The 11th Asia TEFL International Conference 2013 on “Englishes Across Asian Context: Opportunities and Challenges” was an academic multicultural gathering at Ateneo de Manila University’s beautiful green-clad campus. The Opening Ceremony took place at its Irwin Theater on 26th October 2013 with the national anthem and the invocation to Ateneo de Manila Glee Club. The welcome address was presented by Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J., President, Ateneo de Manila University and opening remarks by Hyo Woong Lee, President, Asia TEFL.
Right after the formal ceremony, the insightful keynote speech on “English as a Multicultural Language and its Pedagogical Implications” by Nobuyuki Honna, Professor Emeritus Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan was presented to the hallroom-packed audience. Mr Honna sketched the diffusion and the intercultural adaptation of English language. He showed with proofs how the modified, realistic Japanese English Speaker Model proved to be fruitful for the English learning situation in his country. Variations of word play such as ‘paper driver’, ‘hot carpet’, ‘one-man bus’ etc along with bilingual ambiguity and pun are infused in Japanese English. Thus, he professed for intercultural literacy by improving sensitivity to and tolerance of linguistic diversity. He then provided examples from entries in ESSC (Extremely Short Story Competition) conducted by Japanese Association for Asian Englishes and published in The Japan Times website.
The 3 day-long conference held 6 Plenary Presentations out of which the followings are worth to be mentioned: “Language Variation and Education” by Ahmar Mahboob, University of Sydney, Australia; “Competence and Capability: Rethinking the Subject English” by Henry Widdowson, University of Vienna, Austria; “Non-native English Speakers and Pronunciation Teaching: Myths, Realities and Practicalities” by Ee Ling Low, National Institute of Education, Singapore; and “Teaching, learning and context: What we can learn from studying the lives and careers of English language teachers” by David Hayes, Brock University, Canada.
About 400 paper presentations in 18 sessions along with poster presentations, teaching demonstration and workshop sessions in these mind-boggling 3days were held at Loyola Schools of Ateneo de Manila University. There were also Featured Presentations at the conference which would later be published. Professor Dr. Arifa Rahman, presented her research on “Conditions for English Language Learning in Bangladesh: A Sociological Perspective” at one of the sessions. There were two paper presentations by Bangladeshi academicians – “Madrasah Students' Learning Styles, Techniques and Their Preferences” by Harunur Khan (Professor, Dept. of English, East West University) and “Creating Materials for the Class: A Student-Centered Approach” by Tahsina Yasmin (Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, Daffodil International University). In the midst of all these intellectual discussions and sharing, participants enjoyed lunch at the Loyola Schools Covered Courts.
The Closing Ceremony began with the message by Bernard Spolsky, Publications Executive Director, Asia TEFL, in which he pointed out the changes and transformation of ELT ideologies and practices over the years.
The Turnover ceremony was conducted by Hyo Woong Lee, President, Asia TEFL and Isabel Pefianco Martin, 11th Asia TEFL Conference Chair. They handed over the Asia TEFL drum to Ganakumaran Subramaniam, 12th Asia TEFL Conference Chair. The program came to an end with a multimedia presentation of the 12th Asia TEFL International Conference which would be held in Malaysia in August 2014.
The mingling lingered for one more day on 29th October 2013 for the participants who enrolled for the exciting Villa Escudero tour at the outskirt.