IEP Newsletter

IEP News, Volume 26:2 (November 2006)

by User Not Found | 10/26/2011
In This Issue...
Leadership Updates Letter from the Chair

Nancy Storer, E-mail: nstorer@du.edu

Dear IEP-IS Members,

Since this is our first newsletter since the 2006 TESOL Convention in March, I'd like to welcome all new and returning IEP-IS members.  I'll return to the convention in a moment, but first I have to express my deep admiration for and great thanks to Liz Anderson, our past chair and past director of the Intensive English Language Program at the University of New Orleans.  During a year in which she saw her campus close and her students scattered to other states because of Katrina, Liz continued to guide the Interest Section and come up with creative ideas.  If you attended TESOL 2006, you probably received the fruits of one idea: the bright red buttons reading "We are Intense! IEP-IS."  Liz has recently taken an administrative position with a local public school district, and we wish her well in this new position! 


Current IEP-IS Chair Nancy Storer and Past IEP-IS Chair Liz Anderson, at TESOL 
2006.  (Photograph property of Judy Dillon, IEP-IS Historian, and used wit her 
consent.)

As an Interest Section, we had a very successful conference in Tampa.  Our Academic Session focused on learning disabilities and IEP students.  This has been a topic of concern in our field for many years, but little research has been done specifically with ESL students.  Our presenters, Nancy Cloud, Catherine Collier, and Andrea Heyman, provided us with helpful information, suggestions, and resources to address the needs of those students we suspect may have learning disabilities.  We also participated in an InterSection, "Managing Multilevel Classes at an IEP," with the Program Administration IS.  Because so many programs have had to combine levels in the last few years due to low enrollment, this was a timely session.

For those of you who were unable to attend the 2006 Convention (and also those of you who did and simply couldn't get to all the presentations you wanted to attend!), TESOL has put audiovisual recordings of some of the sessions on its website (www.tesol.org).   Click on 2006 Convention under the 2007 Convention heading to access the recordings.  This is a wonderful additional to the professional development opportunities offered to TESOL members!

We're already looking forward to TESOL 2007 in Seattle (March 20-24, 2007).  The theme of the convention is "Spanning the Globe: Tides of Change."  I am very pleased to report that the IEP-IS had more than 300 proposals submitted for the program!  The unfortunate news is we were allocated only 36 45-minute slots, which means that many very fine proposals could not be accepted.  Some of these will morph into discussion or poster sessions; I hope others will be resubmitted as proposals next year.  To all those who read and rated proposals, a big thanks!  This process depended on your willingness to donate your time and effort. 

Finally, I wish you all well as we begin this new academic year.  I look forward to chairing the IS for the rest of the year and to meeting many of you in Seattle this spring!

 



Articles and Information Motivating Students Revisited

Dr. Sufian Abu-Rmaileh, E-mail: sufian12000@yahoo.com

Introduction
Intensive English Program (IEP) students face many challenges that make their attempt at learning English a difficult one. The first and foremost challenge is that IEP students come from different countries whose language learning and teaching processes are different from the program in which they are enrolled. The challenge could be in the way teaching is done. Some countries use techniques that are teacher-centered. The students are passive learners where they sit in the classroom, listening to a lecture given by the teacher. The students don't get involved at all. The students in a teacher-centered classroom don't feel that they are important. They are not interested in the subject matter because they don't have or they are not given the opportunity to participate in their learning. Furthermore, IEP students are faced with the challenge of collaboration with colleagues or working in groups. Many students are not used to the idea of working together in groups. Students think that they are better off working alone, trying to get better grades, competing against their colleagues, and not working with them. All those issues affect the students' disposition to learning.

IEP educators also face the challenge of dealing with those students who come from different countries. These educators need to be aware of what issues the students have faced in their countries before they enrolled in their programs. Resilient IEP educators need to be able to overcome those challenges and rise up to the occasion and help involve their students in the learning process. They need to know what needs to be done to help motivate students by including them in what is going on in the classroom. They need to support the students in many ways. They also need to be aware of individual differences affecting motivation and the different ways in which they can motivate their students.

It is essential for educators to try and help students succeed and achieve the goals that shape their future lives. This is especially true when "many pupils today are bored in school. Many drop-out. For students who stay in, schools frequently offer little encouragement to those who have talents extending beyond the ability to manipulate words and numbers" (Adams and Hamm 1990, p. 4). It is imperative that everyone involved in the education process do something about those students who drop out of schools, and who waste their talents because of one thing or another.

Students often feel that "their self perception, their school identity, and their image in their parents' eyes are at stake and are often emotionally more important to the student than cognitive mastery of the task itself. It also seems to us that the right to gain pleasure in study and inquiry, the right to master information, is not so easily recognized in the daily practice of schooling, especially for 'lower-stream' students" (Perret-Clermont, A., 1992, p. 337).  Educational practitioners must try and reach those students to change their attitudes, perceptions and behaviors. This reach is known as motivation. Motivation of students is the one concept that dominates the thinking of every educational administrator, teacher, student or parent.

Moreover, followers of motivation theory see that such theory is gaining continuous importance and attention in the field of education. Iphofen (1998) states that "theorizing about motivation in learning has progressed from basic stimulus-response ideas towards an interest in more authentic motivated accounts produced in learning dialogues" (p. 37). With this in mind, educators should be open-minded when dealing with the ideas and theories of motivation.

In this paper, the author will discuss the following: the concept of motivation, three different theories of motivation, the two categories of motivation, and the individual differences affecting motivation. And finally, some suggested ways of how to motivate students will be offered.

What is motivation?
Different authors have discussed the term motivation and what it means to them. Each one seems to have a different idea of what motivation is and its role in shaping and modeling better student attitudes and performance. 
Motivation in general means the "internal state or condition that activates behavior and gives it direction; … desire or want that energizes and directs goal-oriented behavior; … influence of needs and desires on the intensity and direction of behaviour" (Huitt, W. 2001). When experts talk about student motivation, they talk about how a student is willing or unwilling to be part of what is going around them in the school, in general, and in the classroom, in particular. Lumsden (1994) states that "student motivation naturally has to do with students' desire to participate in the learning process. But it also concerns the reasons or goals that underlie their involvement or noninvolvement in academic activities" (p. 1). For this author, motivation has to do with the desire and the goals behind someone's participation in any activity. According to Fallows and Ahmet (1999) it is the teacher's role to maximize motivation's positive attributes of the desire to please, degree of interest, values and beliefs, attitudes, aspirations and incentives and rewards.

