Volume 23:2 (October 2004)

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In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter from the Chair
  • Articles
    • TESOL 2004 Vocabulary Trends: Focus on the Academic Word List, Collocations, Deep Processing, and Independent Learning
    • Where Have All the Students Gone? On the Decline of International Student Enrollment
    • Tips from the Classroom: A Multifunctional Short Story Class
    • Book Review: Integrating English Language Learners in the Science Classroom
  • Announcements and Information
    • Call for Nominations for 2005-2006
  • About This Community
    • TESOL ESL in Higher Education Interest Section
    • HEIS Steering Committee 2004-2005 (PDF)

Leadership Updates Letter from the Chair

Exciting Updates for TESOL 2005

Plans are under way for next year's TESOL's conference in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States. This promises to be an exciting conference, with sessions on innovative research with practical implications and applications for the classroom. The Academic Session brings together prominent educators who will focus on the Reading/Writing Connection, an area many of you expressed interest in during our discussions in Long Beach last year. For the Intersection, we have invited a panel of prominent academicians in applied linguistics to join those who have developed curricula using corpus linguistics to teach academic writing. This year, TESOL has incorporated a category called Hot Topics, which will feature The Teaching and Learning of Reading, The Teaching and Learning of Writing, and a topic that has been of renewed concern to our membership: Raising the Status of the ESL Professional.

We received several hundred proposals that were peer reviewed, and the selections are in the process of being slotted as I write this. I wish to offer a special thank you to our proposal readers this year. We could not have completed the process without your tremendous effort. Stay tuned for more information on some of the proposals that were selected.

At this time I would like to invite our readers to nominate members to serve in leadership positions in the Higher Education Interest Section (HEIS) next year. Your active participation in HEIS is crucial to its success, not only at the convention each year but relating to activities and discussions of issues that concern us throughout the year. This is your opportunity to be represented and for your voices to be heard. I urge you to speak with colleagues and encourage them to serve at the upper echelons of TESOL. Begin this journey by serving as leaders in the HEIS. I promise that it will be an informative, rewarding experience and that there is a team in HEIS and at TESOL available to help you through the process.

I hope that you are planning to be at TESOL 2005 in San Antonio, and I look forward to greeting you there.

All my best for a successful and rewarding year!

Sue Lantz Goldhaber, HEIS Chair, 2004-2005, slgqc@aol.com

Articles TESOL 2004 Vocabulary Trends: Focus on the Academic Word List, Collocations, Deep Processing, and Independent Learning

By Edie Allen, emallen@duke.edu, and Maria Parker, mgparker@duke.edu

The TESOL 2004 convention in Long Beach, California, included a number of presentations on vocabulary acquisition and development in higher education settings. Although each naturally had its own specific focus, an overview of a number of these presentations revealed several recurrent themes and elements, which together suggest the general direction of current vocabulary acquisition theory and practice:

1. A focus on the Academic Word List (AWL) (Coxhead, 2000), which consists of 570 word families (a total of over 2,000 words) useful in virtually any academic writing environment. The development of this list has addressed one of the biggest questions in vocabulary teaching, namely, which words to teach. The entire list, broken into 10 sublists, is available online at http://www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/research/awl/  and not subject to copyright restrictions.

2. Growing awareness of the extent to which languages use fixed expressions and word combinations, which has been aided by advances in technology, specifically concordancing software, enabling students to view vocabulary in context. These data provide independent access to more targeted vocabulary information regarding collocations or formulaic sequences1 than has previously been available.

3. Use of deep processing (Sökmen, 1997), or active engagement with and manipulation of words to promote retention, based on the recognition that knowing a word entails much more than simply knowing one of its meanings and that learning it productively requires multiple encounters across multiple modalities.

4. Emphasis on developing independent learning strategies (rather than simply acquiring a specific set of words during a course).

Teachers of academic vocabulary are incorporating elements of the themes outlined above as they develop creative approaches to apply in their particular settings. At TESOL 2004, a number of individual presentations as well as the Colloquium, "Academic Vocabulary Development in Reading/Writing Classrooms," demonstrated practical classroom applications and use of online resources. For a comprehensive look at many of the vocabulary presentations and handouts from TESOL 2004, see Marti Sevier's very comprehensive Web site, http://www.sfu.ca/~msevier/.

Here we describe three methods--self-assessing AWL sublists, researching a word, and semantic mapping--we have developed in our advanced academic writing class at Duke University. Because many higher education ESL programs do not have dedicated vocabulary classes, we hope this description will serve as an example of how to incorporate the above learning principles of vocabulary acquisition into a larger context. The 10 sublists of the AWL are now the foundation of all our classroom vocabulary work.

At Duke, our efforts have focused on individualizing vocabulary instruction and teaching students skills that will enable them to become resourceful, independent vocabulary learners. We have found that students not only require retraining in how they think about vocabulary learning but need to be updated on what scholars have learned about vocabulary in recent years. Although now somewhat dated, Sökmen's (1997) article, "Current trends in teaching second language vocabulary,"2 provides a useful overview of vocabulary themes that can be presented to students. Our students read an abridged version of this article that introduces key concepts.3 Like many of our colleagues, we began by encouraging students to select vocabulary from their reading, and after experiencing the difficulties associated with that method, chose to work with the words on the AWL instead. Although we do move through all 10 sublists during the course of the semester, it is important to note that our focus is less on teaching the words as such and more on using the lists as the medium for developing vocabulary skills.

