IEP Newsletter

IEP News, Volume 27:1 (July 2007)

by User Not Found | 10/26/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter From the Chair
  • Articles
    • Using TV and Movies to Teach Conversation Strategies
    • Funding IEP Professional Development
    • IEP Coordination in EFL & ESL Environments: Two Views From the Pacific Rim
  • Community News and Information
    • IEP Advocacy Updates
    • IEPIS Steering Committee
    • Note From the Editors
    • About This Member Community

Leadership Updates Letter From the Chair

Tamara Jones, IEPIS Chair, tjones@howardcc.edu

Hello IEPIS Members!

What an exciting time to be a member of TESOL and the IEP Interest Section!

I have just returned from the 2007 TESOL Convention in Seattle, where I was energized by the interesting connections, motivating presentations, and exciting new projects that both TESOL and our interest section are working on.

I'll get to the conference and innovations in a moment, but first, I need to take a moment to thank Nancy Storer, our past chair. As I am learning, the chair of an interest section is responsible for a number of projects associated both with the annual conference and with day-to-day questions and duties. Nancy took care of all of these responsibilities in such a way as to make it seem effortless and without losing her kindness, generosity, and sense of humor. So, thanks very much, Nancy!


2007 Conference Chair Nancy Storer, Past Chair Judy Anderson, and Chair-Elect
Tamara Jones 
(Photo courtesy of Judy Dillon, IEPIS Historian)

TESOL is a great vehicle for making professional connections. One way to do this is by becoming involved in the board of our interest section. I would like to thank those board members who served during the 2006-07 term. I would also like to welcome the new board members. We certainly had a lot of fun at the steering committee meeting, and I think IEP members will be well represented by this dynamic group of professionals. Another way to make exciting connections at the TESOL convention is by volunteering at the IEP booth at the conference. A very special "thanks" goes out to Kim Chavis who staffed and organized the booth in Seattle, and to the members who volunteered some of their valuable time to sit at the desk. We really are lucky to have such a wonderful group of IEP volunteers!


IEPIS members at the annual business meeting, TESOL 2007
 (Photo courtesy of Judy Dillon, IEPIS Historian)

Also, thanks to all of the wonderful presenters who shared their expertise on behalf of the IEPIS. The IEP Academic Session, "Curriculum Development and Student Outcomes Assessment," was well attended and interesting. The presenters, Susan Gonzo, Numa Markee, Kathy Romstedt, Nancy Storer, and Scott Stevens, shared valuable insights about curriculum development, student outcomes, and assessment using Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) standards as the framework for their discussion. Every year, I seem to learn more through the IEP discussion groups, presentations, papers, and poster sessions!

In addition to attending the regular convention sessions, as the incoming IEP chair I was invited to attend some additional information sessions and planning meetings. I would like to share two pieces of information that I think will be of great interest to you.

1. TESOL has launched a new online Resource Center that is available only to TESOL members. The past president of TESOL, Jun Liu, spoke passionately about wanting to make the TESOL Resource Center the best Web site for those in the TESOL profession. (To access it, go tohttp://www.tesol.org and click on the Education tab.) However, in order for this to become the greatest supply of materials and information for TESOLers, they need your ideas, resources, materials, lesson plans, presentations, anything! I challenge all of you to submit at least one item to the TESOL Resource Center. By doing this you will help others in the profession and support TESOL.

2. As of June 1, 2007, all TESOL members will have open access to all Interest Sections. This means that you will not be limited to choosing one IS to join; you can join multiple ISs at no extra charge. However, TESOL will ask you to choose one IS as your main group, so we hope you will continue to select the IEPIS as your primary IS!

There are many reasons to continue as an IEP member. For example, we are in the process of making our IS information more available. Judy Dillon, the IEP historian, converted many of our archived documents, including minutes, governing rules, and a list of past chairs, into a file and Jim Scofield, our webmaster, put it on the Web site. The next step is to apply for Special Project money from TESOL and put all of our past (paper) newsletters on the Web site. I don't know about you, but I haven't kept my newsletters from years gone by, and this new feature will allow us to scan for articles and lesson plans that appeared in past editions.

I hope you are as excited about these new developments as I am and that you are able to make use of them. If you have any other ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

 



Articles Using TV and Movies to Teach Conversation Strategies

Kate Curry, kcurry@uiuc.edu, and Kristin Bouton, bouton@uiuc.edu

Introduction

Every teacher knows that one of the best ways to motivate students and get them excited in class is to show clips from movies and TV shows. In our presentation at TESOL 2005, we discussed how conversation strategies can be taught using movie and TV clips.

At the Intensive English Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we have developed an upper-level course that teaches students strategies for carrying out speech events that occur during a conversation.

