Students with Limited Formal Schooling? Come to the Free MinneSLIFE Conference!

Students with Limited Formal Schooling? Come to the Free MinneSLIFE Conference!

The 8th Annual SLIFE Conference will be held at the Anderson Center at Hamline University, St. Paul, on Saturday, March 21, 2020. The conference is organized by the MinneSLIFE Standing Committee of Minnesota’s professional ESL teacher association, MinneTESOL. Founded in 2013, MinneSLIFE provides training, support, and advocacy related to the educational needs of Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) of all ages.

The first three conferences were held at Hamline, and then the conference moved to various locations: St. Olaf College in Northfield, the University of Minnesota, and St. John’s University in Collegeville. Attendance has grown from about 30 the first year to around 275 in 2019. This year’s conference is expected to see even higher attendance.

The 2020 conference will begin with check-in starting at 8:00, Conference Opening at 9:00 including remarks by MN Rep. Carlos Mariani, and a keynote address at 9:30 by SLIFE researcher Dr. Andrea DeCapua. Dr. DeCapua is renowned for her work in supporting the learning experiences of older students with limited prior education and literacy; the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP) that she created with Helaine Marshall is widely used in secondary and adult ESL programs.

Following the keynote are 16 concurrent sessions, beginning at 10:45 and ending at 4:45, on topics such as effective instructional strategies for teaching SLIFE, advocacy efforts to support SLIFE, SLIFE-friendly materials, and SLIFE programming models. Final remarks at 4:45 by MinneTESOL president Darren LaScotte will close the conference. CEUs will be available.

The conference is a grassroots effort, organized by the volunteer leadership of MinneSLIFE. It has always been free and will remain so, but this year, for the first time, registration is required as space is limited to 300 people. To register, or for more information, go to and click on 2020 Conference in the top menu. Questions, or to get on MinneSLIFE email list: [email protected]

About the Author

Dr. Jill Watson is Assistant Professor of English as an Additional Language & World Language Education at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Leader of MinneSLIFE.

Dr. Jill Watson, MinneSLIFE Co-Founder/Co-Leader MinneSLIFE