During the last week of March, several Literacy Center staff members and instructors attended the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language) 2018 International Convention in Chicago. There were over 6,500 attendees and some 1,000 educational sessions to choose from, so we were able to meet and learn from other English teaching professionals from around the world.
We attended sessions on a number of topics, including best practices in working with refugees, aligning curriculum with standards, creating meaningful professional development, naturalization, and consumer literacy. Several of us shared a rented apartment for the conference. In addition to playing word games and sharing snacks each evening, we discussed what we had learned and planned what we would attend the next day so that we could spread out and reconvene later with new information.
One meaningful session we all attended was the opening keynote by Shabana Baij-Rasikh, founder of the only all-girls boarding school in Afghanistan. It was inspiring to hear stories of how girls in Afghanistan overcome daily, sometimes life-threatening barriers in order to gain an education. She highlighted just how valuable education is, and we were reminded how important our work and mission are. We’re back with fresh ideas, encouragement, and tools, and are excited to continue serving in our community!