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Language Teaching

and Learning in ESL


Current Issues, Collaborations

and Practice

Edited by Jose A. Carmona

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Kona Publishing and Media Group

Higher Education Division
Charlotte, North Carolina

Cover Design and Typesetting: diacriTech

Cover Art: Carved, stained basswood by Fraser Smith,

Copyright 2010 by Kona Publishing and Media Group

All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photography, or any informational storage and retrieval system, without
permission from the publisher.
All names of teachers, teacher learners, students and places are pseudonyms or are used with permission.
Teacher and student work samples are used with permission.
Every effort has been made to contact the copyright holders for permission to reprint borrowed material. We
regret any oversights that may have occurred and will rectify them in future printings of this work.
ISBN: 978-1-935987-02-4
Library of Congress Control Number:

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Table of Contents

Part I: Classroom Techniques

Chapter 1:

The Multi Level ESL Classroom

by Douglas Magrath

Chapter 2:

Building ESL Lessons around Pop and Rock Music

by Jenny Redding

Chapter 3:

Reaching Across the Divide: Effective Strategies for Working with

Northeast Asian Students
by Amanda L. Morris and Joshua B. Morris

Chapter 4:

World Citizens: Engaging ESL Students in Global Advocacy

by Jose A. Carmona

Chapter 5:

Foreign and Second Language Teacher Assessment Literacy: Issues,

Challenges, and Recommendations
by Christine Coombe, Mashael Al-Hamly and Salah Troudi

Chapter 6:

The ESOL Infused Lesson Plan (EILP)

by Cristina Patricia Fuentes Valentino


Part II: Current Research

Chapter 7:

Action Research on E-Learning Essay Unit at the ICESI University in Colombia

by Linda R. Price

Chapter 8:

Looking Back While Looking Forward: Academic ESL Students

Perceptions of Teaching
by Clint McElroy, David Pugalee and Edith Valladares McElroy

Chapter 9:


English Language Learners Literacy or Liberty: Must They Choose?

by Philomena Marinaccio-Eckel

Chapter 10: A Critical Investigation of the TEFL Certicate Industry in Thailand

by Jonathan Aubrey


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Table of Contents

Part III: Leadership and Success

Chapter 11:

To Realize the Dream

by Natalie Hess and Amalia Garzon


Chapter 12: Language, Learning and Literacy: Supporting Diverse Families

Through Intergenerational Literacy Centers
by Susanne I. Lapp and Eileen N. Whelan Ariza
Chapter 13: Building Leaders Through Mentoring
by Steve Allison and Phil Quirke
Chapter 14: Providing Leadership in Support and Access Professional Development
at the Community CollegesA Focus on Leaders
by Yilin Sun

Part IV: Collaboration

Chapter 15: A Case Study of the Intensive English Language Program at the
University of Arkansas at Little Rock: An Implication for Global Education
by Alan D. Lytle
Chapter 16: Using Collaborative Reection to Prepare Career Changers to Teach
English Language Learners
by Yvonne Pratt-Johnson and Caroline Marrett
Chapter 17:

Designing a Bilingual Schools Gifted Program in Developing Countries:

Forces and Issues in Decision Making
by Stephen C. Keith and Cristina Patricia Fuentes Valentino

Part V: Self-Examination
Chapter 18: ESL Online and Adult Educators
by Rosie Maum
Chapter 19: The Plight of the Adjunct: A Critique on Policies
by Scott Drinkall
Chapter 20: Funding IEP Professional Development
by Alan D. Lytle

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The eld of English as a second language (ESL) is vast and complex. In different forms, it not
only navigates through K-12, college and graduate school, but it also shakes hands with adult
education, literacy, teacher education, and global education as in teaching English as a foreign
language. This book was compiled with the hope that professionals within all disciplines of
education, in addition to the ones mentioned above, can grasp the extent of how the eld has
evolved in recent years.
The authors in this compilation bring forth new issues to the eld of ESL and EFL or revisit
old issues with new insights. They are diverse and write from the perspectives of the countries they
originate from or where they are currently employed. The authors are either from Bolivia, China,
Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, United Arab Emirates, and the United States or write from
the perspectives of being there for many years.
The chapters in this volume are not only reections of ESL in the U.S., but they also portray
contemporary EFL issues directly or indirectly related to some of the countries mentioned above.
Section one of this volume concentrates on classroom techniques. This comprehensive section begins
with Magraths methods for teaching the multilevel classroom; here he demonstrates how to adapt
the same exercises to beginner, intermediate and advanced students. In chapter 2, Redding uncovers
her own system for using pop and rock music in the classroom while Mandi and Josh Morris show us
in chapter 3 how to succeed in the ESL classroom teaching Korean students. Carmona (chapter 4)
introduces the steps for English language learners (ELL) to participate in global advocacy from their
own classrooms; there are also sample lessons and projects included.
Coombe, Al-hamly and Troudy (chapter 5) examine teacher testing literacy concentrating on
challenges and suggestions. Fuentes Valentino (chapter 6) ends the section with the development of
the ESOL-infused lesson plan; it is crucial reading for K-12 school teachers who have ELL students
in their classrooms and future teachers in teacher education programs who must be inclusive in their
lesson plans.
The second section is dedicated to research. Price contributes her action research study
completed while working at Icesi University in Colombia in chapter 7; an investigation was conducted
to discover if the students writing improved using CALL (computer-assisted language learning) and
the Moddle platform. On the other hand, McElroy, Pugalee, McElroy (chapter 8) carry out a study
at the community college level; they tackle adult ELL students perceptions of how their teachers
taught in their own country vs. how instructors teach in the U.S. In chapter 9, Marinaccio-Eckel
dissects a summer literacy program for ELL students to uncover if their reading skills improve and
in chapter 10, Aubrey scrutinizes the TEFL certicate industry in Thailand.
Hess and Garzon (chapter 11) introduce the third section with an inspirational research on
successful women who had gone through their own ESL program as the authors investigate the

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meaning of success. Chapter 12 is where Lapp and Whelan Ariza meticulously show how to support
an intergenerational literacy center in Florida. Allison and Quirke (chapter 13) introduce the complex
methods of how to successfully mentor a colleague into a leader and in chapter 14, Sun defends the
importance of professional development to generate leaders.
Three chapters on collaboration are included in section four. Lytle (chapter 15) argue the
importance of collaboration to revamp an intensive English language program (IEP) in Arkansas.
Pratt-Johnson and Marrett (chapter 16) use collaborative reection to assist instructors from outside
the discipline to teach ELL students, and in chapter 17, Keith and Fuentes Valentino methodically
identify the key goals for cultivating a bilingual gifted program in a developing country basin their
research in Honduras.
Self-examination is the given name for the fth and nal section because as a discipline, ESL must
always evaluate itself. In chapter 18, Maum deliberates on the inevitability for adult ESOL educators
to employ new technology in the classroom and the implications for the future of adult ESOL
students who are not computer literate. Drinkall (chapter 19) re-examines the plight of the adjunct
instructor with some positive ideas, and in the last chapter, Lytle (chapter 20) cleverly contemplates
the different budgetary techniques that may be employed to fund professional development.
Our discipline has evolved rapidly in the U.S. as well as abroad. Having also participated in
the foreign language education domain, I can safely say that ESL has surpassed the methodology,
practice and use of technology in the classroom. It has given me new perspectives to teach other
Jose A. Carmona

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h te

The Multi Level ESL Classroom
Douglas Magrath

The multi-level classroom presents a unique challenge to the adult education ESL teacher used to
the standard model of a group of students working through a book at the same pace. Students learn
at different rates and employ various strategies; they may also acquire different skills resulting in a
group that has some members very procient in reading, while others may read poorly but be able to
speak quite well. The most extreme example of a multi-level class is where some students only need a
review while others who are newly arrived and non-literate will need to start from the alphabet. The
author will make suggestions, present some teaching tips and sample exercises.

Multi level classroom is an umbrella term to cover a multitude of situations. In a multi-level ESL class,
there are following types of learners:

learners with no literacy skills in their home countries;

learners who preferred writing to speaking or vice versa;
learners with different writing systems;
learners with very different motivations and educational and cultural backgrounds.
(Quynh Na, 2007)

Language Learning
What does the classroom instructor do when faced with a situation where a large ESL class has
members of different skill levels progressing at different rates? Some will understand; others will

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Classroom Techniques

just repeat without understanding while some may just sit and watch. Some may have had more
exposure to the language than others; in addition, some students may be better able to employ learning strategies and appear to pick up languages quicker.
Students understand language at their level of prociency, and this understanding aids in language
acquisition (Krashen and Terrell, 1983, p. 55). The language lessons need to be part of a larger lesson
plan that actively involves the learners in a realistic situation where English is a tool for transmitting
a message or solving a problem. Activities should allow a natural exchange of information either
orally or in writing. A lock-step presentation of structure drills will not meet these students needs
since they are at different levels. Taylor, writing for ESL teachers, states:
. . . . simple codes used in a communicative setting may provide better coverage of the full
range of linguistic interaction than systematic, sequential syllabuses which, at this point at
least, cannot possibly meet all learner needs. (Taylor, 1982, p. 35)
Taylor advocates a realistic setting that provides plenty of language beneting all the students. The
content is made up of issues that encourage students to read, write and think in the target language
rather than complete a set of drills. (p. 37) The point is to establish a language-rich environment
that provides plenty of input and allows student output and participation. Vocabulary and syntax
should be simplied to be accessible to all. High frequency words-money- are used rather than lower
frequency words such as currency (Kalivoda, 1986).
Another hint for those teaching a large number of students at different levels is grouping to
downsize each section to a more manageable level. Obviously the class can be grouped by level or by
task-reading, writing, listening, or other criteria. An effective approach will use grouping methods
that allow the learners to work on a variety of tasks in the various skill areas. (Halgesen, 1986,
p. 77) The students work together and assist each other as needed. Everybody cooperates and works
together to reach a goal since the learning task is based on interaction and reciprocal interdependence among the members of the group and requires mutual help (Bejarano, 1987, p. 485) Learning
tasks fostered language acquisition in Bejaranos study because they set up an immediate need for
active participation by all group members. (145)
Texts can be modied to be more learner friendly without compromising their integrity. There
are two types of modication: elaboration and simplication. Elaboration enriches the text by adding
paraphrases and explaining thematic elements without changing the original text. (Kim, 2006, p. 344)
Simplication rewrites the text in special English and makes the text lose its originality. Elaboration
is like a commentary that enhances but does not replace the original.

This term is used to describe the step-by-step process of building students ability to complete tasks
on their own. Scaffolding consists of several linked strategies including modeling academic language,
contextualizing academic language using non-verbal cues, visuals, realia, gestures, and demonstrations, and using hands-on activities to enhance comprehensibility building on a priori knowledge.
(Northwest, 2003) A student works with the teacher or more likely with a more advanced student
or native speaker to grasp a challenging concept or skill. Students work not only on vocabulary
and grammar, but also on the content area. The CALLA approach (Cognitive Academic Language

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The Multi Level ESL Classroom

Learning Approach) trains content teachers to incorporate language teaching strategies into their
classes. (Pally, 2000, pp. 67) CALLA considers three main components in teaching concepts: the
concept itself, the language appropriate within the context and the strategies that ESL learners will
use to master the concept. (Yahya and Furner, 4950)

Another hint for those teaching a large number of students at different levels is grouping to downsize
each section to a more manageable level. Obviously the class can be grouped by level or by taskreading, writing, listening, or other criteria. An effective approach will use grouping methods that
allow the learners to work on a variety of tasks in the various skill areas. (Halgesen, 1986, p. 77) The
students work together and assist each other as needed. Everybody cooperates and works together to
reach a goal since the learning task is based on interaction and reciprocal interdependence among
the members of the group and requires mutual help (Bejarano, 1987, p. 485) Learning tasks fostered
language acquisition in Bejaranos study because they set up an immediate need for active participation by all group members. (145)
Focus on the negotiation of meaning in real-life situations as is the case in cooperative learning
activities. Possibilities include group discussions and problem solving activities (information-gap)
skits, role playing. (Northwest, 2003)

Other Techniques
Enunciate clearly, but speak in a normal voice, keep up a familiar routine, repeat and review as often
as necessary, provide summaries and outlines, avoid slang and list objectives clearly.

Designing Language Learning Activities

Exercises for a multi-level class are best designed around themes, such as getting a job, travel
or buying a car, that interest the students and the teacher. The main goal of these exercises is the
communication of information that is both meaningful and productive. The following are examples
of exercises that can be designed by the classroom teacher.

Reading Activities
The daily press provides a real chunk of language as used by native speakers. Discussion of an article,
advertisement or editorial cartoon can emphasize cultural differences and give practice in speaking.
In the following exercise, an advertisement is used as a prompt. The class can be divided up by level
according to the system in use in the program or school with allowance for some overlapping:
Activity 1
Show a printed advertisement.
1. Low Levels: Look at the advertisement. What is the product? What does it do? Do you
want to buy one?

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Classroom Techniques
2. Middle Levels: Do exercise one, and then Look at the advertisement. Describe the
product. Do you need or want it? Why or why not? Describe a similar product.
3. Higher Levels: Do exercise two. Write your own advertisement for the product. Are
you convinced by the printed advertisement? Role play calling the company for more
information. Write a telephone script. (Magrath 1 1995, p. 101)

The exercise can also be done with a news item: Show a newspaper clipping.
1. Low Levels: Look at the headline. Who is Mr.______________? (President, Prime
Minister, Banker, etc)
2. Middle Levels: Read the article. Who is Mr. X? What did he do? Where? When?
Where? Why? Change the paragraph to the present as if you are observing the
event now.
3. Higher Levels: Summarize the news article in your own words. Describe a similar
event in your own experience. Write a letter to the editor in response to the article.
(Magrath 1, (1995, p. 102)

Homework or additional class assignments can include writing a letter to a columnist, writing a
want-ad to sell an item, choosing some help-wanted ads to answer and then writing cover letters and
a brief resume. (Blatchford, 1986, p. 133)
An article on current social concerns can be a good starting point for multi-level reading and
grammar activities. The following activities are based on a short article on the problems of trash,
landlls and the need for recycling. Class levels range from lower intermediate to advance.

Activity 2
Read the short article: Lets Talk Trash ( Jacquart, 1990)
All levels: answer the comprehension questions:
1. Each American throws out about _________ pounds of trash per month.
a) 50
b) 1,300
c) 108
d) 220
2. They throw away 16 billion disposable diapers.
a) useful
b) useless
c) usable
d) They can be thrown away
3. The containers are reusable. They _________.
a) can be used again
b) cant be recycled
c) must be thrown away
d) can not be used
4. Recycling means _________.
a) going through a cycle
b) riding a bicycle
c) reusing materials
d) putting things into the trash
5. About _________ aluminum cans per person are tossed out each year.
a) 450
b) 250
c) 2,250
d) 800

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The Multi Level ESL Classroom

A. Sample lower level exercise: Change to the past:

John is concerned about the environment. He throws away a lot of trash, but he also tries to
conserve and recycle. He keeps his aluminum cans; each month he takes them to the recycling
center and gets money for them. He earns about $100 a year. He buys new clothes with this money.
He also saves his newspapers, and he gives them to an elementary school. The school sells the
papers and uses the money to buy computers. He takes the bus to work, or he rides his bicycle. He
doesnt want to waste gas. He doesnt use paper cups for his coffee at the ofce; he drinks his coffee
from a reusable cup.
John was concerned about the environment

B. Sample mid-level exercise: Do the group 1 exercise and continue:

USE THE CORRECT FORM OF THE VERB: You will use the innitive (to + verb) the V + ing,
the simple verb, past form, past participle or present as required.
Last year John wanted to do (do) something about trash. He _________ (think) about it for
a while, and then he decided _________ (try) recycling. He planned _________ (save) his
soda cans and glass bottles. By not _________ (throw) them away, he was able _________
(conserve) energy and save landll space. He enjoyed ________ (help) the environment.
He ________ (have) a part in the solution. If more people would ________ (be) concerned
about our natural resources and ________ (save) energy, the world would be a better
place for us ________ (live). All of us need ________ (be) careful of what we buy and how
we ________ (dispose) of it. A person cannot __________ (ignore) the impact of his actions
on the environment. All life on Earth __________ (depend) on a clean, pollution-free
environment that can only be ________ (provide) by our total cooperation.

C. Sample higher level exercise: Do the group 2 exercises and continue:

Change from Direct to Indirect Speech. Remember to use normal word order and to have your verbs
agree in time.
1. He asked me, When are you going to the recycling center?
He asked me when I was going to the recycling center.
2. I told him, I will go tomorrow.
I told him that ______________________________________
3. Where is the aluminum recycling center?
I need to know ______________________________________
4. He said, I can tell you.
He said that ________________________________________

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Classroom Techniques

5. First, you go up Maxwell Road to 45th street.

He told me to _______________________________________
6. Turn left at the second stop sign.
He then told me _____________________________________
7. I asked him, How far is it from Community College.
I asked him how far ___________________________________
8. It isnt far, and you can get there in 10 minutes.
He replied that _______________________________________

D. Additional higher level practice: Write a paragraph on the following topic:

What can you do to decrease the amount of trash you produce and save energy?
This activity includes a signicant amount of grammar practice as well as the reading comprehension and writing activities. It is useful for a multi-level class where one section of students may
work individually in a lab while another set do listening or other activities with the teacher. The
exercises are designed to be appropriate for learners ranging from low intermediate to advanced
levels. A workbook of exercises and activities would be well-suited to intrapersonal learners who
learn through independent study. A cooperative activity is suggested (by Yorkey, 1986) where the
teacher takes a comic strip and mixes the panels. Groups of students then put the strip back in order.
Blondie is a good strip since students may have read the strip in their own country. Each student gets
a panel and tells the others what the characters are doing and saying without showing the picture.
They then agree on an order and reassemble the strip. They then can role play the dialogue. Low
level students may be allowed to look at the panels since their command of the language may not be
enough for them to explain the action to the other group members. These students can work at a
work station while the instructor deals with other groups in the multi-level class.

Listening Activities
Dictations work well with students who have a good auditory memory. Ilyan (1986) suggests a
student assisted dictation exercise for numbers that can be expanded in a number of ways. In the
basic exercise, the teacher writes numbers on cards. A student picks a card and allows the class to
see the number while reading it to the teacher who writes the number on the board as dictated by
the student without looking at the card. The teacher then asks the class if the number on the board
is correct. This exercise is an informal test for the reader, a review for the class and a new lesson for
the lower level students. (Ilyan, p. 95) Similar exercises involve a student dictating a bus schedule,
movie or TV listing or other list to the teacher or volunteer at the board. Again, the beginners
would be learning basic language functions such as numbers, days of the week and places while the
more advanced would be reviewing previous material and learning organizational skills in the new
language. These students could then plan their bus ride or leisure activity by using the information provided. Rogers and Medley (1988) suggest using authentic audio or video taped materials in
language classes. The multi-level class can benet from such materials as they are presented so the
students can access the content both cognitively and affectively. (p. 468) A good exercise would be to
play a tape of a tour itinerary or a vacation commercial:

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The Multi Level ESL Classroom

Activity 1
Are you planning a vacation? How about a quiet island in the Pacic Ocean? Palm Island
is a great place for a vacation. You can hike in the mountains, swim and relax on the beach,
and eat in wonderful restaurants. Palm Island is only one hour from Malibu by plane, but it
seems like another world. Contact your travel agent to get more information about beautiful
Palm Island or call 1-800 Palm Isle. Hotel-airline packages available from $299. (Adapted from
Pavlik, 1985, p. 90)
1. Lower Levels: The item presented is a (a) weather report (b) sports report (c) travel
2. Middle Levels: Do exercise 1. What activities are available? How can you get to Palm
Island? Where do you leave from? How long does it take to get to Palm Island? How
much does it cost?
3. Higher levels: Do exercise 2. How do you arrange your trip? Is it a camp site or a full
service resort? Would you like to go? Why? Suggest other activities not listed in the
commercial. Write (or make an oral presentation) a summary of your last trip; or-You
are setting up a vacation plan for your class. Try to sell it to them.
Other possibilities for presentation via tape are weather reports, sports reports or even an excerpt
from a cooking show. (Magrath 2 (1995, pp. 184185)

Activity 2
Listen to the conversation-then answer the questions:
Hello, Computer-Serve. Mr. Mark speaking.
Hello, I am interested in your assistant writer position.
How did you learn about this position?
I read your advertisement in the TIMES.
Have you worked with computers?
Yes. I was an assistant in the State College computer lab.
Have you had any formal training?
Yes. I took basic programming and spreadsheets.
What grade did you get?
I got an A.
All Levels: true/false:

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The speakers are the same age.

The younger man is looking for a job.
The job is in a physics lab.
The younger man has no experience.
Mr. Mark took a computer course.


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Classroom Techniques

All Levels: listen and repeat the dialogue:

Middle levels-Dictation. Fill in the missing words:


1. I would really like to _______ your company.

2. Well, we have an _________ in computer operations.


1. Do you _______ I could get it?

2. Yes, they are looking for people _______ can program.


1. How much does the _______ pay?

2. You need to _______ to my supervisor.


Higher levels:
1. Do a dictation by copying the original conversation.
2. Listen to this new conversation, and then ll in the information on the career information card.
Hello, I am calling about the laboratory assistant job advertised in the paper?
Oh yes. Your name, please?
John Roberts.
And how old are you?
I am 25.
Do you have any lab experience?
Yes, I was a lab assistant at River Community College.
Did you graduate from high school?
Yes, and I have almost nished my AS degree. I am majoring in biology.
Can you come for an interview Tuesday, March 5th in the morning at 8:30?
Yes, I can.
OK. We will see you then.


Name _____________________________
Age _____________
Experience ______________________________
Education: High School

Yes ________ No ________

College ______________ Major __________ Graduated


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Yes ________ No ________

Yes ________ No _________ Date ______ Time ________

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The Multi Level ESL Classroom


Now write a letter requesting an interview. (Adapted from Pavlik, 1985, pp. 3435)
In listening exercises, the focus is on the message rather than on a specic set of grammar points.
The students at various levels can understand the material on a range from what sort of material it is
(lower levels) to specic details (mid to higher levels). Learners who work well with groups benet
from these activities They enjoy games and teaching or leading others in the class.
In general, listening activities should be constructed around a specic topic or task so students
can feel that they have accomplished something useful (Dunkel, 1986, p. 103). Higher level students
can role play a situation by acting out parts while the lower level learners listen and respond. Use
a regular language learning activity (see chapter 1), and devise a way for learners to understand it a
several levels. Take the activity about the sick traveler for example:

Activity 3
You and a friend are staying in a small hotel in __________. Around midnight your friend
complains of being sick. (cramps, chills, fever). You go to the desk in the lobby and ask for help.
1. Explain the problem to the desk clerk.
2. Ask if there is a drugstore in the neighborhood that stays open late at night.
3. Ask for directions on how to get there; repeat the directions to verify that you have heard
them correctly.
4. Go to the drugstore and explain your friends problem to the druggist.
5. Ask for some medicine.
6. Find out if there are special instructions as to how the medicine should be taken.
(Bragger and Rice, 1984, p. 524; Bragger, 1985, p. 93)

1. Lower levels: Listen to the situation. Identify the people.

They are: a) at work, b) on vacation, c) at home.
Your friend is a) unhappy, b) sick, c) busy, d) tired.
It is a) day b) night c) early afternoon.
You go to the a) drugstore b) grocery c) hospital.
2. Middle levels: Do exercise 1. Answer the questions:
Where are you staying?
Who is sick?
Where is the drug store?
What kind of medicine will you get?
What will you do tomorrow if your friend is still sick?
3. Higher levels: do exercise two.
What happened to make your friend sick?
What would you do if you had a similar problem?
Write about your worst experience on a trip. Share it with the class.

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Classroom Techniques


Grammar Learning Activities

Grammar can be taught as part of a larger activity or can be introduced on its own. A picture or
set of visuals can create a situation for the learner to acquire new vocabulary and forms without
resorting to translation or repetition since the learners can listen and give short answers at rst. In
the following exercise, the teacher uses a picture of a car from an advertisement which includes the
driver and family:

Activity 1
1. Lower Levels: a basic description of the car-size, color number of people in the
advertisement can be composed. If the target structure is be, ask questions about
the size of the people, shape, color, model, age, etc. of the car.
2. Middle Levels: Do exercise one, and then add verbs to describe what the people are
doing (or will do or have done).
3. Higher Levels: Do exercise two, and then discuss the roles cars play in US or the target
culture. After the oral work students can write their own impressions or read an article
about cars or transportation. (Bragger, 1985, 967).

Activity 2
To introduce or review prepositions, the instructor can reproduce an apartment guide or a hotel
directory. We are staying at the City Inn, on the third oor in a double with TV etc. All groups
can participate in the initial conversation based on the directory:
We are looking at the ______ APARTMENT GUIDE. We are going to visit the Alhambra
Arms apartments.

Where are the Alhambra Arms apartments? They are on Fourth Street.
Is the complex near a shopping center? Yes, it is 1/2 mile from Freds Market.
Which oor is the vacancy on? The vacant apartment is ______ the rst oor.
When can we move in? We can move in ______ July 1.
When is the rent due? It is due ______ the rst of every month.

The instructor initially uses the target structures in explaining the guide. When the students
understand, the teacher begins asking questions using simple yes-no questions to elicit responses
from the lower levels. Questions involving more difcult constructions and concepts are used for the
middle and higher levels. Students can then form teams and give each other directions. (Krashen and
Terrell, 1983, pp. 112114) The higher group can role play checking in to the hotel or inspecting
the apartment. The middle and higher groups could also create a new guide based on some provided
Students participate based on their individual abilities. More advanced students can write out
the answers and give reasons why they have chosen to take the apartment or not or in the case of the
hotel guide, which hotel they would prefer.

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The Multi Level ESL Classroom


The instructor needs to keep the exercises interesting and relevant. Just working through
structured exercises is not enough since the students may just store the forms away in memory and
really acquire the material (Taylor, 1982, p. 37)
The teacher may enter into an extensive oral exchange with the members of the multi-level
group adjusting for individual students ability to understand:

Activity 3
I have a wallet. Its my wallet. What color is it?
Yes, its black. What else is black? Is your jacket black?
I have dollars in my wallet.
I take out the dollars. I count them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
How many dollars (How much money) do I have?
I put the dollars on the table. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
How many dollars are on the table?
We count the dollars. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
(Kalivoda, 1986, p. 114)

A student reading can be a good summing up exercise since is allows the students to produce
at their level of ability. It is also an additional opportunity for cooperative learning activities.
Learners enjoy generating and sharing their own creative readings because the content is familiar
and predictable. (Isserlis, 1992, p. 7) New words are in the context of the learners daily lives, and
they can bridge the gap from what they know to new information. These activities can be done
individually or in groups and give the students the chance to do something original in English. The
nal version of student stories can be duplicated (with errors removed) and used as the book for
the class.

Activity 4
Yesterday, Tony came to visit our class.
We wrote about Tony.
We talked to Tony.
Teresa wrote about Tony on the blackboard.
His name is Tony.
He lives in Warren. He is single.

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Classroom Techniques
He lives in Warren with his family.
He has 1 brother.
He works at a department store.
He came to watch our class.
His _____ is _______.
He _____ in Warren. He is _____.
He lives in ____ with _____ family.
Tony is a man.
Tony lives in Providence.
Tony lives with his wife.



(p. 7)

The teacher of a multi-level class should be prepared to help students become good learners since
much of the work will be individual or small group assignments. Learners can be taught to apply
various cognitive strategies as they interact with the material to be learned (Chamot and Kupper,
1989, p. 16). They should be encouraged to review former lessons to reinforce vocabulary, structures
and semantic/cultural topics; at the same time they preview coming lessons both in the book and on
tape if available. If they do these activities, the new material will be somewhat familiar by the time
the class begins to study it. They practice skimming and scanning looking for meaning clues in context, and they are not afraid to guess if necessary. They learn new words in semantic groups and try
to form associations between words and use memory hooks. Successful learners take notes writing
down key words; they also are willing to record classes for later playback or do extra listening in the
lab. They gain further comprehensible input by engaging the teacher in additional conversation
whenever possible and by trying to read books and periodicals outside of class.
The multi-level class presents a unique challenge to both instructor and learners; it is this
authors hope that the preceding discussion will have at least offered some guidance to teachers as
they cope with the ever increasing number of English as a second language students in both ESL and
regular content area classes.

The Author
Douglas Magrath teaches Arabic Studies and ESL at Embry-Riddle University in Prescott, AZ. He
has also taught ESL and College Prep English at Daytona State College and Seminole Community
College near Orlando, Florida. He has published in the elds of Arabic Studies and language

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The Multi Level ESL Classroom


teaching methodology including the New Ways series, (TESOL), Perspectives on Community College
ESL vol. 3: Faculty, Administration and the Working Environment, (TESOL), Foreign Language Annals,
(ACTFL) and The Journal of Arabic Literature.

Bauman, Jane Stroup. (October 22, l983). How to Modify Dialogues for Multiple Use in the
Classroom. TXTESOL IV, North Texas State University, Denton.
Bejarano, Yael, (September, 1987). A Cooperative Small-Group Methodology in the Language
Classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 21:3, (pp. 483504).
Blatchford, Charles H, (1986). Newspapers: Vehicles for Teaching ESOL with a Cultural Focus,
Culture Bound, Ed. Joyce Merril Valdes, Cambridge University Press. (pp. 130136).
Bragger, Jeannette D, (1985). Materials Development for the Prociency-Oriented Classroom.
Charles J. James. National Textbook Co. Lincolnwood, IL.
Bragger, Jeannette D. Rice, Donald B. (1984). Allons y Le Francais par Etapes, Heinle and Heinle,
Boston, MA.
Chamot, Anna Uhl and Kupper, Lisa, (February, 1989). Learning Strategies in Foreign Language
Instruction. Foreign Language Annals, 22, 1, ACTFL Yonkers, New York. USA (pp. 1324).
Dunkel, Patricia, (1986). Developing Listening Fluency in L2: Theoretical Principles and
Pedagogical Considerations. Modern language Journal, 70:2 (pp. 99106).
Halgesen, Marc E, (1986). Coping with the Multi-Level Classroom: How to Modify Materials
and Methods for Individualization. in Selected Articles from the TESOL Newsletter, Ed. John F.
Haskell, TESOL, Washington, DC pp. 7779.
Ilyan, Donna, (1986). Testing Adult Immigrants in Open Enrollment Programs. in Selected Articles
from the TESOL Newsletter, Ed. John F. Haskell, TESOL, Washington DC pp. 9597.
Isserlis, Janet, (September, 1992). Learner Generated Materials Every Day. Adult Education
Newsletter, TESOL 19, 2 p. 7.
Jacquart, Joanne, (1990). Lets Talk Trash. Windows to the World, Professional Freelance Writers of
Orlando, Cablevision of Central Florida, Orlando, FL pp. 5153.
Kalivoda, Theodore B, (1986). Listening Skill Development through Massive Comprehensible
Input. Planning for Prociency: Dimension Language 86, Eds. T. Bruce Fryer and Frank W.
Medley, Jr. SCOLT, Atlanta, pp. 111116.
Kim, Youngkyu, ( June 2006). Effects of input elaboration on vocabulary acquisition. TESOL
QUARTERLY, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 341371.
Krashen, Stephen D. Terrell, Tracey D. (1983). The National Approach. Pergamon, Oxford.
Magrath, Douglas, (1995). Multilevel Discussion New Ways in Teaching Listening, Eds. David
Nunan and Lindsay Miller, TESOL, Alexandria, VA pp. 101102.
Magrath, Douglas, (1995). Multilevel Interaction, New Ways in Teaching Listening, Eds. David
Nunan and Lindsay Miller, TESOL, Alexandria, VA pp. 183184.
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, (May, 2003). General Principles for Teaching ELL

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Classroom Techniques

Pally, Marcia, (2000). Sustaining Interest/Advancing Learning in Sustained Content Teaching in

Academic ESL/EFL, Boston, Houghton-Mifin pp. 118.
Pavlik, Cheryl, (1985). Speak Up, Newbury, Cambridge, MA.
Reid, Joy M. (March, 1987). The Learning Style Preferences of ESL Students. TESOL Quarterly,
21; 1, TESOL, Washington, DC pp. 87111.
Quynh Na Pham Phu (Ph.D). Some Strategies for Teaching English to Multi-level Adult ESL
Learners: A Challenging Experience in Australia Asian EFL Journal Volume 9. Issue 4 Article 20.
Retrieved August 10, 2009 from
Rogers, Carmen Villegas and Medley, Frank W. Jr. (October, 1988). Language with a Purpose:
Using Authentic Materials in the Foreign Language Classroom ACTFL Foreign Language
Annals 21:5, pp. 467478.
Taylor, Barry, (March, 1982). In Search of Real Reality TESOL Quarterly 16, 1. TESOL
Washington, DC pp. 2942.
Yorkey, Richard (1986). Shufed Comics. Selected Articles from the TESOL Newsletter, Ed. John F.
Haskell, TESOL, Washington DC pp. 162163.

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h te

Building ESL Lessons around Pop

and Rock Music
Jenny Redding

Before addressing the pragmatics of music selection and lesson creation involving pop and rock
music, it might be benecial for readers to realize that the most current brain research fully supports the use of music in learning. One can even go so far as to say that music is the superhighway to
the brain, and Id go so far as to say that for language acquisition purposes, music can work almost
magically if carefully applied.

Theoretical Background
To begin with, researchers are now much clearer about how the brain works from a physical standpoint.
Music activates not only the auditory functions, but in fact, stimulates multiple cognitive brain
sites ( Jensen, Music, 2000). One of the chief functions of our brains is to recognize patterns:
The theory [hypothesis of neural synchrony (Shaw 1998)] states that the activation between
family groups of cortical neurons assist the cortex in pattern recognition. This multiple-site,
cross activation may be necessary for higher brain functions including music, cognition, and
memory ( Jensen, Music, 2000).
In other words, just the mere processing of music stimulates our memory centers and prepares the
way for higher brain functions. The very act of listening to music may strengthen one or more
of our memory systems . . . while engaging our brain for prediction, analysis, sequencing, and
encoding ( Jensen, Music, 2000). The beauty of this is that students do not have to consciously think
about anything. The mere act of listening to music will put their brains into a higher gear, so

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to speak, so that their learning is optimized without any conscious effort. British businessmen and
researcher Colin Rose puts it nicely:
If youre listening to a song, the left brain would be processing the words and the right
brain would be processing the music. So its no accident that we learn the words of popular songs very easily. You dont have to make any effort to do that. You learn very quickly
because the left brain and the right brain are both involvedand so is the emotional center
of the brain in the limbic system (Dryden 1994).
Thus, just from a physical standpoint alone, using music grabs our students attention and primes
their brains for higher brain functions.
Secondly, researchers are discovering that if a lesson engages a persons emotions, recall
increases. The beauty of this is that music automatically engages emotions. Jensen explains:
[M]usic activates and elicits emotional responses in the parts of the brain that are also
responsible for long-term memory. This means that when information is imbued with music,
theres a greater likelihood that the brain will encode it for the long-term (Music 2000).
According to J. Le Doux, author of Emotion, Memory, and the Brain, it is emotions that
motivate us to focus our attention, emotions that create meaning in our lives, and in fact, emotions
have their own memory pathways (1994). Furthermore, the more intense the emotion, the stronger
the brain imprints the information (Cahill 1994). Thus, when an educator develops a lesson plan that
helps trigger an emotional response (which is almost guaranteed by incorporating music), learners
will retain what is taught.

Benets of Using Music in the Classroom

From all of these ndings, we can easily assert that using music in the classroom is useful in at least
three primary ways: (1) as a means of stimulating the brain (which increases attentional neurotransmitters), (2) as a carrier for learning content, and (3) as a primer for the brains neural pathways
( Jensen, Teaching, 1998).
One need only examine how children learn their A-B-Cs. Content was embedded into a familiar
song, i.e., Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, which certainly focused the childs attention. Then, we
simply glued the new letters to the already familiar melody that resulted in the childs swift acquisition of the alphabet. Music is the carrier for the words and content. Finally, because music
primes the brain for higher brain functions, i.e., long-term memory storage, those who learned
their alphabet in this way will probably remember the song and the alphabet until their dying day. All
three educational applications of music are evident in this very typical example.
An additional benecial aspect of incorporating music into ESL lessons is that such learning
is fun! Having fun while learning is a lot more important than one might tend to think.
Arthur Stone of the State University of New York at Stony Brook says having fun may be good
for your health ( Jensen, Teaching, 1998). Cortisol levels, which are stress indicators, decrease, and
the immune system improves for three days after the fun (id.). The importance of our relationships with other people in the classroom and the effect of such relationships on the brain have
been scientically well-supported in Foundations in Social Neuroscience ( J. Cacioppo, et al., 2002).
Ultimately, enjoying school keeps people coming back, and that is really the key, isnt it?

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Building ESL Lessons around Pop and Rock Music


Brain Research
Another important nding of the recent brain research points to issues that impede higher brain
functioning and learning. Here again, music plays an important role. The Caines research in this
area is well established and shows that when students perceive a threat or a threatening or
stressful situation, a phenomenon called downshifting occurs: Downshifting is a psychophysiological response to threat. . . . Downshifted learners then bypass much of their capacity for higher
order functioning and creative thought (Caine and Caine 1994). It is simple; when we are scared or
we feel threatened, we play it safe. We fall back on what we know best. We do not try new things.
We do not take risks. We do not use higher level, more complex brain capabilities; we use instinct
instead. We do not learn as fast. As Jensen puts it:
Threats activate defense mechanisms and behaviors that are great for survival but lousy
for learning. Survival always overrides pattern-detection and complex problem solving. . . .
Learners with lower stress can put together relationships, understand broad underlying
theories, and integrate a wider range of material (Teaching 1998).
A study done by W. J. Jacobs and L. Nadel suggests that our ability to recall is what is most affected
by stress, both the short-term and the long-term memory (1985). More specically, when under
stress, the brain produces the peptide cortisol, high levels of which can kill brain cells in the hippocampus. According to J. D. Vincent, these particular brain cells are critical to explicit memory
function (1990). Thus, under stress, we downshift, our brains do not function well for absorbing
new things, and even if by some miracle we did learn something, we would remember very little of
it later.
As a result, it is extremely important, therefore, that we keep our students as relaxed as possible, in order to keep stress levels low, thereby optimizing their learning. The key here is that
music can relax our students and prevent downshifting. Brain researcher Terry Webb explains
that certain types of musical rhythms help relax the body, calm the breath, quiet the chatter and
evoke a gentle state of relaxed awareness which is highly receptive to learning new information
(qtd by Dryden, 1994). Thus, music is a natural means by which we can relax our students, if it is
properly employed.

Multiple Intelligences
In addition to considering how the brain works, one must also consider Howard Gardiners work on
multiple intelligences. Not all learners learn exactly the same way. One size does not t all. David
Lazear spells out the seven major intelligences as follows: (1) Verbal/Linguistic: a student who focuses
mostly on language; (2) Logical/Mathematical: a student whose talent lies in scientic thinking;
(3) Visual/Spatial: the ability to form mental images and pictures in the mind; (4) Body/Kinesthetic: the
ability to use the body to express emotion; (5) Musical/Rhythmic: the recognition and use of rhythmic
and tonal patterns, sensitivity to sounds from the environment, the human voice, and musical instruments. Of all forms of intelligence, the consciousness altering effect of music and rhythm on the
brain is probably the greatest (Lazear xv); (6) Interpersonal: the ability to work cooperatively with
others in a group; and (7) Intrapersonal: when a student has knowledge of the internal aspects of the
self, such as knowledge of feelings, emotional responses, thinking processes, self-reection, and a
sense of spirituality (Lazear 1991). Lazear emphasizes that the more of these intelligences a teacher
can incorporate into a lesson, the deeper and more thorough the learning will be (xxi). Thus,

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a carefully constructed lesson plan using music can, in fact, engage all of these learners, with the
possible exception of the Logical/Mathematical learner.
The recent advances in brain research explain why musical lessons have had such great efcacy
in helping ESL students become uent more quickly:
The music stimulates multiple cognitive sites in the brain and grabs students attention;
The music relaxes students while engaging their emotions, thereby lowering their stress
(cortisol) levels and increasing their endorphin and dopamine levels. This helps students
relax, take risks, and remember what they have learned;
The music primes the brain for higher-level thinking, i.e., prediction, analysis, creative
thought, and problem-solving, etc., which explains why students progress more rapidly using
musical lessons built around pop and rock music; and
Such lessons address all learning styles except, perhaps, the Logical/Mathematical learner.
Thus, most students benet from these lessons while only a small percentage does not.

Selecting the Music

As to the pragmatics of which music to use and how to use it, lets begin with exactly which songs
to choose and why. The music industry has spent millions of dollars testing out exactly which songs
are the catchiest and if one simply uses top twenty hits, youll most likely nd a winner song
around which to build your lessons. Depending on the age group of your students, you might want
to use classic rock/pop hits, not only because the singers enunciate lyrics more clearly but also
because the themes of such songs have culturally already been absorbed into mainstream culture,
but more on that later. Generally, a pop/rock song is built around a lyrical or musical hook, a line
that forms the basis of the songs chorus. Its usually the line that you go around humming long after
youve turned off the radio or that line that haunts you in the middle of the night when you cant
go to sleep for whatever reason. It can be a line that you love or hate . . . either way, for language
acquisition purposes, this kind of obsession is useful. For example, Ive successfully used Kylie
Minogues song, Cant Get It Out of My Head, as a basis for many ESL lessons. That line, Cant
get it out of my head, is a good illustration of what the Germans call an ear worm, something
that worms its way into your brain and over which you have seemingly no control. It just keeps
going around and around in your head. This phenomenon is partly because of the structure of a
pop/rock hit, namely, Verse #1, Chorus, Verse #2, Chorus, Bridge/Instrumental, Chorus, Chorus, tag, out.
Every time the chorus comes up, your hook is repeated if not once, perhaps two or three times.
Just add it up: your hook is thus repeated a minimum of four times and a more probable number
of eight times, with a possible maximum of 12 times. No wonder we walk away humming the darn
thing! What this structure provides an ESL/ELL teacher is with this: you get the drill without the
kill! For some reason, human beings can sing a song ten times without losing their minds. Try
simply repeating or drilling something that many times. You inevitably get bored and then irritated,
right? Not so with a pop or rock song. The pop/rock song art form gives us the repetition thats so
benecial to our language learners without boring them out of their minds.
The next consideration is the vocal range of a song. You dont want to choose your favorite
Cline Dion song because Ms. Dions range is three octaves (at least). Instead, youve got to look
for a song thats sung in the speaking range. The Beatles are a perfect example. The melodies are

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simple and memorable, and they dont require any kind of vocal gymnastics, typically. For example,
in my Rock Talk series of ESL books/CDs, I use the Beatles song, Revolution, to teach the long
u vowel sound. It was a top twenty hit (in 1968), and repeats the sentence, You say you want a
__________; well you know, we all want to ____________. The entire song consists of plugging in
some sort of long u word in blank number one, so repetition is guaranteed. If you look at the vocal
range, its sung almost exactly where one would speak the words, so it meets my criteria of being sung
at the speaking level.
Next, when I build lessons around pop/rock songs, I follow the radio pattern of tempo choice,
that is, three up-tempo songs to one ballad or slower song. Revolution meets this criteria as
the hit form of the song was the mid- to up-tempo version. I follow this pattern because most of my
students have two jobs (or more) and theyre pushing themselves to learn English in order to advance
in their jobs or simply to survive more easily. Either way, an up-tempo tune usually gives my tired
students more energy. Thats helpful if youre teaching early in the morning, after lunch, or late at
night. I do all three regularly, so I know the value of that up-tempo song.
Another criteria I have is to find singers that have clear enunciation. This one can be challenging and causes me to have to go to older hits to nd that understandable vocal. Being a singer
before I was a professor, and still being a singer for that matter, I simply take songs and recut them
to suit my ESL purposes. Not everyone can do that, but it will frustrate your students if they cant
understand the words. The last thing we want to do is frustrate students as that destroys the brain
chemistry weve worked so hard to establish.
The nal criteria in terms of song choice for me is the content of the lyrics. I tend to thematically
group songs so that a discussion can then ensue about a particular cultural theme. Using Revolution
from my Long U Chapter in Rock Talk and the Vowel Sounds as an illustration, I use the lyrics to
Revolution as a jumping off point to discuss politics. The lyrics are as follows:
You say you want a revolution, well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that its evolution, well, you know
We all want to change the world.
You say you got a real solution, well, you know
Wed all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution, well, you know
Were all doing what we can
You say youll change the constitution, well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me its the institution, well, you know
You better free your mind instead.
I focus only on these lyrics. What I gain from using a song such as this is students repeating
(without thinking) embedded American English intonation patterns, rhythmic patterns, the long
u vowel sound, a bit of reduced speech (ala ya know), and embedded idiomatic expressions
(e.g., free your mind). Pop songs tend to have fairly frequent use of idiomatic expressions. I
get to introduce students to multi-syllabic long u words in an effort to expand their vocabulary,
namely, revolution, evolution, solution, contribution, constitution, and institution.

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From a grammar and morphology standpoint, I use what is present in the song lyrics. In this case,
I can focus on the idea that words that end in tion are nouns. I then create a cloze exercise using
at least ten new words to achieve a quick check for student comprehension of the vocabulary. In
this particular chapter, I use the lyrics to Revolution to identify the innitive verb forms since
its present, e.g., to change and to see. Finally, I create a cloze exercise in which I use the new
vocabulary words in a story form and ask students to correctly ll-in-the-blank to complete the
story. For example, the exercise reads:
I once knew a man who escaped from a mental _______________. He was ghting for
political ______________. He wanted to change the _________________ of the United States.
Some people were afraid of him, but I wasnt. I think he was a genius. As a matter of fact, he
might _________ the world by his example. He is a very unattached and __________ man.
With this short exercise I know whether or not my students can use the new vocabulary to which
theyve just been introduced.

Steps to Building ESL Lessons around a Pop or Rock Song

To recap what Ive done so far:
1. First, I choose a song that meets all of my criteria (described above);
2. Second, I play the song for the students and let them simply hear it and listen for three
minutes. The important thing here is not to interrupt their initial hearing of the song.
Its very tempting to want to stop and point something out. Resist the temptation. Though
youve heard the song a hundred times, your students have probably not heard the song at
all. Be patient and let them get through at least one time without any interruptions at all. Itll
only take a few minutes;
3. Third, I give them the lyrics and play the song again and perhaps once more if they want
to hear it again. One of the beautiful things about pop songs is that theyre generally 2 to
3 minutes long, so playing it one more time doesnt eat up all your class time.
4. Next, I have the students mark an X over the word where the singer takes a breath.
I havent explained this yet, but when I have students sing along, they can only breathe where
indicated. I generally choose songs that contain long phrases such as in Revolution, the
phrase, You say you want a revolution, well, you know is all sung in one breath. This tricks
students into uency without their having to think about it at all. This is part of my criteria
for choosing a song around which to build a lesson. Youll have to study the phrasing of how
lyrics are sung and choose only those songs which contain those long phrases.
5. Fifth, I get students to sing along. If my students are beginners or overly shy (for instance,
Koreans might be more shy than say, Mexicans or Japanese students), I have them sing
in groups. Also, I sing along. It helps if I sing poorly on purpose because then they know
that they can sing better than I can. This strategy also helps them relax and maintains the
optimal brain chemistry for absorption of intonation and rhythm patterns, not to mention
6. Sixth, I answer any questions the students may have about the lyrics. Ill spend ten minutes or
so conducting this Q&A session, just in case they have any questions about the song itself or

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Building ESL Lessons around Pop and Rock Music





any vocabulary that strays away from my phonics focus (e.g., the long u in Revolution).
Its important to answer any questions because it will quiet the brain chatter that brain
researcher, Terry Webb, described above.
Next, I have the class complete the grammar/cloze exercises Ive created, so that I can check
on their comprehension of the new vocabulary and grammar concepts.
Eighth, I create a few role-play scenarios and have students act out a story somehow pertinent to the songs Ive chosen for the lesson. Creating such successful role-play scenarios can
be challenging. Take your time in creating them and feel free to change the circumstances if
the role-play is simply not compelling or not working.
We then spend a signicant amount of time discussing the theme of the song. In the case of
Revolution, we discuss politics perhaps starting with the U.S. Constitution, for example.
At this point, I can also introduce core curriculum, such as the reading of an article, for
instance, that relates to the song and its theme. In this way, Ive used the music as a means to
set up the optimum brain chemistry by relaxing the class, etc., and they are ready to receive
the core curriculum concepts in such a way that their retention will be signicantly higher
than if I had simply jumped immediately into my core curriculum. Ive used music as a tool
to set up maximum learning and retention. Ive also used it to set up a safe, non-threatening
environment in order to prevent the downshifting I discussed earlier.
Last but not least, I always assign some kind of writing homework around the class discussion
that occurred as a result of the songs theme. In the case of Revolution, I asked the students
to write a paragraph (or page, depending on the class level) expressing their opinion on the
following topic: Is the political system different in your country than in the United States?
Which system do you think is better or worse and why?

The above ten-step pattern is the usual way I build ESL lessons around a pop or rock song. Over
the years, however, I have expanded the pattern somewhat, but the above ten steps are nearly always
included in any pop/rock lesson plan I create.
The most important thing, of course, is the song choice. I, personally, have tested hundreds
and hundreds of songs over the years. While I am a tenured community college professor now,
I did my time as a freeway yer, teaching at three different schools (including an adult school
setting), as well as teaching from 7:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. ve days a week. I taught students from a
wide variety of cultural backgrounds as well, including Latino, Asian (including Korean, Chinese,
and Japanese), and Middle Eastern (including Armenian, Iranian), and Russian. I tested my songs on
various demographics at different times of day and kept track of which songs worked best with whom
and when. From this testing (which took three years), I have created the Rock Talk series. I earned
my B.A. in Theater Arts from UCLA and was an actress for a number of years before becoming a
country singer/songwriter with my own band. All of these experiences with acting and music have
informed my use of music in the ESL classroom. Another thing to note is that it is next to impossible to gure out exactly which songs will work with whom unless you keep track. There were times
that I thought for sure a song would absolutely work with my students (e.g., Spirit in the Sky by
Norman Greenbaum) and it absolutely did not, or when I tried a song just for kicks and it worked
like a charm every single time no matter what the circumstance (e.g., Barbara Ann (the Beach Boys)
or Hit the Road Jack (by Ray Charles)). Youll nd your list of sure-re winners and I tend to use
those lessons particularly when my department chair or some local dignitary is visiting my classroom
for some reason or other.

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Ill leave the reader with an example of something else I do frequently, but only because I am a
songwriter in addition to being an ESL instructor. Ill take a top pop/rock hit such as Born in the
USA by Bruce Springsteen. Ill replace his lyric with some lyrics of my own that are content relevant
to my students. So instead of Born in the USA, I created a song called Here in the USA. Because
this was a top hit, some students may have heard the tune before. Because the lyrics are relevant to
their own situation, they pick up the words quickly. I use the song as a means of building community
not only within my own classroom but as a means of building community within the schools ESL
Program as a whole. It becomes a source of pride for them. In addition, when they turn on the radio
and hear the original song, theyve told me that it helps them feel more a part of American society.
My ultimate goal is to empower my students to fully participate in American society both by helping
them gain mastery over English in their everyday life, but also by helping them to become bicultural.
Music is a kind of universal language that transcends any particular language, and because of its
universality, its an ideal bridge to use as a means of mastering a particular language, such as English.
There are free lessons to try at as well as an instructional video on YouTube under
Jenny Redding. Good luck in creating your own lessons. Itll be fun and effective for both you and
your students!

The Author
Jenny Redding is a tenured ESL/English Professor at Oxnard College currently serving as the
campus Basic Skills Coordinator (2 years) and faculty Curriculum Co-Chair (past 6 years). Currently,
Ms. Redding is also serving as Academic Senate Secretary (2 years) and regularly attends the campus
SLO coordinating entity (Learning Outcomes Team6 years) and the Student Success Committee
(2 years). Finally, Ms. Redding also serves on the campus Planning and Budgeting Council (past
5 years). From 20052007, Ms. Redding was Oxnard Colleges Academic Senate President.
Ms. Redding is also author of the Rock Talk series of ESL books that utilize pop/rock music
to assist English Language Learners with their accent reduction issues and basic reading and writing
skills. Her most recent series is called The Hollywood Classroom wherein she uses blockbuster
movies in teaching ELLs English grammar. Ms. Redding is also a country singer/songwriter (alias
Jenny James) and has recently had songs placed in television and lm.
Having received her Theatre B.A. from UCLA, Ms. Redding went on to earn her MA in English
Literature from UCLA and also earned her TESOL Certicate from UCLA Extension. Prior to
becoming a community college instructor, Ms. Redding was an actress (Screen Actors Guild member)
and a country singer/songwriter with her own band.

Cacioppo, John T. (editor), et al. (2002). Foundations in Social Neuroscience. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
MIT Press.
Cahill, L., B. Prins, M. Weber, and J. McGaugh (Oct. 20, 1994). Adrenergic Activation and Memory
for Emotional Events. Nature 371, 6499: 702704.

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Building ESL Lessons around Pop and Rock Music


Caine, R. N. and G. Caine. (1997). Education on the Edge of Possibility. Alexandria, Virginia: Association
for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Caine, R. N. and G. Caine. (1994). Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Menlo Park,
California: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
Dryden, G. and J. Vos, Ed.D. (1994). The Learning Revolution. Rolling Hills Estate, California:
Jalmar Press.
Gardner, H. (1987). Developing the Spectrum of Human Intelligences: Teaching in the Eighties, a
need to Change. Harvard Educational Review.
Jacobs, W. J. and L. Nadel. (1985). Stress-Induced Recovery of Fears and Phobias. Psychological
Review 92, 4: 512531.
Jensen, E. (2000). Music with the Brain in Mind. S. D., California: The Brain Store, Inc.
Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development.
Lazear, D. (1991). Seven Ways of Teaching. Arlington Heights, Illinois: IRI/Skyllight Training and
Publishing, Inc.
Le Doux, J. (1994). Emotion, Memory, and the Brain. Scientic American. 270, 6: 5057.
Vincent, J. D. (1990). The Biology of Emotions. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Basic Blackwell.

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Appendix A
Recommended Readings
Doidge, Norman. (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself. New York, New York: The Penguin Group.
Gladwell, Malcolm. (2005). Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking. New York, New York:
Little, Brown and Company.
Medina, John. (2009). Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.
Seattle, WA: Pear Press.
Zull, James E. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: StylusPublishing.

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h te

Reaching Across the Divide:

Effective Strategies for Working
with Northeast Asian Students
Amanda L. Morris and Joshua B. Morris

Asian students are very often characterized as being respectful, quiet and obedient students.
Commonly we hear teachers make comments to the extent of, All Asians are good at math,
and All Asians are respectful to their teachers. Americans could learn a few things from them!
In order to understand Asian students and their approach to learning and education, we need to
understand a basic framework of how the standard educational system works in many Asian countries, particularly in Northeast Asia, and the disparity that exists between this and the western-style
educational system.
Many of the core concepts that create and support the educational system in Northeast Asia
differ drastically from the functioning system in the United States and many other western countries.
We are taught to question, to think outside the box, and to avoid memorizing for the sake of memorization; rather, we are encouraged to take true value from what we are taught and absorb it as longterm meaning. The contrast between Western educational ideals and the Northeast Asian system
is well noted in this excerpt from Dr. Robert H. Kim, from the Washington Ofce of the State of
Superintendent of Public Instruction (1978):
It [the competitive testing system] has created an environment in the schools where children are taught to learn by rote memory, teachers discourage students creative thinking,
and teachers and students are compelled to pay attention more to the types of questions
asked by colleges and universities in their entrance examinations than to the creative process
of individual growth and learning (p. 13).

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Lixin Xiao (2006) takes the differences between the Western and Eastern styles of learning a step
further when he studies how Chinese students perceive their English language instruction in an
Ireland school system. The study revealed that some Chinese students, . . . did not seem to enjoy
their study at the schools very much nor could they fully recognize the pedagogical value inherent
in the communicative approach (p. 5). Xiaos research revealed the belief among many Chinese
students that the communicative approach in a classroom is ineffective and even a waste of classroom and student time. Xiao explains that Chinese students come from an educational background
that uses the transmission style of learning and teaching, which is extremely different from the
communicative approach to teaching, making it inherently difcult for Chinese, or Northeast Asian,
students to be comfortable in this type of system and classroom. Yet when Asian students come to
the United States to study English, this is, quite often, the exact kind of classroom that they nd
themselves in.
In the United States, we pride ourselves on being individualistic. Particularly in adolescence,
children start feeling pressure to standout as individuals amongst their peers. As educators, we
encourage activities in class where all students have the opportunity to formulate, voice, and even
argue their own opinions. We setup group activities in our student-centered classrooms, where
students are asked to engage one another intellectually to solve problems. We teach by means
of drama, hands-on activities, and students vocal stimuli. Dr. Kim (1978) sheds light on how
distinctly different this is from the Korean educational system where children are very strongly
discouraged from ever communicating with their classmates or getting up from their seats.
Dr. Kim continues:
The activity-centered classroom is rare and schools based on the open classroom concept
are an anomaly in Korea. Once school is called into session, a student is expected to sit in
his chair and remain silent, unless he is asked specically by the teacher to answer a question
put to him. (p. 15)
Asian countries societies are based on collectivism, which affects every aspect of their culture in the
same way individualism affects all aspects of western culture. These two societal characteristics are
described by Hofstede as follows (2006):
On the individualist side we nd cultures in which the ties between individuals are loose:
everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side we nd cultures in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong,
cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) that
continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. (p. 11)
Because Asian culture is deeply integrated in collectivism, Asian students feel extreme amounts of
pressure to always save-face, whatever the cost. Asians care a great deal about how they are perceived
and, at times, will even go to excessive extremes to do so, as noted by Kim: In order to maintain
good face many Koreans engage in social and economic activities against their true wish or ability.
A Korean may borrow money to entertain his friends or relatives so that he may not lose face (p. 9).
For this reason, Asian students prefer not to answer questions quickly wile in class; rather, many
Asian students desire to have time to contemplate the question in order to produce a perfect answer
and avoid the possibility of losing face in front of his or her instructor and classmates. Lixin Xiao
(2006) found similar results in his study, which showed that Chinese students thought carefully
before speaking English in class, and that they tended to focus more on accuracy than on uency,

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as this would help them avoid making mistakes or experiencing loss of face (p. 7). Such conscience
speech productions are not common in our culture, where students are encouraged to throw-out
answers at will because teachers believe this sparks classroom discussion, involvement, and cognitive
problem solving.

