TESOL Connections (January 2011)

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Features

  • Grammatically Speaking

    • A FREE article from December TESOL Journal:
    Family Projects: Empowering Students, Parents, and Teachers

    Association News

    • TESOL Communications to Receive Major Upgrades

    2011 TESOL Convention and Exhibit in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA:

    • Registration is now OPEN for members! Register now for early registration pricing

    • Get convention details and start planning your trip with the Advance Program

  • Call for Participation:
    2011 TESOL Conference on Putting Research into Practice in Qatar
  • Just Off Press! Teaching Listening: Voices From the Field

  • Call for Member Resolutions

  • TESOL Endorses CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers

  • The TESOL Blog Spot: TESOL President Brock Brady discusses TEFL training

    and the Peace Corps.

    Resources

  • TRC Featured Resource: Earth Report—Nepal: Crafting a Way…

    an interesting way to introduce your students to Nepal and its people.

  • MALDEF & NEA joint report: Improving minority parental engagement in schools
  • Social studies instruction to promote knowledge acquisition and vocabulary

    learning of ELLs in middle grades

  • Transforming teacher education through clinical practice: A national strategy

    to prepare effective teachers

    U.S. Department of Education's Teaching Ambassador Fellowship:

    Applications due January 17

    TESOL Connections Archives (members only)

    To submit a feature article to TC, e-mail your submission to tc@tesol.org.

    To advertise in TC, e-mail jkowall@tesol.org.

  • Grammatically Speaking

    T. Leo Schmitt explores English grammar

    and answers your grammar quandaries. download to PDF

    Greetings,

    I've been looking for information about how to explain the use of “up” in phrases like hurry up, catch up, and pick him up. What would you suggest?

    Thanks,

    Paul Williams

    Raleigh, NC

    Thank you for the great question, Paul. I appreciate this question because it is one that I was thinking about not too long ago. We often think that language is arbitrary—A rose by any other name would smell as sweet—, but, there are parts of language that are much more systematic than we think. Phrasal verbs are one example. Phrasal verbs combine a verb and a preposition to create a new meaning; Catch up and catch out have very different meanings. They are often very difficult for ESL learners to pick up. Up has an indexical meaning related to its prepositional meaning. Thus up is closely related to the upward direction. We tend to look at up as being a generally positive direction. (Shares, salaries, life expectancy, etc. go up—often the higher the better!) Not surprisingly, up in phrasal verbs often carries this connotation. Thus hurry up and catch up have a meaning that means reaching the desired level. It is also related to up to snuff, up to par, and up to spec, where a desired level is attained.

    Pick him up is somewhat different. If it refers to a baby or animal, it has a literal meaning of an upward direction. If it is picking someone up at the airport, for example, it may mean to get someone “up” onto a form of transportation, such as a car. If it is picking someone up at a bar though, it could be seen as an extension of “up,” together with you. In this case of pick him up, we can see that the meaning of up has diverged into several different meanings and the preposition of phrasal verbs does not always have a nice clear-cut meaning. While phrasal verbs may follow general patterns, there are still plenty of anomalies.

    Note that up also has a connotation of completeness for many phrasal verbs. Eat up, clean up, andshoot up all imply a sense of totality.

    ____________________________

    How can I explain better the conditions in class? I have a little problem when I explain third conditionals and then mixed conditionals. I was wondering if you'd mind helping me with this topic.

    Thanks a bunch.

    Christian Rodriguez
    Guayaquil-Ecuador

    Dear Christian,

    Thank you for the question. Very briefly, - as conditionals can get very complex—many grammarians divide conditional sentences (usually starting with the subordinator if) into three types:

    1st (also called the real conditional): If + subject + verb in present simple, subject verb in future (will + base form)

    E.g. “If he goes, I will stay home.”

