Volume 22:2 (September 2003)

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In This Issue...

Letter from the Chair: Building Community through Service
Literary Models for Autobiographical Writing, Part II: A Sample Application--Amy Tan's "A Pair of Tickets"
Simulations as Alternative Assessment
ESL-Related Presentations from Professional Conferences in 2003
COPTEC's Informal Databank on Part-Time/Adjunct/Temporary/Contingent Faculty
HEIS Information
About This TESOL Member Community

Letter from the Chair: Building Community through Service

TESOL 2003-Hearing Every Voice-in Baltimore brought us the opportunity to meet and work together for the good of the Higher Education Interest Section (HEIS). Through attendance at the convention and at the HEIS business and planning meetings, we are able to build relationships with colleagues and strengthen our commitment to TESOL and the interest section. However, even if we cannot attend the annual convention, opportunities exist to become involved with the inner workings of HEIS. Of course, with heavy teaching schedules, vast institutional service commitments, and busy personal lives, we often wonder how it is that we might find the time to become involved or even question how involvement might benefit us. From my perspective, participation in professional organizations benefits both the volunteer and the association in many ways.

First, let's consider how TESOL can benefit from our time and effort. When many people become involved in an organization, a greater variety of topics for presentations emerge, making the conference more pertinent to a broader range of people. Because of association with other questioning professionals, we become more critical and analytical thinkers, able to address institutional and organizational problems with a dizzying variety of possible solutions. Suffice it to say that a savvy membership builds a savvy organization for an organization is only as good as its membership. To move TESOL and thus HEIS forward, we need to lend our expertise in order to build organizational strength.

Ways in which members can gain from involvement is perhaps an even more pressing issue. The remarkable richness of benefits includes increased contacts with other TESOL professionals, contact that might lead to a heightened awareness of the profession and the activities of our colleagues. This awareness could lead to collaboration on an article, a book, or the development of theoretical or pedagogical advances. Further, close contact with other TESL professionals can create diversity of thought, help us to develop a more critical perspective, build cultural knowledge through interaction with colleagues from around the globe, and heighten our professional attitude and demeanor. Ultimately, and on a more personal note, collaboration and association can lead to lasting friendships.

And finally, let's reflect on the many ways in which we can all make a difference in HEIS. One of the most valuable ways involves running for a leadership position. Anyone who might be interested in throwing his/her hat in the ring is urged to contact Frank Noji (francis@hawaii.edu) for more information. Adding your voice to the leadership of HEIS will move the organization forward.

There is no question that a strong interest section is made strong through the work of its members, and one extremely valuable activity is that of submitting proposals for regular presentations and discussion groups at the annual convention. In order to inform the membership and stimulate thinking, we announce, through our listserv, the interest section's topics for InterSections and for the strand.

The strand topic for TESOL 2004 is composition, a focus chosen for its perennial interest and importance in higher education. Because of our announcement of the strand topic, HEIS received a considerable number of proposals addressing composition in general and subtopics such as editing, writing assignments, writing strategies, the use of the internet for teaching writing, and grammar and vocabulary. From these proposals, we will be able to fashion a compelling strand, one sure to attract a large audience eager for information regarding the many facets of composition and the pedagogical insights of the presenters.

Other ways that we can become involved include making sure that we are subscribed to the HEIS e-list. Subscription is easy; simply send a blank message to join-heisl@lists.tesol.org and you will receive notification of all HEIS happenings and deadlines. Volunteering to read proposals each year and attending discussion groups and business and planning meetings are other ways of raising awareness and level of involvement. Further, authoring articles for inclusion in the HEIS newsletter comprises a return to professionalism and a great avenue for presenting ideas to colleagues.

From all of the examples given above, it is easy to see that there is some way for everyone to become involved. In order for the organization and our interest section to remain vibrant and productive, they need the input and the creativity of each member. No task is too small. Looking forward to hearing your voice and having you as a vital and active participant of the HEIS community.

About the author(s): Deborah Crusan, HEIS Chair, 2003-4, deborah.crusan@wright.edu

Literary Models for Autobiographical Writing, Part II: A Sample Application--Amy Tan's "A Pair of Tickets"

by by Gina Macdonald, engl-vlm@nicholls.edu, and Michele Theriot, engl-mdt@mail.nicholls.edu, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana
Editor's Note: See HEIS E-Section from February 2003 for Part I of this article, which highlights the benefits of using literary models and outlines several potential topics for use in multilingual classrooms.

In order to demonstrate how literature might serve as models for autobiographical writing in the ESL classroom, we offer the model of Amy Tan's "A Pair of Tickets" and a series of writing tasks that will guide the student to two interesting final papers. At the same time, this series of writing tasks is designed to help students acquire a deeper understanding of the author's method of composition and to provide them an opportunity to think about personal change while putting into practice what they have learned about effective writing from the literary model. The first assignment should focus on the literary work and understanding the author's argument and method; the second assignment should be an imitation of the author's pattern to explore the student's personal voyage of self-discovery.

