Wednesday, July 01, 2009

dominican republic

Leverett, T. (2009, June). Digital fluency and the role of the teacher. Invited Plenary, Annual Conference for Teachers of English, Santiago (Jun. 8 & 9) and Santo Domingo (June 11 & 12), Dominican Republic. Included two workshops: Using weblogs to integrate writers into target communities and Technology as gateway to opportunity.

My week in the Dominican Republic was fantastic; I especially loved the people and the food. Also great was the music and the Caribbean atmosphere, the old downtown of Santo Domingo, for example, which was the earliest settlement in the New World, or the old town of Santiago, where it rained a lot but we felt we were in the heart of the country. This is a country where people have a lot of spirit, and I made close friends with English teachers of a very interesting and beautiful country.

The big news there is the possibility of Dominican teachers forming a TESOL, or organization of teachers, but I am less involved in our own US TESOL to help make that happen; I would certainly love to contribute. I'd love to see them get on this list as soon as possible. The same holds, apparently, for teachers from Guatemala who were there with us.

I wrote about the trip personally, and you are welcome to read a full report at your leisure. Let's just say, what a wonderful place. I feel that I learned more than they did, and one thing that would make me very happy would be to be of continuing assistance to Dominican teachers as they struggle to integrate technology and improve the standard of English teaching in their nation. I think it's important for teachers to be connected and feel connected to teachers in other parts of the world, and to this end, I felt the trip was a success. I wish them luck in the future also, and hope to see some Dominicans up here in Illinois one of these days. Finally, I close with a poster picture of Santiago, where it rained hard during the conference, and at other times, and, while the rain put a kind of sad feeling onto a joyous and light-feeling place, it didn't diminish the beauty in any way. My plenary, in fact, was given here during a thunderous lightning storm, outside and under these various canvas awnings. It was remarkable, in every way.

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