    2nd (also called the unreal conditional): If + subject + verb in simple past, subject + verb in conditional (would + base form)

    E.g. "If he went to Akron, their football program would have been top 20,"

    3rd: If + subject verb + in past perfect (had + past participle), subject + verb in conditional perfect (would have + past participle)

    E.g. “…if he had gone to New Orleans, or Birmingham, I would not have gotten upset,”

    The first conditional refers to possible events that might affect future plans. As such they are very useful in planning contingencies; making warnings, threats and conditional promises; making predictions; and setting conditions as well as other functions. One way to explain this to a class is to take out a coin and say “If it lands on heads, I will give you a pop quiz. If it lands on tails, we will work from the book.” You could then encourage your class to come up with their own conditions for the coin flip. Follow up on this with other conditions like “If it is sunny tomorrow…”or “If someone can spell indomitable…”

    The second conditional refers to very unlikely or impossible events. As such, they are useful for expressing problems and unlikely possibilities. They are also used for giving advice, such as “What Would You Do If You Found A Bag Containing $18,000?” Using advice strategies like this can be a good way to introduce the ideas of impossibility and unlikelihood to your class. You could try asking questions like “What would you do if you won the lottery?” (unlikely—sorry!) or “What would you do if you were a fish?” (impossible).

    The third conditional is rare and refers to how past events might have turned out differently. It is used for discussing missed opportunities and speculating about history. I usually explain it to my students by noting that it refers to past events that cannot be changed until and unless someone invents a time machine. You could introduce this with questions about students: “Would have studied harder if you had known your last quiz would be this difficult?” Note that here the students did NOT know that the quiz would be difficult until after they saw it. This pattern can be emphasized with historical hypotheticals like “What would have happened if the Chinese had colonized the Americas before the Europeans?”.You can then remind students that these events did not occur in this way. Perhaps you could start an interesting discussion on parallel universes or the nature of destiny.

    Mixed conditionals refer to mixing the 2nd and 3rd conditionals. It is possible to start a sentence with an impossible condition and then complete it with a present situation. (If + past perfect, would…) For example “If you had called the police, you would still have your money.” In this case, you want to consider how to present past events that still impact the present.

    It is also possible to start a sentence with a past tense to indicate something that is currently true with a condition that has happened and now cannot be changed. (If + past, would have past participle) “If you didn’t work every day, you would have had time to spend with your family.” (You are still working.)

    Note also that there seems to be a trend in spoken English toward this, eliminating the use of the past perfect in the third conditional. Thus we could easily hear “What would have happened if the Chinese had colonized the Americas before the Europeans?”

    ____________________________

    Dear Leo,

    I have this sentence in the textbook I am using as the first conditional: “If Robert should invite you on the safari, you'll need to buy a lot of equipment.”

    This example is given to show that we can omit the [if and invert the subject and auxiliary]: “Should Robert invite you on a safari, you'll need to buy a lot of equipment.”

    I have searched in many grammar books on the use [of should] in the first conditional and could not find any reference to it. How can I teach this to my students without confusing them?

    Thank you,
    Mais Telfah
    Saudi Arabia - Jeddah

    Dear Mais,

    Thank you for the question. I have briefly outlined the basic patterns of the conditional above. You mention one of the several alternative patterns. Should is used, as you say, by omitting the if and inverting the subject and the verb should. Note that the verb in the if clause does not need to useshould. In your example you could also write the sentence “If Robert invites you on the safari, you'll need to buy a lot of equipment.” Thus “If he goes, I will stay home” becomes “Should he go, I will stay home.” Note that this means that the verb reverts to its base form. I do not know if there is a good way to avoid confusing students about this rule. I would recommend first of all that the students have a solid understanding of the first (real) conditional using if, as that is far more common in speech. Should you decide that your students are confident with the if clauses, you can then introduce the should clause. Corpus studies show that should is the most common of these “subject-operator inversions” for conditionals. Inversion like this is rare in conversation and fiction, but actually slightly more common than if clauses in news and academic writing. Thus should you be working in an English for Academic Purposes context, I would recommend you prepare students for being able to use and certainly understand this construction. I would also venture that the “should you” construction has a connotation of being somewhat less likely than the “if you + present tense,” but is still more possible than the “if you + past simple.”