Motivation Theories
Motivation theories attempt to explain how human motivation is affected and what causes people to act one way or the other. They explain how different factors affect human attitudes and behaviors and what authors and educational practitioners need to know in order to deal with different attitudes and behaviors that students show. In this section, three theories of motivation will be discussed.

1. Behavioural Theory
This theory has background in classical conditioning. Almost everyone knows the experiments of Ivan Pavlov, the famous Russian scientist who conducted experiments with his famous dogs. The gist of the theory "states that biological responses to associated stimuli energize and direct behaviour. Operant learning states the primary factor is consequences: the application of reinforcers provides incentives to increase behaviour; the application of punishers provides disincentives that result in a decrease in behaviour" (Huitt, 2001). This theory acts on the premise that people are motivated when they have outside rewards, incentives or consequences for the things that they do.

2. Attribution Theory
The attribution theory was originally developed in 1958 by Fritz Heider. This theory "proposes that every individual tries to explain success or failure of self and others by offering certain 'attributions.' These attributions are either internal or external and are either under control or not under control" (Huitt, 2001). One example of such theory would "include situations which may be positive or negative. A situation where individuals attribute their success to some external factor or their downfall to external factors, i.e., students that may have failed a test may externalize and attribute this failure to not studying well, studying the wrong material, the instructor did not give us this information" (Williams, 2006). Placing attributes to others is a typical way to motivate one's self and boost self-worth and self-confidence.

3. Humanistic Theory
This theory is based on Abraham Maslow's human hierarchy of needs.  These needs dictate the way people behave in the environment in which they are situated. Once those needs are met, "one can then experience the need to achieve your potential, that of self-actualization, as Maslow says 'What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature. This need we may call self-actualization.' Finally a need go beyond the ego or to help others achieve their self-actualization is experienced" (Droar, 2006). These needs start from the physiological, to safety, to the need for love and belongingness, to self-esteem needs and finally, reaching a stage of self-actualization. Once individuals have achieved all of their needs, then they have become independent, reaching beyond their potential.

Categories of Motivation
In this section, two categories of motivation will be discussed. It is important to remember that these two categories of motivation do not necessarily mean a clear cut line between the two. Motivation is not either black or white. People are definitely not one way or the other. Students are the same. They are a combination of many things occurring at the same time. Students could have or lack motivation that they bring with them (intrinsic), or have or lack motivation that comes from the outside (extrinsic).

Intrinsic motivation
As the term suggests, intrinsic motivation comes from within the person. Intrinsic motivation is used to explain why people find a certain activity or project fun, satisfying and pleasurable. Individuals who are intrinsically motivated work alone or on team projects, feeling the inner satisfaction that they get from such activities. In addition, "intrinsically motivated students actively engage themselves in learning out of curiosity, interest, or enjoyment, or in order to achieve their own intellectual and personal goals" (The Burrow Literature- Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation, 2006).

This kind of motivation finds people doing things for the inner rewards that they are provided. Intrinsic motivation triggers high interest learners bring with them, enabling them to go beyond what is being offered by the teacher or the course. With intrinsic motivation, students have interests in the activity they are doing for its own sake. They have a desire to succeed and perform well, bringing enthusiasm, commitment and a sense of significance to the tasks to which they are assigned. In addition, "these individuals are often diverted from tasks that are relevant to goal attainment in order to pursue tasks which are intrinsically more enjoyable" (Scholl, 2002, p. 1). For those students pleasure and interest play a major role in their participation in various activities.

Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation comes from the outside factors that affect people. This kind of "motivation comes from an external source that encourages or fosters an individual to succeed" (Brown, 2002). It comes from the premise that people look for recognition and validation from entities around them.

In reference to students, extrinsic motivation applies when students expect their teachers and/or peers, as an external source, to recognize them and validate their actions. Students look for such validation in their teachers' words, actions, rewards and recognitions. Extrinsic rewards that teachers use to motivate students and them feel better about what they are doing include grades, awards, citations, etc... Finally, "school practices that seek to motivate students extrinsically include publicly recognizing students for academic achievements; giving out stickers, candy, and other rewards; and taking away privileges, such as recess, on the basis of students' academic performance" (The Burrow Literature- Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation, 2006). Teachers ought to be ready with their bags of tricks to help motivate students who look for the stamp of approval from the people around them.

Individual differences affecting motivation
As has been seen so far, students are intrinsically and/or extrinsically motivated. However, there are many individual differences that affect motivation and the students' dispositions to learning. In this section, some of the individual differences that affect motivation are discussed.

1. Age: When it comes to age differences, it's known for a fact that children are motivated differently from adults. Young children, too, are motivated differently from teenagers. Tools of motivation that fit one age group might not be suitable for another age group. Teachers need to take age appropriateness motivational tools into consideration when they encourage, inspire and motivate students. They should realize that one word, gesture or behavior that is acceptable to one age-group could trivialize or destroy the efforts of another.

2. Sex/gender: As a teacher, one cannot think that just because one has students of the same age group that they are all the same. Girls think and act differently from boys. What makes a boy happy in one class doesn't necessarily make a girl happy. One can't say "I tried motivational tools for everyone in class, but the girls are still not satisfied or that the boys are still lagging behind." Again, what works for a boy could destroy a girl's self-confidence, and what works for a girl, could drive a boy off the edge.

3. Hometown: We all carry baggage with us. People's hometowns could be a breaking point for people in terms of what pushes them to work harder or hinders their efforts. If a student comes from a rich town his/her motivation may be different from someone who comes from a poor, not well-to-do town. Students who come from a rural community need different motivational tools than students who come from urban areas. The motivational tools teachers use need to be appropriate and sensitive to the hometown to which students backgrounds belong.

4. Family background/status: Family status involves a lot of issues. It entails whether the student comes from a stable family with a healthy parent-child relationship, whether the student comes from a divorced family, an orphan family, or an adopted family. All of these affect the students' disposition and willingness to be motivated. Also, the number of siblings in the family affects one's motivation. If there were too many individuals in the family, how would that affect the person? The kind of siblings, too could affect students' motivation. If the siblings were boys or girls could be a helping issue or a put down.

5. Socio-economic status: Whether a student is rich or poor or whether he/she comes from a well-known or well-respected family or not makes a huge difference in how one is motivated. Students' attempts to run away from or embrace their socio-economic background play a major role in how motivated students are and how susceptible or willing they are in accepting outside motivation. In addition, culture plays a major role in one's disposition for motivation. That is why "it's important that teachers and the curricula be sensitive to the culture and interests of students. If these needs are not met, many students will escape from the negative consequences of 'poor academic performance' [and] seek satisfaction outside of school" (Adams and Hamm, 1990, p.4).

