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NATESOL Annual Conference 2022
NATESOL Annual Conference 2022

NATESOL Annual Conference 2022

The conference aims to provide a space for practitioners from all TESOL contexts to come together to share ideas, examples of practice, research, and discussion around the shape of TESOL as it is and as we want it to be.

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Time & Location

14 May 2022, 10:00 – 14:00 BST

Via Zoom


About the event

TESOL Today: Local, Global, Equal & Open


Aleks Palanac (University of Leicester)

Khawla Badwan (Manchester Metropolitan University)

The conference aims to provide a space for practitioners from all TESOL contexts to come together to share ideas, examples of practice, research, and discussion around the shape of TESOL as it is and as we want it to be.

The last two years have seen a change in perspective for many, with a greater concern for equity, inclusion and social justice arising from shared experiences. Our focus is on how TESOL is rising to the challenges posed by the times. Should TESOL now be moving beyond teaching language? How do we bring social concern and fight for justice into our classrooms? Can we? Should we? What does a truly inclusive TESOL classroom look like? How do we address challenges of sustainability? How TESOL today be empowering for the future, in and beyond the classroom?

Conference fees:

Speakers Free

Members £5

Non-members £10

Unwaged & students £2.

Certificates of attendance free to members and speakers, £10 for non-members.


Plenary 1:  10.15am

Dr Khawla Badwan (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

Re-Imagining TESOL Teacher-Education with a Focus on Social Justice

In this talk I start by highlighting the dominant White, middle-class gaze in TESOL, arguing for the need to question the normative frames that have continued to shape and reproduce the sector.  After that, I discuss possible ways for doing TESOL teacher education differently, in ways that challenge deep-seated inequalities and enable language educators to critically and reflectively engage with crucial educational, cultural, and political issues of our times.

The talk then presents different approaches to social justice in language education and discusses what happens when these approaches clash in an attempt to engage with Pennycook’s (2021:21) question: ‘how do we work toward change in the contexts of our work, where issues of language sit at the heart of forms of inequality?’ The talk concludes with examples of work from TESOL pre-service students which demonstrate the transformative power of the TESOL classroom.

Bio: Dr Khawla Badwan is a Senior Lecturer in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research interests include language education, social justice, mobility, identity, place, sociolinguistics, and intercultural communication. Her most recent publication is a book entitled Language in a Globalised World: Social Justice Perspectives on Mobility and Contact (2021), published by Palgrave.

Morning parallel sessions

Dr Michael Hepworth (University of Sutherland, UK)

Teacher activism and social justice in TESOL

In this presentation, I will argue that teacher activism in the service of social justice is a crucial resource in TESOL. In arguing this, I go against the grain of dominant neo-liberal ideologies that position teachers narrowly and instrumentally as morally neutral deliverers of knowledge and skills around English. This denies their humanity.

In contrast, I position teachers as citizens, situated human beings with a sense of social justice. Participatory approaches to literacy/language teaching have long foregrounded activism and social justice (Freire, 1970). More recently, Cooke and Peutrell (2019) acknowledge the influence of their activism and I have done likewise (Hepworth, 2022).

Having pitched my argument, I will then open the space for discussion in break-out groups. We will explore the following questions: Is there a role for teacher activism in language education? If so, what is it? How might teacher activism impact upon curriculum and teacher practices? How might it inform a social justice agenda? What are the implications of all this for language teacher education? Can we educate students and language teachers for social justice?

Bio: Dr Michael Hepworth is a Senior Lecturer in TESOL and Education at the University of Sunderland.

Dr Sarah Telfer (University of Bolton, UK)

Embedding Sustainability Development (ESD) into English Language Teaching

We are living in a world and educational landscape that is shifting rapidly and presents two grand challenges Net Zero / Clean Growth (also known as ‘Sustainability’), while at the same time dealing with an Ageing Society. Educational Sustainability Development (ESD) is a key theme in teaching and learning, as it is being included in forthcoming revisions of both the Further Education (FE) professional standards and the minimum core. This workshop will explore creative ways and practical activities to embed ESD into language teaching planning and delivery.

Bio: Dr Sarah Telfer is Associate TIRI Professor in Education and Lead for Initial Teacher Education 14 + Programmes. An experienced educational leader and teacher educator with a background in ESOL and Literacy teaching and learning, teacher training, and staff development in a range of different educational contexts.

Plenary 2: 12.45am 

Aleks Palanac (University of Leicester, UK)

Towards a Trauma-Informed ELT Pedagogy for Refugees

Although not usually trained therapists, English language teachers of refugee-background students often find themselves dealing with the fallout of trauma and being ‘drawn into increasingly psychosocial roles’ (Costa, 2018:19). This can pose a real challenge to teachers uncertain as to whether it is better in this situation to continue to employ their existing pedagogies, or to attempt to tackle the issue of trauma in the classroom head on, thereby running the risk of trespassing into the domain of the therapist, which might result in further harm being caused.

