TEIS Newsletter

TEIS News, Volume 23:1 (March 2008)

by User Not Found | 10/31/2011
In This Issue...
Leadership Updates Letter From the Chair

Dear TEIS Members,

Through the review and planning process, you (our members) have recommended and selected through the review process,  the sessions which define who we are within TESOL and where our training programs are leading us.  From the proposals selected, it is clear that our role is no longer one of training teachers for higher education within a US based institution, but is one of training teachers to address the needs of children in Pre-K-high school, students in universities and colleges world wide including in English Dominant and non-English Dominant countries,  second or foreign language writers, professionals in businessmen/technology and the sciences, non-traditional adult learners, delivery of courses through the traditional classroom as well as video conferencing and online, and the list goes on. 

At the encouragement of Valerie Jakar, 2008 Convention Chair, the TEIS Leadership Team has designed a mini-conference within the greater conference.  Our theme for our mini-conference is “Building the World Community of Teacher Educators in Pre-K through Post-Secondary Settings through Inquiry, Practice, and Creativity”.   The following list is a partial list of topics that will be available for the TEIS member to choose from.  We refer you to the TESOL Homepage http://www.tesol.org and to click on Convention Itinerary Planner for the details for these and many other sessions at TESOL.

Under the heading of Inquiry, Philosophies and Practices of Teacher Education in English Dominant Countries and in Non-English Dominant Countries are examined.  Our Academic Session addresses the topic of  “Building the World Community of Teacher Educators” (April 4, 8:30 AM-10:45 AM in the Hilton-Clinton Suite.  Speakers include Donald Freeman, Karen Woodman, Hema Ramanathan, Zakia Aarwar, Govinda Bhattarai, and Dharmendra Sheth. 

Related to this session is another entitled, “Rethinking Professional Knowledge in Language Teaching,”  Donald  Freeman, Mark Clarke, Karen Johnson, and Diane Larsen-Freeman, (April 3, 1-2:45 PM, Sheraton-Central Park West)

Under the heading of Practice, TEIS chose to examine Training Teachers for Specific Contexts  through our intersection sessions.  Among those that might be of interest to you are “Teacher Education Worldwide:  Exploring TESOL’s Diversity” (HEIS and TEIS), “ESP Principles and Practice in Teacher Education” (ESPIS and TEIS), “International Integration of Language and Content, K-16” (TEIS and EEIS), and “Nurturing Prospective Second Language Writing Teachers” (SLWIS and TEIS).

Under the heading of Creativity are sessions that range from teacher training in Cambodia to Practica for the NNEST to online teaching and learning to portfolio development for the NBPTS, to mentoring programs to training teachers for the urban or the suburban settings.  Because of our creative members such as yourselves, the convention promises to offer something for each of us to consider about our profession with new insights around each meeting room corner!

To bring our mini-conference to a close, each of you is invited to a discussion group to be held on Saturday, April 5, 7:30 AM to 8:15 AM in the Hilton mercury Ballroom.  In this session “Meeting the Needs of the Changing World”, participants will share what they have learned from the convention’s sessions and share what topics should be addressed in the coming year.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve you this past year!  I look forward to greeting each of you at our Open Business  Meeting,  Thursday, April 3, 5:00-7:00 PM, in the Carnegie Ste. East of the Sheraton Hotel. 

Best wishes in TESOL and TEIS,
Adelaide Parsons
Chairperson, TEIS, 2007-08

Letter From the Editors

Joel Hardman, jhardma@siue.edu, and Tracy Davis, tsd121@psu.edu

This issue of TEIS News is a bit abbreviated because we want it in everyone’s hands in time for the conference. Adelaide Parson, in her “Letter From the Chair,” alerts us to a number of important highlights and TEIS-sponsored events. We look forward to seeing you there!

In this issue, Andrew Cohen provides us with an overview of strategy instruction, including its benefits and obstacles, and offers ways to give them more attention in teacher education.

Margo DelliCarpini describes alternate routes to teacher certification, which are increasing in the teacher education field. These programs can be quite different from traditional teacher preparation programs. She shows us how her TESOL progam found ways to maintain standards in integrating the two types of teacher education candidates.

Alexandra Neves asks the question, What happens when former ESL students become bilingual/ESOL teachers? She develops an answer to this question based on her work with former bilingual/ESOL teacher candidates, and suggests implications for teacher preparation programs.

We will have a new issue out just after the convention. We have a lot of great articles lined up, so keep an eye out for it.

Articles and Information Considering Learner Strategy Instruction

Andrew D. Cohen, adcohen@umn.edu

Second language (L2)¹  teachers are likely to agree in principle with the statement that it is important not only to teach the L2, but also to support students in being strategic in their learning and use of the L2. It remains a challenge for even the best informed and motivated teachers to figure out how to provide strategy instruction.²  The good news is that at least some language teachers are findings ways to ensure that learners are not only taught the language but also directed toward strategies that could promote more effective learning (Rubin, Chamot, Harris, & Anderson, 2007). And in doing so, these language teachers are often engaging in explicit strategy instruction, with an emphasis on explicit development of metacognitive strategies, alongside cognitive strategies (Anderson, 2002, 2005; Wenden 1999). 

