ESP News

ESP News, Volume 13:1 (January 2008)

by User Not Found | 11/08/2011

ESP News

In This Issue...

Leadership Updates

Demystifying the Proposal Review Process

By Karen Schwelle, ESPIS Chair (2007-2008),

The ESPIS was fortunate to receive more than 100 proposals this year for the 2008 TESOL Convention. After the rush to submit proposals by the June 1 deadline, many members may wonder what happens to their proposals before the end of October, when the notifications are sent. The process may vary a bit from year to year, but here is an outline of how the proposal review process unfolded this year.

In early June, interest section (IS) chairs received a list of the proposals submitted to their ISs and assigned three reviewers to each proposal. In the ESPIS, so many areas of specialty are represented that assigning reviewers with an appropriate background to assess each proposal was a significant consideration. Of course, it was also important that no one received his or her own proposal to review.

Reviewers began their work in mid-June. This year, each of the ESPIS's 13 reviewers was assigned 25 to 27 proposals to review, a number slightly above the "approximately 25 proposals" that reviewers had initially committed to. Proposals were scored based on a rubric developed and distributed by TESOL. The ESPIS reviewers deserve our sincerest thanks and appreciation for their crucial work. As active members of the IS, reviewers often submit proposals and present at conferences themselves; thus, they understand the significance of the decisions they are helping to make. From our correspondence during the review process, I know they took the task seriously and evaluated each proposal with care.

After the review process concluded in early July, each IS chair received the scores and comments for that IS's proposals. On the basis of this feedback, each IS chair had to decide which proposals to recommend for the IS's designated slots on the TESOL program. The ESPIS was allotted 22 slots. An additional 10 proposals could be designated as "potentials."

Culling the list of over 100 proposals to 22 was a tough job. In reading the proposals, I was impressed all over again with the quality of work that ESPIS colleagues engage in every day, all around the world, and in collaboration with subject-area specialists in so many different fields. Ultimately, many strong proposals did not make the cut; if the ESPIS had been allotted twice as many slots, we still could have offered a great conference program.

At the end of July, the list of accepted proposals for each IS was submitted to TESOL's Central Office (CO), and, by extension, the Convention Program Committee (CPC). Although the term accepted is used to refer to proposals selected by the ISs, the final TESOL program is the product of the CPC. CO informed IS leaders that the CPC would be basing its decisions on factors such as ensuring that no individual presenter is on the program too many times and producing a balanced program.

Many thanks to all who submitted proposals. ESPIS members can look forward to an excellent slate of presentations at TESOL 2008 in New York. I hope to see you there!

Special thanks to this year's ESPIS proposal reviewers: Shahid Abrar ul-Hassan, Cathy Beck, Charles Hall, Marvin Hoffland, Morris Min-yu Huang, Oswald Jochum, David Kertzner, Thomas Orr, Brian Schroeder, Amy Snow, Ethel Swartley, Margaret van Naerssen, and Kay Westerfield. Anyone who would like to volunteer to read proposals for 2009 is encouraged to contact Karen Schwelle at; sign-ups will also be held at the TESOL convention.

Articles and Announcements

Review of Strategies for Legal Case Reading and Vocabulary Development

By M. Catherine Beck,

Reinhart, S. (2007). Strategies for legal case reading and vocabulary development. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN: 0-472-03202-X.

Strategies for Legal Case Reading and Vocabulary Development is part of the English for Academic and Professional Purposes (EAPP) series published by the University of Michigan Press. The book was intended for students who plan to pursue either a JD (Juris Doctor) or LLM (Master of Laws) degree at law schools in the United States and who come from backgrounds or disciplines giving them "little exposure to the American legal system and the unique demands of law school life" (p. xi). Reinhart's is not the first legal reading textbook that could be used with law students who are not native speakers of English, nor is it the only one that uses Lundeberg's (1987) research on reading comprehension and legal case analysis. Reinhart's text is unique, however, in its use of two legal English corpora (Westlaw and the University of Michigan English Language Institute's legal English corpus) for legal vocabulary learning tasks and her method for teaching the basic structure of a court's holding (or decision) through the linguistic deconstruction of its "moves," or the discourse features that indicate the court's decision and reasoning for the reader.

