Tulsiramji Gaikwad-Patil College of Engineering & Technology and Abha Gaikwad-Patil College of Engineering, both institutions functioning under the banner of the Gaikwad-Patil Group of Institutions, successfully held its Sixth International Conference on English as a Second/Foreign Language, popularly known as ‘Confluence’, on 23-24 Jan, 2015. The conference is organized in association with EngQuest International, an international English teachers’ network. As the only technical colleges in Central India to organize an annual international conference on ELT, they usually attract a large audience as they cater to the unaddressed needs of teachers teaching language in technical institutions. The conference this year has attracted more than 200 papers from India and abroad, and about 600 delegates.
Confluence aims at creating a forum for meaningful research in the field of learning and teaching English language. It serves as a platform for a dialogue and debate between researchers and teachers of English on the one hand, and learners of the language on the other. It was the first to start the trend of involving students to find out their views and the difficulties encountered by them in learning English. The papers in this conference are selected through a peer review process and published in an open access ISSN number bearing online journal called ‘The Journal for ESL Teachers and Learners’.
The chief guest of the Inauguration ceremony, Prof. Sharad Patil, the President of the Gaikwad-Patil Group, himself a retired Professor of English in an Agricultural University, addressed the gathering stressing the need for learning English in a globalized world. He exhorted the teachers present to make English easier for their students and shared his experiences as a teacher of English.
The guest list comprised extremely qualified and experienced personalities of the ELT world. Renowned scholars Dr. Peter McLaren (Publications Coordinator for TESOL Arabia, United Arab Emirates University at Al Ain), Dr. Racquel Warner (Programs Coordinator, International Foundation Programs, Middlesex University, UAE), Dr. Tara Ratnam (National Representative for India on International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching) and Dr. Mick King (Teaching Fellow at Middlesex University, Dubai, and Executive Council Member of TESOL) were the keynote speakers at this year’s event.
In her plenary, Dr. Tara Ratnam spoke about the Role of Culture in Facilitating Communication in the English Classroom, while Dr. Peter B. McLaren spoke about English as a Medium of Instruction and the Native vs. Non-native debate surrounding ELT. Dr. Racquel Warner spoke about closing the achievement gap through student engagement and Dr. Mick King spoke about overcoming teacher barriers to TESOL employment for non-native speakers.
During the paper presentation session topics such as Concerns of Cross Cultural Communication, Problems in ELT and ELL in Technical Institutes, Constructing and nurturing the ‘Learning Space’, Role of Information and Communication Technology in learning English and many more were addressed at Confluence VI. Apart from this, the overseas delegates had an interactive session with the students of Tulsiramji Gaikwad-Patil college of Engineering and Technology, Nagpur. Various topics related to students’ concerns were discussed, with focus on students’ engagement with English.
During the valedictory ceremony, Dr. Anjali Patil-Gaikwad, Director of International Relations, Gaikwad-Patil Group of Institutions, and Organizing Secretary of Confluence VI, expressed her gratitude towards all the guests and participants for their support and enthusiasm.
Prominently present on the occasion were Dr. Mohan Gaikwad, Prof. Sharad Patil, Col. Rahul Sharma, Dr. G.K. Awari, Prof. Parag Jawarkar, Prof. Ashish Motwani, and Prof. Gloria Nawaye. Naina Jagyasi proposed the vote of thanks. The entire teaching and non-teaching fraternity worked hard for the grand success of the conference.
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