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A Tribute to Participants’ Engagement in TESOL Affiliate Network 2020 Events

This is a small analysis of the chat transcripts from TESOL Affiliate Network 2020 Events on July 19-21, 2020. We had awesome presenters and most awesome participants!

Wonderful job, amazing work, kudos, wow, fantastic, and hard to say goodbye were some of the comments from participants as they logged off after the three-day Affiliate Network Events on July 19-21, 2020. With 20+ sessions delivered by over 60 speakers, the Events offered a great breadth of information and resources about the work of TESOL Affiliates, Professional Councils, Interest Sections, and other ESOL professionals worldwide. Woven in the mix of presentations was much appreciated fun time with a Quarantine Memory Game, Happy Half Hour, Networking Event, Time-to-Climb Game, and especially a dramatic treat from the NileTESOL team. Participants can re-watch all of these sessions from this playlist on Youtube and access this list of links shared by presenters and participants.

While the sessions were informative and inspiring, the success of the conference was also owing to the highly engaged participants, who cheered each other up, shared resources, and actively contributed to the discussion of topics important to TESOL and its affiliates in the chat box. The result was over 160 pages of chat transcripts!!! We, TESOLers, truly chatted up a storm when together. After analyzing the transcripts, we would like to share some observations and insights.

First, to apply the concept of engagement in its multiple dimensions, i.e., behavioral, cognitive, affective, and social (Philp and Duchesne, 2016; Hiver, Al-Hoorie and Mercer, forthcoming), it is undeniable that the participants exhibited a high level of engagement in all of those dimensions. We laughed, cheered, and expressed many positive emotions, such as joy, appreciation, and even silliness together (emotional engagement). We said hi, read/listened and responded to each other, and generously complimented others for their good work (social engagement). We produced a large number of turns and words in the 160 page-transcript (behavioral engagement). In addition, we contributed substantive ideas, elaborated on our ideas, and negotiated meaning in the chat through questions and answers (cognitive engagement).

To illustrate, Agnes Mariakaki’s talk on the first day of the conference generated 223 turns of comments and discussion from the audience with so much energy and excitement expressed. The presentation and discussion led by the Diverse Voices Task Force generated 159 turns, 34 among which are “long” turns with 20 words or more, showing the participants' thoughtfulness and the eagerness to contribute to the discussion. Two longest turns (110 and 87 words) come from Grazzia Mendoza Chirinos from HELTA (Honduras) and the Board of TESOL Directors. Congrats Grazzia for being the most “talkative” TESOLer!!! Daryl Streat from TESOLANZ (New Zealand) came second with two 87-word turns and many other shorter turns. These statistics attest to the level of passion and interest from TESOLers in discussing the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can find the 6 principles (draft version) that the DVTF shared during the events.

A three-day event with six hours each day on screen was truly a marathon, and ANPC (TESOL Affiliate Network Professional Council) appreciates any level of participation from colleagues all over the world. We are excited to see so many names in the chat (around 150). Just for fun, the transcripts from Day 2 and Day 3 were entered into a word cloud generator, and the picture below shows the most frequent commenters and the most frequent and relevant words used. Not surprisingly, Georgios Kormpas, Chair of ANPC, TESOL Greece member, and Host of the Events, was not only active on screen, but also super communicative in the chat box. A big THANKS to Georgios and everyone for the GREAT JOB done all over the world!

While the last session, which ended in the very early morning for many colleagues around the world, had the least number of participants, when asked about what they learned from the events, participants highlighted professional councils, interest sections, and amazing work all over the world as illustrated in the word cloud from their feedback below. We are happy to see that more TESOLers could now better envision ways to serve, connect, and collaborate with others.

Thank you for your engagement and the positive vibes that you shared during the Events, and we hope you keep up the great work and stay connected and engaged by joining MyTESOL Affiliate Network community or writing to ANPC Members for questions or suggestions.


Philp, J., & Duchesne, S. (2016) Exploring engagement in tasks in the language classroom. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 36, 50–72.

Hiver, P., Al-Hoorie, A. H. & Mercer, S. (Eds.) (Forthcoming). Student engagement in the language classroom. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

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