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International TESOL: New Strategic Plan

15 Oct 2018 9:27 AM | ORTESOL Tech (Administrator)

ORTESOL is an affiliate of International TESOL.  Many of our goals to increase engagement across all areas of Oregon, provide quality conferences and education opportunities and increase advocacy for ELL professionals and students align with the strategic plan of TESOL. 

From the Executive Director: TESOL's New Strategic Plan

By Christopher Powers

In my first year and a half of serving TESOL International Association as executive director, I have had so many opportunities to meet with members and learn what is most important to you. It is humbling to try to think each day about how we—the TESOL office team, the TESOL Board of Directors, and all of our member leaders—can work together to meet the challenges and opportunities facing us.

One of the most valuable, and I hope long-lasting, efforts has been the work that so many of us have put into our new Strategic Plan. Following a yearlong process of collaborating on a board working group and incorporating feedback from TESOL staff and leaders from across the association, the TESOL Board of Directors voted to approve the Strategic Plan in March, and it will go into effect this November.

Through this Strategic Plan, we envision a world where English language teachers are the respected voice of language expertise and policy, where all teachers have the knowledge and learning opportunities they need, and where we all work together as one community to realize an interconnected multilingual and multicultural world.

We invite each of you on the journey to see TESOL International Association become the global authority for knowledge and expertise in English language teaching.

To get there, our first strategic outcome is focused on increasing our Global Presence and Connectivity. We see this through our membership that hails from more than 150 countries; our affiliate network that connects an additional 50,000 TESOL professionals; our convention and other face-to-face events that connect TESOL professionals across the globe; and our online efforts to build connectivity in a digital world.

By focusing on Knowledge and Expertise, our second outcome will help TESOL and TESOL members lead the development and delivery of English language teaching expertise, research, and information to address current and emerging trends in the profession. Our knowledge and expertise is the core of the association and emerges not only through our leading journals TESOL Quarterly and TESOL Journal, our rich array of publications through TESOL Press, and our diverse professional learning opportunities, but also through our professional councilscommunities of practice, our affiliates, and the individual contributions of TESOL members.

Through Voice and Advocacy, our third outcome, we seek to raise the voice of the TESOL profession and TESOL educators and become the leading advocate for English language teachers and learners worldwide. Given the challenges we all face, advocating for ourselves, our colleagues, and our students has become one of the most critical aspects of the English teaching profession. Whether it is in the schoolroom or the community, local or national governments, or simply in the one-on-one interactions we all encounter daily, TESOL and TESOL professionals must continue to work to raise our individual and collective voices.

And, of course, it is essential that we continue to care for the long-term viability of the association. So, a final goal will be to ensure that the association has the leadership, both at the volunteer and staff level, and the resources necessary to meet our strategic outcomes.

Although the Strategic Plan will not officially go into effect until November, we have already begun using it to frame our work. The TESOL Board of Directors has just recently approved a strategic budget for FY2019 aligned to the Strategic Plan. Not only will this allow us to better measure our progress on each strategic outcome, but it will also allow us to better report on our progress to you.

We have also realigned the TESOL office staff to focus on these strategic outcomes. We have created a new department of strategic communications focusing on the most important aspect of any association—serving and communicating with you, our members. Associate Executive Director John Segota will lead our efforts in this new department.

And as our office lease comes up for renewal this year, we will even be using the plan to help guide how we redefine our office space, while at the same time modernizing and economizing our facilities.

As we begin to fully implement the Strategic Plan, I plan to use this space in TESOL Connections to update you on our progress. Focusing on our global presence and connectivity, I plan to share information on TESOL efforts across the globe, including our TESOL China Assembly in Shanghai, activities such as the symposium we held last May in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and the academy we held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras this past July, along with individual contributions from TESOL members and affiliates. Highlighting our knowledge and expertise, I look forward to recognizing the strong influence that our journals TESOL Quarterly and TESOL Journal have on TESOL scholarship, and the incredible impact signature initiatives such as The 6 Principles, and its breakthrough initial publication The 6 Principles for Exemplary Teaching of English Learners: Grades K–12, are making to English language teaching practice. Amplifying the voices of teachers and strengthening all of our efforts to advocate for ourselves, our students, and our profession—across all contexts—is extraordinarily important, and I hope to trumpet those efforts on behalf of all TESOL members and the students we serve. Finally, we cannot meet these important outcomes if our association does not remain sustainable, so I will also be updating you all on our efforts to ensure that we have the resources, including staff and volunteer leadership, to meet the challenges we face.

I am excited by the opportunities our new Strategic Plan presents, and I hope that you are, too.

This is not my Strategic Plan, it is not the board’s Strategic Plan, and it is not the staff’s Strategic Plan; it is our Strategic Plan—the association’s Strategic Plan. It is focused on broad outcomes that will strengthen the association and improve all of our efforts across all the different ways that we teach and support English language teaching.

I invite everyone to work together and engage in ways that will bring about the outcomes we envision. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at cpowers@tesol.org. Connect with me on Twitter at @TESOL_Powers and use myTESOL to share your thoughts with the TESOL community.

Thank you for all of the work you do. I am looking forward to seeing you all at the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, USA next March and to working and communicating with you along the way.

Christopher Powers
TESOL Executive Director



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