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Made Human at TESOL International Conference 2023, Portland, Oregon
James Nattinger Travel Grant Recipient
Asked to write one paragraph about the TESOL International Conference 2023, I offer the citation of a complimentary children’s book: Victor Dias de Oliveira Santos (2022). What Makes Us Human? (Anna Forlati). Avant Assessment. The author answers his question with “language.” Maybe the complimentary children’s book that I received and later read to my niece highlights the Conference: Victor Dias de Oliveira Santos (2022). What Makes Us Human? (Anna Forlati). Avant Assessment answers the question with “language.” Of course, the English language is the guest star at a TESOL Conference, but it was not alone, and there was so much of all of it. The event felt like a 5-6 day, 8-12 hour party. In the crowd, I commented that ESOL teachers are a sort of minority and such a convention gathered us to fellowship. Just as humans are characterized by language, language is nothing without people. Not only did several ORTESOL members meet in-person for the first time, but we met ESOL facilitators from around the world who we will remember and/or with whom we will continue long relationships -- starting at the Help Desk with ORTESOL Co-Treasurer Cassie DeFilipo from Klamath Community College to new teacher Nyeisa Bahati from Tanzania to the contingent from Pakistan who sang their national anthem on Pakistan Day in traditional dress for pictures in front of the “TESOL 2023” welcome sign. We learned that we have in common our goal of sharing humanity, thanks to TESOL International and, infinitely so, to the ORTESOL organizers and contributors.
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