6. Developmental differences: People develop differently. Regardless of age, different people mature differently. One cannot assume that because one group of people is a certain age, they have the same attitudes and behaviours. It is known that people mature earlier or later than others. We have seen children not yet twelve look who like adults. We have certainly seen adult-aged people who look like children. These developmental changes also happen in school-aged children. Teachers need to be aware of developmental changes in their students.

Suggested ways to Motivate Students
Everyone knows how students are impressionable. Adults and, especially, teachers in close contact with students can have a detrimental effect on students' attitudes, behaviors and performance. Because of that "teachers have enormous power over how students view themselves. That power can be used to develop talent and release energy….or it can cause a crippling sense of inadequately and failure" (Adams and Hamm, 1990, p.6). Teachers should try different ways to motivate students. In this section, some suggested ways of how teachers can motivate students will be discussed.

1. Create a positive and constructive atmosphere
Whatever individual differences there are and whatever baggage one carries, a positive and constructive classroom environment dictates a positive, mutual working relationship. This healthy relationship reflects on learning. Students feel that they can contribute in positive classroom. They know that when they come to class, they are not going to be ridiculed and if they mess up, they would have consequences. However, those consequences are not going to be made in a derogative or demeaning manner.

2. Make students feel important and valued
When students feel important and that they are valued members of the classroom community, they feel that they are appreciated as individuals. Students need to know that they are important for the things that they do. In the classroom, teachers need to appreciate the efforts that individual students put in. Students would offer more and more, thinking that their contribution in class gets them recognition.

3. Make real world connections
Connecting learning to something that is close to the understanding of the students helps those students make close, relevant connections to their learning.  The student who understands things using technology would be better served using technology terms. We know that "the media are full of true stories that demonstrate the application of knowledge from various academic areas to real-world problems. When students see that content covered in their coursework can help to explain how actual, high-profile problems were created or solved, they can sense the real power of academic knowledge and its potential to affect human lives" (Wright, 2001). Teachers can always find stories and tools in the world that they can use to motivate students.

4. Vary teaching methods and techniques
Teachers who vary teaching methods capture the hearts and souls of students. Those teachers don't stick to one way of teaching to make students motivated. They use different ways to disseminate information. This is why "variety reawakens students' involvement in the course and their motivation. Break the routine by incorporating a variety of teaching activities and methods in your course: role playing, debates, brainstorming, discussion, demonstrations, case studies, audiovisual presentations, guest speakers, or small group work" (Gross, 2002, p. 2).

5. Arouse interest in the subject matter
When people do things that interest them, they become more involved in what they are doing. Teachers should capitalize on this issue and find out what interests the students, connecting what is being learned to what interests the students. We know that "teachers have always used game-like formats to liven up academic material and engage student interest. A teacher may decide, for example, to have a class review for an upcoming test by playing a game that follows the format of the TV game show, Jeopardy!... Humor and fast-paced instruction are also methods for making learning more lively and interesting" (Wright, 2001).

6. Make students active participants in their learning
Students need to feel that they are part of what they are doing. They need to feel that they own the information that they are dealing with. It is known that "students learn by doing, making, writing, designing, creating, solving. Passivity dampens students' motivation and curiosity" (Gross, 2002, p. 1). With this in mind, teachers should pull in the students by having them be willing participants in their learning. Teachers ought to include the students in coming up with ideas to spruce up the subject matter. When students participate in what they are doing, even if it is as simple as having students come up to the board to write something, it could improve students' self-confidence and motivation to learn.

7. Reward Students for their work
Students who do well should be acknowledged for that work. There are many incidents where students complained that they never got recognition for the work that they did. Everyone knows that "both positive and negative comments influence motivation, but research consistently indicates that students are more affected by positive feedback and success. Praise builds students' self-confidence, competence, and self-esteem. Recognize sincere efforts even if the product is less than stellar. If a student's performance is weak, let the student know that you believe he or she can improve and succeed over time" (Gross, 2002, p. 1). Good teachers always find something good to say to the students to motivate them.

8. Foster collaboration among students and not competition
Student collaboration improves performance. Group work and students working together on projects improves test results (Abu-Rmaileh and Hamdan, 2006). Also, competition produces unhealthy rivalry among students, pushing them to hate others who are performing better than they are. In addition, rivalry interferes with learning. Reducing students' tendencies to compare themselves to one another reduces tension and takes away useless time-wasting activities to impress others.

Conclusion
Many IEP students feel different and awkward about how they should act in a new program because of the different ways they were taught in their home countries. They are not willing to work in groups or to cooperate with their colleagues. They need good educators who can help them do better. It is up to the IEP teachers to try and help those students by finding different tools to help their students get motivated and succeed at what they are doing. Again, motivation is not an easy term to define. Motivation is seen as a goal directed activity that pushes people to modify their attitudes and behaviors, giving them a sense of direction. Motivation theories like the behavioral theory, the attribution theory and the humanistic needs theory affect a person's disposition to be motivated. In addition, motivation is seen as either intrinsic, extrinsic or both. Those categories of motivation explain how a person's learning abilities are affected. Also, individual differences affect how a person is motivated. Age, gender, hometown background, and others affect how a person's disposition to motivation is.

References

Abu-Rmaileh, S. and Hamdan, Kh. (2006). Improving Student Performance Using LAN School Broadcast. A paper presented at The Second Annual Conference for Middle East Teachers of Science, Mathematics and Computing (METSMaC 2006). Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Adams, D. M. and Hamm, M. E. (1990). Cooperative Learning: Critical thinking and collaboration across curriculum. Charles C. Thomas: Springfield, Illinois.
Brown, D. S. (2002). Student Motivation. Retrieved February 20, 2006 from http://tiger.towson.edu/~dbrown10/researchpaper.htm.
The Burrow Literature- Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation. (2006). Retrieved February 20, 2006 fromhttp://www.angelfire.com/wi2/moleman/lit/psychlit/iem.html.
Droar, D. (2006). Maslow's Hierarchy of Motivational Needs. Retrieved February 20, 2006 fromhttp://www.arrod.co.uk/archive/concept_maslow_hierarchy.php.
Fallows, S. and Ahmet, K. (1999). Inspiring students: An introduction. In Fallows, S. and Ahmet, K. (1999). Inspiring students: Case studies in Motivating the learner. Kogan Page Limited: London.
Gross, B. (2002). Motivating Students. Retrieved March 03, 2006 from http://teaching.berkeley.edu/bgd/motivate.html.
Huitt, W. (2001). Motivation to learn: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved March 03, 2006 fromhttp://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/motivation/motivate.html.
Iphofen, R. (1998). Understanding motives in Learning: Mature students and learner responsibility. In Brown, S., Armstrong, S, and Thompson, G. (1998).Motivating students. Kogan Page Limited: London.
Lumsden, L.S. (1994). Student motivation to learn. (ERIC Digest No. 92). Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 370 200).
Perret-Clermont, A., (1992). Transmitting Knowledge: Implicit negotiations in the student-teacher relationship. In Oser, F. K., Dick, A. and Patry, J. Eds. (1992).Effective and responsible teaching: The new synthesis. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, California.
Scholl, R. (2002). Sources of motivation approaches. Retrieved February 20, 2006 fromhttp://www.cba.uri.edu/Scholl/Notes/Sources_Inducement_Matrix.htm.
Williams, D. (2006). Attribution theory. Retrieved February 20, 2006 from http://www.peaceandhealing.com/attribution.asp).
Wright, J. (2001). Interventions Encouraging Student Academic Motivation. Retrieved February 20, 2006 fromhttp://www.interventioncentral.org/htmdocs/interventions/motivation.shtml.

