Micah Risher

Regional English Language Officer (RELO)

U.S. Department of State

As Director of the Regional English Language Office based in Lima, Peru, Micah Risher supports English programming in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Micah Risher

Micah Risher

Prior to becoming a Foreign Service Officer, Micah was a licensed teacher trainer for SIT World Learning’s TESOL certificate courses, an education program manager for Save the Children, a freelancer for UNICEF, and an English Language Fellow funded by the Department of State. His passion is helping to improve the situation of teachers and students around the world. As such, he has worked in several very different contexts ranging from tiny, mountainous villages in Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan, to some of the biggest, most densely populated cities in the world (Seoul, Dhaka, Lima, and New York). Micah is an avid bicyclist and hiker, a terrible dancer, and a passionate advocate for educators.

Unleash Your Experience: Being a 21st Century Reflective Practitioner

In our increasingly digitized world, it can be a struggle to cope with the changing needs and opportunities of Generation Z learners. However, English teachers are in a unique position to embrace the changes by retaining and deepening the timeless skill of being a reflective practitioner. The presenter will discuss the global context shaping this digital-native generation and suggest a practical framework—the Experiential Learning Cycle—for helping teachers deeply reflect on how they move forward with technology.


Viviana Cortes

Viviana Cortes

Viviana Cortes is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language (ESL) at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. She received her PhD in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2002 and she worked for the Program of Applied Linguistics and TESL at Iowa State University (ISU) for six years before coming to GSU in the fall of 2008. Before coming to the United States to pursue her graduate studies, she worked as an EFL teacher at ICANA and at different elementary and high schools as well as at ICANAES in Buenos Aires, Argentina, her hometown.

Dr. Cortes teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in descriptive English grammar, corpus-based discourse analysis, English for Specific Purposes (ESP), and advanced academic writing for international graduate students. At GSU, she has been Associate Director for Intercultural Communication and ESL at the Center for Instructional Effectiveness since 2013. In that capacity, she works to help university students who are non-native speakers of English and to assist faculty and teaching assistants who are non-native speakers of English teaching native speaker of English student populations. This academic year, she is coordinating the first program for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) at GSU and offering workshops that focus on issues related to international faculty and international students.

Dr. Cortes’ research interests include the analysis of recurrent word combinations, such as lexical bundles, in different academic registers, and different types of corpus-based grammatical studies as well as the use of corpora in the teaching of academic writing. She has presented her research at numerous conferences in the United States and in conferences and symposiums in Spain, Mexico, Ireland, Portugal, and Argentina. Her research articles can be found in many prestigious journals such as English for Specific Purposes, Applied Linguistics, the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Linguistics and Education, and Corpora, and in several edited books. Her latest publication is a book she co-edited with Dr. Eniko Csomay, Corpus-based research in applied linguistics: Essays in honor of Doug Biber, published by John Benjamins in 2015.

Plenary 1: What your textbook is not telling you: The truth about formulaic language

EFL Teachers feel very often frustrated because they are not sure if the language used in the textbooks they are required to use in their teaching situations reflect the real language that people use in English speaking countries. For many years, materials designers have relied on intuition or on previous work conducted in the field of discourse analysis to make decisions on what they should include in the textbooks they design. Nowadays, with the advancements of computers and the use of language corpora to investigate language use, materials designers can rely on empirically-based findings to make more informed decisions.

The presentation includes a detailed description of the type of expressions found in textbooks and those that should have been included because of their saliency in the language, as well as suggestions for the application of corpus-based findings to the design of materials for the teaching of different types of formulaic expressions.

Plenary 2: Checking our language intuitions: Corpora and Content-based instruction (CBI)

Before the advancements brought about by the use of computers and corpora in linguistic analysis, the relationship between intuition and reality in language description was very limited. Nowadays, it is very simple to check weather what we believe is real language is actually real.

This presentation will focus on the use of corpora in language teaching in general and in content-based language teaching in particular. The presentation will start with a discussion of the three general approaches to the use of corpus-based materials and tools in the language classroom: using the results of corpus-based investigations from the literature to check linguistic intuitions or to create, evaluate, or adapt classroom materials and activities; collecting and analyzing corpora to use our own findings in the design of curricula and materials for our classes; and introducing corpora in our classrooms, training our students to analyze corpora and corpus-based findings to use corpus tools. In addition, the presentation will introduce actual samples of corpus-based or corpus-informed materials and activities that could be used in content-based instruction or English for Specific Purposes (ESP) scenarios.


Luciana Fernández

Luciana Fernández

Luciana Fernández is a graduate teacher of English who has been teaching English for the past twenty-one years. She has specialized in Methodology and Teaching Practice and she holds a Diploma in Educational Research from the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.
She is a Reading and Literacy expert and has been training teachers in this area for the past ten years. She is a teacher educator and has designed several presentations and courses for professional development both in Argentina and abroad. Her presentation at ARTESOL 2015 has been nominated for the TESOL International Best of Affiliate Award. She is one of the 50 scholarship winners to attend and present at IATEFL, to be held in Birmingham in April 2016.
She is a teacher educator and has been the Head at several bilingual IB institutions in Buenos Aires. At present she is a Learning Consultant and reader for National Geographic Cengage Learning. She is also a facilitator at ESSARP (English Speaking Scholastic Association of the River Plate), where she trains heads and teachers from the most important bilingual institutions in Argentina.

Language, Critical Thinking and Multicultural Awareness Development in the EFL Classroom

In this session the presenter will make reference to the 21st century learner and what teachers need to consider when it comes to teaching. Together we will explore the use of images to enhance not only language development but also the critical  skills our learners need to have in this globalized world.