Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kotesol Conference...the bad

So I've just returned home from a busy weekend at the annual Kotesol Conference in Seoul.  I liked a lot of things but I have a few complaints.  I'll start with the complaints first and then end on a positive note, since I'm such an optimistic person :)

1. Registration.  Why should your desk be so hard to find?  The one arrow pointing the way could have led up the stairs, or just straight.  I chose straight and was quite lost.

2. Registration, part 2.  Thank your for having my name-tag in a nice, organized pile since I pre-registered.  Except maybe you should have told me that I needed to go around the corner and  down the stairs to pick up my little package.  Good thing I overheard some other confused guy asking what to do. In fact,  it's almost like you could have given me my nametag AND my package at the same time.

3. Speakers.  Hit and miss most definitely.  The conference seemed pretty heavy on people just presenting findings from their research.  Since I'm all about practical, apply it to the classroom kind of thing, I felt extremely frustrated.  And I even asked a couple of questions along this line, and got: "Oh, I don't really know off the top of my head."  So, if someone does all this research about the most effective ways to to teach ESL and can't give me a couple of activities for the classroom, do they really even know what they're talking about?  A total waste of my time.

4. Speakers, part 2.  Why do so many of you have such poor time management skills?  Are you really teachers?  I find this quite hard to believe.  And do you really think reading off a powerpoint is a good way to do a presentation?   And do you think having at least a simple hand-out with your presentation outline or business card with your name and title and email would be a good thing?  No, you don't it seems. 

Anyway, some were so bad that I felt inspired to present at next year's conference.  Seriously.  I'm no star presenter but I'm sure I could a better job than them.  I have an idea about student motivation and reward systems that I'm working on now.

5. Scheduling.  At some points, there were only 3 concurrent sessions.  This is fine.  Except there were over 1000 participants at the event.  Now, basic math would tell me that I should have 3 classrooms with enough seating for at least 333 people in each one.  Perhaps even rooms for 400 or so because you never know what will be popular.  Perhaps you were as baffled as I was to find classrooms with only about 100 seats.  Strange.  And do you really think 50 handouts will be sufficient for all these people?  We could share with our 6 closest seat-mates?


ZenKimchi said...

I'm sure Jen and Stafford would say, "Et tu, Jackie?"

Jackie Bolen said...

Hmmm....your comment is quite enigmatic. "Et tu" applies to what?

Stafford said...

Duely Noted

Anonymous said...

Do try to present. After teaching a few years, I think all good teachers should try. Future employers love that.

On the way up to Sookmyung on Sunday I heard two people talking. Seems they were from Japan. One mused that he was surprised that there were 1400 KOTESOL presenters and a small proportion presented whereas he said most of the attendees at JALT also present.

tommynomad said...

I'm a CK (conference kid) from way back. The first rule of site management is have someone not involved in the layout try and come in, register, collect their merch, and get to a session room without help THE DAY BEFORE the conference. If they can manage it, you're probably ok. If they can't, it's on the organisers; not the gunea pig.