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40 Years of TESOL at UMBC

Please join us as we celebrate our TESOL program through a series of lectures and workshops.


Spring 2020


March 21, 2020 | 10:00 – 11:00  – Online: Free Webinar

Second Language Acquisition or Disability? 

Marybelle Marrero-Colón
A growing number of students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds demonstrate unique learning needs as they work to acquire a new language, as well as meet national and state standards. However, one question which arises is whether the needs of these diverse learners are being appropriately addressed by schools/districts, or are English learners being disproportionately identified for special education services? Professionals in the field need to discuss the issues involved in identifying disabilities in English learners, which many times mimic second language acquisition, and identify alternatives to special education placement.

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Marybelle Marrero-Colón is a professional development content manager for the Center for Applied Linguistics. In her 33 years as an educator, inclusion specialist, program coordinator, administrator, and professional developer, Marybelle has acquired experience within the fields of ESL, Bilingual Education, Bilingual Special Education, Special Education instruction and evaluation, and Professional Development. For the Center for Applied Linguistics she has provided coaching, workshops, and presentations for schools, districts, national conferences, and various education based organizations in topics involving English Learners and Second Language Acquisition. Marybelle has a B.A. in Psychology & Spanish Language & Literature, an M.A. in Bilingual Special Education, and an M.S. in Administration & Supervision with a specialty in professional development. She is also a US Department of Education Title VII Fellow in Bilingual Special Education.

Click here to view or download event flyer.



April 25, 2020 | 9:00 – 12:00 — UMBC Campus: Location to be announced

Learner-centered Assessment in Your Language Classroom

Pre-registration required. Please click here to register.

Jiyoon Lee (UMBC)

Do you want your students to be autonomous and responsible for their own performance in your language classes? This free half-day workshop explores a variety of ways to support your students with learner-centered assessment, including self- and peer-assessments. You will learn about the advantages of learner-centered assessment and how to incorporate it in language teaching. Through hands-on activities, you will actively engage with creating and reflecting on self- and peer-assessments. You will walk away with practical ideas you can use in your teaching immediately. The workshop is ideal for those who work with English learners in public schools or community language teaching programs.

Dr. Jiyoon Lee is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. An experienced teacher and teacher educator, she conducts research on speaking assessment, learner-centered assessment, and language assessment literarcy. She has lectured and given professional development workshops nationally and internationally. Dr. Lee currently teaches courses on linguistics and langauge assessment to pre- and in- service teachers in UMBC’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program.

Click here to view or download event flyer. 





Please keep an eye out for additional events to be posted for Spring 2020.


Past Spring 2020 Events


February 10, 2020 | 12:00-1:00 — Sherman Hall, A Wing, room 110

English Learners in the Transition from High School to College: Research and Policy

Linda Harklau (University of Georgia)

An increasing number of college-aspirant youth in U.S. public high schools come from multilingual (im)migrant backgrounds, including some who are still developing English proficiency. What does it take to get these youth into and through college? Drawing on recent research including her own work with college-bound immigrant youth, Harklau explores factors that facilitate and hinder English learners’ linguistic and academic attainment in high school, and their experiences with college access. She shows that while applied linguists and TESOL educators have traditionally focused on classroom language instruction, attention has been shifting to the important influence of school, community, and societal contexts. Harklau identifies recent developments in language education policies at the high school and college level that are changing the nature of instruction for adolescent and young adult English learners, and considers implications for the professional roles of TESOL educators.

Linda Harklau is a Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education and affiliated faculty in the Linguistics Department at the University of Georgia (USA). Her research focuses on factors affecting language learning and academic achievement of multilingual youth in U.S high schools and their transition to college. Her work has appeared in prominent journals, and she has co-edited three volumes on multilingual youth and college transitions: Generation 1.5 Meets College Composition (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1999), Generation 1.5 in College Composition (2009), and Language Minority Students Go to College (Routledge, 2012). A past recipient of the TESOL Distinguished Research Award and Immediate Past-President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics, her current research looks at Georgia’s implementation of college completion initiatives and its effects on programs and policies for English learners in state higher education.

Click here to view or download event flyer. 


March 9, 2020 | 12:00 – 1:00 – Fine Arts 459

Effective Teaching in Higher Education: Communication, Delivery, and Assessment

Aynur Yürekli (İzmir University of Economics)

The UMBC TESOL Program in collaboration with the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication and the English Language Institute present a talk by visiting Fulbright scholar Aynur Yürekli of İzmir University of Economics in Turkey.  She will speak on how pedagogical competencies of instructors play a crucial role in improving the quality of the teaching and learning in higher education institutions. However, in many countries worldwide, pedagogical training is not a requirement for being an instructor at a university. This talk explores how pedagogical competencies of instructors affect student perceptions by focusing on three key dimensions of classroom pedagogy: delivery, communication, and measurement and assessment. Specific emphasis will be placed on “classroom communication” and how it relates to concepts beyond the classroom setting.

RSVP required by March 2nd.

UMBC faculty staff, and students, please click the ‘going’ button below on the myUMBC Group page

Participants not affiliated with UMBC, please e-mail

Aynur Yürekli is an associate professor of English language teaching (ELT) and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) tutor who is involved in teacher training and teaching English for academic purposes (EAP) at İzmir University of Economics in Turkey. Her research areas include pedagogical and professional development in higher education, teacher training, and ELT and applied linguistics.  She has lectured on these topics internationally in Cyprus, France, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States as well as nationally throughout Turkey. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at the UMBC Department of Education.

