SOURCE: TESL Ontario

TESL Ontario

October 14, 2014 16:32 ET

Keynote Michael McCarthy Addresses TESL Ontario Conference, Highlight of ESL Week

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 14, 2014) - Michael McCarthy, Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham UK, presents his keynote: "How Important is 'Spoken Grammar'?" to close to 1,000 language training professionals of TESL Ontario's annual conference (#TESL2014), the largest of its kind in Canada, beginning October 16. The 3-day event is one of the highlights of ESL (English as a Second Language) Week in Ontario, celebrating ESL education and learning.

McCarthy, co-author of 50 books and co-editor of more than 100 academic articles on corpus linguistics (the study of language as expressed in samples -- corpora -- of "real world" text), believes vocabulary is the key to learning a language. The biggest insight for him as a corpus researcher is the power of 'chunks' (i.e. 2 or 3-word phrases) in language, such as 'you know' (the 15th most frequent item), 'things like that', 'a lot of people', and 'know what I mean'. "I think chunks should be at the centre of vocabulary learning," he says. "Without them, fluency would be impossible."

The 42nd annual conference of TESL Ontario is themed: Integrating Language and Transcending Boundaries. "This theme aptly describes the current thinking in the world of ESL," says Barb Krukowski, Conference Chair. "If the goal of our programs is to help immigrants settle into their communities then we must accept that language is but one step along the pathway. In striving to meet their goals they will most likely need to transcend multiple boundaries along their path," she explains.

And multiple boundaries are also what the 4,600 English language training professionals, members of TESL Ontario, must transcend in their training and professional development. Not only do they need to know how to teach language and grammar and how students best learn English, they also need to know about a multitude of other things. ESL instructors in the many different programs available throughout Ontario such as LINC, EAL, OSLT, TEFL*, to name a few, are often the first contacts that newcomers to Canada make. So they must be knowledgeable about community support services, how to apply for a driver's license and Canadian citizenship, cultural identity, the latest technology aids for the electronic classroom, job applications, employment coaching and networking, health and nutrition, and new classroom strategies and tools for making learning fun.

Topics such as these are among the 160+ different professional development sessions that delegates may choose when they attend this conference October 16-18 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The Technology Fair offers 10 tech labs and 12 tech presentations such as 'Moodle' basics, selecting and implementing ESL mobile apps, online video, integrating blended learning. The Classroom Activities/Strategies sessions include interactive workshops on teaching Canadian idioms and expressions through television talk shows, screenplay writing, improvisation, best 'Monday Morning' activities. Other presentation categories focus on Life/Work Balance, Employment, Research, and more.

Eleven winners of TESL Ontario's ESL Creativity Contest & Recognition Awards will be honoured during the conference.

TESL Ontario, established in 1972, is a non-profit organization serving the needs of teachers of English as a Second Language. It represents more than 4,600 language training professionals working in immigrant serving agencies, school boards, publicly funded sites across Ontario, colleges/universities, elementary/secondary and private language training schools. TESL Ontario's expertise is in teaching, advocacy, accreditation and professional development. The organization is instrumental in influencing the success of many thousands of English language learners throughout the province. 

For more information visit www.teslontario.org and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.

*ACRONYMS:
LINC -- Language Instruction to Newcomers to Canada
EAL -- English as an Additional Language
OSLT -- Occupation Specific Language Training
TEFL -- Teaching English as a Foreign Language

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