HEIS News

Volume 27:1 (March 2008)

by User Not Found | 10/25/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Message From the Chair
  • Articles
    • Steps for Synthesizing Sources in Academic Writing
    • “First Day”: An Experience in Gaining Understanding
    • Immigration Is an Educational Issue, Too
  • Reviews
    • Book review of Top Notch by J. Saslow & A. Ascher
    • Book review of The Internet and the language classroom, (2nd ed) by G. Dudeney
  • Computer Technology
    • “Big T” and “little t” Technology
  • Announcements and Information
    • Member Story: Gena Bennett
  • About This Community
    • About This Community
    • Call for Submissions
    • Call for Book Review Submissions
    • Call for Computer/Information Technology Submissions

Leadership Updates Message From the Chair

Denis A. Hall, d.hall@snhu.edu

Dear HEIS Members,

Welcome to 2008; Happy New Year to you all!

I would like to update you on the upcoming 2008 TESOL Convention in New York City and announce the call for nominations and upcoming election for HEIS leadership positions.

First, the convention. HEIS is sponsoring an Academic Session entitled “Transitioning ESL Students to Higher Education,” tentatively scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Speakers include the following:

  • Guy Kellogg (Kapi’olani Community College, Hawaii), who will describe his college’s efforts to promote the academic and social adjustment of IEP students
  • Duffy Galda (Pima Community College, Arizona), who will discuss advocacy for religious/political refugees and immigrants
  • Cynthia Schuemann (Miami Dade College, Florida), who will discuss her dissertation findings on comparing student assessment instruments used for admission purposes and/or learning communities
  • Gilda Rubio-Festa (Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina), who will discuss the transitioning of Adult Education ESL students to higher education

This session, organized in direct response to your expressed concerns, promises to be of special relevance to an underserved segment of our HEIS membership: All four presenters teach at community colleges in the United States. However, I believe the implications of these presentations are directly applicable to four-year institutions as well. For example, at Southern New Hampshire University, a private institution where I teach, Kellogg’s and Schuemann’s presentations have relevance for our 25-year-old IEP and our programs housing traditional undergraduate students on F-1 visas; increasingly, however, we see refugees, immigrants, and adult education students applying for admission into our programs. Thus, I am looking forward to hearing what Galda and Rubio-Festa have to share as well. 

As for other types of presentations, HEIS is sponsoring a half-dozen discussion groups and 44 papers, workshops, and demonstrations. Topics include practical and research-oriented presentations on online writing communities, teacher training in community colleges, generation 1.5 student issues, service learning, learning communities, student identity issues, faculty equity, effective textbooks for preparing students for college study, potential problems with the use of YouTube in ESL teaching, and much more. All HEIS members should be able to find something that speaks to their own and to their students’ needs and interests.

On a related note, some of you have expressed concern about the effects of the shortened convention on the format of the convention program this year. Specifically, you have mentioned the reduced time for networking; the fact that Discussion Groups will now be scheduled at different times throughout the day, allowing for more flexibility in scheduling but limiting the total number of sessions we can attend because of increased scheduling conflicts; the high price of the accommodations; and more. I am compiling all your comments, both positive and negative, to share with other IS leaders, with the IS representative to the Executive Board, and with TESOL’s central office staff. Please check the electronic discussion list for an ongoing discussion of this issue and give us your feedback.

Let me now turn to the election for HEIS leadership. A call for nominations has been sent out via the electronic discussion list by our Nominating Committee chair and immediate past chair, Soonhyang Kim. Please consider nominating a colleague or yourself for the following positions: 

  • Chair-Elect (Associate Chair)
  • Assistant Chair
  • Secretary
  • Steering Committee Member-at-Large

Descriptions of these positions and associated responsibilities follow:

HEIS Steering Board Members: Job Descriptions (abbreviated)

Chair-Elect (Associate Chair)

  • Prepares HEIS convention program, along with assistant chair.
  • Evaluates HEIS convention program and reports recommended changes to Steering Board.
  • Assists chair as needed.
  • 3-year term: as chair-elect, as chair, and as immediate past chair.

Assistant Chair

  • Assists chair-elect in planning convention program.
  • Supervises decoration and running of HEIS booth.
  •  Assists chair and chair-elect as needed.
  • 1-year term.

Steering Board Member-at-Large

  • Sets policies.
  • Promotes liaisons with other ISs.
  • Approves budget.
  • Receives reports.
  • Establishes committees or task forces as needed.
  • 3-year term.

Secretary

  • Prepares minutes of annual business meetings and Steering Board meetings.
  • Distributes minutes to relevant body for approval and for subsequent entry into records.
  • Prepares copies of governing rules, resolutions, and authorizations of expenditures for transmittal to appropriate persons or files.
  • Prepares distribution lists for HEIS officers, IS Council representatives, Steering Board members, and committees.
  • Supervises maintenance of HEIS records and archives.
  • Assists other officers and committees and performs additional duties as assigned by chair.
  • Serves on Steering Board.
  • 2-year term; may serve additional terms.*

*N.B. All positions require a commitment to attend the annual TESOL convention during the term of office. It is also helpful if you can attend this year’s convention for planning purposes.

Please send nominations to Soonhyang Kim, immediate past chair, at soonhyang@hotmail.com; please copy Denis Hall, current chair, at d.hall@snhu.edu.

Important information:

  • 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 during term of office and must be voting members of HEIS (HEIS must be your designated primary interest section). Newly elected leaders will assume their positions at the end of the convention.

Deadlines:
Friday 2/15/08: Election ballot sent out with brief bios.
Friday 2/29/08: Deadline for receipt of ballots. Ballots counted and results shared via electronic discussion list.

I hope that you will recognize the importance of becoming actively involved in HEIS, whether by running for election, nominating a colleague, presenting at future conventions, attending the annual meeting at the convention, writing for the newsletter, or simply participating in the electronic discussion list. Our interest section can be effective only with active participation by its members.