The First Writing Assignment: Close Study of the Text

The first writing assignment could call for the student to trace character development through an examination of setting, using Tan's short story taken from The Joy Luck Club as a model. In Tan's story the narrator, June May Woo, leaves her comfortable native surroundings, San Francisco, to meet her half sisters in her parents' homeland, China. On this journey to China, June May learns a lot about herself as she travels through various settings both exotic and familiar.

Since "A Pair of Tickets" is a story of self-discovery in which June May goes on a figurative journey to self-discovery when she takes a literal journey to China, the birthplace of her parents, ESL students naturally find parallels with their own personal stories. In finding China, June May believes she has found a part of herself that she had vigorously denied heretofore. The changes in location play a major role in enabling her to examine her sense of personal identity and the heritage her parents have claimed is hers; in turn, by closely examining June May in different settings, the ESL reader can come to a better understanding of her character and of the author's clever device of tying psychological change to place.

Brainstorming in Class

To prepare the class for the writing assignment, the instructor may break the class up into several small groups, ideally four groups containing four to five students each. Each group should take a different setting: San Francisco, the train and train station, the hotel, and the airport in Shanghai (if there are more than four groups, then two or more groups will discuss the same setting). Each group will then apply the same questions to the location focus:

(1) How does June May see herself in this setting?
(2) How does she define her identity?
(3) How does she feel about being labeled "Chinese" while she is in this setting?

When discussion begins to lag, as it often does in collaborative work, each group should share its tentative responses with the rest of the class. This approach encourages students to deal with each other conversationally as they progress toward a desired end, to not only share but also to defend their observations and interpretations, and to reach a group consensus that can then be presented to the class at large. These questions should initiate some excited discussion within each group as students disagree about June May's character and inevitably find parallels with personal experiences. When the discussion is then opened up to the whole class, the contrasts in answers as the location changes should raise interesting questions that will take the class in useful directions.

Writing in Stages

In general, the writing assignment requires students to explore how setting helps June May Woo come to an understanding of her identity, how her attitude toward her Chinese heritage changes during her journey into China, and, more specifically, how June May's attitude toward the Chinese part of her identity changes with her surroundings: San Francisco, the train and train station, the hotel, and finally, the airport in Shanghai.

At this point in the assignment, group brainstorming is replaced by individual writing. Because international students often have trouble constructing lengthy essays unified with a complex argument, left to their own devices they may well flounder about and struggle to produce a summary paragraph. However, if teachers design their assignments to make students concentrate on one stage of the argument at a time, producing and revising one body paragraph after another until the set of four on the four locations is complete, they can accomplish a number of goals. They can not only teach students to observe argument and structure closely and guide them through an informed reading of the story, but they can also teach them the process whereby short writing exercises--four distinct body paragraphs done one at a time-- can add up to a college-length essay. The final focus of this last effort should be on providing unity by adding an introduction with a thesis and by making the fourth paragraph a clear summary conclusion about changes in the personal sense of self being tied to location.

Body Paragraphs

Following this plan, the first body paragraph would examine June May's native setting, San Francisco, and its effects on her self-image and attitude toward her Chinese heritage. Before she begins her journey to China, she has a very definite opinion of who she is and who she is not, mainly because she has always lived in this American setting and has always known the American culture and nothing else. Essentially, this body paragraph provides students an opportunity to explain how June May's being in America, specifically San Francisco, her birthplace, shapes her identity and attitude toward her cultural heritage. The assignment might be written as follows:

Body paragraph 1: Examine June May's native setting, San Francisco, and how it shapes her self-image and attitudes. She has a very definite opinion of who she is and who she is not. Explain how she sees herself and who she thinks she is in America. How does being born and raised in America shape her sense of self? Does she have a strong sense of who she is and where she is from? Does she have a strong sense of who she is not? How would she define her identity, her culture? Which clues indicate this to you? How does she feel about being labeled "Chinese?" How do you know? What does she associate with being Chinese? Are these associations negative or positive? Is she interested in learning about her mother and father's heritage or ancestry at this point? Why or why not? What lines from the story summarize her attitude best? How or why does being in San Francisco influence the way she feels and the identity to which she relates?

The guidelines to paragraph development lie in encouraging the students to answer each question in order. The biggest challenge in answering some of these questions lies in locating the material that provides the answers. The story begins in China and flashes back to scenes in San Francisco, and some of these scenes go back approximately eleven years to June May's teenaged struggles. Students may have to reread the entire story to locate the San Francisco parts that are scattered throughout the entire work.