Language Analysis
At this point we are going to look in detail at the Korean language taking specic note about the
similarities and differences that exist between it and the English language. Understanding our students heritage language enables us to have a broader and more comprehensive concept of potential
trouble spots for our ESL or EFL students. Even beyond this, analyzing and understanding our
students native language(s), even on a basic level, provides us with the necessary knowledge to help
students pull strengths from their L1 into their second language acquisition. Along these same lines,
providing our students with simple tools such as knowing cognates that exist between their L1 and
their target language can be extremely useful in students expanding their vocabulary and therefore
creating a broader base of communication. When teachers possess a basic understanding of our
students heritage language, we show our students that their L1 is important to us and should be
supported and maintained alongside second language acquisition.

The Phonetics and Phonology of Korean

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, consists of 40 characters, which are broken down into
19 consonants, 8 vowels and 13 diphthongs (Jeyseon & Kangjin Lee, 2008), though most bilingual Koreans will explain that their alphabet is split evenly down the middle being divided between
20 consonant and 20 vowels. Korean is not tonal, so words do not change meaning based on the
tone in which they are pronounced like some languages do in Asia, notably Chinese and Thai. As
explained above, Korean is not placed in the same language family as other Southeast Asian languages
are that use tone.
All but one sound in Korean can be found in English phonetics; this is the [] vowel symbol,
which is loosely explained in English as the [] sound as in good, put, and foot. These are the closest
approximates in English and are used as primary examples; however, it is quickly identiable that
these are not adequate exemplications as an English speakers tongue and mouth overwork to create
straining shapes in the attempt to pronounce [] in Korean. To properly pronounce this sound, the
speaker must atten his or her tongue, role out and upward the very back edges and place pressure
on the mid section of the tongue while air rushes overtop and around the extended, attened edges
of your tongue.
Representations for the English /f/, /q/, /v/ and /x/ do not exist at all in Korean, while the use
of /z/ continues to be debated. In Korean, the symbol [ ] is sometimes described as the sound
/z/ in English; however, Dr. Y. Sohn (Personal Communication, 04/12/09) and others interviewed
explained that /z/ is a more traditional explanation and that the sound has evolved into something
closer to [] found in English words like rouge and garage, though Jeyseon & Kangjin Lee (2008)
explain this symbol as being closest in sound to /ch/, or /j/ as in angel. When Korean ELLs come
across words that begin with /z/, they typically substitute it for a /j/ or an /s/, which commonly creates sentences like, I am going to sue! coming from the mouth of a 7 year old when she intends to

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say, I am going to the zoo. For sounds in English that do not have a direct syllable representation
in Hangul, Koreans combine sounds from their forty letters creating a phonetic representation for
English letters and blends.
A unique aspect of Hangul is that four of their nineteen consonants are double consonants where
the speaker forces even more air up from the diaphragm creating highly tense and aspirated sounds,
as charted by Jeyseon & Kangjin Lee (2008):














In Korean, as shown in the chart above, the same symbol [ ] is used to represent two distinct
sounds in English: /p/ and /b/. The same is true for [ ], described as /t/ and /d/ in English and
[ ], converted as /k/ and /g/. Two distinct phonetic sounds in English represented as one symbol in
Hangul creates innumerable opportunities for negative transfer from Korean to English. The second, third and fth largest cities in Korea fall victim to this negative transfer: Pusan, also pronounced
as Busan; Daegu or Taegu and Daejoen or Taejeon. It is not uncommon for government signs and
maps to have multiple romanizations for the same city. Rules do exist constraining the speaker to
which phonetic sound should be used when romanizing Korean; however, when asking a Korean to
differentiate between whether they are pronouncing a /p/ or /b/, the answer they produce is more of
a toss up than a sound fact. The rule is explained by Jeyseon and Kangjin Lee (2008) as:
The sounds , , and are transcribed respectively as g, d, and b when they appear before
a vowel. They are transcribed as k, t, and p when followed by another consonant or forming
the nal sound of a word. (p. 10)
Each of the four Koreans that we interviewed were asked about this Romanization rule, and all
denied that it made any sense or even existed. Every one systematically claimed that Hangul has only
one phonetic sound for each symbol and that this fact never varies. According to Dr. Y. Sohn, the
position of the tongue when Koreans pronounce the symbols [ ], [ ], [ ], and [ ] is different than
its position when English speakers pronounce the corresponding letters in English and this is what
creates the phonetic confusion for English speakers and for Koreans learning English. He went on
to explain that [ ] is pronounced with the tongue in a dental position instead of an alveolar position
like when English speakers pronounce /t/ and /d/, which creates a sound that is a pure mixture of /t/
and /d/ (Personal Communication, 04/19/09).
One of the most common mistakes Koreans fall prey to is the failure to distinguish between /l/
and /r/. The rule that exists for transcribing [ ] as /l/ or /r/ states that when [ ] is followed by a
vowel it should be translated as /r/ and translated as /l/ when followed by a consonant or written at
the end of a word. [
] is transcribed as /ll/ in English (Jeyseon & Kangjin Lee, 2008). This mispronunciation is constantly leading to comical instances like when an entire class of rst grade ELLs
call their classmate, Lion! instead of Ryan. In an example that Bill Bryson wrote in his book Mother
Tongue, we nd another humorous instance of an Asian co-worker who cannot pronounce /b/, /l/,
or /r/ correctly in English and when things go awry, he mutters, Bruddy hairo! to express his

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frustration instead of the more commonly known, Bloody hell! (2001). Again, this common error
can be directly derived from Hangul having one symbol to represent two distinct phonetic sounds in
English as shown in the following chart:
Gum Ridge


The vowel system in Korean consists of two semi-vowels, y and w, which are attached to eight different vowels creating thirteen diphthongs (Jeyseon & Kangjin Lee, 2008). Korean vowels are categorized into front or back and round or unround (Jeyseon & Kangjin Lee, 2008). These diphthongs
are represented by single symbols in Hangul, though they would be commonly considered two or
more separate sounds in English. Every sound used to create vowels and diphthongs in the Hangul
alphabet exists in English except for the one vowel sound [] discussed above.

Hangul: The Korean Writing System

Hangul is an alphabetic writing system renowned for being exactly phonetic, though all four of
the interviewees begrudgingly admitted that the language has evolved away from its original perfection to the point where certain sounds are almost indecipherable even to Koreans. Hangul is
written left to right, similarly to English; though, quite differently, it is written in perfectly balanced boxes constructed of consonant and vowel or diphthong positions. Both Sun-Hee Lee and
Mi-Sun Lee listed the differences between the writing system in Korean and English as a primary
source of frustration when learning English (Personal Communication, 04/21/09). Hangul has no
system of lowercase and uppercase letters, so nothing even remotely close to capitalization exists
for Korean writers. There is no such thing as proper nouns and all the rules that surround them for
English writers. Thirdly noted, Hangul has only one form of writing, unlike English that has cursive
and print. S. Lee recalled much frustration from when she had been studying in the United States
and was trying to understand peoples cursive handwriting, especially her professors (Personal
Communication, 04/21/04).
All four of our interviewees claimed, at rst, that punctuation is comparable between Korean and
English, but on a deeper investigation, one quickly realizes that this is not exactly the case. Hangul
does use commas, periods, questions marks, and exclamation marks; even so, periods are of the most
common, followed by commas and not much more punctuation is commonly used. Sun-Hee Lee
and Mi-Sun Lee explained that most punctuation marks are only used in very formal writing for
school and that nearly all Koreans do not understand how they work at all (Personal Commutation,
04/15/09). The usages of commas in Hangul are noticeably more limited than in English, for they
are primarily used only when creating a list of several ideas or objects.
Jeyseon and Kangjin Lee (2008) explain that Hangul letters are combined into syllable blocks
to create words. Koreans generally conclude that two consonants can never be placed next to one
another and, without fail, must be separated by vowels, but Jeyseon and Kangjin Lee (2008) contradict this by stating, In the nal consonant position, one or two consonants may occur, although the
contradictions stated here are not surprising given that many Korean native speakers afrm knowing

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little about their own grammatical system. Sun-Hee Lee agreed that two consonants could ll the
nal block position explaining that, The consonants share the vowel in the middle, so its ok, but
if there was another consonant you must have vowel, too (Personal Communication 04/21/09).
Syllable blocks are built of positions for the consonant and vowel or diphthong, which create squares
made up of initial consonant positions followed by a vowel or diphthong position (T. Nam, Personal
Communication, 04/19/09).
Literate children in Korean would still be at a somewhat disadvantage when learning how to
read in English considering that their alphabet does not have its roots in the Roman alphabet. There
are, however, some similarities that would be benecial for a Korean, literate child: such as, him or
her being accustomed to reading from left to right, having some of the same punctuation marks, even
if the rules are not always exactly alike, and a signicant amount of cognates.
A function in Hangul that does not exist in English is the use of the [ ] symbol, which is essentially a silent or zero consonant used to prevent words from ever beginning with a vowel when written. Words can be phonetically vowel initial and are quite usually, but when written they absolutely
must, without any exception, be preceded by the [ ] silent consonant. In English, it is notably not
unusual for words to contain silent letters in the initial, medial or nal position as in knowingness
where there is a silent /k/ in the initial position, a silent /w/ midway through and an additional /s/
in the nal position that works as no sort of s emphasis, as might be expected. The predominate
difference between the silent [ ] consonant in Hangul and silent letters that somewhat randomly
appear in written English is that a very precise rule creates a clear guideline about when to use the
zero consonant in Korean, whereas in English, our silent letters have more to do with etymology
and also from hundreds of years worth of borrowing words from an incredible amount of languages on earth, which has created a lack of any systematic reasoning for the written silent letters
in English.

Hangul Sample

Modeun Ingan-eun Tae-eonal ttaebuteo Jayuroumyeo Geu Jon-eomgwa Gwonrie Iss-eo
Dongdeunghada. Ingan-eun Cheonbujeog-euro Iseong-gwa Yangsim-eul Bu-yeobad-ass-eumyeo
Seoro Hyungje-ae-ui Jeongsin-euro Haengdongha-yeo-yahanda.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and
conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) Retrieved April 18, 2009, http://www.

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Grammatical Features
Korean follows a subject, object, verb (SOV) sentence-pattern. If no object appears in the sentence,
then the subject is directly followed by the verb likewise to English, but once an object is placed
in the sentence, the arrangement changes to be quite unlike English. Who does what to whom is
based on case endings in Korean. As stated by Bill Bryson in The Mother Tongue, Koreans have to
decide between six different sufxes depending on to whom they are speaking and their related status
(p. 18, 2001). Subjects, objects, nouns, pronouns, and verbs (though the verbs are not conjugated) are
all susceptible to changing between these six different case endings depending on the person being
addressed. Mi-Sun Lee explained that Koreans do not use all six sufxes as commonly any longer,
and that Koreans have become more casual or relaxed in their addresses towards people (Personal
Communication, 04/19/09).
Korean contains the same specic question words as English, such as who, what, where,
when, why, and how. Korean also has the ability to form questions in the same manner as English,
though, once again, their sentence structure is more exible than English (Dr. Y. Sohn, Personal
Communication, 04/12/09).
Korean seems to loosely have articles, but not in the same structured sense that English does. As
stated by Dr. Y. Sohn, Koreans try hard to avoid using articles and do not use them at all to distinguish plural and singular like in English with a versus the (Personal Communication, 04/12/09).
Sometimes the plural is implied in Korea; for example, if a Korean tells you about the car-jam he
was in or the terrible trafc she encountered on her way to work, he or she could not use the plural
sufx when talking about the cars, because multiple cars are already implied with the idea of trafc
or a car-jam.
Though Koreans might tout that their grammar is very similar to English, from our perspective
and understanding, it is not. Their rules are much more exible and less adhered to than in English;
verb conjugations do not exist; the use of articles is rather limited, and their sentence patterns are
somewhat different.

Cultural Differences and Teaching Approaches

In the United States the majority of teachers grade and write little notes about how to improve or
work on this in red ink. For Koreans, however, this is perceived as a very shameful thing to do. To
write someones name in red ink means that you wish death upon him or her. Unfortunately, many
aspects concerning cultural differences, as this one, are easily overlooked. An instructor can avoid
much miscommunication when he or she is prepared with adequate research, which promotes crosscultural understanding.
In the highly competitive culture of Northeast Asia, public ridicule or praise is taken very seriously. From rst through twelfth grade, a childs only destiny in life is to succeed in school, and
not in the sense of getting straight As, but in being number one in his or her class. This creates an
enormous amount of pressure for children starting at a young age and continuing through adulthood. Getting high numbers at the end of elementary school ensures your place in a good middle
school, which is imperative because there is no possible way of placing at a recognized high school

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unless you graduate from a respected middle school. Likewise, entrance into a reputable college is
only achieved after graduating with the highest marks from a prestigious high school. Robert H. Kim
(1978) explains the Korean system of education and the incredible amount of pressure placed upon
children to perform:
It is a very expensive game of competition, particularly to Korean parents who send their
children for supplementary instruction for several hours a day after school, lest they might
fail in their examinations. This system of entrance examination has not only prevented
children from normal development of body, but has dealt a severe blow to their social and
psychological growth as well. Such tremendous pressure is exerted upon children to successfully pass these examinations that many have run away from home for fear of failure, while
others have committed suicide after failing to pass them, due to feelings of extreme shame
and fear of facing their parents and friends. (p. 14)
As mentioned earlier, Xiaos (2006) research explains that many Northeast Asian students are not
always comfortable with the communicative approach that is very popular amongst English language
institutes across the United States because of how greatly it differs from the type of classrooms
and teaching approaches they are familiar with. Though teachers cannot promote a system of rote
memorization and testing achievements in their classrooms to make Northeast Asian students feel
most comfortable, our classrooms can benet from easing into communicative styled approaches
slowly and consciously, remembering that this style of teaching is an extreme opposite to the type of
classrooms that many of our students are likely coming from. Students and teachers alike can benet
from creating an open line of communication about which techniques are working and which are
not. Students can prot from communicating about which approaches they are most comfortable
with, while teachers can help students accept different teaching styles and techniques by explaining
the benets that exist in learning from varied approaches and methods.
As stated by Samovar and Porter (1995), Asians go to great lengths to preserve not only their
own face but everyone elses face. Coming from an individualistic society that encourages forwardness, personal condence, and a if you fail, try again mentality, we do good to remember that
Asian societies, traditionally, have not functioned on these same values. Though these perceptions
are often over embraced to the point of becoming stereotypes (Littlewood, 2001), we can use these
concepts to help us better understand many of our Asian students and to discover meaningful ways in
which to deliver information, inuence teaching approaches, and cover classroom material.
Hofstede (2006), in Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context, creates for us a
comprehensible graph with which we can see extremes contrasted between individualistic societies
and collectivist societies.
Ten Differences between Collectivist and Individualist Societies


Everyone is supposed to take care of him- or

herself and his or her immediate family only

People are born into extended families or

clans which protect them in exchange for



Right of privacy

Stress on belonging

Speaking ones mind is healthy

Harmony should always be maintained

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Others classied as individuals

Others classied as in-group or out-group

Personal opinion expected: one person one


Opinions and votes predetermined by in-group

Transgression of norms leads to guilt feelings

Transgression of norms leads to shame


Languages in which the word I is


Languages in which the word I is avoided

Purpose of education is learning how to learn

Purpose of education is learning how to do

Task prevails over relationship

Relationship prevails over task

Hofstede (2006) writes that Individualism prevails in developed and Western countries, while
collectivism prevails in less developed and Eastern countries; Japan takes a middle position on this
dimension. Necessary to remember, though, is that graphs as these are created to show extremes in
contrast and evaluate societies as a whole; hence, individuals need to be assessed separately and may
fall in the middle of the two extremes, or might even be individualistic in some areas and collectivistic
in others. As should be noted, research has surfaced challenging traditional views that all Asians are
collectively orientated (Cheng, 2000; Littlewood, 2001; Xiao, 2005).
Being conscience of the extreme differences that unarguably exist between individualistic and
collectivistic societies, teachers will be more informed and have a better cultural understanding with
which to approach their students. For example, since saving face is extremely important as an Asian
principle, teachers could use this understanding to be aware of giving adequate amounts of time for
students to prepare and nish necessary work. If a teacher walks into an intermediate classroom with
predominately Asian students and announces that each student needs to get in front of the entire
class and give an impromptu speech about whatever he or she had done the day before, an Asian student might feel overly anxious and stressed about the possibility of looking foolish in front of his or
her teacher and classmates. This is a lose-face type of situation that could have been easily avoided if
the hypothetical teacher would have set-up the activity in a different way, giving all students adequate
time to prepare, ask questions, and review the needed materials. With basic research and preparation,
a teacher can avoid an instance such as this that can cause students to lose condence, motivation,
and ability.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Discussed in this article is how English language teachers can prepare to teach in an English language learning classroom dealing mostly with Asian, particularly Northeast Asian, students. We
discovered that through researching and studying cultural differences, we can generate a better line
of communication between student and teacher, while also creating a learning atmosphere that will
be more suitably accepted and stimulated by our students. Also covered is the importance of having
a basic understanding of our students heritage language(s). When teachers comprehend basic commonalities and differences between students L1 and L2, instructors will have a stronger foundation
on which to build instruction, help students overcome common trouble spots, and a deeper connect
with the students process of learning English as a second or other language.

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Reading compiled texts such as Stuart and Terry Hirschbergs (2009) One world, many cultures,
can help educators learn more about cultural differences, culture shock, language struggles, and
basic human communication. Professional articles dealing with issues of culture, language, gender,
and teaching approaches can also be extremely useful, such as the articles referenced here by Xiao
(2006), Littlewood (2001) and Hofstede (2006). Professional journals are abundant and often can be
accessed via online university libraries, local libraries, or by means of Internet searches. Studies in
Second Language Acquisition, Applied Linguistics, Research on Language and Social Interaction,
TESOL Quarterly, Heritage Journal, and Second Language Research are some well respected and
reputable resources which provide articles, research, and ndings to help support you as an educator.

The Authors
In 2006, Amanda Morris graduated with her Bachelors of Arts in TESOL from Liberty University
in Virginia. While in college, she interned at her universitys ELI teaching adult Korean ELLs. After
working for a year as a sixth grade English teacher in Northern Virginia, she moved back to Florida
with her husband. At this time, Amanda taught adult English language learners at ELS in Deland and
Daytona State College. In January of 2009, Amanda and her husband moved to South Korea as EFL
teachers for kindergarten and elementary school children. Amanda is currently working toward an
MA in TESOL from UCF and looking forward to graduating in December 2010 and making plans
to teach abroad again.
At the age of one, Joshua Morris moved to Bolivia, South America where his parents opened and
worked in a number of orphanages and schools. At the age of eighteen, he moved to Lynchburg,
Virginia and earned a degree in History from Liberty University. Upon completion of his B.A,
Joshua moved to Alaska where he became a sherman for two years, followed by extensive travel
throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and South America. In the Amazon Basin of
Bolivia, he worked to educate young children on the importance of protecting the environment.
Joshua also worked with an effort to bring school materials to small schools along the basin. In 2009
he moved with his wife, Amanda, to Korea where he taught children ELLs. He is currently a graduate student at UCF and will complete an M.A in TESOL this upcoming December. Upon completion of his degree, he is looking forward to new opportunities and adventures teaching.

Ager, S. Omniglot. Retrieved April 18, 2009,
Bryson, B. (2001). The mother tongue: And how it got that way. New York: Perennial.
Cheng, X. T. (2000a). Asian students! reticence revisited. System 28, 435446.
Cheng, X. T. (2000b). Culture of learning and ELT in China. Teaching English in China, 23(1), 4748.
Hirschberg, Stuart & Terry. (2009). One world, many cultures. Pearson Education, Inc.
Hofstede, G. (2006). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. In W. J. Lonner,
D. L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes & D. N. Sattler, Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Unit 2:
Conceptual, Methodological and Ethical Issues in Psychology and Culture. Bellingham WA: Center for
Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University.

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Reaching Across the Divide: Effective Strategies


Kim, C., & Peace Corps, W. (1970). Lessons in the Korean language and culture for teachers of
English as a second language.
Kim, R., & Washington Ofce of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, O. (1978).
Understanding Korean People, Language and Culture. Bilingual Education Resource Series.
Korean Culture Insights. (2008). Republic of Korea.
Lee, J. & Lee, K. (2008). Beginners Korean. New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc.
Littlewood, W. (2001). Students! attitudes to classroom English learning: A cross-cultural study.
Language Teaching Research, 5(1), 328.
Pinker, S. (2007). The Language Instinct: How the mind creates language. New York: Harper
Perennial Modern Classics.
Samovar, L. A. & Porter, R. E. (1995). Communication between cultures (Second Ed.). Belmont,
CA: Wadsworth.
Truitt, S. (1995). Beliefs about language learning: A study of korean university students learning
english. Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education, 2(1).
Winchester, S. (2005). Korea: A walk through the land of miracles. New York: Harper Perennial.
Yule, G. (2006). The study of language. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Xiao, Lixin. (2006). Bridging the gap between teaching styles and learning styles: A cross-cultural
perspective. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, v. 10, no. 3, 115.

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h te

World Citizens: Engaging ESL
Students in Global Advocacy
Jose A. Carmona

As todays global village grows narrower, we, as educators, are faced with the need to engage our
students on becoming advocates for environmental, social, and political issues around the world.
As global citizens, our students need to be aware and accept responsibility for the trepidations
facing them as well as the ones their children will encounter in the future.
What can we do as educators to help our English language learners (ELL) become involved
in worldwide issues? Can we accomplish this from our classrooms? What new technology must we
learn to use? Where do we start? These, and many other questions, will be answered in this chapter.

Contextual Background
In 2005, the British Council held a seminar entitled, Global Citizenship and Language Learning:
Education in a Multilingual World, attended by educators from all continents, thirty participants
in New York and hundreds via the Internet. This was a follow-up to their 2003 seminar entitled,
Citizenship and Language Teaching, a groundbreaking event that lead to the 2005 worldwide participation. These two seminars brought people together with the desire to explore how the classroom,
in addition to being a medium to language learning, could also be a vehicle to social awareness. The
concept of Global Citizenship was therefore developed here (Gimenez, T. & Sheehan, S. 2008).
The school language classroom provides a non-threatening context in which to discuss topics of
concern . . . students are doubly motivated by the benet of approaching issues that are part of their
lives and of crucial importance for humankind, and of improving their language skills, states David
Green, former Director-General of the British Council, in the foreword to Citizenship and language
learning: international perspectives, the book that emerged after the 2003 seminar (Osler & Starkey 2005).

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Denition: What is Global Advocacy?

Global advocacy is dened here as supporting and even sponsoring worldwide issues that may
concern us directly or indirectly. These issues may be controversial and as mentioned by David
Green above, they bring much debate to the classroom therefore helping improve our ELL students
language skills (Osler & Starkey 2005).

Getting Involved
It is essential for the instructor to participate or want to participate in advocacy. Even if it is only one
issue she or he participates in, it demonstrates that she or he cares about what is being taught. This
may be, for example, membership in an organization, showing students proof of having signed petitions or written letters for a cause, etc.
Before beginning, the instructor needs to examine her or his knowledge of the different advocacy
areas or themes students will select to study and the commitment and enthusiasm for the project; not
only is this needed to show mastery of one or more of the themes explored, but it also demonstrates
to the students the validity of the lessons and the assignments. Even though knowledge of all the
major areas: environmental, social and political, is sometimes impossible due to lack of time, becoming familiar with a few will demonstrate to the students the instructors commitment. The instructor
can easily become familiar with a few topics just by doing very simple research on the Internet. For
example, she or he can learn about the cause and effects of cutting down the rainforest, the plight of
the native people in the rainforest and the political activism they are partaking. However, it is best to
start with what is already familiar to the instructor.
The movie Crude: the Real Price of Oil (2009), the story about the controversial lawsuit by
Ecuadorean rainforest native people against Chevron Oil Company, is appropriate to illustrate how
knowledge about one particular event can incorporate environmental, social and political issues.
This heartbreaking movie shows how a vast area of the rainforest was left with oil-polluted lakes, the
effects of the pollution as evidenced in the peoples illnesses and the political aspects of a lawsuit the
people in the area have led against Chevron. It is quite touching when animals, vegetation and even
the local people are born with defects or even dying due to the effects of the pollution left behind.
In essence, the movie well illustrates global politics, the environmental movement, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, multinational corporate power and rapidly-disappearing indigenous
cultures. This is a good starter lesson to show students how a project is designed, and how these
major areas or themes are sometimes intertwined.
Second, an instructors credibility and enthusiasm for some of the issues may be demonstrated
by participating in one or more organizations or selected issues among different organizations.
(See Appendix I for a list of organizations) Showing the class various pictures of having participated
in an event, having the class read samples of letters written by the instructor on behalf of an issue, and
exhibiting one or more websites where the instructor has participated in advocacy are all worthwhile
illustrations of commitment to these issues. To show the extent of commitment and in addition to advocating for wolves, local and international environmental issues and other issues, the author grew his hair
and sent it to Locks of Love to help make wigs and/or provide more research for children with cancer.
A third way to show students the dedication an instructor has for some of these areas is by developing a class Blog. A Blog can provide avenues for learning that were unprecedented just a few years
back. The next section will discuss Blogs further.

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Getting Students Involved

Students need motivation, diversity of classroom methodology, and technology to become more
inspired about their studies. Global advocacy provides for all three.

Creating a Prole
Even though most students today are familiar with developing their own proles for such well known
group sites as Facebook, Twitter, and Nung, many of our English language learners have only crafted
them in their rst language. Depending on their English language uency, it will be more difcult
for them to actually develop a prole in English if they have not done this before. The instructors
familiarity with the technology to develop proles is essential for these students.

Creating a Blog
Blogs are a great idea for students to share their thoughts as well as their own work. Blogs can be
easily assembled today through various Web resources.
Students do not have to develop their own Blogs, but if the instructor has done her or his own or
can quickly learn how to create one it can be a valuable learning tool. It can be a great way to share
opinions, discuss research ideas, include pieces of writing or entire essays, etc.

Joining an Organization
Joining a social, environmental or political organization may be costly to the students; however,
to become an advocate for the issues they represent, anyone can join free online subgroups. These
subgroups such as for the Sierra Club, for example, do not charge for membership, and students can
actually get to participate by writing letters, signing petitions, calling parties involved, etc.

Signing a Petition
Petitions are an easy way for our students to get involved in global advocacy. Once a student has
joined an organization or its Internet subgroup, there are many opportunities for her or him to begin
signing petitions. The Website, provides numerous ways for students to sign
petitions. Joining this site is free and there are plenty of opportunities for advocacy there.
Warning! There are petitions that may be actually going back to some of our students country
of origin; therefore, the students may not want to sign them with their real names in case this may
affect family members back home. In that case, the best thing to do is not to sign them or as some of
them allow, sign them anonymously. That is why it is important to have students read the petitions
carefully, and when in doubt, it is best for them not to sign them at all.

Clicking to Save
This is another easy way for students to get involved right from their own classrooms or computer
laboratory. Many organizations sponsor clicking to save issues where the public can earn funds for
them by simply visiting their sites and clicking on this issue every day. Care2Connect, for example,
has about ten issues that someone can visit daily and click on to save. Some of these issues vary from
helping women with cancer to helping the rainforest to helping jaguars in Mexico.

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Writing Letters
Writing letters, volunteering, developing projects by means of project-based learning standards are
some of the other means students can partake in global advocacy. Writing a letter takes good writing skills and careful thought about the point or points being made. The great thing about writing
them through an organization is that they provide the key points; the students can then develop these
points into a full length letter. This process not only helps the students learn to write better, but it
also gives them the opportunity to learn how to edit.

Volunteering for projects within many organizations does not mean that students need to neither
travel out-of-state nor out of the country. There are many opportunities for them to volunteer by
making phone calls to key people, such as directors of environmental protection agencies, local
political gures and other key personnel. There are also opportunities for them to attend and even
speak at local hearings on issues related to environmental, social and political issues. Even though
these might seem like local problems, the issues may play a major role nationwide or even in the
world. Helping sea turtles nd their way at night to nest in Florida may affect how others may react
to save sea turtles nesting in Hawaii or even in other parts of the world.

Project-based learning is an instructional model for classroom activity that shifts emphasis away
from practices of isolated, short term, teacher-centered lessons in favor of learning activities that
are more long-term, interdisciplinary, and centered on the student. These projects are complex,
centered on challenging questions or problems which involve students in investigative activities,
problem-solving, design, and decision making. This model of instruction allows the opportunity for
students to work autonomously over signicant amounts of time and often culminates in realistic
presentations or products (Gage & Berliner chapter 2).
The denition of project-based learning sounds like a complicated and time-consuming process.
The truth is that an instructor can make it as long as a semester or as short as a week. However, the
experience students acquire as they perfect their project surpasses the sometimes dry learning experience of the classroom (See Appendices II and III for lesson plans based on completed projects).

Activities for the ESL Classroom

The following twelve activities are proven valuable for the ESL classroom:

Chapter_04.indd 42

Power Point Speeches (include clipart, photographs, and videos)

Group Debates
Interviews around campus and the community
Reading Assignments, Guest Lectures
Writing Assignments and Research Reports
Argumentative or Persuasive Essays
Cause and Effects Research Papers

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World Citizens: Engaging ESL Students in Global Advocacy


8. Compare and Contrast Global Issues

9. Recycling Projects in their own schools and local communities
10. Community activitiesBasket Brigades during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, participation in beach or road clean-ups, etc.
11. Signing petitions on Care2 and other global organizations
12. Writing Letters to support a point of view
These and many other activities can enhance classroom learning making it meaningful and

Project Themes and Subthemes

Some of the project themes that have been proven to work in the past are:
Animal Issues (testing, protection of wildlife, extinction, illegal hunting (whales, etc.), pet
overpopulation, etc.)
Children around the World (slavery, poverty, etc.)
Energy (solar, wind, etc.)
Environmental Issues (saving the rainforests, oil drilling, etc.)
Global Warming (climate change)
Health Issues (aids, breast cancer, etc.)
Natural Disasters (tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.)
Pollution (air, land, ocean, noise, etc.)
Recycling (75% requirement in FL)
Women around the World (kidnapping, slavery, poverty, etc.)
A class can be divided into pairs or groups that tackle a particular theme listed above for low-level
ELL students, a particular issue and its components (for example pollution of the air, land and ocean)
may be assigned to the class during a week, or individual students can choose the topic they want to
research and present to the class throughout the semester.
Higher level students can do more detailed research about an issue and develop a report of her or
his participation in advocacy to present to the class. For example, a student can research and discuss
poverty around the world. Where is the most poverty found? What is it being done, if anything?
What can she or he do to help?

Conclusion and Suggested Research

Having explained major aspects about global advocacy, it is essential to mention that this is a new
phenomenon in the education world. Technology has brought us closer together, and we must use it
for the benet of the classroom, in this case, to make the worlds problems our own.

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Research in global advocacy and the concept of global citizenship are new initiatives as a result
of the global village we live in today. Further research is needed in the following areas to nd
innovative channels that work in our classrooms. How effective is teaching global advocacy in our
classrooms? Is it better conducive to learning English than a traditional classroom? What projects
are more effective than others? How does learning by these means occur across different cultures in
our classrooms? Do Asian, European or Central and South American students nd these methods
valuable, for example?

The Author
Jose A. Carmona is the president and co-founder of Global Educational Institute, Inc. in Daytona
Beach, FL. For 25 years, he has taught English as a second language and Spanish classes, chaired
departments of languages, adult ESOL, and intensive ESL programs (IEP), and has been an educational consultant. Mr. Carmona has a Master of Arts in Spanish and bilingual education and a
Master of Education, both from Columbia University/Teachers College in New York; his Bachelor
degree in psychology, Latin American literature and education was completed at Drew University in
New Jersey.
He has been active with the TESOL Organization in various ways including: state co-chair
to help organize the TESOL 2006 Convention, chair of the Higher Education Interest Section
and newsletter editor of the Adult Education Interest Section. At the state level, he was president
of Sunshine State TESOL and twice president of the Northeast Florida TESOL Association. In
addition, he has published a series of three reading/writing ESL textbooks, a beginner Spanish textbook, a book of his own poetry, Adolescent Blues, and was editor of a professional book published
by the TESOL Organization in 2008 titled, Perspectives on Community College ESL vol. 3: Faculty,
Administration and the Working Environment.

Crude: The Real Price of Oil (2009). Joe Berlinger, dir.
Gage, & Berliner (2000) Educational Psychology. N Y: Houghton Mifin Company. Chapter 2.
Gimenez, T. & Sheehan, S. (Eds). (2008) Global citizenship in the English language classroom. England:
British Council.
Osler, A. & Starkey, H. (2005) Citizenship and language learning: International perspectives. Trentham
Books, Stoke on Trent.
Palmer, C. (2008). Preface. In T. Gimenez & S. Sheehan (Eds.) Global citizenship in the English language classroom. England: British Council.
Sierra Club,

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Appendix I
Selected Resources
American Farmland Trust
Center for Biological Diversity
Credo Action
Defenders of Wildlife
Earth 911
Environmental Defense Fund
Facing the Future
Feeding America
Friends of the Earth
Global Issues
Humane Society of the US
ONE The Campaign to Make Poverty History
National Resources Defense Council
National Wildlife Federation
North Shore Animal league
Pacic Environment
Save the Children
Sierra Club
TESOLERS for Social Responsibility IS
The Wilderness Society

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Appendix II
Sample Lesson Plan I
Equipped for the Future Project Based Lesson Plan
Project Title: Visiting a Recycling Facility

ESOL Language Focus:

Reading Writing
Speaking Listening
Level(s): 4, 5 and 6

Florida Adult ESOL Course Competencies:

EFF Standards and Roles:

64.0, 81.0, 98.0 Environment and the World, specically

64.03, 81.03A/B, and 98.02B/C
60.0, 73.0, 74.0, 91.0, specically 60.01/02/03, 73.01,
74.02, 91.02

Read with Understanding

Write with Understanding
Speak So Others can Understand
Listen Actively
Solve Problems and Make Decisions
Use Info. & Com. Technology

Classroom Activities/Procedures:


1. Discuss and introduce new and previously learned



2. Give students the following questions to discuss in

pairs or groups:



Do you recycle? Why or why not?

What types of things do you recycle?
Do you know why recycling is important?
Do people recycle in your country of origin? Why
or why not?
e. What did you know about recycling before you
came to the U.S.?

steel cans

3. Have students share their results with the class.


4. Have students read graphs/articles on recycling and

nd 10 words they dont know to share with the class.


5. Have students discuss and share the expectations of

visiting a Solid Waste/Recycling Facility.

methane gas

junk mail
solid waste
hazardous waste

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World Citizens: Engaging ESL Students in Global Advocacy


aerosol cans
ammonia cleaners
bug sprays
motor oil/gasoline
Preparing/Executing the Visit to the Local Solid
Waste/Recycling Facility
Divide the job from arranging the visit to writing the
thank you letters among students as suggested below.
1. Have two students visit the school Physical Plant or
Custodial Ofce to ask about the existing recycling
2. Have two students make an appointment for a group
visit and get directions to the local recycling facility.
3. Have two students investigate how to arrange for a
van from the school to transport the class.
4. Have six to eight students research and bring
information to the class about recycling.

Local Recycling
Protection Agencies
Physical Plant/
Custodial Ofce
School and/or local
See Reference List

5. Have two students write letters of thanks to the

presenters and/or tour guides from the recycling
6. Have two students proofread the letters.
7. Have two students plan trip by determining distance,
mileage, etc.
8. Three to four students develop questions to ask the
presenters/guides at the recycling facility.
Important: Every student needs to report his/her
ndings to the class as the assigned job is completed.

Out of Class Assignment(s):

Materials Needed:

1. Call local Solid Waste/Recycling Facility to make an

appointment for a visit.

1. Magazine/newspaper articles and

graphs on recycling

2. Divide jobs among students to prepare a visit to the

local facility.

2. School letterhead to write thank you


3. Research information about recycling.

3. Worksheet with questions outlined in

classroom procedures.

4. Attend organized visit to the local Waste

Management/Recycling Facility.
5. Have students write a short reaction to the visit.

4. Lower levels may benet from real

recyclables such as bottles, cans, etc.

Florida Adult ESL Education (Public Domain)

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Appendix III
Sample Lesson Plan II
Equipped for the Future Project Based Lesson Plan
Project Title: Recycling: A Resource Booklet

ESOL Language Focus:

Reading Writing
Speaking Listening
Level(s): 4, 5, and 6

Florida Adult ESOL Course Competencies:

EFF Standards and Roles:

64.0, 81.0, 98.0 Environment and the World,

specically 64.03, 81.03A/B, and 98.02B and C
66.0, 73.0, 83.0, 100.0, specially 66.08/09/13, 73.02,
83.05/06/12, and 100.01/09/11/12

Read/Write with Understanding

Use Info. & Comm. Technology
Speak So Others Understand
Listen Actively
Convey Ideas in Writing
Cooperate with Others
Reect and Evaluate
Learn Through Research

Classroom Activities/Procedures:


1. Have students bring to class what they consider to

be recyclable materials.


2. Have students discuss why some materials are

recyclable and others are not.


3. Have students discuss how long certain materials

last inside a landll/in the world, for example:


a. Orange and banana peels: up to 2 years

b. Cigarette butts: 1 to 5 years
c. Plastic bags: 10 to 20 years
d. Tin cans: 50 years
e. Plastic six pack holders: 100 years
f. Glass bottles: 1,000,000 years
g. Plastic bottles: Indenitely
4. Answer the survey, How Friendly Are You to the Planet,
in Discussion Starters (U. of Michigan, 1996, pg. 42).

solid waste
plastic bottles
plastic bags

5. Have students discuss the answers to the survey in

small groups and then share with the class.
6. Have students research/nd an article about
garbage disposal, recycling, illegal dumping, etc.
from the Internet, a magazine or a newspaper and
share 10 new words with the class; summarize
article and share own opinion.

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World Citizens: Engaging ESL Students in Global Advocacy

Developing the Resource Booklet and How to
Begin Recycling at the School


Physical Plant/
Custodial Ofce

1. Have two or three students visit Physical Plant/

Custodial Ofce to determine if the school already

Local Solid Waste/

Recycling Facility

2. Have four to six students do more research about

recycling and what is needed for a recycling

School and/or local

Articles researched
by students

3. If the school has no recycling bins, have eight

students make them and place them strategically in
the building.

Book listed in

4. Have two students work on the cover.

See Reference List

5. Each student reports to the class after each

assignment is completed.
Booklet includes: starting a recycling program, article
summaries, graphs, what each student learned,
& references.

Out of Class Assignment(s):

Materials Needed:

1. Research/nd articles dealing with garbage,

recycling, illegal dumping, etc. from the Internet,
a magazine or a newspaper.

1. Recyclable materials such as: cans,

glass and plastic bottles, paper/
cardboard, etc.

2. Call Physical Plant or the school unit handling


2. Material to make recycling bins:

cardboard, recycling signs, spray
paint, etc.

3. Call local Recycling/Garbage Dump to locate

recycling bins.

3. Book listed above

4. Find other relevant information/drawings, etc. to

place in booklet.

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h te

Foreign and Second Language

Teacher Assessment Literacy: Issues,
Challenges and Recommendations
Christine Coombe, Mashael Al-Hamly and Salah Troudi

It has long been acknowledged that assessment is an integral part of the teaching-learning process
( James, McInnis and Devlin 2002). In fact, Cowan (1998) calls assessment the engine that drives
learning. One of the effective ways of enhancing learning within higher education is through the
improvement of assessment procedures.
Research shows that the typical teacher can spend as much as a third of their professional time
involved in assessment or assessment-related activities (Cheng 2001, Herman and Dorr-Bremme
1982, Stiggins and Conklin 1992). Almost all do so without the benet of having learned the principles of sound assessment (Stiggins 2007).
Now more than ever our educational systems are under pressure to be accountable for student
performance and to produce measurable results. Without a higher level of teacher assessment literacy, we will be unable to help students attain higher levels of academic achievement. In this chapter,
we address some issues and challenges related to assessment literacy.

Current Stakeholder Views of Language Assessment

How Students View Assessment
For many students, assessment is not an educational experience in itself, but a process of guessing what the teacher wants (McLaughlin and Simpson 2004). For the typical EFL/ESL student,

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Classroom Techniques

assessment is generally seen as something done to them by their teachers. Many students see tests
as threats to their competence and as something to be got through. The more able students enjoy
the experience but most students, no matter what their level, feel anxious and worried about assessments as there is great pressure in todays educational world to succeed. When tests or assessments
are high-stakes, students often suffer from high levels of test anxiety.

How Teachers View Assessment

Teachers often experience similar feelings to those of their students. For those teachers who are not
involved in setting tests or assessments for their students, they feel that a gap between teaching and
testing is in evidence. They often feel that those who write the tests are not in touch with the realities of the classroom. Research by Jacobs and Chase (1992) found that testing and assessment-related
activities are the least fun area of their job.

How Educational Boards View Assessment

Virtually every set of standards of teacher competence developed recently, including those developed by the National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT),
the Council of Chief State School Ofcers (CCSSO), the National Council for Accreditation of
Teacher Education (NCATE), and the National Board of Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS)
have identied and endorsed a set of assessment competencies for teachers (Wise 1996 as cited in
Stiggins 1999).
In the eld of English language teaching, TESOL partnered with the National Council for
Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and created the TESOL/NCATE Standards for
ESOL teacher education. Assessment constitutes one of the ve knowledge domains within these
standards. In Europe, the Common European Framework of Reference and the European Portfolio
for Modern Languages are requiring language teachers to adopt new ways of assessing language ability (Stoynoff and Coombe forthcoming).
Clearly, there is widespread global recognition that language assessment literacy represents an
important aspect of teachers professional knowledge.

Research on Assessment Literacy

Language teachers with a solid background in assessment are well positioned to integrate assessment
with instruction so that they utilize appropriate forms of teaching. Despite the importance that is
given to being assessment literate, our progress toward an assessment-literate educational culture
has been slow.
Research continues to characterize we teachers assessment and evaluation practices as largely
incongruent with recommended best practice (Galluzzo 2005, Mertler 2003, Zhang and Burry-Stock
1997 as cited in Volante and Fazio 2007:750).
In North America, there continues to be relatively little emphasis on assessment in the professional development of teachers. For example, out of ten Canadian provinces and 50 U.S. states, only
Hawaii and Nebraska currently invest signicant funds which are specically targeted to improve
assessment and evaluation practices within schools (Volante and Fazio 2007).

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Foreign and Second Language Teacher Assessment Literacy


Research on teaching in mainstream classrooms has revealed that the day-to-day assessment of
student learning is unquestionably one of the teachers most demanding, complex and important
tasks (Calderhead 1996 as cited in Cheng 2001:54, Shulman 1986). Teachers view student evaluation
as a central teaching function in their classrooms. This is evidenced by the time spent on assessmentrelated activities.
In the ESL education literature within North America, Bachman (2000) reported that a survey
of the TESOL organization membership conducted in the 1990s found about half of the respondents had completed a course in language testing and Stoynoff (2009) determined that about half of
the graduate programs in the Directory of Teacher Preparation Programs in TESOL (Christopher 2005)
required graduates to complete coursework in language assessment. These results are similar to a
recent study completed by Brown and Bailey (2008) in which 60% of the respondents were from
outside the US. Based on these data it appears half of all ESOL teachers may not have completed
coursework in language assessment (Stoynoff and Coombe forthcoming).
While there is rich literature and a plethora of research studies on ESL/EFL teachers assessment practices (e.g. Cheng, Rogers and Wang 2008) there continues to be a gap in the area of
assessment literacy and what constitutes teachers knowledge. In fact, as far as teacher preparation
in assessment is concerned in EFL contexts, teachers in Hong Kong report that they received little
or no training in assessment (Falvey and Cheng 1995). Shohamy (1998) and Ferman (1998) found
that EFL teachers in Israel felt they lacked the knowledge and training required to practice assessment procedures. More recently, in a study done with tertiary-level English-language teachers in
the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Troudi, Coombe and Al-Hamly (2009) found that teachers
often felt marginalized in the area of assessment because of their perceived lack of knowledge about
the subject.

Dening Assessment Literacy

Interestingly, the term assessment literacy is not listed in the Dictionary of Language Testing (1999),
ALTEs Multilingual Glossary of Language Testing Terms (1998) or Mousavis Encyclopedic Dictionary of
Language Testing (2002). While each of these volumes devotes ample space to the concept of assessment, the issue of how educators become assessment literate is not mentioned. Despite the lack of
denitions in these important assessment volumes, the term assessment literacy has been dened by
a number of well-known assessment experts.
According to Popham (2004) and Stiggins (2002) assessment literacy is simply an understanding
of the principles of sound assessment. Implicit in this denition is that assessment literate teachers have the know-how and understanding needed to assess their students effectively and maximize
Those educators who are deemed to be assessment literate are familiar with the principles of
sound assessment and how to meet specic standards of quality. The characteristics of sound assessment according to Stiggins (2007) are that they:

Chapter_05.indd 53

arise from and serve clear purposes

arise from and reect clear and appropriate achievement targets
rely on a proper assessment method (given the purpose and the target)
sample student achievement appropriately
control for all relevant sources of bias and distortion.

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Assessment literate educators come to any assessment knowing what they are assessing, why
they are doing so, how best to assess the achievement of interest, how to generate sound samples of
performance, what can go wrong, and how to prevent these problems before they occur (Stiggins
1995:240). Language teachers and administrators need the necessary tools for analyzing and reecting upon test and assessment data in order to make informed decisions about instructional practice
and program design.
By developing assessment literacy, language educators will not only be able to identify appropriate assessments for specic purposes, such as student placement, but will also be able to analyze
empirical data to improve their instruction.

Barriers to Assessment Literacy

There are a number of impediments or what Stiggins (1995) calls barriers to assessment literacy.
The rst and perhaps most important reason is fear. According to Stiggins (1995), educators
often carry with them an accumulation of layers of negative emotions associated with assessment.
This fear of assessment has often been cultivated over many years of unpleasant assessment experiences. The foundations of this fear are often rooted in the assessments that we have undergone as
young people. Fear represents a prominent barrier to assessment literacy because it closes many
educators off from even reviewing their own assessment competence.
Another reason why teachers do not want to become involved in or increase their knowledge
in assessment is put forth by Alderson (2001). He states that the eld of assessment is often viewed
by teachers as an arcane Ivory Tower where many of the journals are not accessible to the average
classroom teacher.
Concerns close to the teachers daily lives constitute another important reason for the lag in the
development of assessment literacy. With the increasing demands of the workplace, some teachers
feel that it is simply easier not to worry about assessment. These teachers are content to let others
write the assessments for them.
Another signicant barrier to assessment literacy is that there are insufcient resources allocated
to assessment. It has been stated time and time again that although administrators pay lip service to
the importance of assessment, very few actually back it up with the resources needed to make assessment programs more successful. Administrators view assessment and assessment-related activities as
being part of a teachers job and often do not provide reduced teaching loads or extra remuneration
for those who get actively involved in such activities.
All of the factors mentioned above conspire against teacher involvement in assessment and
increased levels of assessment literacy in our teachers.

What Assessment Skills are Needed to be

Assessment Literate
A number of well-known assessment scholars and organizations have put forth lists of characteristics
of what it takes to be assessment literate.

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Foreign and Second Language Teacher Assessment Literacy


According to the Seven Standards for Teacher Development in Assessment developed by the American
Federation of Teachers, the National Council on Measurement in Education and the National
Education Association (1990), teachers should be skilled in:
1. choosing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions
2. developing appropriate assessment methods
3. administering, scoring and interpreting the results of both externally-produced and teacherproduced assessment methods
4. using assessment results when making decisions about individual students, planning teaching, developing curriculum and involving students
5. developing valid grading procedures which use student assessment
6. communicating assessment results to students, parents, and other stakeholders
7. recognizing unethical, illegal and inappropriate assessment methods and uses of assessment
In a useful online publication from SERVE at the University of North Carolina, they recommend that assessment-literate teachers know:
how to dene clear learning goals, which are the basis of developing or choosing ways to
assess student learning
how to make use of a variety of assessment methods to gather evidence of student learning
how to analyze achievement data (both qualitative and quantitative) and make good inferences from the data gathered
how to provide appropriate feedback to students
how to make appropriate instructional modications to help students improve
how to involve students in assessment process (e.g., self and peer assessment) and effectively
communicate results
how to engineer an effective classroom assessment environment that boosts student motivation to learn.
(SERVE Center, University of North Carolina, 2004)
Sadler (1998) shares these characteristics of an assessment literate educator:
superior knowledge about content and substance of what is to be learned
knowledge about learners and learning and a desire to help students develop, improve and
do better
skills in selecting and creating assessment tasks
knowledge of criteria and standards appropriate to assessment tasks
evaluative skills and expertise in the analysis and use of assessment information
expertise in giving appropriate and targeted feedback.
In the TESOL/NCATE standards for ESOL teacher education, in the assessment domain,
teachers are expected to understand issues of assessment for ESL and language prociency assessment for ESL (including how to develop assessments and use them to inform instruction).

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Classroom Techniques

In short, those who are assessment literate understand what assessment methods to use in order
to gather dependable information about student achievement, communicate assessment results
effectively, and understand how to use assessment to maximize student motivation and learning.

Recommendations for Achieving Assessment Literacy

First, it is crucial that we develop a universal understanding of what constitutes a good assessment
and to build a common, articulated set of criteria for exemplary language assessment. This certainly
does not negate the recognition of different views about the nature of education which might lead to
dissimilar approaches to assessment. There remains an urgent need to encourage and organize professional development through both online training of teachers and through assessment workshops
at all levels.
If we are to achieve assessment literacy, we need to provide teachers with the requisite professional development and time to implement those practices learned. A few workshops are insufcient.
Successful professional development in assessment will require signicant change in our educational
practices and a time commitment on the part of teachers.
Successful professional development in the area of assessment literacy needs to take into account
the learning styles and workload of todays language teachers. In order for teachers to achieve assessment literacy the availability of assessment resources, especially online, is critical.

Teachers will be expected to be far more assessment literate in the future than they are today or have
been in the past (Stiggins 2007).
Assessment literate educators come to any assessment knowing what they are assessing, why
they are doing so, how best to assess the achievement of interest, how to generate sound samples of
performance, what can go wrong, and how to prevent these problems before they occur (Stiggins
It is best stated by Bracey (2000), there might come a time when tests and test scores recede from
prominence, but that time is not now. In view of the importance of assessment in todays educational
institutions around the world, assessment literacy is a necessity for all language educators.
Chapter previously appeared in CAMBRIDGE ESOL: RESEARCH NOTES: ISSUE 38/NOVEMBER
2009 UCLES. Permission requested and granted.

The Authors
Dr. Christine Coombe has a Ph.D in Foreign/Second Language Education from The Ohio State
University. She is currently on the English faculty of Dubai Mens College and works as an Assessment
Leader for the Higher Colleges of Technology. She is the former Testing and Measurements
Supervisor at UAE University and Assessment Coordinator of Zayed University. Christine is co-editor
of the Assessment Practices volume in the TESOL Case Studies series; co-author of A Practical Guide
to Assessing English Language Learners (2007, University of Michigan Press); co-editor of Evaluating
Teacher Effectiveness in EF/SL Contexts (2007, University of Michigan Press); co-editor of Language

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Foreign and Second Language Teacher Assessment Literacy


Teacher Research in the Middle East (2007, TESOL Publications) and Leadership in English Language
Teaching and Learning (2008, University of Michigan Press). Christines forthcoming books are on
task-based learning and reigniting, retooling and retiring in English language teaching.
Christine has lived and worked in the Arabian Gulf for the past 15 years. In this capacity, she
has served as President of TESOL Arabia and as the founder and co-chair of the TESOL Arabia
Testing, Assessment and Evaluation Special Interest Group who organize the Current Trends in
English Language Testing (CTELT) Conference. Dr. Coombe has participated in large-scale assessment and assessment development projects in Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, China, Central Asia
and the U.A.E.
During her tenure in the Middle East, she has won many awards including: two-time recipient
of the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) grant for the promotion of professionalism
in the area of language testing; the 2002 Spaan Fellowship for Research in Second/Foreign Language
Assessment; the 200203 TOEFL Outstanding Young Scholar Award; the TOEFL Board Grant for
200304, 200506 and 200708 for her work in delivering training in assessment to teachers in the
Arabian Gulf and in developing countries. Most recently she served on the TESOL Board of Directors
as Director Serving as Convention Chair for Tampa 2006 and was the recipient of the Chancellors
Teacher of the Year for 200304. She is currently a candidate for TESOL President (20092011).
Mashael Al-Hamly is an Associate professor of Applied Linguistics at the Department of English
Language and Literature, Kuwait University. She is currently Cultural Attach working at the
Consulate of the State of Kuwait in the United Arab Emirates. Mashael is co-editor of Evaluating
Teacher Effectiveness in EF/SL Contexts (2007, University of Michigan Press). She is particularly interested in computer-assisted language learning, English language testing, and translation studies. She
may be reached at
Salah Troudi is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter
in the UK. He lectures in research methodology, curriculum issues and critical applied linguistics.
He is the director of the Doctorate of Education in TESOL offered in Dubai. His research interests
are in the areas of English as a language of instruction and critical applied linguistics.

References and Further Reading

Alderson, J. C. (2001). Testing is too important to be left to testers, in Coombe, C. (Ed.) Selected
Papers from the 1999 and 2000 CTELT Conferences, Dubai: TESOL Arabia Publications, 114.
ALTE (1998). Multilingual glossary of language testing terms, Studies in Language Testing volume 6,
Cambridge: Cambridge ESOL/Cambridge University Press.
American Federation of Teachers, National Council on Measurement in Education, National
Education Association (1990). Standards for teacher competence in educational assessment of
students, Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 9/4: 302.
Bachman, L. F. (2000). Modern language testing at the turn of the century: Assuming that what we
count counts, Language Testing 1/1, 142.
Bracey, G. (2000). Thinking about tests and testing: A short primer in assessment literacy, paper presented
at the American Youth Policy Forum, Washington, DC, ED 445 096.
Brown, J. D. and Bailey, K. M. (2008). Language testing courses: What are they in 2007? Language
Testing 25/3, 34983.

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Classroom Techniques

Calderhead, J. (1996). Teachers: Beliefs and knowledge, in Berliner, DC and Calfee, R. C. (Eds)
Handbook of educational psychology, New York, NY: MacMillan Library Reference,70925.
Cheng, L. (2001). An investigation of ESL/EFL teachers classroom assessment practices, Language
Testing Update 29, 5383.
Cheng, L, Rogers, T. and Wang, X. (2008). Assessment purposes and procedures in ESL/EFL classroom, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 33: 932.
Christopher, V. (2005). Directory of teacher education programs in TESOL in the United States and
Canada, Alexandria, VA.: TESOL.
Cowan, J. (1998). On becoming an innovative university teacher, Buckingham: RHE and Open University
Davies, A, Brown, A, Elder, C, Hill, K, Lumley, T, and McNamara, T. (1999). Dictionary of language
testing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Falvey, P. and Cheng, L. (1995). A comparative study of teachers beliefs about assessment principles
and practices, Language Testing Update 18, 389.
Ferman, I. (1998). The impact of a new English foreign language oral matriculation test on the educational
system, unpublished MA thesis, Tel Aviv University.
Galluzzo, G. R. (2005). Performance assessment and renewing teacher education, Clearing House
78/4, 14245.
Herman, J. and Dorr-Bremme, D. (1982). Assessing students: Teachers routine practices and reasoning, paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association,
New York, NY.
Jacobs, L. C. and Chase, C. I. (1992). Developing and using tests effectively: A guide for faculty,
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
James, R, McInnis, C, and Devlin, M. (2002). Assessing learning at Australian Universities, Center for
the Study of Higher Education, the University of Melbourne, Australia, available online http://
McLaughlin, P. and Simpson, N. (2004). Peer assessment in rst year university: How the students
feel, Studies in Educational Evaluation 30/2, 13549.
Mertler, C. (2003). Preservice versus inservice teachers assessment literacy: Does classroom experience make
a difference? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Mid-Western Educational Research
Association, Columbus, OH, October.
Mousavi, S. A. (2002). Encyclopedic dictionary of language testing (3rd Ed.), Taipei: Tung Hua Book
Popham, W. J. (2004). All about accountability: Why assessment illiteracy is professional suicide,
Educational Leadership 62/1, 823.
Sadler, D. R. (1998). Formative assessment: Revisiting the territory, Assessment in Education 5, 7784.
SERVE Center (2004). Classroom assessment: Assessment literacy, University of North Carolina,
available online
Shohamy, E (1998). Inside the black box of classroom language tests, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia
XXXIII, 34352.

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Foreign and Second Language Teacher Assessment Literacy


Shulman, L. S. (1986). Paradigms and research programs in the study of teaching: A contemporary
perspective, in Wittrock, M. C. (Ed.) Handbook of research on teaching (3rd Ed.), New York, NY:
Stiggins, R. J. (1995). Assessment Literacy for the 21st Century, Phi Delta Kappan 77/3.
Stiggins, R. J. (2002). Assessment crisis: The absence of assessment for learning. Phi Delta Kappan
83/10, 75865.
Stiggins, R. J. (2007). Conquering the formative assessment frontier, in McMillan, J. (Ed.) Formative
Classroom Assessment, New York, NY: Colombia University Teachers College Press, 828.
Stiggins, R. J. and Conklin, N. (1992). In teachers hands: Investigating the practice of classroom assessment, Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Stoynoff, S. (2009). A survey of developments in ESOL testing, in Coombe, C., Davidson, P. and
Lloyd, D. (Eds) Fundamentals of language assessment: A practical guide for teachers, Dubai: TESOL
Arabia Publications.
Stoynoff, S. and Coombe, C. (forthcoming) Professional Development in Language Assessment,
unpublished manuscript.
TESOL/NCATE Program Standards (2003). available online
Internal%20documents/NCATEP12Standards.pdf Alexandra, VA: TESOL.
Troudi, S., Coombe, C. and Al-Hamly, M. (2009). EFL teachers views of English language assessment
in higher education in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, TESOL Quarterly 43/3, 54655.
Volante, L. and Fazio, X. (2007). Exploring teacher candidates assessment literacy: Implications
for teacher education reform and professional development, Canadian Journal of Education 30/3,
Wise, A. E. (Ed.) (1996). Quality teaching for the 21st Century (special issue), Phi Delta Kappan 78,
Zhang, Z. and Burry-Stock, J. (1997). Assessment practices inventory: A multivariate analysis of teachers
perceived assessment competence, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council
on Measurement in Education, Chicago, IL.