I hope to hear from more of you in the next few months leading up to the convention.

Yours,

Denis



Articles Steps for Synthesizing Sources in Academic Writing

Julie Haun, dbjh@pdx.edu, and Nancy E. Dollahite, dollahiten@pdx.edu

Making the leap from writing personal essays to writing a source-based paper is often challenging for our ESL students. One of the many new concepts they face is understanding that the reading/writing process is an interactive one. In “Reading for Writing: Cognitive Perspectives,” Joan Carson (1993) wrote that “reading and writing are equally important in the process of a literary event in which the most significant product is not the writing per se, but the meaning that has been created by the reader/writer from both comprehending and composing texts” (p. 85). As teachers, we must find ways to help our students recognize and feel comfortable with this dance between the texts they read and the ideas they write.

In other words, as students read, they must move beyond seeing their role as simply summarizing the ideas they have read to one of actively analyzing their sources, including identifying information that is relevant to them and to their writing task. As they write, they must synthesize the ideas from their sources in a way that builds on and supports their own original thinking. In working with ESL student writers over the past 10 years, we have found that how students learn to interact with their sources during the early stages of the writing process greatly influences what they eventually write. Of course, as writing teachers, we have an opportunity to facilitate how this interaction between student and texts occurs.

Describing how we guide students through this first stage in the writing process requires a brief overview of our writing course. In this class, we introduce students to source-based writing by doing one or more papers on a common theme. These are short essays (2-5 pages) based on a set of sources (between three and six) selected by the teacher. The students read, analyze, and discuss the sources together and then write their own papers based on the ideas they have generated. The first stage in the writing process (the focus of this paper) can take up to 4 weeks and includes three steps that we call exploring, focusing, and organizing. Each of these steps plays an important role in facilitating students’ understanding that writing from sources does not mean simply stringing paraphrases and summaries together, but is a process of transforming knowledge for use in their own writing.

Exploring
To begin exploring their theme, both students and teacher read as homework one of the articles the teacher has selected, highlighting any ideas that capture their interest. When we next meet, we discuss the article. Each person, teacher and students, reads aloud one of his or her highlighted passages. We explain what we think the passage means, thus beginning the process of paraphrasing; share the reason for our interest in it; and discuss why we think the author included the idea in the article. We repeat this process, or a similar one, for each of the articles.

As students discuss the articles, they are beginning to articulate the ideas they will use to write their paper. We have found that exploring the topic in an open, reader-based manner is the first step toward empowering students as active readers and writers. In his article “Reflecting on Commentary: Mind, Intellect and a Use of Language” Rudolph Bernard (2000) wrote that in order for students to read and write about a topic, they must be intellectually engaged. He argued that the best method for achieving this engagement is by having the students, rather than the teacher, initiate the points of discussion within an article. Sustained interest in a topic, he pointed out, comes from allowing students to develop their own pathways to understanding the ideas in an article. In this spirit we rarely assign reading comprehension questions, choosing instead to let the students guide the focus of our reading and limiting our role to pointing out related ideas within an article that students may have overlooked, encouraging hesitant students to elaborate on their comments, and summarizing ideas students have discussed.

With this approach, not only do students develop a personal interest in the theme, but also a communal interest is created, giving a far richer understanding than any single student could bring to the readings (Powell & Ponder, 2001). This approach also makes it possible to work with more complex texts than students might tackle individually, giving a wider scope to the theme. Finally, through the exploration process, students begin to see themselves as builders of knowledge rather than simply summarizers and paraphrasers of other people’s ideas. Their ideas combine with those of the authors they are reading to form a collaborative portrait of their writing topic.

Focusing
After exploring the topic in this broad open manner, we narrow our focus to one specific aspect. To do this, we use a research question. For their first paper, the students usually all use the same question, which is either developed by the students or created by the teacher out of the key points that have arisen during the reading discussions. Using the research question as a guide, students are ready to do a focused reading of their sources. They reread each source, this time highlighting only the information that might be useful in answering the research question. The highlighting makes visible the idea that some sources will yield a lot of relevant information, whereas others will contain only one or two useful items.

From experiencing both the earlier open-ended style of reading and this more focused reading, students begin to see that their purpose for reading influences how they read. Moreover, they begin to realize that it is their own writing task that dictates which information within a text is useful and which is not. Thus, in the dance between the texts they read and the ideas they write, the students are beginning to take the lead.

Organizing
Having completed a focused reading and identified information to help answer their research question, the students face what may seem like a confusion of too much information. The step of organizing carries them past this inevitably chaotic point and enables them to see useful patterns in the information they have. Using the highlighted notes from their focused reading, students sort the information from their sources into categories of similar ideas.

Though there are several ways to accomplish this, here we describe just one method that we call brainstorming a list. This method has two steps, brainstorming and categorizing, which are usually completed in one class period. After spending a few minutes reviewing their notes, students set them aside and, in small groups, brainstorm any ideas they have that answer the research question. They list these ideas as words or short phrases, on a blackboard or paper posted on the wall so that their work is visible to the other groups. In this way, the ideas of each group can contribute to and inspire the other groups. Once they have generated a list of ideas, they begin the sorting process. As the members of each group read over their list together, they give all similar items the same number. They number the first idea on the list #1. Then they move to the second idea and decide whether it is related to or different from the first idea and number it appropriately as either another #1 or a #2. We usually suggest that they try for three to five categories. They continue down the list until they have discussed and numbered all the brainstormed ideas.

As students work through this process, they find themselves explaining what they think each idea means and why one idea belongs or does not belong with another. They discover, among other things, that not every idea on the list falls into a category. They either cross the misfits off their list or decide to recategorize to fit them in. This discussion is another opportunity for the students to engage with the ideas they will soon be writing about. Once the list is numbered, the group describes or names each category and those names become a very rough outline of the paper they will write.

