Fourth Annual PEACE AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE Conference, Nov. 11-13, 2005, Kyoto, JAPAN

September 2005

Hurricane Impacts SE TESOL

Coming Midwest Events

New Round of Profiles

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ESL MiniConference Online!

New Round of Profiles Launches
Interviews with ESL/EFL Leaders to Raise Awareness of Latest Trends, Deep Traditions

One of the distinguishing features of ESL MiniConference Online is our collection of Achievement Profile interviews with teachers, administrators, researchers, and authors who have influenced and continue to make a positive difference in the ESL/EFL teaching and learning professions.

These interviews were intended to reflect the deep history of our profession, provide guidance to prospective and novice ESL/EFL teachers, and to inspire veteran educators to recharge and reconstruct their careers.

Effects of these articles have been nationwide as well as global. In Japan, a JALT affiliate organized a monthly meeting around the debates which developed out of dueling interviews with Stephen Krashen and Robert O'Neill. ESL teacher educators in the United States wrote to share how they are utilizing those same articles as part of university training programs.

Washington State TESOL (WATESOL) built their 2002 conference, with a theme of "Languages of the Heart," around an historic plenary address from the famous Betty Azar, author of the influential "Understanding English Grammar" textbook series. In a letter to the ESL MiniConference, WATESOL's Carol Gillespie said, "Thank you for doing that interview, or I might never have had the tenacity to make all the contacts I needed to make to get Betty for our featured speaker." WATESOL taped that presentation, and it is now available for free downloading as eight separate Real Player audio files, courtesy of the ESL MiniConference Online.

The mission of ESL MiniConference Online, as given on the "About Us" page, explains the purpose and context of the profile interviews.

When ESL/EFL practitioners go to a conference, there is almost a kind of electricity in the air. We rekindle relationships with colleagues, share insights from experience and celebrate our profession. The ESL MiniConference Online keeps that conference spirit going all year round. The "keynote" speeches at the ESL MiniConference are our "Achievement Profiles," interviews with ESL leaders, who describe their own professional development and give advice to new teachers.

The Achievement Profile interviews stand as a unique contribution to the ESL/EFL profession, bridging our past, present, and future. More than 11,000 different readers each month access articles on the ESL MiniConference newsletter, mostly utlizing the timeless resources provided by our Achievement Profiles. The first round of 39 profiles has also been compiled in a free book, "Transition, Turmoil and Hope: the ESL Profession After 9-11," which has been downloaded 500+ times monthly since April, 2005, with more than 900 downloads last month, in August.

During the fall season of 2005, the ESL MiniConference Online will start to unveil a much anticipated second round of Achievement Profiles. Our field is undergoing massive shifts which no longer can be attributed to a single event such as September 11th. There is a big push for more practical approaches to ESL and EFL, outside the traditional higher ed context.

There is greater awareness of what might be called "post-post-colonialism," and the need to peel away the sociocultural trappings of decades of English-teaching practices abroad. In the United States and other English-majority nations, there are compelling debates over how best to meet the educational and language-learning needs of first, second, and third generation immigrant communities, as well as challenges posed by resurgent nativism, xenophobia and baldly racist and separatist movements.

The following are some of the first individuals who have agreed to be interviewed to kick off this new round of Achievement Profiles:

Charles Adamson, Miyagi University, Japan
James Asher, Originator, Total Physical Response
Mary Giles, National Resource Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies, Harvard University
Diane Larsen-Freeman, English Language Institute, Department of Linguistics, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Virginia LoCastro, Department of Linguistics, University of Florida
Suchada Nimmannit, Chulalongkorn University Language Institute, Thailand, TESOL Board of Directors
Dave Sperling, Founder, Dave’s ESL Café
Bruce Veldhuisen, Founder, TEFL International

These interviews will be posted at ESL MiniConference Online over the next several months, hopefully to be followed by others already invited as well as new interviews proposed by readers and subscribers of the ESL MiniConference newsletter. To suggest a colleague, mentor, or hero for an Achievement Profile, please send a note to

Article by Robb Scott

2005 ESL MiniConference Online