William Paterson University's 33rd Annual Bilingual/ESL Conference to Discuss the Mind of the Active Language Learner

A conference designed to address the mind of the active language learner will be held on Friday, December 6 at William Paterson University.

The event, “The 33rd Annual Bilingual/ESL Conference: ‘How Different is the Second Language Learner's Brain,’” will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the University’s building at 1600 Valley Road in Wayne. The fee is $135; $121.50 for William Paterson alumni; and $15 for current William Paterson students, faculty, and staff. Food and materials are included.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Gita Martohardjono of the City University of New York, Graduate Center. Her topic, "How Different is the Second Language Learner's Brain," explores evidence from recent studies that argue for a more nuanced view of the language learner’s neural responses to non-native languages and takes into account development across proficiency levels. She argues that a variety of factors, internal and external, contribute to flexibility in the brain.

In addition, the conference will include a series of workshops for ESL/bilingual professionals on a variety of topics. Workshops are planned for three concurrent sessions beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 3:15 p.m. Topics include Hebrew dual language and its role in bilingual education; a workshop that explores linguistic and cultural strategies for discovering what learners are thinking and why; and a discussion of linguistics and religious minority youth.

Launched in 1981, the conference is recognized as one of the most comprehensive language education forums in New Jersey, and regularly draws several hundred educators as participants. This year’s event is sponsored by William Paterson University’s Bilingual/ESL Graduate Program, Department of Languages and Cultures, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Education, and Center for Continuing and Professional Education.

Over the course of its 33 years, this conference has been highly recognized as one of the most stimulating language education forums in the U.S. This success stems from its commitment to exploring the best ways of meeting the educational needs of language-minority students. The conference continues to offer access to in-depth, applied research, and up-to-date pedagogical techniques. Topics and thought-provoking plenary sessions sharpen the language professional’s mind for pedagogical insight.

For additional information, contact the Center for Continuing and Professional Education at 973-720-2354.