A warm talk with Dr. Rosa Aronson, TESOL’s Executive Director

Dr. Rosa Aronson (middle) Loc Do (left, TESOL HCMC's vice-president) and Tien Mai
Dr. Rosa Aronson (middle) Loc Do (left, TESOL HCMC’s vice-president) and Tien Mai

A warm and enlightening conversation with Dr. Rosa Aronson, Executive Director, TESOL International Association (TESOL).

The honor belongs to us, TESOL HCMC (HCMC)’s committee members to welcome Dr. Rosa Aronson, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She’s in Vietnam for the TESOL Symposium in Danang – (TESOL partners with the National Foreign Language 2020 Project and the University of Foreign Language Studies, the University of Danang – See more at: http://bit.ly/1MxOm9q

Although the aim of the meeting for us was to learn about each other’s past, present and future, HCMC expressed a strong wish to become one of TESOL’s affiliates. In light of that, we were clearly briefed on the benefits of joining a network of 100-odd affiliates of the thriving TESOL. In fact there will be tangible benefits once HCMC joins that network.

  • We don’t have to pay fees for annual membership (other US-based affiliates do!) as Vietnam is in the global reach zone.
  • We will have one free member registration at TESOL’s annual conference.
  • We might receive one speaker from TESOL to present at our local conference thanks to their funding.

On the other hand, the membership of HCMC will certainly add diversity to the highly multilingual landscape on TESOL affiliates’ map. HCMC’s contributing voice will be small, but unique enough to be shared with other teaching contexts.

Then Dr. Aronson shed light on the five goals of TESOL regarding advocacy, professional learning, governance, research and standards.

For a young association like TESOL HCCM, the alignment with such goals will take time and efforts, and might even go through unexpected trial and error phases. But this eye-opening conversation with Dr. Aronson has really encouraged us to keep moving forward. We’re fully aware of the obvious obstacles: lack of funding, overwhelming work and sometimes even personal conflicts that voluntary committee members are experiencing; however, we believe that the TESOL’s global reach scheme will play a significant role in HCMC’s achieving international standards.

The most interesting part of this informal exchange is learning about the diverse, non-native backgrounds of devoted TESOL’s presidents. One was born in China. One was born in Egypt. One was born in Guyana… and Dr. Aronson, our beloved guest, she herself a non-native speaker of English who is now also strongly advocating for TEFL equity!

HCMC’s ready to file an affiliate application to TESOL. Let’s all hope it goes successfully before TESOL’s 50 anniversary in Baltimore, the U.S in 2016.

Thank you Dr. Rosa Aronson for your short but valuable visit!

(Also published at tesolhcmc.wordpress.com)