 

Dr. Sufian Abu-Rmaileh is a lecturer at UAEU. He has taught ESL in the US, UAE, Jordan, Palestine. He is the Executive Treasurer of TESOL Arabia.


Area Studies in the Intensive English Program: Students’ Perspectives

Russell Fauss, rfauss@miyazaki-mic.ac.jp

Introduction

Background

There has been an increasing focus on content in IEP programs. This inclusion takes many forms: content units in skills-based courses, curriculum-wide thematic units, ESP courses, and required or elective content-based courses (Hafernik et al., 1996). Advantages and benefits of content-based language learning, in both ESL and EFL contexts, are well established. The advantages include the fact that language is taught in context, not in isolated bits, as can often be the case in skills-based courses. In addition, according to some research, content-based learning contains inherently greater interest and motivation (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994; Snow & Brinton, 1997).

Issues

However, there are also potential disadvantages and issues involved with this approach. For example, some teachers worry that a focus on content could take emphasis away from language skills (Harfernik & Hamrick, 1998). There is also the issue of which content to include; students who are in IEPs to improve their English skills before they enter universities may study in any of the full range of majors. In addition, there are also the students who are in IEPs for the short term, typically "on loan" from foreign universities for a short language and cultural experience. Their needs and interests are often quite different than those of the university-entry track students. How can IEPs meet the needs of both long- and short-term students in terms of content?

A Solution?

One promising solution to the dilemma of what content to teach is to offer courses in area studies. For this paper, the definition of area studies is any topic, unit, course, or curriculum in an ESL/EFL program that is content-based, focusing on the couture, people, or history or the town or city, region, or country where the program is located. There are several reasons for using area studies as the focus of the content. One is that area studies can be of interest and relevant to all students in the IEP, whether long or short term, provided the "area" in the area studies is the one in which the institution and students are located. Second, area studies are relatively content-neutral; they can be geared toward students of any future major. Conversely, area studies easily incorporate many content areas; for example, a course in a particular city can focus on its geography, history, architecture, economics, and so forth.

Motivation for the Study

The motivation for this study was to measure the effectiveness of such courses for students from Miyazaki International College (MIC) in Japan at their study abroad programs. We have a vested interest in content-based classes for two reasons. One, they are a key aspect of our own curriculum. Two, we require content-based work, specifically area studies, as a part of our required study abroad portfolio. Our students are strongly encouraged to take these classes, and we also encourage our study abroad partner schools to offer them. But are we right in emphasizing such classes? Their effectiveness is difficult to assess. However, one way to do so is to elicit student feedback directly.

Research Questions

I am interested in pursuing two factors for which research has been lacking up to now. First, much research has been done on content-based classes in general, but little for IEPs or area studies courses in particular. Second, much of the research is from the teachers' and/or researchers' perspectives; little has been done from the students' point of view. Therefore, my questions for this study are the following:

  • What are the benefits of content-based, specifically area studies focused, classes in IEPs from the students' perspectives?
  • How do they compare to skills-based courses in terms of both language learning and increased intercultural understanding?

Methodology

Subjects

The entire group of MIC students who went abroad for studies in fall 2004—80 in all—was sent a survey while they were still abroad, near the end of their study terms. The survey was voluntary, so many students did not respond. In all, 22 completed surveys were collected. The students were studying at as many as 19 different IEPs in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States. Some of these programs offered area studies courses, whereas others were strictly skills-based or incorporated content into classes in other ways.

Design and Data Collection

A 13-part survey form was written; it included a combination of yes/no, multiple-choice, and open-ended questions. It was written in both English and Japanese, and answers were allowed in either or both languages, to ensure that all students both understood the questions and could express themselves as fully as they wished. The survey was sent to all students by e-mail attachment; they had the option of sending the competed form back by e-mail, standard mail, or hand-delivery after they returned to MIC. Most students who responded answered the survey while they were still abroad, but a few waited until they returned to MIC. The survey examined only specific courses that were designated as content-based, areas studies themed; it did not focus on content that may have been presented in other formats, such as content units within skills-based courses. Such content was judged to be much more difficult to identify and isolate.

Survey Questions and Responses

"Did your school offer area studies courses?"

The first question of the survey asked whether the IEP program the student attended offered area studies courses. Of the 22 students who completed the survey, 10 responded that their programs offered such courses. Students whose programs did not offer areas studies courses were asked to go to the end of the survey for more questions.

"Were you qualified to take a course? Did you take one?"

All 10 students whose programs offered such courses took at least one. Students were also asked why they chose to take area studies courses. Of the 10, 4 replied that it was for MIC requirements, and 4 that it was a required part of their IEP's curriculum. Other responses included that the course seemed interesting, and that their proficiency level was high enough to take it. (Students could give more than one answer.)

"How much did the course help to improve your English language skills?"

Students were first asked to what extent they thought the course helped them to improve their English skills. Possible answers were "very much," "a lot," "somewhat," or "not at all." Of the 10 students, 3 responded "very much," 4 said "a lot," and 3 said "somewhat." Next students were asked to give reasons for their answers. The following were some of their positive responses:

  • The course included all four language skills
  • It included group activities, discussions, presentations, debates, and essays
  • It was a video class, so listening skills in particular improved

Some of the comments were negative:

  • The class focused mainly on content, not so much on language skills (two students)
  • It was not a serious academic class; it was mainly sightseeing or watching videos, with little academic content and few assignments (one student)

"Compare the benefits with your regular English classes in the IEP."

