponsoring the TESOL Teacher of the Year award. You can learn about our phenomenal English language teaching professionals here! Stay tuned for your opportunity to apply later this year. 

To close out the convention, TESOL board members convened the Annual Business Meeting. TESOL Interim Executive Director Rosa Aronson reported on outcomes of the previous fiscal year and both 2023–24 TESOL President Shelley K. Taylor and 2024–25 TESOL President Debra Suarez delivered remarks. Shelley Taylor recognized outgoing board members for their service and swore in President-Elect Justin Shewell and board of directors members Misty Adoniou, Larisa Olesova, and Araceli Salas.

TESOL extends its sincerest gratitude to the volunteers who worked tirelessly to fuel the success of the convention. We hope to see even more participants at the TESOL 2025 International Convention & Expo in scenic Long Beach, California, USA, 18–21 March. Mark your calendars now!


About the author

TESOL International Association

TESOL International Association advances professional expertise in English language teaching to speakers of other languages in multilingual contexts worldwide through professional learning, research, standards, and advocacy.

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