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h te

The ESOL Infused Lesson Plan (EILP)

Cristina Patricia Fuentes Valentino

Why do we need lesson plans? Lesson planning is a special skill that is learned in much the same way
as other skills. It is planning, organizing and designing ahead the content a teacher will be presenting. It is preparing to perform successfully in the classroom. By doing so, it means a teacher has taken
a giant step toward owning the content she/he teaches and the methods used.
This is a process that is not easy to do. Teacher education students think that once they have
read the book they are done with their class. However, it takes thinking and practice to polish this
skill, and it will not happen overnight. It is also the only self assessment of knowing how to teach
that content. A well designed lesson plan will take teachers throughout the whole journey. It will tell
them where to stop, where to review, what assignments, etc.
Therefore, planning ahead is important in order to have a well organized and designed lesson
plan which includes English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) methodologies and strategies.
This chapter will provide basic techniques that help the development of a lesson throughout the
entire school year.

Lesson Plans: Making Connections

Educators look at a lesson plan in many different ways depending of their role in the classroom.
Many think that in many occasions it is not a need to have a lesson plan. These are some of the pitfalls we may nd on the way:
Some educators see the planning process as something that doesnt need to be represented
in paper (lesson planning becomes meaningless) because what they plan may or may not be
particularly helpful to the students.

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For some it just seems off. They believe that being open and led by those student needs is
what drives the process.
Lesson plans are only a generic plan, they do not need too much detail because changes will
take place quickly as needed. Detail is needed more into the overall instructional design of a
course and in the ways to facilitate the students learning.
Some think that a lesson plan is like a coach planning table. It is just needed to rene the
learning process, but the practice and essential skills do not need a formal lesson plan.
Some see instructional design and lesson plans as two separate entities. When in reality lesson
plans are part of the instructional design.
Keeping goals for the class is in the head, which allows dialogue between teacher and students
(teachable moments), which later on can be assessed through a written quiz, homework, etc.
A lesson plan is only needed when there is a substitute in the class.
These are just few of the reasons why educators must nd ways to develop, evaluate, and disseminate effective reading strategies as well as effective English instruction for ELL students. A way to
help instructors to disseminate their instruction effectively is the right use of an effective lesson plan.

What is a Lesson Plan?

OBannon (2002) states:
A daily lesson plan is developed by the teacher to guide the instruction. Planning the instruction is much more difcult than delivering the instruction. Planning is when you look at
the curriculum standards and develop lesson content that match those standards. Luckily,
textbooks that are adopted for your subject areas are typically are written with this in mind.
All details should be written down to assist the smooth delivery of the content. The extent
of the detail will vary depending on the number of years of experience that the teacher has
and the number of times he/she has taught the lesson. Obviously a teacher with several or
many years of experience may have plans that are much less detailed than beginning teachers. There will be requirements mandated by the school system that employs you regarding
your responsibilities.
What is a lesson plan? A lesson plan is a document that states what will happen and when, during
the specic period of class. It also sets goals and objectives. The lesson plan must be exible creating
teachable moments. It is a guide (like a recipe) that can be changed as needed. Needless to say, a lesson plan becomes a self-assessment. It is the way that we as teachers use to evaluate our teaching and
point of start for the next week, month, semester, etc. It gives us a guideline of what and when to do
the activities we need in the classroom.

The way a lesson plan will be designed depends of the teacher and/or the institution. There are several parts we can add to it depending on our need and the students need. Goals and objectives need
to be part of it. The objectives will represent the expectations of the different stakeholders within
the class/course being taught (standards). Goals can be set in a short or long term. Short term goals
may change in a daily basis.

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The ESOL Infused Lesson Plan (EILP)


A warm-up may be followed by a review of previous lessons. At the end, there is a conclusion
or closure that sums up the whole days work. It is recommended that during this closure students
are asked to discuss verbally (in groups or as a class) what knowledge the rest of the classmates have
acquired on that day.
Teachers need to construct teachable activities allowing plenty of time to end up with the knowledge that they seek. If not, then the goals for that day will not be met (short term goals). Furthermore,
new, unexpected topics that need to be explored may appear. The lesson plan is, therefore, just a
guide, recipe, that can be changed upon need. Teachers will be able to show their creativity if they
have more exibility built into their lessons.
Then, a lesson plan becomes a self-assessment instrument of our teaching. It is a criterion that
shows us what we want to achieve as teachers and what our students will achieve from our teaching.
A good lesson plan is the one document that could be understood by anyone or everyone who
wants to substitute for a class. Another precise meaning is that rather than planning units (lessons)
to the exact detail, a lesson plans focus is more on the overall learning of each student. Therefore,
being open and led by those student needs is what drives the process. Lesson plans are an assessment to our teaching because lesson plans are only a generic plan that can be changed quickly as
needed. For some people the more detail they are the easier it is to go through the overall instructional process.
What should be included in a good lesson plan? It denitively will vary depending on the
individual, but most lesson plans will include the following: class grade/level, length, standards
(school setting), objectives, procedures, activities, higher level thinking questions, diversity
Some suggestions to keep in mind are to think about anticipated problems (from the students
point of view) and the possible solutions, students target language, board layout, etc.

Task 1
Answer the following questions:
How well does the lesson increase comprehensibility?
How well does the lesson increase interaction?
How well does the lesson increase higher order thinking skills?
How well does the lesson address ESOL students cultural needs?
Does the lesson include one additional strategy/activity of the teachers choice?
Does the lesson include an alternative assessment?
What else do you think that should be good to refer to in a lesson plan?

What is an EILP?
An EILP is an ESOL Infuse Lesson Plan. It is a way to integrate ESOL students throughout an
entire class. It is a way of getting away from the accommodation at the end of the lesson plan. This
accommodation at the end gives the sense of exclusion or segregation instead of inclusion.

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This new instructional design and macro-planning is necessary, especially when teachers are
dealing with an ongoing program with a history of levels and several groups such as teaching ESOL
students. By all means it does not mean it can not be applicable to other students (e.g. special education students). The EILP allows the teacher to include everyone while she/he is teaching the lesson.
It leaves room for individual instructional and learning styles.

Why Use an EILP?

As specied above, it is a means to get away from the common way called ESOL accommodation.
The intention of the EILP is to let the teacher know through the entire lesson when to call on an
ESOL student. It also lets the teacher know which questions to ask depending on the level of English
This syllabus will be used as an instructional direction to prevent isolating some students more
than others. The interactions between the different individuals in the classroom will be constant.
The EILP lesson plan will be the way of reection about our own teaching and the students needs
(responses); it will guide the implementation of each unit and transform it in a teachable moment.
The need of a well designed lesson plan may balance a class. Knowing as ESOL teachers that
we have an important role to play in facilitating linguistic development (teaching in any subject area
consequently needs to involve some focus on language). We need to include the use of varied forms
of presentations and encourage students to represent their knowledge and understanding in a variety
of ways in order to respond effectively to diversity within the student population. All of these steps
need to be represented throughout the lesson, not just at the very end as a recommendation. We
need to include ESOL students from the rst time we start the lesson.
Task 2
Use one of your own lesson plans and try to evaluate them to determine whether it is appropriate
for the grade level it is designed for or whether changes need to be made for ELL students. Use
the following chart and see how the criteria apply to your lesson. Discuss as a group. Consider
the implications for ELL students. Follow these directions:
1. Read your lesson plan (notethis lesson may or may not be adapted for ESOL students).
2. Use the Lesson Plan Evaluation Chart to evaluate your lesson. Answer yes or no, to
each question under the column titled Evaluation of your Own Lesson Plan.
3. Think about strategies for adapting the lesson for ESOL students.

Lesson Plan Evaluation Checklist

Name: ___________________________________________
Grade/Level: _____________________________________
Content or subject area: ____________________________
Name of already taught lesson: ______________________
Describe lessons purpose: ______________________________________________________________

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Evaluation of Your Own Lesson

Plan & Adaptations for ESOL

Are there specic content objectives?

Are the objectives appropriate for all
the students?
Are there specic language objectives?
Are they students appropriate?

Lesson Continuity

Do the subject matter, expected

language gains, and cognitive demands
t into previous lessons and/or known
abilities of students?
Is the cognitive demand too high or
too low?
Does the lesson/teacher use the
background knowledge and/or
experiences of the students?


Have the materials and input been

made comprehensible?
Is there sufcient use of visuals, realia,
graphic organizers, etc.?
Does the lesson take into account
students native language and


Has the lesson integrated speaking,

listening, reading and writing?
Do materials and activities take into
account learning styles of students?
Is there sufcient time for preactivities (vocabulary, introduction of
new concepts, ideas)?
Is there enough time for students
to ask questions and interact with
material and other students?


Are there built-in formal and informal

assessment procedures?

Importance of Knowing about Language Acquisition

ESL teachers must understand that criticism about language itself is part of the process of comparison of the grammatical components in each language: the students L1 and the language being
taught. Input from the rst language will emerge at the rst stage of learning the L2. The learner
will learn in the rst language to be able to analyze the structure of the L2.

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According to Vygotsky, learning a language is a developmental process (Wolfe, 1974). When

learning another language, teacher-parent contacts, practices, structures, and enrichments are
critically important during the early stages of the learning process as they shape the childs learning
process (Snow, 1990). Hence, classroom activities are very important to the students progress during
the process of language acquisition (Townsend, 1976).
Since moving LEP students to English uency is a difcult process, educators are striving to
nd classroom strategies that will help these students succeed. Consequently, analyzing data on the
academic achievement of language-minority students throughout the country is an on-going process
(Thomas & Collier, 2002). Additionally, Thomas and Collier (2002) suggested based on the results
of their study that both LEP and non-LEP students who were schooled bilingually outscored those
schooled monolingually (English) after both 1 year and 4 years of the bilingual program. Thus, those
schooled in two languages outperformed those schooled in one. As ESL/ESOL teachers keep this
in mind: those ELLs who still maintained their L1 have a linguistic advantage over their peers: the
command of two languages.
Planning a lesson will be easier for teachers, if the ESOL students level of language acquisition
will be assessed at the beginning of the school year. It will help to facilitate disseminate a lesson.
In order to do that we need to explain the three main levels of language acquisition: Beginning,
Intermediate and Advanced.

Level of Language Acquisition


An ESL student at this level speaks very little or no English
(L2) as they tend to associate statement/expressions with
meanings as they make associations based on actions,
visuals, text, and tone of voice.
May demonstrate literacy skills in native language. May be
on grade level in rst language (L1). They read English by
using cues.
Beginning Level writing characteristics on writing rubric
(one way of assessing them).
May be able to respond to yes/no questions in English
May be able to respond to simple questions in English with
one/two words in English.


Some oral English may be literate in native language, they

clarify, distinguish, and evaluate ideas and responses in a
variety of situations.
Minimal English literacy skills, they participate successfully
in academic contexts by using English to create, clarify,
critique, and evaluate ideas and responses.
Mastery of Beginning ESL objectives, they read English
using and applying developmental vocabulary to increase
comprehension (one way of assessing the student).

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Level of Language Acquisition


Intermediate level on writing rubric ESL students use the
listening process to improve comprehension and oral skills
in English producing written text to address a variety of
audiences and purposes.


Has good command of English oral skills, continually

develop reading skills for increasing reading prociency in
content area texts for a variety of purposes.
Mastery of Intermediate ESL objectives.
Writing rubricadvanced level generating written text
for different audiences in a variety of modes to convey
appropriate meaning according to their level of prociency.
These students participate in a variety of situations using
spoken English to create, clarify, critique, and evaluate
ideas and responses.

Note: The author divided the three levels of language acquisition in beginning, Intermediate, and Advance based on the placing
arrangements made in different ESL classes. Most characteristics are present within each level. However, someone may be
between both levels showing few characteristics of one and more of the other level. Some places such as school districts use
beginning/intermediate, intermediate/advance, etc.

Principles for Designing Effective Lessons

It is unrealistic to require all individuals to communicate only in English without taking into
consideration each of their language limitations and the lack of methods and resources to transmit
the necessary language skills in the classroom. Most teachers and administrators lack the preparation necessary to deal with students whose L2 is English. On most occasions, school administrators
and teachers do not understand or speak the respective language, nor are they knowledgeable about
the various cultures. It is important to remember that learning a new language also means one must
learn a new culture.

Task 3
Try to answer the following questions:
How can I address all of the prescribed learning outcomes in the curriculum when I can
not rush, or even teach in a normal speed with the ESL learner?
How can I get the ESL student(s) to grasp the subject matter, understand instructions,
and participate in classroom activities?
What aspect of language do I try to teach? grammar? . . . phonics?
How much should I attempt to differentiate instruction?
Should I let students use their rst language as part of classroom learning?

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In order for a lesson plan to be effective teachers need to nd the right activities/methods
to disseminate the objective in mind or behind the curriculum. Activities need to address
Comprehension guiding the ESL students from prior knowledge to new knowledge or concrete
to abstract (e.g. teach text backwards (Understanding by Design concept), directed ReadingThinking Activities, pre, during, and post-reading activities, activate background knowledge,
contextualize concepts (hands-on activities). Activities also need to be interactive. Some of
these activities may include, but not limited to: Think-Pair-Share, Jigsaw, Peer Tutoring, Pair
Assignments, Cooperative Projects, and so on. In addition, these activities need to Increase Higher
Order Thinking Skills. These kinds of activities required the students to go beyond recalling
the facts to analyzing, synthesing, and evaluating their responses. Activities such as: Follow-up
(probing) questions (i.e., How do you know that? Why?);
See the following lesson plan samples: (One of the best books as a guiding tool is by Grant
Wiggins and Jay McTighe: Understanding by Design.)

Tips While Teaching the Lesson

Provide waiting time

Be conscious of the word you use (avoid jargon)
Teach subject vocabulary (tier three words)
If you use idioms, you must explain the meaning
Make emphasis on classroom transitions
Constantly check for ESL student understanding
Provide any important information and or set expectations to the students
Let students use L1 if needed to reinforce the subject
Respond to students error in a positive and enhancing way

According to the denition of a lesson plan and explaining what an EILP is, we can go one step
further. An experience teacher/educator may seem meaningless the use of a lesson plan, and this will
be absolutely ne. They know already what they are using a picture or saying what she is saying, and
may not need to write it down. But it is not until we gain that experience, otherwise it may have to
be planned in a written form. If a lesson plan is too rigid, then the time needed will not be used and
the students will end up without the knowledge that they seek. The goals for that day will not be
met. Furthermore, new, unexpected topics that need to be explored may appear. The lesson plan is,
therefore, just a guide, recipe, that can be changed upon need.
Once you understand the use of an EILP, it is good to keep in mind the following tips:
A clear understanding of the levels of language acquisition
Have a formal observation to determine the student level of language acquisition
It is required to use critical thinking to match questions in the lesson plan with the correct
level of language acquisition. Teacher needs to be familiar with the level of language acquisition and with the activities that match them.
It also required that the teacher has a clear understanding of the methods and strategies of
languages acquisition.

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Task 4
Using the information provided in the following lesson plan, design a lesson plan for
a particular topic or reading selection. (Use the lesson in Appendix I as an outline and
complete the sections that are incomplete.) Use the levels of language acquisition to
design your lesson to meet all students needs.

A lesson plan then becomes a necessary instructional design and macro-planning, especially when
you are dealing with several groups. Lesson plans are a way of making sense of all the many details
over a period of time, to guide the implementation of the class or program with each group, without
lesson plans, we couldnt accomplished all the common goals of the program over time.
There are many possible ways in which teachers can adjust their instructional practice to help
ESL students meet these challenges, without jeopardizing the learning of other students, but the use
of the lesson plans has facilitated this process.
For ESL students, even teachers who do not think of themselves as teachers of language have
an important role to play in facilitating linguistic development (teaching in any subject area consequently needs to involve some focus on language). Teachers need to use varied forms of presentation
and encourage students to represent their knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways in order
to respond effectively to diversity within the student population.

The Author
Dr. Cristina Patricia Fuentes Valentino is Assistant Professor of Education and ESOL director
at Jacksonville University. She has previously worked in Tegucigalpa Honduras as a Vice-Principal
and has also worked in public schools in Illinois as a bilingual teacher and in Florida as principal, standards coach, vice-principal, and curriculum integration teacher. She holds degrees from
Augustana College, Longwood College, and University of North Florida. She is involved in developing the rst program for general intellectual ability/gifted children in Central America at the Dowal
Bilingual School, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She has also consulted for a number of bilingual organizations in Northeast Florida in the areas of curriculum development, assessment, bilingual education,
Immersion programs, and ESOL. She is involved with the FLDOE as Folio Reviewer for higher
education initial programs in the area of ESOL.
She has written a chapter on Honduras education for the new book: Curriculum Development:
Perspectives from around the World. She is an editor of The Latin American Journal of Education
(, available online since summer 2010. It is the rst trilingual, peer reviewed, open
access, online education journal in Central and South America. LAJoE will also serve as a research
management and dissemination system, as well as a country index for educational, governmental and
professional organizations.

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Classroom Techniques

Flori da Department of Education (FLDOE) Lesson Plan Evaluation Form. Public Domain.
OBannon, B. (2002). Planning for Curriculum. Retrieved January 2010 from
Thomas, W. P., & Collier, V. P. (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students long-term academic achievement (OERI Report No. R306A60001-96). Santa Cruz:
University of California, Center for Research on Education, Diversity, & Excellence.
Townsend, D. (1976). Bilingual interaction analysis: The development and status. In A. Simoes,
Jr. (Ed.), The bilingual child (pp. 189226). Boston: Academic Press.
Wolfe, D. (1974). Language learning and teaching. In F. Pialorsi (Ed.), Teaching the bilingual
(pp. 8484). Tucson: University of Arizona Press.)

Recommended Reading
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. Understanding by design.

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Appendix I
SAMPLE LESSON PLAN written by Amelia Abbott.
Used with the authors permission.
Grade Level: 2nd5th Grade
Lesson 2My Family
1. The students will name the relationship between family members and understand the different responsibilities each member has.
2. Students will apply the above knowledge to construct the family tree.
3. The student will understand the uniqueness of each family unit and the effects culture and
tradition have on family dynamics.
4. Students will learn social skills through orchestrated social interactions with their peers.
Sunshine State Standards: Time, Continuity, and Change [History]
Standard 1:
The student understands historical chronology and the historical perspective. (SS.A.1.1)
2. understands that history tells the story of people and events of other times and places.
3. knows a family history through two or three generations (e.g., customs, beliefs, and traditions
of ancestors and their homelands).
Skills: Observing, describing, classifying, drawing, and interviewing
Materials: Family tree with apples hand-out, Questionnaire for parents and children to be lled
out at home. Stan & Jan Berenstains The Berenstain Bears New Baby (Random House Picture
back)The bears prepare for the arrival of a new baby in short sentences and with beautiful
Stan & Jan Berenstains The Berenstain Bears The Bears Vacation (Random House
Picture back)
P. D. Eastman Are You My Mother? (Random House) Beginner book.
A Very Important Day
Levels of Language Acquisition
Beginning (B)
Intermediate (I)
Advanced (A)

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Procedures and Questioning Strategy

Hook: MusicGetting to Know You from The King and I
ESOL students will share vocabulary words in their vernacular: mother, father, parents, and
Vocabulary for Unit I am Unique (Understanding new words, Remembering Family members)
1. Unique
2. Individual
a. mother
b. father
c. parents
d. sister
e. brother
f. siblings
g. grand parent
h. aunt
i. uncle
j. cousin
k. teacher
3. Social group
a. Family
b. Extended Family
c. our class
d. school
e. community
4. Interview
5. Family Tree
Open Dialogue(Remembering)
How many family members live in your house? (B) Show number with hands
How many brothers and sisters do you have? (B)
What are some of the rules in your home? (I)
Do you have any chores? (B)
How do you help your parents with the house chores? (B)
Draw a picture of your family which will be included in My Book.

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What is your street address? (I)

Introduce Family Tree ConceptTeacher models hers.
Guided InquiryMy Family Tree (Applying New Knowledge)
Activate prior knowledge
What are ways or symbols we can use to represent the family? (A)
Students investigate questionnaire, questions are answered
LEP Beginning level students will team with the teacher to review their home generated
personal information and for one to one instruction.
LEP Intermediate level students: will work in groups with the class.
LEP Intermediate level students: will work in groups with the class.
Students who show exceptional creativity or complete work early are given the opportunity to help students who are struggling and want help.
Practice interviewing with partner (name, relationship, place of birth)
Color Family Tree
Complete Family Tree (Creating)
Discuss results
Guide students to discuss what they have shared and their understandings. ESOL students may
work together when one student in the pair speaks both languages. Or an ESOL student may be
paired with a non-ESOL student.
Guided InquiryMy Family: My rst social group
Read P. D. Eastman Are You My Mother?
Children are reminded to bring artifacts, books, or drawings about their culture.
Allow time for students to share and compare their ideas, drawings, and family tree. Challenge students to analyze differences and synthesize similarities.
What is a family tree? (I) (Remembering)
Who is your mothers mother? (A) (Analyzing)
Who is your fathers brother? (A) (Analyzing)
Who are your aunts children? (A) (Analyzing)
Who is your sisters grandfather? (A) (Analyzing)
I am my mothers _________? (A) (Analyzing)
What is your favorite activity to do with your family? (I)
How is your family unit unique? (A) (Evaluating)

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Applying Understanding to the Real World

1. What are some ways we can benet from having a diverse classroom where everyone is
unique? (Applying) Possible answers: We can learn rst hand about different cultures. We
learn to appreciate other cultures, and we learn to live in a multicultural society.
2. What countries are most of our ancestors from? Do we see any patterns? (Remembering,
Understanding of the major concepts of the lesson will be shown by the logic of student responses
during the lesson and their responses during and after group work. Individual achievement will be
shown by their KWL chart, My Book at end of Unit, and family tree questionnaire. Students will
evaluate their work by comparing their trees.
Extension of the Lesson
Continue to build concept map outward in all directions until they reach the community and the
world (Continents and different countries). Encourage students to consider the environmental,
social, and economic factors affecting their life and the way they view others.
Extra Activities and Accommodations
1. My FamilyStudents will be given the option to use the apple tree, the pine tree, rose
bush templates, or create their own. The pine tree and the rose bush will more aesthetically
portray a family with a single parent. Pines and roses will represent any number of ancestors known. Even the smallest family unitsingle parent and childcan be represented.
Integration of Multiple Intelligences and Other Disciplines
History is brought to life as students develop a deeper sense of self and family relationships. The
concept of time is augmented and interpersonal relations are applied to real experiences.

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Logical/mathematicalresponses requiring higher order thinking

LinguisticListening to questions, responding to questions, learning basic interviewing skills
MusicalGetting to Know You
Bodily Kinestheticne motor skills
Interpersonaltaking part in pairs to respond to questions, class participation
Intrapersonallearning about self, personal traits, portrait, questionnaire about own

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Assessment Rubric My Family




Place relatives in correct

Student will explain
relationship of relatives
in family tree
Color family tree

Cognates for My Family Lesson







































































Salon de Clases

Salle de class













Family Tree

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Arbol Genealogico



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Classroom Techniques

QuestionnaireMy Family
Your child will be constructing a family tree and we want to investigate our heritage. Please help
your child complete the following blanks. Please include the rst name and date and place of birth,
if known, for each entry.
Student: _______________________________________
Mother: ________________________________________
Father: ________________________________________
Mothers Parents:
Mother: ________________________________________
Father: ________________________________________
Fathers Parents:
Mother: ________________________________________
Father: ________________________________________
Mothers Grandparents:
Fathers Grandparents:
My Family Tree

MotherIllya Morales (1955/PR) Mami, Mom

FatherAndres Bonelli (1953/PR) Papi, Dad
Maternal GMVirgenmina Velez (1922/PR) Mimi
Maternal GFIsidoro Morales (1919/PR) Abuelo Isidoro
Paternal GMTarsila Suarez (1912/PR) Tatita
Paternal GFAnibal Bonelli (1910/PR) Abuelo Anibal
Mimis Parents:
a. Maria Perez (PR)
b. Carlos Velez (PR)
8. Isidoros Parents:
a. Egenia Garcia (PR)
b. Peregrin Morales (PR)
9. Tatitas Parents:
a. Providencia Hance (1881,PR)
b. Herminio Suarez (1876/Asturia, Spain)
10. Anibals Parents:
a. Victoria Agostini (1884/PR)
b. Simon Bonelli (1879/PR)

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11. Tatitas Grandparents:

a. Maternal (9A)
i. Margarita Rivera (PR)
ii. Karl Hance (Netherlands)
b. Paternal (9B)
i. Serena Rodriguez (Asturia, Spain)
ii. Marcial Suarez (Asturia, Spain)
12. Anibals Grandparents:
a. Maternal (10A)
i. Amelia Piovanetti (Corsica, Italy)
ii. Leopoldo Agostini (Corsica, Italy)
b. Paternal (10B)
i. Francesca Quilliquini (Corsica, Italy)
Simon Bonelli (Corsica, Italy)

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Appendix II
This second lesson plan was written by Diana Burns. It is a model that if presented in full detail, the
lesson may require one to two weeks. Used with the authors permission.
Lesson One
Topic: Three Types of Rocks
(Instructional StrategyGroup Investigation)
(ESOL Instructional StrategyCALLA)
Grade Level: 4th Grade
Goals: Students will be able to differentiate the three types of rock, igneous, metamorphic, and
sedimentary. (Analysis)
Sunshine State Standards:
Strand D: Processes That Shape the Earth
The student:
SC.D. the stages of the rock cycle
SC.H. that a model of something is different from the real thing, but can be
used to learn something about the real thing.
Skills: observing, listening, describing, comparing, analyzing, working cooperatively in groups,
drawing conclusions, summarizing, explaining.
*Science Florida Edition, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
*The Rock Cycle reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
*What are Rocks and Minerals reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt
Publishers, (2007).
*Earthquake reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
*Rock collection with key
*Visual displays
*Class set of expert sheets for each type of rock
*Classroom computer
Procedures and Questioning Strategy
Have you ever picked up or thrown a rock?
How many of you have ever collected rocks or enjoyed nding rocks?
Do you know anyone that collects rocks?
How many kinds of rocks are there?
(Prior Knowledge)
Redirect the question to other students.

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Hook: Show several different types of rocks (rocks should be numbered). Pass the rocks around
the room.
Brainstorm a list of characteristics (texture, color, shape, size) and record them on the board or
overhead display.
How were these rocks made? Discuss their answers and explain that is what they will be learning
Explain: Scientists classify rocks into three groups, igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.
Phase 1 and 2: Students may be grouped into pairs or in threes. Explain that each group or pair
will be researching one type of rock, igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.
Model: Show students how to use each reference provided to look for information. Explain that
students should help each other discover and record information about their type of rock. Model for
students how to use the Expert Sheet to help them organize their information. Show an example of
a completed Expert Sheet from another lesson if able. The better readers will read aloud to their
group as they locate information. The reader helps the rest of the group locate the text in order to
read along.
Practice: Students begin their research. Using the resources provided. Students use their Expert
Sheets to help them collect and organize their information.
1. Science Florida Edition, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
2. The Rock Cycle reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
3. What are Rocks and Minerals reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt
Publishers, (2007).
4. Earthquake reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
5. site is for kids of all ages who love rocks. Here you will
nd out stuff about rocks & minerals and where to go to nd out more.
Practice/Phase 3: Students meet with other groups and share their information about their type
of rock. Monitor these meetings and ensure that each group member is presenting their material to
the other two team members.
Students make a display of their Expert Sheets and illustrations.
Whole group discussion
Which types of rocks were the rst to be formed in the Earths history?
View and discuss the animated web pages for each type of rock found at the website below:
What are the characteristics of sedimentary rock?
How is metamorphic rock different from igneous rock?
Explore on the Rock Hounds website some examples of each and how some of those rocks are
used today.

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ESOL Strategies
Beginning: Use prompts, Point to a rock; pick up the smooth rock, or pick up the rough rock.
Display illustrations of the three ways the different types of rocks are formed. Point to the picture
that shows how igneous rocks are formed. Continue with the other two types.
Intermediate: Ask: Which type of rock is formed when lava cools? Which type of rock us formed from
layers of earth and sediment? Which type of rock is formed from pressure and heat?
Advanced: Explain how metamorphic rock is formed and what makes it different from the other two
types of rock.
What have we learned about rocks?
Redirect the question until all the important areas in the lesson have been brought out.
What are the major differences in the types of rocks?
How does the texture and composition of different kinds of rocks compare?
Assessment of Understanding
Phase 4: Expert sheets rubric
Students will complete a 3 Circle Venn diagram listing at least three differences for each type
of rock and three similarities of all three. Using the information in their Venn diagram students will
write a comparison of the three types of rocks. They will include all similarities and differences cataloged on their graphic organizer.
See rubrics for scoring.
Connections with Students Everyday Lives
1. Where can you nd rocks?
2. How are rocks used?
Use the rock slide show link. There are several types of rock with detailed pictures and a short
description describing the rock and what it is used for.
3. What are some places where you can see examples of things that have been made out of
Extension of the Lesson
Students create, write, and present a Readers Theater based on the three types of rocks. Each type of
rock would be a character. The students must explain the process of how that type of rock is formed
through the characters dialog. Students should be creative and use personication to make their
character interesting.

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Other Subject Area Connections:

Math: Students research the internet sites provided and list as many rocks as possible under each
group category. Then they create a circle graph to display the percentage of each group thy located
during their search.
Social Studies: Students choose one type of rock. They locate examples of locations where this type of
rock is commonly located. They describe these areas and the attributes of these geographic locations.
Strategies to Reach Diverse Learners
Using rock samples: Bodily-kinesthetic, visual-spatial, naturalist
Internet links: Visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic
Working in small groups: Interpersonal
Readers Theater: Visual-spatial, logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic, interpersonal
Group discussion: Intrapersonal
More ELL Strategies
Visual Displays
Hand-on activities
Internet links and searches
Working in small groups
Readers Theater
Group discussion
1. Science Florida Edition, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
2. The Rock Cycle reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).
3. What are Rocks and Minerals reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt
Publishers, (2007).
4. Earthquake reader, Michael J. Bell, Michael A. DiSpezio, Harcourt Publishers, (2007).

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Expert Sheet
Igneous Rocks
How are they formed?

Other facts about igneous rocks:

What are some examples of igneous rocks?

Draw and label an illustration that shows how igneous rocks are formed.

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Expert Sheet
Metamorphic Rocks
How are they formed?

Other facts about metamorphic rocks:

What are some examples of metamorphic rocks?

Draw and label an illustration that shows how metamorphic rocks are formed.

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Expert Sheet
Sedimentary Rocks
How are they formed?

Other facts about sedimentary rocks:

What are some examples of metamorphic rocks?

Draw and label an illustration that shows how sedimentary rocks are formed.

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Assessment Rubrics
Expert Worksheet rubric

Written items

Information is
Information is
recorded for only recorded for at
1 item
least 2 of the
written items.

At least 2 of the All 3 written

written items
items are
are complete.


recorded is not

Some of the
information is
accurate and

Most of the
information is
accurate and

All the
recorded is
accurate and


Shows the
parts of the
rock formation.
Pertinent parts
are not labeled.

Shows all the

important parts
of the rock
formation and
some pertinent
items are

Shows all the

important parts
of the rock
formation and
pertinent items
are labeled.

and shows
the type rock
formation, all
pertinent items
are labeled
Color is used
to highlight
important parts.




Venn Diagram Rubric



Chapter_06.indd 89

Less than
7accurate items
are recorded in
at least 2 of the
four areas.

79 accurate
items are
recorded in at
least 2 of the
four areas.

911 accurate
items are
recorded in at
least 3 of the
four areas.


3 accurate
entries are
recorded under
each area for
a total of 12
written entries.

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Compare and Contrast Writing Rubric



Chapter_06.indd 90

recorded is
not accurate.

Some of the
information is
accurate and

Most of the
information is
accurate and

Contains all the

from the Venn
diagram and it
is accurate and


Overall Total

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h te

Action Research on E-Learning

Essay Unit at the Icesi University
in Colombia
Linda R. Price

In the rst semester of 2006, the Icesi University began a concerted effort to incorporate e-learning
into the classroom of all professors. Professors were instructed in the use of Moodle, a learning platform. Some technical support was offered in setting up on-line components of different courses, but
most of the work was done by individual professors who wanted to increase their productivity and to
take advantage of the new technology.
The author decided to use the Moodle platform to teach the writing of essays in English. A very
limited Action Research investigation in e-learning was designed to see 1) if the students liked using
Moodle, and 2) if their writing improved.

Contextual Background
This instructor taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in the Icesi University, a small, private,
non-prot university offering eight pre-graduate programs. During the rst semester of 2006, the
student body consisted of 2010 students in the daytime programs and 437 students in the evening
programs. The English Department was the largest department in the University and dealt with
approximately 1000 students per semester (Paz, 2006). The required English program lasts for eight
semesters, and most of the students achieve a high-intermediate level of English.
E-learning was introduced to the Icesi University in Cali, Colombia in 1999 after a professor attended a presentation of WebCT in Canada. Over the years, different professors adopted

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Current Research

the methodology for their classes, but most professors seemed hesitant to use e-learning in their
classrooms. By 2006, only 71 teachers out of a total of 420 (16.9%) actively used Moodle in their
classrooms (Gomez, 2006). In the English department, only 3 out of 14 (21%) teachers used Moodle
to support their classes with Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) units.
In general, little emphasis was been placed on writing skills in the EFL program throughout the
previous seven semesters. Writing was a component of the course requirements, but the emphasis
was on oral production. (Communication in Spanish was taught for only the rst two semesters in
the University.) However, in the program syllabus of level eight, the students are asked to go beyond
the paragraph level and write an essay.

Action Research in Call

Action Research has been dened by Wallace (1998: 255) as a method of professional selfdevelopment which involves the systematic collection and analysis of data related to practice. It is
appropriate in the Icesi University since the Universitys philosophy is based upon Active Learning.
Active Learning, in the Icesi, is dened as a learning model where the student constructs his or her
own knowledge through experiences designed and facilitated by the professor (Gonzalez, 1999: 56).
Therefore, action research is an especially satisfactory way to learn about the program in question
and student attitudes towards it.
Action Research in CALL is important as CALL represents a break from the traditional English
class where the instructor, the textbook and a white board are the norm. Students today are growing
up with technology; they are far more savvy using cell phones, computers, iPods, iphones, and other
devices than their instructors in many cases. Thus, it behooves the instructor to reach her students
using implements such as learning platforms, Internet, intranet, etc. with which the students are
comfortable. All students are required to pass prociency exams in the use of the computer and different software applications in their earliest semesters at the University, so the students at the Icesi
are especially adept with modern technological devices.

The sample consisted of two groups totaling 43 students in their last level of English at the Icesi
University in Cali, Colombia. They were from different semesters and university programs.
To implement the Action Research project, the investigator designed and hung a CALL unit
on Moodle. The CALL unit contained many of the instructions and guidelines normally handled
face-to-face in the classroom. While these instructions were given to both groups orally, they were
made available only for the experimental group to consult on Moodle as needed. In addition to the
general instructions, Internet links to well-known university web sites in the United States which
support university students writing were provided. This information was given only to the experimental group. The control group received only classroom instruction with written guidelines and
the dates of when their drafts were due.
To evaluate the study, the researcher used two different instruments. One was the essay written
by each student in the sample and the other was a questionnaire on personal reactions to the experience of using Moodle in the English classroom completed by the experimental group only.

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The essay was analyzed using the Cambridge Placement Essay Rating Guide. This guide is
designed as part of the procedure for placing students in their distinct levels which corresponded to
the New Interchange and Passage textbook series. It is designed to be used in conjunction with other
instruments for placing students in levels, but it was the opinion of this investigator that it could be
used equally well alone to evaluate the essays. The Placement Guide evaluates the students using
holistic methods rather than discrete points.
The essays were read initially by the researcher, that is the classroom instructor of the students,
and another teacher who had graded essays before for the placement of students. When it seemed
that the initial time estimated for completion of the project might be a problem for the second
instructor, the researcher asked a second colleague to help with the classication of the essays. Thus,
each essay was read three times. Because of wide discrepancies in the scoring of some of the essays,
it was decided to use an average score for the investigation.

The essay scores were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The mean of the Control Group and
the Experimental Group were 8.75 and 8.3 respectively which means there was no signicant difference in the essay scores of the control group and the experimental group. The standard deviation also showed no signicant difference as the standard deviations of the Control Group and
the Experimental Group were 1.06 and 1.48 respectively. These two calculations indicated that the
hypothesis: using CALL would improve the writingwas not proven.

Though the hypothesis was not proven, indications were that the students enjoyed the experience
of using Moodle to back up the classroom lectures. In some areas, interesting differences between
the male and female students appeared. However, in most cases, this may simply be a difference in
The experimental group consisted of twenty-two students. On the day the questionnaire was
handed out, only nineteen studentseleven male and eight femalewere present.
Question 1 asked for a student identication number to be used for grading purposes and as
such was not relevant to the study. Questions 24 were used to identify characteristics of the group.
The students were primarily in their 8, 9, or 10th semester suggesting they were nearing graduation and highly motivated to pass all courses. In the male group, six were studying economics and
international business, two were in the daytime business administration program, one in the evening
business administration program, and two were in engineering. In the female group, four were in
the evening business program, three in economics and international business, and one in the daytime
business administration program.
Beginning with Question 5, students were asked to comment on their experience with the Web
platform Moodle and how they felt about using it.
Question 5 concerned how students felt about writing directly on the computer. The male
response was overwhelmingly in favor of writing directly on the computer. The female students
response was less clear cut even though four totally agreed with the statement.

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Question 6 referred to teacher instructions versus instructions in a written format. The

overwhelming response (twelve students either agreed or totally agreed with the statement) indicating that students preferred instructions given orally by the teacher to those presented in a
written form.
Question 7 asked if the materials provided on Moodle helped in writing the essays. Most of the
students agreed that they were benecial. Six males totally agreed with the statement while two males
and four females agreed. Three males and two females were neutral and two females disagreed with
the premise.
Question 8 asked if the students had problems with the materials on Moodle. The majority of
group (six males and six females) had no problems.
Question 9 asked those students who had problems with the unit on Moodle, what type they
were. In some cases, students who reported no difculties in Question 8 still responded with answers
in Question 9. Whether this was to comment on minor problems or was a problem of reading comprehension is impossible to know. In any event, the major problems were technological problems
(37%), lack of training in using Moodle (11%), unclear instructions (11%), complex language (11%),
and explanations that were too long (11%).
N. B. Though previously mentioned, it should be noted again that the Universitys computer
network security system was causing technical problems for all users. Specically, the Moodle system
required a password to enter the platform. The security system would generate new passwords, but
other parts of the system would not recognize them. This caused problems for the investigator as
well as some students.
Question 10 asked if the students believed that Moodle should continue being an integral part of
the Level VIII course. Nine of the male students agreed and two were neutral. Two of the female students agreed, ve were neutral, and one disagreed. This indicated that most of the students believed
that using Moodle to support the English taught in the classroom was a good idea.
Question 11 referred to the benet of using Moodle in writing the essay. Five males totally
agreed and three agreed. Five females agreed. Two males and two females were neutral while one
male and one female disagreed.
Question 12 asked if the students enjoyed using Moodle. Three males totally agreed, four agreed,
two were neutral, and one disagreed. Four females agreed, three were neutral and one disagreed.
One male student did not respond to the question.
Question 13 asked students who responded positively to Question 12 to answer this question. The majority (32%) responded that it helped them understand better. Twenty-six percent
answered that it was modern technology. Only 3% responded because they could work at their
own pace.
Question 14 asked the students to comment on their main problem in completing the assignment. Fifty percent stated they had no problems in completing the assignment. Eleven percent said
they did not understand the assignment. Since these were two males, I strongly suspect they were the
two students who did not have access during part of the time the class was using Moodle because of
the security problems previously mentioned. Sixteen percent claimed using Moodle took more time,
and twenty-six percent claimed lack of time because of other commitments.
Question 15 was open for comments. The comments are transcribed here just as written and
therefore contain grammatical errors in some cases.

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The program is very good for my learning English class (sic).
I dont had ID for accessed to Moodle, only the class time in ID other subjects (sic).
I think Moodle is a really good tool, in order to help us with different subjects but I think
Moodle needs to be worked for English class, more easy to use it.
I have used this program, because the program dont start me (sic).
E-learning is essential in any course.

Using more Moodle to English class (sic).
I think that Moodle is very useful, the problem its that we still having big technological problems and that takes more time to download the information and when the students work, they
dont have too much time (sic).

Problems with the Study

Research always takes time, and this investigation was hampered by a lack of this element. First of
all, the research project suffered from lack of time to prepare materials. Despite efforts to prepare
and have the necessary materials readily available to students when the unit began, this was not possible. Also, problems with the Universitys intranet security system beginning in March (2006) and
continuing through April (2006), caused innumerable delays in setting up the essay unit. Thus, the
instructor and the students were unable to access Moodle or the materials at critical moments.
Another problem was seriously underestimating the amount of time needed upload the unit.
While most of the unit had been delivered in the classroom in previous semesters, adapting materials
for Moodle deliveryand amplifying themrequired considerable assistance from a student monitor to teach the instructor how to navigate the intricacies of the platform and to iron out the bugs
that presented themselves while preparing the online unit.
Finally, it became apparent early on that the three readers interpreted the Placement Essay
Rating Guide differently as some of the essays varied widely in their scoring. This necessitated using
an average of the three readers scores for the study.

Recommendations for Further Study

One recommendation to future investigators would be Just Do Itto use the words of Nike in
their popular advertisements. Teachers are apparently averse to doing researchthis researcher
was constantly lled with doubts, but the end product was worth it. One of the principal problems
encountered at the beginning of this research was the dearth of informed papers on investigations
in ESL/EFL writing investigation. More published work in this area would be of value to other

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researchers. Action research makes it easy for us to evaluate our own practice and does not involve
the elaborate details of complex investigations.
Another possibility would be to investigate individual students in the control and experimental
groups before and after instruction. This would clarify the doubts as to whether individuals did or
did not improve their individual writing skills.
Still another suggestion for investigators would be a longitudinal study showing how writing
skills develop over time. This could be over one semester (or even several semesters) of tertiary
or even secondary level work. The experimental and control groups could answer such questions
as does writing improve (or are the language and writing skills fossilized) and how it improves
(what techniques lead to the most improvement).
A nal suggestion (though certainly not the only research option) would be to investigate the
writings of younger students or language learners. This could be done by evaluating shorter pieces
of text (such as e-mails, paragraphs, dialogs, etc.) written by the students. These texts could perhaps
pinpoint the difculties of developing learners.

This study indicates that students can do as well with traditional essay teaching as with on-line supported CALL lessons. This is not a popular view in many circles where the belief that the newest, the
latest, the most modern approach is the best and most appropriate teaching methodology. However,
the inescapable conclusion is that traditional methods do workand oftensurprisingly well!
Nevertheless, it in todays knowledge society, it is important to recognize the need of our students to dominate technology in all its forms. This was indicated by the students who responded
positively to the experience. The male students were very much in favor of the e-learning experience
as shown by Questions 5, 7, 10, 11, and 12.
To quote Parrott (1996).
The aim of action research is not to arrive at universal truths but only to learn more about
ourselves (at the moment), our teaching (at the moment), our learners (at the moment), and
their learning (at the moment). (In Madrid and Hockly, n.d.)
The quotation by Parrott is mentioned here to remind us that this study was conducted for the
benet of the investigator and her students. The study was limited to the writing of an essay and the
students reactions to it. While other researchers may replicate the study, the purpose of the investigation was not to propose general truths, but rather a truth in a particular context.

The Author
Linda Rister Price, M Ed, M EFL studied Information Science as an Undergraduate and earned
a Masters in Education (Curriculum and Evaluation) as well as a Masters in English as a Foreign
Language. She was an English as a Foreign Language teacher for more than 35 years in Cali,
Colombia where she taught all levels of English to students ranging from second grade to university
levels. You may contact her at

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Gomez, A. (2006). Personal communication. Cali: Icesi University. Servicios y Recursos de
Informacin. April 18.
Gonzalez, H. (1999). De la clase magistral . . . al aprendizaje activo. Cali: Icesi University. Cartilla
Madrid, D. and Hockly, N. (n.d.) Observation and research in the classroom context. Spain:
Fundacin Universitaria Iberoamericano, p. 47.
Paz, J. (2006). Personal communication. Cali: Icesi University. Departamento de Admisiones. Sept. 4.
Wallace, (1998). Action research for language teachers. Cambridge, CUP. p. 255.

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h te

Looking Back While Looking

Forward: Academic ESL Students
Perceptions of Teaching
Clint McElroy, David Pugalee and Edith Valladares McElroy

Student populations in United States community colleges are increasingly diverse, with large
numbers of immigrants and individuals with student visas (F-1) attending classes alongside native
English-speaking students. At Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, NC,
the population of foreign-born students increased by 61 percent, from 3,899 to 6,321, between
1998 and 2006. As community colleges are increasingly striving to become more learning-centered,
much attention is focused on how well faculty members are meeting the learning needs of students ( Warren, 2003). While all students possess specic learning style preferences, study skills and
habits, and personality types that affect the ways in which they best approach learning situations,
students born outside the United States bring varied and complex experiences from their home
countries into frequently unfamiliar learning situations.
The experiences that immigrant and F-1 students bring into the classroom may manifest as
problems or as enriching factors, or both. As community college educators seek to be more learnercentered in their practices, keeping the experiences and related needs and desires of internationallyborn learners in mind is an important factor to consider when planning instructional activities.
Because signicant numbers of internationally-born community college students come directly from
the K-12 schools, consideration of their experiences in those school settings is an important element
of understanding the learning needs and preferences of these students as they matriculate into the
community college system. In order to be more student-entered, it is important for educators to
have some knowledge of the educational experiences that foreign-born students bring with them

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to the classroom. This study will provide some of those perspectives by exploring the educational
experiences of ESL students at Central Piedmont Community College.

Contextual Background
Challenges Facing Immigrants
The problems that immigrant students face in American schools are complex and interrelated.
Portes and Hao (2004) analyzed data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study to
investigate contextual and individual-level effects on academic performance and school dropout. They found evidence for variables generally supported in the literature related to academic
achievement, such as positive associations of self-esteem with GPAs and high school graduation
and a strong effect of growing up with both biological parents as well as the inuence of early
ambition on educational outcomes. They also found, however, that school-class-composition SES
interacted with family SES serving to compound the advantages of children from privileged backgrounds. Longer lengths of U.S. residence for Mexican students were found to be related to
lower academic performance, regardless of school context. Mexican-origin students also display
a greater propensity to drop out in high-SES schools. The students nd it difcult to confront
the competitive school environments, which seem to make their own academic handicaps more
visible and subjects them to greater discrimination by others. These ndings are consistent with
barriers identied in work with Latino immigrants, though the barriers are also experienced by
other groups of immigrants. In fact, six factors were identied by Bohon, Macpherson, and Atiles
(2005) as educational barriers for Latinos: (1) lack of understanding of the school system in the
United States, (2) low parental involvement, (3) lack of residential stability, (4) lack of school support addressing students needs, (5) few incentives for continuing education, and (6) barred access
to higher education.
An alarming byproduct of these conditions is the low representation of Mexican-American
students in the math/science pipeline or their access to the math and science curricula of secondary
schools (Crosnoe, Lopez-Gonzalez, & Muller, 2004). Students who do not persist in mathematics and science course offerings or have low achievement are less likely to enter post-secondary
educational opportunities and the resulting higher status and higher paying elds of employment.
Mathematics and science has long been viewed as a pipeline to matriculation into higher education
institutions. Crosnoe et. al. (2004) found that Mexican-American students had lower math and science enrollments than other peers and lower achievement when enrolled in such classes. The science
curriculum seldom considers the importance of language development (Pugalee, 2007; Lee, 2005;
Wellington & Osborne, 2001), and immigrant students experiences may be discontinuous with
Western science traditions with those experiences that could serve as intellectual resources being
marginalized from school science. Setati (2005) found that in order for second language students to
be successful, it was important for the home language to be regarded as legitimate and to be used
in a range of mathematical discourses and assessment. These studies highlight important issues in
considering how to adapt instruction so that it provides a positive environment recognizing the experiences and cultures of students. Adaptations of curriculum and assessment are essential to provide
contexts for extending students understanding of course content while also providing more accurate
measures of their academic abilities.

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The Nature of Challenges in Educational Settings

Though there is substantive documentation identifying the academic disparities for immigrant
children, few studies address specic issues that help identify possible interventions for these individuals. Students who come to the United States are often accustomed to a different classroom
environment and may lack the skills to relate with the teachers and other students during class
(McLaughlin, Liljestrom, Lim & Meyers, 2002). Teachers in this study, set in a community in
Georgia, identied three stumbling blocks for immigrant students: (1) an inappropriate curriculum, (2) lack of curricular resources appropriate for the students, and (3) their communication with
the students. These important issues were identied through the perspective of parents, students,
and teachers.
Parents, for example, reported that they appreciated the attempts at keeping them informed,
but also shared that they often did not understand the information. Parents also expressed concerns
about homework where students did not seem to understand how to do it or when it seemed easier
than work they would be given in their home countries.
Students also expressed concern about communication. Students frequently felt that they missed
out on important information because it was often presented too quickly, such as in announcements
on the schools public address system. Students also identied communication with parents, who
have difculty reading and speaking English, about homework.
Educators in the study stated that immigrant children tended to have more respect for teachers.
Several teacher-held beliefs about immigrant life emerged from the interviews: immigrants come
from horrible depraved backgrounds, the educational systems in the home countries is less advanced,
parents lack an educational ethic, and parents are unable or unwilling to speak English at home.
Similarly, McBrien (2005) in a review of the literature on refugee students reported that cultural
misunderstandings can result in prejudice and discrimination, and that such victims can experience
lasting effects on their self-perception, social interactions, motivation, and achievement. Such views
are evidenced in teachers selection of tasks and questions characterized by unchallenging cognitive demand reinforced through lling in blanks and supplying factual information (Haneda, 2008).
Complicating the impact from how such views play out in instructional settings, Fuligni and Fuligni
(2007) posit that the mismatch between immigrant parents belief systems and mainstream educational systems limits their integration into the educational experiences of their children further
compounding difculties of these students in educational settings.
There are several areas where schools can effectively address factors that are central to the
positive educational attainment of second language learners. For example, Meyer (2000) identied four loads as barriers to meaningful instruction for second language learners. Cognitive load
refers to the number of concepts embedded in a lesson underscoring the need to assess students
prior knowledge and experiences. Secondly, the culture load refers to the relationship between
language and culture underscoring the importance of considering the cultural knowledge required
to understand content or participate in an activity. Language load refers to the level of unfamiliar
words encountered in text or other learning activities stressing the importance of teachers awareness of sentence complexity and the use of academic vocabulary. Learning load refers to teachers
expectations relative to the use of English in activities emphasizing the need to assist students in
using language more effectively and moving them to more academic levels of speaking and writing.
The learning load refers to teachers expectations related to students ability to be successful on
academic tasks.

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Challenges in Higher Education

There is evidence that American community colleges and universities have overlooked international
students needs as learners (Lee & Rice, 2007; Noguero, 2006). Many international students
are not satised with their educational experiences. This dissatisfaction negatively affects their
academic performances. When students report positive and preferred experiences, they engage
in the academic process and are more connected with it. Negative experiences are expressed in
terms of disengagement and lack of connection (Pinheiro, 2001). Educators have to be aware of
the needs of their international students in order to improve their offerings to better serve this
Adult international studentsa signicant population within community collegesare
less exible to new and unfamiliar educational environments than their younger counterparts.
Buttaro (2004) found that adult ESL learners face great problems in controlling linguistic rules
and applications in multiple situations while also trying to deal with the shock of living in a new
cultural environment. It has been recommended that this group of students should be exposed
to periods of adjustment, in which students take English classes, are given cultural orientations,
and receive peer support in order to help them transition into the new educational environment
(Huntley, 1993).
Newcomers to the educational system in the United States who take an active role in cultural
networks are able to make sense of the mechanisms of the new environment, therefore immersing
themselves into the host environment. Individuals make the ultimate decision to understand and
adapt to the new culture (Okoli, 1994). Ethnic backgrounds of international students seem to
inuence their engagement, satisfaction, and gains. Some international students nd it difcult to
adapt to customs of American society due to conicts with their personal and cultural identities.
Zhao, Kuh, and Carini (2005) studied the degree in which international students participate in
effective educational practices concluding that, in general, international students are more engaged
in educational activities than American students.
Research has identied some effective tools in addressing this disconnect. Krishnan and Hoon
(2002) conducted a study to determine the usefulness of diaries to international students. Diary
entries of students from multi-cultural backgrounds can inform teachers and course developers on
ways of improving the educational environment. The voices of the students may help educators
understand the needs and fears of their international students. These voices can make educators
aware of the learning agendas of the students. Students can be involved in the learning process by
making decisions about materials, learning tasks, and course offerings. Diary entries could also help
students express their feelings about conicts with other students. Finding ways to hear the voices
of these students often falls to the faculty members who work with them. Given the complexities
and difculties of adapting to new educational environments, the use of diaries and other tools are
essential if the needs of students are to be understood and addressed.
Despite the solid research foundation that is being established with adult English Language
Learners, Mathews-Aydinli (2008) in her survey of current research trends concludes that the adult
ELL population continues to be under-tapped. She continues that the adult population negotiates issues related to culture and language every day. Adult language learners identities are more
entrenched than young students raising the relevance of understanding the daily conicts between
their prior identities as students in their home countries and the cultural and academic identities that
are resulting as adult students in the US.

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The Current Study

The current study explores educational experiences of adult academic ESL students providing
student voices for the benet of educators working with internationally born college students. The
sample consisted of students who were screened to determine that they had completed a minimum of
ve years of education in their home countries. Fifty nine students participated in the study. The age
range of students was 16 to 43. Students countries of origin included India, Angola, Bolivia, Mexico,
Mali, Vietnam, Colombia, Venezuela, Japan, Kosovo, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Dominican Republic,
Peru, Rumania, Russia, Afghanistan, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Korea. The
ratio of female to male students was two-to-one. The International Student Enrollment at CPCC for
20052006 was 6,321, representing 159 countries of origin.

Design of the Study

The study consisted of two phases: a survey phase involving two classes of adult academic ESL students at Central Piedmont Community College in spring 2006 and an interview phase involving two
different sections of adult academic ESL students at the beginning of the summer term 2006. The
total number of classroom members surveyed was 19 in the rst phase and 40 in the second phase.
The rst phase involved written surveys. Written surveys were selected instead of interviews
because students in these two classrooms had limited oral English skills. The use of written surveys would provide a greater opportunity for all students to share their views. The survey questions
were open-ended, allowing students to respond freely and instinctively. The questions included the
What are the main differences between the way your teachers taught in your home country
and the way your teachers teach here in the United States?
What things do you like about the education system in your country?
What do you like about the education system in the United States?
In your opinion, how should a good teacher teach?
The surveys were administered to two different sections of Academic English as a Second Language
classes at Central Piedmont Community College at the beginning of Spring Term 2006. Participation
in the survey was voluntary, and responses to the surveys were anonymous.
The second phase used interviews to further explore the adult academic ESL students perceptions about teaching in their home countries and in the United States. These were different students
from the ones who completed the written surveys in phase one. The two interview groups were
chosen because they represented two differing levels of English language prociency. It was deemed
desirable to interview groups at the lower and higher prociency levels because students at the lower
levels of prociency have generally had less time in the United States and are, therefore, less accustomed to the educational system in the United States. The interviews were conducted to provide
additional depth to the data from the students written responses obtained during phase one. The
results from the written survey allowed for the identication of themes which were then integrated
into questions used during the group interviews. Both group interview sessions lasted 30 minutes.
Two group interviews were conducted in early June 2006. A total of forty students participated in
the interviews: fourteen in group one and twenty-six in group two. Fourteen adult students enrolled

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in a Listening/Speaking IV class at CPCC participated in the rst interview. The Academic English
as a Second Language program at CPCC is divided into four skill-based areas: grammar, listening/
speaking, reading, and composition. The students interviewed were enrolled in the fourth of ve
levels of listening/speaking, meaning that they had either completed the previous level (Listening/
Speaking III) or placed into the course via placement testing. Students at this level are generally able
to produce speech in English that is adequate to answer complex questions relating to subjects with
which they are familiar. The interview was conducted during regular class time, with the approval
of the instructor. Because the purpose of the course is to help students improve their listening and
speaking skills, the instructor said that he felt the interview process would offer a good opportunity
for students to practice their speaking skills.
A second group interview was conducted at Central Piedmont Community College later in
the summer. The participants were 26 adult students enrolled in the Academic English as a Second
Language Program at CPCC. The class chosen to participate in this group interview was a Listening
and Speaking III course (EFL 063). Students who enroll in this course have either completed
Listening and Speaking II (EFL 062) or have been placed in level III (EFL 063) via an in-house
placement exam. The interviewers explained to the participants the purpose of the interview, their
reason for using a tape recorder, and their reason for taking notes. The interviewers explained the
protocol, and asked the students to raise their hands whenever they wanted to answers the questions.
Students were also asked to provide the following information before giving their answer: 1. Highest
level of formal education completed in home country, and 2. Highest level of formal education
completed in the United States. Some of the participants individually answered the questions of the
interviewer. Other participants either answered chorally or agreed with the responses given by the
other students. The students who individually answered the questions included female students from
Romania, Russia, Vietnam, Columbia, Ecuador, and Venezuela; and male students from Afghanistan,
Venezuela, Vietnam, Congo, and Colombia.
At the start of the interview session, the purpose of the interview was explained to the participants,
why it was being recorded, and why notes were going to be taken during the interview. It was also
explained that though their answers to the questions would be recorded, their individual identities
would remain anonymous and that the aggregated results of the session would be used in faculty
training sessions at CPCC that would be designed to enhance faculty members understanding of
their international students prior educational experiences and, by extension, their expectations
regarding the CPCC educational environment and practices. Students were asked to raise their
hands whenever they wanted to give answers to the questions. They were asked to state the name of
their home country, the highest level of formal education completed in their home country, and the
highest level of formal education completed in the United States before starting their answers to the
questions. In some instances, after noting patterns in student answers, the entire group was asked to
respond in unison by raising hands for agreement, to get a comprehensive response.
The primary interview question was: What are the main differences between the way your teachers taught in your home country and the way your teachers teach here in the United States? Students
were asked for clarication when necessary and were also asked follow-up questions based on their
responses. The interview session lasted for 30 minutes.

Data Analysis
The data from the surveys and interviews was analyzed qualitatively using comparative methods.
The written surveys were collected and analyzed prior to the phase two interviews. This allowed

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the researchers to use the interviews as a tool for adding descriptive richness to the initial data. The
taped records of the interview sessions were transcribed within 24 hours of the group interview.
Written notes taken by a co-researcher were used to enhance interpretation of the transcript of the
The researchers coded the responses by categorizing the themes that emerged through analysis
of the answers given by the students. Responses were qualitatively analyzed and coded to identify
common themes and categories among the responses based on the homogeneity and heterogeneity
of the data (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2006). In order to support reliability, the authors used triangulation and debrieng. The authors engaged in briengs to discuss the students responses to both the
surveys and the group interviews during both phases of the study. The debriengs provided a check
on the emerging themes from the data analysis and allowed the researchers to discuss their individual
categorizations and resolve any differences in categories or themes.

