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5 Ways to Supercharge Your TESOL 2024 Experience

by Sarah Hodge |

TESOL conventions are a fantastic way to keep up with teaching trends, research, and cutting-edge technology; check out the latest in ESL curricula; and network with thousands of fellow TESOL educators and administrators from around the globe. This year’s convention in Tampa, Florida, USA from 21–24 March will feature three keynotes, hundreds of education sessions, and 60+ exhibits. In addition to traditional presentations, panels, and poster sessions, you’ll also find Electronic Village sessions, Digital Dive workshops, and Tinkering with Technology workshops to explore.

Note: All times listed are ET. 

Tip: If this is your first TESOL conference, consider joining the TESOL Convention First-Timer Orientation on Wednesday, 20 March from 3:30 pm–5 pm in the Marriott, Florida Ballroom Salon 3.

1. Attend a Preconvention Institute

If your time and budget allow, consider attending a Preconvention Institute (PCI). PCIs offer in-depth, hands-on professional development workshops designed and led by ELT experts and will be held on Wednesday, 20 March. PCIs are either half day (4 hours) or full day (6 hours). You can also choose to attend a PCI without registering for the full TESOL convention.

Selected PCIs at TESOL 2024 include:

    • Developing and Enhancing Adult Learners’ Academic and Professional Reading Skills
    • Power of Collaboration: Developing Sustainable EL Coaching Programs
    • Designing Personalized Writing Assignments to Increase Engagement and Outsmart AI
    • Increasing the Intercultural Competencies of Teachers and Teacher Educators

2. Dive Into Emerging Trends in ELT

One of the fastest growing areas of interest in TESOL is the emergence of AI and VR in in the English learning classroom. How can these be effectively incorporated into the language classroom as a tool for both students and teachers?

Suggested sessions (click on the titles for room information):

AI: Help Me Teach, Help Them Write!
Thursday, 21 March, 10 am–11:20 am

ChatGPT and Pedagogy: Pedagogical Possibilities and Liabilities of AI
Thursday, 21 March, 1 pm–1:45 pm

What Are Effective Ways to Implement ChatGPT in Academic Writing?
Thursday, 21 March, 4 pm–4:30 pm

Transforming Higher Education Language Learning Through Augmented and Virtual Reality
Thursday, 21 March, 3 pm–4:30 pm

Another timely topic is addressing the needs of refugee and immigrant language learners.

Suggested sessions (click on the titles for room information):

Supporting Displaced Learners Wherever They Are With Online English Programs
Thursday, 21 March, 10 am–10:45 am

Supporting Students Who Have Experienced Trauma: Strategies for Teachers
Thursday, 21 March, 1 pm–1:45 pm

Creating Normal in English Language Courses in War-Torn Ukraine
Thursday, 21 March, 10 am–10:45 am

3. Get Involved in TESOL Communities of Practice

Connect with like-minded educators by joining an interest section (IS) or professional learning network (PLN).

ISs cover current ELT practice and research with 20 ISs to choose from, including the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL-IS), Nonnative English Speaker Teachers Interest Section (NNEST-IS), Bilingual-Multilingual Education (B-MEIS), and Intercultural Communication Interest Section (ICIS).

PLNs are informal discussion groups organized by TESOL members; current PLNs include Black English Language Professionals & Friends, Career Path Development, Environmental Responsibility, and TESOL Diversity Collaborative.

You can learn about the various ISs and PLNs, meet current members and leaders, and discover how to engage with these groups at these Networking Hours in the Networking Lounge:

4. Discover the Latest Publications, Interactive Courseware, and Teaching Opportunities in the Expo Hall

In the Expo Hall, you’ll find more than 50 exhibitors, including major ELT publishers, multimedia companies, universities, and national and federal agencies like the British Council, the Peace Corps, the U.S. Office of English Language Acquisition, the U.S. Department of State’s English Language Programs, and Defense Language Institute English Language Center. In addition to perusing review copies and hands-on demos of the latest courseware, LMSs, and multimedia, it’s a great way to learn about job opportunities and career paths in the TESOL field.

Suggested exhibitor sessions (click on the titles for room information):

Essential Skills for Teacher Trainers (presented by Department of State English Language Programs)
Thursday, 21 March, 3 pm–4:30 pm

Connecting Grammar With Real Language for Student Success
Friday, 22 March, 10:30 am–11:15 am

Enhancing Immigrant Integration for ELs With New Federal Resources
Saturday, 23 March, 10:30 am–11:15 am

5. Take Advantage of Networking Sessions

In addition to the networking sessions below, you can harness TESOL’s Eventsential app and website to network with presenters, exhibitors, and fellow attendees.

Thursday, 21 March

Friday, 22 March

Saturday, 23 March

I hope you enjoy the convention, and if you return to this post, please share what sessions you found most useful in the comments, below! 

About the author

Sarah Hodge

Sarah Hodge is a supervisory ESL instructor at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) English Language Center in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Since earning her MA TESOL in 2006, she has taught English as a foreign language, English for specific purposes, and English for academic purposes to thousands of international military officers, enlisted personnel, and civilians at DLI's resident campus as well as internationally. She has also developed curriculum, has conducted onboarding and teacher training, and was part of the Peer Coaching Initiative Working Group. A SMART Gold Ambassador and Lumio Certified Trainer, Sarah is passionate about integrating educational technology into the language classroom. Her research interests include bilingualism and language processing disorders.

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