Self-Assessing AWL Sublists

So how does this process work? First, the students self-assess their knowledge of each word on the first sublist. They categorize each word into one of three lists:

  1. I can use these words.
  2. I understand these words but I can't use them.
  3. I don't know these words.

Even defining these three categories as unequivocally as possible (which took several iterations), we find that students do not necessarily self-assess accurately. Often they believe they can use a word when, in fact, they may know only one of its meanings, be unaware of its collocations or connotations, or mispronounce it. This can be determined by asking students to write sentences using some of these words that they believe they can use (their Category 1 words). We also find that the same words cause many students difficulty semester after semester (specific recurring Category 3 words), which enables us to develop materials that focus closely on a smaller subset of the 570 AWL words. Students repeat this self-assessment with each sublist, doing one list each week.

Researching a Word

After students self-assess a sublist, we spend 20-30 minutes in two class sessions4 on activities with that sublist (such as the two described below) to introduce other vocabulary learning skills and increase students' knowledge of the targeted words along the way. One such activity involves introducing students to the now numerous online resources available for vocabulary study, such as online dictionaries and concordancing programs. Concordancing software has revolutionized our understanding of how words function within their environment and provides useful information about the frequency, range, collocations, and register of a given word. Best of all, these resources are easily accessible to students and display results in user-friendly ways that require only brief training to understand. In our classroom, students become researchers, looking at data on these corpus-based Web sites (see the Compleat Lexical Tutor at and making observations about their findings. For example, a student doing a word search on the wordconduct may observe that it is both a noun and a verb, or might discover the collocates conduct a survey, conduct research, and the conduct in question, or may note the formality of register and the relatively few morphological forms. Once students make observations such as these, they record them and write original sentences using the word. (For an interesting look at how to use data from corpora in researching a topic, see the link to John Bunting's collocation materials on Marti Sevier's Web site, http://www.sfu.ca/~msevier/.)

To help students develop a system for organizing their researched words, we have experimented with lexical journals, in which students keep their researched words in some kind of ongoing list, adding new words and information to old words as they come across it. Students have also used the course Blackboard5 site for online sharing of material. Although both these systems work to a certain extent, we have found that recording preferences vary dramatically among students. Some will readily adopt a new method, taking to either or both these methods immediately and finding them both useful and enjoyable. Other students already have a lifelong habit and method of recording vocabulary that works for them. A third group is simply not interested and will not pursue this in the future, even if required to do it for a semester. For this reason, we introduce this concept of systematic record keeping and leave it up to the student to keep a journal of some kind if they choose to.

Semantic Mapping Activities

Another set of activities using the AWL involves working with words in terms of their meanings and their relationship to other words and integrating new words with old words. Our students often lament that they do not have a great enough variety of words to express subtle meaning differences and repeatedly ask for more focus on synonyms. Semantic mapping, semantic feature analysis, Venn diagrams, and scales or clines6 are fun ways to address meaning and require a fairly high amount of cognitive energy on the part of students to process and link the many words that they know. These activities are very flexible and creative--we may generate semantic maps on the board as a group, in pairs, or individually. Students can even create a three-dimensional online semantic map (see http://www.visualthesaurus.com/online/index.html, available by subscription only). What appeals to students is that there is no right or wrong way to make these connections and no natural end to the links and associations that can be generated using these activities. Students are invariably interested in how these activities reveal limitations in their knowledge of a word's meaning and how they can now use the semantic analysis as a launch point for further research into the word. Sometimes students disagree with the decisions another student has made, for example, in a semantic feature analysis. This offers a welcome opportunity to debate and argue in what could otherwise be a very quiet writing class! In the end, our goal in these activities is for students to think of vocabulary as a linked set of words that do not occur in isolation, but are dependent on relationships with other words. This semantic work highlights the presence and role of formulaic sequences in language.

The three activities described--self-assessment of AWL sublists, researching a word, and semantic analysis--have all been chosen because they promote independence and vocabulary learning strategies that are new to students who, although they have memorized long word lists in the past, still do not have an active and versatile academic vocabulary. Future directions for our work include examining the benefits of regrouping of AWL words into semantic categories and increasing our focus on the occurrence of AWL words in formulaic sequences in order to determine the value of teaching the AWL words solely as parts of such sequences. You may want to add to your summer reading list an interesting new book, Formulaic Sequences, edited by Norbert Schmitt (2004). Although perhaps a bit dense for poolside reading, it describes several studies relevant to all of us who want to present vocabulary more authentically.


