by Kirti Kapur and Ruchi Kaushik
TESOL 2016 marked a historic occasion in the history of the association as it celebrated its 50 years of existence. Both of us represented FORTELL at this prestigious international convention and English Language Expo, held from 5-8 April 2016 at Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where the ELT community participated in huge numbers. The convention included keynote presentations by Aziz Abu Sarah, Andy Curtis, Jeanette Altarriba and Anne Curzan on themes such as Education and Peace, Transcending Linguistic Borders, 50 years of the Discipline, etc.
As the Secretary of FORTELL, Ruchi Kaushik participated in several interactive Affiliate Sessions held over four days of the convention, where affiliate leaders from all over the world shared details of the professional activities of their respective associations and offered comments and suggestions to their colleagues, based on their experiences of running local associations. Several common issues such as running an ELT organization with minimal financial help; developing member engagement plans; building partnerships through collaborations, etc., were discussed. On 7 April 2016 (3-4 p.m.), we jointly hosted the Affiliate Booth and shared information about FORTELL and its activities with teachers, authors, trainers, etc. who visited our stall, showed keenness to know more about the Fortell journal and expressed their desire to publish in it. We received a good response at this fruitful session and succeeded in firmly establishing the presence of FORTELL, India in the world’s ELT fraternity.
Both of us made presentations at the Convention as well. Kirti Kapur facilitated the round table discussion titled, “Curricular Expectations for English: Across Stages and Borders” on 6 April, where she explained the need for designing learning indicators as well as the process for designing them to achieve standard curricular expectations of English language learning. She explained how they facilitate in-curriculum transactions i.e., pedagogy, thereby providing opportunities to accommodate different learning styles and multiple intelligences. Thus, the continuum and implications of achieving curricular expectations in ELT across stages and borders was established. This was followed by a very insightful discussion with the other participants.
Later in the afternoon, the book titled Social Justice in English Language Teaching was launched in which Kirti Kapur was one of the contributors and had authored the chapter titled “Gender Sensitization as a Learning Outcome”. Kirti Kapur also represented India at the authors’ meet and discussed the need for gender parity in content and discourse.
Ruchi Kaushik conducted a teacher-training workshop titled “Designing Games for Language Gains: Enhancing Speaking Skills among Learners” on 7 April. To address the varied language needs of their learners, teachers are often required to supplement learning materials with self-designed activities. Using her teaching examples, Ruchi demonstrated to teachers how to design innovative language games for enhancing speaking skills, participation and active learning amongst heterogeneous learners at the tertiary level.
Interactions across cultures, shared insights and diversity of experience enriched both pre and post-convention activities, making our experience academically rewarding. It was indeed a proud moment for us to represent FORTELL at TESOL’s 50 Anniversary Convention as well as to individually present sessions on significant themes in ELT, which were widely appreciated by participants from across the globe.