After analyzing San Francisco's importance in shaping June May's identity, students should move to the first Chinese setting, the train and the train station. The thesis of the second body paragraph should be similar to that of the first: June May's self-image and her attitude toward the Chinese part of her identity in this setting. The main idea for the student to consider is how the change in setting affects a change in the protagonist's self-image and attitude. Again, to help students examine the topic fully and develop the ideas effectively, teachers should provide assignment questions to guide students toward a well-developed paragraph:

Body paragraph 2: Focus on the train and the train station and how this location relates to June May's attitudes about her identity. Does any change occur in her self-image and in her attitude towards being partially Chinese? Is she as certain about her identity now as she was in San Francisco? Give examples of her being caught between two cultures and feeling a split in her identity. How does she feel about her Chinese relatives when she first sees them? Is she initially interested in knowing them, or does she seem to be an outsider looking in on this reunion and experience? Do any lines in the story suggest the beginning of a change in her attitude before she leaves the train station?

Next, body paragraph 3 should focus on the hotel and its effect on June May's self-image and attitude toward the Chinese part of her heritage. The narrator has moved to a new setting; how does this new location bring about a change in her understanding of herself and her heritage? Is she continuing to progress on this journey to self-discovery? The assignment guidelines for this paragraph might be as follows:

Body paragraph 3: Focus on the hotel and its effects on June May's self-image and attitude. Reread the scene detailing their arrival at the hotel--is there anything significant about her concerned with the price of the room? How does the narrator's attitude and self-image change somewhat in the hotel? What does she say about her shower that suggests a change? Does she show more or less interest in Chinese culture while there? Does being surrounded by her Chinese family affect her? What does she become curious about and interested in? Her father's tapping on the glass awakens her; does this have a deeper level of meaning? What does her insistence upon hearing the story of her half-sisters' lives indicate? Is there any evidence that she has begun to see herself as partially Chinese?

Some students will probably point out that the hotel, while located in China, is not genuinely Chinese; rather, it is Americanized or at least globalized. This observation opens up a good topic of discussion. Does it matter that the hotel is more Western than Chinese? Can June May really discover Chinese roots in this type of hotel? Or, does the hotel eventually become authentically Chinese because her room and her father's room are filled with "real" Chinese culture, their relatives?

The final paragraph should examine the ultimate destination in the Woos' journey, Shanghai. After recounting the fact that through the various settings, San Francisco, the train and train station, and the hotel, June May has gradually grown from rejecting to becoming more curious about her Chinese heritage, students will turn their attention to the airport in Shanghai. Again, the paragraph will explore how this setting affects June May's self-image and attitude toward the Chinese part of her heritage. To develop ideas for the concluding paragraph, students may consider the following assignment questions:

4th paragraph (possibly conclusion): In one or two sentences, summarize what you have explored so far in this essay. Then turn to the final location, the airport. What is our final image of June May? How has she changed in her progress from San Francisco to Shanghai? How does she feel about meeting her half-sisters? What lines indicate her attitude toward her cultural heritage and the Chinese part of herself has become positive? What suggests she now accepts her Chinese heritage as important to her personal identity? Do you note any other changes in her?

Students will probably have the easiest time developing this paragraph because the scene is shorter than the others. Overall, though, at this point, they should truly be able to see how June May Woo has gradually changed into Jing-mei Woo with each change of scenery. Mapping out the details of her literal journey allows students to see the larger implications. Taking the journey with her, they discover the changes in her self-image as she does.

The Full Paper

Upon completing this final paragraph, students are then ready to make the leap to a full paper. By adding an introduction with a thesis statement and connecting words between paragraphs, they should have a fairly lengthy creation. The overall paper assignment might look like this:

Overall assignment: In Amy Tan's "A Pair of Tickets" June May Woo, the narrator and main character, goes on a figurative journey of self-discovery when she takes a literal journey to her parent's homeland, China. In visiting China, she finds a part of herself. The changes in location play a major role in helping her see herself in a new way and discover a new, more complex identity. Examine how June May's attitude toward her Chinese heritage changes as her surroundings change from San Francisco to the train and train station, then the hotel, and finally the airport in Shanghai.

Saving a statement of the full assignment until after students have completed individual sections should prevent complaints about inability to tackle so challenging a writing project and should also provide the surprise of recognition--recognition of how the parts already completed could indeed add up to a unified and fairly complex argument. Discussion can then center on the process necessary to make their separate paragraphs fit together to meet the demands of this assignment.

Inevitably, of course, students who have experienced similar travels themselves might cynically observe the superficiality of June May's contact with Chinese culture, her lack of language skills, her possible misinterpretation of her older sisters' emphasis on "younger sister" (a significant power distinction in Chinese families), and, more significantly, her round-trip ticket home to safe, secure America. Students should feel free to question the narrator's self-perceptions in the light of their own multicultural awareness.