The Elements of Strategy Instruction

As Rubin et al. (2007) pointed out, a number of models for teaching language learner strategies in both L1 and L2 contexts have been developed (Chamot, 1999; Chamot, Barnhardt, El-Dinary, & Robbins, 1999; Cohen, 1998; Graham & Harris, 2003; Grenfell & Harris, 1999; Harris, 2003; Macaro, 2001; National Capital Language Resource Center, 2003, 2004a, 2004b; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; Oxford, 1990; Pressley et al., 1992). The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) is one such model designed to increase the school achievement of students who are learning through the medium of an L2. The CALLA model fosters language and cognitive development by integrating content, language, and strategy instruction (Chamot, 2005; Chamot & O’Malley, 1994).

Common to various models of strategy instruction is a sequence of steps for having learners take responsibility for using strategies independently (Chamot et al., 1999):

  1. Raising awareness of the strategies learners are already using.
  2. Presenting and modeling strategies so that learners become increasingly aware of their own thinking and learning processes. 
  3. Providing multiple practice opportunities to help learners move toward autonomous use of the strategies through gradual withdrawal of teacher scaffolding.
  4. Getting learners to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies used and their efforts to transfer these strategies to new tasks.

The effectiveness of strategy instruction with any given learner is determined in part by the specific learning context and task at hand, as well as by each learner’s background knowledge, goals for learning the particular language, style preferences, and language strategy repertoire. So it starts with teachers’ awareness and knowledge about how to do strategy instruction, but its impact is differential at best.
As indicated above, learning strategy instruction begins with helping students become aware of what language learner strategies consist of and which ones they are already using through consciousness-raising (Cohen, 1998; Chamot, 2004; Chamot et al., 1999; Grenfell & Harris, 1999; Macaro, 2001). The teacher usually initiates class discussions about strategies that students use for typical assignments such as learning new vocabulary or grammatical structures, understanding what they have read, or figuring out how to write something in the L2. Experience has shown that students are often interested to hear about the strategies used by their classmates and may find that this information motivates them to try out new strategies or to modify strategies already in their repertoire.

Awareness of strategies and how well they work for a particular task and for a learner’s particular goal is central to the successful use of language strategies. This awareness can be raised through asking how learners performed specific classroom tasks (e.g., through retrospective verbal report), encouraging question-and-answer sessions in class about language learning and use, administering style and strategy questionnaires,³ conducting focus groups, having the learners engage in focused journal writing, and assigning learners an article to read on the topic of learner strategies. Another propitious moment for focus on strategies can be when they get a quiz or exam back because, depending on the results, they may become acutely aware that they could benefit from support for certain problems.

Though the teacher can capitalize on adult learners’ ability to talk about their language learning and use strategies in a way that younger learners cannot, the aims of adult learning are more complex and diverse than they are for children, and what they need to be strategic about most likely calls for a higher level of planning and sophistication. For this reason, it would seem that adults will feel most supported if they are provided with suggested strategies for tackling some of the more complex tasks they face, such as performing challenging speech acts (e.g., complaining or apologizing to a problematic boss about a serious matter).

Since 2001 I have been teaching a semester course for undergraduates at the University of Minnesota that includes a robust strategy instruction component. The course is entitled “Practical Language Learning for International Communication.” The course benefits from having the students read and work through the exercises in a students’ guide to language and culture strategies, Maximizing Study Abroad: A Students’ Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use (Paige, Cohen, Kappler, Chi, & Lassegard, 2006), and takes some exercises from a teachers’ guide to styles and strategies as well, Styles and Strategies-Based Instruction: A Teachers’ Guide (Cohen & Weaver, 2006). Many of the students either have studied abroad or are planning to do it in the future; other students use the course to enrich their language and culture experiences at home or during visits abroad.

The Impact of Strategy Instruction on L2 Learners

Comparing strategy instruction studies has been somewhat problematic because the level of detail for the description of the research and the instructional methodology used has varied considerably (Rubin et al., 2007). Some studies have been more informative than others as to the strategies that were taught, how they were taught, the level of explicitness of the instruction, the types of activities students were engaged in to practice the strategies, how the use of strategies was evaluated, the length of time devoted to strategy instruction, and whether the instruction included metacognitive awareness raising. In addition, it is not always the case that the study includes investigation of the impact of strategy instruction on language proficiency. Studies often look just at the relationship between strategy instruction and student self-report of strategy use.

In a review of strategy instruction in language learning, Hassan et al.(2005) identified many intervention studies since 1961 that were experimental in design, that is, in which the effectiveness of strategy instruction for a group of language students was compared to that for a similar group of students who received either a different type of treatment or no treatment at all. Whereas the research indicated that strategy instruction was effective in enhancing strategy use in the short term, evidence is lacking as to whether its effects persist over time. 

