WCU to host fall 2007 Carolina TESOL Conference

Western Carolina University will host a fall gathering of about 500 educators who teach English to speakers of other languages, as the Fall 2007 Carolina TESOL Conference is set for Thursday, Nov. 1, through Saturday, Nov. 3, in downtown Asheville.

Sponsored by WCU’s graduate program in teaching English as to speakers of other languages (or TESOL), the conference will feature workshops, guest speakers and poster displays on topics of interest to educators who teach English as a second or foreign language.

Guest presenters are David Mendelsohn, professor of applied linguistics and English as a second language at York University in Toronto, who will speak on “Transforming, Integrating and Innovating through Learning Strategies,” and Randi Reppen, director of the Program in Intensive English at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, who will address “Transforming Teaching through Corpus Linguistics.”

“At this conference, we want to build bridges and foster the exchange of ideas and resources across groups, so anyone interested in English-as-a-second-language issues should feel welcome to attend the event,” said Chandrika Rogers, a WCU assistant professor of English who designed the TESOL program. “Any teacher should be interested in ESL today with the changing populations in classrooms all over the country.”

Western North Carolina has seen increases not only in the Hispanic population, but also in other ESL populations, Rogers said. “We have, for example, a large Eastern European population,” she said. “The ESL populations in both public school systems and other settings have increased tremendously in the last few years. Census figures say that our immigration populations have increased from around 77,000 to around 518,000 just in the last 15 years.”

Conference participants are expected mainly from North and South Carolina and the other Southern states,  although attendees will be coming from as far away as Japan and the United Kingdom, organizers say.

The event is designed for primary and secondary teachers, adult education instructors from community colleges, and higher education professors from colleges and universities. Students who are enrolled in the TESOL program at Western also will attend the event.

Registration cost is $150.

A 36-hour master’s degree program housed in the department of English, Western’s TESOL program is the first stand-alone of its type in the state. The program is designed for students interested in teaching English as a second language at the college or university level.

For more information, contact Chandrika Rogers by phone at (828) 227-3921 or by e-mail at crogers@email.wcu.edu.