Some of the speech events we deal with are

  • Dealing with communication breakdown
  • Expressing opinions
  • Agreeing and disagreeing
  • Peer evaluation
  • Telling a story
  • Keeping a conversation going

Our main sources are TV and movie clips. We have found that it is important that teachers not trust their own intuition about what people say during these speech events when designing classroom activities. In analyzing TV and movie clips, we have found that what people really say and what we think people say is not always the same thing. For example, in most books you see expressions like "in my opinion." However, if you listen to real speech you find that people rarely say this but use a variety of other expressions and strategies that you don't often find in the textbooks. Based on our analysis of these media sources, we have compiled lists of strategies that people use in each speech event. To give you an example of how we use these sources, we will focus on strategies and expressions for "Giving an Opinion" and "Agreeing and Disagreeing":

1. Context: Consider the following: who you are speaking with and the sensitivity of the topic.
2. Choice of vocabulary. Word choice can make your opinion stronger or weaker. Choose carefully.
3. Making a comparison: Example: "He's as good as Michael Jordan!"
4. Describing your feelings about an argument: Example: "I don't think you're being fair." 
5. Supporting your argument with information/opinions from another source
6. Use of expressions to object to someone's opinion: Examples: "Wait a minute/second!" "Hold on!" 
7. To soften an opinion, use expressions such as "It might be," "it could be," "a little bit," "kind of," etc. 
8. To strengthen an opinion, use "So," "so much," "such (a)," "really," repetition of the opinion, etc.
9. Asking a question: This is used to disagree or to express an opinion that you are not sure the other person would agree with. Example: Don't you think that _____________________? 
10. Agree before disagreeing: Examples: "Yes, but _________." "He's handsome, but he's not very smart."
11. Agreeing is much more direct. Use expressions such as "Yeah, I know what you mean." "I think so too."

Ocean's Twelve Activity

In this movie, a group of 11 thieves is going to rob the house of a wealthy man with many valuable antiques. The only problem is that the man is agoraphobic (has a fear of open spaces, crowds, leaving his home) and has never left his home in the 10 years he has lived there. In this scene, the group is discussing how to get into the man's house while he is still there. One way they briefly discuss is to "smoke him out" by filling the house with smoke so he is forced to leave.

Prelistening discussion: 
1. How do people in your country react to people who have phobias?
2. What is a freak? Would you call this man a freak? Why or why not?

First Listening: Listen and answer the following questions. (These questions have to do with content)
1. What upsets Linus?
2. What are some of the arguments he uses to support his opinion?

Next Listening(s): Using the list of strategies above, look at the numbers on the transcript and answer the questions below.
1. In line 1, how does Linus signal that he disagrees with the others?
2. In line 2, what strategy does he use to state his opinion? What is his opinion?
3. In line 3, he uses a different strategy to convince them. What strategy does he use? What makes this strategy less effective?
4. In line 4, what expressions signal Linus' opinion? 
5. In line 5, what strategy is he using to make his argument?
6. In line 6, what strategy does he use to state his opinion? What is his opinion?

Scene Transcript (This is a separate handout given to students when they are ready for the detailed analysis activity; answers are provided here in parentheses

Virgil: He's got five exterior cameras? Man, this guy is a freak.
Basher: Super freak.
Turk: What about going in through the roof?
Rusty: Two more cameras, pressure sensors.
Turk: And there's a laser over the trap door leading out.
Virgil: Smoke the freak out.
Danny: Yeah.
Turk: Smoke the freak out
1. Linus: Hey! (Use of expression to object)
Rusty: What? 
2. Linus: Well, do we have to use that term? (Use of question to express opinion; the word freak is offensive.)
Livingstone: What term?
3. Linus: Freak. . . . I mean the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 5.6 percent of adults develop agraphoria, agraphobia at some point. (support from another source; he can't pronounce agoraphobia)
All: Agoraphobia.
4. Linus: Whatever. I'm just saying, I mean, do we. . . . I don't think we need to be the kind of organization that labels people. (I'm just saying, I mean, I don't think)
Basher: Oh, now, we are an organization?
5. Linus: What, would you call Emily Dickinson a freak? (comparison; Emily Dickinson is a famous American poet who was agoraphobic)
Rueben: Are you hosting a telethon we don't know about?
Turk: Who's Emily Dickinson?
6. Linus: Am I the only who feels funny about stealing from a handicapped guy? (Question; he doesn't like stealing from a handicapped man)
Virgil: Well, I don't care. 
Turk: Hell, yeah. 
Others: yeah, yeah.

Here is a list of other possible sources for "Expressing Opinions" and "Agreeing and Disagreeing":

TV Sources (in general)

  • Reality TV shows such as Project Runway
  • 60 Minutes or other news magazine programs
  • Talking head programs such as Most Awesomely Bad Love Songs on MTV or VH1
  • Dramas such as Six Feet Under and Desperate Housewives
  • Ebert and Roeper's movie reviews (http://tvplex.go.com/buenavista/ebertandroeper/today.html)

Movie Clips

  • Jurassic Park: 8:15-10:23 (arguing about having children); 35:00-38:45 (discussion at lunch)
  • Ocean's Twelve: 33:17-34:17 (activity above)
  • Wedding Crashers: chapter 3 on DVD (John convincing Jeremy to crash one more)
  • Hitch: 47:05-48:13 (meeting jerks at a party)
  • School of Rock: 1:12:21-1:14:45 (music discussion with principal); 1:17:47-1:19:40 (costumes, Zach's song); 1:36:59-1:37:50 (deciding on a song)

