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2020 Featured Speakers







                                     Dr. Lindsay Meeker

Dr. Lindsay Meeker is currently working as Director of ELs in CUSD 200 and adjunct professor at WIU.  I enjoy challenging and supporting teachers to do the same thing for their multilingual Learners through authentic, content-driven oracy and literacy practices that maximize student voice. I have also been working to approach equity in learning through flexible programmatic design, including collaboration and co-teaching. Prior to this position, Lindsay’s work  was in Dual Language, ESL, and Special Education. I have presented on strategies for English Learners, as well as Mindfulness in Schools at the NABE Conference, IL ASCD Pre-K/Kindergarten Conference, Illinois Reading Conference, and the IRC conference. I just completed work as a chapter contributor for "Stories of School Yoga" published by SUNY Press in October, 2019


Jon Pilkington

Jon Pilkington began his educational career as a bilingual educator in Cicero, IL and continued in Wheaton, IL.  He became an elementary administrator in 2009 and has served the last seven years as the principal of Hubble Middle School in Community Unit School District 200.

SESSION TITLE AND ABSTRACT: FRIDAY (2/28/2020) at 10:50 A.M.-11:35  A.M.

(K-12) The Role of Administrators in the Success of English Language Learners
This presentation will address the critical role of administrators in EL program development, staff support, community engagement and fostering a school culture of collective responsibility.  The focus will be on practical implementation rather than theoretical frameworks. The presentation will conclude with an EL teacher's perspective and experiences in developing the teacher and administrator relationship. 




Maria A. Remigio (Angie) has been an educator for 23 years. She has experience in bilingual education, special education, regular education and English as a Second Language. She has served diverse populations in grades 1 through 8 in urban and suburban communities. Currently she is employed as the English Language Specialist at Lisle Community Unit School District 202. Angie received her Bachelor degree in Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She obtained a Masters degree in Bilingual and Bicultural Education from Chicago State University and a Masters in Educational leadership from Governors State University. She is a National Board Certified teacher in English as a New Language/Early and Middle Childhood. Along with the EL team in her district, Angie leads Bilingual Family Nights. She is the ITBE Elementary SIG Committee Chair and runs the Poetry Contest in Illinois. Throughout the years she has served in a variety of committees at the school level, district level and in the community. Angie is dedicated to the bilingual population in her district but hopes to have a greater impact outside of district boundaries. The strong connection with families includes building relationships and systems between the school, home and the community to promote an optimal 
education for students.

SESSION TITLE AND ABSTRACT: FRIDAY (2/28/2020) AT 4:30 P.M. - 5:30 P.M. 
(K-5) Poetry Contest

This year Illinois TESOL-BE Poetry Contest is Sponsoring its Sixteenth Statewide Elementary Poetry Contest! 

Please come and celebrate with families, students and sponsoring teachers as they are recognized at the Poetry Contest Ceremony. Students from second to fifth grade will be honored for letting their creativity shine, communicating powerful language and expressing their culture and unique cultural experiences through poetry.   Through poetry, elementary teachers exposed students to literary elements in a meaningful and creative way. Teachers of students learning English use poetry across the curriculum as an assessment, to demonstrate topic knowledge, descriptive language, and the use of sentence frames to write poetry. Please come and join us for this enriching and engaging experience. 

Witness poetry in motion as Mrs. Remigio brings language to life in a way that children and adults will enjoy. Feast your eyes, as Mrs. Remigio portrays La Catrina while acting out “Clatter Bash” by Richard Keep.  Mrs. Remigio’s portrayal will demonstrate comprehensible language input and how culture and language are connected. Motivate Students to love and learn language through cooking a meal, experiences through travel,being a mentor or just bring a story to life!


NATALIE MULLEN                                


Dr. Natalie Mullen is the director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Training where she works with Christian non-profits and their workers who are learning and teaching languages all around the world. She was an ESL teacher to adults in university settings for over 10 years, specializing in listening, speaking, and pronunciation, and has lived and served in China and Spain. Her doctorate is in Education Policy and her research interests include language policy, multilingual populations, language justice and inclusion, internationalization of higher education, and second language acquisition.



SESSION TITLE AND ABSTRACT: SATURDAY (2/29/2020) AT 10:50 A.M.- 11:35 A.M.