The Second Writing Assignment: Creative Imitation

Once students can see the structure of Amy Tan's story clearly, they are ready to imitate it, that is, to use it as a model for their own creation. This creative imitation is a more challenging and sophisticated approach to autobiography than the usual ESL assignment: tell us about your life. It provides a focus and direction and the potential for self-examination and self-discovery as it evolves:

ASSIGNMENT: Describe a journey that you went on, a trip that you took, that led to a discovery of something about yourself, that changed your self-image, that made you rethink your past assumptions. Organize your personal essay around location to help readers see how changing from one place to another and the journey between those two places somehow changed you, your attitudes, your values, your sense of self, your understanding of something, and so on.

Since the one given for international students is that they have all made a journey, this assignment automatically fits their life experiences. They can discuss coming to the U.S.A. and then going home and discovering how much their American experience changed their image of themselves, or, if the reverse is true, they can describe how their journey helped confirm and test their values and therefore taught them to better appreciate home. Either way, the Tan model provides a pattern for exploring the stages of the literal journey and tying those stages to the psychological, emotional, social, or intellectual stages in their progress from one sense of self to another.

In sum, we advocate a concrete merging of discussions of immigrant literature with ESL composition as a strategy for guiding students toward college-level creations: the character analysis and the personal essay. The resultant personal essay will indeed be based on biographical experiences, but enhanced by attention to structure and to literary method. The trepidation our ESL students have felt initially at tackling a short story with an unfamiliar structure and challenging vocabulary turned to jubilation not only at their success in reading with understanding but also at their success in exploring personal applications that made the experience even more valuable as a bridge between writing styles and between cultures.

About the author(s): Gina Macdonald, engl-vlm@nicholls.edu, and Michele Theriot, engl-mdt@mail.nicholls.edu, Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana

Simulations as Alternative Assessment

by by Patrick Colabucci, Dubai Men's College, patrick.colabucci@hct.ac.ae

Simulations are exciting and motivating academic tools that can provide a stimulating, authentic environment for language assessment. This essay outlines the structure of simulations, the facilitator's role, and the participants' roles. Finally, it lays out the framework of a model simulation. It will be shown that myriad skills--reading, writing, listening, speaking, presenting, research, critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, and IT (Word, Excel, PPT, file management, new software, web design)--are practiced, and evidence of performance is abundant for assessment.

Simulations have been a valuable part of education, especially TEFL/TESL curricula, for many years. In 1982, Ken Jones presented a now commonly held definition of a simulation: A simulation is reality of function in a simulated and structured environment. All three elements are present in contemporary, web-based simulations; web based simulations can, however, enhance the structure and reality of functions--two key elements of a simulation. Web-based instruction enables the classroom with a much greater range of activities and facilitators (Brown, 1991). This is magnified in today's world as online communication tends to have different discourse patterns. It is more complex on a lexical and syntactic level.

I've run simulations on government website comparison and design, business decisions and as part of the IDEELS program (Project IDEELS). In the IDEELS program, students participate as government ministries, NGOs, and other decision makers. In all scenarios, the reality of function is enhanced. Participants are doing research, making decisions based on the research, working as a team, and using critical thinking skills to solve problems. The simulated environment is manifested by the creation of teams in the form of government ministries or other institutions in an IDEELS simulation. Finally the structure, being web-based, is part of reality for our students.

The Benefits of Simulation Use

Below I identify and discuss some of the values and skills inherent in well-designed simulations before talking about the process of setting up and managing a simulation.

1. Simulations generate genuinely authentic language use. The internet enables students to access an array of authentic information unimaginable to people just a generation ago. The language used for communication cannot be predicted, nor can it be scripted. It is authentic in that participants produce the language they need to accomplish a particular task at a particular time, just as people do in the regular course of life's events. For some teachers, this may seem like an assessment conundrum, but personal experience and student feedback indicate that the authentic communication links handsomely with global skills and problem solving skills (both discussed below) to allow students to exhibit language use near the top of their abilities without the stress and anxiety factors brought by tests and exams.

2. Global skills use, while enhancing the authentic environment, creates opportunities for students to build their confidence and display their competencies. Depending on the design of the simulation, skills could include word processing, graphics, presentations, web design, spreadsheet management, research, internet searching, file management, team work, problem solving and critical thinking. Again, the emphasis here is that students bring their entire skill set to the activity, thus contributing to authenticity and providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate their overall competencies for assessment.

3. Simulations can be participative and/or competitive. They are participative when an entire group, or team, is working towards a common goal. This goal could be the design of a website or the resolution of a problem. On the other hand, simulations are competitive when the environment calls for a single winner. In such cases, teams and individuals still participate, but the element of competition adds another dimension of the real world. In actuality, participation and competition go hand in hand, as they do in real life. This is nothing to shy away from or fret over as a decision. This is something to promote and assess as the students manage these elements.