1 Also variously called collocation, multiword unit, and pre-fabricated construction, a formulaic sequence is "a sequence, continuous or discontinuous, of words or other elements, which is, or appears to be, prefabricated: that is, stored and retrieved whole from memory at the time of use, rather than being subject to generation or analysis by the language grammar." (Schmitt, 2004, following Wray, 2002)

2 The principles and activities in this article were the inspiration for much of our current classroom vocabulary work, so we encourage reading it for a more detailed understanding of what we can describe only briefly here.

3 Unfortunately, this abridgement is not available for wider distribution, due to copyright restrictions.

4 Our classes meet twice a week for 75 minutes, so the vocabulary activities of necessity target only selected words and are not all encompassing. However, again, the primary goal is to develop students' independent learning skills, not the memorization and acquisition of all the AWL words.

5 Blackboard is essentially the same thing as Web CT and other course management systems (i.e., a university-wide system of class-specific Web sites on which, among other things, students can easily exchange information with the entire class).

6 All these activities are described and illustrated in detail in Sökmen (1997).

Where Have All the Students Gone? On the Decline of International Student Enrollment

By Elisabeth Gareis, egareis@baruch.cuny.edu

Many colleges have seen a significant drop in international student enrollment in recent years, but the decline is not universal. Fluctuations can be observed between regions of the United States, between disciplines, and between undergraduate and graduate student populations. Although some of the causes for the decline and its fluctuations have been determined, many questions remain. In an attempt to shed light on the issue, the following case study describes the situation surrounding international graduate students at a college in New York City and places the college's experience within the national context.

The Setting

Baruch College, a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, is situated on the lower East Side of Manhattan. The college is divided into three schools (business, arts and sciences, and public affairs), but with its business focus, most of its over 15,000 students are business majors.

ESOL instruction at Baruch College has gone through a number of changes in the past decade. Most influential was a CUNY-wide movement in the mid-1990s to abolish or reduce remediation from the senior colleges in the CUNY system. ESOL courses were defined as remediation, and, as a result, Baruch College's undergraduate ESOL classes in spoken English, reading, and writing were so drastically curtailed that only one such course remains.

Following this restructuring, international graduate students at Baruch College received renewed attention, and two new ESOL courses (one in spoken and one in written communication) were created for their benefit. Because Baruch College does not have a large number of international teaching assistants (ITAs), most of the students in these courses are regular (non-ITA) graduate students.

The Problem

Up until the 2002-2003 academic year, the two new ESOL graduate courses were offered at an average of six sections per semester, with 15 students enrolled in each section. Recent semesters, however, have seen such a decline in international graduate student enrollment that, for the fall semester of 2004, only one section of the graduate ESOL course is scheduled.

The drop in enrollment has affected ESOL-related personnel and services at the college in several ways: Adjunct faculty members who used to teach the multiple sections are out of work; the language lab is faced with a reduction in funding due to the lack of student traffic; the possibility has been raised that, in order to save money, the two courses be moved from the academic departments where they are housed currently (Communication Studies and English) to continuing education; and the threat exists that the language lab would follow, too.

As the coordinator of the spoken ESOL course, I was alarmed by the turn of events and set out to gather data that would allow us to analyze the situation and plan for the future. Three particular questions presented themselves:

1. Which international-student trends can be observed in the nation as a whole?

2. What are the enrollment data for Baruch College, and how do they compare with other colleges?

3. Where are ESOL courses for graduate students and language labs commonly situated within institutions?

Nationwide International Student Trends

Past decades saw an immense increase of international students on U.S. campuses (Arnone, 2004). Although there is still a slight annual growth of international student numbers in the United States, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE), the influx of international students slowed to 0.6% in the 2002-2003 academic year (IIE, 2003a). There is a fair amount of agreement that the blame lies with four main factors: weakened economies in many countries, concerns about safety following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 (hereafter referred to as 9/11), delays associated with processing visa applications following 9/11, and an increase in competition from other host countries (e.g., Australia) (IIE, 2003a).

Interestingly, total numbers as well as annual growth rates vary widely across states, metropolitan areas, and fields of study. International student numbers in California, the leading host state, for example, rose by 2% (to 80,487) between 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. New York State, which ranks second in international student numbers, had a growth rate of 3% (to 63,773), followed by Texas (up 3% to 45,672) and Massachusetts (up less than 1% to 30,039). The fifth-ranking state, Florida, experienced a decrease of 4% (to 27,270).

Among metropolitan areas, New York City has more international students than any other metropolitan area in the nation, with a total of 36,086. New York City is followed by Los Angeles (29,486), Boston (24,160), and Washington, D.C. (20,678).

The most popular field of study for international students in the United States in 2002-2003 was business and management (20%). Engineering was second, with 17% of all international students (IIE, 2003a). Although these two disciplines have historically attracted most international students, they currently also lead in the decline of international applications. A survey conducted by NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, the Association of American Universities (AAU), the National Association of Statue Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), and the American Council on Education (ACE), which polled 382 colleges nationwide, found that applications for the Fall 2004 semester dropped an average 57% in business and 85% in engineering (Syverson, 2004). The reason for the particularly sharp decline in engineering applications is, in all likelihood, the fact that prospective students in the sciences often undergo special security checks through a system called Visas Mantis. (This is due to the potential for the abuse of scientific information by terrorists.) Afraid of the lengthy delays and unsure outcome of their applications, students in the sciences (including mathematics, the physical science, and engineering) seem to be turning to more welcoming host countries, such as Australia, England, and Canada) (Arnone, 2004; Syverson, 2004).

