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TESOL Annual Report: 2023 in Retrospective

by Rosa Aronson |

On behalf of the TESOL board of directors and staff, I am pleased to share with you the TESOL 2023 annual report. Overall, TESOL had a successful year guided by our mission and the vision, leadership, and foresight of the TESOL board of directors and the efforts of our volunteer leaders, who partnered with our staff on behalf of multilingual learners of English and English language educators worldwide. I am going to highlight here a few of our accomplishments; you can find more details about the activities we undertook in the full report. 

In fiscal year 2023, TESOL directly impacted more than 12,000 educators worldwide. These educators cascaded their learning to more than 60,000 additional educators which contributes to improved outcomes for an innumerable number of multilingual learners of English not just this year. What an impact! 

A Few Highlights

Among our specific accomplishments, we published updated research directions and a White Paper on Discrimination in Education and launched a global advocacy portal. We also held an in-person and virtual convention—TESOL International Convention & Expo—and partnered with the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), and National Association for English Learner Program Administrators (NAELPA) on TESOL ELevate

We partnered with Microsoft to develop a free TESOL Guide to Using Microsoft Learning Accelerators With Multilingual Learners of English. The Learning Accelerators are available at no cost to help teachers in their professional practices and strengthen students' independence in their English language development. 

In addition, TESOL launched a new website in the beginning of last year and a new community engagement platform over the summer. 

Research and Advocacy

The new research directions were developed from more than 2,700 data points gathered from 639 members and 10 focus groups in 16 countries. From this input, the Research Professional Council identified four directions: 

    1. Research education and literacy
    2. Emerging educational technologies
    3. Teaching methods
    4. Professional learning

In support of the four directions, the Research Professional Council also released a final report, example questions, and a compilation of resources.

The White Paper on Discrimination in Education was written to address discriminatory practices impacting education, especially English language teaching professionals and the multilingual learners of English they serve. The release of the white paper was followed by two community forums and a presentation by a few of the authors during the 2024 convention. 


Four new titles were released by TESOL Press last year: 

In addition, our journals issued four special issues covering the following topics: 

    • Teaching in a time of resurgent nationalism
    • Moving forward with materials development
    • Storytelling for restoration and peacebuilding 
    • Creativity and criticality in ELT professional practices 

Events and Education

Our events also continued to rebound. We welcomed 3,434 attendees from 111 countries to the TESOL 2023 in-person convention & expo, 1,224 of whom were first-time attendees. We also welcomed 4,563 attendees from 115 countries to the virtual convention. Here are a few highlights from the attendee feedback:

    • 96% of attendees at the in-person convention thought the event was worthwhile. 
    • 97% of virtual convention attendees would recommend the event to a colleague. 
    • 95% of the in-person attendees thought the content was intellectually stimulating.
    • 98% of virtual attendees found the sessions interesting and engaging. 

Throughout the year, our education team launched three new programs: the Social-Emotional Learning Workshop, The 6 Principles Workshop, and Bringing Artificial Intelligence into Your Classroom. These programs, along with our existing programs, grew the professional knowledge and skills of 10,077 participants worldwide. 

Seeing Results

All this led to a positive impact on the finances of TESOL. We ended the year with a positive balance of more than $158,000. 

More important than the finances is the positive feedback and engagement we are hearing from our members. We do all this to support you and advance English language education worldwide so you can improve outcomes for your students. 

You will find the annual report has a new format this year. The marketing and communications team would love to hear if you like these changes, how we can improve the report, or if you prefer the PDF report. You can send your feedback to Juliet Mason

In Closing

I want to acknowledge that these are not my successes but those of the TESOL leadership and former executive director Amber Crowell Kelleher. We were sad to see Amber leave TESOL after the conclusion of the fiscal year, and we wish her the best in her next adventure.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that 21–27 April is Volunteer Appreciation Week. TESOL enjoys the dedicated service of more than 300 volunteers who work with our staff of 18 to accomplish all this and more. I would like to take this opportunity to offer a big THANK YOU to all of you who have or are currently dedicating your time and talents to advancing TESOL and the field of English language education—we couldn’t do it without all of you.


About the author

Rosa Aronson

Rosa Aronson is the interim executive director (ED) of TESOL International Association.  She previously served as interim ED in 2020–2021, and as the permanent ED from 2010–2017.  Aronson also worked as an English language specialist with the U.S. Department of State. Her assignments included leadership training for boards of directors of new associations of English teachers in Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan.

Her career in education began as an EFL teacher in France and continued in the U.S. in professional educational organizations. She holds a PhD in social foundations of education, a master’s degree in education, and a master’s degree in English linguistics. In 2015, she was named Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (FASAE) in recognition of her service and leadership in association management. She has lived on three continents and is bilingual (French). 

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