Conclusion
TV and movie clips are a great tool to teach conversation strategies because

  • They are motivating and exciting for students
  • Analysis provides a greater understanding of conversation strategies
  • Activities raise students' awareness of these strategies when they go out in the real world

 


Funding IEP Professional Development

Alan D. Lytle, dralandlytle@hotmail.com

Introduction

Most intensive English programs (IEPs) in the United States do not have deep pockets, and those pockets do not always include allowances for the professional development of the faculty and staff working at the IEP. As the ESL field and immigration policies continue to expand and evolve, individuals charged with having up-to-date knowledge of this information must have outlets where detailed discussions can take place. Conferences regarding language standards, immigration issues, and program design are but one avenue. This article offers ideas of how to expose an IEP's faculty and staff to professional development using high-cost, medium-cost, low-cost, and "shoestring budget"-cost concepts.

What Is Professional Development and How Do You Plan for It?

To begin with, professional development (PD) provides development for professionals, but what does that mean? PD provides information that enhances or furthers a professional's knowledge, and this enhancement can be for immediate benefit or for an ongoing benefit. In addition, the development can include training for personal development (Wikipedia, 2007).

As Diaz-Maggioli (2003) writes, "even when specific . . . professional development is a reality, it is often in the form of a one-session workshop where the emphasis is on transmission of information rather than on the active development of materials, techniques, and assessment."

In order for PD to be beneficial, a few questions should be answered first:

  • Who are the professionals?
  • What is the development? 
  • Why do the professionals need the development?
  • What equipment/supplies are already in place? 
  • How is/are the equipment/supplies currently used?
  • Where do the PD participants want to be professionally and personally in 10 years?

Once these questions are answered, then attention should be drawn to the level of funding needed to accomplish the task. Should the PD be free-for-all, limited-funding, or somewhere in between? In a free-for-all PD, where the IEP is providing the dollars, there are no limitations on funding, location of the conference, number of presenters, or topics (within the predefined criteria). In limited-funding PD, cost is the most limiting factor and should be the primary guide. PD that falls between "free-for-all" and limited-funding takes the advantages of free-for-all and the innovations of the limited PD and melds them.  Technology-based PD can fit into any of these categories.

Because PD is an overarching funding concept, it should, in my opinion, automatically be built into the budget every year. Maybe the institution wouldn't use the line item each year; perhaps it could be budgeted to grow from year to year and be used on an every-other-year basis. This would depend upon the budget restrictions of the institution. However, inclusion in the budget does allow time for PD to be planned so that the entire faculty and staff can get the most benefit. In addition, this allows the IEP to establish a "level-of-funding" formula, depending upon the financial resources available or whether the faculty or staff members will be presenting.

Also, for PD to be effective, it has to provide incentives and support, professional directedness, technology access, community partnerships, and ongoing information support and training opportunities (National School Boards Foundation, 2007). Without these basic issues being addressed, the PD participants (i.e., the IEP faculty and staff) will not see value in the information and will not be active participants, much less active users of the information presented.

High-Cost PD

High-cost PD is just what the name implies—something that requires a great deal of money, either on the participant's side or on the sponsor's side. This PD includes

  • attendance at national and international conferences
  • purchase of high-end technology (e.g., LCD projectors, digital cameras, digital recorders) 
  • site licenses for technology-based archival programs and projection programs (Blackboard™, http://www.blackboard.com/products; WebCT™,http://www.webct.com; or SynchronEyes™, http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/Products/SynchronEyes+Classroom+Management+Software)
  • cross-training of ESL and foreign language professionals. This last option requires a person to obtain the correct credentials which often means taking extra higher education classes, getting endorsements, or taking tests, which requires money and lengthy time commitments.
  • inviting well-known professionals in the field as speakers. Usually, this includes a speaker's fee, travel costs, and hotel/food costs. Depending upon the speaker, this can amount to quite a bit of money; however, the benefit of the faculty or staff having access to a noted professional can be priceless.

Medium-Cost PD

Many IEPs can bear the cost of some medium-cost PD; however, this level of PD may still be beyond the range of many ESL professionals, especially those who are employed only part-time or are not benefits-eligible. However, following are some suggestions:

Attend Regional Conferences

Regional conferences are often within driving distance, which reduces the cost considerably.

Expand an Existing Program Library

IEPs can join professional organizations as an institution and receive the publications that go along with that membership. These publications can then be added to the already existing resource books that form the professional library for the institution and its faculty and staff, thereby allowing them access to the most recent peer-reviewed articles. Many memberships also include access to the electronic versions of the professional publications; therefore, the faculty can use this access to keep up-to-date in the field.

Along with the professional journals and online resources that come with professional organization membership, publishers such as Oxford University Press US (http://www.oup.com/us) and Cambridge University Press (http://www.cambridge.org/uk/default.asp) offer entire professional development series. These can be purchased by the IEP and borrowed by the faculty and staff just as books from a public library are. The purchasing of the materials could be done over time so that a library dedicated exclusively to PD is developed.

