Conference Chair's Welcome

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Message from the Conference Chair

The Korea TESOL International Conference Committee is proud and excited to welcome you and let you know what’s in store for you at this year’s international conference.  This year’s conference promises future memories and a glimpse of what KOTESOL will look like in the coming years.

Back in the early 1990’s I was privileged to serve as Co-chair for the KOTESOL International Conference, where the theme was Teaching English: From Theory to Practice. With this year it seems I have come full circle since our theme is Exploring the Road Less Traveled: from Practice to Theory. You might ask, “Well, which is it?  “From theory to practice”, which to me seems quite logical as it follows a seemingly scientific way of addressing an issue, or “from practice to theory” which posits looking at the situation, in our case language learning, from the opposite perspective.  Personally I think both approaches are equally valid.  Back in the late 90s KOTESOL became one of the original members of PAC, the Pan-Asian Consortium, which now includes about seven member language teaching organizations including JALT, Thai TESOL, ETA-ROC, FEELTA, MELTA and PETA. This consortium began because we wanted to promote action research within and between member organizations. And though action research can begin with some hypothesis about language learning, it can also begin with simple classroom observation, then use that observation to create the hypotheses for research.  Hmmmm.  Full circle, perhaps, but also possibly entering the same cycle, just at different times within that cycle. PAC continues to hold conferences hosted by its member organizations on a rotating basis. Thus we keep the original idea alive and help it prosper by sharing, collaborating and sharing again.

That is what this conference is about: sharing.  Sharing what we do in the classroom and sharing ways to take what we see and experience in the classroom and create, or “backward engineer”, theories that explain what we experience. Another really important and inextricably related theme for this conference is “reflection”. If you think about it, reflection is central to this process.  We start by looking at what we do in the classroom and then, through reflection, we attempt to make sense of what we did and what happened. And we see what emerges. I sincerely hope the 2013 international conference serves you well and that you are able to take away practices that will enhance your classroom and the learning experiences for your students. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank the entire 2013 IC Conference Committee for their tireless efforts to take Korea TESOL one step higher. Serving on the ICC takes dedication to KOTESOL and a belief that what we are doing can make a difference for our students.  What more can you ask of professionals than to voluntarily give their time and energy to benefit their colleagues and their profession? A noble cause by noble people for a noble profession.

We have also tried to lay the foundation for future conferences, particularly the 2014 conference.  I especially thank my Co-chair, Ralph Cousins, and Korea TESOL’s Publicity Chair, Patricia Marion for their invaluable efforts to look ahead and find opportunities to develop KOTESOL, through the IC, into an organization that serves its members more effectively and in new and dynamic ways. And without question, I must give a shout out to our esteemed president, Mijae Lee, for all of her support in making this conference happen. Lastly, I would like to thank Grace Wang for all her ideas and hard work in laying the groundwork for this conference.

Carl "Dusty" Dusthimer, Chair, International Conference Committee, 2013