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Master's Student Forum

Master’s Student Forum

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Master's Student Forum is a 1-day miniconference that invites graduate students in TESOL teacher preparation programs to
  • Share the results of their research, their teaching ideas and experiences, and the materials they have developed;
  • Meet and network with graduate students (and faculty) at other universities;
  • Formally participate in the TESOL convention without having to meet the early deadlines for submitting proposals or to compete with experienced professionals for time on the convention program; and
  • Experience the process of organizing a conference and adjudicating proposals
To attend, both attendees and presenters need to register.

Call for Proposals

Full-time and part-time students enrolled in graduate programs leading to a master's degree in TESOL (or related fields) at any institution of higher learning (during fall 2014) are invited to submit a proposal for the Master’s Student Forum. (Please note that doctoral students should submit proposals to the Doctoral Research Forum.)

DEADLINE (Extended)

All proposals must be submitted online by 1:00 pm ET, 2 November 2014. Notices of acceptance will be sent via email by 14 December.


You may submit proposals for papers, demonstrations, or poster sessions.

A paper (15 minutes) is an oral summary, with occasional reference to notes or a text, that describes or discusses something that the presenter is doing or has done in relation to theory or practice. Handouts and audiovisual aids may be used. Presenters are encouraged not to read directly from their papers.

A demonstration (15 minutes) shows, rather than discusses, a technique for teaching or testing. The presenter should spend no more than 5 minutes explaining the theory underlying the technique. The presenter provides handouts and may use audiovisual aids.

A poster session (1 hour) allows for short, informal discussions with other participants while the exhibit is on display. The exhibit should be self-explanatory. Posters can display research, teaching tips, curriculum development ideas, and many other areas of interest.

The exhibit is presented on a large (4 ft by 8 ft, 1.22 m by 2.44 m) display board that includes a title; the name and institutional affiliation of the presenter(s); and a brief text with clearly labeled photos, drawings, graphs, or charts.

No other audiovisual equipment is allowed. Exhibits are set up during the lunch hour before the session and dismantled immediately after the session. Poster presenters are required to be at their posters during the session.

Please note that a total of 25 poster sessions and 45 paper presentations and demonstrations will be accepted this year.


Submitted proposals will be refereed by master’s degree students at the host university, Michigan State University, and by the host university elect, Northern Arizona University.

Factors Affecting Selection
The Master’s Student Forum is intended to bring together individuals from a variety of institutions and backgrounds; therefore, an important factor in proposal selection is program balance. In adjudicating proposals, the Forum Program Committee will seek such balance in
•    range of topics
•    interests covered
•    proposal’s relevance to the needs of TESOL graduate students

Another important factor is the quality of the proposal summary. Summaries should possess
•    clarity of purpose
•    succinctness
•    appropriateness
•    significance for the intended audience
•    an indication of the research quality (if relevant)
•    evidence that the presentation will be well prepared

Because institutional travel funding for many graduate students is contingent on their presenting a session at the convention, the Forum Program Committee will accept only one primary presentation per presenter. If a presenter submits more than one acceptable proposal, the proposal that allows the most presenters to participate will be selected.

Factors Disqualifying a Proposal
Proposals will be disqualified if
•    they promote commercial interests
•    are not completed according to the guidelines outlined in this call for participation
•    are not received by the deadline of 19 October 2014

Responsibilities of the Presenter
•    Register for the forum. Registration for the Master’s Student Forum is free and you do not have to be registered for the TESOL conference to participate.
•    Notify all co-presenters about the status of the proposal. When two or more people are presenting, the presenter listed first is responsible for notifying the others.
•    Do not change the conceptual content of your session once it has been accepted.
•    Bring enough handouts for the number of attendees your room will hold, which will be indicated in the proposal acceptance message.
•    Bring a power cord for your computer and any adaptor that may be needed for the electrical connection.
•    Support the other presenters by participating in all forum activities.


To ensure that your proposal is considered, please follow these steps.