Share New Knowledge With Colleagues

Although sending a faculty or staff member to an international, national, or even regional conference falls within the realm of "high-cost PD," the benefit can be medium-cost if the attendee disseminates the knowledge gained to his or her colleagues upon arrival back at the home institution. Once an employee completes a class or degree that is being fully or partially paid for by the IEP, then he or she should be responsible for presenting the information to his or her colleagues. Many IEPs have agreements with institutions of higher education that allow their employees to take classes at reduced tuition.

Invest in a Server

A computer can be purchased to be the server for the institution so that the professional web pages the faculty and staff create can be housed on it. The initial cost might be high, but money will be saved on web hosting fees.

Low-Cost PD

Low-cost PD is more accessible to the IEPs and their faculty and staff; however, in my opinion, it offers the fewest choices.

Attend Local Conferences

TESOL affiliates (http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=420&DID=2048) tend to offer shorter conferences that are usually within a single day's travel.

Build a Program Library

The creation of a professional library that the faculty and staff members can access holds great advantages. Although the initial setup costs money, starting a program library allows for faculty and staff members to tap into peers' ideas, suggestions, and experience. Initially, the library should have a broad-spectrum approach within limited source material, meaning that the resources should not be too specifically targeted in topic. This way, the faculty and staff can decide over time what resources are beneficial to them and can continue the expansion of these subjects.

"Shoestring"-Cost PD

"Shoestring" refers to the need for little or no funding. Most of such PD involves technology and assumes that the faculty and staff have some access, either at work or at home.

Use Electronic Media

Blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, and so forth are free or inexpensive. Of course, equipment (e.g., mp3/mp4 player, high-speed internet access) is required to access such electronic media. A great deal of information about podcasts and podcasting can be learned from David Warlick at The Education Podcast Network Web site (http://www.epnweb.org).

Attend Virtual Workshops

At the "shoestring"-cost level of PD, traditional conferences can't be attended. Rather, faculty and staff participate in Internet-based conferences with the cost shared between institutions, colleges, departments, or units. Many of these conferences are offered via satellite or through streaming video and require no traveling, lodging, or food reimbursement.

A good example of this is the McGraw-Hill (http://www.mhteleconference.com) videoconferences offered each year. Also, some traditional conferences are recorded; the audio or video can be accessed online (e.g., http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=1498&DID=8218 andhttp://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=244&DID=1716). There are also many Web resources (e.g., Annenberg Media, http://www.learner.org) that are in the public domain and free. Note, however, that some electronic resources may be available for only a limited time.

Make Use of Local Talent

Another idea is to make use of the local talent in the IEP's area. Local educational institutions and communities have experts in the field of language teaching, language acquisition, program administration, cultural differences, or students' rights, just to name a few. These local experts are usually very willing to make presentations at no cost. Additionally, IEP faculty and staff often want to advance in their profession, but few training sessions or classes are offered on successfully administrating IEPs. Instead, these faculty and staff members can be given the chance to practice their administrative skills under the supervision of the director, associate/assistant director, curriculum specialist, or immigration officer. This also benefits the IEP because trained individuals on staff can substitute administratively should the need arise.

Use Free Online Networks

Finally, the director, associate/assistant director, or curriculum specialist can ensure that the faculty and staff have access to local academic libraries and to local computer labs so that they can join professional discussion lists and access online resources (such as those listed athttp://iteslj.org/links/TESL/Discussion and http://iteslj.org/links). Such access allows for informal professional networks to be established and grow and has the added advantage of almost instant access to professionals when the need arises.

Where can we look for ideas?

Many Web resources are available for professional development, and many professional organizations provide training sessions, certificate programs, and presentations. Following is a short list of second-language-specific resources:

Conclusion

No matter whether PD costs a great deal or practically nothing, whether faculty and staff can participate on a yearly basis or on a rotating basis, it should still offer something that the participant can take away and use, either immediately or as something upon which to build. As Diaz-Maggioli (2003) explains in Cheatham, Dhonau, Lytle, and McAlpine's paper, "An Institution's Response to Professional Development" (2007),

Professional development is not a one-shop, one-size-fits-all event, but rather an evolving process of professional self-disclosure, reflection, and growth that yields the best results when sustained over time in communities of practice and when focused on job-embedded responsibilities.

On a final note, Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998), the renowned American historian, stated, "Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change. Education is essential to change, for education creates both new wants and the ability to satisfy them." (Lewis, 2006)

References

Cheatham, R., Dhonau, S., Lytle, A., McAlpine, D. (2007). An instituition's response to the reality of professional development (pp. 2-3).  Manuscript submitted for publication.

Diaz-Maggioli, G. (2003). Professional development for language teachers. Retrieved April 1, 2007, fromhttp://www.cal.org/resources/Digest/0303diaz.html.

Lewis, J. (2006). Progress quotes. Retrieved April 1, 2007, from http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_progress.html.