Each of the book's three sections includes readings of background text and cases or statutes. These readings are accompanied by questions for discussion and vocabulary development tasks. Answers to the discussion questions are on the publisher's Web site, and an answer key to the vocabulary development tasks is included in the back of the book. In Note to the Teacher, Reinhart includes suggestions for how to use the book. The readings in the first section, Part I: Introduction to American Legal Case Reading and Discussion, gradually "introduce American law; case reading and briefing strategies; and cases from the common law areas of torts, contracts, and property" (p. xiii).

Reading 1 introduces the U.S. legal system, including the hierarchy of state and federal courts, jurisdiction, the jury system, appellate courts, stare decisis, and binding authority. This reading is followed by two corpus-based vocabulary development tasks that introduce the notion of legal collocations. In the first task, the student combines prepositions with common law using excerpts from cases. In the second, the student examines how the noun certiorari is typically collocated with only one verb of permission or refusal and not with synonymous verbs.

Reading 2 begins by explaining how to read a case including such small details as how cases are named and how to read the abbreviated details under the names of the parties as well as how to recognize what court(s) the case has been heard in. A vocabulary development task looks at the antonymsgood and bad when used with law to show that their meanings in this context are not always opposite. Before the first three torts cases are presented, this reading includes an overview of torts and explains why the three cases were included for reading. Questions for discussion reinforce the beginning of this reading by asking the student about such topics as the procedural history of the case. These questions also introduce the idea of applying the decision of this case to several hypothetical situations in which the facts have been slightly altered, an important skill for the law student. The vocabulary development tasks following this reading include terms commonly seen in torts cases including prepositions used with claim and how to use incur, suffer, support, sustain, and uphold.

Reading 3 continues discussing how to read legal cases by first explaining the parts of a case including issue, substantive facts, procedural facts, rule(s), holding, reasoning, concurring and dissenting opinions, and syllabus and headnotes. This reading then includes an explanation of The Restatements, frequently-referenced treatises published by the American Law Institute and accepted by all U.S. courts, followed by a case in which the court refers to the Restatement (second) of Torts. Reading 3 also includes strategies and guidelines for legal case-reading from Lundeberg's 1987 research. Two vocabulary development tasks for this reading work on preposition usage with the noun appeal, again demonstrating this usage through excerpts from cases. Another task introduces usage of common Latin terms/phrases in legal English such as inter alia and prima facie and asks students to guess the meanings in the context of excerpts from a legal corpus. Questions for discussion ask students to consider the torts cases in this reading with questions such as "What is the issue" and "Why does the court discuss the 1961 Knierim case at length?" (p. 36). "Students from other countries" (p. 37) are also asked to consider whether torts is considered civil or criminal law in their home countries and how the case in the reading might have been handled by the courts in their home countries' legal systems.

Reading 4 begins discussing civil law cases and terms students will need to understand when reading such cases, such as dismissal, summary judgment, directed verdict, and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. A summary of the steps in the civil litigation process is also included. Vocabulary development tasks for this section of Reading 4 work on action, cause of action, suit, and opening Pandora's box (referred to by the court in a case from Reading 2). Questions for discussion ask students to compare the structure of the court's reasoning in this case to one from Reading 3 and also introduce the common use of slang, idioms, proverbs, and so on in cases by asking students why the court begins a paragraph with "Today the cows come home" (p. 56) in a case having nothing to do with cows. Reading 4 then moves on to an overview of contract cases that explains the contract law cases included in the reading. Questions for discussion include a question asking students to put the events of the 1925 case facts in order, an important skill for students studying contract law, where sequence is critical and students are often asked to read very old, precedent-setting cases. Vocabulary development tasks for this part of the reading include learning to understand allege and assert in context. This reading also includes an explanation of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and then a case involving offer, counter-offer, and acceptance as defined by the UCC. Vocabulary development tasks work on doublets common in case reading, such as free and clear, cease and desist, and rights and privileges.

In Reading 5, the process for briefing a legal case begins with a definition of holding through an analysis of its moves, including charts that name, describe, and define the possible moves in a case holding. This section also includes several exercises that ask students to identify the moves in 15 holdings. This reading then discusses consideration in two contract cases and ends with questions for discussion that ask students to look at references to considerationin an excerpt from the Restatement (Second) of Contracts. A vocabulary development task works with terminology in a model lease and asks students to look at the meaning of the modals can, should, and ought to; back references in the lease; and other lease terms such as herein, hereby, and sole. The task looks specifically at the conditions in excerpts from other lease agreements and asks students to consider the meaning of notwithstanding and irrespectiveof in excerpts from landlord-tenant disputes.