Title and Abstract
The proposal must include an abstract. The abstract will appear in the Master’s Student Forum Program, and attendees will use it to decide whether to attend your presentation, so it should be carefully written and proofread. The abstract should have the following information:
•    Proposal title
•    Presenter’s full name
•    Presenter’s institutional affiliation
•    City
•    State/province
•    Country

Title Guidelines
The title should
•    accurately reflect the content
•    be clear to the intended audience
•    have no colon
•    be limited to seven words

Each part of a slashed or hyphenated word counts as one word. Do not use quotation marks. Capitalize all major words. Examples:
•    Participants' Perspectives on In-Service Teacher Training (7 words)
•    Web Sites for Teaching U.S. Popular Culture (7 words)

Abstract Guidelines

The abstract should •    not exceed 50 words
•    be written in the third-person present tense (e.g., “The presenter begins by . . . and
•    she . . .”)
•    avoid all references to published works
•    be carefully edited and proofread
•    be written to draw the most appropriate audience to the presentation
•    spell out any acronym(s) used in the title

Sample abstract: This paper reports on research conducted to determine how best to develop language learning strategies. The participants were EFL learners in a Southeast Asian nation. This research compared the natural development of strategies among students in traditional classrooms with the effects of specific instruction in strategies and their use.

Proposal Summary

Prepare a 250-word summary of the presentation content. Only the referees will see the proposal summary; it will not appear in the program. The summaries will be blind reviewed, so please do not put your presenter name(s) or institution(s) on your summary.
Your proposal summary should include the following information:
•    Proposal title
•    Proposal type (paper, demonstration, poster session)
•    Designated interest area (see below)
•    Content area (see below)
o    Learner context
o    Language area
•    Audiovisual equipment needs

Proposal Summary Guidelines
The proposal should •    be limited to 250 words. Longer summaries will be disqualified.
•    not include names of the presenter(s) or institution(s)
•    clearly state a purpose and point of view
•    include supporting details and examples
•    contain evidence of current practices and/or research
•    use appropriate format (e.g., paper, demonstration)
•    use a variety of techniques (e.g., activities, visuals)
•    indicate that a presenter can cover the material in the allotted time
•    be carefully edited and proofread

Summary Content Based on Proposal Type
•    Paper: synopsis that includes central idea and supporting evidence
•    Demonstration: central purpose and description of what will be demonstrated
•    Poster session: main ideas to be presented and description of the visual display

Designated Interest Area

(You must check one area. Choice must match the interest area listed in the summary.):

__ Accreditation
__ Adult Education
__ Applied Linguistics
__ Assessment/Testing
__ Bilingual Education
__ Computer-Assisted Language Learning
__ Content-based instruction
__ Curriculum/Materials Development
__ Discourse/Pragmatics
__ English as a Foreign Language
__ Employment/Certification
__ English as an International Language
__ English for Specific Purposes
__ ESOL in Adult Education
__ ESL in Bilingual Education
__ ESOL in Elementary Education
__ ESL in Higher Education
__ ESL in Secondary Schools
__ Grammar
__ Integrated Skills
__ Intensive English Programs
__ Intercultural Communication
__International Teaching Assistants
__ Literature/Arts/Media
__ Materials Writers
__ Program Administration
__ Psycholinguistics/Neurolinguistics
__ Reading/Literacy
__ Refugee Concerns
__ Research
__ Second Language Acquisition
__ Sociolinguistics/Culture
__ Sociopolitical Concerns
__ Speaking/Pronunciation/Phonology/Listening
__ Specific Language Groups
__ Teacher Education
__ Technology in Education
__ Video and Digital Media
__ Vocabulary/Lexicon
__ Workplace/Business English
__ Writing/Composition
__ Other

Content Area

o    Learner context: You must select one.


o    Language area: Choose as many as applicable. Your choice must match the interest area listed in your summary.

__English as a Foreign Language
__English as a Second Language
__English for Specific Purposes
__English as an International Language
__Workplace/Business English
__English for Bilinguals/Multilinguals

DEADLINE (Extended)

Submit your proposal online by 1:00 pm ET, 2 November 2014.


To present at the 2015 Master’s Student Forum, you must register. Registration is free, and you can register online.


If you have questions about the proposal process, please contact