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ESL Symposium 2017 Gets Rave Reviews

Chaired by Toby Brody, Senior Lecturer Emerita and former Foreign Languages and Literatures ESL Program Director, the NC State ESL Symposium 2017 was a smashing success. Some comments from participants:

Marvelous Symposium! Organization, presenters and quality: SUPERB! … Incredible professional development activity! … FELICIDADES Cathy Harrison and Toby Brody!! Ustedes son fenomenales … I am so thankful to have experienced the ESL Symposium at NC State University. As a new teacher, it has really opened my eyes to the field and has given me a lot of ideas to go back to the classroom with … the crème de la crème of second language acquisition experts … This was a great event and the food was excellent! … I would encourage anyone to come to the ESL Symposium. It is a terrific conference.

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Linda Grant (left), pronunciation expert and textbook author, with Carolyn Quarterman, NC State Senior Lecturer and Director, the Summer Institute in English.

The Symposium, hosted by the NC State Office of Professional Development and held at the McKimmon Center May 19-20, brought together hundreds of ESL teachers, specialists, and publishers for an enriching two days of professional development and community-building.

The first Symposium was held in 2002 as part of a Title VII Training for All Teachers Federal Grant. After a few years’ hiatus, it was reinstituted in 2016 and focused on the inclusion of community partners. Collaborating partners are The NC Department of Public Instruction, the English Language Training Institute at UNC Charlotte, The Triangle Literacy Council, North Carolina Community Colleges, and Carolina TESOL.

Opening remarks were delivered by José A. Viana, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) for the US Department of Education.

Other speakers included Ester de Jong, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association President; Linda Grant, well known pronunciation expert and textbook author; Deborah Short, Senior Research Associate, Center for Applied Linguistics and co-developer of the SIOP Model for sheltered instruction; and Tatyana Kleyn, Associate Professor and Bilingual Education Program Direct at the City College of New York (CUNY). Dr. Kleyn directed and co-produced the documentary film Una Vida, Dos Países: Children and Youth (Back) in Mexico which was screened at the Symposium.

Also screened was a preview of Democracy for Sale with native son, Hollywood star and NC State alumnus Zach Galifianakis, who investigates how North Carolina has become a bellwether for how the money of a few has come to dominate our democracy.

Serving as Symposium co-chair was Cathy Harrison, EIS (English for International Students) instructor at Duke University. As a former ESL instructor at NC State, she was the assistant director of the K-12 ESL licensure program and was instrumental in establishing the NC State TESOL certificate for prospective teachers.

In addition to the outstanding speakers, there were sessions by invited presenters on a wide range of topics, including bilingual and dual language/immersion pedagogies, ESL writing and assessment, ESL and science, empowering adult learners, applying the latest research to the pronunciation class, professional development for mainstream teachers, using technology in the classroom, visual notetaking, and living undocumented.

The NC State ESL Symposium is unrivaled in terms of comprehensiveness of content, organization, and quality of speakers and session presenters. Indeed, some of the speakers at the recent International TESOL Conference in Seattle presented at the Symposium here in Raleigh.

This conference provided a unique and highly rewarding experience to a variety of ESL professionals in North Carolina and beyond. Visit the Symposium website for more information and photos and videos of participants.

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Cathy Harrison, Symposium Co-chair, with Bill Bliss, author and immigrant advocate.
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José A. Viana, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) for the US Department of Education, with participant.