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Speaking Events


Presentations and Workshops

For over 30 years, Randall has spoken to teachers around the world on a broad landscape of topics, including educational technology, language assessment, various instructional methodologies, human connection and authenticity, and the grief experienced with loss and death. Contact Randall if you want him to speak at your institution or event in 2024-2025.

Here are some of his presentations:

Peru TESOL Association Annual Convention

Date: July 31-August 2, 2024

Location: In person in Arequipa, Peru

Title of Presentation:

Friend or Foe? A Teacher’s Guide to Taming AI

Summary: With the birth of ChatGPT in November 2023, educators have scrambled to either keep AI at bay or have reluctantly thrown up their hands and accepted it grudgingly. However, AI technologies have been around for decades in services that we use every day (e.g., Netflix, Facebook, YouTube), and leveraging their power as a learning tool only makes sense. The toothpaste (AI) is out of the proverbial tube, so teachers need to learn how to use it to enhance the classroom experience.

Numerous studies have attempted to explore the potential benefits and limitations of AI technologies in education. Unfortunately, there can exist the faulty assumption that students know how to use different AI technologies in effective ways; however, classroom results may be telling us otherwise. Several main issues often pointed out in the literature deal with students’ inability to use such tools in effective, ethical, and transparent ways.

Thus, this session explains several AI tools and tips for building language skills across the curriculum and describes a roadmap for helping students follow ethical boundaries for using these emerging technologies.

Title of Presentation:

Reimagining Teaching: From Crisis to Creativity in Post-Pandemic Times

Summary: In 2017, Randall attempted his first grueling 100-mile ultramarathon, but after running and hiking for 70 miles, Randall dropped from the race in utter physical and emotional fatigue. Dejected, Randall curled up in the back of his vehicle and adamantly vowed not to try again. However, six weeks later, Randall entered another 100-mile event with almost the same disheartening results. Then, on the edge of dropping from the race with 26 miles to go, something happened that transformed his experience. As a metaphor for our profession, Randall recounts his running journey with great candor and compares such emotional and physical challenges to the deep struggle that many teachers face on the fringes of our profession, wondering whether they should continue teaching or just move on to another vocation. Randall discusses some of the reasons why teachers leave and explains how small, meaningful steps of support might encourage them to stay.

TESOL 2023 International Convention & Language Expo

Date: March 21-23, 2024

Location: In person in Tampa, Florida, USA

Title of Presentations:

The Ripple Effect: How Effective Conflict Resolution Impacts Educational Culture

Summary: Conflict between teachers, staff, and students can have a crippling effect on work effectiveness and our emotional and physical health in both face-to-face and online learning environments. Attendees explore the underlying reasons for conflict and discuss activities that help people work toward building a positive working environment for all.

Changing the DNA of Cross-Cultural Training

Summary: Based on a model of training at one IEP, Randall highlights ways in which we can change the DNA of our traditional cross-cultural training and demonstrates simple, yet highly-engaging activities in helping learners become emotionally- and culturally-intelligent learners. Come prepared to be engaged.

Leveraging AI: Enhancing Language Learners’ Academic Research Skills

Summary: Although students (and teachers) tend to gravitate toward Google to conduct research, new emerging AI technologies such as ChatGPT can provide innovative ways of deepening and accelerating students’ abilities to critically analyze information. This session explains research techniques that encourage judicious and ethical writing practices.

9th International English Language Conference

Date: July 7-8, 2023

Sponsor: University of Piura, Peru (delivered remotely)

Title of Presentation: Teaching from the Inside Out: How Mindfulness and Self-Reflection Can Transform Our Classrooms

Handout: Download Here


“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” 

– Aldos Huxley, English Writer and Philosopher

Although a great deal of research has focused on mindfulness and self-reflection in language education, teachers—and human beings in general— are often unaware of how unaware they are regarding the effectiveness of their interactions with others.  These blind spots can result from a myopic review of our own experiences and can limit our growth as teachers and mentors in our schools. In this plenary, Randall and his co-presenter, Emily White, (1) highlight the relationship between mindfulness, self-reflection, and human development, (2) relate personal experiences that have shaped his evolution as a teacher, and (3) suggest simple methods of creating a self-reflective learning environment for both teachers and their students.

Innovate Webinar (Tunisia)

Date: May 20, 2023

Location: Delivered Remotely

Title of Presentation: Hearing is Easy, Listening is Hard: The Value of Intentional Listening in the Learning Process

Plenary Summary:

Abstract: “Listening is much more than hearing words; it is more about touching the heart.” Although a great deal of research has focused on the topic of improving students’ listening skills, much less work has been done on how to become thoughtful listeners. In this session, Randall first reviews specific roadblocks to effective listening. Then, Randall describes several important steps to creating a more intentional listening mindset that not only works in learning a foreign language, but also in interacting with others in your family and local communities. Joining Randall in the conversation is his daughter, Aubrey, who has been involved in Randall’s website since its beginning.