Findings and Discussion

The ndings are organized into rst phase written surveys and second phase interviews. Within each
of these sections, ndings are presented and discussed. This organization will allow the data from
the rst phase to serve as a launching point for building on those ideas with the ndings from the
interviews. The discussion also highlights commonalities across all participants. The presentation
provides a voice for the participants to share their perspectives about their educational experiences
with a focus on informing educators so that they better understand the identities that adult English
language learners bring to the community college classroom.

Phase One: Surveys

The authors identied the central focus of this study as the perceived differences between the educational system in the United States and the educational systems in the home countries of the participants. The three primary themes to emerge from the responses to the surveys were instructors
approaches to teaching, educational environments, and available educational resources i.e. Each of
these themes is discussed in the following sections.

Instructors Approaches to Teaching

To the question about the main differences between the way teachers teach in the United States and
in the students home countries, four students of the total of 19 surveyed reported that they did not
nd any major differences. A student from Venezuela said, They are very similar. The only different
that I can nd is that in my country we usually used to write in notebooks more than book, but I think
using the books is a good idea and good way to study. A student from Costa Rica said, None. In my
country university teachers are as same demanding than here. The only difference is the language.
A student from Kosovo added, There is not much of a difference between the teachers from my
country and at the United States.
Some students reported that the main differences were that in their home countries teachers are
closer to the students. In Mexico teachers prefer be near students. Some students think that teachers in their country are better prepared to teach, like this student from Colombia, . . . and also the
education in my country has higher level.

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Students from a variety of nations and continents reported that teachers in their home countries
are more demanding, stricter, and assign more homework than their counterparts in the U.S. Another
student from Colombia added, The teachers in my country are more strict than here in the United
States. The teachers from my country leave more homeworks than the teachers in the U.S. A third
student from Colombia agreed that . . . the teachers from Colombia demand more in academic level
but lack to the necessary work tools for the students [classroom materials] while the education of
USA is good.
Responses also provided some powerful ideas about what constitutes a good teacher. In the
opinion of a student from Colombia, teachers should be interesting in teach well, not just for
the salary. Help to improve our English, because many teachers dont correct the students. In the
words of a student from Bolivia, with creativity reaching the necessities of each student encourage them to do better each day. Students also said that a good teacher should be able to change
according to the circumstances. A student from Peru added, . . . in my opinion, a good teacher
should teach in an active way; that is that the teacher should make a few jokes as he gives the class or
do something else that makes the class interesting and the students happy and more willing to keep
studying. Of course, the teacher should always follow or go along with the study program. Students
thought that teachers in the United States care about their students problems, as indicated by this
student from Peru, The education system in the United States is very interesting because, especially in the classes Ive been taking (ESL), the teachers give you opportunities to learn more and
understand your problems regarding to your studies. In addition, they encourage you and enhance
your learning.
Finally, students indicated that they perceive a good teacher to be someone who teaches clearly,
is natural, gives tools to the students for them to learn, is interested in teaching, is helpful, does not
waste time, analyzes and prepares for class, is demanding, uses technology, is understanding and
available to students, encourages students to learn, assigns homework, is creative, helps students
understand, is exible, and is entertaining. According to a student from Kosovo, a good teacher
should, Be natural, explain, gives a lot of examples, and [not] being frustrated when a student is
confused and want some answers.

Learning Environments
Students expressed varied ideas about their perceptions of classroom environments in the U.S.
According to several respondents, teachers in the United States have a sense of humor. Teachers
here . . . humor, reported a student from Vietnam while a student from Bolivia reported, In U.S.A
there is better programs and methods in the schools they give the opportunity to improve to your own
pace. In Bolivia, we dont even have qualify teachers and the programs are very poor. Respondents
added that teachers in the U.S. engage students in class discussions and group work. Teachers in the
U.S. let students express their opinions. A student from India captured this idea, Here is good. We
can do group work here so, well know about others opinion about topic. A student from Japan said
that a big difference in teaching styles between teachers in his country and in the United States is
that American style is do argument and discuss a lot. My home country is not common do argument
in class.
Several respondents said that there is a different educational environment, and that education is
more affordable at home. A student from Mali commented that the education system are different
but I like because it cheap. Several students agreed with comments such as, The price are better
and, It is cheaper. The students made these comments regarding better pricing of higher education

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in their home countries, even though as of Spring Term 2008, Community college tuition in North
Carolina is the lowest in the United States, totaling $672 per semester for 16 or more credit hours.
Students indicated that they are often assigned more readings in the home countries or, as
expressed by a student from Kosovo, I had to read a lot. Teachers teach well and encourage their
students to perform. According to a student from Colombia, The education system in my country
encourage the students to do their best. Some believed that there is a better teaching methodology
in their home countries. A student from Peru said, I think I like the active way the teachers teach;
that is, they make the classes vivid and interesting by making the students laugh and having fun with
the classes while they learn. As in every school, the teachers in my country also follow the study program as well. A student from Venezuela said, They were always using different technics. Some of
them were: Presentations. Work with group. Debate. Sometimes students prepare the introduction
of the classes. Homework were teachers check them instead of the students.
Some students indicated that teachers in their home countries are creative and capable, the class
material is more demanding, classes are harder, and students and teachers share the same standards of
living. According to a student from Angola, Easy way to communicate and comprehension between
both part (teachers and students) because we have almost the same standard of life. A student from
Colombia reported, The education system in my country encourage the students to do their best.
The education system is harder than here. Asked about the things that this student from Venezuela
likes about the education system in his/her country, the student replied, A high level. The methodologic. The teachers capacity. Cheaper than the education in the United States. The teachers
demand. A student from Colombia added, We learn about alternative and creative forms to do
or learn more. Another student from Colombia said, The education is good. The teachers are
interesting in teach well. The teachers are exacting. The price are better. The level is better. The
Students identied many things they like about the higher education environment in the United
States. Among these were the system of study allowing them to move faster from one level to the
next, classes being easy, more opportunities for students to pursue the education they want, the ability to choose their own schedule instead of having a prescribed one, exibility of the educational
system in general, and that resources, teachers, and information are available to all students, not
just a select few. A student from Mali indicated a preference for, Computers and fast education you
dont have wait for the year to move to the next level. A student from Kosovo liked the education
system in the United States because of its system of studying. Tests that we do almost every chapter,
because you can study that chapter without being frustrated. In my country they did not have those
test in between only the nal tests at the end. It is easier to study chapter than the whole textbook.
A student from Costa Rica wrote, Teachers (in the United States) are more careful about discrimination issues, tone and words use, because legal consequences. Therefore, the treat is even better.
A student from the Dominican Republic likes the education system in the U.S. because We can do
our own schedule.

Educational Resources
A third theme centered on educational resources though the number of responses was not as large as
for the other two themes. Students responded that in the community colleges in the United States,
books, and computer programs are readily available, students have easy access to computers, there
are more labs available to the students, technology is more advanced, facilities such as libraries and
classrooms are newer and more accessible, and scholarships are available to students. A student from

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Angola noted that positive things in the U.S. community college include, Good facilities, quality
of education, competency of teachers, easy way to get information (libraries, bookstore, computer
webpage, learning center). Also the availability of teachers was offered as a resource. A student
from Ecuador added, The teacher is thinking how to have better classes. Gave us support not only
in classes, books and home work also by internet and email.
Good teaching was also identied with using resources. A student from Colombia gave her opinion about good teachers, They must have a excellent preparation. Each teacher must teach the subject that they know very well. They must prepare each class. They must demand with the students.
They must use all the CPCC [Central Piedmont Community College] tools much as language lab,
computers, video tapes and CD programs.

Follow-up Group Interviews

In line with the ndings from phase one, the researchers posed a general open-ended question to
elicit descriptions regarding the interviewees perceptions of the differences between the way teachers in their home countries teach to teachers in the United States. The following research question
guided the group interviews: What are the main differences between the way teachers taught in the
students home country and the way teachers teach here in the United States?, The participants in
the rst group interview were considered to have a low to low-intermediate level of prociency in
English. Their vocabulary in English was limited, and their answers were in most instances short and
concise. The prociency level of the students who participated in the second group interview was
higher, at the intermediate level. The analysis of the responses from the two classes revealed three
themes: teaching approaches, dynamics of the teachers/student relationship, and the general structure and focus of curricula. Each of these themes is discussed in the following sections.

Teaching Approaches
The students were universal in their expression of the perception that teachers in their home countries lecture more than teachers in the United States. The teachers in Korea stand in front [of the
class] and talk. Students write notes. Not like here. Here is more chance for student to say some
things, commented a male student. The same student characterized the teaching approach he has
experienced at CPCC to be a lot of activities as compared to the approach he experienced in
A female student indicated that the difference in teaching style in Colombia is to listen to me
the teachers want the students to listen to them, so the students dont talk as much. This student
had completed a masters degree in journalism in Colombia. She said that even in her masters level
classes, the teaching approach was the same. The teachers would talk and the students would listen.
Some [teachers] were different, but most [classroom instruction] was just talking.
A female student from the Democratic Republic of Congo who earned a bachelors degree in
sociology at home and a masters degree in education in Italy indicated that while teacher-centered,
lecture is the norm in secondary school and higher education in her home country, which is not the
case in primary school there. In primary school, the teachers use lectures, examples, and in natural
science you have to see animals and how they live or if you study trees, you have to go see the trees
and the teacher is explaining to you these things. She said that primary school is very participatory in
the Democratic Republic of Congo, but that things change when students continue on to secondary
school. When you get to the secondary school, the education is higher. You have to use books, and
the teacher explains, and sometimes you have to close the books and repeat. So education is to learn

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and help achieve and memorize and to write. The idea expressed by this student suggests that, in her
home country, experiential learning is seen as something that is good for children but not advanced
enough for older, more sophisticated students who are capable of learning in a highly structured,
teacher-centered environment.
When the same student went to Italy to work on her masters degree, she found the preferred teaching approaches of her instructors to be very different from that she experienced in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. When I was in Italy, the difference was so big, she said. Its more
like here in the United States. Before I went to Italy, I was in a university in my country, and it was a
big difference. In Italy, the teachers talk some, but then they give homework and lab work . . . I think
it is the same here in USA . . . [where] they leave you to study on your own. At home the teacher
directed more.
Most of the participants expressed concern that they did not know what to expect when they
enrolled in a U.S. institution of higher learning. A student from Afghanistan said, The way they
study in their country is different in here. They dont have the habit in class to talk; they are strict
to the teacher and the students and even student not able to talk. When they are coming here they
dont have the habit. Okay, lets try something; it is different. My idea a class introduction for foreign
students, two weeks, maybe one week, about this is the way in the United States. How they can be to
pick a teacher and how they can do the class.
Participants seemed to like the student-centered approach used by their teachers in the United
States. A student from Russia said, What I like here the teachers are very welcome to me and they
pay attention for each student that they can explain a lot to you and every time they have time for
me. A student from Vietnam talked about the teacher-centered approach that the teachers use in
his home country: In my country, teachers just talk, students just listen. A student from Venezuela
added, I like school here because teachers pay attention. A student from Ecuador also said that the
teachers in his home country are more teacher-centered: the teacher talking more . . . The best
example of the perception of the differences in teaching style came from a student from Colombia
who said, The children ask for help and when they say you dont understand good the subject then
you repeat. You do this, do this again. But in my country they dont get but one. Students indicated
that they way teachers teach in the United States is more conducive to learning and that teachers in
the United States pay attention to their students needs. A student from Vietnam added, Thats a
problem. In my country, teachers just talk, students just listen; no need to research. I just talk, talk,
talk and they are afraid to answer, listen, and they think thats right. Everything its different here,
much research.
Only two students expressed a preference for the more teacher-focused, lecture-oriented style
of teaching they said exists in their home countries. One female student from Vietnam said that the
lecture-oriented style of teaching she experienced in her home country was easier to follow than the
more group work oriented approach that she has experienced in the United States. If a teacher give
the lecture, I would get the main idea from the lecture. Then can give us some practice more from
lecture. She noted that she likes lectures that emphasize the main points. Also, give me a handout,
so I can study later.
While the majority but not all of the students interviewed said they prefer the less teachercentered approach that they have found in classrooms in the United States over the more teachercentered lecture approach favored in their home countries, the group members were unanimous in
saying that the teacher-centered approach was the dominant approach to teaching in their home
countries. Teachers in the United States who are working with international students may want to be
aware of the kind of classroom instruction to which their students are accustomed.

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As might be expected from a group of students indicating a preference for less teacher-centered
classroom instruction, the interviewees who addressed the dynamics of teacher/student relationships
in the classroom expressed a preference for teachers who they perceive as warm, open, friendly, and
caring. The teachers [in the United States] are like real people, said one student from Congo, not
so much like authoritarians who do not care. A student from Peru made a similar comment, indicating that while she felt her college instructors in Peru were well-qualied and were good teachers,
here [in the United States] the teachers are more open with the students. You feel they care more.
A Korean student commented, In the United State[s], there is more conversation with each other
teacher and student.

Dynamics of the Teacher/Student Relationship

A student from Ecuador indicated that her college instructors there were equally friendly and warm
to those she has encountered in the United States. I think also teachers in my country in college can
be good with the students. There are more students in college classes in Ecuador. I have excellent
teachers [in Ecuador] but they cant always have time for students. One student from Congo said
that teachers who are more stern and distant from students are that way because it was the way they
were taught to teach. Several other students nodded in agreement.
The students who participated in this group interview also described their teachers in terms of
the perceptions that they had about their teachers personalities. The adjectives the students used to
describe their teachers indicated that the students perceived that their teachers personalities were
also related to their teaching style. A student from Vietnam described his teachers here as not serious; different, different, the teachers open, friendly. This perception of the teachers personality is
an indication that the instructors are more informal in the classroom, and that they are less strict
than the teachers in Vietnam. The same student added, . . . the teacher in America act up, like wild,
make me not sleepy . . . Here, good. I like teacher here. According to this student, teachers in his
country are very dull. This statement indicates that in the experience of the student, teachers in
the United States are more dynamic and keep their students interested in the subject they teach.
A student from Congo said that in his opinion teachers in his country are mean and not friendly like
here because, When they teach they dont give you time to explain, like to, they dont give you a
chance to ask questions. This student added that he likes it better here because the teacher help
you . . . A student from Russia commented that what I like here the teachers are very welcome
to me and they pay attention for each student and they can explain a lot to you and every time they
have time for me.

General Structure and Focus of Curricula

The third theme to emerge in the students comments relates to the structure and focus of course
curricula as they have experienced them in the United States and in their home countries. Students
who included such ideas in their comments sometimes noted a difference in curricular focus arising from what they perceive as a more pragmatic bent to educational curricula in the United States.
Here the education is more practical, said one student from Congo. Everything is new, current. In
Congo, even in college, everything was out of date and nobody cared. The books were maybe from
the 1950s and the lessons were the same thing over and over. It was not practical. I like the way that
education is practical here. Later, the same student continued, In Congo, school is not about life.
It is about school.

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A Korean student noted that educational curricula in his home country are not highly focused
on real world issues, saying, In Korea, student wants to get a high score. Thats all he wants to do.
In America, the student wants to get real [applications], and the teacher wants that.
The overriding message for instructors seems to be that these students, from a variety of countries, generally prefer to play active roles in their own educations, including a preference for class
participation. They dislike the approach of instructors who are authoritarian in the classroom. They
do not like a teaching format that is primarily based on lecture. They want instructors to be warm
and personable and to approach them as individuals, not as a classroom full of students who are all
the same. They want curricula to focus on real world skills and issues that will help them in life, and
they do not want to waste time on outdated, irrelevant material.
A student from Afghanistan said that a difference that he noticed here in the United States was
that each subject is a different class with a teacher. When studying grammar its with a specialty
teacher. In his home country . . . its in the same class and study the same things in one class, grammar, subjects, punctuation, everything in one class but here everything is separated into individual . . .
As I said before the classes are just especially for speaking so the teacher which is the topic high quality teacher, is always trying to give us what she can. If only the topic calls for speaking then you get
speaking. Students from Vietnam and Venezuela said that in their respective countries, you learn
with everything else and that here I can take one class, two classes, so I dont have too much stress,
too much pressure. A student from the Colombia said that here the classes are every day. Students
in general seemed to think that it was possible to learn more by having separate classes for each skill.
The participants in this group interview were able to express their opinions and perceptions
about the main differences between the way teachers taught in their home countries and the way
teachers teach in the United States. They answered the questions and expanded to include what
they liked about their Academic English as a Second Language classes at CPCC. The major themes
that emerged from the interview were the teaching styles of the instructors, the students perceptions of their teachers personalities related to the way the teachers teach. The participants insisted
on comparing the way ESL classes are structured at CPCC to the ways they are structured in their
home countries. They said that they liked the way the courses are offered at CPCC because they
felt that each teacher was an expert in one subject. This can also be considered a teaching approach
since teachers only have to focus on teaching one subject at a time. In general, Academic English as a
Second Language students at CPCC reported that their academic ESL teachers in the United States
encourage student interaction in the classroom, and that their instructors take into account students
learning styles when teaching.

Conclusion and Suggested Research

The educational background of the adult academic ESL students at CPCC is varied. Some students
seek admission to college programs. Other students wish to learn English and plan to return to their
home countries after nishing their English classes. Another group of students already holds college degrees. These students are trying to improve their language skills so they can have better jobs.
Students with different needs and goals end up in the same classroom. Another variable that needs
to be taken into consideration is that ESL students come from a variety of countries and bring their
experiences to the classroom. Education systems around the world differ in the way they approach
instruction and in the level of interaction among teachers and students in the classroom setting.

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When these students start attending college in the United States, they start noticing the differences
and similarities in the ways they receive instruction. Some students complain that their teachers here
do not teach because they use teaching techniques and teaching approaches that do not involve lecturing, but that include small group work and are student-centered.
Cooperative and collaborative learning are effective strategies that are often used in the ESL
classroom. Collaborative learning allows students to work in small groups. Students working in
small groups feel less intimidated to participate so they engage in discussions with their peers and
are encouraged to share their experiences. Cooperative learning stimulates students interests in
one anothers learning. Students take responsibility for their classmates learning (Reyes & Fletcher,
2003). Student-centered instruction includes student collaboration in the learning process, and providing support for students.
Students born abroad come to the community college learning environment with educational
experiences that vary more widely than those of United States-born students. As the literature review
for this study indicates, even internationally-born students who have completed some of their K-12
education in the United States have signicantly different educational backgrounds than native-born
students. Those students who come to the community college having completed their secondary
educations (or beyond) in countries other than the United States can often point out a myriad of
differences between the way courses are taught in their home countries and the way they are taught
in the United States. The researchers conducting this study found it signicant that one component
of the students educational experience in community college that they found most helpful was their
instructors use of active learning strategies. Also signicant was the frequent observation that teachers in the students academic ESL courses appear to care more for the students as individuals than
do instructors in their home countries. Still, it is noteworthy that a small minority of the students
had negative reactions to the same qualities, indicating that the more personal, less strictly structured
approach favored by their community college instructors was perceived as less serious or harder
for them to follow than the more traditional lecture and note-taking formula used in their home
Based on the results of the survey and group interview processes used in this study, the researchers recommend that community college and other post-secondary faculty members working with
internationally-born students become more aware of the characteristics of prior educational experiences of these students, which can vary signicantly from those of native-born college students.
Additionally, based on the researchers personal experiences (as both instructors and learners) in
post-secondary academic disciplines other than academic ESL, it is important to note that collegelevel ESL instructors tend to be more learner-centered as a group than instructors in many other
disciplines. As is the case with most native-born students in the United States, the vast majority of
these internationally-born students (many of whom report that they come from strict lecture and
note-taking educational environments in their home countries) express a clear preference for active
learning activities.
The results of this study informed the development of a training series for faculty teaching in the
CPCC Academic ESL program. Part time faculty members were paid to attend the training, which
was conducted by full time faculty from the program and which focused on adapting classroom
practices to better meet the needs of students. In addition to sharing and discussing the information
gleaned from this study, faculty members strategized and shared ideas regarding how to best address
the learning preferences of students. Faculty awareness and education are critical in addressing the
needs of foreign-born students.

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A suggestion for further research on this topic arises from the nding that the majority of
students had a preference for active learning environments. How would internationally-born students compare their post-secondary experiences outside of academic ESL to their previous educational experiences in their home countries? Based on the results of this study, one would guess this
would depend on the type of learning activities (active) and environments (personally supportive)
provided by their instructors. The students voices provided us with their perspectives, reservations,
and hopes that can inform our practice and promote a positive learning community that embraces
our international students.

The Authors
Dr. Clint McElroy is Dean for Retention Services at Central Piedmont Community College
(CPCC) in Charlotte, NC. He earned his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Urban Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He chairs CPCCs
Retention Committee, a cross-functional group which focuses on improving student retention, and
also its cross-functional Student Intake Steering Committee, which focuses on improving student
intake processes. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Activity Director for a federal Title III Improving
Institutions grant project focusing on improving retention of students entering the College who
placed into two or more developmental courses. The success of the CPCC Title III activity in positively inuencing student retention has resulted in teams from several colleges from across the
United States visiting CPCC to learn about the implementation of the project and how it might be
duplicated on their own campuses. The organization of the CPCC Title III activity was highly crossfunctional, requiring substantial interaction among the Colleges Instructional, Student Services, and
Information Technology Services units.
Dr. David Pugalee is Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where
he serves as Director of the Center for Mathematics, Science, & Technology Education. He earned
his Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He
taught at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels before moving into higher education. His list
of publications includes research articles in Educational Studies in Mathematics and School Science
and Mathematics. His works include several books and book chapters published by the National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics. In addition, he has published two books on communication
and mathematics: Writing to Develop Mathematical Understanding, and Developing Mathematical and
Scientic Literacy. His research focuses on the relationship between language and mathematics teaching and learning.
Dr. Edith Valladares is Dean for the Levine Campus at Central Piedmont Community College
(CPCC). This appointment includes management responsibility for the Foreign Languages, Academic ESL, Business, English, and Social/Behavioral Sciences areas. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum
and Instruction and a masters degree in English as a Second Language from the University of North
Carolina at Charlotte. She began her teaching career as a Spanish Associate for the CharlotteMecklenburg Schools. She was a Spanish Lecturer at UNC Charlotte for eight years and has been
a full time faculty member at CPCC since 1997, being selected as the recipient of the Ed OHerron
Fellows Award for Teaching Excellence in the year 2000. Through her work at CPCC, Edith has
been able to positively impact a broad range of community service providers by developing and

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instituting a variety of language and cultural training opportunities. These include: area hospitals,
law enforcement agencies, the Federal Reserve Bank, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and city
employees. She frequently contributes as a writer or editor on nationally and internationally
published textbooks.

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h te

English Language Learners Literacy

or Liberty: Must
They Choose?
Philomena Marinaccio-Eckel

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, English language learners (ELL) are the most rapidly
growing population in U.S. schools (Cosentino de Cohen, Detering, & Clewell, 2005; Fry, 2007).
Former secretary of Education Margaret Spellings stated As our nation grows ever more diverse,
we depend on our schools to ensure that future generations have the knowledge and skills to succeed (U.S. Department of Education, 2006, p. 1). However statistics suggest that, despite ongoing
legislation since the 1960s, public schools are not meeting the needs of ELL students (Allington,
2004; MacDonald, 2004). Is hope on the horizon? The Obama administration has requested innovative approaches to literacy learning and assessment of ELL students under Race to the Top (RTTP)
guidelines. This chapter describes an ethical summer term curriculum with culturally responsive
teaching practices, quality childrens literature, and appropriate assessments that focus on the unique
set of challenges faced by ELL students.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, disseminated through Reading First schools, may
have resulted in a setback to previous progress that occurred under the Title VII Bilingual Education
Elementary provisions of the Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Much has been written about concerns
that this legislation maybe putting ELL students at risk (Allington, 2003, 2004; Corn, 2006; Gibbony,
2008; and Levitt, 2008). It seems the consequential one-size-ts-all curriculum has increased an institutional risk factor that contributes to the achievement gap. Current federal legislation may be creating
classroom environments that hold back the academic achievement of ELL students and discourage
participation in a federally legislated reading curriculum by students not deemed ready (Yoon, 2007).

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In 2005, NCLB data indicated that ELL students were farthest behind in state test scores. In
2005, at 4th and 8th grades respectively, 73% and 71% of students in the ELL category scored below
basic in reading (Fry, 2007). White, Black, and Hispanic students at grades 4 and 8 scored higher on
more recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing, only the WhiteBlack
gap at grade 4 was smaller than in earlier years (Lee, Grigg, & Donahue, 2007). Ongoing ndings
corroborate that there is an immediate and unrelenting discrepancy between ELL students and their
peers (Carlo et al., 2004).
A key goal of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation is that all students are procient in
reading and writing by 2013. However, a harmful side effect of this legislation has been increased
pressure on teachers to focus on teaching to standardized tests. Although RTTP legislation, implemented by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, on the one hand, reinforces a focus on test scores
for accountability purposes and federal funding, on the other hand, has ordered public meetings that
allow experts in ELL pedagogy to contribute to a new vision of assessments that go beyond paperand-pencil testing. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the literature in regards to a national
curriculum that is responsive to teaching and testing needs of diverse student populations specically
for summer term education.
Most existing summer learning opportunities do not respond to the literacy needs of ELL students. Many schools believe remedial summer instruction of isolated skills is the answer for students
who score lowest on high stakes tests (Buchanan, 2007). Students from Florida to Philadelphia are
offered skills-oriented summer school programs in order to be promoted to the next grade after
failing high stakes tests the previous spring (Thomas, 2005). However, experts in the eld of multicultural education warn against instructional designs that are limited to teaching isolated skills.
Seminal and contemporary theorists recommend a more responsive curriculum that recognizes the
sociocultural contexts in which teaching and learning occur (Allington, 2008; Cambourne, 2001;
Gutierrez, 2006; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Vygotsky, 1986).
STAR (Summer Term Approach to Reading) was perfected over four years of research funded
by the Mary and Robert Pew foundation. STAR is comprised of a one-week intensive training for
pre- and practicing public school teachers and a three-week summer reading intervention for secondgrade through middle-school ELL students who struggle to read. Researchers studied intervention
effects on student achievement as well as ELL teachers self-efcacy of culturally relevant literature
and culturally responsive pedagogy. This university-school collaboration included three professors
with varying areas of expertise in pedagogy, two doctoral-degree candidates, graduate students from
a College of Education, and public school teachers. This dedicated team devoted themselves to making summer literacy learning fun for ELL students from an urban elementary school located in the
southeastern United States.
ELL students experienced success through this reading classroom environment that created a
third-space learning experience that was supported by rich instruction and a culturally responsive
curriculum (Mays, 2008). New English readers interest and motivation was embedded in the scaffolding formula that was used. The key principle underlying the intervention was that facilitators
made concerted attempts to learn about the culture, background, and interests of their students
(Ariza, 2006). Next, children were encouraged to choose books to read from a set of core literature texts, strategically selected by researchers that reected prior their home cultures and cultural
heroes. Noe & Johnson (1999) state that a key element in choosing literature is to offer a range of
books congruent with teacher knowledge about students abilities and interests. The selection of core
texts was a time consuming process that entailed a comprehensive and thorough search of quality

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childrens literature to come up with selections that were responsive to ELL cultural afliation and
to combat learned helplessness through bibliotherapy. Finally, inclusion of small group collaboration beneted ELL students by aiding in their transfer of knowledge from the primary to the target
Bridging the ELL-White achievement gap is an increasingly urgent challenge for schools.
Providing appropriate summer term education requires a comprehensive focus on contributing factors that consider individual, family, and institutional dynamics. The purpose of this article is to
describe the effectiveness of a summer reading intervention program that was specically designed
for ELLs and culturally diverse learners.

Review of Literature
NAEP (2007) reports indicate that providing effective instruction specically for ELL students is
of immediate urgency with consequences of national concern. Despite this ground swell of support
for appropriate instruction for ELLs, there is a lack of credible studies that focus on this topic. The
achievement gap experienced by students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and
their English-speaking peers needs to be studied beyond language differences within a broader awareness that includes cognitive, cultural, sociological, and psychological factors (Gee, 2001; Gutierrez,
2006, Ladson-Billings, 2006). A theoretical philosophy behind which literature was deemed useful to
the current study includes Gees theory of dominant and non-dominant Discourses, Vygotskys sociolinguistic theory, Krashens pleasure principle, Rosenblatts reader response theory, and Bourdieus
theory of cultural capital. A review of literature substantiates the need for the current study and
provides empirical evidence of best literacy practices for ELL learners.

Discourse Discontinuity
ELL students are less likely to buy into literacy learning when their primary Discourse and culture are absent from the curriculum (Daniel, 2007; Mays, 2008, Heath, 1983; Gee, 2001). Primary
Discourses are much more complex than being dened solely as the language of the home; they are
identity kits shared by different groups (Gee, 2001). A Discourse, according to Gee (1990) is a
socially accepted association among the ways of using language, of thinking, and of acting that can be
used to identify oneself as a member of a socially meaningful group or social network.(p. 3). ELL
literacy achievement is blocked when the primary Discourse of the home or culture is not recognized in a pedagogical approach or even in conict with the discourse of the mainstream education
institutions. There is a gap in the literature in respect to summer interventions for ELL learners that
recognize the primary discourse of ELL students and encompass the sociocultural forces at work in
the classroom environment.

Summer Slide
The summer slide is when a student loses ground in reading ability solely due to being away from
school during the summer (Lundstrom, 1999). Researchers used the analogy of a faucet to illustrate
the effects of the summer slide on low-SES students. For these students being away from school
during the summer is like turning off a valve that regulates reading experiences. Seminal research
by Heyns reports different summertime reading experiences of student by SES and race/ethnicity

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(1978). She found that students who read over the summer did better on literacy tests and that
achievement gaps widen more dependant upon demographic categories.
Longitudinal summer slide research at John Hopkins University followed 800 Baltimore public
school students who entered rst grade in 1982 until their ninth year in school. Data revealed that
the rst nine years of childrens schooling reects school-year learning while achievement after
ninth grade reects different summer learning over the elementary years (Alexander, Entwisle, &
Olson, 2007). In addition, the summer slide was found to widen the achievement gap and have even
more damaging long-term effects. The cumulative achievement gap is an average of two years by
middle school and three years by high school (Alexander, Entwistle, & Olson, 2007; Allington &
McGill-Franzen 2003; Borman & Dowling, 2006).
A 2000 Gallop Poll supports the necessity of summer reading exposure for students. Termed
the Harry Potter Divide a poll of parents found that that low-SES students read less during the
summer than their middle- and high-SES counterparts. The research suggests that summer term
instruction needs to take into consideration inequitable summer reading opportunities that put
students at risk for reading failure.

Ell Literacy Learning

The complexity of literacy instruction is especially challenging for ELL learners. However, Krashens
recommendation for ELL literacy instruction is based on a simple concept. He believes that the more
an ELL student enjoys reading the more they will read (1991). Allowing students to choose books
that that they can relate to and that they have an interest in supports pleasurable reading experiences.
Literature circles combines reading, writing, thinking, feeling, talking and taking action beyond the
obvious by encouraging students to get excited about literature while developing a community of
learners where everyones input is important and valued (Long & Gove, 2004).

Literature Circles
All literature circles share three common elements: diversity, self-choice and student initiative
(Daniels, 2001). Well planned literature circles encourage new English readers to become excited
about literature, while developing a community of learners where everyones contribution is important and valued (Long & Gove, 2004). Literature Circles have been proven to strengthen literacy skills
in ELL students and increased condence in their communication skills (Daniels, 2001). Carrison &
Ernst-Slavit found that ELL students were obliged to use authentic language for their collaborative
groups, which was then transferred to real life settings (2005). Literature circles assist ELL students
by offering them a non-threatening forum to discuss what they have read, and by encouraging them
to respond to literature more critically by encouraging students to use their personal experiences and
prior knowledge (Kong & Fitch, 2003).
Research validates the ELL-White achievement gap in reading and the need for a summer literacy intervention for ELL students. Increasing literacy experiences through a culturally appropriate
approach requires serious reection on what the student brings to the meaning of the text. The current intervention went beyond being culturally responsive in that it also activated ELL students prior
knowledge, acknowledged diverse linguistic and cultural strengths, and facilitated meaningful literacy
experiences utilizing multicultural literature selections. In sum, authentic purposes for reading and textto-self connections need to be considered when combating unequal summer reading experiences.

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Research Questions
As a result of participation in the summer reading program:

Does ELL students oral reading in context improve?

Does ELL students instructional reading level improve?
Does ELL students uency improve?
Does ELL students attitude towards reading improve?

Seventy-two (72) elementary school students participated in the STAR summer reading program.
Table 1 summarizes student descriptive statistics for grade, ethnicity, ESE classication, and gender.
Approximately one-fourth of the sample was comprised of third-grade students (26%), second and
fourth-graders represented 16%, and fth-grade students made up the nal 14% of students. Male
students 39%0 and female students (33%) represented fairly even fractions of the total sample. The
majority of the students were classied as Hispanic. Hispanic students represented more than half
the sample (58%), while African-American students made up slightly more than ten percent of the
population (13%), and there was only one student classied as white. All students of Hispanic and
African American descent were classied at some level of English language learning. Many of the new
English readers in this study included students of Guatemalan descent whose parents were employed
as migrant workers.
The at-risk criterion was determined on the basis of student performance on the Florida
Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). FCAT is a high-stakes, state mandated criterion-referenced
assessment. All students at the participating elementary school who scored either a 1 or 2 were
invited to enroll in the summer reading program. In this standardized achievement test a prociency
level of three is considered on grade level. Students for the STAR program were selected based on
the following criteria:
1. Parental approval (signed consent and assent forms).
2. Teacher Recommendation. Teachers selected participants from ESE (Exception Student
Education), ELLs (English Language Learners), and general education students.
3. FCAT Scores on the total reading portion of the test needed to be below grade level.

Eleven tutors were hired to administer the reading intervention program. Tutors were either enrolled
in the Masters Reading Degree at the participating university or taught at the participating elementary school. All teachers, except one, possessed at least a baccalaureate degree in elementary education and at least 3 years of teaching experience in local public schools. One tutor held a masters
degree in education but did not possess any teaching experience in a school setting.

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The reading intervention was administered at the students own elementary school, in six classrooms.
The school is an urban school with a capacity of serving 529 students during the regular academic
year. The majority of students at this school are of Hispanic ethnicity, 77% compared to the state
average of 22%. Most families were of low-SES evinced by 90% of the students eligible for either
free or reduced lunch, compared to the state average of 51%.

STAR was designed to include various levels of support and accountability for the elementary students, as well as the masters students and elementary school teachers who served as the tutors. STAR
was conducted during a summer session at the participating university. The targeted second-, third-,
fourth- and fth grade students attended STAR for a three-week session at the mid-point of the
graduate reading course. STAR tutors spent the rst week at the university in fast track class sessions
taught by the principal investigator. Course objectives covered administration of an informal reading inventory, strategies for teaching minority, low-SES, ELL, and ESE students, hands-on practice
in literature circles, creating literacy activities, and selecting and using culturally appropriate reading resources. The second three weeks were spent at the local elementary school site engaging in
literature circles and culturally appropriate pedagogy with their small groups of students. The 1:5
literature circle ratio was formed to allow the STAR tutors to assess and interact with the elementary
students in a more personal, individualized manner.

Data Design and Analysis

The effectiveness of STAR was examined by analyzing the pre- and post-test scores of several reading
measures. Three assessment instruments were utilized to evaluate student reading achievement and
attitude scores.

Assessment Instruments
The Qualitative Reading Inventory-4 (QRI)
The QRI examined changes in instructional reading level based on oral reading miscues and reading comprehension scores of the students (Leslie & Caudwell, 2007). Inter-rater reliability measures were found to be in the .98 range; alternate form reliability measures were in the .90 range.
Criterion-related validity was assessed using the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test. The instrument
was chosen for extraordinary components that assessed students prior knowledge of passages, and
think-aloud and retelling strategies.

Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS)

The ERAS was used to measure students attitudes about reading. Attitudes related to self as a
reader, learning to read, activity of reading, self and teacher, and self and peers were specically
measured. With reliability coefcients ranging from .74 to .89, evidence of construct validity was also

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signicant. In addition, factor analyses showed that the surveys subscales reected discrete student
attitudes towards recreational and academic reading (McKenna & Kear, 1990).

Tutor Exit Reection Survey

To document tutors pre- and post perceptions of student changes in attitude towards reading, text
vocabulary (i.e., use of vocabulary from literature read in the summer program), reading comprehension, and reading uency was designed with the assistance of six university faculty members and
three doctoral students. A rating scale of 1 to 10 was designed, with 1 representing no change and
10 representing a high degree of change.
At the end of STAR, tutors were requested to anonymously and voluntarily complete the Tutor
Exit Reection Survey. The tutors placed their reections in an envelope left on the table, which was
then picked up by one of the programs staff.

With alpha level set at .05, paired samples t-test was the method of statistical analysis performed.
This method was deemed most appropriate because the same students served as the samples for
obtaining the pre- and post-test scores.

Statistically signicant differences in pre- and posttest scores were found for all measures at a probability
level of at least .05. Results indicated that ELL students experienced statistically signicant different
classroom performance pre- and post-intervention, in the following areas: instructional reading levels,
oral reading in context, and higher reading attitude scores with the exception of fth grade.

Does ELL students instructional reading level based on oral reading improve?
STAR improved the overall outcome of students instructional reading level, based on their oral
reading miscues by 1.16 grade levels. This increase in the students oral reading abilities is statistically signicant at p < .01. However, the reading uency of second graders was not statistically signicant, although it increased by an average of 17 WPM.

Does ELL students instructional reading level based on comprehension scores

STAR improved students instructional reading levels, based on their ability to comprehend text by
an average of 1.08 grade levels. Implicit and explicit comprehension questions following students
oral reading of text passages, measured by the QRI just prior to and immediately after the reading
program, provided needed evidence. The difference in the students instructional levels of reading
comprehension is statistically signicant at p < .01.

Does ELL students uency improve?

Overall students uency increased from 81.38 words per minute to 93.75 words per minutes as a
result of the summer reading program. The difference of 12 words per minute (WPM) is statistically
signicant at p < .05.

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Does ELL students attitudes towards reading improve?

Overall ndings showed an improvement in students attitudes towards reading. Both pre and post
attitude scores in academic and recreational reading increased signicantly at a probability level of
at least .05. However, subgroup analysis at the fth grade level found that this groups increase was
not statistically signicant.

Tutor Perceptions
Tutor perceptions of students attitudes towards reading and improvement in skills such as vocabulary knowledge, reading comprehension, and reading uency all experienced statistically signicant
differences at a probability level of at least .05. These tutors perceptions about changes in students
achievement and attitudes provided triangulating data and conrmed students own ERAS reports.

Our goal was to help students become excited about reading in hopes that they will become lifelong
readers. Specically, the goal was to help improve ELL students attitudes towards reading and to
develop oral reading, comprehension, and uency skills. Overall ndings in the present study were
all statistically signicant. These ndings replicated ndings of three previous studies conducted by
the same principal investigator and many of the same research investigators.
Students overall improvement in oral reading is even more signicant when you consider the
pressure on ELLs to read aloud. It is presumed that this sample of ELL students did not experience
anxiety-induced stress and failure due to reading aloud in a secondary language because of tutor
training. Tutors were taught that ELL students have a low affective lter and that teaching or testing should take place only after establishing a friendly and reassuring rapport. Krashen believes that
when an ELL feels supported, not stressed out, and emotionally safe, his/her affective lter is lowered, thus allowing the student more access and ease to language learning, reading included (1991).
Reecting on ndings of approximately one years increase in a students instructional level
based on comprehension questions is even more amazing in light of summer slide research that nds
students from non-dominant communities who do not receive summer reading instruction often
regress over the summer. Implicit questioning is especially difcult for ELLs since the answer is not
directed stated in the passage. In order to successfully gain meaning from the text he student has to
read between the lines. We believe that teacher training specically in literature circles and literacy
strategies that make use of teacher modeling and think-alouds has contributed to this area of success.

Conclusion and Implications of the Study

Finally in respect to the signicant improvement in student attitudes towards reading we attribute
teacher training of culturally responsive pedagogy. When small group collaboration, culturally relevant literature, and appropriate learning experiences scaffold instruction it makes learning fun and
engages students interests. The ndings also imply a need for teacher training that focuses on ELL
literacy strategies and multicultural literature. When students and teachers do not share similar norms
for what counts as appropriate in the classroom student achievement and attitudes suffer. Teacher
awareness training is also needed to teach cultural preferences in classroom practices to aid in student

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collaboration and teacher-student relationships. Culture circles might be a way to remedy the uneven
power relationship between teacher and students (Friere, 1998). Rather than a teacher there would
be a coordinator. Rather than pupils there would be participants. Rather than lecture there would
be dialogue. The implications are for teacher training that recognizes the importance of respecting
a students culture and emphasizing the important including contributions of community cultures.
The signicant ndings of the present study are extremely important since the literature indicates that the summer slide has the most detrimental effects on the achievement of students from
low-SES and linguistically diverse communities. The current intervention is especially pertinent
since one harmful side effect of NCLB legislation has been increased pressure on teachers to focus
on teaching a national curriculum that is especially neglectful of teaching to the needs of diverse
populations. The emphasis needs to move away from the remediation frame for teaching ELL students where learning English as a second language is considered a liability to be removed, rather than
a resource to be tapped.
Legislation led by President Barack Obama, introduced the Summer Term Education Programs
for Upward Performance (STEP UP) to address the achievement gaps among schoolchildren (2007).
The bill was passed into law and authorizes funds to summer school programs based on children who
are eligible for federal free-lunch program. Step Up established grant programs to support summer
learning opportunities in a fun and academic environment to be offered by public schools. The ndings of the current study supports the need for a summer literacy intervention, specically designed
for ELL students during the elementary and middle school summer months, in hopes of scaffolding
higher literacy achievement and to encourage life-long love of reading. STAR has been proven to
be a viable and replicable program that needs to guide federal legislation for maintaining students
interest and enthusiasm for reading over the summer months and beyond.
The most important implication of this research came from collaborative discussions between
university professors, doctoral students, masters students, and elementary school administrators,
teachers, and students. The idea being that the benets of incorporating dialogue and cultural respect
into the literacy curriculum has benets beyond the classroom.

The Author
Dr. Philomena Marinaccio-Eckel holds a Doctorate in Special Education and Reading from the
University of Miami, Florida. Trained and certied in Reading K-12, ESL (English as a Second
Language), Early Childhood, and Special Education, she is currently an associate professor in the
Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida Atlantic University. Her pedagogy and androgogy
is underpinned by constructivist, sociolinguistic, and sociocultural theories that recognize the
importance of a students primary discourse to literacy learning.

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Student Demographics (n = 72)


Percentage of Total
16 (22.4%)
26 (36.2%)
16 (22.4%)
14 (18.9%)

Grade level completed


Second grade
Third grade
Fourth grade
Fifth grade

Ethnic background


58 (81%)
13 (17.2%)
1 (1.7%)

Special education

Learning disability
Traumatic brain injury

18 (25%)



39 (53.5%)
33 (46.5%)



Pre-Intervention Instructional Level

Post-Intervention Instructional Level


FIGURE 1 Comprehension increased by an average of 1.08 instructional levels. p < .01.

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Pre-Intervention Instructional Level

Post-Intervention Instructional Level


FIGURE 2 Oral reading scores increased by 1.16 instructional levels. p < .01.




Pre-Intervention Words Per Minutes

Post-Intervention Words Per Minutes


FIGURE 3 Fluency increased from 81.38 words per minute to 93.75 words per minutes. p < .05.

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Pre and Post Attitude Scores in Academic Reading


PreAcademic Reading
Attitude Score Average

PostAcademic Reading
Attitude Score Average














*p < .05
**p > .01

Pre and Post Attitude Scores in Recreational Reading

PreRecreational Reading
Attitude Score Average

PostRecreational Reading
Attitude Score Average















*p < .05
**p < .01

Tutor Perceptions of Student Changes in Reading Attitude and Skill

Perception (at start
of program)

Perception (at the

conclusion of program)


Attitude Towards

3.15 (somewhat positive)

7.6 (above average)



3.62 (some skill)

7.50 (above average)



3.25 (some skill)

7.25 (above average)



3.50 (some skill)

7.12 (above average)


*p < .05
**p < .01

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A Critical Investigation of the TEFL

Certificate Industry in Thailand
Jonathan Aubrey

The world is full of people with a little knowledge doing a dangerous thing, teaching others.
Ian McGrath from Learning to Train

This research started when the writer decided to take some time off to pursue doctoral study. After
nearly 15 years of teaching, he thought that a change of pace was in order and welcomed the opportunity to remove himself from the environment of which he had become so routinely accustomed.
Draw by lush tropical jungles, beautiful mountains and friendly people, he packed his bags and
moved to Thailandalso known as the land of smiles. Eventually, he settled in the city of Chiang
Mai, Thailands second largest city, and during his time there frequented the border to the north
with Myanmar, as this was a popular destination for visas. The bus ride through the beautiful Thai
countryside took over six hours round trip to complete, which usually afforded him ample time
to get to know his fellow passengers. Inevitably, there were always new TEFLers onboard, either
some who were in the middle of completing a TEFL certicate course or some who had recently
nished a course and were now working, but in any case, most were very eager to tell him their stories about teaching. What he expected most of them to say was that their courses had been intense
and challenging, but overall also quite rewarding. While this was often the case, equally as often,
many of their stories contained snippets of training practices that struck him as rather odd: One
young man spoke of a course he had just completed that had 20 trainees and only one trainer, and


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that their trainer had recently nished a TEFL certicate course; a young woman explained how
all of her time practice teaching for her course had been done in a single day, rather than disbursed
throughout the course, as is customary; and another recalled how after he nished his course he
had been told by the course manager to go out and buy a fake degree in order to secure a proper
work visa.
In the weeks that followed, the researcher spent time looking further into TEFL certicate
courses and many of the irregularities that he had heard about. What he found was a mix of courses
coexisting together, some that seemed quite solid and others that seemed highly questionable, and
he wondered why someone would choose to enroll in the latter, especially when the prices and locations involved were often similar. It then became transparent that some TEFL certicate trainees
were clearly at high risk of setting themselves up to be perfect consumer victims. They had money to
spend and were often in a hurry to enroll in courses that offered initial training, meaning that these
were courses that they were not supposed to know much, if anything, about. Therefore, he decided
to conduct some research into the issue. The main research questions were: 1) What do qualied
teacher trainers in Thailand perceive as challenges for potential trainees when picking a quality
TEFL certicate course? And 2) What do qualied teacher trainers in Thailand perceive as the biggest problem that impacts the local TEFL certicate Industry?

Contextual Background
The Kingdom of Thailand is a country with a population of over 65 million people and is located
in the heart of Southeast Asia, bordering the countries of Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Covering an area of over 513,000 sq km, its size is roughly equivalent to that of France or twice the
size of the U.S. state of Wyoming. 75 percent of the population is Thai, with the remaining segment comprised mostly of minority groups of Chinese, Thai-Chinese, Khmer, Malay in the south
and various hill tribes in the north. Buddhism is overwhelmingly embraced as the religion of Thais
(95%). Other professed religions include Islam, Christianity and Hinduism.

The earliest Thai kingdom was founded in the 13th century, which included most of what is now
present day Laos and Cambodia. A series of wars lead to a loss of territory, with France absorbing
land in the east in 1893 and southern territory going to Britain in 1909. Until 1939, the country
was know as Siam and is the only country in Southeast Asia to have never been dominated or colonized by a foreign powera fact of which Thais are extremely proud. Subsequently, the country
was renamed Prathet Thai or Thailand, which means Land of the Free. The Kingdoms present
day ruler, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), is beloved by the Thai people and he stands as the
worlds longest-reining monarch.

Teacher Training and Tourism

Today, Thailand has become one of the most popular teacher training destinations in Southeast
Asia, exhibiting more than 15 well-established TEFL course providers and a number of other

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educational establishments that operate on a seasonal basis. Easy access via a number of low
cost airline carriers, a public relations blitz (Amazing Thailand) and the inexpensive cost of
travel to and within the country, have helped to establish it as an ideal location for combining
short-term study and travel. For the price of taking a TEFL certicate course in many Western
countries, would-be trainees can take a course and a vacation in a tropical setting. As such, TEFL
course providers often integrate travel excursions into their marketing packages, either on weekends or post-course. The tourism industry in Thailand pulls in, on an annual basis, more than
14 million international visitors and a revenue of roughly 550 million Baht (Tourism Authority
of Thailand, 2007).

Current Practice
TEFL/TESOL certicates are initial qualications that cover basic rudiments of teaching and learning. The courses are designed as introductions to English language teaching and are suitable for
those with little or no previous knowledge or experience. Every year thousands of individuals of all
ages and from diverse backgrounds are admitted to such courses, the only entrance requirements
usually being that the candidate possess good levels of spoken and written English and that they are
over the age of twenty.

Course Structure and Standards

In general terms, the format of the present day TEFL certicate follows alongside that of the three
best known and most widely accepted qualications: Cambridge ESOL CELTA, Trinity College
CertTESOL and the SIT TESOL Certicate (The Big Three). The former began as a pre-service
ELT qualication offered by International House in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and after a
number of administrative changes emerged in its present form as a Cambridge ESOL qualication (Brandt, 2006). Together, all four of the above mentioned course providers, along with the
British Council, which sets requirements for all of its staff and accredited schools, have roughly
adopted similar guidelines that have become the industry standards by de facto: Courses must be at
least 100 hours in length (CELTA and CertTESOL courses are 120 hours in length, SIT provides
130 hours of instruction), have 6 hours of supervised teaching practice with real students, have six
hours of guided observation with live classes, and be externally validated by an examinations board
or university.

How Certicate Courses are Run

While the current number of certicate course providers is daunting and instruction may vary from
one provider to the next, most face-to-face courses adhere roughly along the lines of The Big Three
and use small training teams that consist of two or three tutors. As is customary, at least one trainer
on the course is required to have a higher TEFL/TESOL qualication (Diploma, PCGE or MA)
and that trainer may offer the majority of input sessions on a variety of language points and skills; the
second trainer often arranges supervised training practice and feedback. In instances whereby both
trainers have a higher qualication (required for all CELTA trainers) and similar experience, then
training duties are often equally shared.

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Theoretical Framework
My conception of critical approaches is informed both theoretically and historically. Therefore, it
seems tting to include them both in the same section. I begin by addressing the general principles
that underpin the present study, followed by some of the major works and contributions of the
authors who inspired it.
Critical pedagogy and critical approaches to TESOL are the frameworks that inform the present study. In contrast to the scientic and interpretative paradigms, the critical paradigm is primarily
concerned with human advocacy and its roots derive from Critical Theory, especially the contributions offered by Habermas (1972), as well as from postmodern scholarship. According to Noblit
(in Paul, 2005) it holds the belief that the social world rests within the context of power and that
researchers in this paradigm aim to disclose and transform the dynamics of power and ideology so as
to emancipate the less powerful stakeholders involved from the more powerful status-quo. Titchen
and Manley (2006) conrm this in their view of critical research and add:
We then help individuals, teams, workplaces, organizations and communities to use these
understandings to transform their cultures and practices through co-creating new knowledge in and from practice. In other words, as action researchers with our own agendas, for
example developing collaborative methodologies, we simultaneously help individuals and
teams to become practitioner-researchers investigating their own practice (p. 334).
Critical approaches are also concerned with the margins of society, and with the needs of disenfranchised groups and individuals, whose voices are often excluded by the dominant culture. Thus they
seek to give voice to those who may have been previously ignored though dialogue, text and learnercentered environments.

Critical Pedagogy
Although Girouxs Theory and Resistance in Education was the rst to coin the term critical pedagogy
in 1983 (Darder, Baltodano, & Torres, 2003, p. 2), it has, perhaps, come to be most widely associated with writing of Paulo Freire and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed. In his seminal work, the Brazilian
educator stressed the need for the liberation of the disenfranchised as part of its central premise:
They will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through
their recognition of the necessity to ght for it (Freire, 1970, p. 45).
Another key feature of its premise is that education can be either banking or transformative in
nature. In the former, students are viewed merely as empty vessels to ll with knowledge. Freire
describes the process as:
. . . an act of depositing, in which students are depositories and the teacher is the depositor.
Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the
students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the banking concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving,
lling, and storing deposits (p. 72).
In contrast, transformative education is seen as organic, in that it stems from the inside-out and uses
real-world issues drawn from lived experience; emphasis is placed on student-teacher interaction and
people working with each other. Freire refers to this dynamic approach as a humanist and liberating
praxis (p. 86). Further to this model, students engage in dialogue, critical thinking and reection

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in order to develop a critical consciousness or conscientizacao (p. 36), which helps to break down
cultures of silence that oppressed people often face. In turn, this is then drawn upon to further
examine, challenge and create change to dominant social and cultural institutions.

Critical Applied Linguistics (CALx)

Inspired by Feire and others, a number of educators have, more recently, embraced elements of
critical pedagogy and applied them specically to the teaching and learning of the English language.
Alastair Pennycook, in particular, has been one of the most inuential contributors to eld that is still
yet emerging. In his book, Critical Applied Linguistics, Pennycook (2001) eshes out a set of concerns
that that are relevant and specic to language. He argues that CAL involves, among other aspects,
the relation of linguistics to society, the need for self-reexivity in critical work, the need for praxis
and a vision for ones own future. Further, he maintains that critical applied linguistics is more than
just tacking on a critical aspect to applied linguistics, and, at its core, it involves looking at a broad
scope of elements and challenging their inherit assumptions:
It demands a restive problemization of the givens in applied linguistics and presents a way
of doing applied linguistics that seeks to connect it to questions of gender, class, sexuality,
race, ethnicity, culture, identity, politics, ideology and discourse. And crucially it becomes a
dynamic opening up of new questions that emerge from this conjunction (p. 10).
Thus, in short, Pennycook envisions critical applied linguistics as extending beyond method. He
sees it as a way of thinking critically that emphasizes the connections between language and a much
broader set of concerns.

English Language Teaching in Thailand
For nearly a decade, the Kingdom of Thailand has been busy implementing educational reform policy
resulting from changes to its 1997 Constitution and New Education Act of 1999. The new policy
entitles all Thai citizens up to 12 years of free education, ten years of which is compulsory, and also
requires studying English beginning in Grade 1. Since reform has been nation-wide and impacted hundreds of schools and teachers, its not surprising, then, that this has received the bulk of attention with
regards to research. So far, previous studies have been concerned primarily with two domains: Teacher
education in light of reform in public schools (see Punthumasen, 2007; Thongthew, 1993; Thongthew,
1999; Wongsothorn, Hiranburana, & Chinnawongs, 2003), and teachers personal accounts of the
same (see Hayes, 2008; Hayes, 2009; de Segovia & Hardison, 2009). Therefore, the present study lls
a serious gap in the literature by addressing ELT training within the private sector of education.

The Business of English Language Teaching

In the past twenty years or so, the ELT industry has become a massive and lucrative enterprise.
Spurred in part by globalization and a belief that better language skills may lead to better employment opportunities, the industry offers an ever growing number of products and services that pulls in
an estimated 11 Billion USD in annual revenue (English Teaching Industry, 2004). Currently, the
business sector involves publishing, multimedia, testing, study abroad programs, private language

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schools, universities, degree programs, TEFL certicate courses and a wide array of other offerings.
As business practices have intensied, so have the number of competitors, encouraging many to
adopt a greater entrepreneurial stance or lose their share of the marketplace.
Because much of the ELT private sector operates on the periphery of mainstream education, the
industry has, so far, remained harbored from academic scrutiny and literature addressing this issue
is extremely scarce. An exception is Appropriating English: Innovation in the Global Business of English
Language Teaching (Sing, Kell and Pandian, 2002), in which the authors argue for a new paradigm
that gives voice to those who have been marginalized. They state that the diversication of ELT
providers has resulted in a complex mix that spans both the private and public sectors, and that the
great diversity in the global ELT industry can create confusion (p. 45).
Relevant to the present study, is their exemplication of Trans-national ELT providers, which
they have termed National Flagship Providers (government funded institutions that offer language
and cultural programs, including the British Council and its Australian counterpart, IDP Australia);
Hybrid Enterprises (a combination of public and private organizations, including, Internet rms,
the private arms of universities and international franchised language schools) and; small Shopfront
Colleges. The researcher would also like to point out another group of trans-national stake holders
absent from their classication, ELT Recruiters, which, although are technically not course providers,
often play an equally important role in the promotion of all of the above mentioned. In recent years,
recruiters have also gained prominence, as the emergence of a number of train in Thailand/teach in
Korea programs have increased in popularity.
Summing up the existing situation a bit further, Sing et al go on to add:
The work of English language teachers has been profoundly altered by the combined
inuence of the globalized market in education and training . . . the differentiated ELT market
has created a range of contradictory challenges for English language teachers. These have
heightened concerns about prociency, quality assurance, and the unrelenting pressure
for exibility in responding to client demands. ELT teachers are in a period of expanding
employment opportunities but are experiencing casualiation and de-professionalization
(p. 185).

Research Method
Ontological and Epistemological Considerations
The critical paradigm is underpinned to a large extent by critical realism, a broad term associated
with a number of philosophers, and especially the work of Roy Bhaskhar. It is considered to be a
fairly recent ontology, having emerged in the 1970s, and it provides critical researchers with an alternative position to purely positivistic and hermeneutic stances. Although it critiques both positivism
and interpretivism, it also manages to straddle both domains by adopting an anti-foundationalist
ontology, asserting that the world exists independently of the knower, while at the same time, it also
accepts the belief that our knowledge of the world is conceptually and socially mediated.

A total of 14 trainers were invited to participate in the study and four declined, stating conicting
vacation schedules as their main reasons for non-involvement. The eventual sample consisted of

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10 trainers, six who resided in Bangkok and four who lived in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Of
the 10 participants, nine were native speakers of English (6 British, 2 Australian, 1 South African);
one trainer was Romanian and spoke English as their second language.
Participants were selected through, a popular educational website in Thailand that
advertizes TEFL certicate courses, with a requirement that they were qualied and experienced. For
the purposes of this study, qualied was dened as having an MA in TESOL or Cambridge/Trinity
Diploma or equivalent (a higher TEFL qualication), plus 3 years of teaching experience for lead
trainers; Cambridge, Trinity or SIT Certicate or equivalent, plus 3 years of teaching experience for

Data Collection: Interviews

The last decade or so has given rise to the use of qualitative research for the purpose of understanding meanings that people ascribe to their lived experiences. As stated by Flick, qualitative approaches
seek to unpick how people construct the world around them, what they are doing or what is happening to them in terms that are meaningful and that offer rich insight (2007, p. x). Since the researcher
believes in giving voice to trainers and trainees, data for the study were collected by interviews, which
ts well with the purpose of the study. One advantage of this approach is that it allows researchers to
explore, probe, and ask questions that will elucidate and illuminate that particular subject (Patton,
2003, p. 343).
As suggested by Sarantkos (2005 in Cresswell, 2009), all participants reviewed a letter of
informed consent prior to being interviewed, which, (a) identied the researcher, (b) explained the
purpose of the research, (c) guaranteed condentiality and anonymity, (d) welcomed and thanked the
participants, and (e) provided contact information of the researcher in the event that participants had
any questions.
The present study used semi-structured interviews that were conducted face-to-face. Each interview was digitally recorded and lasted 3045 minutes in length, the duration being determined by the
interviewee. A copy of the interview schedule is provided in Appendix 1.

