~by Frank Xia
Advocacy Week Banner

The purpose of the TESL/TEFL Student Association (TTSA) is “to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and raise awareness about the field of TESL/TEFL in the Colorado State University community and the greater Fort Collins community.” Members are active throughout the year arranging social and professional events, and organizing their annual “Advocacy Week” event, which takes place during the spring semester and features a keynote speech from a leading figure in the TESOL field. This event offers students an opportunity to conduct events on and off campus to advocate for the field of TESL/TEFL and English language learners. Past speakers who have delivered talks during this event have been Andrew Cohen, Dana Ferris, Eli Hinkel, Paul Matsuda, Fredricka Stoller, and Bill Van Patten. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Andy Curtis.

Audience at Advocacy Week keynote speech

Dr. Andy Curtis came to CSU on March 1, 2019 and made a presentation about “Language, Culture and Identity.” Dr. Curtis is a professor at Anaheim University and his field is Intercultural Communications. He was the president of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association from 2015 to 2016. He started his professional life as a Medical Science Officer in Clinical Biochemistry but then decided to choose his real passions—working for languages, teaching and learning. Therefore, he went to University of York in England and got his Ph.D. in International Education.

There were around thirty people who attended Dr. Curtis’s presentation. Those in attendance were professors and graduate students from the TESL/TEFL program, English major undergraduate students in language concentration, teachers from INTO CSU, and lovers of English-learning.

Dr. Curtis started his presentation by asking the audience questions about their language, culture and identity. People were from multiple cultures — Arabian, Chinese, Russian, American, English, Irish, Brazilian, and German. He then began his topic about “Language, Culture and Identity.”

Dr. Andy Curtis speaking in front of audience at Advocacy Week
Dr. Andy Curtis giving his keynote speech at Advocacy Week 2019

Dr. Curtis shared his personal teaching experience from the past several years. He talked about some funny moments when people asked him about his identity. Dr. Curtis was born in South America, but his parents and grandparents were from India, and he received his education in the UK. This means he speaks the Queen’s English (even though he’s lived in the U.S. for a long time), which his students referred to as “almost perfect,” causing many to question his true identity. He went on to discuss the issues he met when he taught English. He recommended some books about this topic that he wrote from his own personal story.

If you’d like to know more about the TESL/TEFL Student Association (TTSA), contact Anthony Becker at tony.becker@colostate.edu.