TESOL 2023 International Convention & Language Expo

Date: March 21-24, 2023

Location: Portland, Oregon (Delivered Remotely)

Title of Presentation: Making Sense of Online Assessment and Engagement Tools

Plenary Summary:

Countless online services such as Kahoot, Formative, Quizizz, Socrative, Plickers, and Mentimeter have sprung up, and in some ways, have made it harder for teachers to choose the right assessment tool from the sea of options. This session compares these tools and identifies the strengths of each.

Intermountain TESOL Conference 2022

Date: September 16, 2022

Location: Cedar City, Utah

Title of Presentation: Questions and Answers with Assessment Specialists

Co-Presenter: Judson Hart

Plenary Summary:

Navigating the different areas of language assessment can be a daunting, but extremely rewarding experience for all teachers no matter where they fall on the spectrum of experience. In this panel session, the presenters open the discussion sharing briefly their challenges in assessing their students, answering some commonly-asked questions in this area, and engaging participants in sharing their questions and ideas on assessment. The panelists also introduce some of the online assessment tools that they have found useful in their teaching. 

8th International English Online Conference: Applying New Approaches in Our Changing ELT World

Sponsor: University of Piura, Peru (delivered remotely)

Date: July 1, 2022

Title of Plenary Presentation: Think Better, Act Better: An Approach to Global Citizenship

Download Handout: PDF

Plenary Summary:

As human beings, we are constantly drawing conclusions about other people, often beyond our awareness, and these attitudes and beliefs are shaped in part by the information that we read, see, hear, and share. Such information possesses vast power to enlighten and engender a more compassionate humanity, but it can wield the sword of injustice, prejudice, and intolerance, often with devastating consequences on the most vulnerable groups in society.

With this in mind, educators have a far-reaching responsibility to empower students with the ability to sift through an overwhelming flood of unfiltered ideas in the media and on the Internet that influences opinion and policy. Without such constructive guidance, it can be difficult for students to examine information with the tools of critical thinking and philosophical inquiry that would lead to responsible action in the public arena (Think Better, Act Better). 

In this presentation, Randall addresses these concerns and provides an approach on how teachers on the front lines can help their students develop strategies to analyze and interpret information, leading to more gracious attitudes and actions toward our local communities and global neighbors.

Date: July 1, 2022

Workshop Title: Seeing the Listening Process Through New Eyes

Download Handout: PDF

Intermountain ITESOL Mini-Conference: Student-Centered Learning

Location: Provo, Utah

Date: April 9, 2022

Title of Plenary Presentation: Fostering Emotionally-Healthy Learning Environments for Teachers and Students

Download Handout: PDF

Plenary Summary:

Title: Fostering Emotionally-Healthy Learning Environments for Teachers and Students

Plenary Summary:

In 2017, Randall attempted a grueling 100-mile ultramarathon, but after running and hiking for 70 miles, Randall dropped out of the race in utter physical and emotional exhaustion. Feeling completely dejected, Randall curled up in the back of his vehicle at the starting area and adamantly vowed never to do it again. However, despite his earlier declaration, Randall entered another 100-mile event only six weeks later with almost the same devastating results. Then, on the verge of dropping from the race at 3:30 a.m., with 26 miles to go, something happened that radically transformed his life.

As a metaphor for our profession, Randall first recounts his running journey with great candor and then compares such emotional and physical challenges to the profound struggle that many teachers and students face on a daily basis, wondering whether they should continue teaching or studying. Finally, Randall describes five pivotal keys of self-realization, authenticity, courage, empathy, and emotional support that can foster healthy learning environments at home, in schools, and in our communities.

ORTESOL 2021 Virtual Fall Conference: Navigating the New Reality Both Inside and Outside the Classroom

Date: October 2021

Title of Keynote Presentation: Surviving and Thriving in the New Pandemic Era

Web Site:

Plenary Summary:

By the end of 2019, the word, COVID-19, still hadn’t entered our daily vocabulary, and its tsunami-like impact was only on the distant horizon for most of the world, having not permeated into every aspect of our lives. However, since then, life on this planet has been radically altered, and countless millions—billions—of people have been affected—physically, socially, economically, and emotionally. Furthermore, teachers, students, families, and educational systems have been turned upside down as they have learned to adapt to the challenges in learning and growing in this new normal.

With vulnerability and raw candor, Randall shares how the pandemic has changed his personal and professional life and provides six keys to experiencing innovation and growth into the future.

Third International Conference of Foreign Languages

Location: Monterrey, Mexico (Delivered Remotely)

Date: June 2021

Title of Plenary Presentation: How Online Learning Can Retool Minds and Reshape Hearts 

Web Site:

Keynote Summary:

Although the Internet can be a source of almost unlimited information, the challenge facing learners is the ability to understand how misinformation can lead to faulty assumptions and thinking errors, and potentially negative actions toward others.

