exhausted @_@

Just to recap very briefly:

1-Went to a talk on Updates from DC.  Lots of interesting information about changes going on in Congress and policies.  Most of this dealt with K-12 but also a bit on adult ed and LOTS of talk about the budget — budget cuts.  Republican agenda to fix the deficit but make gov smaller.  And rather than cutting from the war or domestic expenses like Social Security, they are cutting the small stuff (mostly in education) that in the end doesn’t help with fixing the deficit.  A bit depressing but some stuff were left untouched and interesting advice about inviting our Rep’s to our program to do a walk through.  Apparently our Rep’s like the first hand experience.  You can go here to find your local District office by putting in your zip code and they will schedule the congressional member to pay a visit to your school.  The PowerPoint can be found here if you just type in 2011 TESOL.

2-Stopped in on a talk about summarizing and paraphrasing.  Left a little early to go to ……..

3-Panel discussion on Second Language Accent and Ethics.  This panel was made up of a Canadian, Australian, “nerdy” American, and Korean.  Very interesting discussion on judgments and stereotypes, and learner perception bias.  This is similar to my interest in teacher perception.  Also very interesting point about speech equaling accent+comprehensibility+intelligibility, with accent being independent from the other two.  Thus, even a person with an “accent” (who doesn’t have one?) can be comprehensible and intelligible.  So lay off the accent discrimination!

4-Visited a fellow PhD friend from Davis and her talk on NNEST and their identity development.  After that, went to my professor, Julia Menard-Warwick’s talk on her continuing research with Chilean English teacher identity and ideology.  She used some of the transcriptions/coding I had done for her yay~  But again, a focus on the “importance” of English and a discussion on the applicability of English on the lives of these Chilean high school students.  Will English REALLY help them get better jobs and become more “worldly”?

5-Went to the President’s Reception with my Davis peeps– Li-fen Lin and Paul McPherron.  Good food, good music, good parade, and good people 🙂

Took Li-fen to the French Quarter (again!) and I actually bought something.  I feel guilty, sigh.

Muy cansada. 想睡覺可是得要洗澡。 one more day and we leave nice weather 😦

Looking forward to Nero tomorrow .  Woohoo~



I’ve been attending sessions on academic vocab and research about the brain… pretty cool stuff. Only all this new info has started to overload my tiny brain so forgive me if I make mistakes!  Turns out that in order for learning to occur, we must activate schema within the first couple of minutes (at most) of learning experience. If that does not happen, no true or lasting connections will be made.  Also, input must reach pre-frontal areas of brain or no learning occurs. And, strong emotions can block input reaching these prefrontal areas.

MOre later. My brain is hungry!



If you are reading our blog, please COMMENT!  I want to know who’s actually reading this ~~


Finally am connected to the internet!  Sitting in the room with Ellen, who is lounging on the couch watching “Criminal Minds” while mapping out her day tomorrow with her program book.  What a fun and educating two days it has been!  The weather is GREAT.  Got to keep up with my Walk Kansas obligations by walking to the French Quarter yesterday and today.  Met up with my professor/thesis chair Julia Menard-Warwick yesterday, and will be going to her talk tomorrow evening.  We talked about the ELP at K-State and the current situation with ESL programs in California universities — very interesting how the economy is changing the entire climate of higher ed.  Also ran into a grad student friend who is now an Assistant Professor at SIU.  Best part of it all has been all the FREE FOOD!!!! 😀

Other than going to the plenary today with Pennycook, my overall theme today was Refugees, including academic sessions, talks, and interest section meeting.  Some of you know that for grad school, I did my research with refugee Tibetan monks in India, which is what prompted my interest in language education within those particular communities.  The speakers today examined mental health of refugees and refugees in college.  There are 10.5 MILLION refugees total worldwide, 100,000 of which have been resettled in America.  Suicide is quite prevalent among certain groups of refugees who lack support, and most importantly, who lack linguistic fluency in the adopted country’s language.  What’s unfortunate is that many “counselors” who assess the mental health (which is also very subjective) of these refugees are teachers who do not have professional training in counseling/psychology.  We need to reevaluate the policies instituted for refugees and possibly make adjustments to develop ways to empower these displaced beings to strengthen the acculturation process. . . even if it means using English to resist English imperialism (a point Pennycook touched upon).  Some of you may be familiar with Thumbo, a Singaporean man whose poem was published in an article by Pennycook a while back:

Depart white man.



You whored on milk and honey.

Tried our spirit, spend our muscle,

Extracted from our earth;

Gave yourselves superior ways

At our expense, in our midst.


You knew when to come;

Surely know when to go.

Do not ignore, dismiss,

Pretending we are foolish;

Harbour contempt in eloquence.

We know your language.

My father felt his master’s voice,

Obeyed but hid his grievous, wounded self.

I have learnt:

There is an Asian tide

That sings much power

Into my dreaming side:

My father’s anger turns my cause.

Gently, with ceremony;

We may still be friends,

Even love you…from a distance (1994: 280).

A very powerful poem.

All in all, everything today reinforced my reason for pursuing a career in TESL — to empower students.

That’s enough for now.  Long day, long talks, long walks.  Tomorrow will be interesting — US Federal Update!

Buenas noches (Ellen’s already sleeping…).


Today I went to several sessions, some helpful, some not at all helpful, and some that were so crowded I just gave up.  One thing I’ve learned today is that there are so many people presenting on so many topics that there’s really a niche for everyone- so everyone from our program needs to present next year!  It was like our in-house conference multiplied by 1000, but we have so many great things to share, I know we’d fit right in.

Here are the presentations I really enjoyed (they were the small, offbeat ones, by the way, not the ones with the well-known names): Viktoria and I attended a great session on using blogs in writing classes.  The presenter, Kristina Scholz, is an MA TESOL student, and her ideas for blogging were fantastic!  Really, we were so inspired to start a blog in our writing classes!  She came up with some very creative writing activities (one involved having the students create their own superhero and describe what powers they would have- how perfect is this for 140 and 150 descriptive writing units?)  We even took a picture with her because we thought she was so awesome- Viktoria will post later.

In the afternoon, I attended a very lively session on teaching prosody. Prosody, if you need a quick definition, is “the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech.” (Got it from Wikipedia’s article on prosody) Colleen Meyers and Patrick Scully discussed three activities they use in the classroom to teach prosody, and we actually got to do the activities in the session!  I use an exclamation mark here because we got to play with Play-Doh, which was probably the highlight of my day.

When I get the handouts from these sessions (everything’s online this year, so it’ll take some digging), I’ll post for everyone to see.  Woo TESOL!– Ashley

It is our first day, and we haven’t had time to do much.. yet. 🙂 So far we just went to the River Walk and ate some good Cajun food. Look at some pictures! More to come tomorrow when we will be attending the conference. — Viktoria and Ashley

We made it to TESOL!

And we’re all overwhelmed. Geez, there’s a lot to do here.  So many interesting sessions, all at 7:30 in the morning. We’ve already eaten some good food, planned our first day, and now we’re off to dinner.  Food pics to follow, and we’ll let you know how day #1 of the conference goes!– Ashley