The survey also reported that the overall downswing in international student applications has been especially marked at universities with large international enrollments. Declines of as much as 30% have been reported (Arnone, 2004).

International Students at Baruch College: 5-Year Comparison

With 3,043 international students (including continuing education students), Baruch College placed just out of the top 25 institutions with the largest international student population in the academic year 2002-2003 (IIE, 2003c). To situate recent trends at Baruch College within the national context, I first looked at a 5-year interval, comparing enrollments of Fall 1998 with Fall 2003 (see Table 1).

Table 1. Five-year comparison of international student enrollment at Baruch College.


Fall 1998

Fall 2003


Total number of international

students (including continuing

education students)



17.5% increase

Number of international students in continuing education


(43% of total)


(49% of total)

31.7% increase

Total number of matriculated students

Number of matriculated international



1,462 (10% of matriculated students)


1,559 (10% of (matriculated students)

6.6% increase

Total number of undergraduate students

Number of international undergraduate students


939 (8% of undergraduate students)


1,117 (9% of undergraduate students)

19% increase

Total number of graduate students

Number of international graduate students


523 (20% of graduate students)


442 (17% of graduate students)

15.5% decrease

In the total number of international students, Baruch College showed a 5-year increase of 17.5% (which comes to an average of 3.5% per year and is in line with New York metropolitan area trends). Of particular interest was the situation for matriculated students (i.e., students not enrolled in continuing education programs, such as intensive English). Interestingly, the total number of matriculated international students also increased (by 6.6%). This overall increase, however, was carried exclusively by the growth rate of international students in undergraduate school (19%). In contrast, the graduate international student population declined by more than 15%.

A similar trend can be observed nationwide. Reporting on the results of the recent nationwide survey mentioned above, Syverson (2004) mentions that the survey "found far larger graduate application decreases than undergraduate" (n.p.). The reasons for this discrepancy are not yet fully understood. Several factors may be at work:

  • Graduate students are, in general, older and more focused on their careers. They may not have as much tolerance for uncertainty and delays as undergraduate students whose primary purpose for study abroad often is cultural enrichment, allowing for more flexibility regarding time (Gareis, 2004).
  • Declines in business applications may be related to instability within the world economy and ensuing weakened job prospects for MBAs (Gareis, 2004).
  • Many graduate student applications are in the sciences and are more prone to security checks and rejections.
  • Apparently, some of the most marked drops have been among graduate applications from China and India (Arnone, 2004). The reasons for this phenomenon may include improving economic prospects in those countries (e.g., through U.S. outsourcing).
The 9/11 Effect

To determine the effect that 9/11 had on Baruch College enrollment, data for each year in the 5-year interval from 1998-2003 were obtained (see Figures 1 and 2).

Gareis Figure 1.
Figure 1. International undergraduate student enrollment at Baruch College, 1998-2003.

Gareis Figure 2.
Figure 2. International graduate student enrollment at Baruch College, 1998-2003.

Whereas there was a slight dip in undergraduate enrollment after 9/11, the numbers never fell below 1998 levels and seem to be currently recovering. The post-9/11 drop for graduate students was more significant; numbers fell well below the 1998 level (38.5% in the past 2 years). They are also not showing a sign of recovery, if application figures are an indication: In the 2003-2004 academic year (the last year listed in Figure 2), we still had three sections of the ESL course; due to low application numbers, only one section is scheduled for the fall of 2004.

ESOL Graduate Courses and Language Labs: Placement within Institutions

The last question concerned the effect of enrollment decreases on the ESOL services at the college. To compare the status quo of Baruch College with other colleges, I first had to place it in the national context of college types.

Carnegie-Type Rankings

Carnegie-type rankings divide colleges and universities into research, doctoral, master's, baccalaureate, associate, and professional and specialized institutions. Baruch College is defined as a master's institution (IIE, 2003c). The three research, doctoral, and master's institutions with the most international students in 2002-2003 are listed in Table 2.

Table 2. Student enrollment in the top three research, doctoral, and master's institutions in 2002-2003.

Carnegie Type

Institution Name

Total Number of Students

International Students

Research institutions

University of Southern California

New York University

Columbia University







Doctoral institutions

Florida International University

University of Texas (Arlington)

University of Texas (Dallas)







Master's institutions

Baruch College/CUNY

San Francisco State University

University of Texas (El Paso)







The remaining Carnegie categories are baccalaureate, associate, and professional and specialized institutions. Ranking first within these categories are Brigham Young University's Hawaii Campus (1,048), the Houston Community College System (3,507), and the Academy of Art College in San Francisco (1,850).

