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Languages and TESOL: The Threads of My Global Connections

Updated: Apr 4

By Dr. Linh Phung



The TESOL 2024 Convention is the best TESOL conference for me so far. Throughout the Convention, I had the privilege of contributing to the discourse on language education through various engagements and presentations. Delivering two solo presentations on engagement with AI feedback and teaching writing, and participating in three panels focusing on vocabulary, AI for language learning, and TESOL leadership, allowed me to share my expertise and learn from esteemed colleagues.


I enjoyed all of the keynote speeches and multiple sessions, but I particularly enjoyed Professor Diane Larsen-Freeman's session on Complex Dynamic Systems Theory and learning-centered strategies for teachers, which was intellectually stimulating and affirming at the same time. I felt like I was in a concert, enjoying all of her stories, ideas, words, metaphors, and messages. 


Furthermore, reconnecting with colleagues and friends from across the globe was truly enriching and reaffirmed the importance of fostering global connections within the TESOL and ELP communities. I had the chance to meet Anne Haggerson, who invited me to speak in the TESOL Methodology Forum for Mexican teachers, as well as David Fay and Jose Villafuerte from RELO Mexico, who supported my English Language Specialist assignment in October 2023. I am so grateful that we are keeping in touch. Anne and I are collaborating to develop original materials for a TOEFL preparation course for the Eduling Speak app that I manage. Teachers and students can try the app with 1000+ tasks and all of the TOEFL tasks soon.


As Chair of the Affiliate Network Professional Council of TESOL International Association, completing my tenure as Chair was a significant milestone, and engaging with Leaders of Affiliates of TESOL all over the world provided invaluable insights and opportunities for collaboration. I am deeply grateful to my colleagues for their attendance, support, and engagement throughout the convention, which has left me with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm.


Among the five presentations that I delivered or contributed to, the one titled From Student Publications to Winning Essays: Teaching Writing Through Engaging Texts was my favorite to give after years of teaching writing and publishing students' writings. My students and I went through the pandemic and its aftermath by writing, and others like Habib Sorosh went through so much more with the political shift in Afghanistan. We read part of Habib’s story Just One Day together, and it was moving and beautiful. It made me miss the time together in the classroom. I’m grateful that the presentation was supported by a grant from the US Department of State's English Language Programs. Below is the link to Habib’s essay, which is also available on my app Eduling Speak.

 

 

Another presentation supported by the grant was my contribution to the panel REAping Directions in TESOL: Recognition, Empowerment, Action, and Pursuit, which features award-winning TESOLers: Drew Fagan, Kuttig Khanh Duc, Ethan Trinh, Doaa Rashed, Faridah Pawan, and myself. It was truly an insightful session with stories and lessons about community, leadership, connections, and impact. Just coincidentally, three of us on the panel are of the Vietnamese origin but with different stories, experiences, voices, and foci in our career. Colleagues have shared that it was "amazing, moving, and inspiring."

 

Finally, it was a pleasure to engage in discussions, presentations, and interactions with numerous Vietnamese colleagues representing both Vietnam and the diaspora at #TESOL2024. I often say that English and education take me places because it took me all the way from the countryside of Vietnam to the US. Now I've realized that English, Vietnamese, and TESOL are the threads of my global connections. It's also a full circle. Never before have I used both languages so often in my work as a mother, daughter, community member, educator, writer, technology developer, and editor, which showcases the power of being multilingual in the global context.

 

The TESOL 2024 Convention was an enriching and inspiring experience, I returned home with new insights, ideas, and connections, eager to continue my actions and pursuits in the field.

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