The first section of the book ends with Reading 6, where case briefing instructions move from the holding to the issue. As with the holding, the issue structure is defined in terms of moves, and this section includes more charts that name, describe, and give examples of issue moves. Three exercises ask the students to find the issues and examine paired issue and holding statements from case excerpts. Students are also asked to write issue statements for cases already covered in the readings. Four property cases provided in this reading further challenge students to look at issues. Questions for discussion include asking students to state the case's issue in the form of a question and look at similar issues in other cases. One vocabulary development task for this section first asks students to "speak like a lawyer" by raising the formality of the verbs give, make, and get to such choices asafford, award, grant, and submit. Another task encourages vocabulary development through examining synonyms for verbs found in legal English and academic English including established, promised, relinquished, muster, won, and refute.

The second section of the book, Part 2: Statutory Interpretation, begins with Reading 7, in which statutory law is explained before students are asked to read three statutory interpretation cases. Questions for discussion include asking students about Reading 7's principles of statutory construction used by the court "in interpreting the meaning of vehicle" in one case (p. 132), the words focused on by the court in another case, and more hypotheticals to apply the principles of the final case. The vocabulary development task continues work with synonyms for academic verbs used in legal contexts.

In the third and final section, Part 3: The U.S. Constitution, Reading 8 begins by explaining the history of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. system of checks and balances, and amendments to the Constitution. This section then provides three constitutional law cases for reading and discussion. Questions for discussion ask students to compare the dissenting and majority opinions in one case, to considerwhether the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold a new state law after another case, and to rephrase the issue of motion to suppress for someone who does not know what it means. One vocabulary development task examines the court's usage of not in front of adjectives with a negative prefix, and another provides practice at guessing the meaning of terms in context, such as onus, recuse, dispositive, impeach, and inure to.

This textbook has many strengths. First, the book devotes most of its length to the first section, which covers case reading, the most difficult reading for new law students. Reinhart provides excellent overviews of each topic and area of law covered in this section and better explanations for why each case is included in the readings than those provided by many of the casebooks students are likely to be assigned in law school. The questions for discussion, exercises, and vocabulary development tasks reinforce each reading and give students the tools they need to proceed to the next reading. The strategies for identifying the linguistic moves in the case issue and holding should answer new law students' complaints that case issues and holdings are often so hard to find or understand that they are sometimes unsure about the outcome of a case even after reading it several times.

Another strength of this textbook is the familiarity of its methods to instructors trained in teaching English for specific academic purposes. As part of the EAPP series for the University of Michigan Press, this book is likely to be looked at by legal English instructors hoping to fill the large gap in textbooks needed to help international law students process the reading materials of legal study. Not only are such instructors likely to find the overviews and explanations with each reading and online answers to questions for discussion sufficient for their use, but they will also welcome the inclusion of reading strategies used by expert legal readers and the text's reliance on legal English corpora for teaching vocabulary development and collocations. Reinhart's book not only makes an important contribution to the materials needed to teach English for legal purposes, but also could serve as a model for future discipline-specific reading texts.

Lundeberg, M. A. (1987). Metacognitive aspects of reading comprehension: Studying understanding in legal case analysis. Reading Research Quarterly, 407-433.

M. Catherine Beck is currently a lecturer in the English for Academic Purposes Program at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Cathy taught legal English for 4 years at the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis.

Resources for English for Medical Purposes

By Karen Stanley,

At TESOL 2007, Gwen Barclay-Toy and Karen Stanley led a Discussion Group on English for medical purposes. As a result of the enthusiasm and interest in that discussion group, a Yahoogroup electronic mailing list was begun (

This report consists of a list of resources developed by Discussion Group participants and e-list members. Most have been annotated, but some have not. When possible, I have attributed the source of information. (My apologies to all participants who contributed but whose names I did not write down.)

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list; it is simply a list that we as Discussion Group participants and e-list contributors have been able to put together. It at times does not even have all the information about a particular resource; the idea is simply to offer what we know to others interested in the topic.