Another review of strategy instruction by Chamot (2005) reminded readers of the O’Malley and Chamot (1990) study that found that instruction in vocabulary learning strategies was effective for learners who had not previously developed alternative effective strategies. In addition, the learners’ listening comprehension was found to improve when they were instructed in strategies if the texts were at a comprehensible level. The review cited other listening comprehension studies in which strategy instruction contributed to performance (Carrier, 2003; Ozeki, 2000; Ross & Rost, 1991; Thompson & Rubin, 1996; Vandergrift, 2003). Strategy instruction in other skills areas was also seen to have an impact (speaking: Cohen, Weaver, & Li, 1998; Nakatani, 2005; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990; reading: Chamot & Keatley, 2003; Ikeda & Takeuchi, 2003; vocabulary: Cohen & Aphek, 1981; Grenfell & Harris, 1999; writing: Macaro, 2001). Chamot’s conclusion was that explicit strategy instruction makes the most sense.

Though some progress has been made in research on strategy instruction, numerous areas are left to research. The following are some of them, based in part on Rubin et al. (2007) and Cohen and Macaro (2007):

  • Once students have been taught to use learning strategies to facilitate their L2 learning, do they continue using the strategies (or continue to develop their use of more sophisticated strategies) over time? 
  • With regard to learners’ continued use of strategies, what is the nature of the strategy retrieval process (e.g., how easy is it for learners to remember and retrieve the strategy from their repertoire?)?
  • To what extent are learners able to transfer strategy use from one context to another? (New work in this area promises to provide insights that can help teachers teach for transfer; see Harris, 2004.)
  • What is the role that teachers may play in learners’ strategy use? What does “providing the right amount of scaffolding for learners” actually mean?

It would be helpful to document in future work how the choice of skill areas and strategies has been tailored to meet learners’ age, stage, and proficiency level (Rubin et al., 2007). Although Macaro (2001, p. 267) provided a brief overview of possible strategy instruction for students at the different levels of proficiency, numerous issues need to be considered aside from proficiency level, age, and motivation. Here are two such issues:

  • The optimum way of grouping strategies for strategy instruction—for example, by purpose (i.e., for language learning or for language performance), by skill area (receptive skills: listening and reading; productive skills: speaking and writing; also other skill areas such as vocabulary learning, learning grammar, translation), or by function (e.g., metacognitive, cognitive, social, or affective strategies).
  • The number of strategies to teach in any given course and how many in any one lesson, and the manner in which to teach them (e.g., strategies in sequence such as in looking up a word in the dictionary, strategies in clusters such as in high-stakes request situations).

Preparing Teachers to Deliver Strategy Instruction

Though teachers may study L2 learning processes as part of their teacher preparation studies, this theoretical knowledge about how learners learn language may not easily translate into specific practices for helping students become better language learners. Some of the reasons for this include no time for strategy instruction, no room in the curriculum (especially when teaching large classes), fear that strategy instruction would take them out of their comfort zone given their teaching style, and lack of knowledge about how to enhance student learning through the use of strategies and lack of skill in how to do it (Vieira, 2003). With regard to teaching style, there is a difference between just transmitting information about strategies and expecting students to memorize it, and providing a set of strategy choices for a given task and supporting the learners in choosing from among these strategies or other ones based on their prior knowledge and their personal preferences (Rubin et al., 2007).

Researchers tend to agree that teacher preparation for strategy instruction is enhanced by using an experiential approach that enables teachers to discover their own strategies, consider new ones, and learn how to model and teach them (see, for example, Harris et al., 2001). This approach to teacher development characteristically includes opportunities for teachers to plan how they will integrate strategy-based instruction into the curriculum. Anderson (2005) argued that in order to have metacognitively aware learners, we must have metacognitively aware teachers. 

At present, there appears to be an increasing number of venues for teachers to participate in short strategy instruction courses or institutes. Two of the longer running programs include the one at the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota. Called “Improving Language Learning: Styles- and Strategies-Based Instruction,” it began providing 30-hour teacher institutes focusing on strategy instruction in 1994, and the 1- to 2-day workshops offered by the National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC), Washington, D.C., which became available somewhat more recently.4 The CARLA institute will be offered July 21-28, 2008, and will once again be led by Martha Nyikos (Indiana University) and myself. For more information, seehttp://www.carla.umn.edu/institutes/2008/ssbi.pdf.

¹ L2 is used in this article as a generic term to cover both second language and foreign language instruction and learning. Undoubtedly there are genuine differences in terms of how strategy instruction may impact learners in these two contexts.
² In this article, the term strategy instruction is used as a cover term for any efforts by teachers, textbooks, or Web sites to focus attention on strategies that learners could use to facilitate their learning and use of the L2. 
³ See Oxford (1990) for the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and Cohen, Oxford, and Chi (2001a, 2001b) for a learner strategy survey and a style preference inventory.
4The three courses offered in the summer of 2007 were entitled “Learning Strategies for Young Learners,” “Developing Listening Comprehension Skills,” and “Metacognition and Technology for Language Learning.”


