Taylor elected as future TESOL president
Education professor Shelley Taylor is the first from Western University – and only the third from Canada – to be elected president of the TESOL International Association.
Taylor, who will begin a term as president-elect in March 2022, is planning an ambitious agenda when she takes over the organization’s reigns. Part of her program emphasizes equity, diversity and inclusion as a core value for the organization, including harnessing expertise for anti-racism initiatives.
“It’s a huge mandate and honour, and the position has a lot of responsibility,” Taylor said. “It’s really exciting with so much potential to do things.”
In addition, she will focus on improving student learning as TESOL recovers from the pandemic. COVID-19 shifted TESOL education online, which disrupted second language education, Taylor said. She wants students to catch up on their studies while protecting the profession’s integrity by having only qualified TESOL educators teach online.
At the same time, Taylor is planning new initiatives for the organization’s annual conference with the goal of increasing the attendance of members from global affiliate associations and instructors who are experiencing precarious employment because of the pandemic.
While COVID shifted the conference online in 2020 and 2021, Taylor hopes to create a hybrid version that will allow members to network in person while keeping the conference accessible to those who can’t travel to the event.
“The association is at a crossroads,” Taylor said. “With the convention going online due to the pandemic, we took a hit financially.”
Equally important, she wants to introduce micro-credentials and mini-courses for members at the conference and throughout the year. These courses will increase their skills as well as their competitiveness in the job market.
Finally, exploring industry partnerships and increasing participation from underrepresented groups are important for Taylor. In particular, promoting featured speaker opportunities for members who are at different stages in their careers is an imperative.
“They know it's not this unattainable expectation or just a guru that gets a huge fee for giving a talk. There’s definitely a place for them, but it’s more equitable and motivating to make space for their colleagues at similar career stages that are addressing their concerns and questions,” Taylor said.
TESOL is an international association of professionals advancing the quality of English language teaching through professional development, research, standards and advocacy. The TESOL International Association has more than 12,000 members in 155 countries, and over 100 independent affiliate associations worldwide with over 47,000 members.
Taylor has been heavily involved in the organization. She’s been the chair of the bilingual education interest section and has been a member of the professional development committee, nominating committee, the associate convention program chair for TESOL 2015, and has served on the Board of Directors and various task forces.
Taylor will serve on the Executive Committee for three years, first as president-elect. She takes over as president in March 2023 for a one-year term, and will serve as past-president through to 2025.