Data Analysis
Responses from the interviews were transcribed verbatim and read many times as a way of entering
into the trainers perceptions. Elbow (1986) refers to this as a process of self-insertion and asserts
that it is a useful way of coming to know the participants experiences. Over time, a sense of themes
emerging from that data were then labeled and categorized. The nal step was to compare these
across all of participants, noting the similarities and differences as to how the various aspects were

RQ1. What do qualified teacher trainers in Thailand perceive as challenges for potential
trainees when picking a quality TEFL certificate course?
In interviews, trainers responded with a variety of concerns that were both business and education
related, and emphasized a general lack of awareness on behalf of potential TEFL certicate trainees.
The responses that they shared were categorized and grouped into themes.

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The Five Themes

Information Overload
One challenge mentioned by all of the participants was that potential trainees needed to navigate
through a sea of webpages in order to nd essential facts about courses and that they often lacked the
awareness to make informed decisions. One trainer explained it this way:
I dont think the majority of potential trainees have any idea of what questions to ask or what
to look for. I think many of them nd it incredibly frustrating . . . ghting their way through
the information and misinformation in the Internet jungle is a difcult task . . . they need to
have a clear set of criteria before they point and click . . .
Another trainer expressed similar sentiments:
I think the biggest challenge is seeing beyond the marketing to the reality of the course.
There is this sort of wall, a facade that the trainee has to beat their way through . . . all these
glitzy images of training while you relax on the beach serve as distractions . . . I think it
makes it hard for people to see through to the really important things.
A third also pointed out one of the additional business angles:
Marketing is a powerful thing, for sure . . . and on the Internet they make things look so
appealing. Many courses advertize Phuket, Panbae or somewhere near the sea. They give
the impression that youll be sitting on the beach in deck chairs, sipping pia coladas and
getting your certicate . . . they really push the travel side of it . . . often what you really need
to know isnt on the website at all . . .
Overall, trainers mentioned that nding key course information was often difcult and likened the
task to nding a needle in a haystack. Many pointed out that the abundance of irrelevant information
on websites was a deliberate attempt to divert attention away from the fact that essential information
was absent, and that this also served to steer trainees on to other potential sources of revenue for
their businesses. Arranging travel, providing accommodation and setting up tours were frequently
brought up as additional sources of income for course providers.

Guaranteed Employment
A second theme that emerged from the data was the promise of employment by course providers,
which trainers believed was used, in part, to persuade potential trainees to choose one course over
another. Also known as a guaranteed job, this practice has become commonplace in Vietnam, China
and Thailand, and almost always involves working in rural public schools setup in conjunction with
recruiters. One trainer voiced his opinion on the topic this way:
Providers are offering guaranteed jobs of around 30,000 baht a month, but actually the
trainees could get 40,000 on their own just by visiting a few decent websites, so they are not
doing anyone a favor . . . they prey on the insecurities of being overseas . . . and then get
them to think that because they are getting a job there is no risk involved.
A lead trainer added:
Its creating a situation, I think, whereby a lot of people will take a shoddy course because of
these guarantees and end up without knowing how to teach . . . then they nd themselves
stuck with big classes, poor resources and a lack of support.

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Another participant had concerns about the ethical issues involved:

. . . how can you possibly guarantee someone a job when they have never had any teaching or
training experience? For all you know they might be hopeless . . . they guaranty warm bodies
regardless of quality and make money as a training organization as well as a job placement
organization . . . its a bit of a scam. The truth of matter is if you do a decent course and get
well qualied, you will get a job. The jobs are here and the demand is high . . . so its all very
The vast majority of trainers viewed guaranteed employment packages as cunningly marketed
techniques aimed at those who resided mainly overseas and who lacked rsthand knowledge of the
EFL job market in Southeast Asia. They often pointed out that there is, in fact, a serious teacher
shortage in Thailand and that many potential trainees were unaware of the current working conditions in the Thai public schools, such as 5070 students in a class and work environments that were
often extremely hot and humid.

Trainer Qualications
Understanding the backgrounds of those who were actually doing the training was also seen as a
challenge when picking a course. Although many providers claim to have trainers that are qualied
and experienced, there is a great deal of diversity within the eld, as one participant noted:
Depending on the center, if you have done their [certicate] course and they think you are
okay, they may ask you to be a trainer when you nish. So I think there is everything from
that to the need to have high qualications and experience and to be trained up by the
organizations running course by itself . . .
Another participant was much more skeptical about standards:
You could set up someone with no experience tomorrow, if you wanted toin the right
place . . . who can be a trainer often depends on where you are. Anybody can be a trainer in
Thailand if they promote themselves that way . . . there arent any regulations.
A third saw the situation as a source of confusion within the industry:
I dont know if there is any way of distinguishing a teacher from a trainee, actually. I dont
think the MoE, for example, pays any attention to the qualications of trainers or distinguishes them in anyway from any kind of teacher . . . years of experience could be meaningless, too, if they were working unqualied and just got their certicate . . . I dont think that
people looking for a course have any idea as to how it all works . . .
Overall, participants felt that there was a serious lack of transparency with regards to being qualied
and experienced and that potential trainees were often quick assume that all educators involved in
training courses met similar criteria. They pointed out that in many cases, course providers employ
under-qualied staff and that websites often fail to discern between recent and post-qualication
experience, making many trainers appear more experienced that they actually are.

Misleading Quality Assurance Claims

The fourth theme that emerged from interview data was the misuse of TESOL organization names
and logos, which the trainers viewed as confusing issues for potential trainees:
You can get bafed by all the different web sites saying IATEFL, Thai TESOL, meets
British Council requirements and everything else . . . they think, all right, well, its got those

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accreditations; it must be a good course . . . but they actually do it in a way to deliberately

mislead people . . . theres not a lot of regulation. . . . its mostly a bunch of lies . . .
A lead trainer commented that this practice has become common outside of Thailand, too:
The situation here reminds me of a summer training position that I once took elsewhere.
I looked at the description of the course and it claimed to be approved by major university
and was supposed to be externally moderated . . . everything looked very smooth, with a
wonderful website, beautiful pictures of the center and so on . . . but when I arrived the center did not yet exist. [laughs] . . . it was two empty classrooms with things still in boxes and
no air conditioning yet. . . . after a couple of weeks things were running okay, but they had
huge problems with their teaching practices . . .
Another felt very frustrated with claims of government regulation as well:
What just drives me mad is seeing MoE approved . . . it doesnt mean anything about if the
course is good or bad. And it does not even really tell you whether or not you are going to
get a work permit with that course certicate anyway. I mean, with the winds of change, you
never really know . . .
Here the participants expressed the view that some course providers give a false impression of quality
assurance through external afliations and that their relationships with these organizations often
lacked merit. A common concern among participants was providers claiming to be an institutional
member of a TESOL organization, especially IATEFL. Trainers pointed out that such memberships are merely journal subscriptions and are not educational endorsements of training practice.

Training Ratio and Feedback

Trainers identied the importance of feedback and individual attention as a fth challenge for potential course candidates, stating that this was an area that was often overlooked when picking a course.
One trainer noted the lack of personal attention given to trainees on courses with large enrollments:
Ive heard of courses with up to 25 and only 2 trainers . . . theyre not getting a lot of personal support when it comes to things like lesson planning and a lot of the practice teaching
ends up being unobserved. They are paying for the wrong things . . . they should be paying
to get feedback and to be supported by the trainers . . . then to use that feedback in teaching
to make a decisions about their development.
Another had similar concerns about large cohorts:
I would expect at points both one-on-one feedback and in a group . . . on some courses the
trainers sit in the back of the room and chat with each other and dont even take notes . . .
They just seem to be bumping up the numbers all the time . . . they are not getting the quality and most would never think to ask.
Sometimes small courses can pose problems, too, as was mentioned by this participant:
. . . there were only three people on his course . . . as far as Im concerned, he missed out on a
huge amount . . . no chance of peer teaching, the chance to collaborate with different people,
to learn from different peoples perspectives . . . to share and to brainstormall sorts things
that you would get from working in groups.

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It was clear from the interviews, that trainers viewed feedback and individual attention as important
aspects. They believed that potential trainees were probably more likely to try to pickup on the
what of a course, such as the number of hours, and less likely to ask probing questions about the
how of a course, such as group interaction and feedback.
RQ2. What do qualified teacher trainers in Thailand perceive as the biggest problem that
impacts the local TEFL certificate Industry?
The overwhelming response to the above mentioned question was a call for increased quality assurance practices at a global level. In particular, participants underscored the need for a single governing
organization to oversee all certicate courses. One trainer put it this way:
I think there is no independent evaluation body, no sort of consumer advocate groups . . . this
is basically where you stand with these courses . . . it would be good to show up the cowboys
of what they were . . . its a big problem.
A second trainer added:
Id like to see some element of consistency and quality assurance, that there be some way
of rating and assessing what when people enter into . . . their courses, their schools . . . we
would have to be diplomatic about it . . . there has to be some element of assessment and
accreditation . . . we need something thats international . . .
Another suggested that existing organizations work together:
This is totally hypothetical, Im just dreaming now right. I would say have the Ministry of
Education, in conjunction with possibly, may be, Thai TESOL, TESOL Inc., and IATEFL
have agreed upon standards that were well publicized . . . and courses would have to state
how closely they approached those standards . . . then the potential trainee can go through
and see how the courses stack up and this is what is considered a baseline for a course . . . .
In addition, the vast majority of participants were adamant that regulation not involve resources
deriving from any of the big three course providers, as they felt this would be self-serving. One
participant commented on how he felt about agship course providers and industry reform:
I think their biggest concern is whether their course is recognized and accepted by schools
here and abroad . . . CELTA /UCLES with the support of the British government and British
Council are trying to monopolize the TEFL training industry. If there were a world standard
recognized by a body (ISO for example) such as the WTO, I feel this would level the playing eld for competitors . . . I would never agree to commercial operations, such as CELTA,
Trinity TESOL or SIT TESOL overseeing the industry . . . they have vested interests.
Others had similar feelings, but stressed the possibility of non-judgmental reform efforts, such as
this trainer did:
I think that what we are looking for is an independent body, not someone from ECC or
Cambridge or SIT. An independent body and who does not validate, who does not pass
judgment, who simply assesses each course on a number of criteria. Do you want to take this
course? This is what you get. This is the methodology behind it. This is the average trainer
qualication. This is how the teaching runs. These are the hours. . . . just stating what you
get . . . no judgment, just clear statements . . .

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The study showed that information overload, guaranteed employed practices, trainer qualications,
quality assurance claims and course feedback, were all perceived by teacher trainers as challenges for
potential trainees when picking TEFL certicate courses. In virtually all areas, the trainers identied
a general lack of consumer awareness among potential candidates as a major contributing factor in
their decisions to choose one course over another. As was previously mentioned in the section on
current practice, these courses are intended for people with no previous knowledge or experience in
the eld of ELT. This means that in some cases, potential trainees may not even be familiar with the
difference between such basic terms as TOEFL and TEFL, yet in order to make informed decisions,
they need to have previously acquired a rm grounding in Internet marketing, local and international employment practices, TESOL methodology and an array of other areas that are beyond their
scope of immediate understanding. In other words, the TEFL certicate industry has succeeded in
creating a situation whereby one practically needs a certicate course in order to understand taking
a certicate course, and therein lies part of the problem. When consumers dont actually understand
what it is that they are purchasing and on the surface all courses give the appearance of being equal,
then it would not be surprising to nd that many opt to take the course that is cheaper, which unfortunately, may not always be the course of the best quality.
Another consideration relates to the extent to which potential trainees may have been helped
into making their decisions. The views in this study represented those of teacher trainers which were
based on their knowledge and interaction with course trainees. Although the trainers identied ve
areas of confusion, this still doesnt explain in full why these were so. The themes that emerged may
also be viewed through a different lens, or as outcomes of successful marketing techniques. As we
have seen, there are many areas of misunderstanding, and any one point of confusion may serve as
a window of opportunity for providers to convince others to take their courses. When I was in the
early stages of contacting participants for this study, in many cases the only point of contact listed on
websites was through live online chat or a toll free, call 24 hours a day for information telephone
number. After I identied myself and my reason for calling, many on the other end were quick to
identify themselves as information specialists or something similar. One gentleman, to my surprise,
was brutally honest, stating Im not a teacher or a trainer, Im a salesman and my job is to sell them
the course. In short, it would appear that some potential trainees rely on the advice of telemarketers
to assist them with their course decisions.
A third consideration relates to the perception of TEFL qualications. Taking the results a step
further and looking at the larger picture of overall employment within the eld of TEFL, some
potential trainees may have a very liberal interpretation of job requirements and may see a certicate
as more of a plus and less of a necessity, thus placing less emphasis on training standards. Such a
perception is often perpetuated by typical job advertisements throughout Asia. Rather than required
entry-level TEFL qualications, many employers place an emphasis on being a native speaker, being
young, having a degree in any eld and having good looks (requiring a photo for a basic job inquiry).
Surprisingly, entire government agencies that hire thousands of teachers each year often support
similar practices (see Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, 2009; English Program in Korea,
2009). The result, to some extent, may have a downward pull on the overall quality of courses,
whereby quality has become market driven (both no qualication or a qualication can lead to an
entry-level job). This then leaves potential trainees to pick courses from a pool of providers that are
now in greater economic competition and are struggling with their share of the marketplace.

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The results of the present study indicate that the TEFL certicate industry and potential consumers
could benet from increased transparency on a variety of issues, and that any such efforts would need
to proceed with a great deal of diplomacy. Although the issue of quality assurance is most certainly an
important one, I believe that coming to a consensus over the establishment of a single independent
body to govern ALL courses, including agship providers, and how this would be funded, would
most likely result in failure. No doubt, such a stance would be viewed by many as a highly political
one, and as agship course providers and their counterparts often have an existing upper hand in
quality assurance practices, there would be little reason for them to participate and level the playing
eld to be all inclusive.
Alternatively, I suggest that the TEFL industry follow a path similar to the one used in U.S. food
labeling practices, which aims to provide transparency of contents. Borrowing, in part, from one of
the participants in the study, the idea would be to approach both TESOL Inc. and IATEFL and
have them come to a consensus on what course providers must include when they advertise. They do
not pass judgment or enforce standards; they simply list very specic criteria for advertising. At that
point, course providers voluntarily take a pledge to agree to the terms their terms for advertising,
and in doing so, may place an Ive taken the IATEFL/TESOL Inc. Pledge logo on their website,
along with a link back to the IATEFL/TESOL Inc. site that explains the policy. Part of the terms of
acceptance would require all participating providers to include a webpage called course at a glance,
and that a tab or link to that page must be placed on the providers home page. The course at a glance
page would provide essential course and trainer information in an easy to read table format, which
must not be altered in way, and would be the same for all course providers that participate in the
program. Participating course providers could then present a challenge to all other course providers asking them to do the same and take the pledge. Participation in the program would be free and
voluntary to all, with agreed dates for regular updating and a clearly dened refund policy if trainees
do not receive what is stated.

Conclusion and Suggested Research

This study explored a number of challenges presented to potential TEFL certicate trainees when
picking a certicate course, as well as larger issues faced by course providers. The areas that were
considered included internet marketing, guaranteed employment, trainer qualications, trainer
feedback, and quality assurance practices. There are, however, other potential areas that could be
addressed in future research, as the literature concerning certicate courses and business practices is
virtually nonexistent. A large scale study directly involving potential trainees and their perceptions
of selecting a course, as well as educators views on how certicate courses have changed over the last
two decades, are some of the possibilities that future studies may wish to investigate.

The Author
Jonathan Aubrey is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at the
University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where he teaches and coordinates EAP courses. He has

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worked and lived in a number of countries, including the United States, South Korea, South Africa
and Thailand. His research interests focus on teacher education, occupational stress, and teacher

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de Segovia, L. P., & Hardison, D. M. (2009). Implementing education reform: EFL teachers
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Thongthew, S. (1993). Teacher training and the expansion of basic education in Thailand. Journal of
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Wongsothorn, A., Hiranburana, K., & Chinnawongs, S. (2003). English Language Teaching in
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Appendix I
Interview Schedule
1. Can you tell me a little bit about your background as a trainer? How did you come to work
in Thailand?
2. Can you comment on the number of TEFL certicate courses in Thailand?
3. Do you feel that the majority of potential trainees know how to pick a quality course?
*4. What do you see as challenges for potential trainees when selecting a quality course?
Which of the following, if any, do you feel present a challenge:
online v. face-to face instruction
third party afliations (institutional member of IATEFL, etc.)
trainer qualications
job placement services
external validation
an abundance of ELT terminology
5. Are you aware of any questionable training practices used on other certicate courses in
6. Have you ever met anyone who you felt was victimized by taking a poorly taught TEFL
certicate course? If so, please explain.
7. How can potential trainees become better informed about certicate courses?
*8. What do you see as the three biggest problems facing the TEFL certicate industry in
How could those problems be resolved or the situations improved?
9. What role does the MoE play in the endorsement of TEFL certicate courses?
10. What are your thoughts on the industry establishing a single governing body to externally
validate all TEFL certicate courses?

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h te

To Realize the Dream
Natalie Hess and Amalia Garzon

What are the measures and the meanings of success? How, when, and why does success happen?
Are those who see themselves as successful happier and healthier human beings? Who are the gatekeepers to the realm of success? Can we who teach ESL in community college settings contribute to
such success, and if so how can this be done?
The above are questions that have long preoccupied the writers of this chapter. Both are immigrants to the United States, who have learned English as a Second Language, have taught ESL/EFL
and Spanish in a variety of settings, and have seen remarkable success stories emerge in such settings.
They have found the success stories inspirational and motivational both for their own work and for
the success of their colleagues and their students. For this reason they have decided to study such
success stories, so that they, as instructors, could help more of their students reach what Abraham
Maslow has termed self-actualization.(1968).
The writers, who both teach the methodology and culture components in a teacher-preparatory
2+2 program, have for the past ten years been steeped in the community college/university setting.
It is from the vantage point of this setting that the following study takes its impetus and drive.

Theoretical Framework
As it looks back on a century of achievement, the American community college system can, in spite
of all the criticism leveled at it, take much pride in its highly benecial contribution to educational
opportunity for many who, without the presence of a community college in their locality, never
could aspire to reaching the American dream through educational attainment. With its policy of
open enrollment, affordability, developmental support, and commitment to life-long learning,
the community college continues to open doors of opportunity to personal fulllment and selfactualization. Vaugham among others, has noted that, Community colleges have extended educational

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opportunities to millions of students ignored by other educational institutions (Vaugham, 2000 p. 6;

Brint & Karabel, 1989; Cohen, 1971; Vaugham, 2000; OBanion, 1997; Gleazer, 1980).
Such stepping stones to educational opportunity, if true for the general population, ring with
particular signicance for English language learning students (ELLs) whose cultural and linguistic experience is seldom validated by the traditional communities of education. Such opportunities
have lately been meaningfully advanced through the creation of 2+2 programs, in which universities
partner with community colleges to provide both baccalaureate and graduate experiences by joining
with community colleges to offer the two nal years of a four-year-college experience as well as many
graduate programs (Stafford, 2006).
In Rural City such a 2+2 partnership was established between State University and Community
College. The latter was founded in 1963 and has a student population of approximately 7,000 per
semester. It offers 40 two-year Associate Degree programs, while State University, which was established in 1899 as a Normal School, now serves about 20,000 students, 15,000 on its main campus and
around 5,000 in its scattered state-wide sites.
The 2+2 partnership of Community College and State University in Rural City now offers 24
Baccalaureate programs, 7 Master-level programs and one doctoral degree option. The college/university
partners share a campus on the outskirts of Rural City, as well as all educational services including library,
swimming pool, laboratories, cafeteria, and bus transportation. Admission to Community College also
guarantees the applicant admission to State University, provided the requirements for State University
admission are met during the two years of study at Community College. Such a partnership program
obviously involves considerable administrative cooperation and great support both from the State
Legislature and from the State Board of Regents. The president of Community College and the Campus
Executive Ofcer of the local branch of State University meet regularly and foster cooperation on both
administrative and developmental levels. They constantly plan for provision of a unied program with
a clear sense of mission and strategic future-oriented perspectives.
A large percentage of the students at Community College and its partner, State University,
are English Language learners who begin their university career in the ESL curriculum. Many are
non-traditional students who work their way through the system. For many this is a life changing
experience that leads to success and self fulllment in professional lives.
The stories below are typical examples of how access to learning, persistence, and affordability
can transform lives. The writers were particularly interested in the lives of women, since they in
addition to poverty and lack of opportunity, also had to overcome a great many cultural restrictions placed by patriarchal tradition. The women were randomly chosen from a list of successful
graduates compiled by Community College. All of the women interviewed began their educational
lives as English Language Learners. All of them started out their tertiary education at Community
College and would never have entered the world of higher education had Community College not
been available in the local setting. None of them would have been able to continue a tertiary education without the enabling aspect of Community College. Two of the ve would not have been able
to continue beyond the Associates Degree without the 2+2 partnership. Three of the ve could not
have completed graduate education without the presence of the partnership.
In looking at the lives of these highly accomplished women of Rural City, the writers have considered
Maslows analysis of self actualized people, whom he found to be happy, secure, and at home in a sense
of creative appreciations. Maslow (1968) noted the following qualities in his self-actualized subjects:
They were realistic and self-accepting. They were spontaneous and natural, and they were
able to focus on problem centering, and they were goal oriented. They felt sympathy and

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affection for mankind. They enjoyed the road toward their chosen goals, perhaps even more
than the achievement of those goals. They were able to resist enculturation. They could be
childlike and maturely-wise at the same time. (pp. 135145)
As we listened to the life stories of these women, we were acutely aware of how many of
Maslows qualities we noted in their narratives, and we invite readers to become our partners in

Contextual Background
Esperanza GilAttorney at Law
Esperanza Gil meets us in her Spartan conference room. Its only decoration is a large poster featuring the tranquil coast line of untouched sand and soothing waves. The word INTEGRITY in capital
letters looms above the seascape followed by the admonition, Measure yourself to the height of your
standards together with the announcement that Integrity does not blow in the wind or change with
the tide. It is the inner voice of your true image. We found the poster appropriate as a preview of
the woman we are about to meet.
Esperanza enters, smiling a restrained and demure apology. She is sorry that she has made us
wait. We, in turn are grateful that she is willing to give us her time. Lawyers are busy people, and we
know how much they charge an hour. She is giving us her time gratis. She approves of the project.
Yes! she agrees Hispanic women do need inspiration to continue their studies and make something of themselves. And she knows that it is not always easy. In our culture you are allowed to be
a professional, but only if you can accomplish this by also being a good wife, a good mother, a good
daughter, a good housekeeper, and a good cook.
Esperanza, who spoke only Spanish when she started school, graduated from Community
College in 1989 with an Associates Degree. It took her about ten years to do so. As a working mother,
she managed to bring up two daughters, who are now successful professionals. She did it while holding down two jobs and continuing her education. Was it worth it? Of course! She speaks with a
gentle assurance. The more education you have, the more clearly and intelligently you make your
life choices. The more education you get, the more skilled you become in overcoming the obstacles
on the road to success. I have always loved learning. I am not really a creative person, but school has
opened up the lock-box of my creativity. I love the discussion that ows among like-minded people.
I love being around people who are more intelligent than I am. My professors inspired me. The good
ones were never condescending. The math professors opened the gates of logic, and the literature
professors took me into a world where I could see myself, my own life, and the challenges that faced
me more clearly.
Did she know from a young age that she wanted to become a lawyer? Certainly not! she smiles.
I married at 15, and my children were born soon afterwards. The divorce came 20 years later in 1993,
and in 1994, I enrolled in law school.
Persistence and integrity shine through her story. I wanted to become someone in life. I wanted
the possibility to grow, to evolve, and to contribute. One day, stopped making excuses for myself
about the someday when I would do it, and I just started doing it. I am a person who gets bored
easily without challenges. At the time I returned to school, I was lucky to have a job in health
information and work under a very understanding boss, who encouraged me by offering promotions.

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The promotions demanded further education. That is how I rst landed at Community College. My
rst goal was a credential from The American Health and Information Management Association.
I earned the degree and discovered how much I loved to study. Then there was no stopping me.
Were there times when she wanted to give up? Certainly! But there were women who had done
so much for me. Generations of women. I simply could not quit.
Who were these women? Among them were her mother, who lost her own parents early, her
grandmother, who brought up the orphaned grandchildren, a boss, who encouraged her to gain
promotions, a math teacher, who made things click, and there were also doors to possibilitiesthe
tutoring services offered by Community College, and the teachers who made her feel that she was
indeed somebody. The professors whose intelligence shone and who helped her to light her own
lamp stand out clearly in her mind.
Would she do it again? Absolutely! Education holds a mirror up to life. You spend time with
people that you want to emulate. Suddenly she looks a bit wistful. That sometimes means that you
have to give up on the company of other peoplepeople who used to be a major component of your
life. That can hurt, but it does have to be done. And you realize that you really didnt want some
of the things that used to eat up your precious time. You no longer want empty socializing and the
gossip. Your mind and your schedule are both just too full for such things.
Every stumbling block seems to have become a stepping stone, and difculties had a way of
growing into challenges. When one door closed, she looked for and found another that would open.
When math and science courses at Community College became difcult, she found the tutoring
center and was appreciative of the help it offered, and as everything became clear, so did her goals
and her condence. When state universities became unwelcoming, she found a program in Health
Management at a private college in another state where she earned her Bachelors Degree; when she
found the large universities in her own state to be unfriendly, she moved on to a small private law
school in a large city at another state.
She now works in Rural City because Rural City was and is her true home. She is at ease here.
She feels that she is contributing to the community. People know her and she knows people. It
makes life easier and friendlier. I can talk to anyone. I can call anyone to ask for advice or to offer
advice. I am listened to and I am respected. I can call the mayor if need be.
There is grit, ambition, good sense, and a restrained happiness about her.
What can higher education do to help young women today? we ask.
Try to remove obstacles, she answers. Help them to set goals. Help them to see their future
selves as successful people. Turn on their imaginations. Make them feel like somebody.

Soa CosmeAttorney at Law

Behind the modest street-side door, her ofce is richly opulent. She sits behind a polished dark-wood
desk. Her many diplomas hang elegantly framed and tastefully distributed on the white-washed walls.
Her father held an Associates Degree, and the family came to Rural City from Puerto Rico
because he had found work in the land of opportunities. Her mother had a fourth grade education.
The family emphasis centered on the career of the father. Soa was 14 years old when the family
arrived in the United States. She came very reluctantly, not wanting to leave her friends, and promising herself that she would return, just as soon as she nished high school.
Her high school counselor was brusque with her. He simply did not have time to waste. Listen,
he said, about 50 percent of our students here are Spanish speakers. All their friends are Spanish

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speakers. They live in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. They shop in Spanish-speaking stores.

They speak Spanish with their parents. They dont learn English. They take our classes, and the
teachers are nice to them. They pass the courses, but they dont pass the state tests, and they dont
graduate. If you want to become somebodylearn English! Thats it! Next!
She listened well and paid close attention, and very soon she discovered that she had indeed
landed in the land of possibilities. It took her two years to learn English. She went out of her way
to nd English speaking friends. She asked for corrections from teachers and peers. Two years
later, she had no accent, and she had a decent vocabulary. She no longer thought about returning
to Puerto Rico.
What was expected of her? The family dream was that she would nish high school, marry and
have children, and as a special bonus, she might perhaps become the administrative assistant to a lawyer. Her family culture did not encourage education for women, and the church to which the mother
belonged disparaged such education.
She graduated from high school in1990 and from Community College in 1995. When she
finished high school, she immediately enrolled at Community College where she paid her own
tuition by working part-time as a sales clerk. Although she enjoyed her courses, she was frustrated because she could not set a clear goal for herself. People would tell her that it was perfectly fine to be undecided. She was told that more education would help her to know who she
was, and then she could always decide later. Somehow, she just could not swallow such ephemeral reasoning.
I thought this would be O.K. for someone whose parents picked up the bill, but I was paying
out of my own pocket, and I just didnt think it was right for me to be doing that without having some
real goals in mind. At the time, I was working in retail, and thinking that my life was a total vacuum.
What was I doing? Nothing seemed to really matter. What if I sold someone a dress or a bracelet?
What did that mean? Did it make me any happier? Did it make the buyer any happier? I had always
wanted to do something important. To be someone. Would that ever happen?
By chance, she landed a job as a teachers aide, and suddenly there was meaning in her life.
With her help, the kids were learning. She saw their eyes lighting up when they understood
something, and her own life lit up with purpose too. She was going to be a teacher. She returned
to Community College, and this time she was pursuing a goal. Unfortunately, it was a goal that
slowly withered. She started looking more closely at what it meant to be a teacher. It meant very
difcult work for very meager pay. It meant a constant struggle against a looming bureaucracy. It
meant dealing with political issues for which she had no taste. She had set a goal for herself, but
was it the right goal?
Then many things seemed to happen at once. Her parents were divorcing after a long marriage,
and there was much anger and bitterness. Her eldest brother was arrested, and she, herself, was
involved in a car accident that miraculously spared her life but came very close to taking it.
It was the accident that brought her in touch with a lawyer. Sitting in his ofce, looking at its
pleasant dcor and the diplomas on the wall, she listened with respect as the man spoke. And as she
listened, she wondered. Could she do what that man was doing? How did HE get there?
What do you have to do to become a lawyer? she asked.
He looked at her quizzically. Its not a eld for a woman, he said.
But she only repeated the question. What do you have to do to become a lawyer?
Its a very difcult eld for a woman, he said.
He continued to demure, but she continued to insist.

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Finally, he looked exasperated, and he reluctantly responded.

You have to get a Bachelors Degree, he said. And you have to go to law-school for three years.
Oh! she said. I can do that! And thats what she did.
She nished her Associates Degree, and started out as a junior at State University, where she
maintained a four-point average majoring in psychology. She graduated with a B.S. degree in 1998
and moved straight on to Law School, which immediately presented a million challenges.
My educational background was full of gaps, she says, and I was competing with students who
had all graduated at the top of their undergraduate classes.
The books she had to read were so heavy that sometimes when she climbed the law school steps
with her satchel of tomes on her back, she thought that her back would break and that she might fall
dead right then and there on the steps. And I would think, well I might die, but at least I will have
died trying. I havent given up!
She sighs and smiles. I wanted it all, she says. I wanted a career. I wanted romance. I wanted
a family, and I wanted children. And guess what? I have all of it. I have made it. I have it all! I wake
up every morning thanking God for my beautiful life!
The key to it all, I think, is the setting of goals. You have to know what you want, and then you
have to pursue those goals relentlessly. I wanted to be a good lawyer, so I worked both as a prosecutor
and as a defense attorney. I have passed the bar exams of two states.
I love my work. Not only because it supports me so well, and it does that! I wont sneeze at
the money. It lets me do a lot of good. Just the other day, my mom was all upset because her airconditioning unit had given out, and I could just say, Get a new one, Mom and dont worry about
it. Yes, the money is good and its important, but thats not the most important thing. The most
important part is that I am doing something good and meaningful. The other day, I defended an
innocent man who had been arrested. It was a case of mistaken identity, and I was able to show the
court how it had happened. That made me feel like ying. It made me feel alive.
Plenty of people have supported me. I am lucky to have a supportive husband and family, and
there were academic advisers and professors along the way, who gave me courage to continue. When
I started law-school, I looked around at all the clever people and I thought, I dont belong here.
But then there were those faculty and staff folks who told me that I DID belong, and they gave me
specic examples to let me know that I was on my way to nd my place. Yes, I work hard, but I know
how to enjoy life. These days, at ve oclock you can see me on my way home to my kids. I have a
son and a daughter. Could life be more perfectI ask you? Its true that when one of my children
has a birthday party, I dont spend a day baking the cake. I pick it up in a minute at the grocery. I can
orchestrate a whole birthday party in twenty minutes.
My husband is half-Mexican, so I am very much part of that intense family culture. The family
often spends time at our house, and there are many occasions for family parties, and guess what? I
get those catered. I used to feel guilty about those things. A woman should be able to do everything
from scratch. Be everything. Be superwoman. And believe me; I have taken plenty of ribbing about
my household help and my catered food. But hey, everyone still loves to come to our house, and I
have learned to laugh it all off. If I make $150.00 an hour, I can afford to hire folks who make $20.00
an hour.
She is frequently invited to speak about her life experience and her career choice to high school
and college students. She always makes a point of turning to those who have never had college or
career in their vision of the future. It is those kids that she wants to reach. Set your goals high! she
tells them. If you have dreams, you can fulll them. If you truly wish it and work for it, you can turn
your dream into reality!

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Nidia AlvarezCoordinator of Migrant Programs for a School District

Nidia Alvarez is the Coordinator of Migrant Programs in the largest school district of Rural City.
She caters to the 18 schools in a school district, which has approximately 1200 migrant students.
She is the person who lets the parents of these children know about their roles, their privileges, and
their responsibilities. She lets parents know what services are available. She explains the education
system, the various assessment plans, and the opportunities open to them and their children. Nidia
holds evening information meetings for parents and sees to it that all information is translated to
Spanish and is available to all. She makes sure that everything that has been presented orally also
goes into print and is sent out. She interacts constantly with parents, students, and teachers, and she
is the one who makes sure that each migrant child in Rural City is provided with meaningful and
accessible education. Nidia serves as a truly signicant link between the community and educational
She was born in Border City, Mexico, and came to Rural City in the US with her family when
she had just entered the rst grade. There were six siblingsfour brothers and two sisters. Home
was a warm, comforting, and supportive place, where Spanish was the language. The six children
formed a close play-group and did not have much need for those English-speaking children in the
outside world.
Once in school, however, Nidia found a bosom friend who spoke no Spanish, but who was happy
to visit the large Spanish-speaking family, and who, without knowing it, became the familys English
I learned English slowly, Nidia says, but I was blessed with good teachers. The one teacher
who particularly stands out in my mind is my science teacher from junior high school. He had a way
of pulling me out of my scary little world. He was the rst teacher I had who truly practiced the art of
facilitation. In his classes we reviewed material in groups. There was also constant peer review of the
vocabulary we had encountered in context. He would turn to me and say, And what is your hypothesis, Nidia? And I could feel that he was just so very interested in what I had to say. He wasnt testing
me. He was listening to my ideas and opinions. I felt validated in his class.
In high school, she met many different kinds of peoplenot just Hispanics and Anglos. It was
her rst encounter with African-Americans, Native-Americans, and Asians. In high school, there was
also the wonderful world of Spanish Literature. She also discovered the rich literature in Spanish
Cervantes, Garcia-Marquez, Allende, and Garcia-Lorca. It was her rst in-depth look at her native
language. Literature became her sheltering world. She was enchanted and totally hooked.
She entered Community College as a Spanish major with a minor in ESL, and there she met
someone who turned into a great enabler. Geraldo Garcia, who was the scholarship and nancial aid
adviser, held the purse strings. He became the magician who opened the doors of higher education.
There were funds available for her education. In spite of great nancial restraints, she would be able
to continue her studies at Community College. She indeed did so for one year, but then circumstances demanded that she get away.
The family that had always been such a supportive unit suddenly became dysfunctional. A brother
was involved with drugs, and the whole family structure seemed to crumble. The parents were torn
apart and depressed. They had no emotional tools to deal with such a disaster. The whole thing just
seemed unfathomable to them, and Nidia sensed that she would help both herself and the family
more if she could disappear for a while.
Geraldo Garcia came into her life again. There was a world of nancial aid available and Nidia
was able to get away by enrolling at a State University in another city. The university accepted her

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with open arms. Again, there were those wonderful folks in Student Services. There was money
available for her studies. She simply had to know the system. She learned how it worked. She learned
how to apply. But nances were just one aspect of university life. Nidia felt lost. The State University
world was just too large for her, and now there was no family to lean on. Luckily, a friend from Rural
City became a roommate and a guide through the collegiate universe.
Gradually, Nidia began to feel at home on the large campus. She was thrilled by her Spanish
Literature courses, and now, in addition, there was the language teaching methodology of English
as a second language (ESL). Out in the schools doing her practicum, Nidia realized that she had
found her place. The classroom just felt so right! she says. All at once, everything seemed to t
together. Nidia made a decision. She would be a teacher. She would teach ESL and Spanish.
While in college, another life goal materialized for Nidia. Her religious faith had always been a
signicant aspect of her life, and it was the church that brought her intended and beloved husband.
She met him at a church retreat, and they married in 1977 and have three adult offspring. All three
are college educated. One studied for the priesthood and serves as a Benedictine monk in Italy.
Nidias husband has always been supportive of her education and later of her career.
In 1984, Nidia nished her college Bachelor of Science degree and knew exactly what she wanted
to do. She returned to her native Rural City, where she taught both Spanish and ESL in elementary
and middle school grades. Most of her students were English language learners with whom she could
totally identify. For a time, she also served as assistant principal in one of the elementary schools.
A big professional break-through came when State University joined Community College in a
2+2 program, and suddenly there were graduate courses available and a complete Masters Program
in Bilingual Multicultural Education with an emphasis in ESL available right there in Rural City.
Nidia met a creative and innovative professor who introduced her to classes in Linguistics and
English Grammar, as well as to much new and interesting methodology. Nidia completed her
Masters Degree. She became active in professional organizations, and for the rst time, felt a huge
sense of collegial belonging. The Masters Degree also opened a number of new opportunities. She
was invited to teach Spanish literature classes at Community College, and ESL methodology classes
at State University.
Nidia feels that there is no gulf between her personal and her professional lives. I couldnt have
done what I have done if I hadnt had my family. My kids often came with me to school. My children
served me as assistant teachers. When I taught literature, my kids read all the authors. My husband
has helped me set up bulletin boards. My daughter helped me to keep grade books, and organize my
le-folders. All in all, my career has been a family event.
In addition to family, Nidia has gained much support and joy of life from her religious faith. She
has lived her entire life under her umbrella of faith. Her faith has told her that things happen for a
reason, that there is a plan, and that she, as an individual, has a place in that plan. With determination you can do it, she says. You can do it even if you are not the worlds most talented person.
Remember that your community needs you. Service is for all of us. It is about all of us, not just about
you. But you too are part of the plan. It is wise for us to remember that. The smile she ashes is one
of fulllment.

Wichi EliasAssistant Superintendent of a School District

Wichi Elias is the Assistant Superintendent of a large Elementary School District in Rural City. She
also serves as a faculty member at State Universitys branch campus. Wichi is known throughout the

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community for her commitment to education, friendly and helpful outreach to fellow professionals
as well as to students, and for her contribution to the intellectual life of the community.
She arrived in the United States at age 14. Her familymother, father, and their ve daughters
came from a farming community in Mexico where her parents earned their living as cotton pickers.
The work was seasonal, which meant that there were long periods of time when there was no
employment to be had and no money to buy food. Wichis father went out each morning to look for
work, and he often returned with sadness and frustration written on his features and still no chance
for gainful employment. His wife had learned to be very creative in providing nourishment for her
family. She and her daughters would search the neighboring elds for edible weeds, and somehow
Mrs. Elias managed to nd something to eat for her family every single day. Wichi recalls that she
did not go hungry, but she realizes now that when there was not enough to go around, it was her
mother who went without.
When she was seven years old, the family moved to Border City in Mexico to search for better
opportunities. Wichi clearly remembers her third grade, and these are not good memories. The
teacher of that particular class unabashedly favored students from the more afuent families, and he
constantly made demands for things to be brought from homepapers, pencils, booksthings that
cost money. Elementary education is supposedly free in Mexico but the so called extras are not, and
there were no extra pesos in the Elias household for such things.
This third grade teacher insisted one day that each child buy a personal dictionary for class use.
The price of a dictionary was seven pesos. Wichi came home crying. How on earth was she going to
get a dictionary? She knew for a fact that all the money in the family treasury at that point in time
was one single peso.
On her way home from school, the little girl noticed a fruit vendor, and she came home with
a plan. Her mother listened and liked the plan. Mrs. Elias was willing to contribute the one family
peso. With that one peso, Wichi bought popcorn and ten paper bags. She popped the corn and lled
the bags. Then she proceeded to a busy street corner to sell her wares. Later that afternoon, the
little girl returned home with ten pesos in her pocket. She not only got her dictionary, but the eightyear-old managed to support her entire family for a period of a whole year with the on-going,
ingenious popcorn scheme. It is a story that her proud father likes to tell to this day to any receptive
audience, and the story has become part of the Elias family tradition. Nevertheless, Wichi had to
repeat the third grade. That teacher never did like me, she says with a rueful smile.
Her entrepreneurial skills continued, as Mr. Elias, perhaps following the inspiration of his
daughter, began to sell fruit from a cart. On Sundays, when there was no school, Wichi joined
him, and she loved her task as a salesperson, particularly on the days when the cart was taken to the
soccer stadium, where the calls for refreshing fruit were frequent and constant. Mrs. Elias eventually
joined in the production phase of the business with delicious homemade tamales. But only Wichi was
willing to be part of the public aspect of the enterprise as an enthusiastic and able salesperson. My
mother and sisters were too embarrassed, she explains.
The family had applied for a Green Card with its promise of entry to the Promised Land on the
other side. But it took years for ofcialdom to grant the privilege. When the long-awaited GreenCard nally arrived, the family made the great move to the land of opportunities. Wichi was 14 years
old when she became a junior at Rural City High School. For two painful years she suffered there.
She had been a star-student in her Mexican high school as well as an outstanding athlete, who
excelled as a runner and was good at volley ball. Suddenly, she felt like an outcast. Because she and
her sister could not speak English, they were placed in Special Education with severely handicapped

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children. They had no friends. Their clothes, their behavior, their attitudeseverything that had
been rightwas suddenly totally wrong. Just at the age when being part of things is so very important, the Elias sisters felt like the proverbial squares trying to t themselves into round holes. They
were miserable. Wichi begged her father to let her quit school, but Mr. Elias insisted on an education
for his daughters.
The Elias sisters did their best to stay out of school as long and as often as they possibly could.
There is no school today! they would announce whenever they thought they could get away with
it, making up any excuse they thought that their father might be willing to swallow. If their excuse
seemed acceptable, they would be permitted to join their parents working in the elds. Picking the
crops of the day was pure joy compared to the leaden boredom of school. I always wanted to be
the best out there, Wichi relates. I set goals for myself and picked more than anyone elseI even
picked more than my dad!
Work in the eld is never easy, she continues but, there is much camaraderie. You hear singing and laughing. You hear jokes. Yes, you do get exhausted and worn out, but there is a certain
rhythm and sense of community about the work, which I certainly have not seen in either the sales
work or the ofce work that I tried later on.
After two years of misery, Wichi nally graduated from high school. Her father was pleased and
considered her education completed. She now knew how to read and writeskills that he himself
had never acquiredand she was able to translate from English when that was necessary. Wichis
educational history might just have ended right then and there, but suddenly a crucial person, in the
form of an instructional aide, appeared. She explained to Wichi that there was a community college
in the area, and that there was nancial aid available, and that all that was necessary were certain
forms that had to be lled out. The instructional aide helped in the lling out of those forms.
Wichi was 16 years old when she decided to continue her education. However, there was a
problem. As a minor, she needed parental consent, and she knew that her dad would never agree to
sign her up for more education. Wichi laughs when she tells that it never even occurred to either her
or her mother that it would have been perfectly all right to ask Mrs. Elias, as a parent, to sign those
papers. Patriarchal rule was simply the accepted way of the world. As it was, Mrs. Elias was the one
who came up with a solution. Just tell him that he is signing graduation papers, she advised, which
is exactly what was done.
Mrs. Elias had long cherished the dream that her daughters would gain a higher education.
Working as a maid in a large US city, she had once observed college students on parade, and admired
the freedom, poise, and well being of those young people. This is what I want for my children, the
young woman had thought.
The battle with Father Elias was, however, far from won once those papers had been signed. The
family spent the summer months working in the elds of another state. When August rolled around,
Wichi had to get back to Rural City to start the program she had registered for. Someone had to
drive her to the bus station, and Mr. Elias rmly refused. As the arguments grew more furious, it
was Mother Elias who again saved the day. Shaming her husband into submission, she declared that
unless he was willing to drive Wichi to her destination, she would be forced to ask a neighbor for
help. That did the trick!
Wichi earned a scholarship and gained entry into a work-study program. She bloomed at
Community College. It was full of people just like her, young, ambitious, dedicated youngsters,
who were curious, open-minded, willing to work hard, and amazed at the wonders they discovered
in books and in provocative classroom discussions. It was the rst time that she had lived away from

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home, and the dormitory life among good friends suited her perfectly. Although her start at the
college had been somewhat bumpy, she was soon a star student and a teaching assistant in the reading
laboratory. These were the best years of my life! she says.
Wichi laughs as she recalls her early blunders. I had some academic language skills. I could read
a text book, all right, but I had absolutely no social-language skills. I had never interacted socially
with English speakers. I didnt know the names of foods. I didnt know the names of simple utensils
or items of clothing. My rst day in the College cafeteria, for example, I had to tell the workers
behind the food counter what I wanted as they were ladling up food onto the plates. I stood in line
behind one of those enormous football players. I listened carefully to what he said, and then I just
repeated exactly the same thing. You can imagine the huge quantities of food that appeared on my
plate. Fortunately there was a set price for lunch because I certainly could not eat all the food that
had magically landed on my plate.
She took her tray to a table, and was soon approached by a friendly young lady. You are new
here, right? said Rosa, who was soon to become Wichis good friend and dorm roommate. And
you dont speak much English, either, Rosa continued. She was, of course, right on both counts.
Rosa had been at Community College for a year, and she soon became Wichis guide and social-skills
In her ESL classes, Wichi excelled, and she gives those classes credit for restoring her sense
of self-condence. She hurried through the ESL curriculum with a mad desire to join the regular
classes. Her college advisor did not agree. He felt that she was rushing things too much and would
wind up with regrets. Frustrated, Wichi went over his head and obtained permission to move on.
As punishment for her insubordination, she was assigned work in the reading laboratory under the
supervision of two faculty members who did not speak Spanish, while all the remaining scholarship
students were placed in part-time work with Spanish speakers. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, she says. The two faculty women soon became close friends, and, for the rst time,
Wichi was engulfed in social talkall in English. There were ever so many new and interesting
words, she says. I had learned the word curtains, but I had no idea what my new friends were
talking about when they mentioned drapes. I knew about pots and pans, but I was lost when they
talked about skillets.
She took science classes, social studies classes, math, and psychology. She thrived. She did well.
Even her father began to show pride in her success. On weekends, when the family insisted that she
come home, she was picked up at her dorm by the bus on which her father, together with the whole
crew of farm workers, were returning home. Among his fellows, Mr. Elias could not help but beam
proudly at the daughter, who was going to college.
The two years ew. In 1975, Wichi graduated with an Associates Degree. What now? She was
anxious to continue her education, but now there was much opposition. Her father wanted her home.
Her boyfriend was opposed, and she didnt know how to apply for grants, so she began looking for a
job. There was none. For a while she worked in a hardware store, but she found such work unbearably tedious. Much to her own amazement, and to her co-workers amusement, the new graduate
found herself back in the elds where she was subject to much good natured ribbing. So . . . you
have hung your diploma on a hoe! folks would say, and she would give a sheepish grin in return. It
was all just friendly teasing, she says. But it hurt terribly just the same.
But in October of the same year, the miraculous happened. One of the faculty members who
had overseen her work in the learning laboratory called up to offer a permanent full-time job as an
instructional assistant in the laboratory. Wichi accepted with joy! The work was not just employment.

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While she worked at the college, she could also be taking courses, and that is exactly what she did.
She completed all her requirements for admission to a four year university, and she continued to
learn English. I knew that knowing English was the key! she says.
In 1977, Wichi married and went to live and work as an instructional aide at Grassland Elementary
School. Ten months after her marriage, her rst daughter was born. It was not an easy time for the
young mother. Often it seemed that all her hopes and dreams had been shattered. She automatically
contributed half of her teacher-aide salary to her parents. She was living in poverty, and the situation
grated on her nerves and on her self-concept. It wasnt so much the lack of material possession that
bothered her as the sense of humiliation. Somehow she would have to get out of it. She was not going
to raise her children in poverty.
She returned to work at the College, and she had a stroke of luck. State University opened
a branch campus in a 2+2 partnership with Community College. As she had always done, Wichi
grasped the opportunity. She started taking courses, and in 1987, she obtained her B.S. degree in
Elementary Education. The entire family celebrated with her. It was a family teaching certicate,
she explains.
A new Masters Degree Program in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) was being
piloted by State University in Rural City, and Wichi was among the rst students who enrolled.
The program validated her cultural and linguistic background, and it afforded her not only interesting courses, but it also offered outstanding workshops on the main campus where Wichi met
students from all over the world. Her horizons widened, and she continued her education, obtaining
both principals and a superintendents certicate. She became involved in several community efforts
and activities. Before long she was a valued member of State University faculty in the Bilingual/
Multicultural Masters program. She set her sights on a Ph.D., with the hope of some day becoming
a curriculum director for a school district.
Wichis plans changed when the job of Curriculum Director in the school district where
she had worked as an aide was offered to her before she had had a chance to start in the Ph.D.
program. The salary was tempting, and although State University was loath to lose her services
as a faculty member, the executive director could not compete with the salary offered by the
district. Wichi needed the money, and it was the kind of work she had always wanted. She became
the Curriculum Director in the same school district where she had once worked as a teachers
aide. Her talents were soon recognized, and other districts came searching for her skills. She
has, however, chosen to remain at the district, where she now serves as assistant superintendent.
She is noted for her outreach to the community, where she has, among her many contributions,
worked to organize Arizona TESOL conferences, and where she was chosen to be president of
that organization.
She credits her mothers love and optimism as the central catalysts in her march to success, but
she also gives credit to all her enablers on the road to attainment.
Wichi loves her work, and her enthusiasm for it shines. She nds pleasure in the intersection
between education and administration. She enjoys being helpful to principals, and parents. She sees
her role as an enabler and as an opener of windows for opportunity. She is both a realist and an
optimist. She knows what she can do, and she sets about doing it through a series of goals and clear
objectives. We have more and more children in our district every year, she says. It is our job to
help each one of those children to become the best he or she can be.
There is nothing in this world that you cannot conquer, Mrs. Elias used to tell her daughters,
and Wichi appears to have listened well.

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Victoria GomezElementary TeacherVoted

Teacher of the Year by her Colleagues
Born in northern Mexico, Victoria Gomez was the oldest of ve children. When she was eight
years old, her parents divorced, and her mother became the sole support of the family. Desperate
to provide for her children, Mrs. Gomez entered the United States illegally and found factory work
there. The children were left in Mexico. Victoria, who was eleven years old, and her sister Teresa,
who was ten, assumed the responsibility for their younger siblings. The two sisters became excellent
caretakers. Victoria recalls that her youngest sister referred to her as, mommy.
A neighbor locked the children in at night, and in the morning, one of the brothers jumped out
from a window to unlock the door. Mother came home to check on them about once every three
months. The money mother sent was barely enough for food, Victoria recalls, but we also had to
buy school supplies and clothes. All of us always looked clean and neat. My sister and I washed and
ironed our school uniforms. All of us were polite, ambitious children. We did well in school, and our
teachers liked us. No one would have guessed that we were our own caretakers.
Suddenly tears well up in her eyes. We lived in a terrible neighborhood, she says. People were
watching us. People tried to take advantage of us. A neighbor tried to rape me, but I managed to get
away. My sister was not so lucky.
I always knew that I was going to be a ne lady. Where did I get the idea? Oh, from the
telenovelas of course. These lms were my mythology. Those well-dressed ladies who were always
perfectly put together, who always knew exactly what to say, and who spoke in gentle yet determined
voices. They were my ideal. Thats what I was going to becomea ne lady!
At fteen, she graduated from high school, and decided that the road to becoming a ne lady
was through teacher education. As a scholarship student, she left the siblings in the care of her
younger sister and started Normal School. She missed her siblings terribly and worried about them.
Nevertheless, she became a star student, and made many friends. Boys started looking at her. She
looked in the mirror, and for the rst time realized that she was pretty. Others discovered it soon
enough, and she was voted school beauty queen. She also discovered her paternal grandparents, who
lived a three-mile walking distance from the academy she attended. She lived with them and became
a clear favorite. They were dirt-poorliterally. Their house had a dirt oor, but they poured love
and admiration on this granddaughter, whom they saw as a winner.
Each day she walked the three miles to school. The roads were often muddy, and if she got
caught in the rain, she arrived wet and mud spattered, clearly torture for this ne-lady-in-training,
but her looks were observed by more and more people. She was offered a modeling job. She took it.
The money was not bad, and for a while she considered this opportunity as another possibility for
a career, but then she met her husband-to-be, who was, at the time, studying veterinary medicine.
She was to graduate, get her rst teaching job and reject a far wealthier suitor before she actually
took the golden ring from Estabano, her intended, and it was his persistence as a suitor that nally
convinced her. By chance, she was given the opportunity to immigrate to Florida, and in spite of
many fears and much advice, she decided to take the chance on the other side. Estabano came
along. If I dont follow you, I will lose you, he said.
In Florida, the young couple worked in the elds, but soon she was promoted to the ofce,
where she was able to help other immigrants see their way through the bureaucratic morass. They
moved to California for greater opportunities. She went from job to job. She missed her family. She
cried a lot, but the marriage endured, and the love between them grew and matured. She started

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taking English classes where she met students of many nationalities. Her horizon expanded, and
then baby Ruby was born. Thats when the young couple decided that life in California was far too
expensive, and they moved on to Arizona.
In 1990, Victoria enrolled in ESL classes at Community College. It was a true blessing for her.
The teachers were wonderful. She asked and asked, and they were delighted to answer. They had
never met a student so alive and so interested. One of the teachers spoke about her work in Egypt,
and Victoria realized that other people too travel far for the sake of opportunity. She nished her
studies at Community College, but she still did not feel condent enough in English to carry on an
adult conversation. She found work as a teachers aide in a bilingual program, and slowly, with much
more coursework, became an expert in Early Childhood Education.
She had two little girls now, and since Estaban could support the family, she stayed at home
and dedicated herself to bringing up her daughters, and making their home a comfortable and safe
place. But as the girls grew, she became restless, and in 2002 she returned to Community College.
Things were not easy in her rst English class, and the star-student experienced the frustration of her
rst D, but she persisted. Her rst presentations were traumatic, but again she persisted, and those
As rematerialized. She graduated from Community College with a 3.7 GPA, and she thought of herself as the luckiest woman in the world. She moved on to State University, where she earned both
a Bachelors and a Masters Degree. She ourishes as a teacher, and in 2005, her school voted her its
teacher of the year. Her colleagues constantly seek her out as a curriculum expert and advice giver.
Her laugh is infectious. Her beautiful smile brings to surface the beauty queen that she still is.
Mostly, she is a supremely condent woman who shines through her achievements and her continued purpose. I am the only one in my family with a college degree, she points out. Then her smile
deepens. I have made it in my life! I am the pride of my family and nally, and then her eyes grow
thoughtful, my work is worthy, she says.

Curriculum Implications
Looking back at the lives of these women, we can certainly discern many of Maslows criteria for the
self-actualized. Each of the women is and remains an unfailing optimist. They have found not only
pleasure in their achievements but also much joy in the journey toward achievement.
I love the discussion that ows among like-minded people says Esperanza Gil I discovered
that I loved to study. I love my life, says Soa Cosme. The classroom felt just so right! says
Nidia Alvarez about her work, and Wichi Elias speaks of her mothers love and optimism. A sense of
realistic optimism permeates all their stories and is epitomized by Esperanzas I am a person who
gets bored easily without challenges.
There is a distinct sense in the importance of knowing ones goals. Soa nds education frustrating without a clear goal, and exhilarating once the goal has been found. Victorias goal of wanting to
be a ne lady emerges early and owers throughout her educational ambitions.
The ability to resist enculturation could not be clearer, and stands out in remarks such as
Esperanzas, In our culture you are allowed to be a professional, but only if you can accomplish this
by also being a good wife, a good mother, a good daughter, a good housekeeper, and a good cook.
Or in Soas statement My husband is half-Mexican, so I am very much part of that intense
family culture. The family often spends time at our house, and there are many occasions for family
parties, and guess what? I get those catered. I used to feel guilty about those things. A woman should

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be able to do everything from scratch. Be everything. Be superwoman. And believe me, I have taken
plenty of ribbing about my household help and my catered food. But hey, everyone still loves to come
to our house, and I have learned to laugh it all off. If I make $150.00 an hour, I can afford to hire folks
who make $20.00 an hour. Or in Wichis stories about struggles with her father.
All the women spoke with great earnestness and candor. There was about them a certain seriousness mingled with childlike joy and buoyancy. They had made it, and they knew it. In their own eyes
they were, as Victoria says, Worthy. They relish the respect give them, but this is, in a sense, less
important than how they feel about themselves.
In all the stories there are the enablers without whom the story could not have been toldthe
guidance counselor, the science teacher, the aide who knew the ropes, the more experienced student,
the nancial aid adviser, the supportive boss, the supportive husband, and perhaps most important
the open-door societythe society which allows one university, when another has rejected you; the
society that provides an open-door education.
And so we, as educators, are faced with the perpetual question, What should we do? What can
we do? What must we do in our classrooms, and in our professional lives to foster such ambition?
How can we provide more and more opportunity so that as many of our students as possible will also
move from us onward and be able to live a life in which they can glow? We want many more of them
to say, I made it! or better yet, like Soa, I have it all! I wake up every morning thanking God
for my beautiful life!
In our own classes, we have been mindful of the success stories, and we have worked diligently at
asking students to formulate goals for themselves. We have asked them to see themselves ve years
or ten years from the present moment and to write about that seen-in-the-future person. We have
analyzed our goals from the standpoint of possibilities, and talked about potential steps toward those
goals. We have created visualizations of the idealized self, and although we have tempered some of
those visions, we have encouraged one another to reach for the stars. With our students, we have
made charts that spell out the aspects of our lives that please us and noted the ones we wanted to
change, and written about the possibilities, and the difculties, as well as the challenges in making
changes and in making decisions.
The community college is an institution that has realized that, although intelligence and energy
seem to be equally distributed throughout humanity, opportunity and funds are not. In our language
classes, we have gone out of our way to give a helping hand to opportunity. We have done so by to
studying what is available, and we have insisted that our students make it their study. Where is there
nancial aid? Where is there help for academic success? Where are the people who can help with
lling out forms? Where can help be found for overcoming frustration or depression? Sometimes it
is right next door, but we just did not know. Lets learn together. Lets learn how to ask questions and
ask them at the right time and from the right people.
We have, together with our students, looked at and reacted to the impact in our lives of both
positive and negative forces. When we recall how the a life-threatening accident brought Soa in
contact with a lawyer, who in spite of his obvious chauvinism, brought a totally new perspective
into her life, we are convinced that as teachers we simply must expose our students to many of lifes
possibilities. Why not bring in speakers from all professions to display their skills and their professional lives? Why not ask students to research the professional world through interviews with local
practitioners and through poster- projects that display professional roads and realities? Why not
allow our students to taste the multitude of possibilities offered in our multi-cultural, multi-lingual,
global world?