Anderson, N. J. (2002). The role of metacognition in second/foreign language teaching and learning. ERIC Digest. Retrieved February 29, 2008 from http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/0110anderson.html.
Anderson, N. J. (2005). L2 strategy research. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook in second language teaching and learning (pp. 757-772). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Carrier, K. A. (2003). Improving high school English language learners’ second language listening through strategy instruction.Bilingual Research Journal, 27, 383-408.
Chamot, A. U. (1999). How children in language immersion programs use learning strategies. In M. A. Kassen (Ed.), Language learners of tomorrow: Process and promise! (pp. 29-59). Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company.
Chamot, A. U. (2004). Issues in language learning strategy research and teaching. Electronic Journal of Foreign language Teaching, 1(1), 12–25.
Chamot, A. U. (2005). The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA): An update. In P. A. Richard-Amato & M. A. Snow (Eds.), Academic success for English language learners: Strategies for K–12 mainstream teachers (pp. 87–101). White Plains, NY: Longman.
Chamot, A. U., Barnhardt, S., El-Dinary, P. B., & Robbins, J. (1999). The learning strategies handbook. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman.
Chamot, A. U., & Keatley, C. W. (2003). Learning strategies of adolescent low-literacy Hispanic ESL students. Paper presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
Chamot, A. U., & O’Malley, M. J. (1994). Language learner and learning strategies. In N. C. Ellis (Ed.), Implicit and explicit learning of languages (pp. 371-392). London: Academic Press.
Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. Harlow, England: Longman.
Cohen, A. D., & Aphek, E. (1981). Easifying second language learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 3(2), 221-235.
Cohen, A. D., & Macaro, E. (2007). Conclusions – LLS and the future: Resolving the issues. In A. D. Cohen & E. Macaro (Eds.),Language learner strategies: 30 years of research and practice. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Cohen, A. D., Oxford, R. L., & Chi, J. C. (2001a). Language strategy use survey. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota.
Cohen, A. D., Oxford, R. L., & Chi, J. C. (2001b). Learning style survey. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota.
Cohen, A. D., & Weaver, S. J. (2006). Styles and strategies-based instruction: A teachers’ guide. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota. 
Cohen, A. D., Weaver, S. J., & Li, T-Y. (1998). The impact of strategies-based instruction on speaking a foreign language. In A. D. Cohen (Ed.), Strategies in learning and using a second language (pp. 107-156). Harlow, England: Longman.
Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2003). Students with learning disabilities and the process of writing: A meta-analysis of SRSD studies. In L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of research on learning disabilities (pp. 323-344). New York: Guilford.
Grenfell, M., & Harris, V. (1999). Modern languages and learning strategies: In theory and practice. London: Routledge.
Harris, V. (2003). Adapting classroom-based strategy instruction to a distance learning context. TESL-EJ Special Issue: Strategy Research and Training, 7(2), 1-16. Retrieved February 29, 2008 from http://www-writing.berkeley.edu/TESL-EJ/ej26/a1.html
Harris, V. (2004, April 12-16). Language learning strategies: A case for cross-curricular collaboration. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference, San Diego, CA.
Harris, V., Gaspar, A., Jones, B., Ingvadottir, H., Palos, I., Neuburg, R., & Schindler, I. (2001). Helping learners learn: Exploring strategy instruction in language classrooms across Europe. Graz, Austria: European Centre for Modern Languages.
Hassan X., Macaro, E., Mason, D., Nye, G., Smith, P., & Vanderplank, R. (2005). Strategy training in language learning—a systematic review of available research. In Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved February 29, 2008 from http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms/Default.aspx?tabid=297
Ikeda, M., & Takeuchi, O. (2003). Can strategy instruction help EFL learners to improve their reading ability?: An empirical study. JACET Bulletin, 37, 49-60.
Macaro, E. (2001). Learning strategies in foreign and second language classrooms. London: Continuum.
Nakatani, Y. (2005). The effects of awareness-raising training on oral communication strategy use. Modern Language Journal, 89(1), 76-91.
National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). (2003). Elementary immersion learning strategies resource guide. Washington, DC: NCLRC.
National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). (2004a). The secondary education learning strategies resource guide. Washington, DC: NCLRC.
National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). (2004b). The post-secondary education learning strategies resource guide. Washington, DC: NCLRC.
O’Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: Newbury House.
Ozeki, N. (2000). Listening strategy instruction for female EFL college students in Japan. Tokyo: Macmillan Language House.
Paige, R. M., Cohen, A. D., Kappler, B., Chi, J. C., & Lassegard, J. P. (2006). Maximizing study abroad: A students’ guide to strategies for language and culture learning and use (2nd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition.  
Pressley, M., El-Dinary, P. B., Gaskins, J., Schuder, T., Bergman, J. L., Alma, J., & Brown, R. (1992). Beyond direct explanation: Transactional instruction of reading comprehension strategies. Elementary School Journal, 92(5), 511-554.
Ross, S., & Rost, M. (1991). Learner use of strategies in interaction: Typology and teachability. Language Learning, 41(2), 235-273.
Rubin, J., Chamot, A. U., Harris, V., & Anderson, N. J. (2007). Intervening in the use of strategies. In A. D. Cohen & E. Macaro (Eds.),Language learner strategies: 30 years of research and practice. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Thompson, I., & Rubin, J. (1996). Can strategy instruction improve listening comprehension? Foreign Language Annals, 29(3), 331-342.
Vandergrift, L. (2003). Orchestrating strategy use: Toward a model of the skilled second language listener. Language Learning, 53(3), 463-496.
Vieira, F. (2003). Addressing constraints on autonomy in school contexts: Lessons from working with teachers. In D. Palfreyman & R. C. Smith (Eds.), Learner autonomy across cultures: Language education perspectives (pp. 220-239). Basingstroke UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wenden, A. (1999). Metacognitive knowledge and language learning. Applied Linguistics, 19(4), 515-537.

