Preparing for the TESL Ontario Conference

The 47th Annual TESL Ontario Conference is quickly approaching, and I am gearing up for a great time.

A Chance to Network and Learn

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This will be my first conference as a newly certified teacher. I am looking forward to seeing my colleagues – some new faces, and, hopefully, some I have seen before – and learning something new.

In the meantime, I browsed the conference program for more information. Let me share some of the highlights.

When and Where

First and foremost, the conference will be held Thursday and Friday, December 5-6 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (525 Bay Street). 

What’s Included with Registration

You can attend one day or both days at rates that vary for TESL Ontario members, students, and non-members. Registrationincludes presentations, exhibits, career connections, panel discussions, coffee breaks and plenty of interesting conversations and idea sharing.  On Thursday there will be a welcome reception and awards celebration. The best thing to do is check out the conference website at to get the details and register.

Volunteering Opportunities

Become a volunteer! A conference like this needs extra hands to keep it running smoothly, and volunteers are called on to help prepare name tags and registration kits prior to the event, or to welcome attendees at the event. Volunteers get a certificate of appreciation and opportunities to network, so register to volunteer.

Theme and Panel Discussion

The theme this year is “Cultivating Innovation and Inclusion.” This is reflected in the 14th Annual Panel Discussion called “Shifting Perspectives.” The discussion happens on Friday, and panellists will discuss current trends in teaching, sharing ideas, and bringing stakeholders together.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers are always good to check out. In “The (Dis)comfort Zone,” Dorothy Zemach will look at the science of “the comfort zone” and other unhelpful teacher narratives, and discuss what to do when confronted with these narratives in the workplace or on social media.

In his remote presentation, “Technology in Language Teaching: What Works, What Doesn’t,” Gavin Dudeney looks at the current state of technology development and what it has to offer the practising teacher or language student.

Finally, in “Food for Thought,” Christien Lee hopes to answer important questions at the heart of teaching, and show how teachers can be more innovative and foster engaging and inclusive classrooms.

Remote Sessions

This year, there will be four remote sessions for those unable to attend the conference. Remote sessions will take place online on Friday, December 6. They are offered for a fee, and accessed through the Zoom webinar platform. You can sign up for the remote sessions on

In addition to Gavin Dudeney’s remote keynote, the following remote sessions will be offered:

  • Adapting Teaching Strategies to Student Needs in ESL/EFL
    • by Kashif Raza – Qatar University
  • Pronunciation as a Critical Listening Skill
    • by Augusto Ferreira Neto – Cellep Idiomas, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Everyone Communicates, Few Connect
    • by Solange Belluz – The Life Coaching and Leadership Centre


Techknow is another interesting session where presenters will focus on a specific educational technology tool, such as Blockchain, digital scavenger hunts, creating eArtefacts for PBLA, and many more. There will be 12 tables with one presenter at each. Attendees will listen to the presenter speak for six minutes, and enjoy a short question and answer before moving on to the next table.

Career Connections

Career Connections gives an opportunity for attendees to network with employers. It happens on Thursday with a one-hour forum and employer exhibits. Find out when employers hire, where to find job postings, what employers are looking for, and submit your resume.

Make Use of the Guide

The conference program makes several suggestions on how to make the most out of your experience. Number one is to read the program, and register online. Also, this year, there is no advanced session selection; simply line up at the door of the session you wish to attend.

Visit the Website

Registration to the conference is open until Nov. 26. Find out more by going to Enjoy!

Look forward to more TESL Ontario conference posts by Svjetlana Vrbanic

My name is Svjetlana Vrbanic—Lana—and I am a newly certified adult ESL teacher. I completed a degree in English and worked as a teacher and newspaper reporter/editor. Work has allowed me to travel from Labrador to Alberta and enjoy many great experiences. I was born in the former-Yugoslavia, but lived in Toronto most of my life. I can speak Serbo-Croatian, but primarily use English and love sharing what I know with students from all over the world. I like to have a good time and enjoy pursuing interests like cooking, running, volunteering, learning about health and psychology, and spending time with my niece, two rambunctious Jack Russell terriers, and a shy, but loveable cat. I am excited to blog about my experiences which will hopefully inform and entertain, as well as help support a vibrant teaching community. Wishing my colleagues many happy adventures in teaching.


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