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Conclusion and Reections

We who teach see ourselves as enablers. We want to open doors, we want to enlarge visions, we want
to offer practical skills that will work in the world and bring needed competence for our students. We
want to provide the stepping stones to success. We want to validate the cultural backgrounds of our
students, and create bridges of cultural accommodation and understanding. The language classroom
is an ideal setting for such endeavors. After all, as language teachers we can reach out to all the world
has to offer. Everything is language. Everything provides opportunity for language learning. Lets
use it in helping to realize the dream. If and when we do so, we, too, like Soa Cosme, can wake up
each morning and thank whatever gods may be for the privilege of living our lives. We live in an
interdependent world. To help others means to help ourselves. By reaching out to opportunity for
our students, we feel the joy one knows when one becomes part in the strengthening the fabric of

The Authors
Dr. Natalie Hess, Ph.D., serves as professor of Bilingual/Multicultural Education and English as a
Second Language at the Yuma Campus of Northern Arizona University. Dr. Hess has taught ESL
and served as a teacher educator in six countries. She has authored and co-authored several textbooks and teacher resource books, as well as many scholarly articles on linguistic and educational
issues. Dr. Hess is the recipient of AZ- TESOL Educator- of- the-Year Award. She was also recently
elected Presidents Distinguished Teaching Fellow at the University of Northern Arizona.
Dr. Amalia Garzon is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Northern Arizona University-Yuma
Branch. She is a native from Guayaquil, Ecuador, but she has lived in the United States since 1983. She
enjoys living with her family in Yuma, a border town near Mexico and loves teaching borderlanders.

Brint, S. & Karabel, J. (1989). The diverted dream: community colleges and the promise of educational
opportunity in America. New York: Oxford Univesity Press.
Cohen, A. M. (1971). A constant variable: New perspectives on the community college. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass., Publishers.
Gleazer, E. J. (1980). The community college: Values, vision & vitality. Washington, D.C.: American
Association of Community and Junior Colleges.
Maslow, A. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York: Van Nostrand Company.
OBanion, T. (1997). A learning college for the 21st century. Phoenix, Arizona: American Council of
Education and Oryx Press.
Stafford, S. (2006). Community college: Is it right for you? Wiley: Hoboken, New Jersey.
Vaughan, G. B. (2000). The community college story. Washington, D.C.: Community College Press.

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h te


Language, Learning and Literacy:

Supporting Diverse Families
Through Intergenerational
Literacy Centers
Susanne I. Lapp and Eileen N. Whelan Ariza

One steamy Florida afternoon, Jeane, a young Haitian woman and her 8 year old daughter
Monique, make their way to a portable, classroom trailer on the outer edges of the public school
grounds, walking deliberately to their destination. Jean pushes the solid trailer door that opens
into a cozy classroom. Thankfully, the air conditioner is working and children, parents, and
teachers are busily typing on computers, writing stories, and reading books. Jean and Monique
are greeted by Ms. Danielle, who smiles and welcomes them. They take a seat by one of the large
tables in the center. Monique runs to get her literacy folder. She is eager to continue working
on her story about her school eldtrip to the zoo. Later that day she would share it with the
other students at the literacy center. As Monique begins to write, Jean thumbs through her own
folder which contains her latest response journal entry. Jean meets with six other parents who are
improving their English skills while their children are receiving intensive English language and
literacy instruction from trained mentors in the program. Jean is grateful for the opportunity
to develop her English literacy skills and she is proud of Monique. She believes that with hard
work and a little luck, Monique will never have to know what it feels like to run from a one low
paying job to the next.


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Monique is indeed on her way to becoming a successful English language learner. Fortunately, like
other children in this literacy center, Monique has the unique opportunity to break the chains of
low literacy and embrace language and literacy in a supportive learning environment. This was not
the case just 6 months previously. when Jean was struggling to nd help for her daughter, whose
academic performance in the classroom was suffering. Jean was terried that her daughter might face
the same negative English language learning experiences that she faced upon arriving in the United
States 10 years before.
Jean immigrated to New York with her parents, who were political refugees from Haiti. Although
she had completed several years of schooling in Haiti and had a rudimentary understanding of
English, it was not sufcient for her to maintain the academically demanding coursework of the
GED program and she was forced to withdraw from the program. Through a series of low paying,
entry level jobs, Jean was able to acquire some English language prociency by working with several
native English speakers, who forced her to communicate with them in English. Several years later,
with the birth of her daughter, Jean vowed that her child would not have to face the same struggles
that she faced adjusting to the United States.
Unfortunately, Jeans dreams went unrealized. During the rst grading period, Moniques 4th
grade report card indicated that she had signicant deciencies in reading and writing. Thus began
Jeans frantic search for a solution to prevent her child from facing the same obstacles that stood in
her path years earlier.

Literacy in Florida
Jeans experiences are not unique; in fact, in the state of Florida there are approximately 1,700,000
adults functioning below an eighth grade reading level. These individuals are challenged by
common everyday tasks like gleaning information from newspaper articles, identifying and entering information on job application forms, and calculating total costs of purchases from a receipt
(Lapp & Braunius, 2001). The high number of illiterate adults reects the drop out rate in Florida,
which is one of the highest in the United States. Estimates suggest that one third of the students
currently enrolled in Florida schools will drop out before obtaining a high school diploma. South
Floridas Miami Dade county reported an astounding drop out rate of 47.8%, nearly one out of
every two students in the school system (2001).
These Florida gures are exacerbated by the fact that approximately 13% of the states population are foreign born and possess limited English prociency. English for speakers of other languages
(ESOL) is becoming an increasingly critical issue for family literacy in particular, and for the nation
in general. Specic concerns relate to the following statistics:
Approximately 19.8 million immigrants enter the United States each year and 1.7 million of
those who are age 25 and older have less than a 5th grade education.
Up to 80% of the adults who are illiterate in English are also illiterate in their rst language.
(Camarota, 2005).
Illiteracy is an intergenerational problem and evidence suggests that it begins in the home.
Adults with high reading levels and abilities will most likely pass on their enthusiasm for literacy to

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their children. Children, whose parents read to them, even in preschool, are much better prepared
to start school, and they perform signicantly better in school when compared to children who have
not been exposed to reading at home.
Consequently, children of parents with low literacy skills will likely inherit their parents low
motivation to read and as a result, experience low literacy levels. Frequently, these parents tend
to have experienced poor school achievement and high drop out rates. Parents who have graduated from high school are more likely to have children who graduate from high school (Wolfe &
Haveman, 2003) In fact, children whose parents have not completed high school, are ve times more
likely to repeat their parents mistakes and drop out of school than children whose parents have
completed school (Fitzgerald, 1989).

Legislative Initiatives and English Language Learners

As a result of low levels of literacy skills among many Americans, and particularly recent immigrants to the United States, state legislators and school district ofcials are consumed by designing
state curriculum standards and then creating high stakes tests to measure whether these standards are being met by English language learners (ELLs) (Phelps, 1998; Moore & Zainuddin,
2003). In an effort to combat the literacy crisis in Florida, lawmakers have created educational
policy on high stakes testing in all public schools in Florida. Under the banner of the Floridas A+
Plan enacted in 1999, Florida schools receive state assigned grades. These grades are based on
the results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) which is administered to all
students in grades 312. The FCAT is the most common indicator of academic progress in the
state and ranges from a low of 1 to a high of 5 in reading and math assessments. The A+ Plan
has determined that the common benchmark for on grade level performance is the percent of
students scoring levels 3 and above.
The state of Florida has adopted the FCAT despite the warnings voiced by educational experts
(Kohn, 2001, 2002) who highlight the many problems associated with aligning instruction to tests
(Mabry, 1999), potential bias towards English language learners (ELLs) ( Jones and Ongtooguk,
2002) and inappropriate use of commercial standardized tests with ELL populations (Butler, Orr,
Gutierrez and Hakuta, 2000).
In an effort to placate educators, Florida legislators granted ELLs a 2-year exemption from
the FCAT tests. However, ELLs are required to take the test for practice, although their results
are not disclosed in school performance reports. Once ELLs have been in the school system
for 2 years, it is assumed that they will be adequately prepared to take and successfully pass the
FCAT. Moore & Zainuddin (2003) examined ELL students prociency on the FCAT Writes!
(Florida Writes!, 2001). The Florida Writes! exam measures writing prociency in different
genres of essay writing (narration and exposition) at the 4th, 8th and 10th grades. Results found
that 4th grade ELLs required 35 years to achieve parity with their native English speaking classmates and that a 2-year exemption is not a sufcient amount of time for ELL students to demonstrate academic English language prociency. They caution school administrators and policy
makers not to have unrealistic expectations that ELL students can be academically procient
in a short time and suggest that decisions to prematurely test ELLs may negatively affect their
promotion and graduation.

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Social Exclusion
Many families of English learners in Florida feel that legislative policies that focus on improving
test scores are simply punitive measures designed to exacerbate their sense of alienation, isolation, and rejection in their new surroundings (Buttaro, 2004). Frequently, immigrant children and
parents nd themselves adrift in an unfamiliar environment completely unprepared to survive in the
fast paced lifestyles they encounter in the United States. With limited job experiences, education
and language skills, many immigrant families feel socially excluded from their new surroundings.
Because of these setbacks, newcomers soon discover that they have restricted access to communicative competence, civil, political and social rights, and opportunities to improve their circumstances (Beyond child, 2003). Social exclusion of children is often associated with social exclusion
of their parents. Parents own lack of literacy and language skills may contribute to the exclusion
of their children, and to their inability to assist their children with school work. Schools can also
exacerbate social exclusion by failing to adequately educate children, depriving them of needed
academic resources, and excluding them from interventions (Beyond child, 2003). Social exclusion
is particularly difcult for children because if encountered at a very young, this phenomenon frequently prevents them from receiving crucial services such as access to health care and educational
accommodations (2003).
The negative impact of social exclusion must be resolved. Educational practioners have long
claimed that the key to improving childrens opportunities for academic success is to enhance and
support their literacy development. A key component of a childs literacy development is to have
actively engaged parents, who support their childrens literacy growth (Fitzgerald, 1989)
Children and parents need to be exposed to literacy activities that can be specically connected
with real-life social issues and concerns in their community. Immigrant families need to have opportunities to make the necessary connection between literacy learning, personal empowerment, and
social change which can only occur if they nd themselves supported in a secure language learning

Multicultural/Multilingual Family Literacy Project
A yearlong Multicultural/Multilingual Family Literacy project was established at an urban elementary school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The project was funded through the Barbara Bush Family
Literacy/Annenberg Challenge Grant. Children, families and their mentors (professional educators
enrolled in graduate courses at a local university) gathered together every Tuesday afternoon for
three academic semesters. Together, these individuals formed partnerships whose specic goal was
to create a family literacy and learning center where parents and children gathered together and
developed an appreciation and understanding of language and literacy skills and strategies.
The overarching objective of the Multicultural/Multilingual Family Literacy Center was to
create an opportunity for ELLs to work with a professional teacher educator who exposed children to a variety of meaningful literacy activities through intensive, individualized instruction that
addressed students specic academic needs and provided them with a thorough diagnosis of their
academic strengths and weaknesses.

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A second objective of the project was to make certain that families also beneted from
attending the Multicultural/Multilingual Family Literacy Center. The project embraced the
families unique histories and experiences and infused them into the program development in an
effort to create authentic literacy activities (Moll and Greenberg, 1990). Families were encouraged to share personally relevant stories about their native countries, families, culture and customs
both orally and through writing. Frequently, they used their native languages interchangeably
with English in an effort to set the stage for multicultural exchanges within the partnerships
and through a supportive learning environment; they had the opportunity to gain insight and
understanding from each other.

Throughout the span of the yearlong project, 30 families from Caribbean, Latin and South American
countries met together with a teacher-mentor in weekly, two hour mentoring sessions. The sessions were divided into several congurations including mentor-child, mentor-parent and mentorchild-parent. The average age of the child participants ranged from 8 to 10 years of age.
Mentor-child sessions lasted for approximately 4045 minutes. During this time, the mentor
and child would complete a series of informal assessments and a host of reading and writing tasks
with embedded skills-based remediation activities. Mentors used the Burns and Roe (2002) Informal
Reading Inventory in order to get baseline data on their students isolated word list skills as well as
their oral, silent, and listening comprehension levels. Once they determined the students approximate levels, mentors began to address appropriate remediation activities for their students.
While children were meeting with their mentors, parents were engaged in independent literacy activities including Internet searches, independent reading and writing activities, or they could
choose to attend a GED program adjacent to the center.
Once this portion of the mentoring session was completed, the child and parent would switch
roles and the child would be engaged in independent literacy activities while the parent and
mentor would engage in literacy related discussions such as book shares, dialogue journaling, or
school-related discussions. This portion of the session would last for approximately 2025 minutes
followed by the nal portion of the mentoring session where all participants would engage in
mentor-child-parent discussion. It was during this portion of the mentoring session that parents
learned how to support and scaffold their childs language and literacy development, while gathering suggestions and input from the mentor. The following discussion highlights one very successful
partnership that included Jean, Monique, and Ms. Danielle.

A Literacy Partnership
During the rst week of the family literacy center, Jean, the young mother from Haiti, her child,
Monique, the fourth grader who was born and raised in Florida, and their mentor, Ms. Danielle, a
6th grade teacher and graduate student at the local university, decided to work together as a family
literacy partnership.
As the mentoring sessions unfolded, Ms. Danielle developed a rapport with the family as she as
she began to learn about Jean and her daughters struggles to survive in the United States. Through
interviews with the parent, Ms. Danielle discovered that Jean was actively involved at the school

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and worked as a teachers aide. Since Jean was bilingual in Haitian-Creole and English, she was
frequently called upon by the school to help translate conversations between school administrators and Haitian parents. The mentor also learned about Jeans struggles to become literate as an
immigrant to the United States. Since Jeans formal English instruction had been unsuccessful,
Ms. Danielle tried to create a positive and supportive relationship among herself, Jean and her
After a brief period of collecting baseline information on Moniques reading prociency generated from an informal reading inventory (Burns, Roe and Ross, 2002), Ms. Danielle determined that
Monique was approximately 2 levels below her current 4th grade level. Through conversations with
the child as well as classroom observations, it became clear to the mentor that the child was simply
being exposed to classroom instruction which focused on direct instruction of phonemic awareness, phonics, and FCAT test preparation activities. Moniques greatest weakness in reading centered
on comprehension strategies and she lacked signicant exposure to authentic childrens literature.
Moniques teacher rarely took time out of her busy schedule to read stories aloud to the children.
Instead, Moniques classroom teacher felt compelled to complete the direct instruction assignments
which littered the teachers daily lesson plans.
During the rst meeting with Monique and Jean, Ms. Danielle soon discovered that the child
had limited access to literature in the classroom as well as the home environment. As it turned
out, Moniques mother had no idea how to select appropriate reading material for her daughter.
According to Jean, If we have enough money, I will look for things to read at the grocery. I choose
magazines for the pictures and then Monique looks at them too. Immediately, the mentor began
to create literacy activities which would expose both parent and child to literature that was both
personally relevant and authentic. In subsequent sessions, the mentor noticed how excited both
Jean and Monique became when they spoke about Caribbean literature. During one of the parentchild-teacher sessions, Jean began to share an old Haitian folktale about two friends, Bouki and
Ti Malice. Jean explained that her uncle used to come to her parents house in the evenings. Upon
arrival, he would call out to the family, KRIK which indicated that he was ready to share a story
or folktale. Immediately, Jean and her siblings would rush out of the house yelling, KRAK thus
indicating their desire for their uncle to share the tale with the family. Jean rarely recalled her parents reading stories to themselves or their children. Instead, most stories were shared through oral
communication in family settings.
Ms. Danielle realized how important oral communication was to this family. She immediately
began to structure the mentoring sessions so that oral communication was emphasized, while at the
same time she engaged both Monique and Jean in a quest to locate Caribbean literature that they
could bring to the mentoring sessions.

Mentor and Student

As the mentoring sessions continued to progress, the mentor increased the variety of literacy
material. Monique became much more engaged in the literacy activities and eagerly participated
in a number of Language Experience Approach (LEA) activities and vocabulary development.
Ms. Danielle believed that the LEA most accurately reected a meaningful literacy activity for
Monique. The mentor felt that it was important that Monique understand that her thoughts, ideas,
and stories could be captured in print. LEA activities would encourage Monique to take some of
the stories that she had heard in her home, dictate them to either her mentor or parent, who would
then transcribe them into a book. Monique would then have the opportunity to decorate her book

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with her own illustrations and share her books by reading her books with other children in the
literacy center.
Opportunities to engage in this type of authentic literacy experience vastly contrasted with
Moniques classroom experiences. In the classroom Monique had limited exposure to authentic
literacy activities. Since the school that she attended was deemed a Reading First (2002) school,
Monique found that most of her classroom instruction focused on ongoing screening, diagnosis,
and classroom-based assessment. Her exposure to literacy related activities consisted of skills-related
phonic analysis and uency-building activities.
In the literacy center, Monique was exposed to a number of beautifully illustrated books
particularly geared towards Caribbean folklore. One of Moniques favorite books, which she asked
her mentor to read repeatedly, was Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella (1998) by Robert S. San Souci.
Monique was thrilled to learn more about the islands and eagerly shared the story with her mother.
Monique kept a small journal with her at all times and recorded her thoughts and reactions to the
stories as well as new vocabulary words. Her interest in these stories gradually encouraged the child
to create her own texts which she shared with her mother and other classmates in the multicultural/
multilingual center.
Moniques mother was elated with her daughters enthusiasm for reading and writing. After
observing how Ms. Danielle completed some Internet searches on the computer, Jean began to carry
out her own Internet searches to locate additional texts for her daughter to read at home. During one
of her Internet searches, Jean asked Ms. Danielle how she might nd stories written by adults about
her homeland, Haiti. This simple request by Jean generated a signicant emotional response once
she discovered some novels written by Haitian authors.

Mentor and Parent

During a mentor-parent discussion, Jean shared some of the stories of her struggle in Haiti and her
families grief when they decided to leave the country to escape persecution. Upon arrival in the
United States, Jeans parents promised never to speak of Haiti and immediately began to work several
low paying jobs in order to survive in the United States. Jean longed for Haiti and the friends which
she left behind. Her new country was large, loud, and cold and she refused to go to school where
fellow classmates would harass her for her strange accent, and island ways. Jean decided to drop out
of GED classes and soon found herself working in low paying jobs alongside her parents.
The mentor immediately began to help Jean search for relevant and motivating texts that
interested her, and she encouraged Jean to read, write and respond to the text. Since Jeans previous
academic learning experiences had been fraught with purposeless tasks that resulted in disappointment, the mentor believed that it was crucial to nd meaningful literature which Jean could apply to
her own life experiences (Freire, 1995).
During her independent reading, Jean became familiar with the novels written by the Haitian
author, Edwidge Danticat. Her favorite book by Danticat was Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) and she
began to relate to some of the experiences that the main character experienced in an attempt to
adjust to life in the United States. Since Jeans daughter, Monique, seemed to enjoy writing her
stories in a notebook, Jean decided that she wanted to write her own feelings and responses in a
journal of her own.
Throughout the 16 week semester, Jean searched through books in an effort to gain greater
understanding of her native culture, while at the same time she was learning how to motivate and

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support her daughters steadily increasing interest and demand for literacy-related information.
According to Jean:
My daughter and I spent most of the day at the library just looking and reading the books. She kept
asking to get this one and that and then we had to carry them all home, then the next day we read the
books and she wrote me stories about them. My, has this girl become bookish!
Jean also became increasingly more bookish as she made greater connections to literature.
Through several novels, Jean began to understand the struggles of Haitians and the political crisis
which forced families like her own to make the critical decision to immigrate to the United States.
Suddenly, literature became personally relevant for Jean. Through books, she was able to better
understand the culture and politics of her native country, something that her parents did not feel
comfortable sharing with her, as she was growing up in the United States.
Jean immediately resolved that her daughter would continue to embrace a literate environment
in her home and proceeded to ll their apartment with library books and writing materials. Jean no
longer saw her child in an oppressive learning situation. In fact, Jean went on to become a literacy
center spokesperson within the school community and encouraged several other Haitian families to
participate in the multicultural/multilingual family literacy center.

Jean and Moniques story is not unique in the American school system. All too frequently, families
from other cultures cannot seem to nd their lives represented and reected within the schools
curriculum. Too often, educators are forced to prepare their students to perform successfully on
standardized tests, while forgetting to acknowledge and embrace their students diverse linguistic
and cultural experiences.
Participation in this Multicultural/Multilingual Family Literacy Center enabled families to feel
empowerment and success because the strategies used embraced the families unique histories and
infused these experiences into individual program development. The literacy center program provided families with a context and framework that valued and appreciated their cultures and languages.
Parents and children made personal connections between literacy learning and real-life social and
community issues. By working alongside mentors, parents learned how to scaffold their childrens
literacy development while simultaneously learning how to develop and enhance their own literacy
learning. Families engaged with mentors and parents in a variety of lively and informative discussions
about school culture. Through these important discussions, families no longer felt socially excluded
from the school community. Instead, participants in the family literacy center began to feel that they
were an integral and contributing member of the school community. Many of the parents began
to attend parent-teacher conferences and several became actively involved in the Parent-Teacher
Association (PTA). Parents were convinced that their input was valued and that they were signicant
partners in their childrens literacy development (Benjamin & Lord 1996; Gadsden, 1996).

Implications of the Project

It is imperative for educators to provide families from diverse language and cultural backgrounds
with opportunities to embrace literacy development for their children and themselves. Frequently,

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the best way to garner support for family literacy programs is to focus on grass roots efforts at
recruiting family participation. As was evidenced in this project, it was important to nd a parent who
was connected and respected within the school community to advocate for the program.
Additional family literacy recruitment strategies include creating a literacy environment that
reects the cultural diversity and local norms of the community. Families need to be convinced that
literacy centers offer a curriculum that focuses on personally relevant information and materials
instead of prescriptive literacy packages which may not specically address the unique needs of multicultural and multilingual families. It is also essential that program developers truly understand the
challenges faced by the communities where the centers are located. Active support from community
and religious leaders is an important recommendation for families who might otherwise distrust
outside intervention (Dwyer, 1995).
Program developers must also consider how to attract families to family literacy centers. Because
parents have different reasons for seeking out the services of a family literacy program, program
developers need to offer prospective parents a family-center curriculum that provides participants
with specic instruction and guidance on how to help their children learn, as well as strategies for
dealing with childhood behavior issues. Some family members may wish to improve their English
prociency, while others may be interested in improving their vocational opportunities. Family
members who feel and experience success in learning are more likely to pass that enthusiasm on to
their children (Griswold & Ullman, 1997; Shanahan, Mulhern, & Rodriguez-Brown, 1995). Parents,
who see themselves as equal partners in their childs learning process become engaged and empowered parents (Strickland, 1996) and will provide that essential ingredient that guarantees a brighter
academic future for their children.

The Authors
Dr. Susanne I. Lapp is an Associate Professor in Reading, Language Arts and Childrens Literature
in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida Atlantic University. Her area of research
specialization focuses on family literacy and English language acquisition of children and adults.
Dr. Eileen N. Whelan Ariza is a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Florida
Atlantic University where she has taught since 1997. She has been involved in teaching English
learners and training teachers both overseas and in the United States for the last 30 years. A prolic writer, she has authored or coauthored 10 books and numerous articles that focus on language
learners and was the editor of TESOLs agship publication, Essential Teacher. Throughout her
career, Dr. Ariza has won several awards for excellence in teaching from FAU and Harvard University,
where she taught for 5 years, and was recently a Fulbright Award recipient to La Universidad de las
Americas in Puebla, Mexico. An avid traveler, Dr. Ariza currently enjoys teaching ESL on transatlantic cruises. She can be reached at

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h te

Building Leaders Through
Steve Allison and Phil Quirke

This chapter is a very personal joint reection on the process of mentoring that has recently taken
place between the co-authors. The mentoring situation arose as the result of a training program
requirement with the Chair Academy for Leadership Training and Development (http://www
Starting with some basic thoughts about mentoring, the chapter looks at the circumstances
through which this particular mentoring relationship was set up, the expectations of each participant
at the beginning, reection on the progress at the middle & end points of the project, what was
gained from the experience and where the relationship can progress now that the formal structure
initiated has come to a point of completion.
The chapter closes by discussing the future direction of mentoring which may be implemented
in the college at various levels, including mentoring projects with students, new and existing faculty.
Final comments discuss the value of analyzing ones Johari windows as a way of determining ones
readiness for mentoring with illustrated examples from Steves own Johari windows analysis.

Theoretical Framework: Mentoring

Mentoring is not a recent concept by any stretch of the imagination. The term was rst coined by the
ancient Greeks as they related the story of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus.
Mentor, in Greek mythology, elderly friend and counsellor of the hero Odysseus and tutor of his son
Telemachus. In the Odyssey of Homer, the goddess Athena frequently assumes the form of Mentor


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when she appears to Odysseus or Telemachus. In modern English the tutors name has become an
eponym for a wise, trustworthy counsellor or teacher. Microsoft Encarta Premium Suite 2003.
In more recent times Mentor has become synonymous with such a counselor or teacher who engages
in what Harrison (p. 243) refers to as a dialogic learning format
Dialogic learning involves the interacting with others in ways that will produce a growing knowledge
and understanding of the culture of the organization, and how it typically achieves its goals.
Parsloe (p. 73) denes mentoring in the modern business context as
. . . Mentoring . . . is concerned with the longer-term acquisition and application of skills in a
developing career by a form of advising and counselling.
Mentoring could be further dened as a sustained relationship between experienced and less
experienced colleagues in the work place. It may even be viewed as a situation where both parties are
equally experienced in terms of seniority and service with the organisation, but one has particular
skills or knowledge that can be passed on to the other. Through continued involvement, coaching
and giving of advice the mentor offers support, guidance and assistance as the mentee faces new
challenges, goes through a difcult period, or works to correct earlier problems.
The relationship is applicable to situations where there are knowledge, skills and attitudes to be
learnt and handed on in order to improve a persons performance or expertise. Cohen (p. 1) captures
precisely the current generally agreed role of a mentor. Mentor entered our contemporary language
as a nonparental, competent, and trustworthy gure who consciously accepts personal responsibility
for the signicant developmental growth of another individual.
Developing the concept of the behavioural roles & responsibilities of the mentor, Cohen
continues (p. 5) by stating that the mentor has six distinct roles to perform; relationship emphasis,
information emphasis, facilitator focus, confrontative focus, mentor model and mentee vision.
It is within these contexts that the relationship between the authors was established in a formal
manner, as a way of complementing the existing relationship of the hierarchical structure within the
working environment.

Discussion: The Process

With such a lot to be learned and passed on from one to the next, it is essential that there are some
guidelines laid down for the participants. Primarily there are characteristics and values which are
inherent in such relationships, amongst which we can state;
Characteristics and Values for each Party in a Mentoring Relationship
Good listener
Maintains condentiality
Open minded

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Share authority and prestige
Clarify essential issues
Know when to let go


Independent and productive
Dont infringe on mentor with trivia
Accept responsibility

Chair Academy Participant Manual Tab 5, page 16.

From a mentees personal point of view, the essential values and qualities I was looking for at
the time the relationship was initiated were; trust, openness, condentiality, expertise, empathy, a
willingness to listen, a volunteer of suggestions, clarity in direction, determination to see things
through, and someone who has the ability to lead by example. Having known my mentor for a
considerable amount of time before I requested his assistance, I knew full well that he had the qualities
I was looking for and it was a natural decision to seek his assistance.
From a mentors point of view, I could include all the expectations Steve has noted above as a
mentee, but I should also add that I was expecting to learn and develop myself through the experience
of mentoring a colleague and friend. I also had visions of spreading this kind of close working collegial
relationship through the institute should our experience prove to be a fruitful one.

Setting up the Mentoring Relationship

Within the one year practicum component of the Chair Academy for Leadership Training and
Development course, there are three crucial elements which intertwine to complement each other;
mentoring, reection and journaling. I had never previously used any of these tools and it was with
some hesitation therefore, that I moved into the practicum.
The Academy allowed for mentors to be nominated. This meant that one was able to select
someone who one respects and trusts, vital to any mentoring relationship. It is also an a priori
requirement that the selected mentor should have knowledge, skills and attitudes which can be
passed on. Even without guidelines to point the way, common sense dictates that a mentor has to
be a very special person indeed. Looking back at my reective journal entries during the practicum,
I rediscovered the following thoughts;
Journal 2nd October 2004
Mentoring Sessions
This has been the best part of the whole . . . process from my point of view. I have stepped into
a new and very intensive role which has required me calling upon the support and experience of
other supervisors and heads.
My mentor has been unbelievable in the amount of commitment and support offered
throughout the time we have been working on this together. He has always had time to sit with

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me (even though he seems to be the busiest person in the college) and he doesnt miss a session
unless I request it.
His advice and suggestions are often simple, but direct and practical. But best of all they are
effective. He is the one person I have tried (unsuccessfully so far) to model myself on as a successful leader. He is a manager, but people respect him far more as a true leader. One day, maybe,
I will be able to aspire to even just a small proportion of his ability.

From a mentors practical point of view, it is essential to nominate a time to meet with the
mentee regularly and preferably away from the routine location of the work place. We tried once a
week, but soon discovered that this was too frequent for any real reection to take place. By the end
of the year, we were meeting once every three to four weeks, and this seemed ideal. However, each
mentoring partnership should nd its own natural cycle over the rst month or so.
We also found it increasingly useful to focus on a restricted number of developmental goals for the
mentee. The number of goals clearly depends on the mentee, but we found we uctuated between four
at the start up to seven by the end of the year. More than that, I would suggest, would be impractical.
To settle on the goals, it is essential that the mentor listens to the mentee and actively guides him
(Edge 1992, Edge 2002) towards setting realistic and attainable goals. It is essential that the mentor
does not impose their thoughts on the mentee or bring external work-related goals to the table.
Finally, the mentor must be open to learning as much as the mentee. One of the joys of this
professional relationship was that I, as mentor, gained as much from the year, if not more, than Steve
as mentee.
As the mentoring relationship became more established, it transpired that I felt myself more able
to take on the huge increase in workloads which come as part and parcel of my job. We also discovered that the requirement to meet was more on a when youre ready (WYR) arrangement. This was
crucial. As a mentee there can be the pressure to feel that one has to have something to talk about in
relation to the points being focused on during any given period of time.
This is simply not always possible. There are occasions when you can go for weeks on end
without having to address one of your focus points. On the other hand, there are other weeks when
the focus points seemed to crop up repeatedly which meant that there would be a need to address
them without delay.

In my Half Year Report in November 2003, I noted:

Before starting the Chair course, I had only ever heard about the concept of mentoring, and
never actually considered it as something I would call upon as either a mentor or mentee.
My thoughts have changed drastically since I started the mentoring process . . . We usually
meet once every two or three weeks, it depends (among other things) on how much I have had to
reect upon and gauge my performance. We had started meeting every week, but this was simply
too often. The kind of things we talk about involve the need for time so that behaviours and
responses can kick in. As a result we have now got the process off to a ne tee, whereby we will
meet about every three weeks, but we both know that if one of us wishes to meet up and discuss
things sooner than this, we can arrange it.

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From my own experience I can say that the most valuable attributes of a mentor are:
enthusiasm, condentiality, open-minded, exible, resourceful, encouraging, observant, a good
delegator, shares knowledge, ethical.
In the same respect, if the mentoring process is to work, the mentee should be: open to
ideas, exible, willing to listen, take the rough with the smooth, independent, and dont call on
the mentor all the time (take some initiative).
. . . Without a doubt, my mentors experience as a leader far outstrips my own experience,
and the structure of the Chair Academy leadership course has given us a more formalised way in
which we can work together and I can learn from his knowledge and experience.

Steves comments in the above paragraph are very important to anyone thinking of setting up
a mentoring relationship. If there is no structure then the relationship will ounder. The structure
can be set up from the outset as we have noted, but the partners must discuss: goals, meeting times,
meeting place, listening and speaking roles during the meetings and the expectations of both the
mentor and mentee about what they want from the otherthis includes many of the attributes that
Steve has noted above, but I would like to add that condentiality, openness, transparency, honesty
and trust are the ve pillars of every mentoring relationship.

Values to Enhance the Relationship

By the end of the practicum experience it became apparent that quite a transformation had taken
place in terms of the amount of openness I had started to demonstrate. Does it come with the territory of becoming a manager? Does it percolate from within as a result of attending leadership
courses? Is it an extension of ones commitment to publish all ones thoughts on the www as part of
a self expression?
One concept which raised its head during the course of the mentoring was that of Johari windows
( Being a relatively private person, it was essential that my mentor should be someone I knew closely and could rely upon to follow the core values
of trust and condentiality. However, as the relationship developed, I was drawn to revisit the Johari
windows which I rst looked at when attending the rst sessions of the Chair Academy course. Essentially
the Window encourages one to look at the extent to which one is open in ones dealings with others. First
reections seemed to indicate that my own window was rather closed. However, on later reection it
appeared that my window had opened signicantly as the practicum had progressed. Generally speaking
my window has opened notably in my dealings with most people. But, most meaningfully, the relationship with my mentor directly appears to have opened my Johari window even more so.
As stated above, reection and journaling are activities that I had never previously considered,
simply because I had never had the opportunity to understand and appreciate them fully. However,
having got started, it soon became clear that these tools are invaluable as a way of being able to
record ones thoughts and use them for later recollection. By setting out with a reective journal,
encouraged by my mentor, I found that I was genuinely able to express my thoughts quite openly.
Later checking of the journaling records revealed the way in which the relationship had unfolded
and the focus of points we were addressing on a regular basis. Clearly our mentoring objectives
had moved away from the purely managerial aspects and towards the cooperative and collaborative
mode which addressed joint ventures in publishing, support for each others doctorate courses and a
general openness in our approach to the managerial aspects at our institution.

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Our relationship was no doubt aided by my experience with and strong belief in the value of
journals and journaling (Quirke 2002), and I was able to actively encourage Steve to keep an on-going
journal of his reections throughout the year. This reection through writing is, in my opinion, an
incredibly powerful tool as it allows the mentee to verbalize the thoughts and ideas triggered by the
mentoring sessions. This verbalization and concrete reection allows the mentee to lead the sessions,
and the mentor to take up a listening role naturally and without strain.
One important aspect of the mentoring relationship was the conscious decision that we would
carry out our sessions away from the work place. In such a dynamic work place, it is difcult to be
able to nd a time and place where neither of us would have other commitments that would interfere
with our sessions. Basing ourselves at home, away from the work place also meant that we were able
to focus on objectives which were less work related.

The Future of our Mentoring Relationship

With the conclusion of the Chair Academy course and therefore our original mentorship structure,
there remain a number of options as to how we can proceed. Either the mentorship can nishthe
least preferred optionor it can continue to proceed in its present format, or it can develop into
something else which is equally valuable to both participants. We have chosen the third option, a
realignment of the relationship into something which may be regarded as more equitable in the way
the relationship is structured. In seeking to realign the relationship, we have come to the conclusion that buddying could be a more apt title. Buddying suggests a relationship of mutual cooperation rather than one feeding off the other. Buddying is a concept used in other settings where a
relationship exists in order to equally support other members of a group.
For example, in scuba diving, with the PADI scuba system (PADI Open Water Diver Manual,
pp. 54, 105, 109), a buddying relationship is one whereby two (or more) people look after each other.
Equipment for each diver is checked for its effectiveness and reliability prior to the dive. The dive is
planned together and objectives are agreed with depths, times and activities being agreed ahead of
entering the water. Whilst under the surface, the buddies keep in close contact and act as observers for
each other, pointing out and checking crucial dive data with each other as well as checking the plan
is being dived according to the pre-arranged agreement. On exiting the water the buddies then assist
each other in dismantling the gear and writing up the details of the dive in their log books. The whole
process relies on values such as trust, honesty, mutual benet, sensitivity (diving to the limitations of the
weakest participant), delegation, encouragement and emotional support. This type of relationship relies
on the key principle of a mutual benevolence which offers equal input and output for all stakeholders.
One important development is that the goals of the relationship are set up through an equitable
requirement agreed upon by the participants (unlike the mentor/mentee relationship which is largely constructed around the goals of the mentee), and the ex-mentor is required to have goals in the partnership.
Apart from our own relationship and the shift from mentoring to buddying, we are now aiming
to transfer the power we both felt in the mentorship throughout the college.

PersonallyDeveloping from a Mentee to a Mentor

Having been a mentee for much of the last year, I have found it such an invigorating experience that
I am now in the process of mentoring a colleague at the workplace. Having had the benet of observing my own mentor and his approach to our relationship, I set out in the belief that I would be able
to apply the same principles with my colleague. There has to be somewhere as a starting place in

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such activities, and after observing certain behaviors with the colleague I offered him the prospect of
us working together as mentor/mentee. The bond developed has been most remarkable considering
that we knew relatively little of each other when we started out. The most important consideration at the time of setting up the relationship was the way in which the suggestion was phrased.
Clearly it is not appropriate to suggest to a potential mentee that a problem has been identied
and needs immediate attentionand the only way to sort it out is by having someone looking over
your shoulder. This is so far off the mark when it comes to the elements of trust, mutual respect &
understanding, empathy, sincerity, open communications etc as to be almost insulting. Instead the
original suggestion was put forward in a tone of complete concern at wanting to assist the mentee in
his personal performance, having seen him grapple with a number of problem scenarios. As such, this
was accepted by the mentee and the relationship has since developed into one whereby the mentee
regularly initiates the direction of the conversation and the suggestion of new initiatives, believing
that the principle objective is a strive for a combination of condence, competence and excellence.
Attending to just a couple of concerns at a time, we have been able to slowly but surely work
through the attendant issues which had dogged his performance of late. Feedback and appraisal in
conversation has indicated that the mentee is extremely satised with the relationship and has gained
signicant professional benets as a result.

Mentoring for Students

A signicant area of activity which appears to be missing within the college setting is that of a mentoring arrangement to support the learning of the students. Currently, students studying in the nal
year of our institution have minimal contact time with their English language support teachers. The
role of the teachers has become one of simply supporting students on their nal year project work. It
is envisaged that, starting September 2004, these students would have the added benet of an English
teacher who not only tutors but also acts as a mentor. The primary objective will be for the teacher
to assist with the setting of goals to be aimed for during the nal year of study (focusing on the key
academic dates as major goals). Once these goals are set with the teacher-mentor, and with the hands
on approach of the teacher in setting the goals, it is envisaged that the students will gain signicant
benet from having such a close support mechanism. Furthermore, it is hoped that the very same
students will then be able to take the mentoring experience with them into the workplace (upon
graduation) and use it in any number of ways; as a tool to suggest to line managers when seeking
assistance on the job, to use with colleagues when they have something signicant to pass on, provide
a cohort of mentoring practitioners who can work with others in training.

Mentoring for Incoming & Existing Faculty

A mentoring system is currently in the process of being set up to address the issue of assisting
new faculty members. In such a structured and complex organization, even the most experienced
of teachers can nd that the rst few months can be daunting as they come to terms with the processes and procedures within the college. Even with an orientation procedure in place which directs
faculty around the college and the courses delivered, there are still countless issues to be addressed
throughout the course of the year. More often than not faculty have been left to their own devices
and encouraged to ask questions as and when they arise. It goes without saying, however, that at the
very moment the faculty member requires the assistance of a more experienced member of faculty,
the person being asked is already overburdened with responsibilities of their own. The anticipation

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is that by planning ahead and anticipating the gradual requirements of new faculty, it is probable that
the faculty member can have a relatively trouble-free rst year at the college.
One nal development is the wider mentoring & coaching relationships being anticipated with
the future Chair Academy courses in the city and region, and specically as it develops into a course
to be delivered to industry. By having a cohort of people who have been mentored over the last two
Academy classes, the same people will become mentors for future Academy classes. The new mentors
will be able to offer guidance and advice in relation to the course elements as well as the work place.
Having gone through the process myself, it is my rm belief that anyone can become a mentor.
It is better that they have been through the process as a mentee to start with so that they have a role
model to work from. We all have a unique approach to our work experiences, and as such we all have
the potential to bring out new experiences and practices from those we mentor. This is not reinventing the wheel. It is, instead, a way of encouraging further development and best practices amongst
colleagues, friends, students and other stakeholders within the wider community.

Conclusion: Who Should Consider Becoming a Mentor?

One may start by assuming that the role of being a mentor is a position that may be open to anyone.
Personally I would beg to differ on such a thought. As stated above, when looking at the characteristics and values of a mentor, it cannot be just anybody. This is not to say that one shouldnt consider
such a position at a future date. Besides the values of condentiality, honesty, proactivity, etc., there
is also a need for being someone who can add structure, be an active listener and be open.
To my mind, perhaps openness is the most important because it allows so many other attributes
to come into play. One way in which someone could determine whether they are open enough to
become a mentor would be to analyze their Johari windows. As I commented above, when I started
looking at my Johari windows, I was sure that my windows were only just ajar. On a scaled rating
of 0100, I rated myself at 16.
However, by going through the experience of being a mentee, working in close contact with
Phil, taking on a managerial role which determines greater levels of interaction at different levels of
structure both inside and outside the institution, and a genuine desire to tell my story regarding the
Chair Academy experience on the world-wide web, I found that my windows opened considerably.
I believe that right now, with most of my colleagues, my window is 63 points transparent. Whilst
with my mentor I would guess that the score is as high as 84 points. This is testimony the amount of
interaction and the strength of our combined personal and professional relationships. The aim is not
to open the Johari windows to a full 100 points, I believe this to be impossible because (a) there will
always be something we do not know about ourselves and (b) there will always be something others
will not know about us (even if it something deep and psychological which could not be observed
anyway). The aim is simply to maximize the pane so that as much as possible can be seen.
My end of year report for the Chair Academy course illustrates the point with graphics;

Revisiting the Johari Window

I was reading the message sent out by the Academy for the last task. One line actually struck
me and has stayed with me for the last few weeks as being something I should look carefully
at as we come to the end of the course; Time to open those Johari Windows.

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So there were a number of items which I started to think about;

1. What exactly is the Johari window model?
2. When should it be used?
3. How should it be used?
4. Is it possible to have different proles for different situations/people we are dealing with?
5. How does my Johari prole from last May compare with my current prole . . . and is it any
different with regard to the different people/groups I deal with?
6. Have I actually opened my Johari Window?
1. What exactly is the Johari window model?
I have to confess that when we spent the rst week of the Academy course, I didnt really understand what the Johari Window was all about. The whole week seemed to be so rushed, and Johari
windows got lost in the ether!!!
However, the e-mail referred to above prompted me into doing some research into what
I was looking at.
There are a number of websites which detail the simplicity of the model. The best one I have
found is:
Besides giving a very straightforward explanation, it also gives a number of examples of
different proles which can be concluded.
What I have understood is that the model can be a very useful tool in helping to understand
how teams can work better together both internally and externally (as they interact with other
groups). Check out the website for the best explanation I have read so far.
2. When should it be used?
According to the literature, the Johari window should be used for each occasion we deal with a
group. It can be used during the initial setting up of a team to work out the likely dynamics of a
group and equally so when the team has been together for some time to identify how the team
has come to realise more about each otherand themselves.
In addition, as a team prole, it could be used to work out the interaction status between
teams who are required to work together on particular projects. Again, an analysis can be used
to determine how open communications are between teams in order to try and work out why
certain interactions are working whilst others are not.
3. How should it be used?
The tool should be used to investigate the four identied quadrant areas of interaction:

The Open Areaknown by self and others

The Blind AreaUnknown by self, but known by others
The Hidden AreaKnown by self, but not by others
The Unknown AreaUnknown by self and others

It would also be useful to use the Window in conjunction with other tools. The literature recommends Maslows Hierarchy of Needs.

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I feel that it would be more relevant to use Tuckmans Forming, Storming, Norming,
Performing Team Development Model, as well as Situational Leadership and Emotional
Intelligence models.
4. Is it possible to have different profiles for different situations/people we are dealing with?
Yes, and this is exactly what the literature is saying. Not only should we be looking at the initial
setting up phases for new teams, but we should be encouraged to investigate the Johari model
as the team dynamics develop in order to understand how far the team has got and how much
further it they could go.
5. How does my Johari profile from last May compare with my current profile . . . and is it
any different with regard to the different people/groups I deal with?
Tab 7, page 9:
My understanding was that we should identify a point on each axis, draw a line across the window
and nish up with 4 areas within the main window that would indicate how much of each quadrant is characterised by our interaction with our teams.
Having done so, I found a 4 point score on each axis. This meant that my prole (as I looked
at it in percentage area terms), was:
For illustration purposes, view the picture below:

However, having read the literature, I now understand that rather than moving the crosshairs,
it is actually possible to move each of the four arms of the crosshairs according to the prole
derived from each of the points of interaction taking place. All the time, the main aim is striving

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to open as far as possible the Open Area by using a combination of the opening techniques
(see model below):

Feedback solicitation
Shared Discovery
Others Observations

Known by


by self

Known by others




Unknown by others







* At this point I would like to add one comment. It is my belief that no matter how much one may
want to open the Window 100%, it is simply not possible.
Comments from the webpage, state:
The aim in any group should always be to develop the open area for every person, because
when we work in this with others we are at our most effective and productive, and the group is
at its most productive too.
Yes, for sure we can seek to maximise the open area, but I really think that there will always
be something which will stay in the unknown area as being unknown . . . by virtue of the fact that
we are always discovering new things about ourselves, it would be my assertion that we will never

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fully know everything about ourselves. In the same respect, I truly believe that there will be some
private matters that will remain in the private domain, no matter how much we may desire to put
them in the public domain.
On the other hand, if we focus purely in the professional setting within the team formation
and membership, it is entirely possible that the team and the individual know as much as they
need to know to be an effective team.
It all depends on what particular perspective we are looking at and whether we are viewing it
purely as a professionally operational team, or on a more personal level.
So, to answer point number 5, Is my prole any different from what it was in May 2003?. If
I now look at the Johari window and move each of the four arms of the crosshairs, I believe that
my Johari window with my team is now as follows:

6. Have I actually opened my Johari Window?

Looking at the illustration above, the percentages would now seem to reect (for my team
Open63%More open by 47 points, which relates to the other categories as:
Blind15%More open by 9 points
Hidden10%More open by 14 points
Unknown12%More open by 24 points
Question: Does the team work better?
Answer: Yes, I think it does. We have taken 6 months to get to this stage, but a truly believe that
from a personal point of view I am a lot more open with my team and I believe that they are more
open with me.
Leadership styles mean that the Open Door policy, making time for all members of the team,
helping to set goals and objectives are all valuable traits which have assisted in opening the Johari
An interesting comparison would be to work out what the other team members Johari
window comparative scores were previously and are now. But that will have to be for a later time.

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Building Leaders Through Mentoring


One last point:

I was discussing the Johari window with my mentor recently, and he mentioned to me that
I should look at how we interact and do a Johari window for our working relationship as if we
were a team (as we are).
The results, I believe, are below:
Open = 84%, which relates to the other categories as:
Blind = 0%I have no secrets to hide and our relationship outside work is a valuable point in
being able to say that this is the case.
Hidden = 6%Again, due to our close relationship, there is very little that my mentor does
not know about me both personally and professionally.
Unknown = 10%This is more to do with my belief that there is still a lot I dont know about

Summary of the three Windows together:

May 03

Generally April 04

With Mentor April 04

Allison (Chair Academy End of Year Report 15th April 2004)

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Leadership and Success

The Authors
Phil Quirke is General Education Head, Abu Dhabi Mens College and Academic Programme
Manager for the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research & Training (CERT), The Higher Colleges
of Technology (HCT). He has been teaching and teacher training for 18 years and is doing his doctorate on supporting teacher development via the web. He may be reached at
Steve Allison has been in EFL/ESL teaching since 1988 and is currently the supervisor at
Abu Dhabi Mens College (HCT), taking care of Higher Diploma English, the Work Readiness
Program and Cost Recovery courses. He has an M.Sc degree in TESP from Aston University in the
UK and is currently studying for a Doctorate in Business Administration with Glasgow University,
UK. He may be reached at

Cohen, N. H. (1995). Mentoring Adult Learners. A guide for Educators and Trainers Krieger Publishing,
Malabar, FL
Edge, J. (1992). Cooperative Development: Professional self-development through cooperation with colleagues.
Harlow: Longman
Edge, J. (2002). Continuing Cooperative Development: A Discourse Framework for Individuals as Colleagues.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press
Harrison, R. (2000, rst published 1997). Employee Development. CIPD, Cromwell Press, London.
PADI (1999). Open Water Diver Manual. PADI, Rancho Santa Maragrita, CA
Quirke, P. (2002). Maximizing student writing and minimizing teacher correction in Journal Writing,
Burton, J. & Carroll, M. (eds). Case Studies in TESOL Practice Series. Alexandria, VA. TESOL.
Parsloe, E. (1992). Coaching, Mentoring and Assessing; a practical guide to developing competence Kogan
Page, London.

Multimedia & Web Resources

Microsoft Encarta Premium Suite 2003. 19932002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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h te


Providing Leadership in Support

and Access Professional
Development at the Community
CollegesA Focus on Leaders
Yilin Sun

. . . while particular lighthouse schools and school systems are the exception, my sense is that
professional development as it is experienced by most teachers and principals is pretty much like
it has always beenunfocused, insufcient, and irrelevant to the day-to-day problems faced by
front line educators. Put another way, a great deal more is known today about good staff development than is regularly practiced in schools. Dennis Sparks, 2002.
Successful principals understand that schools that systematically identify, deeply appreciate, and spread the outstanding practices that already exist within them are also more effective
in tapping external sources of expertise. Likewise, they understand that schools whose cultures
are contrary to such appreciative and collaborative methods will derive few lasting benets from
most external resources because they lack the means through which more effective teaching
methods become part of a schools routine practice. Dennis Sparks, 2005 [the Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Even though the above remarks made by Dennis Sparks were for K-12 administrators and educators,
they are very applicable to the higher education and community college settings. For most 4-year
higher educational institutions, the need for proactive and on-going professional development at all
levels is seen as a driving force for achieving excellence in teaching, learning and development within

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the system. To fulll their commitment, those institutions invest a signicant amount of support and
resources on professional development activities.
However, the importance of professional development has not always been regarded as one of
the top priorities at the community college settings especially in the eld of Adult English Language
Teaching and Learning. Although embraced as a valid belief by the institutions, the actual implementation of professional development activities has suffered from real commitment and limitations,
which render it ineffective at times (Diaz-Maggioli, 2004, 2005).
In this chapter, the author will explore issues, limitations as well as strategies to support and
access professional development at the community colleges from administrative and leadership perspectives. Both empirical data from a recent international survey study sponsored by TESOL (Sun,
et al, 2005) and best practice case studies will be used to address the issues. Finally, recommendations
of suggested action items for TESOL to consider and implement and a transformational professional
development model for the community college settings will also be provided.

Lets face it; we have teachers who would never go to any workshops. I tried hard and even spent
money for a trainer to come, but I have not seen much of an improvement on their teaching.
We are community colleges, not research institutions. Teachers should be in the class to
teach. When they were hired, they were supposed to be able to teach all the students. If they
still need training, they are not capable of doing their job.
Such comments are not uncommon among some administrators at the community colleges. From
the surface level, the above complains seem to aim at lack of interest or need among college teachers for professional development when in fact such remarks reect a deep-rooted traditional view
of professional development and the assumption that teachers need to be xed. Any professional
development activities that institutions organized are used as a quick tool to x problems.
Thus, the focus and topics for professional development at those institutions are often decided
by administrators rather than by teachers. Such a top-down decision making approach subdued
the teachers voices and putting priority on administrative needs. Hence, these training workshops
become a burden to professionals instead of a wonderful opportunity for professional growth and
teaching/learning enhancement for students.
Lets take a look at the notion that teachers need to be xed. Traditionally, professional
development is often guided by the erroneous assumption that if students dont make gains, its
because their teachers dont know how to teach. (Diaz-Maggioli, 2004). Countless approaches to
teaching adult ESL have surfaced over the past two decades, all claiming to be the ultimate solution
for better language teaching. However, when we hear the amazing stories of community college
teachersthe stories of passion and devotion, strife and success, commitment and sacriceit
makes us wonder what kind of xing these teachers might need. Do teachers need to be xed or do
they need more assurance and commitment from the administration in supporting their continued
professional growth and teaching excellence?
What are the challenges and stumbling blocks that constrain teachers in accessing professional
development at the community colleges? What kind of support can community college leaders

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provide to ensure successful professional development on campus? In the next section, I will
outline some major issues, concerns and challenges based on a recent large scale survey study on
Adult Educators Working Condition sponsored by TESOL (Sun, et al, 2005) and studies done by
Diaz-Maggioli, 2004.

Professional DevelopmentIssues,
Concerns and Challenges
I strongly believe that professional development is paramount important for ESL teachers. As an
administrator for Adult Ed program, I always do my best to give my teachers release time when
they present at the conferences or attend workshops. To me, teachers deserve the opportunities
to grow and learn and share their best practice with other teachers. Their presentations will make
our program known to the others and its also great for the institution. The time they take off from
work and spent at PD activities likes conference will benet the students and program in a long run.
These teachers are often far more effective and innovative in the classroom with their students than
some teachers that I have who just come and ll in the class hours. Comments from a mid-level
administrator in the survey.
Why are some administrators so short sighted!? My director only cares about teachers lling in the class hours not so much on giving us time and fund to attend PD activities . . .
Comments from an ESOL Instructor
My working conditions are excellent and the support of administrators is totally present.
Positions such as mine are few and far between. Comments from an ESOL Instructor
It is encouraging to read the comment from that mid-level administrator from Sun, et als
2005 survey study, but it also makes us worry that there are not many mid-level administrators in
our community college system who have the same vision and commitment to faculty professional
development as reected in the same study conducted by Sun, et al.
Grounded on TESOL Standards for Adult ESOL programs, the survey (Sun, et al 2005)
provided an empirical basis on which to examine the status, professionalism, and the quality
of ESOL instruction in the eld. The purpose of the survey was threefold: (a) to examine the
working conditions of ESOL teachers who work within the adult basic education and literacy
system; (b) to identify areas where TESOL can take action and make plans for advocacy directed
toward achieving equitable working conditions for ESOL teachers in adult education; and (C) to
use the surveys ndings to make recommendations aimed at improving employment conditions
and achieving equity in the workplace for adult ESOL professionals. A total of 1, 141 participants
from the Adult Education eld responded to the survey. Among them, 57 indicated that they work
outside of North America and 1046 indicated as from North America. 442 (38.8%) were from
community colleges.
The respondents from community colleges made overwhelming comments about lack of
support from the institution especially from the unit administrations for faculty to engage in professional development activities. The following areas were identied as major concerns and challenges
affecting professional development at community colleges.

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Lack of Vision and Understanding of the Role of Professional

Development in the Institutional Effectiveness
A common assumption and excuse for not making the commitment to faculty and staff professional
development are We are community colleges, not research institutions. Teaching in the classroom
should be our primary focus. It is true that community colleges provide primary services in teaching and learning. However, to provide high quality learning opportunities for students and achieving
excellence in teaching, faculty members need to stay current in the eld and learn and share best
practices through on-going professional development activities.

Lack of Support from the Mid-Level Unit Administration

While most community colleges have mission and vision statements which normally reect their
commitment to professional development, such kind of commitment often fall short at the unit/
department level especially when a faculty member needs to get release time from class to participate
in professional development activities. Some unit administrators often concern more on teachers
lling in the class hours than viewing teachers professional development as an integral part of their
teaching performance and essential for students learning and institutional effectiveness.
What should be pointed out is that ling in class hours doesnt equal to effective teaching and
learning. Those faculty members who are actively seeking professional development opportunities
are often far more effective and innovative in the classroom with their students than some teachers
who just come and ll in the class hours.

Lack of Funding Support

Many respondents indicated that their institutions dont provide funds or very limited funds for
faculty to engage in professional development activities especially for part-time instructors. Even
full-time instructors receive very limited fund for professional development activities in comparison
with faculty at four-year colleges.
The external grants from the federal or state levels often give high priority to four-year colleges
and universities than two-year community colleges.

Lack of Support of Facultys Innovative Ideas

Many community colleges provide limited professional development and/or curriculum development grants on campus. However, such grant opportunities are often competitive and priorities are
often given to faculty who teach regular college tuition-bearing courses. There are fewer opportunities for faculty who teach adult ESOL programs at the college. In addition, there are often many
hoops to jump through to get the nal approval of the project proposal from the administration even
before the proposal could be submitted for consideration.
Teachers indicated that while higher-level administration encourages innovative ideas from
faculty, some mid-level unit administrators tend to create barriers when faculty members submit
their curriculum or research or other professional development project proposals for signature. The
often-heard excuses for unit administrators not to approve facultys proposals were, We are not
research institute. I dont see the direct impact of your proposal on the class you are teaching . . . Its
not my priority right now, and I dont see the urgency and value of this project. ESL students cant

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take on-line classes or alternative class offerings since they dont know how to speak English well.
Before I sign my name, Id like to see that you have got enough students sign up for this proposed
course. What those administrators failed to recognize and acknowledge is that implementing
innovative ideas through research and curriculum development needs institutional support and cant
happen with a quick x approach or without a clear vision from the leadership.

Top-Down Policy and Overloaded Job Duties

We are educators, but we feel like sweatshop workers . . . Too many duties pulling me in many
directions . . . are common concerns from community college ESOL educators. When teachers are
overloaded with teaching and other duties, it is often difculty to nd the time or energy to participate in professional development even if they would like to and desperately need to.