Academic Departments versus Continuing Education

To gain perspective on Baruch College's ESOL course system, I contacted the top three research, doctoral, and master's institutions to inquire whether they offer ESOL classes for matriculated (non-ITA) international graduate students and, if so, where these classes are taught. Seven out of nine surveyed institutions offer ESOL for (non-ITA) graduate students--four in academic departments, two in continuing education, one in both. Likewise, an informal e-mail survey of language lab and pronunciation professionals indicated that language labs seem to be most commonly affiliated with academic departments. A transfer of Baruch College's graduate ESOL courses and the language lab into continuing education would therefore break somewhat with tradition.


The current crisis in international student enrollment has had an enormous impact on ESOL in higher education: Teachers are losing their jobs due to cancellations of classes; careers are being dismantled; the future of whole programs (e.g., intensive English programs) is uncertain for lack of students and funds. Several more years of declining numbers would be a disaster. Yet the fate of our programs is so tied to world politics and economics that the task of reversing the trend seems overwhelming. Although some of the developments may be out of our hands, there are also some things we can do: document the changes, answer questions as to the causes, determine what other host countries are doing to attract students, and actively pursue a more welcoming climate at home ... as well as a better image of the United States abroad.


Arnone, M. (2004, March 12). Security at home creates insecurity abroad. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(27), p. A21.

Gareis, E. (2004, March 11). Visa security and the drop in foreign applications to U.S. colleges. Message posted tohttp://chronicle.com/colloquylive/2004/03/visa/

Institute of International Education. (2003a). Open doors: International students in the U.S. Retrieved December 20, 2003, fromhttp://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=36523

Institute of International Education. (2003b). Institutions with 1,000 or more international students, 2002/03. Retrieved December 20, 2003 fromhttp://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=35937

Institute of International Education. (2003c). International students by institutional type: Top 40 master's institutions, 2002/03. Retrieved December 20, 2003 from http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=36779

Syverson, P. D. (2004, March 11). Visa security and the drop in foreign applications to U.S. colleges. Message posted tohttp://chronicle.com/colloquylive/2004/03/visa/

Elisabeth Gareis is an associate professor at Baruch College/CUNY. She coordinates ESOL services in the Department of Communication Studies and teaches intercultural communication, international communication, and conflict resolution.

Tips from the Classroom: A Multifunctional Short Story Class

By Heba M. Sharobeem, hebasharo@yahoo.com

Editor's Note: The following article examines a sequence of assignments one teacher uses in an EFL context to help students approach reading and writing about literature. Please send your ideas about using literature to the editor at mwald@berkeley.edu. Submissions will be archived and shared with readers in the February issue of HEIS News.

One of the courses taught in some English Departments in Egyptian universities is a short story class meant to prepare the students for the study of the novel later on. Literary appreciation is a skill that is greatly needed for this course and for the study of literature in general. Yet it is one of the most difficult skills to attain, especially in a foreign context. Therefore, this course stands as a double challenge for freshmen, for it requires high language proficiency and a high sense of culture. To face this challenge, I tried to make use of this course as a springboard toward language proficiency and literary appreciation, integrating skills and activities from literature, language, and process writing courses.

Most of the students in the course are of a low intermediate level and have not studied literature in a formal way, having never learnt how to analyze a text from the perspectives of theme, plot, and other literary aspects. To help students appreciate a literary text, teachers should introduce them to these terms and help them detect such aspects. I thought of applying and adapting some of the things I learnt from a process writing class conducted by Gay Brookes in Barcelona, Spain, in 1991. The first question she asked was "Why writing?" Instead, I always turn it into "Why literature?" and "Why the novel?"

Students answer these questions in writing and afterwards share voluntarily with the rest of their cohort their opinions about literature and the novel. After some hesitation at the beginning, they usually shower me with answers:

I think we study novel to know the point of view of the writer of his society and we must know that the writers of any novel have many ideas to express themselves in their novels and we should understand this ideas to gain more experience and to improve our look to life.

Another student said to the rest of the class: "I think that literature is important, Because it express the civilization of the people, when we read literature we become aware of people's habits, customs and traditions." A third one added, "Literature is very important because it shows what we see in our real life and our feelings towards many situations and it may sometimes find a solution for our problems and what can we do to solve them." One more opinion was that the "novel is important; it expresses the life in a certain place and time (emphasis added).

While the students are reading out their answers to the class, I keep writing on the board the words they use, such as look to life, lesson, people,situations, problems, solution, place and time. We start discussing the fact that these ideas or points of view stand for what we call the theme of any story or novel and that this theme usually reflects the writer's philosophy or perspective on life. We argue about the means that help in detecting this view.People leads us to a discussion of the characters of the text and their various types, whether minor or major, flat or round, and so forth. The term plot is introduced through situations, problems, solution--words that make students understand the complications of the plot and its different phases, such as the climax, anticlimax, and the denouement. Place and time reflect the setting, another important aspect of any literary text.

Thus, the teacher can accomplish multiple goals in the first class. Such a simple activity breaks the ice between students and their teacher. It also gives students the chance to practice the four different language skills, for they write their answers, read them to the class, listen to each other, and comment on their answers. More important, by introducing and discussing the literary terms of the text, the teacher fulfills one of the major objectives of the class in a way that makes it accessible to students.

