How CamTESOL Prepared me for other International Conferences

By Cheapanhasith Pel, ACE Teacher

In July 2018, I was invited for the first time to be a featured speaker on the international stage, at the 65th TEFLIN International Conference in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. My co-presenter, Ratana Chheang, and I came up with the topic Assessing Students through Maximising Their Involvement, in line with the conference theme of Sustainable Teacher Professional Development in English Language Education: Where Theory, Practice & Policy Meet. Our presentation sought primarily to enable participants to develop more authentic assessment activities by promoting student engagement, and ultimately, to reflect and provide feedback on those assessment theories and suggested activities.

Cheapanhasith Pel is the second to the left with other TEFLIN Delegates

Going to a conference abroad is definitely an exhilarating experience. First I had to get acquainted with Indonesian culture, because my first impression prior to my presentation was of paramount importance to capture the audience’s attention. It was a special feeling to be addressed as a CamTESOL delegate, and to be able to share my experience of presenting at CamTESOL. To some extent, I could also perceive what it must be like to present at JALT or KoTESOL. Moreover, presenting at TEFLIN allowed me to network for future opportunities and collaboration, to listen to and learn from many other presentations, discussions and lectures, and to exchange ideas with fellow intellectuals about the TESOL/TEFL context and issues in our countries.

A group photo of TEFLIN Delegates

Before I travelled to Indonesia, I had my first experience of presenting at an international conference at CamTESOL 2018. Frankly, I was slightly nervous at the time, given that I had to present in front of international and local experts in the ELT field. However, I overcame my fear with thorough preparation, and later, this experience provided valuable insight for me to get ready for my TEFLIN presentation. Without it, I would not have had such success in Indonesia.

Cheapanhasith Pel on the far left visiting local tourist sites with a group of delegates

Taking part in these conferences has paved the way for my development and deep interest in particular areas of ELT. Presentations on a wide range of different topics, from learner age groups to various teaching methodologies, have given me numerous perspectives on how to keep myself up-to-date professionally, and on how to prepare for a successful career. They have also enabled me to immerse myself in a variety of teaching activities that can be used in my own classes, even though some require moderate contextualisation. This has inspired me to design additional classroom activities that are suitable for the local Cambodian context.

To all fellow teachers and TESOL/TEFL researchers, please do not miss this amazing opportunity to update your skills and network with fellow professionals… for your career’s sake! See you at the 15th Annual CamTESOL Conference in February 2019.

To learn more and register for the CamTESOL Conference, go to www.camtesol.org

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