Lack of Time Especially Release Time

Most ESOL faculty members at community colleges have to teach 20+ hours per week in order
to be considered as full-time work load, while as foreign language instructors in the same institution would only teach 15 hours or less to be considered as fulltime workload. The inequitable
workload has made it harder for ESOL teachers to nd the time for professional development
In the survey, when asked how many hours of staff development release time teachers
received each year, 28.4% of the faculty members revealed that they had none, 27.7% received
less than 10 hours a year, and 25.8% indicated that they had received between 1020 hours of
release time.
When asked how many TESOL conventions that they had participated, only 15% of the survey
participants stated that they had attended between 35 TESOL conferences over the past 5 years,
and 34% had not attended any conferences sponsored by a TESOL afliate. The main challenges
for them were funding and time.

Lack of Sustained Effort to Institutionalize Professional Development

Many respondents indicated that there is a gap between the institutional mission and vision
statement and the actual commitment to institutionalize the professional development effort at all
levels. How can we get the leaders from all levels to Walk the talk? How can colleges sustain their
commitment to professional development and make sure its not a one-time quick x but an on-going
effort? Presidents and mid-level unit administration need to be on the same page to develop a plan
and stay with the plan on ways to institutionalize professional development activities.

Lack of Recognition and Incentives

Many participants also indicated that the faculty does not receive fair share or recognition of their
effort and dedication to professional development. There is little signicant reward in terms of
their professional positioning or economic improvements. Some respondents commented that they
even got punished by their short-sighted unit administrators or jealousy colleagues for being
active in professional development to continuously updating their knowledge and skills and making
contributions for the program and college.

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Lack of Motivation
Some participants indicated that after a few attempts and tries without a success, they gave up and
became much less motivated in any of the professional development activities. Others are just not
interested in getting involved as they see little incentive for them to do so. Many part-time teachers
indicated that job security precedes the professional development activities. Some others just come
and teach and go home. Serving on committees, working on projects or attending workshops are
more for new teachers.
The list here is not comprehensive, but an outline of a few major barriers and challenges at community colleges for professional development. Both administrators and faculty need to be aware of
the concerns and challenges in order to develop strategies to support, access and sustain professional
development activities on campus.

Strategies and SuccessesA Visionary Perspective for

Professional Development
Diaz Maggioli (2004) outlined a visionary perspective for professional development. The characteristics of visionary perspective were described as consisting the following components: Collaborative
decision-making, A growth driven approach, Collective construction of programs, Inquiry-based
ideas, Adequate support systems, Varied and timely delivery methods, and An andragogical perspective. To apply the visionary perspective to the community college settings, the following discussion
was based on the outline provided by Diaz Maggioli (2004, 2005).
The rst characteristic of the visionary perspective is Collaborative decision-making. As Diaz
Maggioli points out that to ensure successful professional development on campus, teachers need
to be involved right from the start in assessing their professional development needs and selecting
the best alternative to fulll those needs leads to ownership of the process and enhances its efcacy.
The mutual respect, trust and support between administration and faculty members are the key to
effective professional development on campus.
The second characteristic is a growth driven approach. With this approach, truly effective professional development sees teachers as developing professionals who engage in these activities not
because they need to change the way they do things, but because they constantly nely tune their
expertise to best serve their students needs. Diaz-Maggioli (2005). This approach is in contrast to
the decit perspective, which views teachers need to be xed.
The third component of the visionary perspective is Collective construction of programs. Every
institution is a cosmos of experience and its members possess a wealth of knowledge, which ranges
from novices to experts. As Diaz-Maggioli (2005) states, Experience has demonstrated that, when
these internal resources are tapped, the outcomes of professional development have a much greater
impact than when they are not taken into consideration.
Institutions that know how to discover and cultivate internal resources and expertise are far more
innovative and dynamic than those who failed to utilize and support the internal resources and expertise.
The next component is Inquiry-based ideas. When faculty members are given the opportunity
to share their experience, explore solutions and best practice, reect the decisions they make and
monitor the impact of their actions on student learning, there is a greater chance of development
than simply bringing an outsider to the program and prescribe the way things should be done.

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As Diaz Maggioli (2005) states, Using an inquiry-based approach, facultys experience can be
legitimized through engaging them into spirals of inquiry, research, and development around topics
of concern within the learning community they belong to.
Varied and timely delivery methods is next in Diaz-Maggiolis framework. While training workshops, seminars and workshops are the preferred delivery methods, the actual methodologies used
during those courses make a deep impact on the teachers understanding of the ideas communicated
through the course. Making sure that courses actively involve participants in elaborating on the contents is a guaranteed step to their success.

Adequate Support Systems

Applying new knowledge into practice is by no means of an easy task. To ensure a successful
transformation of the learned knowledge into practice, teachers need to have adequate follow up,
reection and consultation with peers and anyone involved. It is essential to establish a mentoring or
peer support system to increase the possibility of positive and adequate transfer of learned information and knowledge.

Context Specic/Needs-Based Programs

Diaz-Maggioli pointed out that in professional development, we should avoid using the
one-size-ts-all approach since it has been proved ineffective and not practical in most cases.
Teachers have specic needs, teach in specic context and work with different learners. Therefore,
any professional development planning should take into account the needs of the teachers within the
context of their work and the students they serve. When these needs are taken into consideration, the
effectiveness of the professional development programs will be signicantly enhanced.

An Andragogical Perspective
For this perspective, Diaz-Maggioli used Knowles, Holton and Swanson (1998)s terms as an andragogy perspective. According to Knowles, Holton and Swanson (1998), andragogy is dened as the
art of facilitating adult learning. Adults apply their rich experience to the learning process. If this
experience is highly valued and validated, then the results of the professional development learning
experience will be more productive and signicant.

A Transformational Professional Development

Model for Community College Setting
Based on the visionary perspective described by Diaz-Maggioli and others, a transformational professional development model for community college will have the following components.

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Visionary perspectives with focus on Institutional Transformation at all levels

Collaborative decision-making not top-down one-way transaction
Needs-based and growth-driven approach not x-the problem mentality
Inquiry-based exploration rather than prescriptive one-size ts-all therapy

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Leadership and Success

Sustainable, on-going and contextualized activities not a one-time decontextualized event

Reective and multiple perspectives on ways of knowing not narrow minded, single dimensional ways of handling
Proactive and supportive of faculty initiated effort, not passive and reactive of issue-based
Since the transformational model for professional development starts with visionary perspectives
which values collaborative decision-making and inquiry-based and needs-based approach, in the
community college setting, we need to nd out what faculty members consider most important and
much needed for their professional development. In the next section, the author will share some of
the key issues that community colleges teachers considered important for professional development
as well as for advocacy effort that TESOL and other Adult Education professional associations like
COABE need to take on on behalf of Adult Ed ESOL educators from the 2005 TESOL survey she
and her colleagues conducted.

Important Professional Development Topics

The survey participants identied 3 areas to be very important for their professional training: ESOL
teaching methods and techniques (92%), access to resources and material development (80%), and
effective cross-cultural communication (74%). Teaching multilevel classes (69%) and Advocacy for our
profession and students (60%) were also ranked high on the list of professional development training
topics. The areas that were considered somewhat important for professional development included
working with students with learning disabilities (54%), and Workplace ESOL (55%); 20% of the
respondents felt that training in classroom management and conict resolution was not important.
The responses from the survey provided a clear indication to the areas that adult ESL educators
would like to engage in professional training and development. Besides the commonly conrmed the
needs for continuing professional development in Teaching Methods/techniques and Accessing to
Resources and Material Development, it is important to note that adult educators also rated Effective
Cross-cultural Communication and Advocacy for Our Profession and Students vital. The results
clearly indicated that adult educators across the board have recognized the importance of cultural
and political impact on the effectiveness of teaching in the classroom and the integrity and of the
TESL profession. Topics like Teaching Multi-level Classes and Working with Students with learning Disabilities as well as Workforce Training have become hot topics among community ESOL
educators as well.
Educators expressed a strong need for professional development and voiced concerns and challenges they face in participating in professional development. They also provided concrete suggestions on ways to access professional development and action items for TESOL and the institutions
to act on to integrate and sustain professional development efforts at all levels.

What the administration can do to sustain the effort in professional development at all levels? What
mid-level administrators can do to provide real support to implement the institutional commitment

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to faculty professional development? The following section will share the recommendations for
institutional administration and action items for TESOL from the survey study conducted by Sun,
et al (2005).

Make Real Commitment to Institutionalize Professional Development

Based on the visionary perspective (Maggioli, 2004), institutions need to use the visionary approach
and develop concrete plans to institutionalize the professional development effort at all levels. Walk
the talk needs to start from the top level leaders and all the way to the mid-level unit administration.
Every leader needs to be on the same page and have the same commitment to faculty professional
As one respondent stated, You cant except the teachers to produce well-prepared students
without giving us the opportunity to be well-prepared for the students we serve nowadays.

Provide Funding Support and Release Time for Professional

To ensure that faculty members participate in professional development activities, institutions especially mid-level unit administration needs to provide release time and budget fund to encourage
teachers participation. Institutions need to have more mid-level unit administrators who value faculty development as paramount important. As one unit administrator said in the survey, I strongly
believe that professional development is paramount important for ESL teachers. As an administrator for Adult Ed program, I always do my best to give my teachers release time when they present at
the conferences or attend workshops. To me, teachers deserve the opportunities to grow and learn
and share their best practice with other teachers. Their presentations will make our program known
to the others and its also great for the institution. The time they take off from work and spent at PD
activities, like conferences, will benet the students and the program in a long run. These teachers
are often far more effective and innovative in the classroom with their students than some teachers
that I have who just come and ll in the class hours.

Recognize and Reward Faculty Who are Active in Professional

The institutions should create an environment to value and reward faculty members who make a
conscious effort in making professional development an integral part of their every-day teaching and
learning practice. Sharing best practice in teaching and learning needs to be an on-going effort at
all levels. Mid-level administrators need to take a rm stand in reinforcing positive attitude towards
professional development for faculty members.

Stay Current and Organize Workshops that Meet the Needs of the
An effective administrator needs to stay current in the eld and make professional development part
of his/her strategic plan. He/she also needs to work with faculty members to identify and offer workshops or development opportunities based on the needs of the faculty.

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Follow Up and Follow Through on Professional Development Activities

Its important to encourage faculty members to present and attend conferences and workshops. Its
equally important to set up time for faculty to regularly share their best practices and information
they learned from professional development activities and or their own teaching experience. We need
to remember that the ultimate goal for faculty development is to enhance students learning and
institutional effectiveness. The program quality and learning outcomes will be increased through faculty sharing knowledge and strategies on a regular base and making it part of the instructional effort.

Identify and Recognize Supportive Unit Administrators

Its important for institutions to recognize administrators who are committed to promoting and supporting faculty professional development. As survey participants indicated that theres a strong need
to share the institutional best practices in terms of administrative support for faculty professional
development, but theres few out there, the need to identify and recognize role modal mid-level
administrators need to be part of the institutions commitment to professional development.

Recommendations for Action Items for TESOL

Discussions with adult ESOL faculty members and administrators and from the survey conducted
by Sun, et al (2005), the following recommendations were made as major action items for TESOL:
Achieve equity for the Adult ED ESOL profession at the Community College, Promote the awareness of adult ESOL profession and students. Provide access and support to professional development and offer new teacher orientation with incentives by offering more grants and designing more
affordable and accessible PD workshops to meet the needs of TESOL members.

Achieve Equity for the Adult ED ESOL Profession

at the Community College
Top on the action items list for TESOL is to continue its effort in achieving equity for the Adult
ED ESOL profession. ESOL professionals have not been treated fairly and equally comparing with
educators from other disciplines.
Nowadays, few people would openly make comments like Anyone who speaks English can
teach English. However, such misconception still exists. Adult ESOL faculty at the community
colleges has not been retreated fairly and they deserve the same respect and treatment like all other
faculty members in the same institution or in the four-year institutions. Survey indicated that many
faculty members at community college systems teach 20 or more hours per week to be considered
as full-time teaching load while as foreign language faculty members in the same institution only
teach 15 or less hours per week as their full-time teaching load. With such a heavy teaching load plus
other committee work for ESOL faculty members, its difculty for them to squeeze more time for
professional development activities. Participants strongly urge TESOL to take the equity issue as a
top priority item for advocacy action.

Provide Adequate Funding, Access and Support

to Professional Development
Both administrators and faculty members were very concerned about inadequate funding or funding
cuts and increased testing by government agencies. The new mandate from the legislatures which

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link the high stake testing or program accountability to funding may make already limited funding
for professional development even more scares. They would like to see TESOL offer more grants
and design more affordable and accessible PD workshops to meet the needs of TESOL members
especially for adult Ed ESOL teachers as they are the largest interest section in the TESOL
organization. Also offer new teacher orientation with incentives.

Promote the Awareness of Community

College Adult ESOL Profession and Students
For a long time, issues and concerns of adult ESOL education in the community colleges were not
on the agenda of TESOL whether for research or for professional development. With increasing
immigrant and refugee population in the United States, and most of them studying at the community
colleges, and most community college teachers are part-timers, TESOL needs to make a conscious
effort in promoting the awareness of community college ESOL students and professionals in every
possible way. Mass media stories of our students and teachers at the beginning and end of the school
year will be effective. It is encouraging to see that things are happening and this publication series is
a result of such effort from TESOL.
TESOL Publications such as TESOL Quarterly and TESOL Journal also need to make a special
effort to invite and include contributions from community college teachers to share their research
and teaching ideas.

Progresses have been made in providing professional development opportunities for community
college staff and faculty in the TESOL eld. However, there is still a long way to go to achieve equity
and better awareness for community college ESOL profession and students. Community college
leaders need to start with a visionary perspective and practice a transformational professional development model in providing leadership in support and access professional development.

The Author
Dr. Yilin Sun holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Curriculum & Instruction and M.ED from
the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (O.I.S.E), University of Toronto, Canada. She has
over 20 years of experience in the eld of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages as a
classroom teacher, a MA-TESL teacher trainer, a researcher, teacher supervisor, and program leader
with a variety of higher educational institutions in China, Canada and U.S.A. She is a professor in
the TESOL/Basic and Transitional Studies Division at South Seattle Community College, and an
adjunct Professor with Seattle University and Heritage University in Seattle, WA, USA.
In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Sun keeps herself busy professionally. She serves on
the Board of Directors of the international association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other
Languages (TESOL, Inc). She was Chair of the Afliate Leadership Council of TESOL in 2007
and past President of Washington Association for the Education of Speakers of Other Languages
(WAESOL). Dr Sun is the author of several book chapters and research papers in refereed professional
journals in the eld of Second Language education including TESOL Quarterly, TESOL Journal and
Reading Research Journal. She has also presented widely at national and international educational

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Leadership and Success

conferences. Her research interests include curriculum development, program assessment and
evaluation, second language reading, classroom-based action research, K-12 teacher education, adult
education, and non-native English speaking teachers (NNEST) in the ELT eld.

Daz-Maggioli, G. (2004). Teacher-centered professional development. Alexandria, VA: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Daz-Maggioli, G. (2005). Professional Development as a Global Issue. GISIG Newsletter,
Vol. XVIII, 2005.
Knowles, M., E. Holton, and R. Swanson. (1998). The adult learner. Houston: Gulf Publishing.
Soppelsa, E. (1997). Empowerment of Faculty. In Christison, MA. & Stoller, F. L. (Eds) (1997).
A Handbook for Language Program Administrators. Alta Book Center Publishers.
Sparks, D. (2005) Principals amplify teachers outstanding practices. Principals as leaders of learning
#8 in a series Results, May 2005.
Sparks, D. 2002. Designing powerful professional development for teachers and principals. Oxford, OH:
National Staff Development Council.
Sun, Y, Gillespie, M. & Mum R. 2005. Tools for Change: Survey of ESOL Teachers in Adult
Basic Education and Literacy Systems Panel presentation at TESOL 2005 Convention.
San Antonio, TX. March 2005.
Sun, Y. and R. Maum, 2006. Standards, Equity and Advocacy: Challenges and Issues that Adult
ESOL Educators Face in 21st Century. Symposium presentation at TESOL 2006 Convention.
Tampa, FL. March 2006.
Knowles, M., E. Holton, and R. Swanson. (1998). The adult learner. Houston: Gulf Publishing.

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h te


A Case Study of the Intensive

English Language Program at the
University of Arkansas at Little Rock:
An Implication for Global Education
Alan D. Lytle

Second language study inherently involves the study of a second culture, and these two
combined compose a major portion of global education with its concepts of inclusion, international understanding, and a fundamental understanding that the various people of the world are
more similar than they are different. Every second language teacher, at least at a rudimentary
level, knows this, and the best second language teacher make use of culture through language
everyday in every way.
Traditionally, second languages have been taught through a series of instructional methods: grammar/translation, discovery, the silent way, etc. However, these methods always came up
short. Today, the communicative method (or as I preferthe eclectic method) offers the exibility
for teachers to focus on what their students need to function in the target language and culture.
Additionally, it acknowledges the fact that language and culture cannot be separated because it is
through language that culture is comprehended, integrated, and used (Hancock and Scebold, 2000).
For example, language is what is used to explain the cultural differences between watashiwa & bokuwa
(in Japanese) and I, between kennen & wissen (in German), conocer & saber (in Spanish), savoir &
connatre (in French) and to know, and even between yall and you. The Japanese form of
I has multiple meanings depending upon the underlying meaning the speaker/writer wants to
impart. In German, French, and Spanish, there are two words used for to know, depending upon

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how well you know a thing, concept, or person. English only has one translation and no cultural
relation to any of these examples. Even within the American culture, there is a perceived difference
between yallyou all(the plural form of address in the southern part of the US) and you
(the generally accepted singular or plural for of address in formal English). These concepts can be
explained, but until a second language learner experiences them within their cultural and global
contexts, the concepts dont become real.

English as a Second Language in the United States

Intensive English Programs (IEP) in the United States are designed to develop and strengthen the
English skills of people whose native language is not English, usually in preparation for pursuing
an academic program at the undergraduate or graduate level. Such individuals generally do not
have sufcient command of English to begin regular academic work at a college or university in an
English-speaking environment. Most programs at academic institutions maintain year-round schedules and enroll people at varying levels of prociency who intend to enter degree programs at the
same or other institutions. Based on experience from many established programs, it is not unrealistic
to expect students who begin at the lowest levels to require a full calendar year or more to reach
levels of prociency sufcient to begin academic work (NAFSA, 2000).
The most exciting aspect of teaching English as a Second Language in the United States is
that this vocation can be performed with integrity. The role demands a high level of professional
knowledge and skill, as well as moral courage, because it involves expertise in content, high academic
expectations for students, a exible intercultural repertoire, clarity of vision, professional ethics,
and, what is perhaps most important, willingness to be fully human (Balderrama and Daz-Rico,
2006) It is these aspects that are the supports upholding the integrity. According to Balderrama
and Daz-Rico, there are ways to show evidence of teacher integrity: designing a curriculum that is
inclusive of all students and their needs, creating authentic opportunities for all to make academic
gains, and implementing teaching practices that facilitate critical thinking and benet all students
(2006). Additionally, one of the basic goals of ESL, and second language education is the passing on
of ones culture or second culture. Only through language can one truly begin to understand cultural norms, concepts, ideas, religion, etc. This is greatly aided by classes that are multi-cultural and
multi-national, such as is the case of most ESL classes in the United States.

History of IELP
The Intensive English Language Program (IELP) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock
(UALR) was founded in 1974 and has been in continuous operation ever since. When the Institute
was founded, it was organized under the typical ESL (English as a Second Language) curricular
design of the time, that is, separate classes for grammar, reading, writing, and listening/speaking.
The length of the courses was eight weeks, with there being six courses per year. The students were
organized within six levels and could be multi-level placed. In other words, a student could be in
Level 3 for grammar, in Level 4 for reading, in Level 5 for reading, and in Level 4 for listening/
speaking. This would mean that a student could nish certain skills before completing others. After
the student graduated from the IELP, he/she could matriculate into UALR as an undergraduate
student without presenting a TOEFL score.

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A Case Study of the Intensive English Language Program


Perspectives, Products, and Practices

Recently, a slightly different design of culture through language has been introduced. It uses the
three words perspectives, products, and practices. The following excerpt illustrates these
concepts and that of culture through language well.
Being in another country, or even in another part of ones own country, can often be confusing.
Because we are only familiar with our own cultural identity, we often expect situations to progress
in a manner to which we are accustomed at home. The bedrock of behaviors that govern interaction
and communication contributes to creating a unique atmosphere in each country. Successful and
enjoyable experiences rely heavily on acute observation and knowing how, when, and why to say
what to whom (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project 11). A perfect example
of this is when the author was teaching in an English-for-specic-purposes (ESP) course designed
for Japanese business managers to study English and US business practices, the participates were
housed with local families in a homestay situation. One day, one of the participants complained that
his host mother was force feeding him and that he was gaining weight. As soon as he left, the host
mother called complaining that the ESP participant was eating too much and she didnt know how
to control his portions. After some thought, the author realized that there was a culture misinterpretation. In the American South, when a guest is nished, it is considered polite to offer seconds,
so that the guest will have the opportunity to eat more of the meal. Sending a guest away from the
table hungry is extremely rude. The host mother followed her cultural intuition. The Japanese
businessman accepted the seconds and nished them. Within proper Southern etiquette and hospitality, the host mother offered thirds. Under normal circumstances, no Southern American, or
any American, for that matter, would accept thirds. Rather, they would decline graciously. The
Japanese businessman did not know this practice and did not want to be rude, so he accepted. This
continued thorough fourths and fths, until the food was gone. Feeling extremely full, the
Japanese businessman was dissatised with the experience, and the host mother was offended that
the guest had eaten all the food and had left none for anyone else. Once the author realized what
was happening, both parties were addressed, and the other cultural interpretation was explained.
After that, there were no more embarrassing moments concerning food at the host house. This
basic cultural misunderstanding magnied to a global scale is what can cause war, or at least the
creation of a stereotype promoting prejudice.
The culture of the group governs how, when, and why to say what to whom. Because culture is the
context within which communication occurs, it is important to understand its origins. Culture drives
the individual and governs his behavior, values, and possessions. One of the strands of the National
Standards for Foreign Languages is devoted to Cultural Perspectives, Practices, and Products as a
way of dening culture. By examining how these elements are connected, one may begin to unravel
the mystifying ways in which people conduct themselves.
Culture is the interaction between two inextricably interwoven parts: the formal culture of the
society as a whole and the informal aspects of the individuals daily lives within that society. These
two sides of a culture are reected in the language and behaviors of the people. A good example of
this is Middle Eastern cultures. The language cannot exist without the religious basis upon which
these cultures are built. Almost every aspect of daily life, from word choice to position of buildings, from gender associations to government is controlled by the interwoven fabric of language
and behavior to make the tapestry of culture. The formal culture of the society, often referred to
as Culture with a big C, includes the social, political, and economic institutions, as well as the

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arts, literature, and music. Culture with a little c refers to the products of the everyday lives of
individuals, including housing, clothing, and foods, as well as the patterns of daily behavior. Each
half of the culture is as important as the other. The formal and informal cultures combine to create
values, which determine behaviors, which create objects, which determine behaviors, which reect
values, in a never-ending cycle.
These formal and informal cultures are inter-related through its components of perspectives,
practices, and products, which create culture as a whole. The values of the formal and informal
cultures determine the perspectives of the society. Those perspectives then govern the individuals
behavior, or practices, in given situations. Their behavior leads to the development of objects, or
products, that enable, or ease, the behavior.
Perspectives are often difcult to articulate. The traditional ideas, attitudes, and beliefs are the
underlying values that justify a product or practice. For example, in the US, youth is a valued perspective, and Americans spend millions of dollars each year on creams and ointments (products)
which they apply to their bodies (practice) to make themselves look younger in order to keep that
valued societal position of being young. They are what individuals think, based on their own
particular vantage points, and are molded by societys over-arching framework and belief system.
Perspectives comprise the world-view of the group and the individual.
Cultural practices shape behavior into patterns that are socially acceptable and help control
social interactions within specic contexts and are determined by societal position. This concept
includes the sweet 16 party which marks the coming-of-age of an American female. These were
more popular in the past, but the practice is still in evidence within the US culture. The Southern
practice of using yallyou allas the plural form of address is a concept that identies a subculture of the US meta-culture. The usage of yall can have positive (inclusion within society)
or negative (exclusion from society) results. Only one introduced to the culture of yall through
language and experience a rightly employ this practice. The true content of the second language
course is not the grammar and the vocabulary of the language, but the cultures expressed through
the language.

IELP Redesign
Using the above concepts, it was decided in 2000, that the entire curricular framework of the IELP
should be redesigned to reect more up-to-date standards and practices. There were ve hypotheses
that were used as the underlying girding for the curricular redesign:
1. language practice in a range of contexts likely to be encountered in the target culture,
2. functional practice completing a range of tasks likely to be necessary in dealing with others
in the target language,
3. encouraged accuracy in prociency-oriented instruction,
4. responsiveness to the affective and the cognitive needs of students, and their different
personalities, preferences and learning styles, and
5. promotion of cultural understanding in various ways so that students are sensitive to
other cultures and prepared to live more harmoniously in the target-language community.
(Omaggio Hadley, 1993)
Only by understanding the language can one truly begin to understand and function within a culture
or society, for language and culture are truly inseparable.

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A Case Study of the Intensive English Language Program


Making sure that these hypotheses were consulted and implemented, the Institute went through
a metamorphosis. No longer would it be a skill-separative, eight-week, stand alone program with
students who were segregated from the rest of the university population, experience, and culture.
The new Institute mirrored what the eld was newly promotingreal language that was supported by a skill-integrated approach in which the students received instruction using all the skills
(listening, speaking, reading, writing, and culture) to support language functions and concepts. Some
examples of this are listening to the local weather, talking to a landlord over the phone, reading the
cooking instructions on a microwaveable meal, and writing a letter of inquiry. All of these can be
addressed with a micro-lesson of a few minutes or within a unit taking a few days. The real language is what gives the students the ability to function within the second culture; this functionality
is the true aim of a language program, not the ability to pass a test. How often do native speakers of
a language offer multiple-choice responses to questions they have asked? Additionally, memorized
conversations rarely progress in real life the way the book presents them. It is always a situation of
the other person didnt memorize the same conversation. With this approach, the students receive
instruction so that the concepts are supported by multiple skills, thereby eliminating the students
concept that only reading is done in reading class and only writing is done in writing class. In order
to give credence to this way of delivery, new textbooks were selectedones which integrated the
skills around concepts that were appropriate for the curriculum and the three new language levels:
Foundations (for novice-level students), Intermediate (for intermediate-level students), and Preuniversity/TOEFL Preparation (for advanced-level students). The six eight-week programs were
reorganized into three semester-based programs as follows:
Fall and Spring programs = 16 weeks of classroom instruction with 18 hours of instruction
time and 2 hours of laboratory time per week.
Summer program = 11 weeks of classroom instruction with 28 hours of instruction time and
2 hours of laboratory time per week.
Under this design, the students receive 320 hours of instruction during the fall and spring semester and 330 hours of instruction during the summer semester. Additionally, this semester-based
design allows students in the Pre-university/TOEFL Preparation to take an additional university
class, should they allow. Since the new program design parallels the universitys semester system and
class schedule, there is no longer any problem with IELP students being concurrently enrolled in
an additional university class. This new design also allowed IELP to position itself so that should
students desire, they may take the IELP classes for credit, thereby allowing transferability of the
classes to other American institutions of higher education. An added bonus to the new setup is that
the university where IELP is housed (the University of Arkansas at Little Rock) has acknowledged
that graduation from the IELP is equivalent to a TOEFL score of 525 (paper-based), 197 (computerbased), or 71 (iBT) so that IELP graduates may matriculate into undergraduate studies upon successful completion of the ESL program. In addition, the new curriculum is supported by the most recent
theories and practices taught in the newly designed and implemented graduate degrees beginning to
appear at American colleges and universities.
At the end of each semester, all students take institutionally-designed exit exams which are
designed around the Institutes curriculum, not textbooks. Only due to time constraints does the
Institute separate the skills for exam purposes; therefore, students take a listening exam, a reading exam, and writing exam, and a speaking exam. The exams are designed around the functions
taught throughout the semester by the teachers at each level. All exam questions and prompts are

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reective of real language so that the students can demonstrate what they can do with the English
language. The SPA (speaking prociency assessment) is constructed using a conversational format so
that the different students have individually-conducted, recorded conversations with a teacher about
concepts appropriate to level of language the student studied. By having institutionally-designed exit
exams, all students at the same level take the same evaluation.
The exit exam grade (an average of the four separate skill exams) and the teachers grades are
averaged to produce a single level grade which allows the student to progress to the next level or
allows the student to repeat the level to gain any skills not learned. It might seem that a student
can be truly strong in a skill or two which will buoy the weaker skills, and this occasionally is true;
however, in the end, with the averages considered from the classroom teachers, the result is the same
as it would be for a student who is equally procient in all skills. An additional, unpredicted result is
that the exit exams help to eliminate teacher grade ination since both the average of the exit exams
and the average of the teacher grades are equal (50%) in the nal calculation. The result for the
student is that the reported grade at the end of the semester reects what the student truly has the
ability to do in English.
When creating the new design for the Institute, student backgrounds were taken into consideration since the student population is multi-national. An indirect benet of maintaining multicultural classrooms is that each student not only begins to understand the target culture through the
target language, in this case English, but the student also becomes acquainted with the cultures of
the other students, thereby widening the scope and truly providing a global experience. This is what
the author calls a hidden benet because the students take away a great deal more in culture knowledge than any textbook or individual teacher could offer. Additionally, the new curriculum allows
different language groups to focus on different needs in the second language since the rst (native)
language inuences the attainment of a second language (Krashen, 1981).

Activity Models
There are many activities that can be modied by the teacher to serve different purposes. What
most second language teachers dont realize is that there is no need to produce a new activity for
every day of class. Once a teacher has a cache of activities, he/she can adapt them for whatever
the purpose may be. Following are some typical activities that are used at the Intensive English
Language Program.

Activity Model 1Map Skills

This is usually a skill that is learned and practiced at the novice level with the students learning
mostly the vocabulary and expressions that accompany city map concepts. This vocabulary and
expression list is mostly parroted back to the teacher with little manipulation on the students part.
The activity generally focuses on writing and reading. However, a teacher can modify these city map
skills to include listening and speaking by giving oral instructions to the students while the students
follow along using a city map for the city in which the students are studying. By the students having
some familiarity with the map that is being used, they activate their background knowledge and their
affective language lter is lowered because they have some facility with the concept being addressed.
The teacher begins by setting up his/her location on the city map so that all the students have
the same beginning point, then the teacher proceeds with the oral instructionsfocusing specic

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A Case Study of the Intensive English Language Program


vocabulary or rewording new vocabulary with older learned expressions. As the students follow
along, they travel the map. The target question is, Where am I? This is what the students want
to answer when the journey is complete. The teacher continues the exercise by starting the next
set of directions and the previous ending point. Students may also be the ones who verbally give
the directions so that they become the leaders and the activity shifts from a teacher-centered one to
one that is student-centered with the teacher acting as mediator. A teacher may increase the level of
the skill by progressing to state/provincial maps and to country maps. Also, colloquialisms can be
incorporated at higher levels, e.g. the concept of using time to measure map distances (instead of
mathematical distance) when giving directions. Throughout this activity, the students are practicing
the prepositions associated with directions and are getting a feel of how to use the prepositions
since so many of them do not have a 100%-true grammar rule.

Activity Model 2Using Native Language Materials

When teaching reading, many second language teachers rely solely on what is included in the textbook. This is acceptable to learn the necessary vocabulary or grammar, but because this reading is a
sanitized form of the target language, it doesnt include the culture that is inherent in native-source
material. There are those who believe that native-source material cannot be used with novice language learners, and, to some degree, the reasoning might be supported. Novice learners wont be
able to extract the deep meaning from the writing because of the basic lack of the language necessary to do this; however, novice-level students can pick out the title and subtitle, guessing what they
might imply. Also, novice-level students can look for the author and date of publication which will
give them some hint as to the recentness of the information. Captions also play an important role
for novice students in that they, they captions, impart meaning using as little language as necessary.
Mathematical facts (percentages, statistics, etc.) also serve this purpose.
Finally, every language has a built in logic line. In English, the logic line is mostly straight
forward (from point A to point B with little deviation); therefore, a novice-level student can read
the rst paragraph and the last paragraph to extract the basic meaning. The rst sentence of each
paragraph within the body of the material will give the basic details. By using this activity with the
novice students, they can see that they can read real language. An adaptation of this to increase the
level is to focus on the deeper meaning for an argumentative exercise or to use the article as research
to support a particular point of view. Of course, there are always the idioms that are inherent in all
native language. By the teacher guiding the students through this type of exercise beginning at a low
level, the students begin to understand and master how the native language is structured and how
native speakers perceive concepts without these things being explicitly taught.

Activity Model 3Making Use of Buildings as Resources

All cities, towns, and villages are comprised of buildings as a matter of denition. These can be used
in so many different ways to teach language to act as supplement for language instruction. Some
of the concepts that lend themselves easily to buildings are simple description (a low-level skill),
comparison/contrast (an intermediate-level skill), and synthesis (an advanced-level skill). As the skills
increase in level, so does the vocabulary and grammar necessary to accomplish the task correctly. As
an example, a building can be described as tall and square or short and long. The same building
can be compared to a building in the students hometown (The City Hall in my home town is taller
and more square than this City Hall. Finally, the same building can be used to answer the question,

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How would you have built this building differently? (I would have built the building taller and
more square so that its presence would have been more massive.)
There are also many cultural concepts imbedded within the hard structures of cities, towns,
and villages. For example, there is the concept of how the oors are counted within multi-story
buildings such as hotels. Many countries outside of the US begin counting the oors of a building
with the oor above the ground oor; therefore, using that concept, US building oor numbers are
always one number off. In the US, Americans count the ground oor as Floor 1. Also, in the US,
buildings avoid the number 13 for oor numbers and for room numbers because of its negative
cultural association. It is considered a very unlucky number. Numbering within buildings will skip
from 12 to 14 to avoid the unluckiness of the number 13.
Another cultural concept is why in some cultures the religious buildings are at the center, highest point of the city, town, or village, and in other cultures they are the government buildings that
occupy this station. At the IELP, we make use of the Clinton Presidential Center and the State
Capitol Building because they are structures of importance within Little Rock, and they both carry
quite a bit of cultural signicance, too.

Activity Model 4Holidays

Because target language/culture holidays are a concept that on a surface level seem to be easy to
teach, most language teachers tend to address holidays as part of a culture lesson or in isolation
from the target language. Both of these approaches are out-dated. It is better to use the holiday as
a basis to develop a lesson or series of lessons around so that the students get an understanding of
the feeling of the holiday instead of a teachers interpretation of it. As a case in point, Easter is
both a religious and cultural holiday in the US, which is celebrated in the spring (usually in March
or April) and is considered the holiday welcoming spring. Additionally, within Christianity, Easter
is the holiday celebrated for the Ascension to Heaven of Christ after rising from the dead. Since
the IELP has multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-religious classes, the religious aspect is not
addressed with Easteronly if the students askas this could be interpreted as proselytize. Instead,
the cultural aspects are presented in a historical, iconic, and contemporary fashion. Historically,
the celebration of Easter is one that pre-dates Christianity, so there is quite a bit of information
which can be accessed in print and on the web to present the historical aspects. Iconically, the egg,
the rabbit, the chick, the bonnet, and the basket have plenty of references, as well as the concrete
things and the activities associated with them, i.e. the dying of Easter eggs. On the contemporary
side, Easter in the United States carries with it the idea of family gathering, food, tradition, and
rebirth. Each of these can be addressed separately in micro-lessons which build to the topic of
Easter, or they can be presented in concert with the idea of Easter. Of course, this information can
be presented at various levels.
A concrete example of this at a novice level is that the author presented units on family and
food which ended with the presentation on Easter with some history, some iconography, and some
contemporary ideas culminating in the showing of Here Comes Peter Cottontail (Sony, 1971)
with subtitles. An additional bonus, was that the students were interested in cinematography, so
there was a short discussion on stop-action lming, which is the method used in the making of
this movie. All of this was completed on the Friday before Easter on Sunday. As a nal note, holidays should be presented at the appropriate times, not out-of-context, as this makes them a false

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A Case Study of the Intensive English Language Program


Conclusion: Implications for Global Education

Second language study, especially in the culture where the language is native, is inherently global
in focus. Just by studying the language, the learner is exposed to different cultural concepts and can
use these concepts to expand the knowledge of his/her own native culture as well as add the new
concepts to his/her knowledge base. In this way, the students eyes are opened to different possibilities and ways of thinking. So many times people believe that there is only one way of doing
something, when, in reality, there may be limitless ways to reach the same goal. In addition, second
language study because of its inherent cultural study helps to break down stereotypes and prejudice
and brings discriminatory ideas to the forefront for discussion with higher language-level students.
This allows the teacher to facilitate classes revolving around cultural values, perspectives, and behaviors so that the students can begin to understand and apply them toward more global interactions.
After all, these second language learners are the keys to future global success because they are the
future. Additionally, since English is the lingua franca of the world, it enables people with capacity
in English to reach out to more people, businesses, etc. A good example of this is the internet; the
prevalent language on the internet is English, thereby elevating it to a global language. Most people in the world who want to shop online, make reservations online, etc. must have some ability to
function in English. Knowledge of the simple cultural fact of reserving airline tickets early because
they are cheaper then in the US can save the international customer quite a bit of money.
Language study is one way to begin the process of understanding other people, other societies
and the beliefs that those people and societies hold dear. It is the teachers responsibilities to offer the
exposure to the student, but it is the students responsibility to open his or her mind to evaluate the
experience and take from it something of value. Many national leaders have been language learners
in another culture, and that opportunity is what made him or her great. As Oliver Wendell Holmes
once said, The human mind, once stretched to a new idea, never returns to its former dimension.

The Author
Dr. Alan D. Lytle, the teaching Director of the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) at
the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), USA, has a background in second and foreign
language education (ESL/EFL, German, and French) as well as 19 years of ESL/FL teaching,
administration, presentation, and publication experience at all levels, in academic-preparation programs, conversation programs, English-for-special-purposes programs (ESP), and topic-specic
As with most directors in the language eld, he started as a teacher in multiple elds (ESL,
German, education, and writing) and learned to be a director by the seat-of-his pants. Dr. Lytle
has also been involved with US immigration as an immigration ofcer, and he was previously the
Director of Programs Abroad and the Middle Eastern Studies Program at UALR. He is also a graduate faculty member in the Master of Arts in Second Language program at UALR and chairs or
sits on various language-related thesis committees. Additionally, he also teaches doctoral writing to
students in UALRs College of Engineering and Information Technology and serves on a variety of
university committees. As can be seen with his multitude of responsibilities and activities, Dr. Lytle
is a Jack-of-all-trades.

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Balderrama, M. & Daz-Rico, L. (2006). Teaching performance expectations. New York, NY: Allyn and
Hancock, C. R. & Scebold, C. E. (2000). Dening moments in foreign and second-language
education during the last half of the twentieth century. Reecting on the past to shape the future.
Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company, 117.
Krashen, S. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning. Pergamon Press Inc. (rst
internet version published December 2002 [Online]. Available:
NAFSA: Association of International Educators. (2000). NAFSAs principles for English programs
and determination of English prociency [Online]. Available:
Omaggio Hadley, A. (1993 & 2001). Teaching language in context. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
Sony. (1971). Here comes peter cottontail. New York: Golden Books.

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h te


Using Collaborative Reflection to

Prepare Career Changers to Teach
English Language Learners
Yvonne Pratt-Johnson and Caroline Marrett

The population of students whose primary language is not English and who are enrolled in public
schools continues to climb steadily, with predictions that by 2030 nearly forty percent of our
school aged population will come from homes in which English is not the primary home language
(Thomas & Collier, 2002). English language learners (ELLs) are entitled to and desperately need
certied teachers who are highly effective (Title III, Language Instruction for Limited English
Procient and Immigrant Students of the No Child Left Behind Act, 2002) and who possess the
skill sets that promote language acquisition. Yet there remains a severe shortage of certied ESL
teachers (Kindler, 2002).
In the next ten years the United States faces the reality of losing almost half of its teachers
through retirement and attrition (Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, 2010). Therefore,
people who transition from other careers to elds in education will be key to the stability and
strength of educational systems across the country. Preparing career changers to meet this
challenge will not only require preparation in the best pedagogical practices in teaching but will
demand that teachers learn to become reective practitioners in order to develop the necessary skills to meet the diverse needs of their students. The responsibility that teacher education
programs must assume for instilling these critical skills into the core components of their programs so that collaborative reective practices are infused into the programs structure cannot


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be underestimated. This article discusses a collaborative approach to teaching reective thinking

to teacher candidates who have changed careers and who are now entering a Masters degree
Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL) program.

The Unique Needs and Challenges of Career Changers

The Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation (2010) reports that almost 92% of career changers
who enter the teaching profession enroll in university-based teacher preparation programs. It also
revealed: Career changers are not a monolithic group and enter the classroom at various stages of
their careerstheir careersas delayed entrants, candidates aged 24 to 29, who did not enter teaching
immediately after college but who did not pursue another career; midcareer teachers, who did pursue
another career and are in their 30s, 40s or even 50s; and second-career teachers, who pursued another
career and are considering teaching as a second or encore career. Further, the research indicates that
not all career changers come to the education eld with the same knowledge, content, skills, dispositions, or experiences. As such, it is not practical to make assumptions that broadly and inaccurately
place career changes into a particular groupbelieving that their former work has prepared them well
or not, for teaching. Additionally, while second career changers in a masters level program possess
valuable skills and life experiences that they will bring to their classrooms, they may need additional
support and can benet from strategies/approaches that will help them to more quickly acclimate to
their new chosen profession.

A Barrage of New Information and Challenges for Second

Career Students
Second career students have come into the TESOL Program from varied backgrounds as business,
law, banking and the physical and social sciences. While they undoubtedly possess and bring a wealth
of knowledge and experiences with them into their second career on which they are about to embark,
they must, nevertheless, learn a lot of new information: the fundamentals of teaching and learning and classroom management as well as specic aspects of instructing English learners. Because
second language teaching is multifaceted, second-career teaching candidates soon learn that educating English learners involves an array of pedagogic dimensions and levels with which they must
become familiar: from the academic to the psychological. There are also social, legal political and
cultural ramications to consider as well. Intercultural competence and culturally responsiveness are
additional areas to which the new teaching candidates must master to become effective educators of
English learners.
St. Johns University offers a two strand TESOL Program: one for students who have received
their initial certication and another for students who have concentrated in an area other than education and have not received initial certication (career changers). The former are practicing classroom teachers while the latter have had no classroom experience. Recommendations made by the
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation Survey (2008) for teacher preparation related to career
changers entering the teaching profession without classroom experience should receive ground
pedagogy in content and the needs of diverse learners, integrating theory and practice; and strong
clinical experiences in schools that prepare candidates for the settings in which they will teach.
Reective practice, particularly collaborative reection, is benecial in helping teacher candidates to

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understand not only the importance of reecting on their own teaching practices; it also helps them
to guide their instruction and critically examine their students learning to see where adjustments
might be made in order to place students in a position where they can succeed.

Collaborative Reection
Reective teaching practices provide opportunities for teachers to explore and consider other teaching methods, increase their learning, and gain deeper insight into their teaching (Hinett, 2002).
Schon (1987) used the term reective practice to describe the ways in which individuals think
about their experiences and formulate responses as their experiences unfold. Students who are
encouraged to engage in reective thinking may be apprehensive about sharing their personal experiences and beliefs related to their teaching and may perceive any weaknesses identied through the
reection process as personal shortcomings (Wildman & Niles, 1987). One approach to managing
such feelings would be to employ a collaborative group rather than an individual process for reection. Vygotskys (1978) theory of development stresses the importance of the relationship between
social contexts and individual development. Vygotsky argues that learning is constructed and internalized within sociocultural settings through the interactions and thought processes of participants.
Designing a program, that supports individual teacher growth through collaborative reection, calls
for deliberate and strategic planning. Too often, in many programs, reective thinking is presented
only as an activity rather than as an on-going process that is essential for effective teaching.

Barriers to Teaching Collaborative Reective Practice

In spite of the many benets associated with reective practices in teaching, this approach is more
widely discussed than it is actually implemented. In fact, many school environments provide few
opportunities, if any, that would encourage reective practices even though they show great promise in promoting and sustaining effective teaching (Bransford, 2000; Little, 1999; Weibaum, et al.
2004; Zeichner & Liston, 1996). Career changers may feel overwhelmed and experience difculty
adjusting to the school culture and managing their administrative and instructional duties (FeimanNemser, 2003; Hargreaves & Fullan, 2000). As Bowen and Roth (2002, p. 22) state, Unlike many
other professions, which have a gradual and scaffolded progression from newcomer to practitioner, entry to the teaching profession can be abrupt, somewhat akin to cannon-balling into the
deep-end of a pool instead of wading in from the shallow-end. McNamara (1990) and Elbaz (1988)
both assert that the concept of reection is not typically associated with the roles and responsibilities
of teaching. Because there is a denite time at which the work of a teacher ofcially begins and a set
time that it ends, the teachers role has been perceived to be specic, immediate, and straightforward.
Collaborative reective practice does not t-in to the teachers day because of the perceptions or
perhaps, the misconceptions of the role of the teacher.
In addition, lack of time and opportunity provide two natural barriers to the practice of collaborative reection. This is born out in how teachers schedules are created and in the absence
of time set aside to discuss with other teachers what goes on in class during the normal work day.
Moreover, in the teaching profession, it has long been tacitly considered acceptable to practice
in isolation. With the exception of observations by the school principal or other administrator or
staff developer, teachers have traditionally been left alone and have seldom been required to talk
about what goes on in their classrooms. These pre-existing barriers within the teaching profession

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hinder the growth and development of reective practices. One very important goal of schools of
education should therefore be to make teacher candidates aware of the critical importance of having open and on-going conversations about the teaching and learning process that occurs in their

Benets of Collaborative Reective Practice for Career Changers

Reective learning is of particular relevance to the education of professionals, as it encourages
students to integrate theory with practice, appreciate the world on their own behalf, and turn
every experience into a new potential learning experience (Wong, Kember, Chung, & Yan, 1995).
However, the collaborative reective practice may be particularly useful for career changers entering the eld as career changers given that its nature promotes a culture of interaction and stimulation. Further, through dialogues, new ESL teachers have the opportunity to learn more about
themselves as they learn more about others. Career changers may not be afforded many rich clinical
experienceseven their student internships, although designed to be as comprehensive and complete as possible, do not and cannot prepare them to know and to be able to do all that will be
required of them when they are solely responsible for their classrooms. Listening to rst-hand
stories from teacher candidates whose experiences are similar or different from their own generates
questions, answers, and ideas. Moreover, collaborative reection allows students to think and reect
not only upon their experiences but on the experiences of others and, in so doing, builds knowledge
and expands their capacity to think more deeply about their practice. Effective reective practices
also help teachers to learn to take personal responsibility for their individual professional growth
and development.

The Importance of Learning and Practicing Within Context

All learners bring their prior knowledge and skills with them to each learning experience, be it formal
or informal. As new information is presented, processed, and practiced in context, learners make
sense of it in a way that has meaning for them, before they are able to apply it in a variety of real
world settings. However, as the Nebraska Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy (1998) concluded,
People do not easily transfer learningeither from school to real life, from real life to classrooms,
or from one subject to another. Because context is critical for understanding, as it gives meaning
to learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Vygotsky, 1978) it is essential to provide didactic experiences in
context that are relevant and that allow for the practice and application of learned skills and concepts. Such experiences can lead to deeper discussions among learners and serve as a vehicle for selfreection and self-examination. Hansman (2001, p. 43) noted Adult learning takes place in context
where tools and the context intersect with interaction among people. One of the real world settings
that TESOL teacher candidates have is the opportunity to learn and practice in is an after school
program at a local elementary school.

About the School

The elementary school with which the University collaborated is located in an urban area in
southeast Queens, the most culturally and linguistically diverse borough in New York City. It is a
public school that serves approximately 1,200 students in grades K through 5. Its student population

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is diverse: 39% Asian/Pacic; 27% Black; 27% Hispanic; 6% White; and 1% American Indian/
Alaskan Native. In 2008 the school had almost 80% of students participating in free or reduced price
lunch programs compared to 44% for public schools across New York City. Recently, this particular
school community experienced an inux of new immigrants from such places as India, Pakistan, and
Bangladesh. Thus, brochures, books, and informational forms and guides are proudly displayed in
the school entrance in Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, and Spanish for the parents, many of whom speak
no English.

The After School Program

Approximately 50 English learners at the elementary school participate in the after school homework
help program. The students are divided into sections according to grade level. Each session lasts for
one hour and a half. Twice a week, a teacher from the elementary school and a St. Johns University
TESOL teaching candidate work with the English learners to complete their homework assignments. One group of students is assisted by the teacher and the other group by the St. Johns teacher
candidate. Classrooms are large and student groups small, so there is adequate space to work in two
independent groups without interfering with one another. The school administrators oversee the
program, but there is also a site supervisor who works closely with the faculty representative from
St. Johns University to plan, monitor, and advice.

The Tutoring Sessions

Tutoring sessions provide opportunities for informal dialogue. As the young English learners are
given opportunities to speak, albeit informal and unstructured ones, their English develops and they
begin to own the language. They develop the social language and basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) that are necessary for oral communication (Cummins, 1980). A second, higher and
more rigorous level of language prociency, however, which Cummins (1980) refers to as cognitive
academic language prociency (CALP), is needed for students to succeed academically. Tutoring
sessions allow English learners to develop CALP as they interact with and practice academic language, including content vocabulary (Calderon, 2007; Pratt-Johnson, 2008). Homework sessions are
an ideal time to provide extended academic talk, thereby reinforcing key content terms and concepts
introduced or utilized in the classrooms that day. Moreover, homework sessions provide tutors with
a natural learning venue, so the learning is not forced or out of context. The teacher candidates
view the homework tutoring sessions as opportunities to emphasize and strengthen English learners
knowledge of the academic vocabulary that they are learning. The ELL students are motivated and
driven to work: Lets do math rst, one third grader exclaims, We did social studies rst yesterday.
Excitement rises when we consider that this had difculty speaking in complete English sentences just
seven months ago! This teaching and learning experience, which occurs within context, is especially
critical for learning about teaching the ESL population.
Inasmuch as the tutoring is in a small group setting, the teacher candidates soon learn that the
skills and levels of the students will most certainly vary signicantly and that there is no One size
ts all approach when it comes to student learning. They learn too that the way in which they
were taught in most cases, differs greatly than how they are learning to teach. It becomes their
responsibility to nd research-based strategies to use with their students.

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Outcomes from the Collaborative Reection

For several semesters the students in the TESOL Program take courses in which they learn about
linguistics, language acquisition, methods of English language teaching, and theories of language learning, among other topics. There is of course opportunities to discuss and reect on their work and the
work of their peers but the teaching in a tutoring session allows the teacher candidates to reect on their
teaching and learning. The teacher candidates have grown into more reective teachers. Through reection and through conversations related to real experiences, the teacher candidates were able to examine their own teaching practices and then to review and rene the teaching learning process. Initially,
students were not forthcoming; they seemed embarrassed about openly sharing with the instructor and
with their peers what they did in the tutoring sessions, especially if their session did not go as smoothly
as they might have wanted it to go (remember these candidates in their previous careers were very successful and in charge). However, candidates quickly learn that reection is an important part of teaching.
Soon, they begin to acquire an appreciation for reecting, sharing, and receiving feedback.
Reection strategies are both informal and formal. Informally, reections and conversations
occur in the van as teacher candidates travel back to and from the university campus. The dialogue
continues through weekly journaling and discussions in class, which provide further opportunities for
reection. In weekly sessions teacher candidates share their experiences, challenges, and successes.
They discuss what strategies, for example, they used as they tutored. They explain why a particular
strategy seemed to be helpful and why they chose to utilize it. When techniques were not successful
during tutoring, however, they also discuss possible reasons and explore alternate strategies that they
might have used. During the next tutoring session, teaching candidates make changes based on the
collaborative reection sessions and then discuss how those changes may or may not have had an
impact. Some on-going guiding questions include: How does the theory I learned in class relate to
my practice? How do I know the session was effective? What should I do differently? What should
I continue to do? How did I determine which strategies to use? What tools(s) will I use to assess my
students learning? Then, at the end of the semester, candidates make a nal presentation highlighting what they have learned about themselves as teachers and their teaching. The teacher candidates
have expressed increased condence in their own learning, in trying out new ideas, in changing their
practice, and in their power to impact to make a difference to their students learning.
Working with the elementary school allowed the prospective career changers to apply what they
have learned, to link theory to practice. In addition, they obtain rst-hand knowledge as to what ESL
education entails as they tutor a variety of English learners and work side-by-side with students who,
in some cases, have a very limited knowledge of English. They gain experiential knowledge in a way
that sitting in class or reading from a text cannot provide for them. In addition, opportunities to work
with English learners provide the teacher candidates from the university with sobering knowledge
of classroom realities, such as the challenges involved in tutoring learners who speak no English at
all, in working with students who have BICS in English but lack CALP, and in teaching learners
who have experienced gaps in their formal education before coming to the United States. Such rich
experiences help prepare second career changers to enter the teaching eld- more prepared for what
they will encounter in the classroom as they work with diverse English learners.
The following are a few teacher candidates comments about their experiences in the program:
Throughout my courses at St. Johns, I have learned about English as a second language and
language acquisition, but have not truly experienced it for myself until I started tutoring and
thinking aloud about what I am doing.

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My tutoring experiences as well as the weekly reection sessions have given me deeper
insight into myself and into my role as teacher.
I never knew about great this experience would be. Working with the English learners and
watching them grow and develop in the language is incredible. It is something that we spoke
about during the reection sessions and in my TESOL courses, but to see it really happen
before my eyes is another thing.
Learning how to reect on what I have done has helped me to learn where I am going.
. . . The reection sessions have been extremely helpful for me because after telling others
in my reection group what I have done, they sometimes show me how it could have been
done in a different and more effective way.
For me, the hardest part has been to address the individual needs of each English learner.
Even though they may be working on the same skill, they may still have separate needs.
I learned a lot from other students in our class about how they sort of individualize their
students work. I thought you only had to do that for students in special education. Some of
the strategies I tried worked well with some students but not with others. I have gured out
thatthat is just the way it isbut by listening to others who have the same issues, I am able
to get some really good ideas to try with my students.
Tutoring English learners have opened my eyes to some of the stark realities, obstacles and
challenges of teaching. Now I am convinced that teaching ELLs is for me, and I am prepared for what is waiting for me.

Over ninety percent of career changers receive training at university-based programs (Woodrow
Wilson Fellowship Foundation, 2010). Schools of education are called upon then to be at the forefront in providing high quality, intensive preparation programs that prepare career changers for the
realities of the classroom, including teaching English learners. Collaborative group reection is one
of many methods that might be used to prepare career changers for their new role. This process
provides ongoing opportunities for career changers to learn various perspectives on teaching and
learning from their peers that allows them to broaden and deeper their own understanding of what
they do, why they do it, and what they may need to do differently. The ESL teacher candidates will
come to understand by the time they exit the program, that reecting on ones practice is a natural
part of being and becoming a teacher. Providing experiences for second career changers to work in
schools as part of their preparation program is not simply a good idea but is essential to their learning and practice. As they learn within context of a real life setting, and then reect critically at what
they do and then determine what needs to be done to continuously improve student outcomes, they
enter the teaching profession better prepared for the challenges they may face in the classroom and
possess the skills and knowledge to effectively teach ESL students.

The Authors
Dr. Yvonne Pratt-Johnson holds the Ed.D., M.A. and M.Ed from Teachers College, Columbia
University in Spanish Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and the
M.S. from Georgetown University in Spanish Linguistics. She has many years of undergraduate and

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graduate teaching experience within the City University of New York. Currently, she is Professor of
TESOL at St. Johns University in New York City.
Dr. Pratt-Johnson has researched and continues examining such topics as teacher preparation,
rst and second language acquisition and literacy development for rst and second language learners.
Additional research includes the teaching of dialect-different students and shifts in English language
intonation patterns. Her research has been presented at international and national conferences and
published in academic journals and books. Dr. Pratt-Johnson, who is an international speaker and
who has traveled extensively, has led groups of educators on study abroad trips to such places as
Argentina, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Caroline Marrett has worked with students with disabilities and their families for more than
20 years. Her varied teaching and administrative experience include teaching high school students
with disabilities, serving as a liaison for parents of students with special needs, coordinator for transition services, and administrative assistant. Her research interests focus on teacher preparation,
special education administration, and parent involvement.
She received her undergraduate degree from the State University College at Buffalo in Elementary
Education and a Masters degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Specic Learning
Disabilities. She also holds a Professional Diploma from St. Johns University in School Administration
and Supervision and holds a Ph.D. in Education with a specialty in special education.
Prior to Dr. Marrett assuming the position as Director of the Toni Jennings Exceptional
Education Institute, she served as the grant coordinator for the National Urban Special Education
Leadership Initiative at the University of Central Florida whose mission is to prepare urban school
administrators in special educational leadership. Currently, she is an Instructor/Coordinator in the
College of Education.

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h te

Designing a Bilingual Schools
Gifted Program in Developing
Countries: Forces and Issues in
Decision Making
Stephen C. Keith and Cristina Patricia Fuentes Valentino

The opportunity to develop an educational program for general intellectual ability gifted students in
a developing country where little or no programs exist is an incredible professional opportunity but
one lled with decision making variables. Whether the source of the impetus for program development primarily comes from individuals within the country, externally via consultants, governmental
agencies, private schools or combinations, there are forces and issues that must be considered in
development, as well as the probable success or the speed in which the program can be implemented. More specically, the site(s) chosen for development and implementation is critical. The
site(s) should be characterized by a culture of educational reection, an appreciation of research
and the willingness to take an educational risk because it is the correct avenue to do rather than one
that simply enhances the economic and educational prestige of the school. In some cases the school
site will have to look beyond the school population and open the doors to other students that meet
the eligibility requirements for Gifted. Because of the uniqueness of the program, new school-wide
curriculum and instructional approaches will have to be implemented as a base for a well developed
program rather than focusing on a stand alone gifted program.
The two components, source considerations and site considerations, are not exclusive; they are
predictably intertwined in many ways. The following is a discussion of those variables that have to be
addressed at various decision making points in gifted program development. If the site is a bilingual

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program, the challenges can be even more complex. Developing countries have unique challenges
in the development of gifted programs. It has been our experience that a quality program development takes considerable time, expertise and economic resources. Flexibility in program design and
implementation is not specically formulaic; all of these variables have to be considered at various
times and to varying degrees.

