justification toolkit

The Value of Attending the 2016 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo

Download the Convention Brochure (PDF)
Convention Brochure Cover

As an English language educator, you value attending the TESOL convention. The current ​economy has caused many school districts, governments, and other organizations to ​carefully watch travel and education budgets. To obtain the financial support you need from your employer, you will likely have to justify your attendance. To help you, TESOL has prepared the following resources.

Talking Points
Ways to Save
Expenses vs. Benefits
Sample Letter for Your Supervisor

General Information
As the largest convention focused exclusively on English language teaching for speakers of other languages, the 2016 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo is the best place to get professional development in the field. Every year, more than 6,500 English language teaching professionals take advantage of this opportunity.

The 2016 TESOL convention offers more than 900 sessions (over 30,000 hours of learning) for attendees to choose from. You can attend as many sessions as you want, including ​keynote sessions and invited speaker sessions, and if you register by 22 January 2016, the member rate is only $345 ($585 nonmembers). Over just four days, you can learn about the latest research in the field, current best-practices, and even pick-up a lesson plan or two, and you will have numerous opportunities to network with colleagues.

Talking Points
Here is a list of talking points that should help you get the approval you need.

With ​more than 900 sessions to choose from and the expo hall, it’s like getting an entire year’s worth of ​professional development in just 4 days.
• The knowledge and training that you will ​gain is a return on the investment.
• You can share your new knowledge and training with your colleagues. This way, everyone in your workplace can benefit from your attendance.

To help you make your presentation, you can use the following resources:
o    Keep the handouts from the sessions you attend.
o    Access the TESOL Resource Center (TRC) and  the Convention website for quality video of all ​keynote sessions.
o    Show greeting videos from other attendees on TESOL’s YouTube Channel.
o    Show photo highlights from TESOL’s Facebook page.
o    Access online convention recordings. These are audio-synchronized, downloadable MP3 files, available 24 hours a day for your convenience.

You can get CEUs for attending the convention. TESOL partners with a local institution every year to get you CEUs for the Pre- and Postconvention Institutes, PreK-12 Day, Community College Day, and even the convention sessions. This argument is especially powerful if you are required to get a certain number of CEUs each year.

•    Remind your supervisor that there will be major and exclusive discounts on publications and other useful products from TESOL and other companies exhibiting at the convention.
•    Find a colleague who will cover for you during your time ​away. Your supervisor will appreciate your initiative and will see you as very responsible.
•    By arriving early you can take advantage of full and half day preconvention workshops or PreK-12 Day, and Community College Day for an additional cost.

Ways to Save
Although your attendance at the convention can be seen as an expense, you can show your supervisor the different ways you can help minimize the costs. Here are some ways you can save:

•    Consider sharing your hotel room with another attendee. TESOL ​offers an online system to help you find a roommate as part of the registration process.
•    If you become a member for $98 you can get the member registration rate of $345. (Register by 22 January 2016) The nonmember registration rate is $585, so you’ll save $240—and you’ll get TESOL Member Benefits throughout the year, which includes free webinars.
•    Get a co-worker to attend the convention with you (up to 4) and if you register by 22 January 2016, his/her registration will be $325. That’s a $20 savings.
•    Are you a student? If you qualify for the Student Membership, your dues would be $35 and your registration would be $150. You’ll save $435 off the nonmember rate or $195 off the member rate. To see if you qualify for student membership, visit the TESOL membership page.
•    TESOL offers a discounted rate for a group of five or more attendees from the same institution. Each registration will be $310 if everybody is a member. That’s a $35 savings for each registration.

Expenses vs. Benefits
Though you can easily see the benefits of attending the convention, you may need to show your supervisor that the benefits exceed the expenses. Try to list concrete benefits that your attendance will bring not only to you, but also to your workplace. Rather than focus on how much you want to attend the convention, focus on how the benefits of attendance will help meet current workplace needs. Compare those benefits with the expenses and be prepared to sell your points to your supervisor. The following tables will help you get started.
Expense Cost
Convention registration $
Ticketed events (PCIs, K-12 Dream Day, TESOL LDCP) $
Flight $
Lodging $
Transportation: airport to hotel $
Transportation: hotel to airport $
Mileage reimbursement (if driving to conference) $
Parking reimbursement (at airport for flight departure, or at hotel where conference is located) $
Food per diem $
Total Expense $


Benefits to Your Employer

How Do Benefits Meet Current Needs?



New knowledge, training, enhanced expertise


New specific knowledge or training to share with colleagues


Teambuilding (if sending a group)


Learning about new technology and tools


Learning new workplace processes


Learning about the latest research


Exposure to useful new products and services (Exhibit Hall)


Remember: You should be ready to answer any question that your supervisor may have. After you provide all the necessary information to your supervisor, he/she will assess the information before making the decision. Your supervisor’s decision will likely depend on the information you provide and how well you sell the benefits of attending the convention. Good luck!

Justification Letter for Your Supervisor