Andrew D. Cohen is the chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of ESL/ILES at The University of Minnesota. Visit his Web site at http://www.tc.umn.edu/~adcohen.

Can TESOL Educators Take an Alternate Route to Certification?

Margo DelliCarpini, margo.dellicarpini@lehman.cuny.edu

In response to teacher shortages and the call for “highly qualified teachers,” alternative teacher certification programs are becoming more prevalent. For example, by 2005, 47 states and the District of Columbia reported having 122 alternate routes to teacher certification (NCEI, 2005). Some issues that challenge alternate route (AR) candidates and schools of education are minimal opportunities to engage in fieldwork prior to teaching placement, the lack of a student teaching experience, the lack of relationships built through cooperating teacher and university supervisor mentoring, and the lack of a true induction. Induction into the profession begins with the student teaching experience and consists of orientation to the workplace, which occurs in a safe and sheltered way during the student teaching experience; socialization to the institutional practices of schools, which again has its foundations in student teaching; mentoring, which is initially provided by both the university supervisor and cooperating teacher; and guidance through beginning-teacher practice which starts during student teaching and should extend into the novice teacher’s first years of practice.

One additional issue specific to TESOL is that of integrated content and pedagogy. Though the aforementioned challenges are equally important to the certification and professional education of TESOL educators, in this article I specifically discuss how the Lehman College MSEd TESOL program is responding to issues of integrated content and pedagogy, program sequence, curriculum, and opportunities for collaboration with traditional route candidates. Lehman College is part of the City University of New York system.

When Content and Pedagogy Are Integrated
One of the main concerns that faculty involved in teacher education have with AR certification is the underlying assumption made by these programs that content knowledge alone is the sole requirement to be an effective educator. Such assumptions erode the research and work that have gone into making the preparation of teachers a discipline grounded in research and a professional endeavor. In addition, a “crash course” summer induction does little to adequately prepare candidates for the realities of the classroom and the demands of teaching. Research has provided evidence showing that shortcuts to teacher preparation are ineffective (Darling-Hammond, 1990, 2002; Laczko-Kerr & Berliner, 2002) and that preK-12 grade students who have had the benefit of fully prepared teachers experience larger achievement gains than do students who have been taught by teachers who were not fully prepared (Fuller, 1999).

Putting aside for the moment the philosophical argument that content knowledge implies the ability to teach, I want to examine the unique nature of TESOL that makes it virtually impossible to view the alternate preparation of ESL teachers through the lens of content without pedagogy in terms of effective teaching.

The New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF) program is a good example of an AR program. TESOL NYTCF candidates are unique in that their undergraduate degree can be in any field; in other content-area certifications, the candidate must have 30 to 36 credits in the major for admission to a master’s-level certification program. The TESOL NYCTF candidates have educational backgrounds that range from liberal arts degrees to law degrees, and everything in between.

In TESOL, content and pedagogy are interconnected. Candidates enrolled in a Second Language Learning and Teaching course, for example, engage in readings, class discussion, and research into second language acquisition as well as fieldwork to construct an understanding of (a) how underlying theory drives classroom practice, (b) how underlying theory provides valuable information regarding learner language in the classroom, (c) how underlying theory can be used to understand developmental stages in instructed second language learning, and (d) how underlying theories of second language acquisition can be integrated into lesson planning and assessment for second language learners. Candidates are learning the pedagogical skills necessary to be effective ESL teachers while also acquiring content knowledge (in this case, second language acquisition). This differs from other NYCTF situations in that, for example, math fellows enter the program with an undergraduate major in mathematics and learn how to teach the subject, assess learners, and work within the school setting. In the ESL field, candidates who are teachers of record are simultaneously acquiring content and pedagogical knowledge. They are in a situation similar to that of many of their own ESL students who are acquiring content knowledge and language simultaneously.

