Meeting Challenges, Exploring Solutions

in the Adult ESOL Classroom

Conference 2019

University Center, 63 Fifth Ave, New York, NY

September 28th, 2019


Plenary 9:30am-10:45am

Join us for this one-day conference that provides English Language Teaching professionals with a space to learn from one another, share ideas, and network.

The 5th MCES Conference will take place on Saturday, September 28th at the University Center of The New School Campus.The New School maintains a long tradition of excellence in the training of teachers of English to speakers of other languages. We welcome participation by professionals who seek to address critical issues in the field and hone their own craft.

The plenary speaker will be renowned author and teacher Scott Thornbury, who will deliver a talk called "Teaching: The Long Conversation."

Plenary summary:

"The New School was founded on the educational principle (as one of its founders, John Dewey termed it) of ‘the continuity of experience’: what the learner discovers through interacting in one context should be transferable to another: ‘The process goes on as long as life and learning continue’. Moreover, ‘the two principles of continuity and interaction are not separate from each other.’ Given the central role of talk in this experiential continuum, it has been likened to a ‘long conversation’ – an image particularly appropriate in the teaching of languages, where language is both the subject and the process of learning. In this talk, I want to celebrate the New School’s centenary by developing this idea and showing how it applies to the teaching of English as well as to the ongoing development of teachers themselves."

**PLEASE NOTE on-the-day payments can only be made via Credit or Debit Card. Pre-purchase via Eventbrite is strongly preferred**

Register Here.

Presenter Sessions

Teaching the Art of Collaboration

Tamar Samir

Good collaboration is the heart of creativity and innovation. However, cross-cultural collaboration can be challenging without structure, and without implicit instruction and practice of collaboration skills. We’ll review a scaffolded collaborative process, from low risk collaboration to a high stakes public team presentation. Participants will leave with resources for scaffolding and teaching collaboration as a learning outcome.

Practical Approaches for finding what Adult ESOL Programs Should Teach

Clarie Marinello, Roshii Jolly, Leo Schmitt, Derek Beacher

Adult ESOL programs must often deal with an extremely broad range of learners with diverse needs. Designing a curriculum that accommodates student needs while being flexible enough for both new and veteran teachers is enormously challenging. This presentation highlights successful approaches taken to provide both flexibility and rigor.

Reading Explorer Video Presentation (Scroll down the page to view video)

Cheri Allen

National Geographic Presentation

What Emergent Bi/Multilingual Adults Expect, What Their Instructors Need

David Housel

This workshop will explore the findings from a qualitative research study of interviews conducted among instructors and adult bi/multilingual learners in postsecondary settings. Students’ perceptions about how instructors address their academic and psychosocial needs and whether instructors themselves feel adequately equipped to address situations in their classrooms will be discussed.

Humpty Dumpty After the fall: Growth Mindset approach to Learning/Teaching

Yanire Montanez

During this workshop participants will participate in hands on activities in how to build growth mindset culture where students are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential. Teachers will learn to address and present challenges to students where they will accept them instead of walking away from them. Teachers will learn the importance of differentiating lessons and providing a culturally responsive classroom to all learners, and teach them the power of Yet.

A website for every class

Christopher Nazzarro

Using a website for every class has never been easier! I make websites, usually in Google sites or, and they are quite easy to copy or emulate using your New School/Google account! The sites include vital information about the class: notes, pictures of the board, videos, links, homework assignments, a Google calendar outlining each lesson, and more. Never will one encounter paper (unless in a book) in my class; paperlessness is a moral imperative and a personal choice, not to mention the aesthetics and lighter bags! Class materials are all on the web, accessible on smartphone, tablet, wearable, and computer alike. Please join me on this 21st-century teaching adventure, and maybe, come away with your own website, or the confidence to build one.

Vocabulary: Fundamentals of Acquisition, Instruction, and Selection

Christopher Collins

Vocabulary learning is a fundamental component of language acquisition, but one that presents challenges for learners, teachers, and materials writers. In this presentation, the speaker will do an overview of vocabulary learning from these perspectives and explain how he attempts to put theory into practice in an academic context.

Exploring Empowering Solutions Through Conscious Acts of Kindness

Suzanne Kaplan-Fonseca

Engage in an integrated skills project (resources provided) that challenges students to become heroes. Students conceptualize, perform, and report on acts of kindness, empowering them as heroes and narrators. One former student noted, “This project helped me translate not only my words, but my actions - who I am - into English.”