4. The decision of a local, regional or global context is extremely important. First, if you are new to online simulations, it is a good idea to start small and locally. Managing the logistics of a simulation in a single class or school is an excellent way to initiate learners and administer to all the details. A good beginning can also be made with a simulation limited to a single grade or school. However, when larger geographical areas become involved, whether nationally, regionally or internationally, more problems arise. For example, when coordinating simulations with Europeans, North Americans or Asians, the weekend days are different and the timing is different. It is difficult to arrange an online forum or discussion on Thursdays or Fridays since they constitute the weekend in the Arab world and not in Europe. It is also problematic to arrange any synchronous communication when the time of Europe and Arabia are several hours different. And this problem can be multiplied if schools from several time zones are involved. These pitfalls and caveats can be avoided with proper forward planning and the cooperation of participants. Frequently, my students, all adults, have agreed to be online for participation in chat rooms or meeting on Fridays or well after schools hours.

5. Problem-based learning, being used here synonymously with constructivism, is a fundamental element of online simulations. Simulations are built around problem-based scenarios which require decision-making, critical thinking, use of an array of skills, and nimbleness on the part of participants and facilitators. Learners are given a scenario, which by its very nature requires a progression of events based on decisions. Thus, each team's or group's decision, even each student's decision, will lead to a slightly different result and a slightly different next stage. All this culminates in a different ending. These differing results do raise issues for assessment: Since each student produces something different than every other student, assessment criteria must be broad and, of course, fair. Assessors must evaluate the quality of reading comprehension and research based on how well the information is synthesized and logically integrated into written reports and other communications. These other communications may include both asynchronous communications (email, discussion boards, bulleting boards, reports for public consumption) and synchronous communications (chat rooms, meetings, conversations, etc.).

6. A great value and benefit of online simulations is the broad assessment opportunities. As a facilitator, a teacher will observe or read or listen to participants. Participants will write reports, participate in chat room discussions, send emails, attend/lead/participate in meetings, document meeting minutes, negotiate with other team members, do research on the internet, sort through information, make presentations and post messages on electronic bulleting boards. All of these can be assessed, some in quite traditional ways like the written reports and the presentations. Others, though, will be assessed less traditionally, and, perhaps, more subjectively. When observing and listening to teams having a meeting or discussing a decision, assessors need to do more than make mental notes. Written notes and regular, though unobtrusive, feed back is appropriate.

The Role of the Facilitator

The facilitator's role is rather intensive in the set-up stages, but settles down during the actual running of the simulation because the students are doing so many tasks independently.

A facilitator must set up an appropriate simulation to benefit students and provide ample assessment opportunities. In a simulation to design a government website, for example, a facilitator may build a library of links or other sources for students to search, read and evaluate. These sources should be online, but can be text-based (books, magazines, etc.). Simultaneously, the facilitator should be constructing a schedule. There are two options: intensive and extensive. The former presents a realistic element of pressure and tight deadlines for the students to handle. For the latter, greater organizational planning is required by the students and a higher quality end product is expected by the facilitator.

Next is the pre-simulation set-up. In this stage, the facilitator lays the groundwork for the simulation. Tasks are introduced, teams created, tasks duties assigned, responsibilities outlined, assessment strategies discussed and, perhaps most importantly, ownership given to the students. It is at this point that students must realize that their destiny is in their hands.

Finally, the facilitator becomes a monitor for assessment purposes. The facilitator does not evaluate the decisions made by teams as right or wrong, good or bad. The facilitator evaluates if the team has worked together to make decisions and whether the team has followed through on their decisions. The facilitator evaluates all writings, readings, meetings, meeting minutes, presentations and problem solving skills that the participants display.

A Sample Simulation Sequence

In order to provide a more concrete idea of what participants do and what shape a simulation takes, let's take the example below, which asks students to evaluate and design complex websites.

Task 1 - teams search for sources (or use the teacher provided links) defining the characteristics of a good website. Teams need to search, read, analyze, write an essay, include an excel chart for ranking purposes and cite their sources. This set of tasks involves critical thinking since students should undoubtedly realize that many definitions of the characteristics of a good website differ dramatically. Students must discuss the ideas and decide as a team. They must also provide the reasoning for their decisions. Documentation, in the form of meeting minutes, should be kept.