    Many corpus studies have demonstrated that different genres do employ different grammars. In the case of should inversion, you should probably decide based on your students’ needs and abilities. In general, I would recommend that teachers review what students ultimately plan to do with their language and what grammatical structures are most appropriate for their current and future needs. Best of luck.

    ____________________________

    Last Month’s Brain Teaser:

    The following two sentences are grammatical. They both demonstrate the same exception to a general grammatical rule of English. What is that rule and what is the exception?

    1. The Natchez Board of Aldermen last week voted unanimously to demolish the collapsed building at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Franklin streets. (From “City to demolish collapsed building in downtown,” The Natchez Democrat.)
    2. Authorities believe an escaped convict on work release … is responsible for the blaze. (From “Investigators believe escaped convict set Roan Mountain fire,” www.tricities.com.)

    The rule to which these sentences appear as exceptions is the rule that when a past participle is used as an adjective it should have passive meaning; in other words, the noun should have the role of “done-to” rather than “doer” with relation to the event denoted by the participle. This is the case inbroken window, for example. In the examples above, by contrast, the noun has the role of “doer”: the building has collapsed, and the convict has escaped. Other similar examples include fallen treesand elapsed time.

    Jeffrey Rasch

    Denton, Texas

    Excellent job, Jeffrey. That is exactly the answer I was looking for. You are right that in general, we expect adjectives derived from past participles to have a passive sense. This is connected to their uses in passive constructions. Thus the example you give, broken window, can easily be the window that was broken and this is the general grammatical rule. There are, however, a comparatively small number of adjectives derived from past participles such as the example you gave, where the sense is more of an agent or “doer,” so we say the escaped convict but NOT the convict who was escaped. Many thanks.

    This Month’s Brain Teaser:

    Look at the following two sentences. What traditional grammatical rule is being violated here?

    1. “Some things your son will say may surprise you, but it is important that he knows you are listening and that you care about his feelings and his attitudes.” (From “Moms: Why it is Important to Talk to Your Son About Girls and Dating,” Associated Content.)

    2. “If your horse decides to get excited and you want to demand that he lowers his head and calms down, then use this cue.” (From “Head Down / Calm Down / Demand Cue,” InfoHorse.com.)

    The first correct answer will be published in the next column of Grammatically Speaking.

    Please e-mail your responses to GrammaticallySpeaking@tesol.org.

    When writing to Grammatically Speaking, please include your name and location (city and state, province, or country). If your question or response is selected for publication, your name and location will be printed unless you specify otherwise.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    This article is from Volume 1, Issue 4 of TESOL Journal

    This issue was published in December 2010.

    Family Projects:

    Empowering Students, Parents, and Teachers

    by Joy Cowdery, Kelly Levi, Danielle Wells, and Susan Blauvelt

    download to PDF

    Educators are concerned with providing support in the classroom for all students. This is particularly true with students who are learning English as a second or additional language. In the past 10 years, even teachers in remote and rural areas of the United States have felt the impact of immigration and sought professional development for working with students for whom English is not their first language. Prekindergarten–12 teachers want immediate and applicable techniques for reaching these children and giving them the necessary English skills to gain content knowledge. Sometimes, however, academic concerns cause educators to lose sight of the whole child in the rush to get students ‘‘up to speed’’ in English language skills.

    This article reports on three projects created by graduate students in an endorsement program for teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) who attempted to connect schools and children in ways that enhanced not only academic achievement but the relationship between families and schools.

    THE COMMUNITY-BUILDING ROLE OF SCHOOLS

    One of the functions of schools, beyond supporting students, is to reach out to the community and support families. Much research has pointed to the importance of supporting families to enhance the lives and academic success of children (Boyson & Short, 2003; Epstein, 1995;

    Henderson & Berla, 1994; Walker & Sprague, 1999). Schools have traditionally filled this role of supporting families for communities (Bauch, 2001). It only seems natural that they should be helping to fill the social support void that currently exists for immigrant families.