In this presentation, Randall discusses these concerns and shares ways in which educators can use information to reshape the ways learners think and act, leading to a more gracious humanity.

TESOL 2021 International Convention & Language Expo

Date: March 24-27, 2021 

Location: Virtual Conference

Title: Gamifying the Classroom for Language Assessment Needs The presenters demonstrate three engaging games and simulation activities that teachers can use to maximize language learning or cross-cultural understanding in their face-to-face or online classrooms. This is supported with a basic model on how to integrate them into the content of any classroom.

Presenters: Randall Davis, Rus Wilson, and Riadh Koubaa

Title: The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Effective Listening Strategies

How do students become better active listeners? This session reviews factors that make listening difficult for language learners and demonstrates interactive and realistic activities for both high- and low-resource environments that teach, not just test, effective listening skills. Ideas for both face-to-face and online classes are addressed.

Presenters: Randall Davis (United States), Mouna Bouhlel (Tunisia), Pragya Adhikari (Nepal), and Keilor Vargas (Costa Rica)

Bolivia English Teachers’ Association – 25th International Virtual Convention for English Teachers

Facebook Page:

Date: January 6-9, 2021

Web Site:

Plenary Title: Reimagining the Traditional Paradigm of Professional Development 

Download Handout: HERE


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many teachers around the world have felt disconnected, unprepared, and upended in their work because this global situation has fractured many of the traditional ways of teaching and learning. As a result, teachers have struggled to find a future place for themselves in a profession with limited opportunities to engage in meaningful professional development in a remote environment. That said, great creativity and innovation can blossom amid disruption and chaos. In response to this great educational upheaval, Randall explains how old ways of doing professional development must give way to new paradigms of support for our profession to not only survive, but thrive in today’s world. To this end, Randall proposes three fundamental changes to his work that reflect this new vision for the future.

Best Practices Session: New Twists, Tricks, and Tools to Enhance Your Online Lessons

Download Handout: HERE


With online learning becoming the backbone of instruction around the world, teachers are trying to come up with new ways of enhancing their teaching and the learning experience. Unfortunately, teachers often have very little training on how to maximize the potential of online instruction and feel lost on how to navigate these uncharted waters. In response to this, Randall introduces a potpourri of tools, tips, and secrets on (1) running an engaging online class through popular Web-conferencing platforms, (2) choosing microphones, green screens, and Webcams to create quality classroom content, and (3) creating meaningful language assessment strategies to access students’ skills.  

Facebook Live Tampico MEXTESOL – Professional Development Event

Date: August 7, 2020

Title: Building Human Connection and Collaboration Through Online Communities

Broadcast Video (My part starts at around 2:06): View Video

TESOL 2020 Virtual Convention & English Language Expo

Date: July 16–18, 2020

Title: + Smart Phones = Effective Speaking Assessment

Keynote Address: International Language Fair 2019, Guadalajara, Mexico

Date: May 2019

Title: When Being Wrong Leads to More Empathy and Better Teaching 

Randall’s Article: PDF | HTML

Keynote Address: ThaiTESOL 2018, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Date: January 2018

Title: Embracing and Celebrating Imperfection on the Road to Better Teaching

Presentation: TESOL 2017, Seattle, Washington, USA

Title: Maximizing Technology in High- and Low-Resource Environments

Keynote Address: MexTESOL 2016, Monterrey, Mexico

Date: November 2016

Title: Finding New Pathways in a Dynamically-Changing Profession

He has given such lectures and workshops in the US, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia, and you are welcome to e-mail Randall if you are interested in such a presentation.

Here are more titles of presentations that he has given as an invited or plenary speaker:

  • Searching the Internet with a Backhoe, not a Toothpick. TESOL. New York City, New York.
  • Creating Listening Activities That Work. TEFL Conference for School Teachers. Trujillo, Peru.
  • Fostering Cross-cultural Understanding via Simulations. Korea TESOL Conference: Technology in Education. Kyong-ju, Korea.
  • Friend or Foe: Technology in the Language Classroom. National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mexico City, Mexico.
  • Ten Keys to Effective Speaking Assessment. TESOL. Daring to Lead, Tampa, Florida.
  • Appraising Language Skills Development Through Alternative Assessment. Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Here are some of the other themes of his teacher training:

  • demonstrating innovative activities for teaching all language skills, with special emphasis on listening, speaking, pronunciation, grammar
  • developing assessment tools, including classroom achievement and program placement tests
  • using video (commercial messages, movies, sitcoms, and student productions) to improving listening, speaking, and oral grammar skills
  • using technology, specifically digital voice recorders and MP3 players, to assessing students’ speaking skills
  • teaching students to develop cross-cultural awareness through engaging simulation activities and games
  • developing ESL/EFL Web sites for self-access learning
  • explaining the importance of soft skills (e.g., self-reflection, empathy, leadership, listening, and compassion) in language instruction
  • teaching effective techniques for searching and researching information on the Internet for academic purposes
  • creating audio and video language-learning content for the Internet
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