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ElliiCon2022 Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Katie Welch

September 2, 2022

This September 15 and 16, 2022, we’ll be hosting ElliiCon, a free, two-day virtual conference to explore simple, effective, and practical strategies that will help you build stronger relationships with your students and engage them in a more meaningful way. This article is part of a series of posts introducing some of the conference speakers.

Those who attended our virtual conference last year will recognize this speaker! We’re thrilled to announce that Dr. Katie Welch will be joining us once again at ElliiCon2022 on September 16.

Dr. Welch is an educational consultant at Welch Education in Dallas, Texas. For two decades, Dr. Welch has taught and trained teachers to effectively work with English learners at the K–12, adult, and higher education levels.

She currently provides professional development to language educators through partnerships with institutions like the US Department of State and Cambridge University Press.

Literacy for multilingual learners

An education topic that Dr. Welch is closely following these days is literacy for multilingual learners.

“In the US K–12 space, there's been a shift in recent years toward ‘the science of teaching reading,’” said Dr. Welch. “Many states, including Texas where I'm located, have retooled their teacher certification exams and are now requiring elementary school teachers to take part in reading academies to become more proficient in early literacy research."

According to Dr. Welch, teachers of multilingual students have concerns that the research does not take into account the unique needs of English learners.

She says that while these conversations are most applicable to those in K–6 education, the topic of literacy is emerging more broadly as an area of interest applicable to all levels.

"I just read a great TESOL International blog this week about how our understanding of literacy is growing beyond just the discrete skill of reading," said Dr. Welch. "Since reading is one of the four foundational language skills of English language teaching, this shift is definitely one to watch.”

As an educational consultant, Dr. Welch explains she is also incredibly passionate about helping other teachers:

"I tend to ‘nerd-out’ on all things pedagogy, so what I’m most excited about right now is how I can be the best teacher I can be and how I can help other teachers do the same in their classrooms.

I especially enjoy following other educators on Twitter because I learn so much by seeing what others are doing in their classrooms.

Just today, I was inspired by a teacher who said he turns his syllabus into a mad-lib as a way to build community, help students become aware of learning targets, and keep students interested in what otherwise can be a very boring first-day-of-class housekeeping matter.

I love adding new ideas like this to my teacher toolkit and enjoy passing them along to others as well."

Learn about addressing teachers’ social-emotional needs with Dr. Welch at ElliiCon2022

On September 16, Dr. Welch will be joining us at ElliiCon2022 to talk about self-care.

“The last few years have been so difficult for teachers,” said Dr. Welch. “Teaching was already a challenging profession, and the pandemic exacerbated that even more."

Dr. Welch has spent more than a decade training teachers and has recently seen many former students—who she says were fantastic teachers—leave the profession altogether.

"Those who have stayed are often teaching with as much or more pressure than they had pre-pandemic but with much less energy and emotional reserves."

At last year’s conference, Dr. Welch addressed students’ well-being and discussed how to cultivate social and emotional learning in the ESL classroom.

This year, Dr. Welch will focus on teachers’ social and emotional needs. She’ll unpack how sustainable self-care must go beyond bubble baths and massages and instead address the underlying issues that make teaching so challenging.

Attendees will gain practical, concrete solutions for how they can prioritize their own social and emotional well-being so that they can bring their best self to the classroom each week.

“While the topic of self-care tends to evoke images of bubble baths and massages (both good things!), I want to give teachers some additional tools to cope with the emotional labor that is often required when working with immigrants or refugees from traumatic backgrounds,” said Dr. Welch.

“I have personally walked through a season of burnout in my teaching journey and had to learn the hard way how to prioritize my own well-being," she admitted. "I look forward to sharing some of those hard-won lessons with the Ellii conference participants as well as some practical ways that teachers can bring their best selves to the classroom each day. I hope attendees will leave feeling refreshed and encouraged!”

Join us at ElliiCon2022!

Want to attend Dr. Welch’s presentation? Register for ElliiCon2022 (it's free!).

To learn more about Dr. Welch, visit her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.

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