An overreaction

I recently saw the following on a post promoting the upcoming KOTESOL International Conference on a  Facebook page for uni teachers in Korea…

Korea TESOL’s 20th annual conference is coming up on October 20th and 21st. Pre-register to save time and money. Avoid the registration lines on the conference weekend.

240 presentations (see the schedule on the website). Lots of great ideas to use in the classroom. Publisher and grad school display area. A chance to network and visit with old and new friends.

The biggest English teacher event of the year in Korea. Usually attracts 1200-1500 attendees (Koreans and Native Speakers). Tell your colleagues and co-teachers.

Just an innocent bit of publicity, right? Actually, I guess so, yeah. However, a few things jumped out at me when I read it. First of all, the use of the term “Native Speakers” (capitalized?) was something I found noteworthy. I think this is an especially difficult word to define and it is surely not without problems in the field.

The thing that jumped out at me more than the use of the term “Native Speaker” was that there were only two categories of teachers listed: Korean and Native Speakers. Are there not attendees  from Thailand, Japan and a whole host of other countries? Is this being dismissive or insensitive to visitors that don’t fit into the neat categories laid out? Or am I being too sensitive?

I am ready to admit that I might be overreacting. Please let me know in the comments. I am also happy to experiment with the poll function here on WordPress. Let me know what you think.

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