Responding to Change
Lehman College has been accepting TESOL NYCTF candidates for the past 2 years and was notified that a third cohort of approximately 66 candidates would be entering for the 2007-2008 academic year. What the TESOL faculty at first thought was a fad has now become a permanent part of the structure of the program. On the basis of feedback from educators and supervisors in the PreK-12 grade schools, faculty engaged in teaching TESOL NYCTFs, and the fellows themselves, Lehman’s TESOL program has responded to the unique situation that the AR TESOL candidates have created. Some of the concerns of the TESOL faculty were to (a) maintain the integrity and high standards of the existing program, (b) develop competent TESOL educators who would be able to meet the needs of the students in the New York City Public School System, (c) provide TESOL candidates with adequate support, and (d) avoid a two-tiered system of traditional route (us) versus alternate route (them) in terms of treatment of candidates and integration of NYCTF candidates into the fabric of the existing program and student body.

First, the faculty examined the existing program and made curricular changes where it made sense to do so. The major change was to eliminate the culminating seven-credit master’s thesis research sequence and develop a culminating project seminar in curriculum, materials development, technology, and assessment (four credits). Candidates engage in a variety of projects in their other required courses that form the basis of this culminating curriculum development project. Candidates develop a work sample that includes contextual factors, learning goals, assessment plan, design of instruction, analysis of student learning, and reflection on teaching practice. In addition, the candidates compile a professional portfolio with artifacts developed in each of the prior required courses that will allow for complete integration of coursework and experience. The course supports students by synthesizing their prior coursework and experiences and enables them to refine the pedagogical skills they have acquired through formal coursework and practical experiences.

Second, the existing program was resequenced to provide the types of content, pedagogy, and practical experiences early on that may provide the necessary support for these new educators. The resequencing places the focus on pedagogical practices, supervised practicum experiences, and curriculum development early in and throughout the program, and integrates the foundational coursework later in the program. Now, rather than serving as a culminating professional experience, the supervised teaching practicum occurs during the AR candidates’ first fall semester in the program. This enables TESOL NYCTF candidates to scaffold their learning and understanding of the underlying theory within the framework of their practical experience. Traditionally, the supervised teaching practicum occurred at the end of the program; this resequencing is intended to provide the necessary support early on in their teaching placement. Along with this resequencing, a required yearlong weekly seminar was developed for these AR candidates. This new seminar provides the critical component of faculty support of instruction for new TESOL NYCTFs during the first year of teaching. This seminar scaffolds the learning that occurred during the summer coursework and further develops candidates’ knowledge and skills.

The attrition rate for NYCTFs has been reported to be approximately 40% after 3 years (NYSED, 2003), slightly higher than the 33% national attrition rate of teachers reported by Ingersoll (2001). The relatively high attrition rate (as compared with other professions) has been argued to be the result of the lack of meaningful support for new teachers. The restructuring of the Lehman College MSEd TESOL program for NYCTF candidates addresses the need for meaningful mentoring in the first years of teaching and ties the mentoring experience to curriculum development and college-level coursework.
Finally, whereas many colleges and universities move AR candidates through in a cohort with little to no exposure to traditional route candidates, Lehman College has developed coscheduled sections of courses where traditional and AR candidates are enrolled together and can benefit from each other’s past and present experiences, knowledge, and strengths. This practice exposes the TESOL NYCTF candidates to traditional candidates and enables both to view experiences through multiple lenses.

AR certification programs are a fact of the current field of teacher education and have grown to include the certification area of TESOL. Though the only real solution to the simultaneous acquisition of content and pedagogy for AR TESOL candidates would be to require an undergraduate degree in applied linguistics, linguistics, or TESOL, colleges and universities can maintain their existing program’s standards and integrity. A partial solution is to develop a course sequence (resequencing existing required coursework) that provides candidates with support of instruction early on in their professional education. In addition, faculty can collaborate to develop innovative curriculum and coursework to build skills, provide support, and link theory to practice. These courses and the curricula should be developed so that they are aligned with daily experiences that these candidates are having in their preK-12 ESL classrooms and provide opportunities for AR candidates to reflect on their experiences and link their practice to theory in a way that can be viewed in a way similar to “backwards design” (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998), which begins with the end.

Darling-Hammond, L. (1990). Teaching and knowledge: Policy issues posed by alternate certification for teachers. Peabody Journal of Education, 67(3), 123-154.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2002). Research and rhetoric on teacher certification: A response to “Teacher certification reconsidered.”Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10 (36), Electronic journal, 34 pages. 
Fuller, E. (1999). Does teacher certification matter? A comparison of elementary TAAS performance in 1997 between schools with high and low percentages of certified teachers. Austin: Charles A Dana Center, University of Texas.
Ingersoll, R. (2001). Teacher turnover and teacher shortages: An organizational analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 38(3), 499-534. 
Laczko-Kerr, I., & Berliner, D.C. (2002). The effectiveness of ‘Teach for America’ and other under-certified teachers on student academic achievement: A case of harmful public policy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 10(37), Electronic journal, 36 pages. 
National Center for Education Information. (2005). Alternative routes to teacher certification: An overview. Retrieved May 10, 2007, fromhttp://www.ncei.com/Alt-Teacher-Cert.htm
New York State Education Department. (2003). Update on the Alternative Teacher Certification Program. Report to Regents. Retrieved May 11, 2007, from http://www.regents.nysed.gov/2003Meetings/June2003/0603hpd3.htm
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Margo DelliCarpini is an assistant professor of TESOL at Lehman College, City University of New York, where she teaches courses leading to certification in teaching English as a second language. In addition to her work as a teacher educator she has taught ESL to students from the preK through adult level and in higher education. Her research interests include second language literacy development and mainstream and ESL teacher collaboration.