National School Boards Foundation (2007). Evaluating professional development plans. Retrieved March 31, 2007, fromhttp://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/EvalPD.html.

Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2007). Professional development. Retrieved March 31, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_development.

Dr. Alan D. Lytle, Director of the Intensive English Language Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA, has a background in Second Language Education (ESL, German, and French).


IEP Coordination in EFL & ESL Environments: Two Views From the Pacific Rim

Bill Teweles, yourstooley@aim.com, and Mary Chang, Mary.Chang@asu.edu

Introduction

For all the changes in methodological design, instructional delivery tools, and academic emphasis, today's college-based intensive language programs retain some of their predecessors' key characteristics. These include

(1) Affording 2-8 hours of instruction per day within a relatively short time period; 
(2) Limiting class size to 4-10 students; 
(3) Providing a team of teachers versus a single instructor; 
(4) Placing primacy on listening and speaking; 
(5) Restricting use of the students' first language; 
(6) Evaluating students and providing feedback on a frequent basis. (Benseler & Schulz, 1979, p. 2)

Naturally, as intensive language programs differ widely in terms of setting or access to the surrounding postsecondary institution's facilities and services, there are considerable differences as to how much time program coordinators can devote to student counseling and extracurricular activity planning. Particularly in the foreign language sector, or in IEPs that cater largely to international students, orientation and cultural activities can be time-consuming.

Matters of funding and accreditation, although crucial in determining how many hours during any given week a program coordinator can focus on instruction, materials selection, curriculum development, scheduling, and so on, will be (for the purposes of this discussion) treated as peripheral and largely out of the hands of the individual IEP coordinator. Also, as we have never found ourselves in the position of having to recruit students or provide elaborate diagnostic assessment for an established (IEP) program (thank you, TOEFL), we will focus on other nitty-gritty aspects of intensive language program management representative of both EFL and ESL settings.

A Collegiate EFL Setting in Japan

Needless to say, the autonomy that the IEP or in-house language program exercises within the greater academic framework is of vital concern. The program in question may be housed in a departmental building or annex, an extension center, or even a campus (or off-campus) bungalow.

The intensive language program facility in which we met, collaborated, and, yes, conspired was housed in a building known as the Language Center (LC) on the main campus of Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU), a spacious private university in Japan. The IEP there had been in existence for 10 years at the time of our arrival in fall 2000 and served a considerable number but a nonmajority of the general student population of some 3,000.

Forming the core of instruction was a 90-minute basic-skill-centered English course offered three times a week for college sophomores; this intermediate course (IM) was taught by a native English-speaking instructor or LC English teacher for a period of 15 weeks. Ranging from 20 to 25 students per class and involving only 4.5 hours of instruction per week, the core IM course could hardly be considered intensive (or even semi-intensive) by most IEP instructional standards. In contrast, an average IEP in the North American sector typically offers from 20 to 30 hours of ESL instruction per week and 200 or more hours per session or course (Case, 2004, p. 5).

At KGU, undergraduates tended to take up to 10 other classes per semester; some eventually elected to not continue with the LC English program, while others opted for a different foreign language. For the majority, however, LC English classes formed an interesting alternative to the standard once-a-week version offered by their regular department/faculty.

For those who passed the IM course (or who attained a qualifying score on the TOEFL), instruction in semi-advanced classes (including TOEFL prep., pragmatics, and standard speaking/listening) was made available. Class size here was generally limited to 15 students, but only 3 hours of instruction per week were required. For those attaining an even higher qualifying score on the TOEFL and who passed the requisite IM course, 3 hours per week of advanced instruction in academic writing, reading, and listening/speaking was offered. Class size here was generally limited to 10 students and included special classes offered to Japanese nationals who had lived abroad or who had scored over 550 on the institutional TOEFL.

As a special perquisite for students who qualified for and completed advanced-level courses (and/or planned to study abroad), a special certificate in multidisciplinary studies was offered by the LC. Aimed at roughly 10 to 20 of the IEP's top students, this certificate required completion of an advanced-level seminar and independent studies (both conducted on a weekly basis), which in turn required completion of a full-fledged research paper.

Though not a representative IEP and by no means meeting Benseler and Schulz's 2-hour daily minimum instructional requirement or basic class-size standards, KGU remains committed to English language education and is considered one of Japan's outstanding institutions of postsecondary language instruction.

Special Challenges Involved in Coordinating an IEP in an EFL Environment

Both of us took turns serving as the IEP coordinator at KGU-Nishinomiya City Campus from September 2000 to August 2004. During this time we met a number of challenges, which prompted us to subtitle our presentation at CATESOL 2006 "Damage Control and the IEP Coordinator." Wishing to soften this view somewhat, we feel that the following need to be seriously considered by those who would willingly assume such a position. Key factors to consider in becoming or replacing an IEP coordinator in an overseas academic institution would include

(a) the power structure in the institution concerned;
(b) the day-to-day and hourly requirements of the position; 
(c) instructor scheduling considerations, not only of classes but of committee assignments as well; 
(d) program management and course evaluation; and
(e) extracurricular duties, including classroom or academic research obligations.

