English Online (EO) presented “Learning Never Stops” at the 26th Annual Teaching English as an Additional Language to Adults in Manitoba (TEAM) Conference to advocate the self-directed learning model as a way to cope with the changing EAL/ESL field in Manitoba. EO Lead of Settlement Services Natalia Aleko and Lead e-Facilitator/LHS Coordinator Margarita Berezyanskaya led the team’s presentation. The conference was held on May 19, 2017, at the Canadian Mennonite University and gathered more than 200 EAL instructors, researchers, publishers, and newcomer organizations.
The proceedings opened with keynote speaker Dr. Ken Beatty, who is a TESOL professor at Anaheim University and author of more than 130 English as a Second Language textbooks used worldwide. Dr. Beatty spoke about the various paradigm shifts happening in the discipline of language education using the story “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as a metaphor. In the afternoon, Dr. Beatty also conducted a workshop on alternative assessments for language teachers.
With the theme “Changing Focus”, this year’s TEAM featured more than 20 breakout sessions. Presentations and workshops provided invaluable information and various strategies to help practitioners cope with the new challenges in the field. Also featured was a town hall session led by the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO). Teresa Burke of MANSO presented the results of their study of over 900 students affected by the recent Stage II funding cuts and led a discussion about the concerns over this development. Meanwhile, TEAM president Irina Volchok presented the draft of the TEAM petition to advocate on behalf of the affected instructors and students. Conference participants reviewed the petition and discussed amendments, revisions and directions for advocacy.