(1) a CNA text: Introduction to Nursing Assisting: Building Language Skills
by Rita Frey RN and Lisa Shearer Cooper
Delmar Publishers and International Thomson Publishing Co. (reported by Gwen Barclay-Toy)
Judith Wise reported that the reading level of the text is appropriate for what, in her program, is called level 5/6 (NRS) students.

(2) Two Canadian texts found in the Alta Books catalogue:
Nursing in a New Language (situational dialogues with a medical theme)
The Grab Bag of Health (JoAnn Keenan reported that while it is an odd title, this is a collection of very usable games and activities with a healthcare theme. She has used some of them and found that they are extremely useful for times, like exams, when some students need an activity while others complete the original assignment or exam.)

(3) Anatomy and Physiology for English Language Learners published by Longman. Its ISBN is 0-13-195080-0. This introductory anatomy and physiology text is designed especially for nonnative speakers of English. Its aim is to prepare students for the regular introductory anatomy and physiology courses that are required for access into or completion of most 1- to 2-year healthcare certificate programs. This text is accessible to students at a high intermediate language level. Each of its 12 chapters covers a different body system: skin, digestive, urinary, and reproductive, to name a few. Anatomy and Physiology for English Language Learners contains a variety of comprehension exercises, pictures, cultural information, descriptions of common illnesses, and study skills that motivate students to learn. In a few instances the answer key does not match the text, but the publisher will address this in the next printing. (Reported by Elizabeth Hanson, one of the authors)

(4) A Cambridge University Press book, Human Behavior - This is good for advanced ESL writing with a focus on health care.

(5) Medical Terminology: A Short Course - Davi-Ellen Chabner
published by: Saunders (Reported by Jane Forward)

(6) Communication, The Key to the Therapeutic Relationship
by Pamela McHugh Schuster
published by: F.A. Davis Company for LPN or other ESL health career (used at Vancouver Community College) (Reported by Jane Forward)

(7) Pearson - a slim text, currently out of print: Test Your Professional English: Medical (British) – it's a good basis for lesson plans

(8) Academic Strategies for Listening (University of Michigan Press) - high level - This text has actual lectures on different topics, and the most extensive one is a lecture on the U.S. healthcare system. The speaker is accessible.

(9) The Boards of Nursing in many states offer question banks for practice - check your local state board of nursing.

(10) Clayton International medically related textbook summaries (their own products):

Online Resources
All links were verified as of June 16, 2007

(11) the International Institute for Medical Education
has a link to Global Minimum Essential Requirements as well as a Glossary of Medical Education Terms

(12) the Mayo Clinic Web site has videos

(13) MedLine Plus is a good Web site for students to learn how to explain medical items in a nonmedical way, because they need to be able to work not only with other medical professionals but also with patients.

(14) NY Times podcasts on health

(15) SP-Trainer is an e-list hosted by the University of Washington for the discussion of education using Standardized Patients and other types of simulation.
A related blog has not only discussions of topics related to patient simulation but also links to yet other resources.
(contributed by Raine Sakka)

(16) Healthcare Web sites compiled by Karen Stanley:

(a) online exercises:
self-study Medical English Web site with lessons

(b) articles on/lesson plans for an EMP course:
article "Developing an ESP Course Around Naturally-Occurring Videotaped Medical Consultations":
lesson plans:
general article on developing ESP curricula:

(c) research on EMP
Internet-based Medical Articles in EMP
(to get there, you need to go to
Then click on Issue 8. For some reason, the direct link does not work.)

(17) Healthcare Web Sites compiled by Gwen Barclay-Toy

Glossary of Nursing and Healthcare Terminology:
Nursing Procedures and How To Library:
Online Merck Manual:
Four bilingual Spanish/English medical vocabulary Web sites:
MedSpeak, the language of ER (and similar pages):
Two medical vocabulary Web sites:
Medical Terminology Web: (Hong Kong = British English)

(18) On our MedicalESL Web site, in the FILES section, there are materials and presentations on assessment of international nurses, developed by Sung Hee (you need to be a group member to access the files):

We invite anyone interested to join our e-list (use the URL in the first paragraph, or e-mail me directly for more information) and help us discover and develop further resources.

Karen Stanley teaches academic English as a second language at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and can be reached