On May 17-18, with support from a BLC travel grant, I attended and presented at the annual conference of the Council of Teachers of Southeast Asian Languages (COTSEAL) at the University of Washington-Seattle. I’ve been involved with COTSEAL since 1990, and I was President from 2014-17. The conference is usually held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in July, to facilitate the attendance of the many Southeast Asian language teachers teaching there every summer. However, I think that holding the conference on the west coast, and in May, was a welcome change, which made it easy for many of us in this part of the country to attend. Everything was well-organized, and for probably the first time, all panels and presenters started and finished on time (a major accomplishment for our group!).
The paper I presented was on how I reorganized and restructured my Beginning Khmer curriculum to accommodate distance students at quarter-system campuses, and it was well received. A high point of the conference was the discussion of a major Luce Grant that COTSEAL (along with Cornell University and UW-Madison) has applied for, which will fund a variety of teacher training activities and support the creation of associations of teachers of individual Southeast Asian languages, among other objectives… we’ll know in a few weeks whether we’ll be awarded the grant or not. The last activity of the workshop was a “technology in language teaching” workshop run by an outside consultant, which many teachers seemed to benefit from.