The Best TESL Conferences of 2013

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Photo Credit: momentimedia

Photo Credit: momentimedia

TESL/TEFL conferences are like one-stop shops for professionals in the language teaching racket including workshops, inspiring lectures, demos of new materials and software, and a whole lot of networking.

As the industry becomes more globalized, conferences are popping up on every continent. Below are 9 TESOL conferences taking place over the next 12 months.

1. TESOL North America Conference

WHEN: March 20-23, 2013

WHERE: Dallas, Texas USA

TOPICS: This year’s theme is “Harmonizing Language, Heritage, and Cultures” Lectures include weaving motivational moments into language teaching. Eddy White’s featured session on Literacy Assessment sounds interesting, and wildly important for ESL eductors.

BONUS: Looking for a new gig? A job fair from both local and international businesses runs in tandem with the convention.

2. English Australia Conference 2011

WHEN: September 26-27th, 2013

WHERE: Perth, Australia

TOPICS: The theme, “It’s Still About the Students” and is touted as the annual ‘must attend’ event for everyone working in or associated with the English language sector of international education.

BONUS: English Australia’s conferences are unique in that they cater to a broad spectrum of professionals in the ESL field. Events address language teachers and administrators, but also student services staff, promoters, and suppliers.

3. TESL Ontario Annual Conference

WHEN: November 8-10, 2013

WHERE: Toronto, Canada

TOPICS: The title of the conference is “TESL Ontario at 40: Thriving, Excelling, Sharing, Leading” and the schedule has yet to be released. Last year, there were over 1500 attendees. From the plenary speakers, there were talks on identity and digital literacy, and breaking barriers with CALL.

BONUS: On the second night, this conference has a gala dinner with entertainment. Let’s assume they don’t mean jazz chants.

4. International MEXTESOL Convention

WHEN: November 7-10, 2013

WHERE: Queretaro. Mexico

TOPICS: Not much information has been released about this year’s event. However in past years, keynote talks have included such energizing topics “Revolutionizing Teaching: Classrooms that Honor Mistakes” and “Independent Learning through Emergentism.”

BONUS: A book expo runs each evening of the conference.

5. JALT International Conference

WHEN: October 25-28, 2013

WHERE: Kobe, Japan

TOPICS: The call for submissions is still open, which means the organizers are still working on this year’s program. In 2011, some notable talks at this conference were “Education for World Citizenship” and “Motivating the Unmotivated: do teachers have to do all the work?” Also, JALT’s special interest groups arrange forums throughout the conference where attendees can discuss focused issues.

BONUS: This conference offers a graduate student showcase where current students can present their dissertations. A satellite program within the conference, JALT Junior, emphasizes teaching young learners.

6. CamTESOL Conference on English Language Teaching

WHEN: February 23-24, 2013

WHERE: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

TOPICS: This one is coming up quick, but it sure does look awesome. With discussions about strategies to motivate students to speak English naturally and presentations about how to develop an English program for hotel staff, seems everyone will walk away with a wealth of new knowledge and ideas.

BONUS: At last year’s conference, over 500 teachers from provincial Cambodian schools were sponsored to attend the conference by various donors. To me, this sounds like a fantastic program that broadened the diversity of conference attendees.

7. International TESOL Arabia Conference

WHEN: March 14-17th, 2013


TOPICS: The theme for this year’s conference is From KG to College to Career and promises to dazzle you with speakers ready to challenge you with fresh ideas and insight. Past featured talks include the role of computer games in language teaching and developing websites as a classroom activity.

BONUS: Each annual conference runs a series of debates that sound pretty awesome. Last year’s topics included the validity of international exams and English as a medium for instruction in the Arab world.


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