Conclusion
When students begin the writing process by exploring, as a group, the ideas in each of their sources in an open, reader-centered manner, they not only acquire information to use in writing, but they also start to see their own reactions to the ideas in the readings as significant. Moreover, by working as a group to share and explore ideas, they enrich the topic and develop their ability to deal with complex texts. In the focusing step, as students use a research question to guide their second reading of the sources, they come to recognize that their role as writers influences how they read a text and what parts of the text are relevant. Finally, as they organize their ideas, they categorize their thinking into a rough outline. It is here that students transform source information for their own use and begin to recognize their control over the information they have acquired from their reading and discussion. Once students complete these first three steps of the writing process, they are ready to develop their thesis and write the first draft of their essay.

References
Bernard, R. (2000). Reflecting on commentary: Mind, intellect and a use of language. In M. Pally (Ed.), Sustained content teaching in academic ESL/EFL: A practical approach (pp. 200-209). Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Company.
Carson, J. (1993). Reading for writing: Cognitive perspectives. In J. Carson & I. Leki (Eds.), Reading in the composition classroom: Second language perspectives (pp. 85-99). Boston: Heinle and Heinle Publishers.
Powell, B., & Ponder, B. (2001, Autumn). Sourcebooks in a sustained-content curriculum. TESOL Journal 10(2-3), 13.

Nancy E. Dollahite has taught ESL in China, Mexico, Brazil, Scotland, and the United States. She currently teaches in an academic program and does teacher training at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. Julie Haun has taught ESL at Portland State University since 1995. They are the authors of Sourcework: Academic Writing From Sources, an advanced academic ESL writing textbook, from which the ideas in this article are drawn.


“First Day”: An Experience in Gaining Understanding

Kendra Wormald, kendra_wormald@yahoo.com

 

Imagine walking into a classroom where the teacher greets you in a language completely foreign to your own. The class is conducted in this language; questions are posed and responses expected. You slink quietly down in your seat trying your hardest not to be the one called upon but the inevitable happens and the teacher is gesturing at you. Your heart rate increases, your face turns red, and you grasp at random sounds that could be words and hope desperately that they make some kind of sense.

One day this past spring, my colleagues and I were exposed to a similar situation, an effort by our professor to open our minds to the feelings of a first-time ESL learner. We were purposely exposed to a class conducted entirely in Cantonese, a language that none of us had had any prior experience with. For this one day only, it took the place of the regular methods course in TESL that we had all chosen to take as a part of our bachelor of education program. This activity was part of an assignment designed by our instructor to put us in the shoes of our future students. After a mentally exhausting 20-minute lesson in Cantonese, the session was then debriefed, thoughts on the experience were shared, and we left the class with an assignment in hand: to write a personal response in a chosen format that expressed how our experience had enhanced our understanding of an ESL student’s reality.

One important thing for a teacher of any subject to remember is that students do not arrive in class as “blank slates,” even if they know nothing of the subject being studied. They come with their own experiences and perceptions of the world, probably most strongly shaped by the culture they have grown up in, but also by the experiences they have had up until that point. My response to the lesson is the result not only of the experience that we were all exposed to in our TESL class but also of a variety of my own personal experiences. I have lived and worked around the world; have taught ESL/EFL in Canada, South Korea, England, and China; and have had language-learning experiences myself in French, Spanish, German, Korean, and Mandarin—English being my mother tongue. As a student with an assignment to hand in, I found that my own personal response to that specific lesson expressed itself most clearly in a poem.

The student in this poem has been sent by his or her family to North America for the specific purpose of learning English. Beyond this specific (though common enough) situation, I would like to think that the feelings expressed in the poem could apply more broadly to any student in a “first day” situation. Still, the major obstacle to overcome in this poem, or even in the assignment itself, was that as hard as I tried to put myself in the shoes of a student from a different culture, I realized that I would never be able to do it completely, because in the end it was still me writing the poem and I was writing it with my own cultural assumptions and values that came with growing up in an average middle-class Canadian family of British descent.

As a result, I choose to appeal to the general feelings that come with being human, no matter what culture a person belongs too, though even then, I realized that the way these feelings are expressed, or whether they are expressed or not, has cultural implications that I did not have first-hand access to. This is simply a fact that has to be recognized and indeed, in spite of all of my efforts, I do not believe that I could ever have completely surmounted this obstacle in the writing of the poem, at least not with the resources or the time frame that I was given. Though this apparent shortcoming could be seen as a critique of the assignment itself, this should not be the case. I had only to stand back and look at the whole picture. From this viewpoint, I could then see that its purpose was simply in promoting the awareness of what it might feel like to be in that specific situation. This awareness then opens the doors for more tolerance and understanding toward the students by the teacher, and with any luck it can stimulate a desire in the teacher to learn more about his or her specific students and how they really are experiencing the ESL class. This poem then was not my attempt to say that I know exactly how an ESL student would feel in my class, but instead it was the result of the process I worked through to gain greater awareness of a world that was not my own.

Just as students arrive in class with their own experience to draw upon, I drew upon mine in the writing of this assignment. The methodology of ESL teaching referred to in “First Day” is what I was being exposed to in my TESL class. The focus on the rhythm of language, with exaggerated emphasis being put on the appropriate syllables like “MORN” in “Good MORN ing,” is one way to help students access the language at a different level.¹  Learning to recognize specific intonation patterns that are found in English, like “da DA da,” can aid students in both recognizing words and reproducing them themselves.

The student in the poem is being exposed to that rhythm, but is not at the point at which he or she can completely understand its significance. As it is only the first day, though he or she might repeat it as the teacher instructs, further words and sentences like “howareyou” still run together in a myriad of sounds where meaning begins to be gained only through the body language associated with it or with the help of previous experience, like watching American movies.