Task 2 - teams use the characteristics they have decided upon to evaluate several government websites. I use the Australian (http://www.maxi.com.au/), Singaporean (http://www.ecitizen.giv.sg/), Finnish (http://www.vn.fi/) and the US (www.first.gov) sites as models, each of which has an English language version. I do not vouch for any of the models I provide and students are urged, even rewarded, for finding another government website and using it as an evaluative tool. The key here is that the teams use their own criteria for evaluating the websites. At this stage, teams start to delegate different duties to specific members, leading to a variety of communication strategies, all of which are acceptable, if documented. So, some teams will post messages on an electronic bulletin board; others will chat online; some will hold face to face meetings; and still others will send emails to one another.

Task 3 - teams make their first presentation. They present their choices of characteristics of a good website. Teams must prepare a presentation and use some visual enhancements. Typically, this is PowerPoint, but students must decide this themselves. There are many presentation software programs on the market; some students use OHTs; and others find alternative ways, the key being that the teams decide how best to exhibit their visuals for a presentation. If one way is prescribed, then a bit of authenticity and ownership is diminished. I might add here that bringing in outsiders, preferably professionals knowledgeable in website design, as an audience adds authenticity and increases the likelihood that students will be challenged and have to think on their feet.

Task 4 - teams design a government Web site. This is a big step. Teams need to familiarize themselves with one or more website design software programs: Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Composer, or one chosen by the team. Teams need to document how they learned the software and how they allocated tasks. The amount of communication necessary for a small team to learn a software package and design a government web site is, to say the least, substantial. Decisions need to be made about what colors to use, what images to use, whether to use frames, what services to provide, what privacy and access issues arise, privacy issues, etc. At the end of this task, teams should have designed and built the home page and a few links for pages of government services. It is important for these issues to be discussed and documented because they will likely be questioned in Task 5.

Task 5 - teams make the second and final presentations. This time, they are presenting the government website which they themselves have designed. The team again decides what visuals to use. They decide how to convince the audience that their website is the best designed. The audience, again made up of outside experts if possible, questions and challenges the team. An additional element of mischief can be added by allowing all teams to attend all presentations. Then, teams can challenge each other. This instills an intense element of competition, which is, of course, standard operating procedure for life.

Task 6 - a chat room is opened online and teams (anonymously, if you prefer) and audience members discuss the proposed websites and, finally, vote for a winner.

It is clear that, through such simulation tasks, there is more than ample opportunity for students to display their proficiencies and for teachers to assess students' performances in a wide variety of ways. Simulations can be manipulated to suit any context, and they involve student ownership and independence. They are well worth the time invested.


Brown, I. (1999). Internet treasure hunts - A treasure of an activity for students learning English. The Internet TESL Journal, 5 (3). Retrieved August 8, 2003 from http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Brown-TreasureHunts.html.

Jones, K. (1982). Simulations in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Project IDEELS. Intercultural dynamics in European education through online simulation. Retrieved August 8, 2003 from http://www.ideels.uni-bremen.de/.

About the author(s): Patrick Colabucci, Dubai Men's College, patrick.colabucci@hct.ac.ae

ESL-Related Presentations from Professional Conferences in 2003

by by Diane Tehrani, tehraniesl@yahoo.com

Three presentations on ESL tricks of the trade offer many ideas for active learning in the classroom. They are "Get 'Em Going!: Creative Activities for Teaching ESL to Adult Learners" by Brigitte Smith and Joyanne Bloom of Alaska Education Resource Center at the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Conference in Portland, Oregon, April 27-30, "Brain-based Learning--One Step Further" by GwenEllyn Anderson of Chemeketa Community College at the 14th annual Sara Varnum Conference for Adjunct Faculty at Chemeketa College in Salem, Oregon, on May 2, about practical activities to turn classroom content into brain-based learning experience, and "Fifteen Sure-Fire Warm-Ups" presented by Deborah Klauder of the University of Pennsylvania at the Conference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in Baltimore, Maryland, March 25-29, 2003, specifically designed for beginning classes and reviewing previous day's lesson or previewing present day learning.

In the first presentation, ten ideas were demonstrated to move students to use their knowledge of English in productive, effective ways and at the same time enjoy themselves--perhaps forget themselves into learning English. These ways are mostly short activities that could also be used as 'warm-ups.' One idea is to write as many adjectives, nouns, and verbs as possible with words all beginning with the same letter of the alphabet. Following this, students are directed to write sentences with the words. Another idea presented is to blow up balloons, draw a face and carry on a conversation--either introductions or some other speaking function. Students can line themselves up by height and use grammatically correct sentences such as "I am taller than...but shorter than..." Other possibilities include ordering by age, hair color, birth date, years in the U.S., time of arrival in class and the like. Recipes provide authentic text for practicing measurements. Another possibility is for each student to describe a dish from his or her country and how to use it. First students go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients and then have a bake-off and taste contest. This activity makes students experts at something and gives them voice.

