Ferris State University will host more than 50 educators from Michigan, Turkey and China for the Lighthouse Summer Symposium Monday, July 22 through Wednesday, July 24. The symposium is an effort by the university’s West Michigan Intensive English Language Institute to shine a light on key issues related to teaching English as a second language.
“We are providing leadership in West Michigan by developing opportunities to engage TESOL professionals from around the world,” said symposium host Lisa vonReichbauer, coordinator of WMIELI (pronounced “wes-miley”), formerly the Intensive English Program. “Our goal is to build an international conference based on depth rather that breadth.”
The symposium was designed to provide a unique, hands-on professional development opportunity for practitioners in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) field. Three days of workshop-style sessions will focus on teaching ESL for academic purposes, the cultural awareness necessary to succeed in a U.S. university and development of academic skills for success in higher education, vonReichbauer said.
Delegations from Ferris’ partner institutions, Yasar University in Izmir, Turkey, and Ningbo University near Shanghai, China will be joined by regional participants from the University of Michigan, Saginaw Valley State University, and Hope College, among others.
The symposium will include keynote presentations and workshop-style sessions. Keynote speakers include Keith Folse, professor of TESOL at the University of Central Florida; Neil Anderson, professor of Linguistics and English at Brigham Young University; and Lisa Levine, an ESL instructor in the English Language Center at Michigan State University.
The professional networking opportunity has the potential to impact thousands of students, vonReichbauer said. In the last year, Ferris served more than 100 international students who developed their English skills in order to successfully complete a degree. Universities such as Michigan State serve hundreds of international students, and educators from Turkey and China will be extending the knowledge they gain to thousands of students in their respective countries.