Kotesol International Conference 2015: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Kotesol international conference 2015

The Kotesol International Conference 2015 is in the books and overall, it seemed to go quite well from my perspective-just an average attender/presenter. I’ll talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

Location– Coex is fantastic and makes an excellent venue, far better than Sookmyeong University where you sometimes have to wander ’round and ’round trying to find some obscure little classroom way out there. At Coex, everything is right by each other and it’s far easier to just run into people and have a chat because you’re not spread out so much. The hotels and food options around there are also fabulous (can you say On the Border?).

Student Volunteers– As always, the student volunteers did a great job. Thank you for your hard work!

Job Center- Although it was pretty small, I think the idea of having a job center is an excellent one. I hope someone takes this and runs with it because it really has the potential to draw a lot of people in, if they had say 5 or 10 universities recruiting there.

Gil Coombe– I attended a presentation by Gil about why he doesn’t give participation points in his university classes. It was one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen at a Kotesol conference and I totally appreciated what he had to say.

Old Friends– Whenever I go to one of these, I feel like I run into 30 or 40 old friends. It’s a great way to spend a weekend, catching up and having a coffee and a chat.

The Presenter Lounge– A nice, relaxing place to catch my breath amidst all the busy.

The Bad

Astoundingly Bad Presentations- I’m only going to name and shame, kind of. But like a couple of the presentations I went to were just so, so bad that it was painful.

For example. A speaking fluency workshop. We had to talk with our partner for 15 minutes or so and try to think of an open-ended question that we could get our students to talk about. Isn’t that what Google is for? (Topic) + conversation questions.   Then, you pick up a couple and away you go. It only went downhill from there.

Or, the one about how not to teach at a university where they were saying that students don’t like teachers who have poor presenting skills. Then, they ran out of time at the end in a huge way, plus had a ridiculously bad PPT with like 12 point font. The irony made me die, a lot, on the inside.

Seriously, I’m no star presenter so like maybe I shouldn’t talk. But, let’s get real. It was painful.

9am Presentations- The 9am presentations on Saturday and Sunday are killer. I only attended this year because I had my own presentation at 9am on Sunday.

Presenter No-Shows– I didn’t have a personal experience with this, but it sounds like there were at least a few presenter no-shows and then a lot of confusion surrounding this.

The Ugly

***This section has been edited. I removed inaccurate information stating that the out-of-town conference committee members were staying in 150,000 Won a night hotel rooms. They actually get 75,000 Won per night. Rumors: not always true! Thanks to those who gave me the real information***

But, I still think it’s pretty ugly that presenters are required to pay more than the regular attendees. I’ve mentioned this in years gone by, and was never quite satisfied with the responses I’ve gotten. Shouldn’t our fees be less? It’s genuinely confusing to me.

Anyway, Kotesol international conference 2015-it was a pretty good one.


  1. Mike

    The entire committee did not stay at K-Hotel. Many did. Rooms at the hotel were W150,000 per night. KOTESOL’s policy is to cover a maximum of W75,000 per person per night. Most members shared a room. Those who didn’t ( like myself) were required to come up with the other W75,000 with their own money (which I did). KOTESOL paid 75,000 per person.

  2. KOTESOL funds a maximum of 75,000won/night for that hardworking staff that don’t live commute distance from the conference venue. Most show up before 8am and leave after 6pm and sweat much of the day… lucky to see two or three sessions over the weekend.

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  4. David Shaffer

    On Bad Presentations — Like in most other conferences of any size, vetting is done by reading reading and evaluating proposals written by the hopeful presenter. It’s difficult for the vetters to predict what the presenter will actually do on presentation day.
    On Presenter No-Shows — These are an unwanted but unavoidable occurrence at any conference a large number of presenters.
    On 9 a.m. Presentations — 9 a.m. classes are a staple on schools everywhere and teachers arrive on time to teach them. Therefore a schedule starting at 9 a.m. shouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for a teachers’ conference.

  5. Owen

    9am Sunday Presentations should not be an issue for anyone since this is mid conference. Only the first day where some people have travelled a long way starting later makes sense.

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