TESOL Thoughts

Reflections on Teaching and Learning

Adriana on Beliefs

By Adriana Picoral

Attending TESOL is always an exciting experience, and this year was even more special since I had the chance to meet with old friends and make new connections. I also attended some very interesting sessions that made me rethink and reorganize my teaching beliefs. In fact, I would say the best sessions I have ever attended not only provided me with answers to the questions I brought with me to the session, but also opened up even more questions and future inquiry paths.

Andy Curtis’ plenary was especially inspiring. He argued that we should go against some advice dispensed in teacher training and be controversial and political in our classrooms, since language itself can be quite controversial and political.

This idea was echoed in many other sessions I attended, and every presenter seemed to emphasize the importance of addressing in class difficult issues like race and sexuality. These topics are extremely relevant not only due to today’s globalized world, but also because our students benefit greatly from developing linguistic abilities that enable them to discuss these issues outside the classroom. Another reason our lessons should elicit different opinions from our students is that diversity of perspectives is extremely important. Thus, we need to make sure we create a classroom environment where everyone can share their perspective, even if that makes us (teachers and students) uncomfortable at times. Not an easy task, for sure, but it is certainly something that I plan on implementing in my own classroom.

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