Assumptions in Program Development in

Developing Countries
The title of this chapter could have been written as Developing a Gifted, Bilingual Program FOR
Developing Countries. The change in simple wording by substituting for instead of in indicates
that a standard model in use in developed countries, primarily Western, is inappropriate. Program
development must rst take into account the unique cultural, economic and political structures
already in place as well as educational structures and practices in order to be successful. It is still possible to utilize best practices in identication and instructional strategies and curriculum developed
from research in Western Countries, at least initially. The premise is that children learn in essentially
the same way even though teachers might deliver the content in different ways depending upon cultural differences and teacher training. Research is lacking on cultural considerations regarding how
gifted children learn in a different language and in different cultures. Until that data is in evidence,
the authors feel it is appropriate to use the existing research in gifted education that has served as
the basis for successful programs in the United States and other Western countries for initial program development in developing countries. It should be noted that not all Western countries have
developed programs for the gifted.
The authors have collaborated in developing a program in gifted in general intellectual ability in
what is thought to be the rst such program in Central America. As the program has been developed,
the authors have continually emphasized a participant ownership belief system of For the people, by
the people (Hondurans). The theme appropriately appeals to a sense of nationalism by emphasizing
that general intellectual ability students are in the schools and are one of the nations greatest natural
resource. Just as the business world may develop a traditional natural resource, the business and education world should develop the potential natural resource of not only all students but especially those
who have super ordinate abilities. As those students abilities are developed, they hopefully assume all
types of leadership roles in a variety of professions, all of which further develops the country.

Cautions in the Design of a Gifted Program in

Developing Countries
It is a temptation, for reasons of efciency and timeliness to superimpose a Western and United
States model on the school and country that seek to develop their own program. The temptation
to use broad strokes to paint a gifted program for a complex and dynamic culture is perhaps a more
academic exercise rather than pragmatic. A potential pitfall is that the school or country has no
investment, other than interest, in the unique program qualities or features and thus no ownership.
If there is no ownership, there is no sustainability. This is even more critical in that the citizens of

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Designing a Bilingual Schools Gifted Program in Developing Countries


some developing countries dont necessarily have a strong sense of nationalism as a result of those
traditional forces such as political, economic, education and cultural indicators that lend themselves
to a sense of national pride and world citizenship. Another, one is to try to change the mentality of
that culture of what gifted means v. talented. As well as the amount of training involved: selecting
personnel that meets the criteria needed to work with this special population is challenging.
As programs are developed, it is imperative to maintain a sense of reection about what research
based practices are easily assimilated into the educational and national cultures as well as those that
need to be adjusted for measureable as well as non-measurable successful outcomes. School curriculum and instructional evaluation research skills are not always in evidence as resources in the country
are often devoted to providing basic literacy and facilities. Standardized instruments, for example,
may not be available in the native language nor may they be culturally valid if imported from a different country. In part, an individual familiar with program outcomes research should be part of the
implementation team. In this way, the measureable outcomes can be structured from the beginning
rather than later when it may be to late to obtain valid measures of success.

Cultural Considerations: Economic and Social

The degree to which classrooms and thus students reect educational differentiation, in part stems
from economic issues but also the larger social and language culture. To what degree within the
family, nuclear and extended, as well as the country, are academic and creative (the arts) accomplishments and support ingrained in the social fabric? To what degree are there conversations
about these types of achievements in the media, as well as social and political circles? Or conversely,
are there hidden messages to children to not stand out and thus achievements are not celebrated.
The messages are not often intentional but more often of the omission genera.
In part, this is a reection of the larger celebration of accomplishments in the national political, social and business world. That is, to what degree are the arts, writers, inventors, scientists
and entrepreneurs, celebrated in the media? These celebrations through recognition may be at
the regional, national, or international level. Predictably, these adults may or may not be gifted in
their specic accomplishment area but such recognition does support a national culture of giftedness through the conversations. But also the way the see things because of Cultural values in
schools impact identication of gifted students by minimizing their characteristics. Students in some
cultures are not allowed to question what is taught by the teachers; it is interpreted as disrespect
towards authority. Work ownership is another dilemma; in some cultures you are allowed to share
your ideas without taking ownership. In others, the ideas are perceived because of cultural norms as
personal property.
In the national culture and belief system, is there an unconscious emphasis on maintaining the
economic and political status quo? Conversely, is there an emphasis on developing a long term vision
of where the country should be as well as an element of risk taking? Is that cultural belief then transmitted and reected at the individual level in terms of the business and economic world? If there is
recognition of structured risk taking and celebration of economic differences or changes that may
be unconsciously translated into a willingness to develop and support a gifted program.
The degree to which national religious organizations that are traditional in practices and dogma
play a national role, can also contribute to the culture of status quo. If religion permeates the government, even a secular one, and individual lives, the religious belief systems may generalize to other

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social and educational structures. This minimizes implementation of a change, risk taking individual
orientation for the other signicant cultural structure of education.

Cultural Considerations: Education

Predictably, there are cultural considerations that have to be addressed that inuence both the acceptance of both a bilingual education as well as a gifted program and how it is developed. In many
developing countries, a bilingual private education is the prerogative of those who can afford such
a luxury. To what degree is that system of private education extensive, and thus visible, as well as
tolerated politically or socially? Obviously, there has to be an economic base for support for private,
bilingual schools rst and then programs for the gifted.
There may be a private system, often religious schools that may or may not be bilingual. These
schools often have high standards and expectations for performance but often are conservative in the
instructional manner in which the standards are addressed. Most of these educational institutions
are following the United States curriculum organization and content in addition to their own social
studies, literature and literacy standards of their own public education system.
Public schools in the country of origin, depending on their student assignment practices based on
grades and achievement, can often follow the same conservative instructional approaches. They are
not bilingual and may or may not sufciently group students and provide a differentiated approach to
instruction depending on the building leadership and teachers intuitive approach to teaching. This
approach is not to dissimilar to the German public schools or most European schools.
In addition, to what degree are those schools competitive for students or are their approaches to
learning sufciently different that there is essentially no competition. For example, many schools are
bilingual for the native language and English. If the second language was German or French there
would be little or no competition. To what degree does the development of new curriculums and
instructional approaches and subsequent marketing in a competitive atmosphere take place in a private, bilingual atmosphere? The greater the degree to which these differentiated educational practices in the country or region is evident, the greater the fertile ground for development of programs
for gifted children.
Within either public or private system, to what degree are individual differences provided for in
classrooms? That is, to what degree are children seen as having unique learning needs or does one
size t all? On a more specic level, within often large classrooms in developing countries to what
degree are truly exceptional children (both gifted and special needs) recognized and instruction as
well as curriculum modied? Predictably, this is linked, in part, to teacher training at the universities
where faculty may or may not have had academic content or experiences with exceptional children.
In some cases, it is not even the case. These areas are not being taught because they have not been
considered as important factors in the culture. For special needs, they have been hidden and in some
cases because of social and political issues it is better to keep them marginalized instead of having to
deal with one more issue for which economic resources are not available. For some politicians this
could be another cause for national debt.

The degree to which classrooms in any of the levels of schooling, (private religious or bilingual
or curriculum specialty or public with differentiated achievement levels) have a philosophy of self

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contained or exible grouping may predict the success of the development of a gifted program.
If students are randomly assigned to classrooms but then can be regrouped for instructional reasons certainly would suggest that the school philosophy, leadership and teachers are more open to
implementation of a program for gifted children.
Within classrooms, obviously the philosophy of the teachers in terms of recognizing individual
differences, as a rst step and changing or individualizing instruction as a second step is important.
This can range from changing homework assignments, in class assignments, evaluation criteria as
needed. The teacher has to feel secure and condent against allegations that they are playing favorites with students, a common allegation in developing counties in which social status and money
plays a role in the larger culture. The degree to which that positive practice is supported by the
school administration permeates the school can enhance developing gifted programs.
Individual philosophy of teaching and general belief systems is another reason for minimizing
gifted program development. Some educators may not be willing to change their teaching practices.
This is an evolving process and the ability to work within a change model, both culturally and in the
classroom can enhance or deny program development. It can take between 35 years for a program
to be implemented, that time frame does not assure that the program will be successful.
The degree to which the national culture, both social and educational, is reected in the classroom and between students is an important consideration. If individual differences are seen as social
liabilities and are not addressed as part of the school and classroom culture, the gifted program will
have longer implementation time. If the culture is to t in, via reinforcement of group norms as
opposed to enhancing differences via classroom strategies, teachers, students and school leaders may
unconsciously resist program development.

Parental Views
How is education viewed by parents? Is a private education, either bilingual or not, seen as a vehicle
for economic mobility or is it also seen as a vehicle for social recognition as well as mobility? This
is a complex model and can not often be dissected for intent. But for parents, to have a child that is
recognized as gifted can provide both types of recognition.
The degree to which parents are seeking an improvement in how they were taught and how they
learned may drive the choice for a private, bilingual program. Particularly if they see their children as
world citizens that need a high quality education and bilingual skills to compete. If parents see their
child as being unique in the rate and level of learning and learning style, it may reect a need for a
more child centered approach to learning rather than a teacher centered approach. Depending on
the country, it may be that parental choice of a bilingual school is for safety as well as a lower pupil
teacher ratio. If the beliefs related to higher quality of program in general can be extended, it may be
a support for the development or choice of programs for the gifted.
To what degree are there parental organizations locally or nationally, in general that support
quality educational programs? This predictably would reect support for general education but
could be developed as a vehicle to support programs for the gifted.
However, lack of understanding the idea of giftedness for some parents can cause a lot of problems at the beginning. Some parents will be looking for a way to nd a short, easy way to nish
school early in order to play the system. For example, one Central American country has a law
against accelerating students between grade levels. Some parents will care more than others to investigate the true intent of a gifted program and differentiated instruction and thus assist the child to
have a personalized and meaningful education.

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Identication: Instruments and Process

Western countries and the United States have a well developed pool of valid and reliable identication
instruments as well as an identication process. Developing countries are forced with the choice of
using potentially invalid and unreliable instruments or to rely on their own instrumentation. A related
issue is the decision as to how to administer the instrument; should it be in the standardized language
of administration (which may or may not be the second language of the school) or the native language. Instruments to measure ability potential may be in the native language, but not be validated
for content and vocabulary. There appear to be a wide range of differences in culture and vocabulary
even in a common language such as Spanish. Bilingual schools where English is the second language
may have an advantage in that many standardized instruments are normed in English.
In developed countries, the determination of general intellectual ability is often comprised of
multiple assessments some of which are individually normed such as I.Q and achievement and some
which are more artifact, or teacher and parental questionnaire based. If the assessment instrument is
achievement based, the degree to which the school curriculum reects Western cultures may be suspect. Group administered norm referenced achievement tests that can serve as additional evidence
as well as a gifted screening device are also absent. These scores under normal circumstances might
serve to heighten awareness, quantiably, of unusual ability.
Even in the United States, eligibility criteria for gifted program are variable. In Florida for
instance to include all children there have been changes in the rule criteria to be selected as gifted
students. If the IQ for students who are a member of an under-represented group and meets the criteria specied in an approved school district plan for increasing the participation of under-represented
groups in programs for gifted students, the eligibility criteria may be different from the dominant
culture. The rules applies to students who are limited English procient, or students who are from
a low socio-economic status family, based on the Special Instructional Programs for Students Who
Are Gifted6A-6.03019. (See Appendix II)
Not all countries have appropriately trained personnel to administer and interpret the normed
instruments much less the artifacts or interview data based on the characteristics of intellectually
gifted children. While a masters level trained school psychologist, often not available as well as
expensive, may administer a basic battery of ability and make appropriate judgments, an educational
diagnostician familiar with Special Education and Gifted Education may be better trained to collect and interpret all of the other data. All of this data must be integrated into a written report that
identies strengths and well as limitations via a differential diagnosis and takes into account cultural
and language differences. The professional evaluation vocabulary used to explain the data to parents,
teachers and students can be a concern. The primary evaluator needs to be really knowledgeable in
both areas: assessment and characteristics of the gifted.
Some developing countries may have a culture of inappropriate inuence in making educational
decisions that may result in a false positive for identication. The more objective data and the more
data in general that is gathered, combined with an anonymous review by a team trained in psychoeducational assessments and characteristics, the more likely an accurate assessment and identication
will be made. While there is the temptation to identify a child as gifted because they would benet
educationally from increased expectations and a differentiated curriculum and instructional strategies, it is ethically inappropriate to label a child as gifted as it is if the identication is developmental
delays and thus in need of Special Education. Educational ethics depend heavily on cultural practices
in the country, the school and the educational leadership and should be part of the staff development.

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Designing a Bilingual Schools Gifted Program in Developing Countries


Educational Leadership
The degree to which the educational leader(s) at the implementation site have a vision that includes
specic program services for gifted students for their school will inuence the successful implementation. This requires an honest potential assessment of their students abilities and the capabilities
of the teaching staff. For private schools, there is often a three year delay in potential return on the
investment of consultants, teacher training and assessment instruments. The core question that has
to be asked is underlying reason for consideration of a program development. Is it to enhance the
prestige of the school or is it genuinely an attempt to meet educational needs of an underserved
population? It is not inappropriate for the rst variable to be a consideration as increased numbers of
students may provide a critical mass for program delivery.
Program development momentum is especially critical. That is, the teaching staff has to sense
that there is a master plan for the school related to gifted education; the educational leaders and
consultants have to be able to successfully convey the master plan to the staff. If there is staff turnover during the period of training, the new staff has to be exposed to the program content as well
as to how the program ts into the total school curriculum. The less well trained the teachers are
in terms of coursework in education in general, the less effective the framework and content for
gifted education is going to be understood. For some bilingual schools in developing counties, the
primary consideration for teacher selection is the degree to which the teacher is bilingual rather than
their formal teacher training. Teachers are then expected to become fully trained to meet national
standards after being hired by the institution.
The educational leaders have to have a sense of the importance to use research based best practices in not only general education but also programs for the gifted. In developing countries, current
staff development opportunities can be infrequent. The schools can fall into the trap of Western
countries where staff development is characterized by a single workshop without opportunity for
teacher reection, practice of skills with feedback by peers and leadership and then additional
workshops that expose the teachers to additional content.

People being hired to plan, design, and develop the program need to be experts in each area: gifted
education, assessment and curriculum development. If the consultants are out of country, local school
administrators need to be part of the process-in order to maintain consistency. Electronic communication systems such as Skype are invaluable.
Consultants need to know and understand the culture where the program will be developed.
Lack of interest or knowledge from one of the partners will put the program at risk to fail.
Consultants have to agree to visit the school at least once a year to see progress in the development. If budget becomes an issue then other way need to be installed as well via e-mail, telephone,
websites, Skype, etc.
The development of a program for gifted students can be very professionally and personally
rewarding for school administrators and teachers in developing countries. It has the potential to
empower them that they are making a new and highly signicant addition for the students in their
country. Flexibility and patience is the key to learning a new education mind set as the principles of
gifted program development, data decision making and differentiation of curriculum and instruction,
can set the stage for other signicant school wide changes.

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Developing the rst research based academic program for academically gifted, bilingual children in
Honduras is characterized by challenges such as the population of bilingual school children as well
as those who are gifted in intellectual abilities is small. Their needs are not a high priority since most
bilingual schools are designed for those parents who have the nancial means. Another challenge is
using culturally and dual language appropriate instruments, in addition to qualitative components,
as the foundation for identication for the gifted. An academic program that is appropriately characterized by differentiated instruction suitable for general intellectually gifted has to be integrated
into the dual language instruction. Research questions abound as to the appropriate identication,
and instructional strategies, as well as student, parent and teacher, outcomes for this special population. Dowal Bilingual School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras has created a national vision and model for
identifying bilingual, gifted children as well as developing an appropriate curriculum and utilization
of appropriate instructional strategies.
The Curriculum development and instruction for gifted children program development has
three main components: (1) understanding second language acquisition, (2) understanding differentiated instruction and curriculum exibility, 3) understanding gifted children and how they learn as
well as social attributes. The curriculum must be student center through a variety of differentiated
approaches. Demonstration of mastering the objectives are done in a variety of ways, when the student is able to experience and experiment with a different learning model combined with signicant
teacher feedback. Teachers must understand that their role is more analogous to a coach and that
students are lead to make connections in the content. This signicant shift in philosophy is difcult
for bilingual teachers whose own learning experiences and training is far more traditional and typical
for developing countries.
Understanding and managing the socio-cultural, economic and political factors in developing
countries related to the provision of a bilingual program for intellectually gifted children can be
daunting. A systematic and sustained effort is required over time. Essential to the process is the long
term commitment by the local educational leaders whose vision will come to fruition.

The Authors
Stephen C. Keith, Assistant Professor of Education, has been extensively involved in International
Education since joining the education faculty at Longwood University in 1992. He has previously
worked in the public schools in Virginia as a speech/language pathologist, special education supervisor, building administrator at elementary and middle schools as well as a director of curriculum
and instruction, k-12. He holds degrees from Kent State University and The University of Virginia.
He has delivered lectures on American education in Germany, Honduras, and Peoples Republic
of China. As Director of Student Teaching for Longwood University, he established and supervised university student educational exchanges in Ireland, England, Honduras, Germany, and The
His rst experience with Central and Latin America was teaching in a Masters Program for
bilingual teachers in Elementary Education in Honduras in 1999. Since then, he has consulted for a
number of bilingual schools in Honduras in the areas of curriculum development, assessment, behavior management, supervision and evaluation of instruction and student motivation. He is involved

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Designing a Bilingual Schools Gifted Program in Developing Countries


in developing the rst program for general intellectual ability/gifted children in Central America
at the Dowal Bilingual School, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He is the founder of The Latin American
Journal of Education (, available online since summer 2010. It is the rst trilingual,
peer reviewed, open access, online education journal in Central and South America. LAJoE will also
serve as a research management and dissemination system, as well as a country index for educational,
governmental and professional organizations.
Dr. Cristina Patricia Fuentes Valentino is Assistant Professor of Education and ESOL
director at Jacksonville University. She has previously worked in Tegucigalpa Honduras as a VicePrincipal and has also worked in public schools in Illinois as a bilingual teacher and in Florida as
principal, standards coach, vice-principal, and curriculum integration teacher. She holds degrees
from Augustana College, Longwood College, and University of North Florida. She is involved in
developing the rst program for general intellectual ability/gifted children in Central America at the
Dowal Bilingual School, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She has also consulted for a number of bilingual
organizations in Northeast Florida in the areas of curriculum development, assessment, bilingual
education, Immersion programs, and ESOL. She is involved with the FLDOE as Folio Reviewer
for higher education initial programs in the area of ESOL.
She has written a chapter on Honduras education for the new book: Curriculum Development:
Perspectives from around the World. She is an editor of The Latin American Journal of Education
(, available online since summer 2010. It is the rst trilingual, peer reviewed, open
access, online education journal in Central and South America. LAJoE will also serve as a research
management and dissemination system, as well as a country index for educational, governmental and
professional organizations.

Florida Administrative Rule: Special Instructional Programs for Students Who Are Gifted
6A-6.03019. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from

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Appendix I
Recommended Readings
Balchin, T., Hymer, B. and Matthews, D. (eds) (2009) The Routledge International Companion to
Gifted Education. Abingdon; Routledge.
Baldwin, A., & Vialle, W. (1999). The Many faces of Giftedness. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing
Briggs, C., Reis, S., & Sullivan, A . (2008). A National View of Promising Programs for Culturally.
Linguistically and Ethnically Diverse Gifted and Talented Learners. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52; 131.
Davis, G. & Rimm, S. (2004) Education of the Gifted and Talented. Boston: Pearson.
Florida Gifted Information and Resources. Retrieved May 10, 2010 from http://www.oridagiftednet
Freeman, J. (2002) Out-of-school Educational Provision for the Gifted and Talented Around the
World: A report to the DfES.
Horowitz, F, Subotnick, R. and Matthews, D. (eds) (2009) The Development of Giftedness and
Talent Across the Life Span. Washington; American Psychological Association.
Hymer, B. Whitehead, J. and Huxtable, M. (2009) Gifts, Talents and Education: A Living Theory
Approach. Chichester; Wiley-Blackwell.
Levine, M. (2003). A mind at a time. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Rogers, K. (2002). Reforming Gifted Education. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.
Wallace, B. and Eriksson, G. (eds) (2006) Diversity in Gifted Education: International Perspectives
on Global Issues. Abingdon; Routledge.
White, J. (2006) Intelligence, Destiny and Education: The ideological roots of intelligence testing.
London; Routledge.

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Appendix II
6A-6.03019 Special Instructional Programs for Students who
are Gifted
1. Gifted. One who has superior intellectual development and is capable of high performance.
2. Criteria for eligibility. A student is eligible for special instructional programs for the gifted if the
student meets the criteria under paragraph (2)(a) or (b) of this rule.
a. The student demonstrates:
1. Need for a special program.
2. A majority of characteristics of gifted students according to a standard scale or checklist, and
3. Superior intellectual development as measured by an intelligence quotient of two (2) standard deviations or more above the mean on an individually administered standardized test
of intelligence.
b. The student is a member of an under-represented group and meets the criteria specied in an
approved school district plan for increasing the participation of under-represented groups in
programs for gifted students.
1. For the purpose of this rule, under-represented groups are dened as groups:
a. Who are limited English procient, or
b. Who are from a low socio-economic status family.
2. The Department of Education is authorized to approve school district plans for increasing the participation of students from under-represented groups in special instructional
programs for the gifted, provided these plans include the following:
a. A district goal to increase the percent of students from under-represented groups in
programs for the gifted and the current status of the district in regard to that goal;
b. Screening and referral procedures which will be used to increase the number of these
students referred for evaluation;
c. Criteria for determining eligibility based on the students demonstrated ability or
potential in specic areas of leadership, motivation, academic performance, and
d. Student evaluation procedures, including the identication of the measurement
instruments to be used;
e. Instructional program modications or adaptations to ensure successful and continued participation of students from under-represented groups in the existing instructional program for gifted students;
f. An evaluation design which addresses evaluation of progress toward the districts goal
for increasing participation by students from under-represented groups.
3. Procedures for student evaluation. The minimum evaluations for determining eligibility are the
a. Need for a special instructional program,
b. Characteristics of the gifted,

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c. Intellectual development, and

d. May include those evaluation procedures specied in an approved district plan to increase the
participation of students from under-represented groups in programs for the gifted.
4. This rule shall take effect July 1, 1977.
Specic Authority 1001.42(4)(1), 1003.57 FS. Law Implemented 1000.01, 1001.42(4)(1), 1003.57(5),
FS. HistoryNew 7-1-77, Formerly 6A-6.3019, Amended 10-10-91, 5-19-98, 7-14-02.
Source: Florida Administrative Rule: Special Instructional Programs for Students Who Are Gifted6A-6.03019. Retrieve
May 10, 2010 from

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h te


ESL Online and Adult Educators

Rosie Maum

Ten years ago, Hanson-Smith (2000) maintained that teachers who do not use computers in their
classrooms will inevitably be replaced by teachers who do. This statement is true even a decade later
considering how todays youth are spending their time playing video and computer games, connecting with family and friends via online social networks, and sending text messages by cell phone. If
educators want to motivate and engage this new generation of techno-savvy students, they need to
gure out ways to integrate computers into their pedagogical practices. Similarly, adult learners who
are not computer-literate will be better prepared for the 21st century if their instructor gives them
ample opportunities to interact with technology.

The adult education classroom is a challenging place for instructors who want to use computers but
who receive scarcely, if ever, any kind of professional development that includes technology. This
is particularly true in adult ESL programs where there is a huge gap in computer literacy between
learners from the paper and pencil generation and those who have never known a world without computers. The intent of this article is to present ideas and suggestions that can assist adult
ESL teachers who want to compensate for the difference in computer literacy among their learners.
Much of the information will come from what was discovered during the development of Project
CONNECT, a web-based program created under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education,
Fund for Improvement of Post Secondary Education1, and the authors teaching experiences. The
content in Project CONNECT focuses on work, education and civic participation and gives teachers a way to integrate the Internet into English language and literacy education. It also gives adult
English language learners a way to practice English while strengthening their computer skills. After
Project CONNECT was developed by a partnership among PBS Adult Learning Service, Alexandria, VA; Jefferson County
Public Schools Adult and Continuing Education, Louisville, KY; the National Center for Adult Literacy at the University
of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and KET: The Kentucky Network, Lexington, KY. For more information about Project
CONNECT, go to


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piloting the project with students and teachers in more than 30 adult ESL programs around the
United States, the programmers and content writers were able to determine what worked and what
didnt, and made the necessary modications and revisions in order to improve the content and
instructional value of the projects online modules. This article will address those ndings as well as
the authors experiences with instructional technology in the hope that it will motivate the reader
and provide some guidance for meeting the needs of adult students at any level of computer literacy.

Dynamics of Teaching Esl on the Internet

Adult educators need to keep in mind four important factors as they begin to use the Internet to
teach ESL. First, they must remember that online materials should not be used as a replacement
but rather as a supplement to their instruction. One of the worst things that any teacher can do is to
put an English language learner in front of a computer and expect him or her to learn the language
without their guidance. The learner will lose the personal contact and individualized attention that
a language teacher can give and that is so important, particularly when that student is learning a new
language and trying to understand what is happening in the classroom. Teachers will need to spend
some time navigating through the Internet, analyzing its content, and identifying the information
that they think will be conducive to teaching and learning ESL. Teachers in Project CONNECT
stated that they used the web-based modules in a range of different contexts (in the classroom, for
extended study, at distance-learning sites), and this helped them accomplish multiple instructional
goals, including integrated language skills, critical thinking, and cooperative and interpersonal skills.
The teachers found this adaptability very appealing, particularly since they came from a variety of
program types, with varied content objectives, instructional settings, and differing learner needs and
These ndings are consistent with studies that looked at the effects of technology on students
learning. Social software tools that are part of what OReilly (2005) coined as Web2 technology
can enhance learners interaction, communication, and collaboration. These include blogs, wikis,
RSS, instant messaging, podcasting, and social book marking (Farmer, 2004; Glogoff, 2005; KaplanLeiserson, 2004). T. Cochrane (2007) argues that Web2 technology coupled with wireless mobile
devices such as blueberries and iPods provide a stimulating environment for reection, critique,
collaboration and user-generated content . . . (p. 4).
Second, teachers need to assess their students technology skills so that they can decide how
much time should be spent teaching basic computer and Internet skills. This is a very important step
because students should not get bogged down with nding a letter on the keyboard while also being
expected to engage in a challenging language exercise. Most of the teachers in Project CONNECT
used a favorite keyboarding program or software to help their students gain some basic keyboarding
skills.2 This preparatory work boosted the students condence in using computers and gave them
the practice they needed to develop the skills necessary to navigate the Internet. The teachers were
able to assess their students computer skills and improved their ability to understand what type
of preparation would be necessary the next time they introduced their students to computers and
the Internet. Furthermore, this approach gave learners the ability to do some self-evaluation and
continue to practice keyboarding on their own as they saw needed.
Some of the teachers also used a free online keyboarding tutorial. While that program is no longer available, the Internet
offers an array of free online tutorials.

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Hanson-Smith (2000) warned that as technology continues to inltrate into our instructional
practices, the role of educators will change and will require a paradigm shift in how they view the
student-teacher relationship. She argued that as students become more comfortable using computers for learning English, they . . . become more autonomous, active learners, and teachers must
relinquish some of their power and authoritynot to the computer, but to the students themselves.
(n. p.) The ndings in Project CONNECT attest to how technology can facilitate this shift. In addition to helping teachers evaluate their students skills, online tools such as the keyboarding tutorial
allow learners to self-assess their abilities moving instruction away from the traditional print material
and classroom lecturing toward a more student-centered environment.
Third, it is imperative that ESL teachers understand how adults learn and how they acquire a
second language. One of the major tenets in both adult learning and second language acquisition
theories states that students learn best when what they learn is meaningful to them (Knowles, 1984;
Krashen, 1982; Mezirow, 1981). Knowles (1984) argued that adults are most interested in learning
content that has immediate relevance to their jobs or personal lives. Similarly, according to Krashens
(1982) affective lter hypothesis, a second language can be acquired only if the learner is offered a
low anxiety environment in which positive emotions bolster his or her self-esteem. This in turn will
lower their affective lter and facilitate language understanding. Providing activities that are meaningful to adult learners plays an important role in raising the students comfort level with computer
technology and ultimately affect their motivation to learn English.
Educators who want to integrate technology into the ESL curriculum must teach in such a
way that students will have the opportunity to apply what they learn outside the classroom. Project
CONNECT teachers discovered that one of the most successful ways to make learning immediately
relevant to their students jobs or personal lives was to use e-mail and online discussions. Using these
communication tools to stimulate students interest proved to be a very effective strategy to involve
them in language production. Students felt comfortable communicating by e-mail because they did
not have to worry about constructing grammatically correct sentences. They were more focused on
content and this helped lower their affective lter. Similarly, when they engaged in online conversation through the discussion board, students stayed involved and even initiated new topics of discussion. These were all relevant to their lives outside the classroom, and some of them were directly
related to their jobs. Ultimately, web-based instruction that takes into consideration the principles of
adult learning and second language acquisition can play a key role in helping adult English language
learners improve their language skills and raise their comfort level with using technology.
Fourth, adult educators should know how to locate online resources for teaching and learning
ESL that t the instructional needs of their students. Teachers need to look for interactive material
that lets the learner practice all four language skills. Knowles (1984) pointed out that instruction
should take into account the wide range of different backgrounds of learners. Project CONNECT
teachers discovered that online stories that were relevant to their students lives played a major role
in how they interacted with technology. Students were found to spend an extended period of time
using the audio and video features in Project CONNECT that contained authentic stories about
immigrants in the U.S. Some of the audio and video excerpts in Project CONNECT include voices
of native speakers of English as well as speakers with non-native accents and prompted learners to
make personal connections with what they were hearing.
Even though audio and video tools such as those in Project CONNECT can be positive models
for students and elevate their interest level in learning online, teachers need to offer opportunities
to explicitly practice pronunciation. This language skill plays an important role in comprehensibility
(Anderson-Hsieh & Koehler, 1988) but ESL teachers often do not spend a lot of time teaching it.

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Elliott (1995) claims that teachers tend to view pronunciation as the least useful of the basic language
skills and therefore they generally sacrice teaching pronunciation in order to spend valuable class
time on other areas of the language (p. 531). Many educators are starting to discover podcasting as
a companion to classroom instruction because it gives learners the opportunity to practice pronunciation and speaking outside the classroom. With the increasingly widespread ownership of MP3
players, the popularity of podcasts among young adults has increased making the job of educators
who want to include this tool in and outside their classrooms much easier.

Conclusion: A Note to Educators

Adult educators who are ready to integrate computers into their instruction must be aware that their
role as teachers will take on a new dimension and that the classroom dynamics will also change. As
Hanson-Smith (2000) pointed out, these changes require greater exibility from the teachers and a
willingness to do things differently. They also call for already underfunded programs to create additional opportunities for professional development. This is not an easy task but one that is necessary if
adult educators are expected to help English language learners develop the language and technology
skills they need to integrate into U.S. society and participate effectively and successfully in the communities where they live, learn and work.
A smaller version of this article was printed in the Adult ESOL Interest Section Newsletter of the TESOL Organization.
Permission requested and granted.

The Author
Dr. Rosie Maum is an ESL teacher at the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY with
experience in teaching Spanish, Italian and ESL at the college and P-12 level. She was the 200607
President of Kentucky TESOL and 200405 Chair of TESOLs Adult Education Interest Section.
She has served on a variety of TESOL committees and worked extensively as district coordinator
and content writer for Project CONNECT, an online program for adult English language learners.

Anderson-Hsieh, J. R., & Koehler, K. (1988). The effect of foreign accent and speaking rate on
native speaker comprehension. Language Learning, 38, 561593.
Cochrane. T. (2007). Mobile Web2 pedagogies. Retrieved on April 14, 2010 from http://molta
Elliott, A. R. (1995). Foreign language phonology: Field independence, attitude, and the success of
formal instruction in Spanish pronunciation. Modern Language Journal, 79, 530542.
Farmer, J. (2004). Communication dynamics: Discussion boards, weblogs and the development of
communities of inquiry in online learning environments. Paper presented at the 21st ASCILITE
Conference: Beyond the comfort zone, Perth.

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Esl Online and Adult Educators


Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning,

and peer input. Retrieved on April 14, 2010 from
Hanson-Smith, E. (2000). Technology in the classroom: Practice and promise in the 21st century
(part 1). Retrieved on April 14, 2010 from
Kaplan-Leiserson, E. (2004). RSS: A learning technology. Retrieved from
Knowles, M. (1984). The adult learner: A neglected species (3rd Ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.
Krashen, S. D. (1982). Second language acquisition and second language learning. Prentice-Hall
Mezirow, J. D. (1981). A critical theory of adult learning and education. Adult Education Quarterly,
32(1), 324.
OReilly, T. (2005). What is web 2.0. Design patterns and business models for the next generation of
software. Retrieved on April 14, 2010 from

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h te

The Plight of the Adjunct:
A Critique on Policies
Scott Drinkall

Introduction: Historical Perspective

Adjunct faculty or part-time faculty members have historically been implemented to address
uctuations in enrollment, faculty absences, or capture particular skill sets in academic programs.
The movement to employ adjunct instructors began in the 1960s on community college campuses, as the demand for instructors prompted administrators to seek help from the professional
community. A second wave occurred during the 1980s amidst an intensifying budged crunch and
increasing enrollment, as four-year institutions implemented similar policies, lling the gaps with
adjunct faculty.
Initially, lling the gaps was a temporary x. But in the late 1980s, warning signals began
emerging in a burgeoning mass of literature, including Ernest Boyers College: The Undergraduate
Experience (1987). In this frequently cited study, the undergraduate experience, curriculum, and
quality of teaching were examined, resulting in a recognized need to reduce the proportion of
adjuncts. Boyer suggested that part-timers should comprise 20 percent of faculty at four-year
colleges and universities. This was a ve percent decrease from an estimated 25 percent at that
time (Boyer, 137).
The proportion of adjunct to total faculty, however, has signicantly increased, and is now near
50 percent (see Table 1). These gures were compiled by the Digest of Education Statistics (2008) and
include data from results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education
Statistics (NCES). As Table 1 shows, the proportion of part-time, adjunct, and contingent faculty
at degree-granting institutions (including junior colleges) rose from 33 percent in 1987 to nearly 50
percent in 2007, about a 50 percent increase.


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Table 1: Digest of Educational Statistics <>
















This growth is largely attributed to the expansion of community colleges, which have undergone
signicant growth, assuming an increasingly central role in the nations education and training
system (Kane and Rouse, 1999). Concurrently, institutions are alleviating nancial pressures by
hiring fewer full-time or tenure track facultya trend apparent across the strata of higher education.
Individuals in these positions primarily concentrate on teaching (typically undergraduate courses),
and rarely engage in research or departmental decision-making. Moreover, adjuncts are usually parttime, non-salaried, and paid for each class they teach. Typically, adjuncts are relegated to entry-level
courses, especially in the departments of English, mathematics, and modern languages (Avakian, 1995).
While there was initially a need to satisfy demand, now the perception is one of exploitation. The
misuse and abuse of part-time, temporary, and non-tenure track faculty has been thoroughly addressed
in the literature (Boyer, 1987; Franklin, Laurence, & Denham, 1988; Leatherman, 1997; Ramusack,
1998; Barker & Christensen, 1998). The National Education Associations (1988) Report and
Recommendations on Part-time, Temporary & Nontenure Track Faculty Appointments advances
that The misuse and abuse of part-time, temporary, and nontenure track faculty appointments constitutes one of the most serious problems confronting American higher education (6). Following
a review of data and reports, the NEA concluded that part-time and temporary appointments are
being used improperly, (9) proposing the following recommendation:
Colleges and universities should convert all improper part-time, temporary, and nontenure
track appointments to regular, full-time faculty positions whenever feasible and as soon as
practical, and adopt policies through faculty governance and/or collective bargaining that
will prevent the improper and excessive use of these types of appointments in the future. (9)

Criteria from NEA
To achieve this recommendation, ve criteria were delineated:
1. Part-time and temporary faculty members must be afforded academic due process rights
conforming to those of regular, full-time faculty;
2. Institutions should provide qualied regular part-time faculty with suitable forms of employment security after an appropriate probationary period;
3. Part-time faculty, especially regular part-timers, and temporary faculty should be included in
faculty governance and decision-making processes at the institution;

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The Plight of the Adjunct: A Critique on Policies


4. Institutions should recognize that part-time and temporary faculty need and deserve suitable
working conditions in order to fulll their professional responsibilities;
5. Part-time faculty members should be paid at the same rate as their full-time colleagues.

TESOLs Position
Additionally, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) has addressed similar
concerns in its 2003 Position Paper on Equitable Treatment for Part-time, Adjunct, and Contingent
Faculty. It notes that resolutions have been passed at its annual convention six times since 1980 to
address this trend and the concerns of its undermining of the educational system: this has been an
acute problem in the eld of English as a second language (ESL) for decades (1). Despite these
resolutions, as evidenced by TESOLs 2006 proposals, little improvement has been made since the
NEAs report in 1988 proffered ve recommendations, at least in the ESL eld. TESOLs recent suggestions include benets such as health insurance, holiday and vacation pay; compensation for ofce
hours and participation in institutional committee work; and a pro-rated salary based on percentage
of full-time work (2). The TESOL report also cites the need for continued professional development, tuition reimbursement, pay increases for development activity, adequate training and access to
support services, opportunity for promotion, and participation in governance, including service on
curriculum committees (3).
The goals, though, have not been adequately realized. In order to deal with increasing reliance
on adjunct faculty, the NEA, in conjunction with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and
the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), announced new measures in 2007 at the
NEAs higher education meeting in San Diego. Items within AFTs and AAUPs policies, however,
require further consideration.

AFTs Initiative
The AFT proposes a benchmark of 75 percent of classes in each department to be taught by tenured
or tenure-track faculty in order to reverse the crisis in instructional stafng at our nations colleges and universities, as noted by its Web site ( AFT established the Faculty and
College Excellence (FACE) initiative to reverse the crisis in stafng while still minimizing job losses.
FACE aims to achieve its goal through two basic principles: 1) Bring about fairness and equity in
the treatment of part-time/adjunct and other nontenure-track faculty members and 2) Reverse
the erosion of full-time tenured faculty positions (AFT FACE 78). The rst principle seeks to
pair proportional professional responsibilities with proportionate compensation, achieved in part
through granting, after a period of time, due process protections from arbitrary dismissal and giving preferential consideration to part-time faculty once full-time positions open.
The second principle, designed to address the imbalance in faculty, recommends a reasonable
balance between full-time tenure faculty positions and part-time/adjunct and other nontenure-track
faculty positions . . . so that, at the end of a ramping up period, at least 75 percent of the classes in
any academic department are being taught by full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty (9). Ensuring
that 75 percent of undergraduate classes are taught by full-time faculty, while well-intentioned, is
problematic, as education is labor-intensive, and increased costs in the amount of labor will result.
While these concerns are addressed by the FACE campaign, which acknowledges that the federal

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role in addressing academic stafng issues is extremely limited it nevertheless expects that legislation
will provide funding to achieve its purposes.

AAUPs Policy
Comparable to the AFT benchmark, the AAUPs policy limits the amount of time someone can work
in a non-tenure track position before either being offered tenure or given additional protection/
seniority. The AAUP policy, which calls for limits on the amount of time that someone can work as
a non-tenure-track faculty member before either being offered tenure, given additional seniority or
job protection rights or being dismissed (News: A New Campaign on Adjuncts, 2007), echoes the
well-known Microsoft contract workers case, in which contract workers were designated by orange
badges, long-time workers by blue. The company for years used temporary workers to write its code,
presumably due to the cost benets of not paying benets. This form of outsourcing was challenged
by the IRS for not meeting the guidelines for independent contractors. Microsoft settled, agreeing
that its employees were misclassied. These contract workers, who were then deemed employees,
sued Microsoft for benets and stock options in a class-action suit. After two appeals to the 9th circuit
court and a nal appeal to the Supreme Court (which refused to hear the case), Microsoft lost, costing the company billions (Bishop, 2005). As a result, Microsoft no longer allows contract workers
to work longer than a short and set period of time. The lesson is that formal regulations may push
institutions to severely limit opportunities for adjunct work.
While the NEAs goal of convert[ing] all improper part-time, temporary, and nontenure track
appointments to regular, full-time faculty positions whenever feasible and as soon as practical and
the AFTs and AAUPs policies to curb the incidence of part-time employment are well intentioned,
a greater attention to the faculty themselves, a large portion of whom do not share the same motivations, would better inform policy reform.

Adjunct Proles
Leading researchers on adjunct faculty issues Judith Gappa and David Leslie identify four proles of
part-time faculty members in the widely cited The Invisible Faculty (1993). Implementing research on
higher education part-time faculty, Gappa and Leslie formulate a typology of four types of adjuncts,
based on their motivations and lifestyles: specialists/experts/professionals, freelancers, career enders,
and aspiring academics. According to Gappa and Leslies research, over half of all adjunct faculty
members constitute the rst category. Their motivation is to fulll themselves through sharing
their expertise and by pursuing social or professional opportunitieswith no intention of teaching
Freelancers are often caregivers to children or other family members, or, by choice, combine
two or more part-time jobs to satisfy a variety of needs. They too are not seeking full-time employment. Career enders include the retired and those who are transitioning from full-time to live a more
balanced lifestyle. The fourth category, aspiring academics, comprises 20 to 25% of part-timers, and
includes the notorious freeway yers who tackle part-time employment at several institutions,
patching together a full-time wage. Much of the literature of the plight of the adjunct centers on
this typology. They are the ones most likely to join the NEA, AAUP, or AFT and are most likely to
benet from budding policies. As articulated by Richard Lyons (1999), we must note that [aspiring

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The Plight of the Adjunct: A Critique on Policies


academics] is not the dominant part-time teaching prole at most institutions and therefore should not
drive the strategies most of us employ to achieve effectiveness from our adjunct faculties (para. 2).

Adjuncts and ESL

Due to varying enrollment numbers and limited funds, an ESL adjunct is placed as a temporary
employee. This position entails particular concerns not faced by full-time employees: we are afraid,
afraid of losing our jobs. Other concerns exist as well, which have been previously discussed at length.
Increased pay alone, though, will not remedy the ESL adjuncts position. A discrepancy between
part-time and full-time faculty does exist, when calculated by hourly pay. A comprehensive study by
the National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF) found that part-time faculty earns approximately 60% less than comparable full-time faculty (Toutkoushian and Bellas, 2003). Indeed, a fair
wage and benets may keep an adjunct employee from shopping other schools or careers. But pay
alone will not attract brighter talent, produce more attentive teachers, or even satisfy central interests. The NSOPF reports that despite the signicant institutional hourly pay difference between
part-time and full-time faculty, both groups report being equally satised (or dissatised) with their
institutional salaries (Toutkoushian and Bellas, 2003). The impetuses for entering the eld are concerned less with money and more with the engagement of a diverse student body and class culture.
Professional development, crucial in creating a complete teacher, one who teaches for success,
with clear objectives, a learning-centered environment, and game plans far up the sleeve, is what the
adjunct truly needs. This development can be facilitated through new faculty orientation programs,
guest lecturers, certicates and licenses, observation and feedback by established professionals (in or
out-of house), and weekly department meetingsall of which will contribute to increased investment in the faculty member and job security.
While this security is a concern for all involved in teaching ESL, it particularly affects adjuncts
the rst line of defense, and the rst to go. Adjuncts know their position of temporariness; it is in the
job title after all. We clutch on to our jobs, knowing funds are limited, ofce space is unavailable, and
student numbers are in a delicate balance. As all in the eld know, ESL is especially vulnerable to
factors beyond our control, as government policies, both abroad and domestic, may enact new laws
limiting numbers of foreign students.

Adjuncts may be hired or red on a whim, and for many part-timers, the working mindset is akin to
that of the migrant farm worker, whose job continues only with natures favor. The administration
views this as exibility; to the employee, it is downright scary. One solution for college administrations to alleviate this concern is to simply not hire adjuncts. However, given that higher-education
now employs more part-time faculty than full-time, and given that it costs about three times as
much to employ full-time faculty members, even for the same classes (Schneider, 2004), change is
unlikelyand even less likely in ESL, a discipline inclined to a varying and unknown batch of students each semester, often accentuated by an open enrollment policy. With uctuating attendance
both in student skill level and total numbersand always-limited funding, adjuncts are a reality that
will likely continue.

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Given the need for adjuncts, one method is to specify a contracted time, say two years, and under
the certain knowledge that they are temporary, thereby removing the fear of losing a job. (This
method is currently in place at Brigham Young Universitys Hawaii campus). If adjuncts become
contract workers, a sense of inclusion must be acquired, with equal access to resources, Web-based
discussion boards, and campus e-mail lists. And, it is essential they receive institutional support from
coordinators and directors, and a clear direction on how they can obtain full-time status (if wanted)
or some security or fallback options if they are no longer needed. If these needs cannot be met by
the administration then a shift of power may be called for, out of necessity and within the rights of
adjuncts across the curriculum. An organized association of academic part-timers, a union, may be
in order.

Conclusion and Suggestions

Even within a supportive and agreeable working environment, compatibility between two essentially
opposed elements is trying; the exibility needed by an institution and the protection needed by an
employee seem intrinsically at odds. Adjunct unions are now in place at such schools as Emerson
College and Suffolk University (Hoeller, 2006), and will continue to gain in popularity as long as
graduates pursue career paths in academia and administrations consider rst the bottom line. These
unions could incorporate all disciplines within a university, or even cross campus lines, banding a
city or county, gaining numbers and solidarity and securing jobs, creating greater competition to
attain jobs (more qualied instructors), while lowering the risk of losing them. Fair salaries and
professional development programs can only be addressed after securing this rst. Then, perhaps
adjuncts could represent themselves, and decide their own salaries, benets, and working conditions
(Hoeller, 2006).
Each institution has a unique composition of faculty, which should be taken into consideration,
and a measure of caution should be given to making assumptions about the lifestyles and motivations of part-timers. Thus, while increasing numbers of adjuncts demonstrates a corporatization of
education and sometimes exploitative scenario, adjuncts comprise a heterogeneous group, many of
whom are not seeking opportunities otherwise relegated to full-time academics. Nevertheless, superior results in teaching effectiveness and morale will be achieved by investing in part-time facultys
capabilities. These include:

being given institutional support through feedback

ofce hours or ofces where they can meet with students
health insurance
a pro-rated salary
continued professional development
safe participation in governance

As seen here these are essentially a reiteration of TESOLs suggestions delineated above.
Ideally, adjuncts would be hired as they have historically: to bring a particular expertise or
professional experience to a program area, to ll a temporary loss of a full-time faculty member, or
to provide a sudden need to grow a particular program. For the time being, though, the ve criteria proposed by the NEAimplemented through a more comprehensive legislation arrangement,

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The Plight of the Adjunct: A Critique on Policies


without caps on part-timers and with an awareness of the varying motivations and lifestylesoffer
the most viable option to curb improper use of adjuncts, particularly those with full-time aspirations.

The Author
Scott K. Drinkall received his B.S.E. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in English
from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, studying under famed Texas poet Dr. Robert A.
Fink. Following graduate school, Drinkall taught EFL courses in South Korea as well as ESL at the
Embry-Riddle Language Institute. He now teaches literature and composition classes at Everglades
University in Boca Raton, Florida, still writing poetry and surng on weekends.

AFT FACE. Welcome to AFTs FACE campaign. Retrieved April 18, 2010 from http://www.aftface
Avakian, N. (1995). Conicting demands for adjunct faculty. Community College Journal 65, no. 6:
Barker, K. & Christensen, K. (1998). Toiling for piece-rates and accumulating decits: Contingent
work in higher education. In Contingent Work: American Employment Relations in Transition. NY:
Cornell University Press, 195220.
Bishop, T. (2005). Microsofts Orange Badge Culture Gets Forum. Seattle News, Sports,
Events, Entertainment. Retrieved 2010, April 18, 2010 from
Boyer, E. L. (1987). College: The Undergraduate Experience in America (The Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching). NY: Harper and Row Publishers.
Digest of Education Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a
part of the U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved April 18, 2010 from
Franklin, P., Laurence, D., & Denham, R. (1988). When solutions become problems: Taking a stand
on part-time employment. Academe 74, 3, 1519.
Gappa, J. M., and Leslie, D. W. (1993). The Invisible Faculty: Improving the Status of Part-Timers in
Higher Education ( Jossey Bass Higher and Adult Education Series). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Hoeller, K. (2006, June, 16). The proper advocates for adjuncts. (adjunct professors). The Chronicle
of Higher Education, 52.
Kane, T. & Rouse, C. (1999). The community college: Educating students at the margin between
college and work. The Journal of Economic Perspectives 13, 1, 6384.
Leatherman, C. (1997). Heavy reliance on low-paid lecturers said to produce faceless departments.
Chronicle of Higher Education 43, 29, A12A13.
Lyons, R. (1999). Achieving effectiveness from your adjunct faculty. Academic Leader 15, 2, 13.
National Education Association. (2007). Part-time, temporary & nontenure track faculty appointments. report and recommendations. Retrieved April 18, 2010 from

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News: A new campaign on adjuncts. (2007). Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved April 18, 2010 from http://
Ramusack, B. (1998). Good practices and common goals: The conference on part-time and adjunct
faculty. Perspectives. Retrieved from
Schneider, J. (2004). Employing adjunct faculty from an HR perspective. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 84.
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Position paper on equitable treatment for part-time, adjunct, and contingent faculty. Retrieved on April 18, 2010 from
Toutkoushian, R. & Bellas, M. (2003). The effects of part-time employment and gender on faculty
earnings and satisfaction. (1993 National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty). Journal of Higher
Education, 74.

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h te

Funding IEP Professional
Alan D. Lytle

Most Intensive English Programs (IEPs) in the United States do not have deep pockets, and those
pockets do not always include the professional development of the faculty and staff working at the
IEP. As the ESL eld and immigration policies continue to expand and evolve, individuals charged
with having up-to-date knowledge of this information must have outlets where detailed discussions
can take place. Conferences regarding language standards, immigration issues, and program design
are but one avenue. This article offers ideas of how to expose an IEPs faculty and staff to professional
development using high-cost, medium-cost, low-cost, and shoestring-cost concepts.

What is Professional Development and How do you

Plan for it?
To begin with, Professional Development (PD) provides development for professionals, but what does
that mean? PD provides information that enhances or furthers a professionals knowledge, and this
enhancement can be for immediate benet or for an on-going benet. Additionally, the development
can include training for personal development (,
2007). As Diaz-Maggioli (2003) writes, . . . even when specic . . . professional development is a reality,
it is often in the form of a one-session workshop where the emphasis is on transmission of information
rather than on the active development of materials, techniques, and assessment.
In order for PD to be benecial, there are a few questions that should be answered rst:
1. Who are the professionals?
2. What is the development?

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Why do the professionals NEED the development?
What equipment/supplies are already in place?
How is/are the equipment/supplies currently used?
Where do the PD participants want to be professionally and personally in 10 years?

Once these questions are answered, then attention should be drawn to the level of funding needed
to accomplish the task. Should the PD be free-for-all, limited-funding, somewhere in between, or
technology-based? In a free-for-all PD, there are no limitations on funding, location, presenters,
or topics (within the pre-dened criteria). In limited-funding PD, cost is the most limiting factor and
should be the primary guide. PD that falls between free-for-all and limited-funding, somewhere
in the middle, takes the advantages of a high-cost PD and the innovations of the shoestring PD
and melds them. The technology-based PD can t into any of these categories.
For PD to be effective, it has to provide incentives and support, professional directedness, technology access, community partnerships, and on-going information support and training opportunities (, 2007). Without these basic issues being addressed,
the PD participants (i.e. the IEP faculty and staff) will not see value in the information and will not
be active participants, much less be active users of the information presented.

High-Cost PD
High-cost PD is just what the name impliessomething that requires a great deal of money, either
on the participants side or on the sponsors side. This PD includes attendance at national and
international conferences, purchase of high-end technology (e.g. LCD projectors, digital cameras,
digital recorders, site licenses for technology-based archival programs and projection programs
(Blackboard, WebCT, or SynchronEyes) (, 2007 and http://www2, 2006), and
cross-training of ESL and foreign language (FL) professionals. This last option requires a person
to obtain the correct credentials which often means taking extra higher education classes, getting
endorsements, or taking high-cost tests, thereby requiring high-cost tuition and time. Additionally,
high-cost PD would include inviting well-know professionals in the eld as speakers. Usually, this
includes a speakers fee, travel costs, and hotel/food costs. Depending upon the speaker, this can
amount to quite a bit of money; however, the benet of the faculty or staff having access to a notedprofessional can be priceless.

Medium-Cost PD
Many IEPs can bear the cost of some of the medium-cost PD; however, this division is still out-ofthe-range of many ESL professionals, especially the ESL professionals who are employed only parttime or are not benets-eligible. Regional conferences many times do not involve air fares as they are
within traveling-by-car distance; albeit a long trip, this reduces the cost considerably. Additionally,
IEPs can join professional organizations as an institution and receive the publications that come
along with that membership. These publications can then begin to form a professional library for
the institution and its faculty and staff, thereby allowing them access to the peer-reviewed articles.
Many memberships also include access to the electronic versions of the professional publications;
therefore, the faculty can use this access to keep up-to-the-minute in the eld.

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Funding IEP Professional Development


Although sending a faculty or staff member to an international or national conference falls

within the realm of high-cost PD, the benet can be medium-cost as the attendee disseminates the
knowledge gained to his/her colleagues upon arrival back at the home institution. This rings true for
regional conference attendance also. Additionally, this is true of a faculty or staff members classes
being paid for, or partially supplemented, by and IEP. Once the employee completes the class or
the degree, then he/she should be responsible for presenting the information to his/her colleagues.
Many IEPs have agreements with institutions of higher education which allow employees to take
classes at reduced tuition.
As far as budgeting is concerned, PD should automatically be built into the budget every year.
Maybe the institution wouldnt use the line item each year; perhaps it could be budgeted to grow
from year to year and be used on an every-other-year basis. This would depend upon the budget
restrictions of the institution. However, it does allow time for PD to be planned so that the entire
faculty and staff could get the most benet. Additionally, this allows the IEP to establish a level-offunding formula, depending upon the nancial resources available or whether the faculty or staff
member will be presenting.
Medium-cost PD also takes into account the purchasing of a computer to be the server for
the institution so that the professional web pages the faculty and staff create can be housed on it
instead of having to pay a web-hosting fee. The initial cost might be high, but the cost over time
balances out.

Low-Cost PD
On the lower end of the funding spectrum are state and local conferences such as the TESOL afliates (, 2007). Many of the afliates
offer shorter conferences (23 days) and are usually within a radius where travel can occur within a
single day. In addition to the state and local conferences, there is access to blogs, podcasts, vodcasts,
and so forth. Of course, technology would need to be available (i.e. mp3/mp4 player, high-speed
internet access, etc.), but these technologies allow for the exchange of information, just not in real
time. A great deal of information about podcasts and podcasting can be learned from David Warlick
at The Education Podcast Network website (, 2007).
As was mentioned before, the creation of a professional library which the faculty and staff members can access holds great advantages. Along with the professional journals and online resources that
come with professional organization membership (mentioned under Medium-cost PD, publishers
such as Oxford University Press US (, 2005) and Cambridge University
Press (, 2007) offer entire professional development series.
These can be purchased by the IEP and checked out by the faculty and staff just as books from a
public library are. The purchasing of the materials could be done over time so that a library is developed, and dedicated exclusively to PD.

Shoestring-Cost PD
At the shoestring-cost level of PD, there is no traditional conference attendance. Rather, faculty
and staff participate in internet-based conferences with the cost shared between institutions, colleges, departments, or units. Many of these conferences are still offered via satellite or, now, through,

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streaming video and require no traveling, lodging, or food reimbursement. A good example of this is
the McGraw-Hill (, 2006) video conferences offered each year.
These conferences, and many others (e.g. TESOL) record, either audio or visually, presentations
which can then be downloaded or purchased; however, these resources may only be available for a
limited time (, 2007 and http://www, 2007). There are, also, many web resources (e.g.
Annenberg Media, 2007) which are public-domain and can be accessed
for free.
Another idea is to make use of the local talent in the IEPs area. Local educational institutions and communities have experts in the eld of language teaching, language acquisition, program
administration, cultural differences, or students rights, just to name a few. These local experts are
usually very willing to make presentations at no cost. Additionally, IEP faculty and staff have future
plans of professional advancement. Since there are few training sessions or classes offered on successfully administrating IEPs, these faculty and staff members can be given the chance to practice their
administrative skills under the supervision of the Director, Associate/Assistant Director, Curriculum
Specialist, or Immigration Ofcer. This also provides the benet to the IEP in that there are trained
people on staff who can substitute administratively should the need arise.
Finally, the Director, Associate/Assistant Director, or Curriculum Specialists ensuring that the
faculty and staff have access to local academic libraries and access to local computer labs so that
they can join professional discussion lists and access on-line resources (
Discussion/, 2007 and, 2007) allows for informal professional networks to be
established and grow. This has the added advantage of almost instant access to professionals when
the need arises.

Where can We Look for Ideas?

There are many web resources available for professional development, and there are many professional
organizations which provide training sessions, certicate programs, and presentations. Following is a
short list of second language-specic resources:

American Association of Intensive English Programs

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition
Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs
NAFSA, Association of International Educators
National School Boards AssociationSchool Board of Tomorrowhttp://www.nsba
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.

No matter whether PD costs a great deal or costs practically nothing, whether faculty and staff can
participate on a yearly basis or on a rotating basis, it should still offer something that the participant

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Funding IEP Professional Development


can take away and use, either immediately or as something upon which to build. As Diaz-Magioli
Professional development is not a one-shop, one-size-ts-all event, but rather an evolving
process of professional self-disclosure, reection, and growth that yields the best results
when sustained over time in communities of practice and when focused on job-embedded
responsibilities. (2003).
On a nal note, Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires
change. Education is essential to change, for education creates both new wants and the ability to
satisfy them (Commager, 1902-1998).

The Author
Dr. Alan D. Lytle, the teaching Director of the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) at the
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), USA, has a background in second and foreign language education (ESL/EFL, German, and French) as well as 19 years of ESL/FL teaching, administration, presentation, and publicatin experience at all levels, in academic-preparation programs,
conversation programs, English-for-special-purposes programs (ESP), and topic-specic programs.
As with most directors in the language eld, he started as a teacher in multiple elds (ESL,
German, education, and writing) and learned to be a director by the seat-of-his pants. Dr. Lytle
has also been involved with US immigration as an immigration ofcer, and he was previously the
Director of Programs Abroad and the Middle Eastern Studies Program at UALR. He is also a graduate faculty member in the Master of Arts in Second Language program at UALR and chairs or
sits on various language-related thesis committees. Additionally, he also teaches doctoral writing to
students in UALRs College of Engineering and Information Technology and serves on a variety of
university committees. As can be seen with his multitude of responsibilities and activities, Dr. Lytle
is a Jack-of-all-trades.

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