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Get up to date with a federal update about ESOL-related legislation, and learn about various topics related to English language learners in the U.S., in school, in classrooms, and in programs. Find out what's happening with their teachers, funding for programs, and teacher training at the federal level.

David Cutler is the policy and communications manager at TESOL International Association. He received his bachelor’s in Social Studies Education from Ithaca College and his master’s degree in Public Administration from Cornell University. His work at TESOL includes monitoring and responding to policies that impact English language teachers and learners, organizing the annual TESOL Advocacy & Policy Summit, and managing the association’s communications initiatives. David’s previous work experiences have included the District of Columbia Public Schools, American Federation of Teachers, and New York State Assembly.

TESOL Advocacy and Policy Priorities

Thursday, 1:00pm: David Cutler

(Pre-conference advocacy event)

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Mindfulness seems to be everywhere nowadays, so how does it relate to the language learning context? This presentation will give an introduction to mindfulness, revealing how the attitudes of mindfulness, such as curiosity, openness, compassion, and non-judgment, can promote greater sustainability and efficacy for teachers and administrators. It will also explore how these ways of being can translate into greater success for language learners. Join Katie Dutcher, co-founder of Monterey Bay Meditation Studio, to learn practical ways to lean toward greater mindful awareness in your own life, which ripples outward to benefit all those around you.

Katie Dutcher has been an educator since 2004 in the field of ESL, and has practiced meditation and mindfulness since 2009. She is a founding teacher at Monterey Bay Meditation Studio, co-director of Mindful Education Project, and a Qualified Teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Katie currently teaches “Mindfulness for Graduate Students” at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and is the author of two workbooks: “Transform Your Relationship to Anxiety” and “Courage Amidst Uncertainty.” She has taught mindfulness in area schools from elementary through graduate level, and values collaboration with community organizations to make mindfulness and meditation accessible and approachable for all. Katie believes that cultivating greater awareness in each moment is key to living a more satisfying life, and her teaching emphasizes authenticity, presence, vulnerability, and curiosity. She has special interests in reflective writing, practicing mindfulness in daily life, and awareness of the natural environment. Katie writes about mindfulness and teaches one-on-one at

Being Aware & Being Kind: How The Attitudes of Mindfulness Help Teachers, Administrators, & Learners 

Thursday, 7:00pm: Katie Dutcher


Many if not all of our learners are accustomed to using technology in their own lives in this hyper-connected age. However, they may not be very good at learning with technology support. This talk will explore why and how teachers can enhance their own and their students’ 21st Century skills. It will offer suggestions based on TESOL’s new initiative, the 6 Principles. 


Dr. Deborah Healey is the 2019-2020 President of TESOL International Association. She has taught online and face-to-face teacher training courses, primarily focusing on technology in education. She has also taught both ESL and EFL at community colleges and language institutes. She is a contributor to two TESOL Technology Standards publications, as well as the TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, the Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology, CALL Environments and A Handbook for Language Program Administrators. She has written and presented extensively in the US and internationally, most recently in Korea, Uruguay, Tunisia, England, Indonesia, Georgia, Croatia, Serbia, the West Bank, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Thailand. Her recent areas of research include gamification, massive open online courses, and online teaching approaches. Her doctorate is in Computers in Education.

Growing up Digital: Intelligent Use of Technology

Friday, 12:45pm: Dr. Deborah Healey

Following the conference theme of “Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future,” Keith Folse will use personal narratives to share his varied experiences teaching lessons in different languages – English, French, and Spanish – in the US, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Japan for four decades. At the same time, he will also discuss lessons he’s learned along the way that have helped him teach better and his strategies that have helped him survive and thrive in four decades of teaching. If you’re an experienced teacher, you may end up listening and nodding in agreement. If you’re new to teaching, you just might appreciate the TESOL profession even more.

Dr. Folse is Professor of TESOL at the University of Central Florida, where he has taught in the undergraduate TEFL program, the master’s in TESOL program, and the PhD in TESOL program.  For the past 40 years, he has taught English in the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.  His research has appeared in TESOL Quarterly, TESL Reporter, Language Teacher (JALT), CATESOL Journal, and Perspectives (TESOL Arabia), among others. He is a frequent conference presenter both in the US and abroad, and he is the author of 75 textbooks, including six books in the GREAT WRITING (5th Edition) series as well as three books in the GRAMMAR FOR GREAT WRITING series (National Geographic Cengage Learning). 

40 Years of Teaching: Lessons I Taught, Lessons I Learned

Saturday, 10:45am: Dr. Keith Folse

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Join the author of Teach Us Your Name and TEDx Speaker, Huda Essa, in learning how overcoming challenges and effective community building can begin with one of the things we all have in common… our names, as an important part of our identities. This seemingly simple idea can be used to build critical consciousness skills and connections among students and staff, regardless of their backgrounds. Learn how names serve as an amazing resource you can immediately use to build confidence, decrease bias, increase student achievement and strengthen your entire community! More info here.

A book signing will take place after the session. Signed copies of Teach Us Your Name will be available for $10 each.

Huda Essa is a TEDx Speaker and the author of the motivational children's book, Teach Us Your Name, focused on empowering children to take pride in their many identities while showing respect for themselves and others.  This book is sold both individually and was selected as a component of Teacher Created Materials’ Culturally Authentic and Responsive Text Collection. Huda continues to write culturally authentic and relevant children’s books with her next book, Common Threads, to be released in August. She is also currently writing for education professionals focusing on overcoming limitations of unconscious bias in order to best serve their school communities so as to allow for staff, students and families to reach their greatest potential for success in our ever-changing world. Additionally, she is the producer of a series of short films focused on matters of social justice. 

Building CommUNITY and Achievement Begins with Our Names!

Saturday, 8:30am: Huda Essa  

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