Bilingual Symposium – 2009
Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 16-18th, 2009
Bilingual Therapies had the pleasure of hosting our 9th annual Bilingual Symposium at the Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa & Casino. This magnificent corner of Puerto Rico was located along a crescent beach on the island’s northern coast. We enjoyed great speakers and the wonderful company of our guests all near sandy beaches, colonial vistas, and rainforest adventures. We were especially happy that so many new faces participated this year in what became our largest event ever.
Clinicians who are new to Bilingual Therapies met the two days before the Symposium for our annual Bilingual U training. Attendees spent their time learning the ins-and-outs of their new positions within Bilingual Therapies, and even more importantly, gained information about the dynamics of bilingualism and how to be an effective practitioner with ELL populations.
Starting off the Symposium
Informative as the Symposium is, our guests are not subjected to “all work and no play.” Bilingual Therapies continued its tradition of kicking-off the conference with a cocktail party and mixer on Thursday evening. Attendees enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new colleagues while enjoying views of the ocean from the Ritz-Carlton’s Vista Mar Terrace.
After a good night’s rest, we filled the main session room to listen to the keynote address given by Dr. Henriette Langdon. Dr. Langdon spoke to the group about “Evidence-Based Practice for ELL/ESL Students.” As one attendee observed, she laid a “great groundwork for the rest of the conference.” Dr. Langdon also kept the audience engaged with her charming manner and knowledgeable commentary.
After a quick break following the keynote, guests attended our morning breakout sessions. These were offered by Dr. Brian Goldstein and Dr. Vera Gutiérrez-Clellen. It was obvious why Dr. Goldstein is a perennial favorite at the Bilingual Symposium as he shared his expertise and quick wit while discussing “Dominance and Bilingual Phonological Development: An Imperfect Alliance.” Dr. Gutiérrez-Clellen’s debut at the Bilingual Symposium was no-less engaging, and offered her audience information on, “Linking Research and Practice in Language Assessment of Second Language Learners.”
The area around the Ritz-Carlton offered a wealth of Puerto Rican cuisine, like mofongo, alcapurrias, and bacalaítos. (Although a few people took advantage of their lunch time to grab a sandwich by the pool.) Upon returning for the afternoon sessions, attendees enjoyed hearing from Dr. Henriette Langdon once more, and from Dr. Adele Proctor. Dr. Langdon provided invaluable information on “Collaboration Between Bilingual SLPs and Other Professionals.” Dr. Proctor shared her vast experience on the topic of TBI and discussed its dynamics among bilingual populations in her presentation titled, “Bilingualism and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Diagnosis and Management of School Re-Entry.”
On Saturday, attendees met again with their breakout group to listen to the speakers they had not heard the previous day. After the regular morning and afternoon sessions, all of our guests again filled the main conference room for the final session—the Round-Table. Bilingual Therapies own Sandra Márquez and Nate Cornish moderated the forum in which each of our four presenters responded to questions posed by attendees. The discussion was lively and the time went too quickly; however, this less-formal interaction with the speakers and other attendees was a favorite feature of the Symposium.
As the Symposium drew to a close, and everyone prepared to say goodbye for another year, Bilingual Therapies presented our guests with one last surprise: the answer to a riddle about the Bilingual Symposium 2010. Participants were given clues about the location of next year‘s event throughout the conference, and five lucky people who guessed correctly received a prize of reduced-admission. And the final answer was… Las Vegas, Nevada! Applause erupted as we announced that we would be meeting at Caesars Palace next summer. We look forward to having another great educational experience, to seeing some familiar faces in Las Vegas, and to welcoming new people to another wonderful Symposium in 2010. Until then, ¡cuídense mucho, y sigamos adelante!