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A TESOL Symposium on English Language Teaching Standards

ULACIT (Laureate International Universities)
Panama City, Panama

Friday, September 18, 2009

View TESOL symposium photos

Pre-registration for this event is now closed. There is still some space available to attend. If you have not already pre-registered with TESOL, please contact or 703-518-2514 to let TESOL know that you plan to register for the symposium on site at ULACIT.

The symposium location and schedule are provided below.

Featured Speakers:

  • Fernando Fleurquin
  • Margo Gottlieb
  • Kari Smith

Closing Session Facilitator:

  • Debra Psychoyos

TESOL acknowledges and appreciates the assistance of Panama TESOL and ULACIT.

To learn about Panama TESOL’s XXIII Congress, September 19-20, 2009, Panama City, Panama, click here.

The TESOL Symposium on ELT Standards is sponsored by

TESOL Symposium Global Sponsor

Registration Information
Symposium Flyer (PDF)


Standards for ESL/EFL help teachers guide their professional development and classroom practices. Four experts in the field will give formal presentations and lead participants in the discussion of standards and related teacher preparation issues that focus both on the instructor and the instruction. The symposium will deal with all aspects of effective teaching: planning, instructing, and assessing.

The symposium will offer English language teaching (ELT) professionals from Central America and the Caribbean the opportunity to learn from each others’ experience with professional development, while the four experts help them identify the qualities, skills, and practices that every teacher should pursue.

TESOL’s affiliate, Panama TESOL, chose the theme for this symposium.


September 18, 2009

8:30 am–9:30 am Registration / Coffee and Tea

9:30 am–9:45 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks
(Auditorio Herman Castro)

Mark Algren, 2009–2010 President, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.

Lizzie Garcia de Paredes, 2007–2009 President, Panamá TESOL

Virgilio Luque, Vice-Rector, Laureate International Universities Panama

9:45 am–12:00 pm

Featured Speakers: Introductory Presentations
(Auditorio Herman Castro)
12:00 pm–1:30 pm
Provided for participants on campus.
1:30 pm–3:15 pm

Featured Speakers: Concurrent Sessions
Room numbers to be provided on site.

  • Fernando Fleurquin
  • Margo Gottlieb
  • Kari Smith
3:30 pm–4:30 pm

Closing Session: Summary Followed by a Question/Answer Panel Session with the Featured Speakers
(Auditorio Herman Castro)

Debra Psychoyos


Are Standards Practical Tools for Personal and Professional Development for EFL Teachers?

EFL teachers and schools are constantly looking for alternative ways to promote professional development and to improve instructional practices and results. Standards can provide EFL teachers with a framework for personal and professional development. Using the Standards for ESL/EFL Teachers of Adults (TESOL, 2009) as a guide, nine EFL teachers identified expected and unexpected strengths and weaknesses in their teaching that were interpreted in relation to their personal beliefs, social contexts, and working environment. We will conclude the presentation with an analysis of the conditions that need to be met in order to empower EFL teachers to take ownership of their professional development.

Fernando Fleurquin, M.D., has been actively involved in ESL/EFL for more than 25 years, including training educators in teaching, assessment, and program administration in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. He is currently the Director of the English Language Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in the United States. Previously, he supervised the administration of the high-stakes English exams developed at the University of Michigan. For more than 20 years he worked at the Binational Center in Montevideo, Uruguay, as the Academic Director, teacher, teacher educator, materials writer, and examiner. He has participated in several EFL test development projects and has been a consultant for binational centers, educational institutions, and publishing companies. A medical doctor by training, he was selected as an evaluator for the Uruguayan National Quality Award. Fernando was a member of TESOL’s Standards Committee (2002–2006) and co-presented in a 2009 TESOL Webcast on the Standards for ESL/EFL Teachers of Adults.

Standards: A Metric for Language Teaching and Learning

In the last decade, unprecedented numbers of language learners have entered classrooms around the world. Concomitantly, the expansion of the standards movement has enabled educators to apply a common metric to describe student expectations and performance. For teachers and administrators working in language education, this trend has translated into a vision for language teaching, and for students it provides a means of monitoring and documenting their learning.

