Thursday, April 2, 2009


I chose the plenary offered by Bonny Norton from UBC. It was rather academic for a plenary session--win some, lose some! I've just discovered that she's giving the same plenary at TESL Canada this year--win some, lose some!

I found most of the sessions to be very short (30 to 40 mins). It seemed that a presenter had hardly started introducing a topic before it was time to finish. Some presentations lived up to their descriptions--some didn't. I was intrigued by a session titled "What the label says: the meaning of grammatical terms." The presenter had wonderful photographs of South America playing on his computer while we waited to start. Unfortunately, that was the most interesting part of the presentation. It consisted of him giving the audience very obscure grammatical terms that he had found in a book for teaching English in Russia, and seeing whether any of us had heard of these terms or could guess what they might mean! You try--pleonastic, pronominal, dummy operator, stranded operator, pied piping, paucal quantifier, the bare existential, bare relatives (not what I would have thought), and the patient (also not what I would have thought).

It was interesting to go to a presentation on EAP and vocabulary and reading skills. The presenter referred often to the work of Tom Cobb--he was a keynote speaker at ATESL a few years ago, and I remember having a conversation with him about some of his work with corpora and concordances.

Something I thought I would be interested in was "Mobile English: creating English language learning materials for iPhone/iPod", but it turned out to be more about the cost involved either upfront or in monthly fees for using these items.

Had lunch in the park again--bacon sandwich was a real disappointment. The flowers and atmosphere made up for it.

I met up with someone I knew--Robert Berman--who used to head up the ELP at U of A and who is now living and working in Iceland. It was interesting talking to him about his current activities and memories of Edmonton. I also met up with Dafne Gonzales from South America whom I had previously met at the TESOL conference in Seattle two years ago--she's very involved with webheads-in-action.

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