CATESOL Conference Highlights Practical ESL Teaching Techniques

Are you looking to share practical techniques with your fellow English teachers? What works in your ESL classroom? What tends to work in other ESL classrooms? Why?

The Los Angeles Regional CATESOL conference, titled “WWW. What Works and Why” at Biola University on October 25 features over 60 workshops and panel discussions. The annual event is expected to attract over 500 ESL professions from K-12 classes, adult education, IEP, and community college and university programs. CATESOL members receive a discount on the conference fee.

Do you live in Southern California? Do you have plans for October 25th yet? Visit if you are interested. This regional conference is larger than many state conferences and reflects the importance of studying English to immigrants in Los Angeles – especially during economically difficult times.

By the way, I will be giving a 45-minute presentation titled “Techniques for a More Democratic Classroom” and a joint presentation titled “Creating Win-Win Workplace English Programs That Work for Both Employers and Employees.”

In my solo presentation, I will review classroom practices like tailoring assignments for individual students, effective peer evaluations, and organizing students to create classroom materials. Some exercises come from Compelling Conversations, but most exercises are practices that I’ve developed over time in both writing and speaking courses.

The second presentation, with Troy Parr, comes out of a series of vocational ESL workshops that we designed for an important union for healthcare workers, the SEIU, in Los Angeles. (The director of their workplace educational programs read Compelling Conversations., and contacted me. I brought in Troy, who wrote his thesis on best practices in workplace ESL programs.) We emphasize the importance of creating practical, participant specific exercises that both introduce new workplace vocabulary and provide many opportunities to speak, write, and reflect on workplace issues – in English. These workshop exercise such as rewriting forms, writing memos, and giving presentations on safety tips also help students develop their language skills for beyond their immediate job.

Naturally, I hope you can make the LA Regional CATESOL conference. See you there?

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