2016 Pre-conference Workshops

These four half-day professional development workshops (Friday, October 21, 1:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.) are designed to provide opportunities to discuss and examine relevant topics and important issues in greater depth. They will take place in the Mukogawa library on the Mukogawa Fort Wright campus.  Regular conference sessions will follow on Saturday, October 22.

Workshop details are below.


  • Check in – Mukogawa Library (October 21, 12:30 p.m. – 12:55 p.m.)
  • Action Research: Exploring and Invigorating your Classroom Practices – Cancelled
  • Using Dynamic Assessment to Enhance Student Learning – Library Assembly Hall
  • Developing Curricula with Open Educational Resources and Online Tools  – Library 114
  • What Decision Makers Need to Know about Serving English Learners – Library 202

Title: Action Research: Exploring and Invigorating your Classroom Practices

Presenter: Caroline Payant, Ph.D., University of Idaho

Abstract: Novice and experienced English language teachers might not always perceive themselves as researchers; however, as teachers, we often reflect on and seek solutions to our classroom conundrums. This workshop is designed to introduce you to action research (AR), a practitioner-based research model.  Together, we will cover the basics of AR (planning, acting, observing, reflecting) and discuss specific examples of AR. We will also engage in a brainstorming session to uncover interesting classroom puzzles thus paving the way for your new research project.

Biography: Dr. Caroline Payant is an assistant professor and Director of the MA TESL program at the University of Idaho. Her areas of interests include cognitive and sociocultural aspects of language acquisition, classroom-based research, and L2 teacher education.  Her recent work has examined the impact of pedagogical tasks on learner-learner interaction and language development.  Caroline is dedicated to language educators’ professional development and works closely with language teachers on developing and conducting research.

Nasrin NazemiTitle: Using Dynamic Assessment to Enhance Student Learning

Presenter: Nasrin Nazemi, University of Washington

Abstract: What is Dynamic Assessment (DA) and how can it help meet your students’ pedagogical needs? In this workshop, I will explain DA and demonstrate a model with hands-on strategies for integrating assessment and instruction in today’s classroom. During the workshop, you will use this model to design an assessment tool that helps you identify your students’ needs and scaffold your instruction to support those needs.

Biography: Nasrin Nazemi is a current WAESOL Board member and Assessment Coordinator at the University of Washington. Since 1994, she has been teaching English, and designing and administering classroom assessment and program evaluation instruments in different contexts. Her interests are: aligning curriculum and assessment, designing and implementing classroom assessments and rubrics that inform instruction, and designing program evaluation tools. Nasrin has presented at several local, national and international conferences on assessment and evaluation.

Title: Developing Curricula with Open Educational Resources and Online Tools

Presenter: Laura Soracco

Abstract: This workshop will give you ideas on how to use authentic texts online for reading, writing, and listening classes. We will also explore resources for grammar, vocabulary, and speaking activities. By the end of this session, you will have created a lesson plan using some of the tools you will learn about. Bring your own laptop and sample course outcomes if possible.

Biography: Laura teaches English Composition and EAP in Seattle, and she has recently begun her doctoral studies in TESOL. She has taught EFL in Colombia, Italy, Turkey, and China. Some of her areas of interest are sociolinguistics, the use of digital technologies in education, and project-based learning. Laura enjoys writing about ELT on her blog and connecting with different ELT professionals around the globe on social media.

Title: What Decision Makers Need to Know about Serving English Learners

Presenters: Dr. Joan Johnston Nelson, ELL Trainer and Consultant  and Dr. Patty Finnegan, Special Projects Program Supervisor, OSPI Migrant & Bilingual Education

Abstract: This 3-hour workshop will assist the K-12 administrator in better understanding what is needed to effectively serve the English learners (ELs) in their district and buildings.  An overview of second language acquisition will be provided, followed by an introduction to the language program models available to serve ELs in Washington State.  We will also share the latest updates on funding, assessment, and accountability from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Bilingual Education Department with particular focus on how to most effectively utilize the available resources.


Joan Johnston copyDr. Joan Johnston Nelson has worked with English language learners since 1986, teaching adults and children alike in K-12, adult literacy, university, and overseas programs.  She is an active advocate, teacher trainer, and consultant, as well as a frequent presenter at local, state, and international conferences.  She obtained her Masters degree in TESL from Gonzaga University and earned her PhD in Language and Literacy Education through Washington State University.  Her passion is for working with those considered on the margins, especially those in the refugee and immigrant communities and her own Native American community.

Dr. Patty Finnegan’s work as a teacher, teacher educator, state-level administrator and educational researcher continues to be fueled by her passion to serve traditionally marginalized populations. She has given presentations and professional development on effective program development and instructional practices for ELs and student with disabilities. She obtained her PhD in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on cognition and development from Arizona State University.