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TESOL Arabia Venue
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MyTrunkshow



Joined: 21 Apr 2007
Posts: 232
Location: One map inch from Iraq

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:54 pm    Post subject: TESOL Arabia Venue Reply with quote

I've always looked forward to attending the conference. The JW Marriot was a decent venue. Dubai Men's College was fine, even though it was not in downtown. In the past, signage, volume of people and comfort was not a significant concern and likely did not enter people's conversations.

However, it is the main topic this year. Just after arriving, someone I did not know said, "This is very disorganized" as he got out of the elevator. Another who was waiting for the elevator commented how hot it was. Some people who got off the elevator sighed loudly and one loudly went Ugggh. She later commented the absence of directional signs.

Numbers for the job fair were up to 1400 by 1pm by 13 March. They started at 0001. The job fair registration was held in a hotel suite on the 21st floor. Only two elevators serviced this floor. No signage. Directional assistants on the ground floor were unaware of which elevators to use. Trial and error was the directions used the first go round. Packed elevator cabins emptied on to the 20th floor and had to get on again or take the fire escape.

Myself, I went up the wrong bank of elevators to the 20th floor-which didn't go to the 21st floor where the conference was- and was told from people coming down the elevator to use the fire escape as the lineup at the elevators, which were full from people coming down from the restaurant on the 25th floor made using them impassable. Housekeeping guided many to the 21st floor though the fire escape stairs.

At the job fair room, 1400 people shuffled through a room in 4-6 hours in a two room hotel room - not a conference room, nor business room. Due to no signage, people walked much more than they had to so foot traffic was multiplied as people did not know where to go. There were many people in a confined space and therefore it was stuffy and claustrophobic in a confused kind of way. People were perspiring and seemed unsure of where to go.

By 3:30pm, due to the numbers that were applying, no movement was occurring at the job fair. My candidate ID number of 1350 meant nothing as most recruiters were only still on 1000 or 1050 from the morning. I waited for 2 hours and left - as did others.

One gentlemen said he saw one of the schools halve a pile of resumes. One the recruiter kept and one he trashed. He simply could not read the volume.

Presentation booths were held in a narrow-ish ballroom. It's a mere 1,100 square feet according to Hyatt's website. Walkways were crowded, bumping into others endlessly and passing by booths was sort of expected as some places were too narrow as the ever present pillars blocked free flow of foot traffic. Lineup for coffee was a snake line around the pillars at times.

I love conferences. I have always liked the job fair and the style of it at TESOL Arabia. I even went once for the fun of it. I like talking to people at booths about stuff. Some of the presentations and certificate courses are brilliant. Variety of speakers is hard to match in the TESOL world.

However, as far as TESOL Arabia is concerned, this venue is inappropriate. It has become an unpleasant, over-crowded icky affair. Line up was 90 minutes to register. Amount to pay was 1005AED and 22fils for membership including (100AED) job fair for Gulf residents. It was less if one knew one he/she could attend and register months in advance.

Tomorrow, instead of looking forward to it, I'm telling myself to look at it in a fresh light, ignore the claustrophobic rooms, fore-go the booths as they are congested, put up with long elevator cues and people pushing, bumping and nudging. I tell myself to look forward to Scott Thornbury and some others who give inspiring talks and presentations.

As the numbers increase, doesn't maximum room occupancy come into play? No one is monitoring these things. I saw no one ushering or guiding on the 21st floor. Who really cares about public safety here? What hotel would allow a conference of several thousand people on its floors?

According to Hyatt's website, 800 guests is the event size they handle.

What a sham.

Someone's pocketing a whole bunch of money and participants are left bewildered.

What a sham.
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Chuma



Joined: 21 May 2013
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^

I also attended the conference, and IMO the above is a fair and measured review. I was actually quite surprised at how disorganized nearly every aspect of conference was. I'm so glad I submitted my resume to the job fair early on Thursday.
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

" disorganized "

Just preparing you for your future employment.
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MyTrunkshow



Joined: 21 Apr 2007
Posts: 232
Location: One map inch from Iraq

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never mentioned the printout of the presenters that was handed out.

The website was very organized. Before going, a colleague and I looked over the conference presenters in chronological order. We had a plan to go see some presentations. We were kinda excited to go.

At the conference, the printout handed out was printed upside down on the back and right side up on the front on double sided pages. Pages were not in sequence. It was printed from back to front (like Chinese). Pages did not go in numerical sequence and dates were not on all pages. Printout of presenters was organized by room. Presenter was not mentioned. To figure it out was not a skimming of where to find a presenter - rather it was a mission to figure out the dates of a page, the room, and ultimately, one had to ask the organizers to look in their binder to locate a presenter if the exact name of the presentation (not necessarily the topic) was given.

