[I wrote this up a few years ago for a dear friend/former course participant and have been sharing it here and there since then. Another friend recently reminded me of its existence and suggested that I share it on my blog. After some thought I decided to share it, even though it might not be the most politically correct document. I shared it before with some people from #ELTchat and got a favorable response so I thought it might be fun to share it here on the blog.]
Mike’s opinions on and tips for KOTESOL
(From September 2010)
Disclaimer: It is not easy to recommend such things without knowing what you are into. I wanted to make sure to share something useful though. Below are my own personal opinions loaded with bias and judgment.
- A good overall tip is to remember that you don’t need to be active each hour. There is nothing wrong with relaxing and walking around.
- I generally find that plenary speakers are very polished, well spoken and knowledgeable but that they don’t say much.
- Some workshops ask you to talk a lot and participate a lot. While this is generally good it can get derailed by sitting next to the wrong person. It is terrible to say but I recommend trying to avoid white guys over 40 or so. 🙂
- Some presentations are veeery dry and amount to the person just sharing their research. This is not for me.
- There are quite a lot of presentations from around Asia. They might be interesting or relevant to you but they might not. I personally try to focus more on Korea and those from Korea.
- The booklet that you get when you register will be a lot easier to read and follow than the online links as it will be organized in various ways. Check out the labels and see if you are interested in YL (young learners) or whatever.
- I have never seen a good presentation about CALL. Maybe this is because I am a bit tech-savvy and the presentations are pitched to a different level…I am not sure but I have never enjoyed one of the many such presentations I have seen.
- Be sure to check if a presentation is labeled as “commercial” because this means that they are trying to advertise or sell their product. Some people are less obvious about it than others but there is often the “sales” atmosphere in these presentations. The good news is that they will often give you a sample. One “dirty” trick that I have done before is to these presentations, get the book and then leave. I am not proud of it, but I think it was a good idea.
- Speaking of books…there will be publishers displaying books. If you see something you like you might be able to get them to send you a sample.
- The opening ceremony is boring and typically horribly run and a waste of time. The problem is that you have to sit through it if you want to get a good seat for the big plenary.