The student’s previous experience also comes through in his or her recognition of a “new” way of greeting. He or she must link it to something already known, such as bowing in one culture (e.g., Korean), which can have a meaning similar to a handshake in another (e.g., North American). Being able to make such associations is important and recognizing similarities between cultures—whether a friendly smile or the sound of a book bag closing—can be very comforting to a new student in a new place,

The repetition described in the poem through the rhythmic sounds, words of encouragement, or the simple “goodbye” at the end, can also be comforting to the student as well as greatly aid in the learning process. A student might not be able to tell exactly what these words mean but with constant repetition he or she will learn the sounds to reproduce them and will hopefully begin to make connections through repeated associations of the word as it is used in similar contexts. The word “EXCELLENT” is used, for example, whenever the teacher is pleased with what the student has done and thus a positive connotation is attributed to it whenever the student hears it.

I hoped to express in the poem the mix of feelings that a student might experience and how the teacher’s actions can affect them, so though the experience might be scary and overwhelming to the student, a kind word, smile, or expression of understanding on the part of the teacher can go a long way. For me, gaining that understanding came with putting myself in my students’ shoes as I slunk down in my seat trying not to be called upon by my Cantonese teacher.

First Day

“Good MORN ing!”
Huh?
da DA da, da DA da
over and over and over again
it’s a greeting I think
so I repeat it:
“Good…MORN…ing”
Her face lights up and an enthusiastic
“EXCELLENT!” follows.
I don’t know what she said but
I feel good.

My parents sent me here to learn
English.
I will have a bright future they say,
if I learn
English.
I want to learn,
I want to make them proud.
I want to understand
these strange people around me.

But it’s hard.
I don’t tell my parents that.
It’s SCARY.
I don’t tell them that either.
My first day in class,
So many new faces.
All from different countries
and cultures.
No one speaks my language.

What time is it?
10 minutes gone.
“Whatsyourname” “name” “name”
Name?
More sounds foreign to my ears
Name.
“mynameis” “mynameis” “mynameis”
Teacher points to herself.
“Mynameis—”
And writes funny symbols on the board,
Like the ones in American movies.

I like movies.
My turn.
My face is red like an apple.
Red, before I begin.
She smiles and nods encouragingly.
It’s okay, it’s okay, I can do it.
“mynameis—”
It’s out in a rush.
I’m done. I did it!
“EXCELLENT!” she says.
That word again!
She smiles warmly and continues.

30 minutes gone.
Sounds flow over my head.
“Howareyou” “I’mfine,” “howareyou” “I’mfine”
Now I’m shaking someone’s hand.
Why?
Oh! They don’t bow here.
A greeting.
It goes with “good MORN ing” I think.

Okay, that’s enough!
Too many words, too many sounds!
The beat is not my own!

The girl next to me
has understanding in her eyes.
It will be okay, they say.
I want to say so much.
So many words inside me
Screaming to get out.
I answer with a little smile.
I can manage that.

Time is up.
The bell rings.
Books close, bags open, zippers sound.
Like school at home.
Maybe it won’t be so bad.
We stand up and file out the door.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…”
Teacher says, 30 times.
I’m number 30.
I think I can do it.
“Goodbye!”
I am rewarded with a smile,
And I know tomorrow will be okay.

Kendra Wormald, 2007

Kendra Wormald has a BA in history from Mount Allison University (Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada) and an MA in cultural history from the University of York (York, United Kingdom). Five years of living, traveling, and teaching English around the world prompted her to return to school herself to earn a BEd at St. Thomas University (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada).
Kendra has taught English in Korea, the United Kingdom, and China and currently teaches history at the American Bilingual School in Kuwait.

¹ This is the methodology promoted by the English Language Programme at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada (http://elp.unb.ca/index.php). The director of this program teaches the TESL module for the Saint Thomas University bachelor of education program.


Immigration Is an Educational Issue, Too

Craig Machado, CMachado@ncc.commnet.edu

A handful of states, including New York, California, and Kansas, have passed laws allowing nonresident (undocumented) immigrant high school graduates to benefit from in-state (resident) college tuition. The rationale has been that these students came here with their parents or other guardians, enrolled in public schools, and earned diplomas. Why discourage their further education and economic betterment by making them pay the much higher nonresident tuition for college?

This issue has stirred the political waters in Connecticut, too. After several unsuccessful attempts to pass a tuition reduction bill for undocumented (illegal is the term of choice for the vocal opponents of these measures) high school graduates, the legislature passed one; unfortunately, from the perspective of supporters, the governor vetoed it, claiming that the federal government needs to resolve the issue nationally. Many immigrants—legal andundocumented—and international students take ESL and other classes at the 12 campuses. Yet the community college system here did not actively support the tuition reduction plan, even though they stood to gain new students and full-time equivalent faculty. Though students may take noncredit classes without any documentation for modest fees, the increase would be in credit-course students who would most likely not be able to pay the nonresident tuition of $4,440.00 per semester and would thus forgo college.
 
While the immigration debate grinds on, community colleges across the country continue to educate millions of international and immigrant students regardless of their residency status. For the most part these students are enthusiastic about learning and want to succeed. At Norwalk Community College, about 20% of the student population is made up of ESL learners. Most faculty are very appreciative of these students and their motivation to learn, and every year immigrants and international students take top honors at graduation. And yes, there are students who are not technically properly here. However, in most cases they initially came legally, then decided to stay on past their visa expiration to study and work. A prominent and reliable pool of labor that so many small and large businesses routinely depend on, they very much want to regularize their status to lose the illegal stigma.

Aside from a very few well-to-do international students, most of our ESL students are working to pay their educational and living costs, which are both extremely high in Connecticut. They are juggling work, family, school, and a new culture. Their determination and resilience despite many formidable obstacles is exemplary and in keeping with the practice of many past immigrants. For those students who are here irregularly, global economic forces are the principal motivator. One way to speed the legalization process for current undocumented students could be to count the number of college courses completed toward a certificate or degree. Perhaps these credits could be used to offset the number of years required to achieve permanent residency status.