    A study was recently conducted at Muskingum University that spanned an 18-county rural area in southeastern Ohio. In the study, immigrant parents reported feeling that education was very important for their children. They were all concerned with their children’s academic success, but felt helpless in assisting them with school work and reported feeling isolated from their children’s schooling. Many different families who are not in the dominant culture, those in poverty or of a minority race, have felt much of the same isolation. Schools have historically bridged this family–school gap in ways unique to their own communities. The immigrant families surveyed wanted to be a part of their new home, and schools could provide a way for them to integrate into the community while still retaining aspects of their own cultures. In other words, schools could become the advocates for supporting families within a community.

    EMPOWERMENT CAMP

    During a recent summer camp for English language learners (ELLs) in central Ohio, eight graduate students, who were already licensed teachers, worked with 22 students from 12 countries, ranging in age from 4 to 21. The purpose was to develop projects to empower not only the ELLs, but also their families through advocacy. The camp was established through the collaborative efforts of a local school district and the university. It was conducted each morning for 4 weeks. Students were brought to the camp, which was held in a local junior high school, each morning and picked up at the end of the day. The graduate students/teachers were required to spend time with the families and to find out what the parents felt they or their children needed that would empower their children or themselves. There was no restriction on the type of information or assistance that the graduate students could give, but the purpose was not to offer charity. These projects were not geared toward collecting ‘‘things’’ for a family, but assisting them with information or support to allow them to acquire what they deemed would empower them to navigate their way through a U.S. community and successfully achieve their goals.

    The families were receptive of all the projects, but three in particular seemed to have especially lasting effects in terms of empowering them. That is, the families and students were empowered with information that could lead to them taking control of a part of their lives that they may have felt powerless in previously.

    The empowering effects worked the other way, too. The graduate students/teachers also felt empowered by the confidence they gained to effect change in the lives of the students. No longer did they see their jobs solely as dependent on their role as agents of the institution, but as individuals working with students and families, individuals who have a personal responsibility to understand the needs of families and to help them, when appropriate, reach the goals they have established.

    The three projects highlighted here seemed to best represent the spirit and variety of empowerment of the broader endeavor. These three projects were selected as models because they seemed able to be replicated in other situations. The following descriptions were written by the graduate students/teachers as part of a reflection on their own projects. The names of the participants are pseudonyms.

    The first project is by Kelly Levi, currently a music teacher in Southwestern School District, in Ohio. As a music teacher in a district with a large population of ELLs, Kelly was motivated to add a TESOL endorsement, or additional license, to her original teaching license in order to better serve the students in her music classes.

    Project 1: Music

    On the first day of language camp, I had the privilege of sitting with Abby to help her fill out her personality profile. Her favorite subject in school was music, and she had aspirations to become a music teacher. I told her that I was a music teacher, and we immediately formed a bond. I asked Abby if she played any instruments, and she told me that her favorite thing to do was to go to her sister’s house because she had a piano. But her sister was in her 20s and was not always readily available when Abby got the urge to play the piano. I was able to meet Abby’s parents, and when I told them what I wanted to do, they were so appreciative. Abby’s father, Sam, told me that music was very important in their culture and that Abby’s oldest sister knew a little about playing the piano.

    I asked Sam if there were any songs from Ethiopia, their native country, that he wanted me to teach Abby. He could not think of any at the moment but assured me that Abby would know some because she always sang. Abby met with me each morning before camp for a total of eight 30-minute lessons. She now had a basic understanding and a knowledge base to get her through Book 1. I provided a piano book and a theory book that were age appropriate and also gave her the keyboard so she would have her own piano on which to practice. After talking with Abby’s oldest sister, I realized that money was scarce for the family. I know that private piano lessons are expensive, so Abby’s oldest sister agreed to find time to continue teaching Abby how to play. I wrote down some free activities in the local area that had to do with music, which I gave to her sister. I also found some websites that dealt with music note reading that were age appropriate, and I showed Abby how to get to the websites and play a few of the games. She had no trouble accessing the information on her home computer. She was very smart and was also very musically talented. Abby and I exchanged e-mail addresses so that we could keep in touch. Even if Abby never becomes a virtuoso, I am glad that I was able to provide an instrument and lessons for her, and I am glad that I got the opportunity to get to know her and her family.

