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In November, 2014, I went to the CoTESOL Convention in Denver and here are the five sessions

that I attended:

Why and How We Should Flip Our ESL Classrooms


The presenters, Fuller and Walker, suggested that traditional pedagogical method should
be flipped into a new model that leaners acquire new knowledge at home first then they come
to classes to let the instructors facilitate their learning process by practicing together in order to
maximize the in-class active earning. By using this method in language classes, the presenters
pointed out, students are more engaged in the learning process and more time are allowed for
them to do their own authentic research on the topics. They also gave tips for teachers to create
ESL/EFL videos for students to study at home such as putting captions on the videos, record key
segments, and scaffolding the contents.

Using Music in the Classroom


The presenter, Goldman, demonstrated how to incorporate songs into a language
classroom. Five different activities were carried out to let the audience experience that songs and
lyrics could be employed to improve students listening, reading, writing and comprehension
skills with exercise like singing together, generating vocabulary according to the given
categories, rephrasing lyrics, correcting errors occurred in the lyrics, and describing music
videos. The presenter also suggested other ways to use songs and lyrics to improve learners
performance such as choosing the right words/phrases to complete the lyrics, and asking students
to organize pictures according to the songs.

Teaching to Tests Is Not So Bad


In order to discover new methods that connects classroom objectives and IELTS skills
especially for lower level learners, the presenter, Welsh did a research on how various language
teaching methods interfere positive washback in the IELTS classrooms. By collecting and
analyzing pre- and post- test scores, teacher interviews, classroom observations, and student
questionnaires, the presenter came to a conclusion that teaching to tests are not necessarily a bad
thing when a) the tests themselves are valid and reliable; b) the curriculum aims at clear goals,
outcomes, and objectives; and c) the teacher positively plans the class based on the same goals,
outcomes, and objectives.

Phonics for the Adult ESL Learners


During this session, the presenter, Wallace, mainly provided various approaches and
methods for teaching phonics for adult ESL learners and demonstrated few sample activities

designed according to the given approaches. For example, speaking journal, minimal pairs, peer
dictation, phonics bingo, and so on.

Best Practices in Grammar Teaching


Efficiency and practicality were the main focus in this session. The presenter, Struck,
shared her point of view about what types of practices are the best when it comes to teaching
grammar. For instance, she suggest that the content being taught should be authentic and actually
practical in real-world situations and the activities should be carried out in a meaningful and
effective environment. Since second language acquisition process is different than native
language acquisition process, the presenter pointed out that a good second language learner
should be able to learn from their mistakes, to avoid making common mistakes, and to notice the
new forms.

Reflection
Since I was teaching an adult ESP program at the time when I attended the convention, I
find that the in-class activities I learned from the Phonics for the Adult ESL Learners session are
most applicable and efficient. Students have greatly enjoyed the phonics games and enhanced
their pronunciation retentions. I also combined the activities that I acquired from the Using
Music in the Classroom session along with the phonics games, for example, using rhyming lyrics
for minimal pairs practice. The Teaching to Tests Is Not So Bad session guided me to a new
perspective to look at the stigmatized teaching-to-test method that we should evaluate the
validity and reliability of the tests before making a judgement.