From ESL Students to ESOL Teachers

Alexandra Neves, aneves@nmsu.edu

When I began teaching in a U.S. Southwestern university with a large population of Hispanic students, I was surprised that more than 80% of the teacher candidates in the bilingual/TESOL teacher preparation were former ESL students. As I talked in my classes about my own experiences of learning a second language, students also shared theirs. My personal experiences intertwined with that of my students, but mine were undoubtedly less painful. For me the learning of English was for and about having fun. For them it represented an overwhelming process with which they had to come to grips. It was vital to their academic success. My students’ decision to seek a career that is directly related to their experiences with language learning has been one of the phenomena I have sought to understand in my PhD dissertation study. What happens when former ESL students themselves enter programs to become bilingual or ESOL teachers? To what extent do their experiences in school influence their choice of career?

The Study
The six students included in the study were teacher candidates in the bilingual/TESOL program at a land-grant university in the Southwest. They were all immigrants from Mexico and studied in a variety of ESL programs, such as immersion, ESL pull-out, transitional, and bilingual. Pseudonyms were used to protect the participants’ identities. I collected data during the spring 2006 semester using a demographic questionnaire, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. After analyzing the data, I identified several themes that focused mainly on the participants’ classroom experiences, their own language-learning processes, and their willingness and determination to become bilingual/ESOL teachers. In the paragraphs that follow, I briefly discuss four of the themes that emerged from my research and close with recommendations for bilingual/TESOL teacher preparation programs. 

Crossing Borders: Incongruence Among Language, Culture, and Identity
All of the participants went through a difficult process of adaptation to the new culture. They missed their families, friends, and the way life used to be. The challenges participants faced involved the interplay of language, culture, and identity (Gonzales, 2005). These challenges influenced their decision to become bilingual/ESOL teachers. For instance, one of the participants, Monica, described a bad memory of her first day in school:

When I started Tierra [name of the school], the teacher couldn’t speak any Spanish, and I didn’t know anything in English . . . so I was just there. She would give me words just to keep me busy, but I didn’t talk to any of the students because they didn’t know any Spanish either. And I felt really bad. I remember I didn’t even have a desk, I had a table and the other students were you know . . . how they have the desks in rows and I was over here by myself on a table.

The participants were trying to fit into two different worlds: school and home. Language played a significant role in the process; they considered English to be vital for their academic success and professional access, yet who they were, and their idea of closeness, of belonging, was associated with their native language, Spanish.

On Being a Role-Model Teacher
The participants stated that despite the unappealing messages they get from others about the teaching profession, for them teaching remained a profession that is noble and crucial to their lives. They recognized the role of the teacher as an intrinsic part of who they were. They also maintained they were now able to use their “bad” experiences to their advantage because of the possibilities education brought to their lives. They viewed themselves as models of success and had the desire to make a difference in their future students’ lives. All of them took on their position and commitment to the field of bilingual/TESOL with great determination. What seemed to attract them to the field was mostly humanitarian ideals. A variety of experiences, people, and circumstances and their desire to be the best role models clearly shaped their decision to become bilingual/ESOL teachers, as Carlos’ excerpt illustrates:

I know a 100% in my heart, I know 100% in my mind that I can really make a difference on the students that will go to my classroom. I went to this field of bilingual education because I have a pretty good understanding of what these kids go through. They have to learn a new language; they have to struggle with communicating to a teacher who doesn’t speak their language. I know how that feels because I lived this.

On Learning and Teaching the English Language
Language learning and teaching was a constant topic in our interviews and showed the participants’ concerns with their own English language-learning process and with their ability as English language teachers. Though they feel confident and excited about their qualifications to teach students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, they do not feel confident with their language competence as teachers. For them the process of learning the English language was far from pleasant and the frustrating experiences appeared to contribute to their lack of current confidence in the language. Reflecting on some of the practical teaching experiences they had, they said they felt uncomfortable when they had to be up in front of the class, using the English language as the means of instruction. Monica expressed her frustration:

I am learning English and I feel that if I am learning and I am going to be a teacher then, what am I going to be? I know that I am able to teach them but I still have that feeling that there is going to be some things that I don’t know.

The expectation that language teaching presupposes teachers with good command of the language generates in these students a great deal of anxiety about the future. They see the necessity to practice their language skills and agree on the value of having language classes within the program. The participants believe that to be fully successful in their career as teachers they need to have proficient command of the language.