Also discussed was pronouncing two or more syllable words with circle 'bubbles' for syllables and filled in bubbles for stressed syllables, which can be expanded by checking a dictionary. Acting out vocabulary words and card games such as concentration for irregular verb parts was also demonstrated. These games require and thus provide practice with functional language such as "Whose turn is it?" To illustrate body parts, students can draw a body and label the parts, then give the person a name and talk with another 'body' at another table. For a 'treasure hunt' students find others with same vocabulary word and get a 'treasure'. A book recommended is 1000+ Pictures for Teachers to Copy by Andrew Wright.

The second presentation on brain-based learning started with consideration of how the brain is engaged by computer games. These games are visually and aurally exciting with a sense of competition like a sport, allowing immediate feedback, start-over without others knowing a score, repetition, and fun, a 'natural' for learning. Suggested were changing activities every twenty minutes for optimum learning, consideration of learning style, and use of color as easier for the eye to read. Students can make posters of themselves with the teacher providing samples and specific grading criteria. Paper can be folded in five parts to illustrate parts of an essay. Cultural functions can be demonstrated by use of video clips such as the 'too-close guy' on Seinfeld. Another idea was to send students to the hallway to pick out some object and then return to class, describe it to a partner who in turn would return to the hall to identify the item.

Ideas for lectures included asking students to listen to find out and check off on an outline of a lecture if and when the lecturer mentioned points. Another possibility for lectures is to represent a lecture graphically with different geometric shapes, students filling in the shapes according to how the lecturer formulates the talk and then tell a partner the formulation. Also a lecturer can prepare questions and answers to a certain lecture and give the list to students to read after the lecture when the lecturer asks "Are there any questions?" Show and tell involves taking some concept, theory, or practice learned in class and finding an example outside class. For ESL it could be normal sentence intonation pattern. Books recommended included Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject by Mel Silberman, Social Studies Higher Level Thinking Questions published by Kagen and Higher Level Thinking Questions: Personal & Social Skills also published by Kagen.

In the third presentation on warm-ups, fifteen techniques were demonstrated. In "Name Game with Professions," students give their names and tell what they do as each student in turn repeats what the other students have said before, adding his or her name to the chain. "Assumption" is an activity in which students sit opposite each other and write down as many assumptions as they can about their families. After three minutes, students share with the whole group. This is an activity to raise the issue of stereotypes and cross-cultural awareness issues. In "There's An Empty Chair," students sit in a circle with one empty chair. The student sitting next to the chair says, "My name is (_____) and there's an empty chair next to me. I'd like (names another student) to come sit next to me." The called-upon student then comes to sit in the chair and repeats the process. This activity can be varied with answers to other questions such as 'the person with pets' or the like. "The Line Up" involves students lining up by height, shoe size, time arrived to class, countries, or opinions on controversial topics like the death penalty. In "Ball Toss," a ball tossed around a circle of students who then add words beginning with the letters of the alphabet or make sentences.

In "Two Truths and A Lie" each student writes two true and one false sentence about themselves. One by one, students come to the front of the class and the other students vote to see who can pick up on the bluff. For "Concentric Circles," students stand in two concentric circles and the students in one circle tell their partner something about themselves such as what they did over the weekend, their best friend in the world, or a summary of reading the night before. The "talking" circle then moves and the listener tells what he heard to his partner. In "Spell a Word," students spell out a word (of their choice) using their bodies to shape the individual letters and the other students guess the word. "Conditional Chain" is grammar practice for the conditional, in which one student says "If I had a thousand dollars to spend today, I would buy some clothes." The second student says "If I bought some clothes, I would wear the clothes to dinner. The third student says "If I wore the clothes to dinner, I would take a date with me." and so on. For "Emotional Expressions," students use cards with emotional expressions like angry, happy, bored, or shy to speak a certain sentence the teacher writes on the board such as "It's my birthday." "I have to go to the movies." or "Thank God it's Friday." For "Map of Your Mind," each student draws a square on a page and divides it into four quadrants. In each quadrant he or she writes a number or word of significance to him or her such as his or her shoe size, hobbies, names of siblings, important dates, places visited or the like. Students then pair up, and their partners try to guess the significance of the information in the quadrants.

"Writing With Music" is good to start a writing class. The teacher writes a topic on the board and students free write while listening. The theme song from "St. Elmo's Fire" was a favorite. Such writing every day ten minutes before class helps students express themselves. Topics for writing include "Tell me about your best friend in the world." "What has shocked/surprised you most about coming to the U.S.?" "Who in your family do you admire most and why?" "Tell me about a person/event/experience that changed your life." "Tell me about a book or movie that had a great impact on you." "How do you decide right from wrong in your life?" "If you could talk with someone from the past/present/or future, with whom would you choose to talk and why?" or "Tell me about your weekend (good for Monday morning)." "Impromptu Speaking With Objects" involves a miscellaneous box of objects such as toys, a mug, a brush and comb, household items. Students are asked to each quickly choose an object, and standing in a circle, tell their "personal story" about each object. The goal is to talk for one minute without stopping and to creatively expound on the chosen object. The teacher models the activity giving strong personal feelings about the object. Students follow suit.