Other secondary factors, such as office hours and voluntary activities within the host institution, will not be considered here, but may well impinge on one's time and energy.

(a) Dealing with the power structure

The KGU LC on the Nishinomiya City Campus, not being an academic department in itself nor empowered with degree-granting authority is largely a satellite structure within the college hierarchy. Nevertheless, by attracting some of the college's brightest students and a foreign teaching staff, it maintains a relatively high profile.

LC instructors and IEP coordinator alike are limited to 4-year teaching contracts and cannot attain tenure. The IEP coordinator serves on a general faculty committee that meets weekly and has to run a follow-up LC-based meeting to keep the other LC instructors informed. Matters of general concern ranged from proctoring the TOEFL to meeting with publishing company representatives to weigh and sample texts and software for future classes. Extracurricular activities such as an annual conversation program, a camp/retreat for future KGU students, and a summer program for Japanese public school English teachers in the region also had to be planned on a regular basis. All LC instructors had to serve on at least two committees and, in order to continue receiving research funding, had to contribute an article to the Center journal at least every other year.

The LC director also asked the IEP coordinator to help with orientation each semester and he or she had to serve as coeditor of the Center journal. In this capacity, he or she had to make sure that research articles were submitted and the content finalized on time each winter. Other duties varied depending on the accessibility and English ability of the LC supervisor, a tenured faculty member assigned to oversee the IEP; for the most part, though, we were not unreasonably tasked by school administrators or permanent staff.

(b) Teaching and working hours within the LC/IEP

As stipulated in the contract, the IEP coordinator was entitled to a reduced teaching load; this translated into 8 teaching hours per week (the other LC instructors had to teach 10 hours per week). In exchange for a reduced teaching load for the IEP coordinator, there were the aforementioned meetings to attend, committees to serve on, and research obligations to meet. For those who prefer the classroom and basically dread paperwork, this is decidedly not the ideal position; administrative duties, scheduling, and testing deadlines tend to mount, and at the end of the day the IEP coordinator is the one held responsible for the general condition of the program, if not the pass rate of the students enrolled.

On the bright side, the reduced teaching load gives one a chance to spend more time preparing for class. Also, in the Japanese context, there are various seasonal considerations to consider such as time off for the three days at the start of the calendar year as well as for the spring and autumnal equinoxes, and most colleges there offer instructors ample downtime or judicious vacation allowances. (Thus, teacher burnout is relatively rare there—nothing that a weekend refresher at an onsen or regional hot spring could not cure in most instances.)

(c) Scheduling considerations

Being the one in charge of planning the semester schedule, the IEP coordinator could give him- or herself first pick and thus conceivably take Monday morning off; even with a few hours off early in the week, though, he or she would inevitably need Saturday to troubleshoot or tend to a number of unsettled matters. With up to 10 other instructors to schedule for classes and committees, color-coding and charting were a necessary means of keeping track of those concerned and taking into proper account individual preferences. These preferences could range from not wanting too many or even too few hours in any given instructional day, a loved one in a different prefecture (the Japanese equivalent of a state in the U.S.) who required one's presence on Friday afternoon, or a natural aversion to certain types of courses. Expertise and experience were taken into account whenever possible; thus, those adept at teaching grammar or conducting TOEFL prep were encouraged to do so, while the more creative, outgoing instructors were encouraged to focus on the productive skills.

When a given class or teaching assignment was found to be unpalatable, such instructor was given allowance and rotated to a more favorable assignment the following semester. The rotational principle was also applied to committee assignments; certain tasks such as maintaining the modest KC library and conversational program materials could not be kept for 4 years running lest the poor soul who ended up on the TOEFL statistics committee be denied a chance at that more favorable post the next time around. The cliché "strike a balance" applied in most cases and, with minimal cajoling, such a balance was reasonably easy to achieve.

(d) Program management and course evaluation

The factors of program management and course evaluation are much more prominent in our current stateside administrative situations, but a couple of things can be mentioned in connection with the KGU/IEP experience. Instructors needed to keep careful attendance records; students could be failed only if they did not attend a certain set number of classes. Grading standards had to be consistent and submission standards met. Most instructors adhered to a straightforward 90% = A; 80% = B; 70% = C, and 60% = nonpassing grading standard, but the more advanced course that required a final paper or portfolio could be graded more subjectively.

With few exceptions (most involving a disgruntled fourth-year instructor), teachers submitted their grades on time and there were only two documented cases of students challenging a final grade. Like many of their overseas counterparts, students at KGU were entitled to review their courses and instructors, and by and large the feedback they offered was positive. As a consequence, we did not have to observe, discipline, or reassign a single KC instructor the entire time we worked at KGU, which attests to the program's overall stability and quality.

(e) Extracurricular duties

As indicated earlier, these were extensive at KGU, but we realize that such obligations rely heavily on the financial condition of the host institution and/or of the student population. Suffice it to say that (near-) native speakers of a given language may also need to represent the culture of said language, and thus the vaunted "fifth language skill" is not something to take lightly.