Once students are familiar with the different literary aspects, they move into the reading stage. They learn how to read the texts in an analytical way that helps them detect the terms discussed in class. This is usually done through highlighting key words. For example in "Dead Men's Path" (Achebe, 1953) a short story by Chinua Achebe, the opening paragraph reads as follows:

[Michael Obi] was appointed headmaster of Ndume Central school .... It had always been an unprogressive school, so the Mission authorities decided to send a young and energetic man to run it. Obi accepted his responsibility with enthusiasm. He had many wonderful ideas .... He had sound secondary school education which ... set him apart from the other headmasters in the mission field. He was outspoken in his condemnation of the narrow views of these olderand less educated ones (emphasis added). (Achebe p. 113 )

Students discuss these key words and how they reflect the character of the protagonist, the theme of the story, and its major conflict, which is between modernity (represented by the young, energetic headmaster) and superstition (represented by the villagers, teachers, and students in the unprogressive school). In the meantime, students' vocabulary is enriched through discussing synonyms and antonyms as well as word forms, one of the areas Egyptian students struggle with. While arguing about the text's key words, the teacher can touch upon the area of grammar. In that sense, it is no longer the dry rules that, unfortunately, many Egyptian students memorize without truly understanding. Rather, grammar is contextualized and given a meaning within the text. A clear example is evident in the following introductory paragraph from one of the stories they study, "Grief" (Chekhov, 1886) by the Russian writer, Anton Chekhov:

It is twilight. A thick wet snow is twirling around the newly lighted street lamps …. The cabdriver Iona Potapov is quite white, and looks like a phantom …. The old man sighs and scratches his head .... It will soon be a week since his son died, and he has not been able to speak about it properly to anyone. One must tell it slowly and carefully; how his son fell ill, how he suffered, what he said before he died and how he died (emphasis added). (p. 7)

Such a passage explains the title of the story, reflects its tone and the mood of the major character, and also includes some clues to the theme. It also stands as an excellent example of the use of various tenses within one sentence or paragraph to imply different meanings and to suggest various timings, another area where Egyptian students often make mistakes. Other grammatical issues are tackled, such as modals and conditionals. The literature teacher can focus on the areas of grammar theoretically dealt with in the language class.

When moving students into the writing phase, I ask them to transfer the skills they have learned in their writing classes to the literary text. Therefore, I employ certain methods, such as brainstorming, mapping, and cubing, to enable them to put their understanding of the various literary terms in the form of well-organized paragraphs or essays. Here the literature teacher makes use of the writing class where students learn how to get ideas, put them in an outline, and write. Writing is very important, for the writing exam at the end of the term represents 80% of the mark.

Students find brainstorming very successful when discussing the titles of the short stories and arguing for or against their applicability. This method is particularly helpful when texts are introduced in the class for the first time; students are asked to discuss the titles before and after reading the story. They brainstorm and write whatever comes to their minds on reading the titles, cross out whatever is irrelevant, and finally organize the remaining ideas in the form of an outline to write about.

Mapping was very successful when discussing the theme of "Grief," which deals with an old cabdriver who has lost his son and needs to lament his death and to talk about it, but when no one listens to him, he finally talks to his horse. Students agreed that the need for sympathy, for human interaction, is one of the major themes in this story. Mapping helped students see how to write about this theme: Students placed it in the center and started brainstorming all the meanings implied by the theme as well as the events that reflect it in the story. At the end, they devised an outline around which they started writing. The following chart is a sample of what we did in class:

Image 1.

Cubing, as the name implies, suggests looking at any topic from six different perspectives: describe it, compare it, associate it, analyze it, apply it, and, finally, argue for or against it. I have always thought this method to be particularly useful when discussing the characters of any literary text. The first point entails describing the character physically and socially as provided by the text. The second facet entails comparing it with any other character in the text or in other texts the students have read. Applying the character involves looking at how the writer makes use of it to reflect, for example, a certain theme. Associating suggests the question of how realistic this character is; if one can associate it with people we know in real life, for example. Finally, arguing for or against the character requires the reader's opinion about it, for instance, whether one sympathizes with it or not. Students can answer all these questions or some of them, depending on the number of characters available in the text and their types.

By the end of the course, the objectives are fulfilled: Many students are able to read the short story in an analytical way and to understand the meaning of certain literary terms. More important, the course helps raise students' language proficiency, which is also worked on in other language courses, such as writing, grammar, and listening. The success of this course is evident in the students' assignments as well as their evaluation sheets. One student wrote:

It is undeniable that when we make brain storming about the title, it helps us. This method help us anticipate many things and think more about the relationship between the title and the events of the story. Moreover, the method of clustering in which we put things which relate to the theme for example is very efficient. It helps us to concentrate more about the theme and the events and the key words which explain it. In addition to that, the method of analyzing character [cubing] seems to be helpful because it puts different procedures which cover the whole aspects of the character. By following these procedures the character appear clear.

