National Immigration Advocate Addresses Conference of ESL Teachers
A prominent advocate for migrant workers addressed the 19th annual conference of the Arkansas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, on Nov. 12 in Rogers.
Attorney Roger C. Rosenthal is executive director of the Migrant Legal Action Program. The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy center provides legal representation and a national voice for migrant and seasonal farmworkers, according to its website. Rosenthal is considered an expert on the rights of English-language learners, immigrant students and migrant farmworker public school students. He is a former co-chair of the National Hispanic Education Coalition. Rosenthal addressed a break-out session following his morning keynote.
A number of students and faculty of the University of Arkansas graduate degree program Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages participated in this year’s conference. The TESOL program is part of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction of the College of Education and Health Professions.
More than 400 people attended, according to Tina Howlett, U of A assistant professor of TESOL. The ARKTESOL conference was held at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center. Outside higher ed, the educational program generally is called English as a Second Language or ESL.
Those presenting at the conference included Daniel Barth, clinical assistant professor of STEM education; Shelley McKeever, Project SOAR director; and Kimberlyn Gibson, Project CONNECT director. Other presenters from the U of A included Christine Smart, Trisha Lopez, and Sarah Frederickson.
Several U of A students presented papers and led workshops at the academic conference. They included Rachel Gerner, the 2018 TESOL master’s holder and 2017 M.Ed. TESOL ARKTESOL Award recipient, and doctoral students Hawra Alzouwain, Christen Graham, Nadia Hanayeen, Huong Nguyen and Qian Zhang. Also, U of A ARKTESOL scholar Manny Mejia spoke about his plans to pursue a graduate degree. An all-round, straight-A senior, Mejia was on this year’s Homecoming Court.
The state group provides four-year renewable college tuition scholarships to Arkansas high school students who are English-language learners.