KOTESOL 2016 featured two keynote speakers. The first was Thomas Farrell who spoke on teachers and "Reflective Practice," the active work of thinking about your teaching and how it impacts on your students. While that sounds rather vague, the presentation itself was engaging. He argued that teachers who actively reflect on their practice will directly encourage students to reflect as well, and become more active and engaged learners.
On Sunday, Harvard's Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa spoke on the nature of 21st century teaching. It was an impressive overview of new emerging studies in cognitive science, behavioral science, and how the paradigm of "education" is moving towards one of "learning science." She argued that teachers needed to embrace the inherent complexity of a field that is changing so quickly.
While these two presentations stood out, as mentioned, almost all of the talks I attended were great. I'm planning on becoming more involved with TESOL while I'm in South Korea, and I'd encourage others to do the same.
The problem, of course, is that great conferences like KOTESOL require lots of resources, effort, and, ahem, money. This year my boss managed to get my college to pay for our registration (non-members: 75,000 won), our train tickets, and our hotel. I realize a lot of teachers in South Korea don't have this luxury, so it would be nice to see more colleges, public schools, and hagwon put up some money for an event that offers so much in the way of theoretical reflection, practical advice, and networking opportunities.