Next students were asked to compare the areas studies class with the regular (skills-based) classes they were also taking, in terms of how much the class helped them to improve their English skills. One student replied "more," six said "the same," and three said "less." Again, students were asked to give reasons for their responses, and to specify which aspects of language improved the most, if any. The following are representative of the positive comments:

  • Speaking/writing/listening improved most (depending on the student)
  • The class was not just lecture; we did discussion, debate, etc.
  • Videos were interesting, so motivation was high

Again, some comments were negative:

  • Other classes focused on English skills
  • This was not a serious academic class (one student)

"How much did the course improve your intercultural understanding?"

In the next group of questions, students were again asked how much they learned from the area studies course, this time in terms of intercultural understanding. Specifically, students were asked how much the course "helped you to understand the place, people, culture, etc. where you lived." Students could choose "very much," "a lot," "somewhat," or "not at all." This time, six students answered "very much," three said "a lot," and one replied "somewhat." Again, students were asked to give reasons for their responses; the following are representative of their answers:

  • We had exchanges with students from the host or other countries
  • We went on field trips, courthouse visits, etc.
  • We learned about the area's people, land, climate, history, native peoples, popular culture, people's character and self-image
  • The teachers were natives of the area; we could learn native points of view from them
  • I could compare with my own culture and understand differences

There was also one negative comment:

  • The class was not useful; we just learned the history of the area

Finally, students were asked the amount of intercultural understanding they gained in the area studies classes in comparison with their skills-based classes. Seven students responded that they learned more in the area studies class, and three replied that their learning was the same in both types of classes.

"Would you take an area studies class again?"

The next three questions on the survey were intended for all students, whether they took area studies classes or not. First, students were asked if they would take area studies classes on study abroad if they had the opportunity to do it again. Nineteen of the 22 students answered yes. They gave the following as their reasons:

  • for the MIC portfolio 
  • to learn about the area, people, and culture more deeply, in more detail
  • Area studies classes are more interesting than the regular English classes; regular English classes are too boring
  • The class helped me to adapt to the area
  • Learning about the area helps me to learn the language
  • I wanted to learn more about the place I stayed

"What contents are best for area studies classes?"

Students were next asked how much of the curriculum they thought should be devoted to areas studies, and what specific content of topics they believed would be most beneficial to students. Their responses to the first question varied greatly, but the most common answers were for "one class per week" (seven students) and "about half" (four students). As for topics and content, the following responses were given:

  • history (nine students), lifestyle, famous places, popular culture, issues and problems, religion, geography, politics, traditions, lifestyle, cultural comparisons

Some students also mentioned wanting certain activities to be part of the course, specifically field trips to sightseeing spots and local institutions.

"If you did not take an area studies class, what effects did this have?"

The last question of the survey asked students who did not take area studies classes abroad whether they felt that this had any affect on their language learning or intercultural understanding while overseas. Only a few students responded to this question:

  • It was hard to take note of everything [in the area/culture] by myself; a class would make it easier to take note of history, customs, etc.
  • Without it, cultural exchange was not so interesting; I went home without knowing much
  • I couldn't learn much about the place. I used a guidebook, but it was mostly for tourists and too limited. I wanted to learn things that I could only learn there.

Analysis of Responses

Students' reasons for taking areas studies classes were predictable. As MIC strongly encourages taking such courses, not surprisingly, a fair number of students named this as a reason. Requirements on the part of the IEP were the other main reason. Initially, most students took these classes because they were encouraged or required to do so, rather than out of their own personal interest.

Improvement in English Language Skills

The majority of students (seven) commented that their area studies classes helped them to improve their English skills "very much" or "a lot." In comparison with their skills-based English classes, however, only one claimed to learn more in the content-based format. On the other hand, the majority (six) stated that they learned as much English in area studies as in skills-based classes. This response arguably represents success, because the students here are getting "two for one"; they are gaining English proficiency while at the same time gaining cross-cultural knowledge.

Still, 3 of the 10 students felt that they learned less English in the area studies format. There are several possible reasons for this. Perhaps the critics of content-based English are right; perhaps students truly learn less English because the content is a distraction. On the other hand, students' evaluations may have been the result of a course that was not well constructed or conducted; certainly, creating a good content-based English course is a challenge, and perhaps some teachers are not doing it well.

Finally, students' expectations about language learning may be at the root of the perception that "the class focused on content, not so much on language skills." Such a format may be unfamiliar to many second language students. Lack of understanding of the aims of the content-based approach may be behind such negative comments. Perhaps what is needed here is better explanation by the teacher or program regarding this approach.

Improvements in Intercultural Understanding

Concerning the perceptions of benefits of area studies in terms of cross-cultural knowledge and understanding, the responses were predictably much more positive. Nine of ten students stated that they gained "very much" or "a lot" from these courses. Along the same lines, 7 of 10 students felt that they gained more cultural understanding from their area studies courses than from their skills-based classes. Certainly, students also learned much from their out-of-class experiences abroad, but the case can be made that more is better, particularly when the cultural content is likely to be more coherent, not in the haphazard fashion likely to be experienced outside of class.

The comments regarding what types of area studies content the students would like to have were revealing. Surprisingly, history was chosen by nine students, by far the most-mentioned subject. I had not known our students to be so keen on history before they went abroad! Perhaps the experience of being in another culture brought out the relevance of history for the students. Several other serious academic topics were mentioned as well, including geography, politics, religion, and sociology. It may be that because ours is a liberal arts college, our students value such fields more than scientific, technical or business subjects, for example, which might be more favored by typical long-term IEP students.

The one negative comment regarding this was from the student who complained that the content was "just the history of the area." Perhaps the content could have been a bit more varied, but to me this comment suggests a student who was not interested in serious study, or at least in history. Or, perhaps the student did not understand the aims of the content-based approach; this situation would be unlikely in the case of MIC students, however, because they have experience in the approach before studying abroad.

There was also the case of the student who was unhappy with the area studies course because it was perceived as not having serious academic English or content goals. This student's comments were quite revealing and significant. The student complained that the class was not "a serious academic class" and that it was "just sightseeing." In my experience as a study abroad director, coordinating with many different IEP programs, I know that such "courses" exist; typically, though, they are elective classes, perhaps offered mainly for the benefit of short-term "study tourist" groups that make up a significant part of the population of many IEP programs, rather than for the students who plan to enter university at the institution.

Conclusions

Significance of the Study

A few students specified the MIC curriculum and portfolio requirements as a reason for taking or wanting to take area studies; this response was expected. In fact, however, such comments were fewer than expected. In the end, most students saw real benefits for themselves in these courses, outside the requirements of the program.

Clearly, the students in this study had a bias in favor of content-based classes. They had experience with these before embarking on study abroad, and they were encouraged to take area studies classes while abroad. Also because area-studies-based work was required in their portfolios, it is quite likely that these students would be favorably inclined toward such classes. If this survey were given to long-term and short-term IEP students separately, the results might vary widely. I predict that the MIC students' responses would more closely resemble those of long-term students.