We turned to the app of the conference listings as we did not have a laptop with us. Come on. It was not user friendly and no one in our group successfully used it more than once. It took too long to sort through the several hundred presenters. It was possible to figure out but presenters were missing as it was not updated

A few people are in need of basic medium scale event training. It was so good before. Laughing
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oilers



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

completely concur with the previous comments, bit of a joke actually how bad it was organized, job fair especially.

another mess was the location, deira corniche, nightmare to get into and out of, took at least 20 minutes to get into and out of roundabout just a mere few metres from the hotel, getting through deira itself is a total nightmare

and guess what? TACON 2015 is at the very same place!!! that's forward planning!
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here in East Asia, I have been to CAMTESOL and the JALT National Conference. I have never been to TESOL Arabia but I have thought that someday I would like to attend the annual conference.

Of course, TESOL Arabia is one of the bigger events on the international conference calendar, so it is a shame that it went down like this.

I agree with the OP. I love attending conferences. The ones I have attended have been well organized and have enough to do and have been easy to manage/navigate. I too would be disappointed if I ended up at an event like the one described by the OP.

My condolences. Hopefully TESOL Arabia 2015 will be much better.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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Chuma



Joined: 21 May 2013
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI--

TESOL Arabia emailed a link to an online evaluation form to those who attended the conference.
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Monorail Cat



Joined: 14 Jan 2009
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ Must have been emailed to the "favoured few" because I haven't had anything in my inbox from TESOL Arabia about feedback. Maybe they just want bouquets from delegates, and not brickbats? Wink

As for OP, yes, wholly concur with comments/observations. This was my first TESOL Arabia and I didn't leave with a positive impression. The job fair especially was disorganised and I'd still be looking for the room location now if I hadn't had the good fortune to bump into other job seekers in the elevator, heading to the 21st floor.

Overall, I was disappointed. Shocked
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Chuma



Joined: 21 May 2013
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monorail Cat wrote:
^ Must have been emailed to the "favoured few" because I haven't had anything in my inbox from TESOL Arabia about feedback. Maybe they just want bouquets from delegates, and not brickbats? Wink


I'm an egalitarian at heart....

http://www.tesolarabia.org/conference/evaluation/

Smile
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MyTrunkshow



Joined: 21 Apr 2007
Posts: 232
Location: One map inch from Iraq

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never got an email to fill-out an online evaluation. My name was spelled wrong anyway, even though I used a credit card with my name on it and was asked several times when registering to spell my name (it is a very common name). I highly doubt a correct email address was given consideration as it contains my very common name!

My colleagues did not mention it either. 19 of us went from our school and I've seen many of them since. No one mentioned it, although the inadequate venue's conditions were clearly expressed by all!
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 615
Location: US

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MyTrunkshow wrote:
I never got an email to fill-out an online evaluation. My name was spelled wrong anyway, even though I used a credit card with my name on it and was asked several times when registering to spell my name (it is a very common name). I highly doubt a correct email address was given consideration as it contains my very common name!

My colleagues did not mention it either. 19 of us went from our school and I've seen many of them since. No one mentioned it, although the inadequate venue's conditions were clearly expressed by all!


There is a link to the evaluation form at the top of every page on the TESOL Arabia web site.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This cynical - and now retired - EFL hack would suggest that you only attend if your employer is paying and if you get time off work to go.
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MyTrunkshow



Joined: 21 Apr 2007
Posts: 232
Location: One map inch from Iraq

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanx for telling us the link is now present on the site rtm.

Comments sent.

Since the venue was mentioned to be decided next year at the Hyatt, the conferences in SE Asia are more appealing!
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Tazz



Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 142
Location: Jakarta

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Met a few people who have been to this event job hunting- sounds like a total waste of time...and an expensive one at that!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4324
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tazz wrote:
Met a few people who have been to this event job hunting- sounds like a total waste of time...and an expensive one at that!

Those who received job offers likely aren't complaining about the cost nor calling it a waste of their time. The TESOL Arabia organizers only provide the employers/recruiters with a venue to recruit and interview; they have nothing to do with the selection and hiring practices. Besides, prospective job seekers had the opportunity to view job postings ahead of the conference. Once they got there, they could have skipped the job fair and thus, saved themselves some money if none of the positions had suited their fancy.
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