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Convention Program

2016 Program

Updated At-a-Glance Schedule available HERE


Opening Plenary - Friday, February 26th, 9 a.m.

Peter Sokolowski
The Dictionary as Data: What the Online Dictionary Tells Us About English

What makes a person look up a word? When do you use a dictionary? Looking up a word in the dictionary is an intimate act for each of us as individuals, but the words sought by millions of users put together tell us a surprising story about the English language. By watching trends of lookups on a heavily consulted online dictionary, lexicographers track which entries are being consulted at any given moment.

Some words are perennial sources of curiosity, while others show spikes of interest triggered by news from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and sports. Some words express the general mood of the culture; others reflect a poignant specificity. At the same time, this Web traffic tells a story about the changing business of dictionaries -- and what is expected of a dictionary in the 21st century.

Peter Sokolowski joined Merriam-Webster in 1994 as the company’s first French-language editor, and has since defined and edited entries for many of the company's dictionaries. He blogs at Merriam-Webster Unabridged, appears in the Ask the Editor videos at, and was named among TIME's 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013. Active as a lecturer, he has led workshops for the U.S. State Department 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.

Follow-up Session:  An in-depth look at dictionaries for non-native speakers and extended Q&A.


Afternoon Plenary - Friday, February 26th, 4:30 p.m.


Luciana de Oliveira, Ph.D

Planned and Interactional Scaffolding: Six Cs of Support

This interactive plenary provides examples from practicing teachers of ways that they use scaffolding in their teaching. Participants learn six Cs of support for scaffolding that guide instruction for bilingual students who are simultaneously learning language and content. Dr. de Oliveira concludes with suggestions for teachers to take some of these ideas to their own classrooms and beyond.

Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Language and Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings program area in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami (UM), Florida. Prior to coming to UM, Dr. de Oliveira was an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the MA TESOL in K-12 program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on issues related to teaching English language learners (ELLs) at the K-12 level, including the role of language in learning the content areas and teacher education, advocacy and social justice.

 Currently, Dr. de Oliveira’s research examines 1. The linguistic challenges of the Common Core State Standards for ELLs and their implications for teachers of ELLs and 2. Scaffolding practices in K-12 classrooms. She is the series editor of five volumes focused on the Common Core and ELLs published by TESOL Press. She has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited 14 books and has several others forthcoming and has published a number of refereed journal articles and book chapters. Dr. de Oliveira has over 20 years of teaching experience in the field of TESOL in her native country, Brazil, and the U.S. and is an elected board member for the TESOL International Association (2013-2016). Among many awards and honors, in 2012 she was the recipient of the Early Career Award by the Bilingual Education Research special interest group of AERA.


Plenary Preview: TBD


Opening Plenary - Saturday, February 27th, 9 a.m.

Aya Matsuda, Ph.D

Englishes in the World of Textbooks

In recent years, ELT specialists have argued that the theory and practice in ELT must be re-conceptualized in light of the current use of English as an international language (EIL) (e.g., Alsagoff, et al., 2012; Matsuda, 2012; McKay, 2002). They have also pointed out the critical role that textbooks play in EIL classrooms. Most ELT teachers do not have rich knowledge of and personal experience with all diverse forms, functions and users of English today, and thus teachers and students rely on teaching materials for the kind of linguistic and content input needed to understand the sociolinguistic landscape of the language (e.g., Matsuda, 2012).

The purpose of the proposed presentation is to investigate the preparedness of current EFL textbooks to play such an important role in EIL curricula. Specifically, it explores the current representation of EIL in EFL textbooks, examines its adequacy vis-à-vis the actual use of English in today’s global world, and suggests ways to strengthen the representation of English from the EIL perspective.

Aya Matsuda is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of English at Arizona State University. Her research interests include the use of English as an international language and the pedagogical implications of the global spread of English. Her work focusing on these issues have appeared in various books and journals including English Today, JALT Journal, TESOL Quarterly, and World Englishes.

 She is also an editor of two books, Principles and practices of teaching English as an international language (2012) and Preparing teachers to teach English as an international language (forthcoming), published by Multilingual Matters. Matsuda currently services on the Board of Directors for TESOL International Association and is a secretary-treasure of International Association for World Englishes.

Follow-up Session: Extended Q&A Session.



Afternoon Plenary - Saturday, February 27th, 4:30 p.m.

Margo Gottlieb, Ph.D

Integrating Academic Language and Content: Stepping Stones and Expanding Horizons

Language educators have always advocated for access and equity in providing pathways for English language learners’ academic success. Over the decades, however, it seems as if we have only taken baby steps towards reaching that goal. This plenary is a personal recount of the history of the merging of content and language education and how academic language has played a central role in expanding our horizons.

Margo Gottlieb, Ph.D., is Director, Assessment and Evaluation, for the Illinois Resource Center as well as co-founder and lead developer for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the last decade, she has spearheaded the development of English language proficiency/development standards for American Samoa, Guam, TESOL, and WIDA and has designed assessment systems and comprehensive curricular frameworks. Starting her career as an ESL and bilingual teacher for Chicago Public Schools, Margo has worked with states, school districts, publishers, governments, universities, and organizations (having been active in ITBE and TESOL International Association) in addition to serving on numerous state and national expert panels.

Throughout the years Margo has presented in Asia, Central America, Europe, Indonesia, the Middle East, North America, the Pacific, and South America as well as close to home, across the United States. Margo's publications span over 80 articles, monographs, handbooks, and chapters. Her most recent books include: Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Definitions and Contexts (with G, Ernst-Slavit, 2014), a foundational book for an edited six book series Promoting Content and Language Learning, and her soon to be released 2nd edition of Assessing English Language Learners: Bridges to Educational Equity.


Plenary Preview Session: Question and answer session with Dr. Gottlieb.