Thursday, July 08, 2010

Letter from the Chair

Here's a copy of Letter from the Chair which I wrote as part of the NNESTIS newsletter first issue for 2010,

Dear NNESTIS members,

Now in its third year as an interest section, NNESTIS is still going strong! At the recent TESOL convention in Boston, our IS was very well represented. With 29 sessions this year, compared with the 25 sessions we did in 2009, it just goes to show that our members have still got a lot to say about the issues that we advocate for. Below is a list of hot topics that we will be discussing at TESOL 2011 (New Orleans):

•Examining the “E” in TESOL
•Employment issues in Asia
•Native speaker and color in the workplace
•Tomorrow with an E: that is, how NNES teachers can compete with NES teachers in the teaching profession
•Reviewing previous studies and envisioning the future of NNESTIS
•Topics related to other ISs can include NNEST focus
•How the NNEST issue is affecting everyone in the field
•Analysis of policies in other organizations
One of the items on my to-do list is to conduct a series of free webinars for our members. The first session, held on April 23, 2010, and entitled “Webinar on Writing Good Proposals for the TESOL Convention,” was for those who may be interested in submitting a proposal but don’t know how. We were very fortunate to have Past Chair Karen Newman and Robert Griffin to share with our members some tips and tricks. Unfortunately, Valerie Jakar was unable to do her presentation because of illness. However, we’re planning to put up a slidecast and podcast of her session soon, which will also be available for download. PowerPoint materials used in the session and a link to the recording of the webcast can be accessed at

The next webinar in the lineup is about improving presentation skills. Having your proposals get accepted is just the beginning. Making sure that you’re able to present your session well is just as important. Learn what it takes to impress an audience. Details about this webinar will be posted to the NNESTIS e-list.

In addition to the webinars, I am also planning to do another Electronic Village Online (EVO) session for 2011. Please look at the EVO session we offered back in 2009 ( For EVO2011, I’d like to organize an online workshop for NNES teachers who wish to enhance their teaching skills. The focus will be on teaching practice(s) in the local context. I’d like to see more EFL teachers participate and share with us how they teach and what they teach. If you’re interested in helping out in the planning process, please get in touch with me.

If you look at the list of hot topics above and at the topics of our webinars and online workshop, you will notice that we’d like to cover a wide scope of issues. Yes, it is true that discrimination against teachers who are labeled as nonnative speakers is still rampant and sometimes we see it right under the wings of TESOL. However, we should bear in mind that although we are very much interested in the issues regarding nonnative speaker status, we cannot deny the fact that they are interconnected with the issues of other interest sections in TESOL. We need to deal with these issues from the inside out. As a group we are united because despite the differences in the color of our skin, the beauty of our own first language(s), and the unique sound of our accents, we see one common ground that bonds us together: These differences unite us. These differences define who we are. And as long as we value these differences as our strength, we can serve the larger EFL/ESL community much better without losing our own identity in the process.

I am hoping that through the webinars, online workshops, and face-to-face conference presentations, NNESTIS can help empower you so you can help us empower teachers in the larger EFL/ESL communities areas all over the world. As we think global, we spread our vision to the world. We do this by working with local TESOL affiliates to gain access to local teachers. And with the power of new technologies, teacher professional development is just a click away. It’s time to think “glocally.” And it’s time for all of us to pay it forward.

Aiden Yeh

NNEST Newsletter 2010 Volume 12 Number 1: Table of Contents

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