It is time for educators all across this country to join in the dialogue on immigration and let the country know how deeply immigrants value their education and how much they want to be part of American society. If not, anti-immigrant forces, politicians, and pundits will continue to give the public an incomplete picture of the immigrant experience as it plays out daily in classrooms all over the country.

Craig Machado is ESL program director at Norwalk Community College. In 2005, the program was honored by the National Council of Teachers of English for outstanding work in the area of developmental English.



Reviews Book review of Top Notch by J. Saslow & A. Ascher

Alan D. Lytle, dralandlytle@hotmail.com

Saslow, J., & Ascher, A. (2005). Top Notch, Book 1. New York: Pearson Longman.
Saslow, J., & Ascher, A. (2006). Top Notch, Books 2-3. New York: Pearson Longman.
Saslow, J., & Ascher, A. (2006). Top Notch Fundamentals. New York: Pearson Longman.
Saslow, J., & Ascher, A. (2006). Summit. New York: Pearson Longman.

Top Notch and Summit offer valuable materials for both teacher and student. For teachers, each title comes with a Teacher’s Edition and Lesson Planner, including a Teacher’s Resource Disk, and Copy & Go–Ready-Made Interactive Activities for Busy Teachers. These are wonderful resources for the beginning teacher, as well as for the experienced teacher, as they offer numerous flexible suggestions, thereby allowing the teacher to provide practice not only in skills students need more practice with but also in skills that students are already competent in. The Resource Disk comes with printable activities that extend the concepts beyond the text and classroom into the real world.

Students, no matter their age, will find much useful and practical information in Top Notch and Summit. Because of the modeling used throughout the series, students always have something to begin with; the use of spiraling allows the students to make use of and further perfect concepts from previous chapters, giving them something to continue with.

English is addressed as an international language, rather than as “American English” or “British English,” thereby more accurately portraying the English used by speakers around the world. Graphics in the series portray a wide variety of characters from various backgrounds, and culture is not limited just to the western side of the globe; many images, articles, situations, and historical facts encompass the whole of the English-speaking world. One of the most appealing aspects of the graphics is the modern technology examples and images that are used, including PDAs, technology icons, and vocabulary.

Each book in the series includes a CD providing supplemental activities for each chapter; students can complete these activities individually at home, in pairs, or with a small group at home or in a language lab. In addition, the CDs can be used either as simple audio CDs or as interactive CD-ROMs. The Top Notch titles also include conversation models and song lyrics. The CDs are particularly useful in that they are dual-platform, compatible with either Windows or Mac operating systems.

Each title in the series has an accompanying DVD and TV Activity Worksheets and Teaching Notes. The TV component “contains three features: a sitcom, on-the-street interviews, and Top Notch Pop Songs and Karaoke,” adding yet another dimension to the series (p. x).

Even more supplemental activities—such as multiple-choice quizzes, puzzles, maps, ecotours, and games—can be found on the companion Web site for the series. Following is a screen shot of the base page found at http://www.longman.com/topnotch. Comparable activities for Summit are available athttp://www.longman.com/summit.

Top Notch and Summit also include an assessment package containing unit achievement tests that which assess listening, reading, writing, social language, vocabulary, and grammar; review tests; a mid-book test; and a summative end-of-book test. The assessment package offers separate tests to assess speaking progress. The series also includes Exam View® software which allows the teacher to customize tests to meet language targets, students’ needs, and curricular requirements. With both assessment options available (print and software), no matter the availability or lack of technology, the teacher will be able to assess what is being taught.

The series offers a nice balance of activities within the student book to engage multiple learning styles; another valuable feature of the series is the recycling and spiraling of previously introduced material, not only from unit to unit within one text, but also from title to title within the series. Summitincludes activities focusing on vocabulary, conversation, discussion topics (speaking), grammar, pronunciation, listening, reading, and writing, with these foci becoming increasingly abstract in the texts, allowing for more synthesis-building within the classroom and among the linguistic skills. Top Notch also includes activities that focus on vocabulary, conversation, grammar, speaking, pronunciation, and listening and has a combined reading and writing section, with these foci becoming increasingly abstract the higher the level.

Summit 1 contains 10 units consisting of 12 pages each, covering the following topics: new perspectives, musical moods, money matters, looking good, community, animals, advertising and consumers, family trends, history’s mysteries, and your free time. Summit 2 also contains 10 units consisting of 12 pages each, covering the following topics: dreams come true, character counts, dealing with adversity, personality and life, it’s all in your mind, travel hassles and experiences, minds at work, humor, what lies ahead?, and an interconnected world.

Top Notch Fundamentals contains 14 units consisting of eight pages each, covering the following topics: names and occupations, relationships, directions and transportation, people, events and times, clothes, home and work, activities, weather and ongoing activities, past events, appearance and health, abilities and requests, and past, present, and future plans. Top Notch 1 contains 10 units consisting of 12 pages each, covering the following topics: getting acquainted, going out, talking about families, coping with technology, eating in, dining out, staying in shape, finding something to wear, getting away, taking transportation, and shopping smart.

Top Notch 2 contains 10 units consisting of 12 pages each, covering the following topics: greetings and small talk, movies and entertainment, staying at hotels, cars and driving, personal care and appearance, eating well, psychology and personality, enjoying the arts, living with computers, and ethics and values. Top Notch 2 is also available in two separate volumes, Top Notch 2A and Top Notch 2B, each containing five units from Top Notch 2. These two individual volumes would work well in shorter-length courses that focus on conversation or culture.

Top Notch 3 contains 10 units consisting of 12 pages each, covering the following topics: cultural literacy, health matters, getting things done, life choices, holidays and traditions, disasters and emergencies, books and magazines, inventions and technology, controversial issues, and enjoying the world.