For the most part our students also favored content in serious academic fields. In this respect they may be more similar to the university-bound IEP students rather than to the short-term visitors in terms of their needs and wishes.

The case of the student who viewed the area studies course as frivolous has valuable lessons for IEP teachers and administrators. The first lesson, of course, is not to make such classes frivolous. Any course that is a part of the curriculum should have clear language—and, I argue, content—objectives. The matter of sightseeing trips as a part of the course is delicate; many students want these, and they can be of great value as well. But perhaps it would be better to separate sightseeing excursions from the course curriculum, unless the trips are clearly tied to English and cultural development and are connected with concrete academic work in the class. It may be necessary to have different tracks of courses for short- and long-term students, but the bottom line is that anything that is considered to be a course in the curriculum should be taken seriously in terms of its academic content.

Overall, the results suggest that area studies can be a strong asset to an IEP program if they are well designed, and if the aims of the content-based approach are made clear to students. This study has shown that students have the potential to learn at least as much English, and certainly more about the host culture, as they could in standard skills-based courses.

Limitations of the Study

The sample of only 10 students who actually took area studies courses was quite limited. The response rate was perhaps too low to be significant, even if only for our own school. The few who responded may have been among the more serious-minded of our students academically, which may have skewed the results, particularly on what sorts of content they wanted to study.

This type of study should be done for students who have no experience with content-based language learning and who have no vested interest in learning in this way. Many international students beginning their studies at IEPs likely fall in this group. Of course, if they are in the IEP because they intend to take university studies, content-based classes may be a big advantage to them; however, they may not be conscious of this.

This sort of survey would be good for IEPs themselves to do, to determine the effectiveness of their own area studies courses, or so that other IEPs considering adding them could determine whether and how to do so.

References

Chamot, A., & O'Malley, J. (1994). The CALLA handbook. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Hafernik, J., & Hamrick, J. (1998). IEP faculty perceptions of content-based instruction. Journal of Intensive English Studies, 12, 53-74.
Hafernik, J., et al. (1996). What are IEPs really doing about content? Journal of Intensive English Studies, 10, 31-47.
Snow, M., & Brinton, D., Eds. (1997). The content-based classroom: Perspectives on integrating language and content. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Russell Fauss teaches English at Miyazaki International College in Japan, where he was the director of its study abroad program from 2001 through 2004. 


Reframing the Argument for Intensive English Programs

R. Michael Medley, Ph.D., E-mail: medley@emu.edu

The threat to IEPs is more than financial
Up until 2001 intensive English programs needed little to justify their continued existence on university campuses other than the fact that many of them earned revenue for the university from international students eager to enter the academic mainstream.  Creative IEP administrators and teachers were doing their best to prepare international students for the rigors of higher studies, moving their programs more in the direction of content-based ESL instruction as the soundest means for their students to acquire English for academic purposes.

Then came September 11.  As the front line in American international education, IEPs became the first institutions to feel the effects of decreasing international enrollments:

  • a 19.1% decline in IEP enrollments between 2002 and 2003 
  • a 30% decline in summer program enrollments between summer 2001 and summer 2003 (Judd-Price, 2003).  
  • for the first time in 32 years a 2.4% decrease in the total number of international students in the US in 2004 (Institute of International Education, 2004) 
  • several large intensive English programs closed in the past 3 years

But finances have not been the only factor. For example, the University of California at Berkeley's intensive English program earned a profit of $4.69 million in the 2002-03 fiscal year (Burress, 2004).  According to school officials, the English language program didn't "fit the school's changing mission."  Even though an internal review of the program concluded that it was not "Berkeley appropriate, Berkeley quality," the director of a private program in the area remarked how shocked she was because "they had a wonderful program there." (Burress, 2004).  Kimberly Green, a nine-year veteran of the Berkeley program's teaching staff, was reported as saying "It's not just teaching past-progressive tense…There is a level of critical thinking on world issues and how these issues intersect that's part of our classes."

There were probably many complex political factors involved in shutting down Berkeley's intensive English program.  The extension dean, for example, saw the ELP as "diluting the brand name, UC Berkeley" (Burress, 2004). The assumption appears to be that intensive English program students cannot engage in intellectually rigorous academic studies.  Even if IEPs implement enriched content-based language teaching programs (see Johns, 2001, Brinton & Snow, 1997, and Crandall & Kaufman, 2002), still university administrators may perceive no immediate benefit to the larger academic community because the IEP is self-contained and its academic life does not often intersect with the intellectual life on the rest of the campus.

Fundamental resistance to continuing intensive English programs may spring from the strongly held belief that intensive English instruction is peripheral to the mission of the institution because IEP students lack potential for contributing to academic programs while they are learning the language.  If these are the ultimate premises for marginalizing or eliminating IEPs, then those of us in the business of running IEPs need to explore how we can reframe the case for EAP models that link English language instruction and IEP students with content classes across the curriculum.  I suggest one fruitful way of reframing our case is to look at research that has grown from lawsuits against university admissions policies that have attempted to implement affirmative action policies.

The value of diversity in higher education
What we learn from research on diversity in higher education is that both large scale surveys and small qualitative case studies show that social and academic encounters with racial & ethnic diversity benefit students from all backgrounds, especially the majority White student population.  Some of the benefits of diverse campuses and classrooms include better retention rate, better overall satisfaction with the college experience, enhancement of intellectual and social self-concepts, and an improved quality of campus environment for all students.

Diversity in the classroom…

spurs intellectual engagement
According to data from the University of Michigan Cooperative Institutional Research Program, "Students who experienced the most racial and ethnic diversity in classroom settings and in informal interactions with peers showed the greatest engagement in active thinking processes, growth in intellectual engagement and motivation, and growth in intellectual and academic skills" (Gurin, 1999).

encourages critical thinking
Gurin's studies have also shown that structuring interactions among diverse groups is important:  "racial and ethnic diversity is especially likely to increase effortful, active, engaged thinking when universities set up the conditions that capitalize on these positive environmental features, namely when they offer courses that deal explicitly with racial and ethnic diversity and when they provide a climate in which students from diverse backgrounds frequently interact with each other" (1999).

increases complexity of thought
Marin's case studies (2000) show how interactions in multi-ethnic/-racial classrooms make an impact on learning even when racial or ethnic concerns are not part of syllabus.  Interacting with diverse classmates, they receive more chances to have their stereotypes challenged, their ability to detect bias in course materials increases, and they are more self-aware of their own beliefs and patterns of thinking.   The professors involved in Marin's study thought educational potential was magnified; they welcomed diverse student input because it went beyond their own limited perspectives.  They affirmed that collectively a diverse class generates more complex thought and that even tensions arising from interactions enhance the learning experience.

reflects what universities say that they value
Survey research shows that faculty and universities across the United States do value diversity on their campuses (Maruyama & Moreno, 2000).  Gudeman (2000) examined the mission statements of 28 selective liberal arts college and also confirmed a positive attitude toward diversity.   The increasing popularity of study-abroad programs also testifies to a growing appreciation for the benefits of wrestling with diverse viewpoints. The annual Open Doors report of the Institute for International Education (Nov. 2005) notes that since 2000-01 the number of US students studying abroad has increased by 20% including increases of 8.5% and 9.6% in the previous two academic years.  However, the report also notes that American students are studying abroad for shorter periods of time than in the past (IIE, 2005). 