About the author(s): Diane Tehrani, tehraniesl@yahoo.com

COPTEC's Informal Databank on Part-Time/Adjunct/Temporary/Contingent Faculty

HEIS is helping COPTEC compile information on the employment conditions of part-time employees in ESL-related programs in the US and abroad. Here's your chance to help out by adding your institution or program to the databank!

Provide whatever information below you have available. Just cut and paste this form into an email addressed to Karen Stanley at karen.stanley@cpcc.edu. Information will be posted at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ESLEmployCond/

Name of institution/department/program (etc):
Location of institution:
Date this information was provided:
Person at the institution who can be contacted for further information:
Ratio of total courses/class hours taught in the program by PT and by FT:
(eg, 16 courses taught by PT :: 13 taught by FT)
Required and preferred qualifications for a part-time/adjunct/contingent position:
(eg, BA required, MA in TESL/TEFL preferred)
Pay scale for PT/adjunct/contingent faculty:
Traditional Job Benefits:
-health insurance: (eg: access to institutional plan available, but PTers must pay full cost - this may not apply in non-US contexts)
-sick days:
Compensation for development, preparation, committee work, other professional involvements:
Access to computer:
Office or desk space:
Photocopier privileges:
Opportunities for professional development: (eg, access available to the free general workshops which are provided for all instructors on campus; no access to funding to attend conferences)
Opportunity to move to a FT position: (eg, last FT hire was 2 years ago; a PT instructor in the department was chosen for the position)
Email availability:
Library benefits:
Parking privileges:
Duration of contract:
Security of job:
Notification of teaching schedule: (eg, assigned classes sometimes cancelled the day before the beginning of the term)
Permanent ownership of personal textbook copy for courses taught: (eg, teacher must return textbook at the end of the semester)
Other: (eg, PTers may join employee credit union)

HEIS Information

HEIS Web Site

HEIS Electronic List
Subscribe at http://www.tesol.org/getconnected/

HEIS Steering Committee, 2003-2004 Chair
Deborah Crusan

Asst. Professor, TESOL/Applied Linguistics
126V Allyn Hall
Wright State University
Dayton, OH 45435, USA
937.775.2846 (work phone)
937.324.4660 (home phone)
E-mail: deborahcrusan@wright.edu

Sue Lantz Goldhaber
Queens College
6530 Kissena Blvd.
Kiely 227
Flushing, NY 11367-1575, USA
E-mail: slgqc@aol.com

Assistant Chair
Craig Machado
ESL Program Director
Norwalk Community College
Norwalk, CT 06854
203.857.7176 (work phone)
E-mail: cmachado@ncc.commnet.edu

Laurie Berry
English Department, Beltline Campus
Midlands Technical College
P.O. Box 2408
Columbia, SC 29202, USA
803.738.7844 (work phone)
803.790.7509 (work fax)
E-mail: berryl@midlandstech.com

Diane D. Belcher
Director, ESL Composition Program
ESL Programs
The Ohio State University
60 Arps Hall, 1945 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43210-1172, USA
614.292.6360 (work phone)
614.292-4054 (work fax)
E-mail: belcher.1@osu.edu

Alice Savage
North Harris College
2700 W.W. Thorpe Dr #221-F
281.618.5507 (work phone)
281.618.7165 (work fax)
E-mail: alice.o.savage@nhmccd.edu

Diane Tehrani
7120SW Taylors Ferry Road
Portland, Oregon 97223, USA
503.725.5214 (work phone)
503.982.9329 (home phone)
E-mail: tehraniesl@yahoo.com

Nominating Committee Chair, 2003-2004
Frank A. Noji
Kapi`olani Community College
University of Hawaii at Manoa
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
808.734.9332 (work phone)
E-mail: francis@hawaii.edu

Newsletter Editor
Margi L. Wald
College Writing Programs
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-2500, USA
510.642.3340 (work phone)
510.642.6963 (work fax)
E-mail: mwald@uclink.berkeley.edu

About This TESOL Member Community ESL in Higher Education Interest Section

ESL in Higher Education advances effective instruction, promotes professional standards and practices, influences and supports policies of TESOL and other associations, determines needs, and considers all other matters relevant to ESL in colleges and universities.


Chair: Deborah Crusan, deborahcrusan@wright.edu
Chair-Elect: Sue Lantz Goldhaber, slgqc@aol.com
Newsletter Editor: Margi L. Wald, mwald@uclink.berkeley.edu
Web site: http://llc.msu.edu/elc/heis/