Top Notch and Summit are two must-have titles for programs that want integrated-skills materials with excellent technology integration and teacher and student supplements. The titles can be easily adapted to a short-term or a long-term course and can be integrated into content-based curricula with little effort. In addition, because of the supplemental materials, these titles could serve well as laboratory curricula to provide targeted practice of skills. These titles have my full support, and I believe that any program that tries them will very quickly see their benefits.

Dr. Alan D. Lytle, the teaching director of the Intensive English Language Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA, has a background in second and foreign language education (ESL/EFL, German, and French) as well as 18 years of ESL teaching experience at all levels, in academic-preparation programs, conversation programs, English-for-special-purposes programs, and topic-specific programs.


Book review of The Internet and the language classroom, (2nd ed) by G. Dudeney

Marti Sevier, msevier@sfu.ca

Dudeney, G. (2007). The Internet and the language classroom (2nd ed). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

The use of computers in English language teaching is by now so well established that a book like The Internet and the Language Classroom hardly seems necessary. However, Gavin Dudeney, the author of this book as well as a number of other CALL-related publications, observes that despite the burgeoning changes in Internet technology, “language schools and centres [still exist] around the world where the computers sit gathering dust and the teachers ignore their existence” (2007, pp. 1-2). Hence, a second edition of this book, part of the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series, has been brought out to meet the training needs of neophyte netheads.

Gavin Dudeney is clearly up to the job. As his c.v. indicates (The Internet, 2007), he worked in information technology for 17 years, teaching and training teachers in CALL around the world for International House Organization and the British Council, before setting up his own educational training company, The Consultants-E, which runs distance education programs. Dudeney is also active in a virtual world called Second Life, where he runs a training organization called EduNation.

The question of ghostly computer labs aside, a look at the chart below shows that Internet usage, while certainly digitally divided, is nonetheless a global phenomenon (Percent of Population, 2007). However, the focus of activities in this book is very heavily Western; in fact, some North American readers may have difficulties with the Brit-centric approach to some of the activities. On the whole, though, The Internet and the Language Classroom is easily adaptable and user-friendly.

The text is divided into five sections. The first section is Guidelines; designed for the beginning Internet user, this section provides illustrations and basic information, definitions of Internet terms, clear illustrations, lots of frequently asked questions, and tips and suggestions for hands-on activities (including the brave suggestion of e-mailing the author). The next section, Activities, is the longest section, providing a wide range of Internet-based language-learning activities; the provided activities range from beginner to advanced levels, and elementary to young adult ages. The following section, Tools for Online Work, provides information about project work, such as webquests, blogs and wikis, chat, and other Web publishing ideas. The section on Teacher Development gives information on electronic discussion lists such as TESL-L and lots of URLs for online teaching materials such as Macmillan’s OneStopEnglish. In the last section, Dudeney provides a brief list of useful Web sites for teachers. A glossary of Internet terminology and an appendix composed of Web site evaluation and student release forms complete the text.

The bulk of the text is section two, Activities, which provides language aims, focus, level, estimated timing, and URLs for 55 activities. Many of these activities are also accompanied by forms or handouts of some kind, so very little preparation is required. The majority use specific sites as a basis for reading activities which then act as springboards into tasks such as designing a house or planning a vacation.

Because my EAP students occasionally do primary research as part of their research papers, I found one Web site listed in an activity, “Mister Poll” (http://www.misterpoll.com), very intriguing as it posts dozens of surveys and enables users to create their own survey, with options for keeping it private or public and using their own or the Mister Poll Web site.
Though the activities look interesting and engaging, it was difficult to locate many that would appeal to learners in higher education; most seemed designed for general ESL rather than EAP. However, some, including one called “Disaster area” (Dudeney, 2007, p. 96) would work well in a course in which global issues are discussed. This one asks students to rank a set of problems and then research the most serious ones on a Yahoo site before reporting back to the class. As a follow-up, Dudeney provides useful information about the Hunger Site (http://www.thehungersite.com), at which a donation is made to poor countries each time a visitor clicks on a button. In addition to the concern expressed above, another difficulty with the activities from an EAP perspective is that few would enable students to refine their search skills, as they must do when writing research reports.   Despite information in the Guidelines section on searching, no practice activities are provided in this area; in fact, few of the tasks are truly open-ended, but rather use specific Web sites. However, a number of tasks did involve some kind of ranking or expression of preference as a means of narrowing the search on the prescribed site.

To summarize, most of the activities in The Internet and the Language Classroom use online information as a springboard to more task-based activities, such as “Design Your Own Theme Park,” or “Dream Home,” another design activity. The Web site evaluation form in the appendix is used in activities like “Teen Spirit,” which asks students to investigate and assess different sites written by teens.

I found Sections 3 and 4, Tools for Online Work and Teacher Development, respectively, to be the most useful and interesting sections of the text. In Tools for Online Work, practical advice is given on setting up more complex tasks such as e-pal projects and webquests, which are extended projects on topics that require the use of the Internet. Dudeney provides links to good models of webquests and to further information on setting them up. (I found Bernie Dodge’s page on webquests, http://webquest.sdsu.edu/about_webquests.html, especially good.) Additional online collaborative work can be done through blogging and wikis, and again, though information is quite thin in the book itself, Dudeney offers useful links to sites on these topics. This section closes with information on how to set up class webpages, with suggestions for project topics and themes. Section 4, Teacher Development, aims to provide further sources of information on online learning and teaching. As with Section 3, these topics are not discussed in depth, but can be considered a sort of tasting menu for those interested in moving beyond the Internet-as-information-source into the Internet as a medium of communication.

In addition to these sections, the book comes with a Web site, http://www.cambridge.org/elt/chlt/internet, which enables the reader to report broken links or send updates. Additional resources and plug-ins are also available on this site.