This multifunctional class shows how literature and language can be integrated in a way that makes use of each field to promote the understanding of the other. The course comprises a set of accessible tasks that can be easily applied in other contexts or levels. In this multifunctional class, students have enjoyed being introduced to and learning to formally appreciate literature.


Achebe, C. "Dead Men's Path" in The International Story: An Anthology with Guidelines for Reading and Writing About Fiction, ed. Ruth Spack. New York: Martin's Press, 1994.

Chekhov, A. "Grief" in Spectrum Two: Modern Short Stories, eds. Bruce Bennett, Peter Cowan and John Hay. England: Longman, 1984.

Heba M. Sharobeem, English Department, Faculty of Education, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.

Book Review: Integrating English Language Learners in the Science Classroom

Integrating English Language Learners in the Science Classroom
Jane Hill, Catherine Little, & Jane Sims
Markham, Ontario, Canada: Trifolium Books, 2004
Pp. 100
Reviewed by Christina Emmert, c_emmert888@hotmail.com

Integrating English Language Learners in the Science Classroom is designed for science teachers who need to integrate intermediate- and advanced-level English language learners into a classroom with native speakers. Based on Grades 6-8 science curricula currently in use throughout the United States and Canada, the book discusses such topics as explaining vocabulary, using the Internet, and assessing students fairly while incorporating the science subject material. The text contains handouts for potential lesson plans as well as activities with detailed instructions. The appendix includes helpful Web sites for students' use and a list of resources with brief reviews for the teacher's benefit. A short glossary of language learning terms is also available for quick reference. Although a teacher who plans to use this book will need to incorporate other resources into the classroom, this text gives a useful, general overview of teaching science and English concurrently.

The textbook, organized into five chapters, covers the basics of teaching science and English to ESL students. The chapters are further divided into sections that focus on specific techniques. Each section provides examples of activities to be used in the discussion of such science topics as forces, ecosystems, and the Earth's crust, all while featuring particular language points that the students should learn from the lesson. The first chapter discusses how to assist ESL students in understanding the subject matter. In the second chapter, the authors explain how to make concepts comprehendible to their students by using lessons that involve total physical response, Venn diagrams and flowcharts, and the students' first languages. The last point is an important and debatable one: The authors assert that teachers should allow beginning students to write in their native languages and then translate their writing into English, as this will help the students express information that may be difficult for them to write directly in English. Chapter 3 describes how to teach students to communicate in English, specifically mentioning vocabulary, question asking, and writing assignments. The fourth chapter focuses on outside references and resources, such as reading materials, field trips, and the Internet. Finally, the last chapter discusses assessment of students.

The textbook focuses on language development through communicative exercises that utilize discussion activities, writing prompts, magazine or newspaper articles, and additional resources. Ideas for cross-curricular projects incorporate creative writing, mathematics, art, and research into the science course. Some activities involve the use of the Internet and field trips, thereby extending the students' learning opportunities beyond the classroom. The textbook encourages the use of creative, hands-on activities to promote critical thinking and in-depth writing. Though the activities are appropriate for the authors' intended grade levels, the materials are probably best suited for high beginning- to high intermediate-level English language learners rather than intermediate- and advanced-level learners. However, the activities could be easily modified for use with older and/or more advanced students.

Although this textbook is not to be used exclusively in the science classroom, it is a practical reference guide for teachers. Aside from the fact that its materials are based on U.S. and Canadian science curricula, it could be used worldwide; it is culturally adaptable and cites examples of possible differences in teaching and learning styles among cultures. The textbook lacks an index, but the layout is straightforward and the table of contents is detailed enough to find the key concepts. The list of handouts is another convenient tool.

The textbook lacks an answer key for the provided exercises, which may be disconcerting for many teachers. Otherwise, the book is an excellent guide, as it focuses on the four language skills, with captivating activities, and encourages students to learn and study outside of the classroom. I would strongly consider using it as a basic resource and recommend that other teachers do the same.

Christina Emmert is an undergraduate student at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio, in the United States, and has recently completed a TEFL program.

Announcements and Information Call for Nominations for 2005-2006

The time has come to begin the search for new HEIS leaders. Four positions are open for the 2005-2006 election: chair-elect, assistant chair, secretary, and Steering Committee member-at-large. Any member may nominate a HEIS member for a position, and we also welcome self-nominations. All newly elected leaders of HEIS are expected to attend the annual TESOL convention (2005 in San Antonio, Texas, USA, and 2006 in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA) and must be voting members of HEIS. Election results are announced via the HEIS list and at the Open Meeting on the Wednesday of the annual convention. Newly elected leaders assume their positions at the close of the conference.

Please read the following descriptions for each position and submit nominations for one or more openings. The deadline for nominations is October 31, 2004.

Chair-elect, Chair, Immediate Past Chair

This position is a 3-year commitment. The chair-elect serves for 1 year in that position, becomes the chair the following year, and then chairs the Nominating Committee as immediate past chair.