Exceptions Rule: Teaching and Learning Grammar by Exploring Natural Language Variation

Kim Edmunds

This workshop models an approach that uses authentic but atypical language samples – which seem to flout the “rules” – as a springboard for hands-on investigation of grammar. Participants will gain concrete ideas for using “exceptions” to explore several common grammar points.

Increasing motivation and vocabulary with a budding expert project

Abby Mack

This session will share a project in which Intermediate students are given guidance to pursue their own interests to enhance their motivation and improve their vocabulary. Learners begin to gain control of the vocabulary used and are able to develop fluency on the topic. The workshop will share modifiable materials, and insights on facilitating this project.

Integrating Task-Based Pronunciation Activities into ESL Speaking Classes

Mary Ritter

How can we bridge the gap between the pronunciation drill and meaningful dialogue? Listening and speaking textbooks devote little time to pronunciation exercises; similarly, pronunciation textbooks provide few task-based exercises. This workshop explores materials that improve our students’ grasp of pragmatics while providing opportunities to work on their pronunciation.

‘Let’s Hay' Some Pure, Dead, Brilliant Fun!

Pauline Blake-Johnston

As an ESOL practitioner and manager that faces relentless pressure to get our learners to ‘perform’ – pass exams, progress levels, attain, achieve, produce, attend etc – so that my institution can continue to draw down precious funding, I beg the question……are our classrooms becoming boring? Are we really enthusing our students to engage in the language we’re so desperately trying to get them to attain, achieve, progress in and produce? Or are we so focussed on the demands from our institutions that our classrooms sometimes feel like a never-ending hamster wheel of expectation and tick boxes for our student’s achievements?

Concerned that in my own teaching I was too focused on ensuring that I was engaging my students in meaningful language activities to fulfill the needs of my administration, I felt that I had forgotten to ensure that I was also creating an enjoyable and fun ambience in the classroom while we did that – so, I wanted to explore some fun elements I could introduce easily.

Let me share with you some of the entertaining teaching activities I use in my classrooms to lighten up both my own experience of teaching, and also the experience of my learners. This is a light hearted chance to learn, or perhaps, re-learn some fun and easy elements you could introduce in your classroom that might just ease the burden of what drives our results and reminds of how to have fun in the classroom with our students.

As we say in Scotland – let’s hay some pure, dead, brilliant fun!

Reciprocal teaching for Listening Comprehension

Abby Mack

Language learners feel overwhelmed when working through listening materials. What can be done

to improve the listening experience for students? This presentation focuses on providing students with a research-based instructional strategy, reciprocal teaching, that allows them to break down a listening text with their peers in order to comprehend it.

Using Linguistic Landscapes to Strengthen Literacy Skills and Cultural Insight

Patrick Russell

Too often, students fail to apply the reading strategies and skills they learn in class to their day-to-day lives. Participants in this presentation will learn how linguistic landscapes (e.g. public signage) can be pragmatically used by students to strengthen and assess the literacy skills they are learning in the classroom.

Advocating for Change through Teaching

Becca Reed

If you've ever wondered how you can get involved in advocacy and lobbying efforts towards more inclusive, sensitive education policy, this is the session for you. Not only will you learn about advocacy and the long-game of political engagement, but you'll take home a tool you can implement in your classroom to address social issues and practice problem-solving and critical thinking with your learners. Participants will work in small groups to find practical solutions to real-life scenarios through a bridge activity.

A Few Of My Favorite EdTech Things

Debbie Coutavas

Did you ever wish you could have your students use their smartphones in class for something other than secretly texting? In this workshop we will explore how to survey your students on the spot, and how to get the most out of Siri.

How to Know "WhatsApp"

Sarah Custen

Do you want to expand learning beyond the classroom? Are you looking for a way to further engage your students and build community? Want your students to use their phones for the power of good and not evil? Come to this workshop; figure out WhatsApp.

Expanding Language Learning through Math and Science Readings and Activities

Elena Boyadjieva

Math and science readings can bring the second language closer to the students. The subject matter can be presented relatable to previous experiences and individual differences; can be organized engaging the senses, the affect and logical thinking. Language structures and specific academic vocabulary can be learned and reinforced.

Other presentations will include the State Department, NYS TESOL and National Geographic.