    Unlike Abby’s project, which directly supported the desire of the parents and the child, the next project evolved as Danielle Wells, the graduate student/teacher, worked with three siblings from Sudan. These were the only high school–aged students in the program, and they had their own goals that they expressed directly to the teacher. Danielle has her master’s degree with a licensure in secondary English and TESOL and is currently a TESOL coordinator for an inner-city school in Columbus, Ohio.

    Project 2: Thinking College

    All three of the high school students, a brother and two sisters, in our summer camp expressed strong interest in attending college. Because of their time spent in a refugee camp in Egypt, they each lost 2 years or more of their education and had to backtrack by retaking previous grades in school since coming to the United States. After discussing their goals over a period of 2 weeks, all three students expressed a desire to apply for postsecondary options through their high school. Unfortunately, they were unaware of what was available to them as ELLs who are also not yet citizens. We investigated the options that were available to them for postsecondary education as well as for college admittance.

    I spoke to the high school and made contact with Columbus State Community College and the Ohio State University. I collected the necessary forms, explained the processes and financial aid situations to these students, and created packets to assist them once summer camp ended. They received their college packets on July 16, 2009, which was also the last day of camp. I included the Columbus State Community College website, phone number, street address, and a list of contacts for the students to have as a reference. Step-by-step instructions were also included on how to access the permanent resident webpage for more information and updates on scholarships and available classes. The packet included the following items:

    • an explanation of permanent residency status in the United States
    • an explanation of English as a second language (ESL) placement testing and available dates and locations
    • a placement test explanation and options for ESL students
    • an ESL course catalogue (including tuition and fees)
    • international and nonimmigrant student admission and application instructions
    • an international student application
    • financial documentation for F-1 visa applicants, including instructions and an application
    • an international student welcome statement
    • international student placement testing options
    • key collegiate terms with definitions
    • a map of Columbus State Community College’s downtown campus.

    I followed up with the students and mailed them each a package containing ACT preparation material as well as practice prompts for the reading and writing sections of the Ohio Graduation Test to help prepare them for graduation and college admissions. The students and I still correspond through e-mail.

    I wanted to empower these students to become successful citizens of the United States and of the world. Education is something that is taken very seriously in their culture because it is believed that educators are sent directly from God (Allah) to influence and educate the children. I wanted to live up to their ideal of what a teacher should be and represent a positive, embracing American spirit.

    It was remarkable for me to have three students with such determination and will to not only survive, but succeed far above expectations. I think that many students their age are thoroughly consumed with teenage issues and don’t concern themselves with much future planning or big decision making. But these students were inspiring. They desperately wanted to become part of U.S. society and become great contributors to the world.

    I learned that things that seem so simple to many of us who were born in the United States, like completing a college application, are quite complex and overwhelming to those never before exposed to such things. I realized that U.S. society can be incredibly biased and we often forget to consider those who are not part of our cultural traditions and customs. I wanted these students to leave camp with hope and a positive image of U.S. education and educators.

    The final project is very personal and demonstrates how closely teachers and families can work together. Susan Blauvelt is completing a master’s in education with a concentration in TESOL and holds a master’s degree in liberal learning. She currently tutors ELLs at Ohio University. In this project, she not only worked closely with one mother, but acquired a lasting friendship with another community member she would not have had the opportunity to know if not for the project.