English-only?: Navigating multilingual ideologies and identities in the classroom

As U.S. schools and universities increasingly participate in the project of internationalization through increasing multilingual student enrollment, classrooms need to better support their diverse learners and prepare students to be culturally competent. Part of cultural competence for students includes issues related to language use, language policy, and identity in the classroom because one cannot separate language from culture and identity. Highlighting multilingual international college student voices from China, India, and Malaysia, that reflect upon their language identities and school language policy experiences throughout their lives in the U.S. and abroad, she offers insight into how these students thoughtfully navigate complicated language ideologies and policies in and outside of the classroom. The presentation concludes with recommendations for how teachers, instructors, and professors should encourage cross-cultural competence through embracing multilingual ideologies and language policies. Presenter draws heavily from reflections and research in a forthcoming book chapter in a volume on Cultural Competence through Emerald Group Publishing.



DERIC MCNISH & CARMELA R. GILLETTE                                


Deric McNish & Carmela R. Gillette

Carmela Romano Gillette and Deric McNish are the authors of Drama in the Language Classroom (2019) University of Michigan Press ELT. For more information on the Performing Fluency approach, go to 

Carmela Romano Gillette, PhD.
Dr. Carmela Romano Gillette is a Lecturer in the University of Michigan's English Language Institute. She earned a PhD in Literacy Education from Oakland University and an MTESL from Arizona State University. She also holds a bachelor's degree in Theatre and English. Carmela has taught English for over 25 years in multiple contexts, including adult education and community programs, corporate settings, tutoring, community colleges, and universities. Her teaching specialties include academic English courses and training for prospective teachers and international teaching assistants. Carmela's research interests center on academic literacy and the access students have to it, the value in providing authentic opportunities for students to use English, and fostering the integration of international students across university communities.

Deric McNish, MFA, PhD. 
Dr. Deric McNish is a Program Director and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Michigan State University. He is also a Senior Editor of the International Dialects of English Archive. He earned a PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MFA from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Play House. He has taught drama-based English language courses at the University of Michigan's English Language Institute and Michigan State University's English Language Center. Deric received the 2019 Teacher-Scholar Award, the 2017 Innovation and Leadership Award for Faculty, the 2017 Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, the 2017 AT&T Instructional Technology Award, and the 2016 Dudley Knight Award for Outstanding Vocal Scholarship. Deric's research focuses on inclusive, accessible, and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. Recent publications include "Performance of Fluency" in the Voice and Speech Review, "Training Actors with Disabilities" in New Directions in Teaching Theatre Arts (Palgrave Macmillan), and "A Moving Target: Success and the Reset Button" in Perform: Succeeding as a Creative Professional (Focal Press).


Performing Fluency: Language Learning as Playing a Role
Actors and language learners have at least one thing in common: they have to think about the relationship between identity and language. A look back at the history of SLA shows a field searching for ways to make language authentic and accessible. Looking back at the pedagogy of actor training reveals tools that help language learners leap forward. The literature on language and identity tells us that language learners are not using words, but also performing an identity distinct from and yet connected to their own. Our approach, which pulls from the literature on language and identity, embraces the idea that language learners are also playing a role. Instructors can use techniques like improv to create a supportive learning environment. Though using improv and acting techniques in language instruction can seem daunting for teachers, when instructors are willing to embrace the ambiguity and students feel comfortable in a supportive setting that encourages risk-taking, language learning can flourish. In this session, you will learn about evidence-based practice appropriate for any classroom setting.



RANDALL SADLER                                                                                                       

Dr. Randall Sadler is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches courses on telecollaboration and language learning, virtual worlds and language learning and the teaching of L2 reading and writing. He is also the Director of the Illinois Teaching English as a Second Language and ESL Programs. His main research area is on the role of technology in language learning, with a particular focus on how CMC and Virtual Worlds may be used to enhance that process. He has published in these areas in journals including the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, CALICO Journal, ReCALL, Language Learning & Technology, Computers & Education, ELT, and in numerous edited volumes.  His latest book, Virtual Worlds, Telecollaboration, and Language Learning: From Theory to Practice is published by Peter Lang.  He is also the co-owner of the EduNation Islands, which are located in the Virtual World of Second Life, where he may often be found in the guise of his avatar Randall Renoir.


3-D Environments and Language Education: From Virtual Worlds to Virtual Reality

Virtual Environments like Minecraft and Second Life provide multiuser 3-D environments that may be utilized for either classroom-based or autonomous language learning. While Second Life is one of the most popular VWs at the current time (especially if differentiated from Massively-Multiplayer Online Games like World of Warcraft), there are a number of other VW platforms that dwarf Second Life in terms of users.  A few of these include: Minecraft, Active Worlds, Habbo, and Club Penguin. This presentation will provide an overview of popular VWs, discuss how they may be used for language learning, and look ahead to the role of Virtual Reality for education.