ELLSA Conference 2013

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English Language Learning Specialists in Asia 2013

Learning in a “High Challenge, High Support” classroom: Supporting Success for English Language Learners in International Schools

The inaugural conference was alight with enthusiastic English Language specialists in Asia. With millions of language learners in the region, a conference of this sort was long time coming. As Stroupe (2011) has highlighted, many Asian English Language Learners (ELLs) have a positive view about using English in classrooms especially with their governments implementing educational policies to support this learning.

A conference or workshop is always a good excuse to head out of school for a few days. Indeed, it is a rejuvenating experience, in my opinion, to get out of one’s little comfort zone, explore a new city and be challenged with new ideas. Many of the sessions at ELLSA were an affirmation for me – of my teaching methodology and the teacher training programme I conduct in school.

Pauline Gibbons, English language education guru, opened the conference with her keynote speech on the pedagogy of explicit teaching of the English language as a scaffold for ELLs; an affirmation for many of us, like a pat on the back before we headed off to our selected workshops. Every topic was backed by research and experience. Every one a chance to share our successes and frustrations. It was good to know that many of us have had similar experiences.

*Collaboration with mainstream classroom teachers is an ongoing work in progress

*Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) can happen through collaboration

*Scaffolding learners in mainstream classrooms is a necessity in the 21st century

*Technology is our friend especially in today’s classroom

*L1 development is vital along side L2 or L3 acquisition despite the desire to intensify English language learning

**ESL/EAL teachers are not the panacea for learning difficulties or students’ inability to access the curriculum

I walked away from the conference believing in myself as an ESL specialist a little bit more. There are now many more books I want to read and many more activities I would like to try. On my to-do list:

*work with my fellow ESL teachers to create a framework for collaboration and co-teaching

*incorporate more practical activities and strategies in my PD sessions in school

*put together an improved PD on Academic Language for the teachers

Despite having to learn the conference and Bangkok city, we agreed that the conference provided a wonderful networking opportunity and many a name card and emails were exchanged. Nothing could put a damper on our experience as English Language Specialists in Asia, not even the red nor yellow shirts.

A fabulous #ELLSA… wishing more good years

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About mrsmissoveness

I'm Heading the EAL dept and Teaching ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom (TESMC) trainer on Jeju island, South Korea. I'm enjoying the IT revolution in the classroom and discovering new IT tools to support my lessons. Reading is at the top of my list: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go" Dr Seuss, I can read with my eyes shut. Learning Korean is my biggest challenge at this point in time. However, a word a day is my target.

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