Nevertheless, the impact of US students coming back from studies abroad will probably have only a slight effect on their campuses. The proportion of US students studying abroad is less than 2% of the roughly 10 million full-time students who were enrolled in degree-granting institutions in 2002-03 (US Department of Education). While there were 191,321 US students studying abroad in 2003-04, nearly three times that number of international students were enrolled at US campuses.  Clearly, the significant number of international students on US campuses can have a valuable role to play if faculty know how to engage them in academic interactions that will benefit all students.  Intensive English programs could play a leading role in extending intercultural learning opportunities across the curriculum.

How IEPs can reframe the case for their existence
Intensive English programs that already have made extensive connections with the academic life of the campus through arrangement of adjunct courses, sheltered ESL courses, blocked curriculum, etc. should be more pro-active in promoting academic encounters between English language learners and other students.  Based on the research of Gurin and others, they can now make the case that the participation of language learners from diverse cultural backgrounds can spur all students to engage more deeply "in active thinking processes, [and to grow] in intellectual engagement and motivation, and … in intellectual and academic skills."   In order to achieve academically beneficial cross-cultural encounters, IEPs will need to 
devise collaborative projects for English language learners and undergraduate students with the following characteristics: both English language learners and undergraduate students must

  • have a chance to exercise critical thinking skills 
  • be expected to make significant contributions to the each others' learning process
  • debrief their cross-cultural learning experiences and
  • be guided in working out the implications of cross-cultural perspectives for learning across the disciplines.

LILAC—A more with less approach
Intensive English programs which have not found it feasible to implement blocked curriculum or adjunct courses can pursue other options.  One option that we are experimenting with at Eastern Mennonite University's Intensive English Program is the development of partnerships between IEP classes and undergraduate classes in various disciplines. Instructors in the linked classes agree to collaborate on at least one project of relatively limited duration that involves students in scholarly inquiry and creates incentives that motivate students to achieve academic excellence.

The decision to seek partnerships with other undergraduate classes emerged from a major review of the IEP's status.  The IEP at EMU continues to exist on the condition that it earn all the revenue needed to pay for the director, teachers, and other instructional costs.  It has been apparent for at least the past 10 years that the university valued the IEP to the extent that it earned income for the university or at least supported itself.  Only sporadic attempts were made to integrate IEP students into the academic life of the rest of the campus. 

The specially selected committee that reviewed the IEP's work was comprised of professors and administrators on campus who are actively committed to EMU's larger cross-cultural program.  The university requires all students to earn 9 credits through cross-cultural courses, with the recommended option being one semester of study abroad.  At least 70% of EMU's faculty have significant experience living and working overseas, and so there is no lack of support for academic work that builds on a multi-cultural foundation.  Therefore, when it was proposed that the Intensive English Program find ways of integrating its students into the academic life of the institution, there were several professors who immediately embraced the opportunity.

For example, the conservation biology professor was eager to link one of his classes with our advanced listening and speaking class.  He wanted his biology students to be able to communicate effectively with the general populace about environmental issues, so he had them prepare presentations for IEP students to introduce some of the basic concerns of conservation biology, such as endangered species and habitat degradation.  Once equipped with these concepts, IEP students researched a particular conservation issue in their home countries and prepared presentations for the conservation biology students to broaden their knowledge of conservation challenges in other parts of the world.  Thus, in this collaboration both groups of students had a chance to exercise critical thinking skills and make significant contributions to the each others' learning process.  Both classes were asked to debrief their intercultural learning experience by reflecting on a common set of questions, and for both classes the collaboration resulted in products that were graded as part of the course requirements.

Successful partnerships have already been developed with classes as diverse as Family in Social Context, in the sociology department, and Video Camera and Nonlinear Editing in the communications department.  With some awareness of the positive impact of lively intercultural learning across the curriculum (LILAC-the acronym for our program), the university provost at EMU invited me to conduct an in-service workshop to bring together faculty who have already participated in this kind of collaboration with faculty who are interested in developing partnerships.  Further steps to ensure the continuance and enhance the credibility of LILAC would be to collaborate in action research with partnering colleagues and then share results with administrators and in faculty forums on campus.

The LILAC model represents a "Mennonite more with less" way of extending the benefits of intercultural learning across the campus.  But whatever model we implement, we can keep in the forefront of our rhetoric and practice that IEPs can assist in making collaborative intercultural learning an integral part of the university's educational mission.  Structured academic activities involving English language learners and undergraduate or graduate students can promote more "effortful, active, engaged thinking" (Gurin), reduction of prejudice, heightened awareness of diversity, and improved intercultural communication skills.  The Intensive English Program can inspire professors to embrace culturally diverse resources all across campus, including international students at various stages in their academic careers, in order to assure quality education for all students.

Works Cited

Burress, Charles. (2004, 28 January). Shock, outrage as UC axes program -- No English for foreign students at Extension. San Francisco Chronicle. Re-posted on the website International Education Matters: A Forum for Issues Pertaining to Intensive English Programs sponsored by UCIEP.  Retrieved October 20, 2005 from  http://www.udel.edu/iepmedia/ economy_burress.html

Crandall, J. and Kaufman, D. (Eds.). (2002). Content-based instruction in higher education settings. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Gudeman, R. H. (2000). College missions, faculty teaching, and student outcomes in a context of low diversity. In Does diversity make a difference?  Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms.  American Council on Education and American Association of University Professors.  Retrieved October 19, 2005 from http://www.aaup.org/Issues/AffirmativeAction/Archives/2000/DIVREP.PDF.

Gurin Patricia. (1999)   Expert Report of Patricia Gurin.  In The Compelling Need for Diversity in Higher Education, Gratz et al. v. Bollinger et al. No. 97-75231 (E.D. Mich.) and Grutter et al. v. Bollinger et al. No. 97-75928  .  University of Michigan Admissions Lawsuits.  Retrieved October 19, 2005 from http://www.umich.edu/~urel/admissions/legal/expert/toc.html.