KGU was so insistent that the LC instructors follow through on the annual introductory conversation course that even on September 11, 2001, we found ourselves having to continue on with a topic-based week of English conversation activities. The following August, as temperatures soared in the range of 95-102 degrees Fahrenheit with the percentage of humidity in the 80s, we had to gamely provide a week-long regimen of useful skill-based lectures and hands-on activities for a dozen or so Japanese English teachers who were trying to get supplementary teaching credit. Although the training session concept was noble, it was challenging to teach and be taught when the heat and humidity was draining everyone from truly participating. The list goes on, but one gets the general picture—instruction at KGU was not limited to the classroom nor was it necessarily dictated by external events or seasonal change.

New Domestic Directions in an ESL Mode

Having returned to our respective home states of California and Arizona, we would like to briefly assess our current administrative roles in intensive language programs. In doing so, we would like to stress the notable (if somewhat simplistic) dichotomy of the Type-A versus Type-B person. An intensive (English) language coordinator, to put it bluntly, needs to be a Type-A person. Deadlines impose themselves on workers in institutions of higher education on a regular basis whether they care to acknowledge them or not.

At the Defense Language Institute, where Bill works, exam results need to be reported within a certain time frame or students do not get the results. Procrastinating instructors may get counseled, and formal counseling can lead to a reduction in merit pay, making it difficult for an instructor to move up the ranks. There are periodic assessments and teaching evaluations that need to be conducted and, once again, delays are not tolerated by the upper administration officials.

In carrying out certain distasteful duties, the program coordinator may well be seen as the disciplining arm of the administration, or as an "adminoid." More commonly, the intensive language program coordinator does an up-&-down-the-stairway or cross-the-hallway impersonation of the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. There never seems to be enough time to evaluate every class or instructor thoroughly; the one student who had prepared the most for the semester-culminating project is the one you miss, or that last paper you had to grade seemed to be based on another source, whether it was intentional (plagiarized) or not (poorly or not cited properly), but you do not have the wherewithal or requisite Web site to track it down. (Technology surely enhances classroom instruction and facilitates access to the world outside of it, but that does little good when the information technology office is checking compliance with security requirements at the very moment when you need the computer to be fully functional and focused on teaching/ administrating tasks. Instead, your computer gets bogged down with too many changes and "upgrades" to be of any use, and your computer is suddenly thrown into a spin cycle: "Go away hourglass, go AWAY!")

Somewhat ironically, in much of work-centered urban Japan (or China), the Type-A person tends to be glorified, even though such persons tend to be more prone to heart failure, ulcers, and stress-related syndromes. As products of a success-oriented society and ambitious TESOL programs and mentors, we do not care to apologize for being qinglao de xiao mifeng ("busy little bees"). Language learning requires intensive full-time effort and coordinating this process is not for the average beach-goer. For those who have both the will and stamina, program leading can be a rewarding endeavor, especially when student pass and/or matriculation rates point in a positive direction.

On the Arizona front in the American English and Culture Program (AECP), many of the skills Mary employed as an administrator-educator in Japan have resurfaced and been reapplied for the challenges encountered here. My responsibilities involve managing daily operations, including scheduling classrooms, teachers, and students as well as acting as mediator when any one of these three elements clashes with another. Having six levels ranging from basic to advanced with a focus on preparing students for language success in institutions of higher learning, I pay a great deal of attention to balancing the needs of students, the talents of faculty, and the goals of the program. For most of the students, successful study is measured by admission into the university, whereas success for most of the faculty is measured by the student's ability to communicate well enough to survive the university experience.

In North American university programs, the ability to communicate with everyone from upper management to the students is a crucial talent. In an EFL environment, often the native English speaker is the one working to understand and be understood by those around him or her. In an ESL situation, on the other hand, often it is the international student who needs to understand not only the local language but also the culture. Regardless of the environment, language program administrators must possess and employ clear communication skills in order to serve the program and the students well.

In addition to the scheduling responsibilities mentioned earlier, I touch but do not oversee other critical program functions such as marketing, budgeting, office staffing, visa/immigration issues, and placement testing. These are the domain of other members of the staff or faculty. However, coordinators need to support and contribute to these essential functions whenever possible.

One other aspect that helps keep the administration in tune with the faculty and students is teaching. Five members of AECP's program management are seasoned teaching professionals who enjoy the opportunity to delve back into the classroom when the opportunity arises. This gives the faculty and the students reassurance that those who make program decisions also know how they impact every person involved in the program.

Another key thought to keep in mind is that we are all middle managers—teachers should meet the needs of their students and perform the duties given by the administration; coordinators must see to the needs of the students and faculty while attending to the demands of upper administration; and upper administration is answerable to the requirements of those who serve under them as well as to those who oversee the institution.

Conclusion

Even as IEPs continue to evolve to serve a changing student population, the ability of the IEP coordinator to manage time effectively and maintain the IEP's viability in the larger academic context in which it serves remains an ongoing and crucial concern.