Year 1: At the start of the first year, the new chair-elect attends the Steering Committee Meeting on Tuesday evening of convention week, the Business Meeting on Wednesday evening, the Saturday morning Interest Section (IS) Planning Breakfast, and the Planning Meeting held at the conclusion of the conference (e.g., the meeting at San Antonio in 2005 to plan for 2006). The chair-elect has primary responsibility for planning the HEIS Academic Session and Discussion Groups for the next conference (2006 in Tampa Bay), choosing the theme of the Academic Session with assistance from the HEIS board and members attending the Planning Meeting. S/he selects and invites panel members to carry out the theme and chairs the session. S/he also selects people to conduct up to 12 discussion groups. The chair-elect assists the chair in HEIS affairs during the year and, in the event of the chair's absence, presides at the Steering Committee Meeting, the Business Meeting, and/or the Open Meeting.

Year 2: At the following conference (TESOL 2006 in Tampa Bay), the chair-elect participates in the IS Leaders Workshop on Tuesday, assists the chair at the Steering Committee and Open Meetings, oversees the Academic Session, attends the IS Council as an HEIS delegate, attends the Saturday morning IS Planning Breakfast, and becomes chair as the conference comes to a close. The chair presides over the Saturday Planning Meeting at the start of his/her term as chair, works with the Steering Committee during the year, serves as the TESOL link regarding higher education concerns and questions, monitors the HEIS budget, and has primary responsibility for the distribution of proposals for peer review and the ranking of proposals submitted to HEIS. The chair is in charge of the Steering Committee and Open Meetings at the conference, attends the IS Leadership Workshop, and is the primary HEIS delegate to the IS Council.

Year 3: At the close of the term as chair, the chair becomes immediate past chair and serves as Nominating Committee chair. With suggestions from the HEIS board, the past chair assembles a slate of candidates to run for office, provides that slate to the newsletter editor so that it can be placed in the pre-conference (February) issue, counts the ballots received, notifies those who have been selected, and sends regrets to those not chosen.

Assistant Chair

The assistant chair is a member of the Steering Committee and serves for 1 year. The assistant chair focuses on activities that make HEIS visible at the conference. Generally, this involves planning, decorating, and staffing the HEIS booth. The assistant chair serves as the third HEIS delegate to the IS Council, performs other duties as requested by the chair, and is often actively involved in planning other HEIS meetings or sessions at the conference. The assistant chair presides over meetings in the event that both the chair and the chair-elect are temporarily absent. The assistant chair is expected to attend all HEIS meetings at the annual convention.

Steering Committee Member-at-Large

This member serves on the Steering Committee, which helps shape HEIS policy and plan HEIS meetings and sessions. Three members-at-large serve for 3 years each on a staggered schedule, with one new member elected each year. The member in his/her third year is the senior member. The senior member generally serves as the HEIS alternate delegate to the IS Council and rotates off the Steering Committee at the conclusion of the conference. The chair, chair-elect, and assistant chair consult with the members-at-large throughout the year and request their input and assistance. Along with the secretary and those three officers, the members-at-large are the voting members of the leadership of HEIS. All members-at-large are expected to attend all HEIS meetings at the annual TESOL convention.

Help shape the leadership of TESOL! We are especially interested in getting candidates from all sectors of our membership, geographically as well as in terms of 2- and 4-year institutions, to build a strong ballot for 2005-2006. All formal nominations should be sent to the committee chair, Deborah Crusan atdeborah.crusan@wright.edu, 937-775-2846 (work phone), 937-775-2707 (work fax). Nominations will be passed on to the Steering Committee for approval. For additional information about the duties and responsibilities of HEIS board members, contact any Steering Committee member or Nominating Committee members Calum MacKechnien at calum@uwm.edu or Soonhyang Kim at kim.1259@osu.edu.

Additional Ways to Get Involved in HEIS

HEIS is currently accepting nominations for Steering Committee members (see Call for Nominations above). In addition, we are looking for members interested in working on the following projects:

Book Reviews, HEIS News
Become the editor and you can get free books!
Contact: Margi Wald, Editor, mwald@berkeley.edu

Community College Concerns Column, HEIS News
Editor needed for 1-2 columns per year.
Contact: Margi Wald, Editor, mwald@berkeley.edu

Socio-Political Concerns Column, HEIS News
Editor needed for 1-2 columns per year.
Contact: Margi Wald, Editor, mwald@berkeley.edu

See also: TESOLers for Social Responsibility Caucus Web Site -- http://www2.tesol.org/communities/tsr/

Web Site Development
Help the HEIS Web site reflect your interests and address your needs.
Contact Guy Kellogg, HEIS chair-elect, gkellogg@hawaii.edu

About This Community TESOL 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: Sue Lantz Goldhaber, slgqc@aol.com
Chair-Elect: Guy Kellogg, gkellogg@hawaii.edu
Newsletter Editor: Margi L. Wald, mwald@uclink.berkeley.edu
Web site: http://llc.msu.edu/elc/heis/
Discussion List: Join the HEIS e-list and discuss issues with your colleagues: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected/, or http://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=heis-l if you already subscribed.

HEIS Steering Committee 2004-2005 (PDF) Click to view the article. [PDF]