Institute of International Education. (2004, Nov. 10).  International student enrollments declined by 2.4% in 2003/04. Retrieved November 15, 2005. fromhttp://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=50137.

Institute of International Education. (2005, Nov. 14).  U.S. study abroad increases by 9.6%, continues record growth.  Retrieved March 7, 2006 fromhttp://opendoors.iienetwork.org/?p=69735.

Johns, A.M. (2001)  An interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, learning communities program: Student involvement and student success. In (ed.) I. Leki,Academic Writing Programs. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Judd-Price, J. (2003, August).  Impact assessment: US Intensive English Program industry. ATESL  (Administrators and Teachers of English as a Second Language) Section of NAFSA in cooperation with AAIEP and UCIEP.  Retrieved November 15, 2004 from http://www.aaiep.org/general/impact_statement.htm.

Marin, P. (2000).  The educational possibility of multi-racial/multi-ethnic college classrooms.  In Does diversity make a difference?  Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms pp. pp. 71-84. American Council on Education and American Association of University Professors. Retrieved October 19, 2005 from http://www.aaup.org/Issues/AffirmativeAction/Archives/2000/ DIVREP.PDF.

Maruyama, G. and Moreno, J. F. (2000).  University faculty views about the value of diversity on campus and in the classroom. In Does diversity make a difference?  Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms pp. 9-36.  American Council on Education and American Association of University Professors. Retrieved October 19, 2005  from http://www.aaup.org/Issues/AffirmativeAction/Archives/2000/DIVREP.PDF.

Snow, M.A. and Brinton, D. (Eds.). (1997). The content-based classroom: Perspectives on integrating language and content. New York: Longman Publishing Group.

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2005). Digest of Education Statistics, 2004 (NCES 2006-005), Table 171. Retrieved March 7, 2006 from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/ display.asp?id=98 .

 

Michael Medley is director of the Intensive English Program at Eastern Mennonite University and associate professor of TESOL.  He teaches ESL teacher preparation courses for graduates and undergraduates and has a special interest in intercultural communication.

 



About This Community IEPIS Steering Committee

Back row, from left: Dayna Ford, Jim Scofield, Judy Dillon, Cindy Oakley-Paulik, 
Christie Ward, Tim  Cauller; Front row from left: Nancy Storer, Elizabeth Anderson, Tamara
Jones, Ginger Pugh, Kim Chavis.  (Photo is property of Judy Dillon and used 
With her written consent.)

Past Chair: Elizabeth Anderson, eanderso@uno.edu
Chair: Nancy Storer, nstorer@du.edu
Chair-Elect: Tamara Jones, jonestamara@hotmail.com
Newsletter Editor: Christie Ward, wardc@ccsu.edu
Secretary: Dayna Ford, saerf@netzero.net
Historian: Judy Dillon, dillonjudy@hotmail.com
Member-at-Large: Kim Chavis, Studies in American Language, San Jose State University
Member-at-Large: Ginger Pugh, ELS Language Centers/Oklahoma City
Member-at-Large: Cindy Oakley-Paulik, Embry Riddle Language Institute

Other Positions:

elist Moderator: Michael Medley, medley@emu.edu
Webmaster: Jim Scofield, jim@jimswebcraft.com

Member Resources:

Website: http://www.jimscofield.com/tesol/iepis/committee.htm
E-List: http://www.jimscofield.com/tesol/iepis/elist.htm

 


Note from the Editor

Christie Ward, E-mail: wardc@ccsu.edu

The IEP IS Newsletter contains information that reflects the issues and needs that face IEP educators and administrators.  Its purpose is to disseminate important information to IEP members, facilitate ongoing interaction between the membership and the leadership, and to provide a forum to share ideas, research, and insights. To that end, the IEP IS Newsletter seeks to involve TESOL professionals in discussions of the latest questions and issues.

General Information

  • The IEP IS Newsletter is an E-Journal.
  • It is published three times a year: winter/spring, summer, and fall.
  • The editor asks all writers to sign a document that gives the IEP IS Newsletter permission to publish their articles.
  • Authors retain their copyright.
  • The IEP IS Newsletter reserves the right to edit work that is accepted for publication.

Submission Guidelines for the IEP IS Newsletter

  • Stay within a maximum of 3,500 words.
  • Write about a timely and relevant topic.
  • Include a brief abstract (approximately 40 words) and a bio (approximately 20 words) with the article.
  • Attach electronic pictures of the authors, if possible and desired
  • Use headings and subheadings.
  • Include an introduction and concluding section or paragraph.
  • Format citations according to APA style.

Deadlines for Submissions

  • May 31
  • September 15
  • December 31

Please send your submissions to Christie Ward at wardc@ccsu.edu.



About This Member Community About This Member Community

IEP-IS Statement of Purpose/Goals

IEP IS exists to provide language instruction for those, who, for whatever purpose, need or desire to acquire English in a relatively brief but intense period.

TESOL's Intensive English Programs Interest Section exists to serve the needs of those who work in IEP's. The concerns of the membership may include methodology, curriculum design, materials development, placement, evaluation, program administration, technology-assisted instruction, English for specific purposes, culture, learners' concerns, and members' employment concerns.

While most IEP IS members are associated with IEPS in academic preparatory programs, the membership includes professionals involved in all types of intensive English instruction.

Statement of Purpose

The primary goals and activities of the interest section are:

  • to foster the recognition of English language instruction as a professional/academic discipline at all levels of education;
  • to facilitate the gathering and exchange of knowledge and information among ESOL professionals in IEPs by sponsoring special projects, convention sessions, and publications in appropriate media;
  • to stimulate and disseminate scholarship, research, and professional development regarding language teaching and related concerns in IEPs by sponsoring special projects, convention sessions, and publications in appropriate media; 
  • to provide a forum for the exchange of views on IEP-related issues through affiliate and TESOL conventions and through appropriate media;
  • to advocate for the professional concerns of the members and the students the members teach;
  • to mentor, advise, and train members with regard to conference proposals, publications, and professional concerns;
  •  to promote ethical and high professional standards of teaching, administration and employment practices in IEPs;
  • to represent TESOL at affiliate conferences/activities and on institutional programs; 
  • to ensure viability and continuity of TESOL by training and encouraging aspiring practitioners in the IEP-IS to become officers; 
  • to identify persons within the IEP community who may serve as resources to others; 
  • to cooperate with other organizations addressing the needs of IEPs in order to achieve common goals.