References

Benseler, D., & Schulz, R. (1979). Intensive Foreign Language Courses. (Language in Education: Theory and Practice, #18). Arlington, VA: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Case, E. (2004). Making the transition from an IEP to mainstream university courses: An ethnographic study. (Mellen Studies in Education, Vol. 96). Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.

Bill Teweles has a PhD in foreign language education from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught college English in Japan and China for 12 years and ESL composition in California for 7 years.

Mary Chang has an MA in TESOL and a certificate in language program administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She has taught English in Japan and the United States for more than 8 years and has worked as a program administrator for more than 4 years.

 



Community News and Information IEP Advocacy Updates

Christie Ward wardc@ccsu.edu

Announcement:

TESOL Position Statement on Teacher Credentialing for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages in Primary and Secondary Schools:http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/bin.asp?CID=32&DID=8863&DOC=FILE.PDF

IEP Advocacy:

What are the most important IEP advocacy issues?

  • Making the case that international students are a part of the solution to terrorism, not part of the problem, e.g. it builds friendships for the U.S., trains future leaders from all parts of the globe
  • Seeking visa policy that is balanced between protecting the nation and keeping our institutions open to international students and scholars
  • Achieving a comprehensive, government supported U.S. strategy to increase access to and interest in pursuing American higher education.

Why is advocacy important to administrators, faculty and staff of IEPs?

  • Not only is advocating for international education the right thing to do, but it is in our own self-interest
  • It effects your jobs – drops in students can mean fewer teaching positions 

What can individuals do to be good advocates?

  • Stay current  on the issues
  • Get yourself and your program into the information loop by joining the TESOL Advocacy Network: http://capwiz.com/tesol/home/
  • Stay in touch with IEP professional organizations and information networks
  • Take advantage of professional development addressing advocacy
  • Arm yourself with numbers
    • U.S. international education is a $13 billion dollar industry 
    • Intensive English students typical spend $3,500 - 4,000 a month on rent, food, insurance, and other living expenses

What can you do in your institution?  

  • If increasing student numbers and improving U.S. international education access is not already a concern at your institution, help make it one.  
  • Always respond when information is requested—good data is critical in advocacy efforts with Congress and government agencies, e.g. enrollment numbers, amount students spend in the community, student visa interview experiences, etc. 
  • Teachers should find out what their program directors are doing to get/stay into the loop – and then ask that directors share as much info with them as possible
  • Volunteer to help out.  (Note: institutions' public relations offices can be very touchy about who and how their legislators are lobbied.  Always let them know what you're doing; speak as a private citizen and not an employee if that's what they want)
  • Network with other departments on campus—strength in numbers!

What can you do in your community? 

  • Help educate the community about the importance of international education 
  • Volunteer to speak to service organizations such as the Rotary and the Lions Club and/or to church groups. 
  • Write letters to the editor or editorials. 
  • Contact your representatives at the state and Federal level.  
  • Form alliances with other interested groups, e.g. home-stay families, Sister City Committees, high school exchange programs, businesses with international students as customers.

What can you do in your profession?

  • Support your organization's advocacy efforts, ask for presentations on advocacy at regional and national conferences 
  • Be a presenter yourself 
  • We're all alums of colleges and universities – find out what they're doing in this area, urge them to do more if necessary, and volunteer to help.

 

 

 

 

 


IEPIS Steering Committee

Front row, left to right: Tamara Jones, Nancy Storer, Cheryl
Meyer, Kim Chavis, Carol Romett. Second row, left to right: Judy
 Dillon, Jim Scofield, Christie Ward, Cindy Oakley-Paulik, Kieran Hilu.
(All photos courtesy of Judy Dillon, IEPIS Historian)

Past Chair: Nancy Storer, nstorer@du.edu 

Chair: Tamara Jones, tjones@howardcc.edu 

Chair-Elect: Sheryl Meyer, shemeyer@du.edu 

Newsletter Editor: Christie Ward, wardc@ccsu.edu 

Newsletter Coeditor: Meg Cooney, esl@bridgeport.edu

Secretary: Kieran Hilu, kieranh@vt.edu 

Historian: Judy Dillon, jdillon@okcu.edu 

Member-at-Large: Kim Chavis, ckim@salmail.sjsu.edu 

Member-at-Large: Carol Romett, romettc@georgetown.edu 

Member-at-Large: Cindy Oakley-Paulik, Oaklece3@erau.edu 

Other Positions:

E-list Moderator: Michael Medley, medley@emu.edu

Webmaster: Jim Scofield, jim@jimswebcraft.com

Member Resources:

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

 


Note From the Editors

Christie Ward, wardc@ccsu.edu, and Meg Cooney, esl@bridgeport.edu

The IEPIS 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 provide a forum to share ideas, research, and insights. To that end, the IEPIS Newsletter seeks to involve TESOL professionals in discussions of the latest questions and issues.

General Information

  • The IEPIS 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 IEPIS Newsletter permission to publish their articles.
  • Authors retain their copyright.
  • The IEPIS Newsletter reserves the right to edit work that is accepted for publication.

Submission Guidelines for the IEPIS 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

  • October 15
  • April 15

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

 

 


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.