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Plenary Speakers Information




Peter Sokolowski of Merriam-Webster


BIO:  Peter Sokolowski has been writing definitions for nearly 25 years at Merriam- Webster, America’s oldest and largest dictionary publisher. He also contributes blog articles, podcasts, and videos for the company’s online dictionary, and his writing has appeared in Slate and The New York Times. He is a frequent guest on national radio and television, and was named among TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013. He leads workshops on dictionaries and the English language, and serves as pronouncer for spelling bees worldwide. Peter attended the University of Paris and earned his M.A. in French Literature at the University of Massachusetts. He is also a freelance musician and a music host at New England Public Radio. 

Mind Your Manners: English Usage for Teachers
In this age of social media explosion, hot-takes, trolling, micro-aggressions, and calls for a return to civility, all speakers of English are judged by how they negotiate areas of disputed usage. This lecture explores grammar, word choice, and cultural assumptions essential to clear and correct English. What do we mean by usage? We mean the way English words and phrases are actually used: Is a word old-fashioned? technical? humorous? chiefly British? slangy? approving? objectionable? Is it usually followed by a certain preposition? Is its meaning usually literal, or very often figurative? What kinds of contexts is it found in? Join us on a tour of a dictionary that goes way beyond definitions into the teaching of critical thinking, communication, and culture.


Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen has published over 500 articles and more than a dozen scholarly books the fields of literacy, language acquisition, neurolinguistics, and bilingual education.  According to a recent study, he is the most frequently cited scholar in the field of language education. Many of his publications are available for free download at In 2005, Dr. Krashen was elected to the International Reading Association
Reading Hall of Fame. He was the 1977 Incline Bench Press Champion of Venice Beach and
currently trains at Gold's Gym in Venice, California. 

The secrets of hyper-polyglots

Hyper-polyglots Lomb Kato and Steven Kaufman have each acquired at least 15 languages as adults, many without living the country where the language is spoken. Their observations about language acquisition are in close agreement with the claims of current second language acquisition theory. 


Lydia Stack, Past President of TESOL

Lydia Stack is an internationally well-known teacher educator and author. She is  a founding member of Stanford’s Understanding Language initiative on Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas. The goal of this project was to enrich academic content and language instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs) in  grades K-12 by making explicit the language and literacy skills that are required to meet  the Common Core  state Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards. 
Lydia worked in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) as an elementary and secondary English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. After leaving the classroom, she was in charge of the Mentor Teacher program and then became the director of ESL/ELD Secondary Programs.  Her last assignment was Special Education Psychological Assessment Director for SFUSD. In addition, she taught Second Language Acquisition and Methods and Materials classes at Stanford University and San Francisco State University. In 1991-92 Lydia was President of TESOL (Teachers of English to  Speakers of Other Languages), an international association of teachers concerned with English language teaching worldwide. She is involved in writing ESL standards for students and teachers, curriculum writing and teacher training. Each summer from 2006 - 2012 Lydia Stack and Mary Lou McCloskey provided teacher professional development for teachers from former Yugoslavia countries at a two-week camp titled “Teaching Tolerance Though English”. This State Department-sponsored camp addressed issues of tolerance, bullying, and conflict resolution through English language development. Since 2012 Lydia Stack has been working in Greece helping Greek teachers develop the skills to work with refugees. Even though the borders are now closed, refugees continue to come to Greece seeking asylum in Europe.  Lydia’s workshops help Greek teachers understand the educational and emotional needs of these Refugee students. English is an important language for the Refugees to learn, since it is an international language and used everywhere in the world.
Lydia Stack has co-authored several textbooks and programs for English Learners, including American Themes, 2014 – a contemporary American literature anthology for ACCESS students for the Office of English Language Programs of the US State Department; On Our Way to English, K-5 – an ESL program for elementary students, 2010; The McDougal-Littell Literature and Language Arts Program, 2007; ESL Guide to McDougal-Littell Social Studies Program, 2004; On Our Way to English, Rigby, 2003; Visions (Books 1-3), Heinle, 2003; Voices in Literature (Bronze, Silver and Gold), Heinle, 1996; and Making Connections (Books 1-3), Heinle, 1995.

Title: Academic Conversations: A Bridge to Learning Content
English Learners need to read, write and talk about the content they are learning.  Recent research on academic language stresses the importance of conversation for comprehending new information and complex ideas presented in class. Conversations allow students to share their understandings, argue from evidence and build on one another’s ideas.   Conversational strategies to bridge the gap between content offered and content learned will be shared.


Peter De Costa of Michigan State University

Peter De Costa (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages and Department of Teacher Education at  Michigan State University. His primary areas of research are identity and ideology in SLA. He is the author of The Power of Identity and Ideology in Language Learning (Springer, 2016). He also recently edited Ethics in Applied Linguistics Research (Routledge, 2016). His work has appeared in AILA Review, Applied Linguistics Review, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, Language Policy, Language Teaching, Linguistics and Education, Research in the Teaching of English, System, TESOL Quarterly, and The Modern Language Journal. He recently guest edited special journal issues on scalar approaches to language learning and teaching (Linguistics and Education, 2016; with Suresh Canagarajah), teacher identity (The Modern Language Journal, 2017; with Bonny Norton), study abroad research methodologies (System, 2017; with Hima Rawal and Irina Zaykovskaya), and World Englishes and Second Language Acquisition (World Englishes, 2018; with Kingsley Bolton). He is the co-editor of TESOL Quarterly.

Session Title and Abstract:
Emotional Turn in Second Language Teacher Education: Prospects and Possibilities
Following the sociocultural turn (e.g., Zembylas, 2005) in teacher emotion research and the broader and deepening interest in affect within adjacent fields of psychology (e.g., MacIntyre & Gregersen, 2016), second language acquisition (e.g., Gkonou & Mercer, 2016) sociolinguistics (e.g., Wee, 2017) and linguistic anthropology, I explore second language (L2) teacher emotions from a positive psychology and critical perspective. The former perspective draws on recent developments in positive teacher psychology research (e.g., Gabrys-Barker & Galajda, 2016; Mercer & Koustoulas, 2018), while the latter takes into account the sociopolitical dimensions of language teacher education (e.g., Benesch, 2017; Loh & Liew, 2016). Importantly, both lines of research consider the ecologies in which teachers are embedded. To illustrate the vibrant and burgeoning language teacher emotion research agenda, I elaborate on three recently published studies: De Costa, Rawal and Li (2018), Pereira (2018), and Wolff and De Costa (2017). I also provide an overview of the special issue of the Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics (Mouton De Gruyter) on second language teacher emotions and argue how the second language teacher education research landscape can be enriched by a systematic investigation of teacher emotion labor. The presentation closes with a discussion of implications for pedagogy, policy and research.