On Theory and Practice
The participants also shared their frustration regarding the lack of opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge. They are expected and encouraged to articulate their theoretical positions as teachers during the classroom discussions. However, they perceived a considerable gap between theoretical discussions and real practice in the classroom. The majority of them still find it complicated to identify how theory would be beneficial to their practice. The reflection on theory and practice seems to be a way for them to pursue their identities as teachers (Danielewicz, 2001). As the participants’ current circumstances, being preservice teachers, limit them to a hypothetical understanding of how theory will inform their practice, it is difficult for them to make anything but tentative statements about the relationship between the two. It can be argued that their concerns will change after the first few years of practice but the difficulty in learning abstract content in a context far apart from the real classroom undoubtedly needs consideration, as Ximena’s example illustrates:

I think the classes help me to understand the theoretical part, but not the practical. I learned how the dual language and all the ESL models work but . . . in paper it looks so beautiful [laugh]. This is the maintenance, this is the law, this is the transitional. . . . I had the theory but over there in the school, they say this is maintenance and this is transitional . . . and I asked which one is that? I had trouble to connect with the theory. I learned that in school you have to deal with the system. . . . At the university it looks beautiful in books.

I have tried to present the different pedagogical experiences a group of six former ESL students went through. What conclusions can be drawn in light of the current practice in bilingual/TESOL teacher preparation? 

  1. We should continue not only to acknowledge our students’ background experiences but also to learn from them. The individual experiences former ESL students bring to the teacher preparation site should be interconnected and included within the curriculum to broaden our perspectives of this community of students. These students bring an array of experiences to teacher preparation that are worth examining because they reflect a larger social representation. 
  2. To build awareness of what the process of becoming a bilingual/ESOL teacher entails, many aspects of the program should have a practical element. Engaging students in the process of putting theoretical foundations into practice enables them to be active participants in their own process of becoming teachers. The program should provide courses with at least one component of practicum experience every semester. 
  3. Programs should include a language development class for teachers. The course would focus on different language skills necessary for teachers, such as oral communication, problematic areas of interference between English and other languages, workshops to develop academic writing skills, and work on aspects such as graphophonic relationships, homophones, and so on. Such a course would benefit not only the former ESL students in the program but all students. In addition, it would be a way to boost former ESL students’ confidence in their language abilities as well as an opportunity to examine features of language in more depth.

Danielewicz, J. (2001). Teaching selves: Identity, pedagogy and teacher education. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Gonzalez, S. (2005). I am my language: Discourses of women and children in the borderlands. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press.


Alexandra Neves is a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the College of Education, New Mexico State University (NMSU). She has worked as an EFL teacher and teacher trainer in Brazil for many years and is currently an instructor in the bilingual/TESOL teacher preparation program at NMSU.

Call for Contributions

TEIS News encourages submission of articles and book reviews on topics of significance to teacher educators. We also solicit TEIS voices from all of our members.

Articles should be between 800 and 1,500 words and may address program descriptions, course descriptions, best practices, teaching techniques, or any topic of interest to ESOL teacher educators, especially those of sociopolitical interest or issues not commonly addressed in the literature.

Book reviews of between 300 and 500 words should provide the reviewer’s analysis of books that are relevant to the practice and theory of teacher education.

TEIS voices are paragraphs of approximately 100 words that introduce a teacher educator’s work. TEIS voices serve as a networking tool as well as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on a teacher, program, or country we might not otherwise read about.

All manuscripts should follow APA style (5th ed.). We publish a couple times a years, summer and winter. Please send your contributions to Joel Hardman at jhardma@siue.edu.


About This Member Community TEIS Leadership Team

TEIS Leadership Team 2007-08

Past Chair: Judy Sharkey, University of New Hampshire, judy.sharkey@unh.edu

Chair: Adelaide Parsons, Southeast Missouri State University, ahparsons@semo.edu

Chair-Elect: Karen Woodman, kwoodman@une.edu.au

Future Chair-Elect: Hema Ramanathan, hramanat@westga.edu

IS Council Representatives

Rachel Grant, Penn State University, rag022@aol.com

Elza Major, University of Nevada, Reno, emajor@unr.edu

Julia Austin, University of Alabama, Birmingham, jaustin@uab.edu

Web Manager

Deqi Zen, South Eastern Missouri University, dzen@semo.edu

Electronic Mailing List Manager

Ju Young Song, Ohio State University, song.151@osu.edu

Newsletter Coeditors

Duff Johnston, Penn State University, duj128@psu.edu

Joel Hardman, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, jhardma@siue.edu

Tracy Davis, Penn State University, tsd121@psu.edu

Teacher Education Interest Section

TESOL’s Teacher Education Interest Section (TEIS) provides a forum for ESOL teacher educators and other TESOL members to raise, discuss, and address issues relevant to the education, preparation, and continuing professional development of teachers who work with ESL/EFL learners around the world. It creates opportunities for ESOL teacher educators to learn, interact, collaborate, and share with one another.

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