Click here to view or download event flyer.



FALL 2019


October 28, 2019 | 12:00-1:00 — Performing Arts and Humanities Building room 107

Reenvisioning Multilinguals’ English: Acquisition and Education Perspectives

Lourdes Ortega (Georgetown University)

Two thirds of the world’s speakers of English are second-language users and thus by definition bi/multilingual. All too often, their communication repertoires are construed as deficient and their multilingual prowess is erased. A wealth of knowledge from language acquisition by children and adults and from social theories in education can help us envision a new kind of multilingual English competence. I will argue that this kind of competence is continuous, probabilistic and gradient, and it is not limited by strictly linguistic or purely monolingual standards. I will then explore the pedagogical mindset that can help educators reaffirm multilinguals’ English competence and success.


Lourdes Ortega is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University and Convener of the Initiative for Multilingual Studies. She is best known for an award-winning meta-analysis of second language instruction published in 2000, a best-seller graduate-level textbook Understanding Second Language Acquisition (Routledge 2009, translated into Mandarin in 2016), and since 2010 for championing a bilingual and social justice turn in her field of second language acquisition. Her latest book is The Handbook of Bilingualism with Cambridge University Press (co-edited in 2019 with Annick De Houwer).




November 12, 2019  | 12:00-1:00 — Performing Arts and Humanities Building room 229

Emotional Turn in Second Language Teacher Education: Prospects and Possibilities

Peter De Costa (Michigan State University)

Following the sociocultural turn in teacher emotion research and the broader and deepening interest in affect within adjacent fields of psychology, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, 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, while the latter takes into account the sociopolitical dimensions of language teacher education. 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. The presentation closes with a discussion of implications for pedagogy, policy and research.


Peter De Costa (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages and the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His primary areas of research are identity and ideology in SLA.  His work has appeared in numerous international journals in the areas of applied linguistics and language education.  Together with colleagues, he has recently co-edited special journal issues on scalar approaches to language learning and teaching, teacher identity, study abroad research methodologies, and World Englishes and second language acquisition. He is the author of The Power of Identity and Ideology in Language Learning (Springer, 2016) and editor of Ethics in Applied Linguistics Research (Routledge, 2016). He is the co-editor of the journal TESOL Quarterly.




November 16, 2019 | 9:00-12:00 — Sherman Hall A wing Room 121 

Workshop on Fanfiction in the Classroom 

Pre-registration required. Please click here to register.

Shannon Sauro (UMBC)

Do you or your students love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Twilight?  How about Naruto, Inuyasha or Fairy Tail?  Or maybe Pokéman, Call of Duty, or Assassin’s Creed?  Do you wish you could use them in your teaching?  This free half-day workshop introduces the use of fanfiction for language and literature teaching. Participants will engage in learning-through-doing modules developed by the FanTALES project including an overview of fan fiction and common genres and tropes, tools and techniques for searching fan fiction archives, and in-class short-form fan fiction writing.  The workshop is designed for in-service and pre-service language teachers at the middle and high school levels but is open to all who are interested. No previous experience with fanfiction is necessary. Pre-registration required.


Shannon Sauro is a specialist in technologically mediated language teaching and learning and second language literacy.  A faculty member in the UMBC TESOL program, her areas of research include the intersection of online fan practices and language learning and teaching, and the role of virtual exchange/telecollaboration in language teacher education.  She recently co-edited a special journal issue on CALL in the digital wilds as well as the books CALL for Mobility (Peter Lang, 2018; with Joanna Pitura) and The Handbook of Technology and Second Language Teaching and Learning (Wiley, 2017; with Carol A. Chapelle).  She is a past president of the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) and currently communications officer for UNICollaboration, an international organization for virtual exchange.


Click here to view or download event flyer. 




November 20, 2019 | 4:30-5:30 — Sherman Hall A wing Room 110

 A Conversation with a Master Language Teacher

Sara Bruun (Ringsjö School, Höör, Sweden)

The use of digital tools opens up the classroom to the whole world. With programs such as Skype and FlipGrid students all over the globe are able to meet, speak, and work together in real-time.  Digital tools transform teaching, and by using them wisely you can take your students far beyond text- and workbooks or struggles with vocabulary tests. They are able to “travel” and actually see what it is like in other parts of the world. These days, when some borders are being closed, it is important that we teach our students about different cultures and raise awareness about the world around us. A brief presentation serves as the foundation for a practice-based conversation about language teaching in the 21st century.


Sara Bruun is an award-winning language teacher, author, and lecturer from Sweden. She teaches English at a secondary school in Höör where she is also a development manager.  Her work was awarded the European Language Label by the European Commission in 2015.  In 2016, she received the outstanding achievement award for compulsory and upper-secondary school modern language teaching from the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Kungliga vitterhetsakademien).  She was recognized in 2017 as Sweden’s Teacher of the Year for Educational Technology.  She is the author of two books, Klassrummet möter världen: Autentiskt, tematiskt och digitalt (The Classroom Meets the World: Authentically, Thematically, and Digitally) and Digitala arbetssätt i klassrummet: Att våga ta språnget (Digital Practices in the Classroom: Daring to Take the Leap).


Click here to view or download event flyer.