    Project 3: Empowering Parents

    I met with Mrs. Chauldry, a woman from Pakistan, in her home at her request to discuss how I could help her speak English better and more fluently. Urdu was her first language, and she was a college graduate from the region of Punjab. Although she had lived in the United States for 5 years, she still felt ‘‘very shy’’ when she had to speak English, and she mostly avoided having to speak to native-born Americans. Her son, Sanjay, was participating in our ESL Family Camp. When I met his mother, I asked her if there was anything I could help her with or do for her, explaining the purpose of our family project. She said that she would like to speak better English. She said that she especially wanted to know how to ask some questions of her obstetrician, because she was 8 months pregnant.

    Mrs. Chauldry said that she could read and write English, so the next day I gave her a book on birth and pregnancy to help her with the questions she had mentioned. This book would facilitate her learning, because it had many photographs and drawings to aid her comprehension. She and her doctor could use it to help them talk to each other, by pointing to the pictures as they talked. Mrs. Chauldry later told me that she had read the entire book and that she had indeed taken it to her doctor’s visits and used it as we had hoped she would. She invited me to come to her home the next night, and eventually we met four more times.

    When I first arrived, she asked me if I wanted coffee or tea. We started getting to know each other with just a little conversation as I sincerely complimented her lovely home and asked her about some of the art objects on the walls. There was an enormous egg-shaped, carved wooden Arabic-lettered sculpture on either side of the doorway that spelled out the 99 names of Mohammed on one, and the names of God on the other. She was surprised and happy when I filled in some of the words she needed in order to explain this to me, pleased that I knew about Mohammed. We enjoyed the coaching sessions very much. In the 10 hours total that I spent with her, we got to know each other and became friends. We mostly talked, and she practiced her interpersonal communication skills because she wanted to practice speaking and listening. I believe I got a lot out of this practice as well.

    Mrs. Chauldry also had some other issues with which she wanted help. First, she wanted to know how to make a hair appointment over the phone. The statement ‘‘I want to get my hair cut’’ is actually a bit odd, when you consider the syntax of the word cut being used at the end of the sentence, as compared to other languages. She had a hard time understanding the word order, but we wrote it down and practiced it. I taught her how to negotiate a time for the appointment and the idioms that are used when making various appointments. For example, she should expect to be asked about the time she is given, with questions such as ‘‘Will this work for you?’’ and ‘‘Is this time good for you?’’ These common questions are used to negotiate a time that is convenient for both parties, and we practiced what to say if the time offered was not convenient. We wrote out a script and practiced it, role-playing making a hair appointment several times.

    On one of my visits, Mrs. Chauldry invited me to stay for dinner. She paid me the highest compliment by repeating to me what she had told her husband about our first session: ‘‘I told Abdul, ‘I feel really relaxed with Susan. She understands me, and I understand her. Now, when I want to know how to do something, I can call Susan and ask her, and she can help me do it.’’’ She expressed this sentiment several more times, and it gave me a very good feeling to hear it. I believe I was her first English-speaking friend.

    This family project was an incredible experience for me, and I find myself thinking that the metacognitive aspect of working with adult ELLs, and the friendship that may result, is something that I really enjoy and find rewarding. Mrs. Chauldry had been living a confining kind of existence, being unable to go out and talk to anyone. It had been lonely for her. If she continues to improve her English, she will undoubtedly be more content to live in the United States and, I dare say, happier. I will seek out more of these kinds of experiences. I want to help people gain greater access to U.S. society, by fully participating in the language and all the opportunities that this essential skill opens for them.

    CONCLUSION

    These three examples demonstrate projects that are inclusive of children’s families and reciprocal in nature. The graduate students/teachers expressed that they gained as much as they gave and that parents, students, and teachers alike felt empowered. As teachers and schools get caught up in the race for better achievement test scores, the importance of family support and its influence on student success can be overlooked. All ESL teachers and school communities can incorporate aspects of the types of family projects described here into their curriculum to strengthen the ties between immigrant families and their children’s teachers and schools. As ties grow, so does trust. As the families, students, and teachers begin to feel empowered to change relationships and increase communication, students will begin to feel that they can influence their own success. Schools can become the catalyst for changing attitudes and behavior (Catalano, n.d.).