In short, instructors will find a lot to look at and think about in The Internet and the Language Classroom. Although activities with more of an academic focus would make the text more valuable to instructors in higher education, instructors working with teenagers in high school or college settings will find the text relevant and enjoyable.

References
Dudeney, G. (2007). The Internet and the language classroom. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
The Hunger Site (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2007, from http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1
The Internet and the Language Classroom—What’s New. (2007). Retrieved December 1, 2007, fromhttp://www.cambridge.org/elt/chlt/internet/whatsnew/intro.htm
Percent of population using Internet by region. (2007). Retrieved November 30, 2007, from http://www.data360.org/dsg.aspx?Data_Set_Group_Id=555

Marti Sevier teaches academic skills in the English Bridge Program at Simon Fraser University. She is a member of TESOL and BC TEAL.



Computer Technology “Big T” and “little t” Technology

Alan Dennis Lytle tesolcomptech@hotmail.com

“Technology integration,” “tech-enhancement,” and “teaching with technology” are the buzzwords of the day, dropped into almost every professional conversation.  While this implicitly assumes a common definition of “technology”, the truth of the matter is that there are many definitions for technology, and its use even more amorphous.  One definition of technology is “a broad concept that deals with a species' usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species' ability to control and adapt to its environment. In human society, it is a consequence of science and engineering, although several technological advances predate the two concepts” (Wikipedia, 2007). Howard Gardner’s concept of multiple intelligences tells us humans vary in their learning strengths, and technology can address all of them (Armstrong, 2000) The question is whether the technology needs to be high-level and expensive (BIG T) or if it can also be what we have at our fingertips (little t). How many of us have used our cell phones as a teaching instrument?  How many of us have used a coffee pot in the classroom as an instructional device?  What about a zipper? Technology does not always mean the most recent development in computers, bytes, wireless, or anything else electronic.  It can be any new development that enhances teaching. 

Borrowing a concept from ACTFL and the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, when talking about culture (“Big C” vs.” little c”), here “Big T” technology refers to the high-dollar items that we all would love to have in our classes.  The “little t” technology is represented by the personal technology that we personally have and use. Much of this technology is financially accessible and extremely portable.  Thus “Big T” would encompass items such as LCD projectors, computers for every student, document cameras, high-level software packages, wireless internet connections, and streaming video. “Little t” would be mp3/mp4 players, our own laptops or desktops, overhead projectors, free software (e.g. iTunes and free downloads), web site access, email, podcasts, vodcasts (free on iTunes and other web sites), VCRs, CD/DVD players (large or small), web cameras, and personal digital recorders.

By starting with the “little t” technology, we can begin the technology integration into our instruction so that when we get the bonus of access to the “Big T” technology, we can immediately demonstrate its advantages to the people who purchased it for us (i.e. administrators, granting agencies, school districts, etc.). 

Little ‘t’ technology plays another critical role. While many new teachers have been raised with access to all forms of technology and feel at a disadvantage when not able to use it, more seasoned teachers may not have had the advantage of being exposed to much technology and feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to re-plan everything, develop new plans, and learn new techniques. As seasoned teachers try to adapt to everything at once, they may find they can’t function with the “BIG T” technology and give up. This is why the “little t” technology is so important.  It is where every teacher began or begins, no matter the experience level or the age.  The “little t” is the starting point, either because of knowledge/comfort level or financial constraints.  “BIG T” should be our aim.

As grammar and pronunciation are the tools of language for the skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and culture, “Big T” and “little t” technology are the tools to the skills of teaching and learning.  With daily advancements in educational technology, none of us will ever truly have access to the most-advanced all the time because the next advancement is just around the corner. Rather, we need to make the most out of using what we do have to enhance our profession.  Additionally, most of us are probably working with language learners who have always had technology as part of their lives.  Not making use of it isn’t “normal” for them.  Technology gives the teacher another connection with the students and gives them one more way of demonstrating what they know, which in turn plays directly into proficiency assessment. As any veteran teacher will say, a good teacher can teach under a tree with a stick and some dirt to write in. Anything in addition to this makes access to the content easier and more interesting for the teacher and the learner. Whether or not we have access to technology doesn’t hinder the learning process. Students will learn regardless, as long as they have well-trained, knowledgeable teachers. Technology and its access are just more means to the end of language proficiency.

References
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.  (2007).  National Standards for Foreign Language Education.  Retrieved September 15, 2007, fromhttp://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3392.
Armstrong, T.  (2000).  Multiple Intelligences.  Retrieved December 15, 2007, from http://www.thomasarmstrong.com/multiple_intelligences.htm.
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2007). Technology. Retrieved December 15, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology.

Dr. Alan D. Lytle, the teaching Director of the Intensive English Language Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA, has a background in Second and Foreign Language Education (ESL/EFL, German, and French), as well as 18 years of ESL teaching experience at all levels, in academic-preparation programs, conversation programs, English-for special-purposes programs, and in topic-specific programs.

 



Announcements and Information Member Story: Gena Bennett

Gena Bennett began her ESL career ten years ago as an English major at Arkansas Tech University. She was preparing for what she thought would be law school, but things did not turn out as planned. A professor in her department asked Gena to tutor some of his Taiwanese graduate students. Always interested in other cultures and especially in earning some extra cash, Gena began tutoring. She found that she enjoyed teaching and that her students seemed to do well under her tutelage. Still planning to attend law school, Gena moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband upon graduation from college.

