A conference to remember
American football has the Super Bowl, tennis has Wimbledon and soccer has the World Cup.
On the English language teaching calendar in Korea, there is no greater spectacle than the Korea TESOL International Conference. It’s a gathering like no other.
Every year Sookmyung Women’s University, in Seoul, opens its doors to a thousand educators from all over the world.
This year the grandest conference of them all took place on Oct. 12 and 13.
The plenary speakers were Dr. Rod Ellis and Dr. Andrew D. Cohen, two of the most famous names in the world of English language teaching. Dr. Ellis enthralled the audience with a talk on task-based language teaching, an approach he is widely known and applauded for.
It is an approach that is used in every corner of the globe because it places greater emphasis on the learner, rather than the teacher. The classroom becomes a hub of activity and autonomy.
Dr. Cohen, who is currently learning his 13th language (yes, you read that right), spoke on the pitfalls of using apps, such as Google Translate, for fine-tuning meaning. In his view, Google Translate is only accurate 60 percent of the time, which means there is still a long way to go before technology replaces teachers. In addition to the plenary speakers, there were a number of notable featured speakers.
Among them was Dr. Boyoung Lee, formerly of Ewha Womans University, who shared her insight into the organic development of successful learning experiences.
The International Conference was not just about speeches. There were other events, too, such as KOTESOL Gives Back, a resoundingly successful fundraiser for Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) and Korea Unwed Mothers’ Families Association (KUMFA), which raised a whopping 1.3 million Korean won.
The annual Members Wineand-Cheese Social also allowed for KOTESOL members to mingle, swap business cards and take selfies, all while consuming some fine wine and dairy products.
The 2019 Korea TESOL International Conference was a conference to remember. In other words: Dr. Lee Bo-young, “KOTESOL has always been my biggest inspiration!” Dr. Rod Ellis, “I thought it an excellent conference.” Dr. Curtis Kelly, “This was the best KOTESOL [International Conference] ever!”
There is no doubt that everyone will be back at Sookmyung Women’s University next year for another memorable get-together of academic minds, passionate educators and pure love for professional development.