GUST hosts the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Kuwait Conference for the Fourth Time
GUST hosted the fourth annual Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Conference at its campus in Mishref, carrying the theme “Promoting English Language Teaching (ELT): Perspectives and New Horizons.” 500 local and regional educators who teach English attended the event.
The event was attended by a number of leading academics including the Ambassador of the United States to Kuwait, Lawrence Silverman, US Embassy Cultural Attaché, Dr. Zennia Paganini, Algonquin College President, Dr. David McHardy, Algonquin College Academic Chair, Dr. Debra McDermott, as well as GUST students and faculty.
The conference welcomed two renowned keynote speakers in the field of ELT, namely, Dr. David Nunan, an Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong, Professor of Education at University of New South Wales, Australia, and President Emeritus at Anaheim University, California. Nunan has published over 100 scholarly books and articles, and authored several textbook series for the teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language. The second keynote speaker was Dr. Jack Richards from the University of Sydney, Australia, who also teaches at the University of Auckland, Victoria University, Wellington, and at RELC, a prominent English language center in Singapore. Richards is a frequent presenter worldwide and has written over 150 books and articles on language teaching as well as many widely used classroom textbooks.
GUST Foundation Program Director and TESOL Kuwait’s President, Dr. Ilene Winokur, said, “This year’s conference was especially interesting because we were honored to have two keynote speakers who are well-known to the ELT community. In addition, the first ever English Language Arts Festival was presented by the REALL Special Interest Group. The TESOL Kuwait annual conference is a wonderful way to learn more about what’s new in English language teaching and network with other ELT professionals.”
The conference brought together updates on the progress, advancements, and transformations in English Language Teaching (ELT). It also welcomed intellectuals and educators from different backgrounds to exchange ideas, interact with colleagues, and benefit from invaluable expertise offered by the speakers. In TESOL Kuwait’s continuing effort to present useful sessions, new interactive and innovative ideas were put forth in featured workshops and panel discussions on research and using arts to learn language.
Professor Donald Bates, GUST President, said, “I would like to thank Dr. Ilene Winokur, for her dedication to this unique conference. Through this event, TESOL Kuwait has been able to engage hundreds of professionals to collaborate locally, and create a world of opportunity for people of all ages who want to learn English.”
TESOL Kuwait is a non-profit organization of teachers to speakers of other languages affiliated with the U.S. based TESOL International, which houses 46,000 members worldwide. TESOL seeks to improve the teaching and learning of English, and content subjects to non-native speakers of English. It is a professional community committed to advancing excellence in English language teaching; fostering the exchange of ideas, research and peer-to-peer knowledge, and providing expertise, resources, and a voice on issues affecting the profession.
Conference Chair, Rana Khan, said, “TESOL is all about promoting professional development in the field of English Language and that’s why we decided to promote ELT this year, in all its perspectives, existing and changing. This year’s theme reflects on the necessity of adapting to the new technological era we are living in by creating and fostering new designs, approaches, and methods for improving teaching English to speakers of other languages, as well as for facing new challenges in the field.”
There were four other featured speakers during the conference, including Dr. Christine Coombe, from Dubai Men’s College, UAE, Dr. Mashael Al-Hamly, from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and Dr. Christine Sabieh, from Notre Dame University, Lebanon, who discussed the challenges and opportunities of researching ELT in the Middle East. The conference also included a talk about the color vowel chart as a tool for teaching pronunciation, by Megan Calvert from English Language Teaching Solutions; as well as a panel discussion, entitled ‘Realizing English through Drama in Kuwait: Panacea or Pandora’s Box?’. The conference, which was sponsored by GUST, That Al Salasil, and Qatar Airways, also included over 30 workshops, presentations and panel discussions for the attendees to choose from based on their specialties and interests. The conference concluded with a networking dinner organized with local businesses to promote English language teaching and learning in the work environment.
GUST takes a special interest in solidifying the teaching of the English language, which is reflected in the international standards implemented in its English Foundation Program, which was accredited by the CEA in 2013. The university continuously implements the best methods to develop its curricula, and ensures a premier educational experience for its students.