KATESOL Spring Conference in Hays, Kansas!

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Leading Edge of TESOL Comes to Kansas
ELL Educators, SLA Scholars, State and Federal Officials to Meet at KATESOL Spring Conference

"Advocating for Language Learners in the Era of No Child Left Behind" is the theme of the 2004 KATESOL/BE Spring Conference, March 12-13, in Hays, Kansas. Because high stakes assessments are the salient feature of NCLB, particularly regarding English language learners, the conference in Hays will include a keynote speech and two workshop sessions by Rebecca Kopriva, Director of the Center for the Study of Assessment Validity and Evaluation (C-SAVE), at the University of Maryland. This assessment workshop will be of special interest to P-12 practitioners seeking continuing education units.

The 2004 KATESOL Spring Conference will be co-hosted by the Hays Language Institute and the Department of Special Education/ESOL, in the College of Education and Technology, Fort Hays State University. While most of the academic presentations and concurrent sessions will be held on Saturday, March 13, there will also be an opening ceremony on Friday evening, in the FHSU Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center, with welcoming statements from Fort Hays State University and the Hays Language Institute. Friday's opening ceremony will be free and open to the public, who can also enjoy presentations in English by international students from the Hays Language Institute. Dr. Edward Hammond, President of Fort Hays State University, will give welcoming remarks on behalf of the Fort Hays community. Dr. Andy Tompkins, State of Kansas Commissioner of Education will give the keynote address on Friday evening at 6:30 P.M. Dr. Tompkins will speak on the progress being made by English language learners in Kansas schools and what the KATESOL organization can do to assist the Kansas State Department of Education in its ongoing efforts to enhance the learning experiences of the state's culturally and linguistically diverse students. Following Commissioner Tompkins' address, Dr. Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California, will speak.

Nearly anyone connected to ESOL and language learning recognizes the important contributions made by Stephen Krashen, co-author of "The Natural Approach" (1983, Prentice Hall), whose concepts of the affective filter and comprehensible input have influenced hundreds of thousands of teachers around the world. His keynote speech at the 2004 KATESOL Spring Conference is titled "Six Short Talks," and will address issues such as phonemic awareness, the National Reading Panel, phonics versus whole language, bilingual education and the role of reading for pleasure in the language learning and educational process. His appearance in Hays will be Stephen Krashen's first trip to Kansas, soon to be followed by his participation at the Diversity Institute in Garden City, Kansas, in August, 2004.

The first session on Saturday morning, in the Keynote room, Rarick Hall 301, will be the KATESOL/BE Annual Business meeting, presided over by Chris Renner, KATESOL/BE President.

Keynote speakers on Saturday, March 13, include well-known and highly respected ESL professionals in the fields of assessment, learning styles, teacher education, diversity and second language acquisition research and practice. Following Rebecca Kopriva's keynote address will be a morning keynote by Bill VanPatten. Bill VanPatten is Director of the Spanish Language Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and author of a new textbook on second language instruction, "From Input to Output: A Teacher's Guide to Second Language Acquisition Theory" (2003, McGraw-Hill). The Special Education/ESOL Department at Fort Hays uses the VanPatten book as a required text for the ESOL Linguistics course, in its ESOL endorsement program. At the KATESOL Spring Conference, VanPatten will speak on "The Fundamental Similarity Hypothesis and the Contextual Difference Hypothesis," his most recent research findings.

The keynote speaker at lunch, in Fort Hays State University's exclusive Black and Gold Room, will be Jackie Boyd, a professor in the College of Education at Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas. Boyd is responsible for pre-service teacher education at Haskell, and has years of experience teaching at the elementary school level. She will speak on "Diversity in the Context of No Child Left Behind," and her presentation will address American Indian education and preservation of American Indian languages and cultures.

Following the dinner keynote by Jackie Boyd, all the keynote speakers will present a panel discussion on the needs of English language learners in Kansas schools today. Conference-goers will be able to ask questions to direct the course of this panel discussion.

For Joy Reid--author of the ESL classic, "The Process of Composition" (3rd edition, 1999, Pearson ESL), and Professor of English at the University of Wyoming, where she teaches writing, linguistics, and ESL methods and coordinates the ESL support program--the trip to Hays for the 2004 KATESOL Spring Conference is a homecoming of sorts. She started her ESL teaching career at the Applied English Center, University of Kansas, in Lawrence, as a stop-gap measure, after the Topeka tornado of 1966 destroyed the Washburn campus where she had been scheduled to teach English that year. Joy Reid's keynote speech is titled "Ear Learners and Learning Styles." She expressed happiness that she was invited to speak at KATESOL this year, since she is retiring after the spring and it will be much harder to get to Kansas from Hawaii.

Joy Reid's keynote speech in the afternoon will be followed by the second annual Roundtable of Kansas ESOL Endorsement Program Directors, where representatives from Fort Hays, Emporia State, Wichita State, Kansas Neuman, Kansas State, Kansas University and Pittsburg State will continue their discussion of how to better coordinate program offerings to serve the growing needs of public school districts across the state of Kansas.

Other highlights include concurrent sessions by ESL teachers and teacher educators at Sterling College, Pittsburg State University, Emporia State University, Kansas State University, Dodge City Community College and the University of Kansas, as well as a special "No Child Left Behind" overview and Q&A session with Program Specialists Ana Garcia and Lorena Dickerson from the English Language Acquisition Office at the U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

For more information about the conference, and for an online proposal submission form, KATESOL members and their colleagues are invited to access www.fhsu.edu/katesol/spring2004 . Pearson ESL, Longman and Hampton-Brown are among the first publishers who have indicated they will have representatives at the 2004 KATESOL Spring Conference to share the latest ESOL materials and resources. The KATESOL/BE Web site, www.fhsu.edu/katesol , is the best place to go for the latest information about what promises to be one of the most exciting, enjoyable and productive meetings of language teaching professionals in the 21 year history of the organization.

Report by Robb Scott, Hays, KANSAS

2003 ESL MiniConference Online