This presentation speaks to TESOL’s 2006 PreK-12 English language proficiency standards and how they serve as the anchor for curriculum, instruction, and assessment for language education. These standards have helped galvanize the role of language teachers in today’s high-stakes educational environment and elevated the status of our profession. Personal insights and experiences with the standards illustrate how language teachers share a common bond across international contexts.

Margo Gottlieb, Ph.D., is Lead Developer, World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Consortium, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin and Director, Assessment and Evaluation, Illinois Resource Center. Her passion is designing standards-referenced assessment systems for English language learners. Starting her career as a language education teacher and administrator, she has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Chile and has provided professional development to educators internationally and across the United States. Her most recent appointment is to the National Technical Advisory Council for the U.S. Department of Education. Active in TESOL, Margo has chaired the PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards and ESEA Reauthorization Committees, chaired the Elementary Education Interest Section, served on the TESOL Journal Advisory Board, and has been a repeat instructor for summer academies. Her latest of many books and publications is From Paper to Practice: Implementing English Language Proficiency Standards in PreK-12 Classrooms (with A. Katz and G. Ernst-Slavit; TESOL, 2009).

Standards—of Help or Hindrance to Professional Development?

Standards have become the focus of education throughout the world. Some are in favor, but politicians and others, often educators, speak strongly against standards. In my presentation I briefly discuss the concept of standards, highlighting advantages as well as constraints through examples from various countries. Standards might lead to a reductive typology in teacher education, and the final part of the presentation focuses on the place of teacher autonomy in a standardized environment. If we succeed in finding a feasible balance between professional autonomy and responsibility, there is a good chance we will enjoy the strongly needed quantum leap in education and, as such, also in teacher education.

Kari Smith, Ph.D., is a professor of education at the University of Bergen, Norway, and the head of the university’s teacher education program. She is involved with national research and development projects on teachers’ classroom assessment practices and the role of portfolios as a communication tool. She is also involved with a national professional development project for Norwegian teachers in assessment for learning. She has acted as the coordinator for the Testing, Evaluation and Assessment special interest group for International Association for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, and has served on the association’s management committee. She has also been the coordinator for the Assessment Special Interest Group in the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction. Her publications and research interests are in areas of educational assessment, portfolio and self-assessment, assessment of teaching and professional knowledge and development of teachers and teacher educators.

Closing Session:

Debra Psychoyos is a lifelong learner and a veteran educator with 27 years of experience. She is founder and executive director of The ProEd Alexander Psychoyos Foundation in Panama and currently a doctoral candidate with the Educational Leadership Cohort at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A recent Ploghoft Lecturer at Northwest Missouri University and TESOL facilitator at North Carolina State University in 2008, her diverse professional experiences include primary and secondary teacher, reading improvement specialist, student teacher supervisor, new teacher mentor, school psychologist, instructional coach, and university professor in the TESOL masters program at the Universidad Latina in Panama. Debbie was awarded Woman of the Year in Education in 2004 and Light of the Community in 2006.


San Francisco, Carrasquilla, Calle 6ta.
Panama City, Panama
Tel: (507) 224-5377 or (507) 224-5677
Fax: (507) 224-0318

ULACIT is located on Vía España and Calle 6ta., in the Carrasquilla area of Panama City. Upon arrival on the ULACIT campus, go to Auditorio Herman Castro, located to the left of the main campus entrance.


Symposium attendees are responsible for making their own arrangements for local accommodations.


By bus: There is a bus stop in front of the university. Also, many bus routes run on the major road, Vía España, that leads to the university.

From the airport: A taxi from the airport to the ULACIT campus takes about 30 minutes and costs approximately US$25.

Parking on campus: There are about 45 parking spaces around the main building on campus, and another 200 spaces close by. Parking is free.

Registraion Information

Registration fee (includes program fees, materials, lunch, and refreshment breaks).

Registration Fee US$20

Space is limited. Register early (see register by e-mail, pay on-site option below). The preregistration deadline is September 5, 2009. All participants must register for this event with TESOL.

Registration Terms

Registrations will be accepted on a space-available basis. Registration is limited to 225 participants.

Refund Policy

Requests for refunds of registration fees must be received by TESOL in writing by September 5, 2009. Contact: e-mail; fax +1-703-836-7864; phone +1-703-518-2528.

Special Services

Please inform TESOL at the time of registration if you require special services or assistance.