Drawing upon the speaker’s article of the same name, this plenary will consider how English language tutors might safely bring about the psycho-social conditions in which the effects of trauma in refugee-background students might be mitigated, and how strategies might be put in place to start to support students to not only recover, but also potentially to begin to thrive and grow – a phenomenon referred to as post-traumatic growth.

The talk will conclude by reflecting on where we might practically position the line between the domains of ‘teacher’ and ‘therapist’, and what the potential implications for classroom practice and teacher training programmes might be.

Bio: Aleks Palanac is an EAP and ESOL practitioner-researcher at the University of Leicester and Convenor of BALEAP’s EAP for Social Justice SIG. She has been heavily involved in developing the University of Sanctuary initiative at her institution, particularly by widening participation to HE for refugee-background students through trauma-informed English language provision. Her recent work has included an interdisciplinary British Council ELTRA-funded research project entitled Beyond Resilience: Facilitating Learning and Well-Being in the Refugee Language Classroom and she is currently developing a sector-wide scheme entitled ‘RefugEAP’, designed to create and facilitate opportunities for UK-based refugees to access EAP provision. More information about her work is available here.

Afternoon sessions

Courage Njeatih (Canterbury Christ Church University, UK)

Second-Language Refugee Learners in L2 Environment: Autonomy and Identity Development

It will be a PowerPoint presentation on Young Adult (Refugee) ESOL learners in the Second Language (L2) (UK) environment. It will focus on how the L2 environment influences learners' development of their autonomy and construction of their identity and the results of these on their language learning. The environment here will include the general UK setting, and learners' immediate environment (the L2 classroom context, their family, house/accommodation, and social/friendship groups). It will look into questions such as, What is the place of learners' agency in taking responsibility and control of their learning progress and how are they being partners in their learning journey?

It will equally look at how learners perceive themselves in the L2 context and how this perception influences their learning.

Bio: Courage Njeatih is a second-year PhD Applied Linguistics student at Canterbury Christ Church University, researching the relationship between ESOL learners' autonomy and identity development and its influence on their language learning.

Yibo Liang (Southwest University, USA)

Out-of-class Learning in Current Chinese School System

Situated in the context of the double reduction policy in Mainland China, there has been increasing importance attached to how students will engage in various out-of-class language learning activities. Using data gathered from questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and on-the-spot observation, I present research that navigates the EFL learners’ out-of-class language learning in the Primary School attached to East China Normal University (Shanghai). Furthermore, based on the theoretical framework of Community of Practice, the presentation examines the ways in which language learners foster their agency and negotiate their identity in out-of-class language learning activities.

Bio: Yibo Liang graduated from the Southwest University, and her research interests are sociolinguistics, learner identity and learner agency.

Dr Nour Elhouda Souleh (Canterbury Christ Church University, UK)

Decolonial Subversions from an ESOL Classroom: Identity, Othering and Authority

This presentation shares creative nonfictional writings of the researcher when she worked as an ESOL tutor for refugee and asylum-seeking teenagers. The researcher’s ethnographic writings are a reflexive critic of theory and the self’s positionality in multilingual classroom. From her recent doctoral research about the nature of “Othering” to decolonial thought, she interrogates three critical incidents from the classroom interaction. The first one records the use of humour to exhibit one’s identity; which relates to the researcher’s experience with doing and researching stand-up comedy. The second incidence reports on the learners’ awareness of their own identity and their views of global political issues. The last part is another decolonial reflexive account of the researcher’s own positionality in the classroom as a person of “authority” to the learners.

Bio: Dr. Nour Elhouda Souleh’s doctoral thesis explored constructions of Othering between lived experience and stand-up comedy with Intersectional Feminist aspirations. She is interested in qualitative, creative forms of doing research with theoretical focus on the Postcolonial, the Feminist and the Intercultural.

Wa’ad Abdullah Almalki (Taif University English language centre, Saudi Arabia)

Challenges Faced by Female Students with Visual Impairments in Learning English as a Foreign Language: A Narrative Inquiry Study

In this session, I will present some challenges faced by visually impaired female students and their instructors while learning and teaching English language. Also, some strategies used by visually impaired students to learn English language as their counterparts without visual problems will be presented throughout the session.

Bio: Wa’ad Abdullah Almalki is an English language instructor at Taif university, fellow of Higher Education Academy (UK), certified Cambridge Teacher Trainer, certified TOT, MA in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) with first honors, volunteering member of English mastery initiative. He has introduced many online talks/posts for English language learners who are interested in professional development, English language teaching and learning methodology, second language acquisition and technology based English language teaching and learning.


  • Non-member

    This ticket is for those who are not currently paid members of NATESOL. If you would like to become a member, please see the joining details on the website.

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  • Individual member

    This ticket is for those who are paid members of NATESOL.

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  • Institutional member

    This is for those who are members of an institution who has paid for annual membership.

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  • Student/unwaged

    For those who are currently full-time students or not in receipt of a salary.

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