ESL Education in Latin America: Interview with TESOL Colombia Organizer Ivonne Gonzalez from Universidad de La Sabana


We had the chance to interview TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Colombia organizer Ivonne Gonzalez this year at the event.

TESOL Colombia was launched back in 2015, with the mission in mind to help improve the level of language in the country, and to gather all teachers and institutions that work in English language teaching to see how they can share, collaborate, and inspire themselves, to make things easier and better while teaching English to students.

Gonzalez also teaches English to students at the Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia.

Once TESOL Colombia was created, Gonzalez made sure to bring the organization to various other TESOL groups around the globe to network and connect. The goal was to make TESOL Colombia part of TESOL International.

The group continues to connect with other TESOL programs, as recently, Gonzalez visited IBM in Boston to learn more about the research that goes on behind closed doors.

Gonzalez stressed the importance of knowing the interest of those involved with TESOL Conferences as well as with the education sector in general.

“What are the needs of the institutions and the teachers, and what are the needs for students?” she asks.

“It’s like going to your stakeholders and making a list of needs and interests.”

After taking those needs and interests into account, Gonzalez researches and finds a speaker who can speak about the subject, and who works within that subject.

“That’s how the magic happens!” Gonzalez says.

TESOL Colombia also created a “showcase,” as Gonzalez puts it, to show education consumers about the research and technology that is involved within TESOL. This allows a site for people to actually converse about these two hot topics; something that was not previously existent.

“We are changing the minds of the teachers and the way they teach, the way things are being done in the classroom.” Gonzalez explains.

“It is great when we see the transformation from a teacher who used to do things one way, and then they start using technology, and then you see the results in the students and how they get engaged.”

Jessica Filippone

Jessica Filippone

Jess is a senior at Emerson College, studying journalism with a primary focus in news management. She is also an anchor and on air personality for 88.9 WERS FM Boston. When she isn't writing or doing her radio thing, you can find her on the beach with a New York Times Best Seller.