    THE AUTHORS

    Joy Cowdery is an associate professor and chair of the Education Department at Muskingum University, in New Concord, Ohio, where she teaches diversity education, TESOL, and secondary language arts methods. She holds an EdD in educational leadership/critical pedagogy and an MA in communication from West Virginia University.

    Kelly Levi is currently a music teacher in Southwestern School District, in Ohio, and has a license in TESOL from Muskingum University.

    Danielle Wells is currently finishing her master’s degree at Muskingum University and has a licensure in secondary English and TESOL.

    Susan Blauvelt is completing a master’s in education with a concentration in TESOL at Muskingum University and has a master’s in liberal learning from Marietta College. She is currently tutoring English language learners at Ohio University.

    REFERENCES

    Bauch, P. A. (2001). School-community partnerships in rural schools: Leadership, renewal,

    and a sense of place. Peabody Journal of Education, 76, 204–221. doi:10.1207/S15327930pje7602_9.

    Boyson, B., & Short, D. (2003) Secondary school newcomer programs in the United States.

    Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.

    Catalano, P. (2006). Connect with immigrant parents. Retrieved from

    http://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/298-connect-with-immigrant-parents.

    Epstein, J. L. (1995). School/family/community partnerships: Caring for the children we share.

    Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 702–712.

    Henderson, A., & Berla, N. (1994). A new generation of evidence: The family is critical to

    student achievement. Washington, DC: National Committee for Citizens in Education.

    Walker, H. M., & Sprague, J. R. (1999). The path to school failure, delinquency, and violence:

    Causal factors and some potential solutions. Intervention in School and Clinic, 35(2), 67–73. doi:10.1177/105345129903500201

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    ______________________________________________________________________

    TESOL Member Communications

    to Receive Major Upgrades

    Coming this April, the TESOL Web site will look and feel a whole lot better. It’s just one of the many ways TESOL will improve the look and feel of its communications with members. These initiatives will support TESOL’s ongoing effort to provide relevant and timely information to all its members, and to facilitate networking and knowledge-sharing in TESOL’s global community.

    Interest Section Discussion Lists

    Later this month, TESOL will move the interest section (IS) e-mail discussion lists to the new TESOL Community platform. The new platform will not only allow each IS to continue sending e-mail messages to its discussion list; it will also provide each IS with its own Web page where users can post messages, participate in discussions, and connect privately with other TESOL members. TESOL will begin the first online discussion group sometime in January, as part of the ramp up to the Annual TESOL Convention and Exhibit in New Orleans.

    Newsletter Upgrades

    TESOL Connections and the IS newsletters will be completely reformatted. The new format will include features such as interactive polls and article ratings. It will also enable users to discuss some of the articles in the new TESOL Community. If you have thoughts about how to improve your IS newsletter, please pass them on to your IS newsletter editor or interest section leader.

    In February, TESOL will debut a new weekly newsletter, the English Language Bulletin (ELB). The ELB will carry TESOL, ESL, EFL, and English language news gathered from 55,000 publications worldwide.

    The TESOL Resource Center and the Directory of Degree and Certificate Programs

    As part of its Web redesign initiative, TESOL will completely retool the TESOL Resource Center, and it will reformat the Directory of Degree and Certificate Programs for relaunch this spring. Members and suppliers will also be able to take advantage of a new TESOL Buyer’s Guide, an online listing of relevant products and services.

    Your Input and Feedback Is Requested

    In the coming months, members will be invited to provide input for these various new initiatives. We also hope that some of you will become beta testers for the new Web site. If you’re interested in being a beta tester, please forward your name to Craig Triplett at ctriplett@tesol.org. No experience as a beta tester is necessary.

    TESOL’s greatest resource is its diverse member community. These initiatives will provide TESOLers with more opportunities to engage with one another, to facilitate shared experiences, and to grow professionally.