After a time of self-reflection and asking some hard questions, Gena decided that law school was not for her. As she tried to figure out her calling, Gena thought about all of the experiences she had. Of everything she knew, what would give her a sense of fulfillment and pay the bills? Her thoughts turned to her Taiwanese students whom she tutored for two years. She never thought of the sessions as work; she enjoyed putting together lessons and study plans, and the measurable improvement of her students satisfied her need for tangible results. Teaching English to non-native speakers…are there a lot of opportunities to do that? Silly question in metro Atlanta. Within 5 miles of her apartment, there were multiple private academies and public community colleges with evening ESL programs for the large immigrant population. With no contacts other than an extensive list of potential employers (the result of a Google search), Gena bravely cold-called and sent resumes to more than 30 ESL programs in search of a job teaching ESL in the evenings. She accepted a position at a community ESL program offered at DeKalb Technical College, and during her fourteen months there, Gena found her calling.  Her students considered her classes very challenging, but they were speaking English better than they ever thought they could. They began skipping class when they knew that their “level-up” tests were being given. They did not want to move up a level if it meant leaving Gena’s class. Her classes, made up of local immigrants who came to the free program in the evenings after working long days, were the best attended at the school.  She loved her job, and she was good at it.

Fast-forward eight years. Gena now holds an M.A. in Applied Linguistics/ESL from Georgia State University and doesn’t spend much time cold calling for opportunities to teach. A regular presenter at ESL conferences and seminars from Seattle to Nashville, Augusta to Seoul, Gena has received numerous emails requesting her presentations at various programs and/or asking for one of the many tools that she has created for ESL teachers. In 2004, Gena became interested in materials writing.  She has co-authored several publications, as well as contributed to numerous others. Her main focus these days is corpus linguistics. Putting together a proposal for a teacher resource book focusing on practical classroom applications for corpora, presenting workshops on the same topic, and freelance materials writing keep Gena busy.
Gena also keeps busy involved in the TESOL organization. She volunteers as the chair of the Christian Educators in TESOL Caucus, the Reviews Editor of the Higher Education Interest Section Newsletter, serves on the TESOL Advisory Group to the Board Standing Committee on Membership, and will become an incoming co-chair for the Materials Writers Interest Section this spring.

In addition to her professional and educational success, Gena is a Navy spouse who often finds herself playing the role of single mom to her 16-month-old son as her husband deploys worldwide with his job. Their next duty assignment is the United Kingdom.  Gena is excited to learn a new culture and study under some of the pioneers in her chosen field, Corpus Linguistics. She has recently been accepted into the postgraduate program in the Department of English at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Gena looks forward to continue growing professionally, making new friends in ESL, and teaching ESL students and educators worldwide.



About This Community 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.

HEIS Community Leaders 2007-2008
Chair: Denis Hall, d.hall@snhu.edu
Assistant Chair: Frank Smith  fsmit2@gpc.edu
Chair-Elect: José Carmona carmona1661@bellsouth.net
Editor: Maria Parker, mgparker@duke.edu
Book reviews editor: Gena Bennett, genabennett@yahoo.com
Computer Tech editor: Alan Denis Lytle tesolcomptech@hotmail.com

Discussion E-List: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected to subscribe to HEIS-L, the discussion list for HEIS members.


Call for Submissions

Get involved - consider contributing to our newsletter! 
Please consider submitting an article for the August-September issue.
The HEIS newsletter welcomes articles that apply to classroom situations and that focus on ESL/EFL pedagogy, second language acquisition, academic literacy, language assessment, applied socio- and psycholinguistics, advocacy, administration, and other related areas. Given the newsletter's electronic format, authors are encouraged to include hyperlinks.

Submission Guidelines
Full-length articles and brief reports should

  • be no longer than 1,500 words
  • include a 50-word (500 characters or fewer) abstract
  • contain no more than five citations
  • follow the style guidelines in Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition (APA)
  • be in MS Word (.doc) or rich-text (.rtf) format

Please direct submissions and questions to Maria Parker, mgparker@duke.edu.

Note: It is not necessary to have an article complete and ready for submission to contact us! Please feel free to get in touch at any stage of the process - we are happy to answer any questions and work with you in developing or refining a topic. 

The deadline for submissions to HEIS 27-2 is June 30, 2008


Call for Book Review Submissions

Book reviews are always a very popular feature of the newsletter, Book review guidelines are below. To request or suggest a book for review and for details, including submission deadlines, please contact the book review editor, Gena Bennett at genabennett@yahoo.com.

Gena is currently seeking reviewers for the following books:

Bloch, J. (2007).  Technologies in the second language composition classroom. University of 
Michigan Press:  Ann Arbor, MI.

Flores, K. (2008). What every ESL student should know.  University of Michigan Press:  Ann 
Arbor, MI.

Jamieson, J. & Chapelle, C. (2008).  Tips for teaching with CALL.  Pearson ESL:  New York, 
NY.

Rost, M.  (2007). Longman English interactive online.  
http://www.longmanenglishinteractive.com/home.html

Zemach, D. & Stafford-Yilmaz, L.  (2008).  Writers at work.  Cambridge University Press:  
Cambridge, UK.

Submission Guidelines
HEIS News welcomes reviews of scholarly books and textbooks dealing with English teaching, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, language assessment, or other disciplines as they relate to ESL or TESL instruction in higher education settings. Anyone interested in writing a review for HEIS News may choose a recent book in the field and contact the editor for approval. Reviews will be considered for publication based on the quality of the reviewer's evaluation and description of the book, and the book's relevance and importance to the field.

Reviews should
* be 600-900 words in length
* include a 50-word (500 character or fewer) abstract
* include a 75-100 word bio of the reviewer
* follow the style guidelines in Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition (APA)
* be in MS Word (.doc) or rich-text (.rtf) format

Go to http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=174&DID=1644 to read a sample book review. 


Call for Computer/Information Technology Submissions

Computer and information technology are a growing part of our professional lives.
The HEIS News Computer Technology section welcomes articles and reviews of websites or other materials that use technology in ESL/EFL teaching, applied linguistics, second language acquisition, language assessment, or other disciplines in higher education settings. Please contact the Computer Technology editor, Dr. Alan D. Lytle at tesolcomptech@hotmail. com with your suggestions, ideas, or questions (including submission deadlines).