As We Speak (SPLIS)

SPLIS News, Volme 1:1 (March 2004)

by User Not Found | 11/03/2011
In This Issue...

Message from the Chair
Letter From the Editor
New E-group: TESOL-Drama
An Overview of the SPLIS Strand: The Importance of Listening in Oral Language Instruction and Assessment
TESOL Spotlight Session: The Teacher's Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation "Survival Kit"
InterSection: Designing Content-Specific Pronunciation Materials
Ways of Using Video: A Report From TESOL's 2003 Convention
Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening IS Steering Committee, 2003-2004
About This Member Community

Message from the Chair

Janet Goodwin,

It's been a busy year since TESOL's 2003 convention in Baltimore. I apologize for the lack of an earlier newsletter. Unfortunately, we are in newsletter editor transition, and this means that at the same time that we are transitioning to the new e-format, we are also welcoming a new editor. Paula Baird has graciously agreed to be our newsletter editor and you can find a letter from her following my message. In order to provide her with some assistance, would any of you like to take on a part of the responsibility, such as soliciting materials reviews, coordinating an "Ask the Experts" column, or reporting on software/internet teaching ideas? We are at the perfect point to incorporate all of you in this process of sharing ideas about our field. Did you have a particularly successful presentation at TESOL's convention? Write up a short report for the newsletter. Are you using an effective teaching technique? Share it with us. Do you have a query or issue that concerns you? Bring it up and we'll put our heads together to address it--we can use this newsletter as a way to share the wealth of our collective expertise.

Our New Name

The first thing you might notice is that our name has changed. Please see the explanation for the name change in David Mendelsohn's "SPIS becomes SPLIS" article in this issue. The addition of listening to our name certainly reflects an important aspect of the work that we do. By the way, SPLIS currently boasts 320 primary members and 157 secondary members for a total of 477.

Drama E-Group

Another new development in our IS is the addition of an e-group. Last summer, I was approached by Nigel Caplan and Gary Carkin, who were looking for a way to connect with other teachers who want to share ideas on using drama in the ESL/EFL classroom. Read Nigel's explanation of this group a bit further on in this newsletter. He and Gary have also sponsored an online EV session. If you'd like to meet them, they will be at our annual business meeting on Wednesday night of the TESOL convention and will also come to our booth. Please stop by!


Also new this year is the electronic balloting process. Hopefully, you all voted on our slate of candidates. This new process allows all of us to vote, not just those who attend the business meeting at the TESOL convention. We feel this stronger representation will give more cohesion to our group.

TESOL 2004

We are now quickly approaching the 2004 TESOL convention in Long Beach, California, in the United States, and can look forward to a number of informative and exciting sessions. I would like to thank all the proposal readers who so willingly gave of their time last summer. Unfortunately, the process for the online proposal reading was not without some glitches and the vendor has now been changed for this coming year. Moreover, according to TESOL, because the venue in Long Beach is smaller, our allotment of slots for sessions was reduced from 32 in Baltimore to 21 in Long Beach. This was a drastic reduction and meant that many of you who submitted excellent and highly rated proposals nonetheless were not accepted. In addition, although we were told that proposal writers would have access to the comments written by the proposal readers, as far as I know, this did not happen. If your proposal was not accepted, I would urge you to consider resubmitting it for the 2005 convention in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States. Although I don't know the size of the venue in San Antonio, we certainly hope to offer a larger number of sessions and our allotment is dependent both on membership and the number of proposals submitted. So be sure to submit!

Proposals Due for TESOL's 2005 Convention

If you do want to make a presentation at the 2005 TESOL convention in San Antonio (March 29-April 2, 2005), you will need a TESOL 2005 Call for Participation Form on which to submit your presentation proposal. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2004. You can submit your proposal online by going to the TESOL website at, or if you attend the 2004 convention in Long Beach you will find the form in your registration materials.

Preconvention Institutes

What can look forward to in Long Beach? Before the convention gets underway, two full-day preconvention institutes are being offered. On Monday, you can attend "Teaching Nonnative-English Speaking Teachers to Become Effective Pronunciation Teachers," with Brock Brady, Karen Taylor, and Kim Miyoung. On Tuesday, John Levis, Donna Brinton, Judy Gilbert, Linda Grant, Lucy Pickering, and Marnie Reed will present "Essentials of Teaching Pronunciation." For more information, check out the Online Program Planner at

SPLIS Strand

As usual, we will have our own homeroom for the daily strand presentations. This year it will be in Long Beach Convention Center, Room 202A&B. I've included a brief article about the strands so you can have a preview of the topics. The beauty of the strand system is that you come to the same room every morning, 9:30-11:15 am, for a series of related presentations. In honor of our new name, this year's strand is entitled, "The Importance of Listening in Oral Language Instruction and Assessment." The strand system has allowed us to schedule 11 presentations in a timeframe that would normally only allow 8 slots. Since you don't have to get up and rush all over, you can relax and delve more deeply into the topic with your buddies from SPLIS and other interested people. Don't miss it!

Academic Session

In addition to our strand, John Levis, the incoming chair, has organized a timely and informative academic session entitled, "The Theory and Practice of Speaking Assessment," which examines fundamental issues in assessing spoken language and continues with a panel discussion of key issues by developers of various speaking tests used by many ESL/EFL programs (Sari Luoma, University of Jyvaskyla; April Ginther, Purdue University; Dorry Kenyon, Center for Applied Linguistics; Beryl Meiron, Cambridge Examinations and IELTS; Pam Mollaun and John Miles, ETS; Jared Bernstein, Ordinate Corporation; Melinda Matice, University of Michigan).

Discussion Groups

These are the sessions that occur both in the early morning (7:30-8:15 am) and in the evening (7-7:45 pm). Unlike presentations, which are more of a lecture format, these sessions are a terrific opportunity for us to share ideas and ask questions in a forum of colleagues with similar interests. John Levis has organized 11 interesting discussion groups. Among others, Joan Morley will discuss discipline-specific pronunciation practice, and Judy Gilbert will discuss the connection between pronunciation and literacy. Other topics include assessment, drama, voicemail, error correction, music training, and even a swap shop. Go to the TESOL website ( and click on "2004 Convention" for more information about these sessions and others.

Energy Break

Judy Gilbert has kindly agreed to lead an energy break at the convention, Wednesday at 3 pm, called "Exchanging Thoughts on Teaching Pronunciation." Space is limited and it's sure to be a sellout. Sign up and chat with one of our internationally recognized members.

Spotlight Session

We were very fortunate this year to have a colloquium chosen to be a TESOL Spotlight Session. David Mendelsohn has organized this session, which includes Bill Acton, John Murphy, and Michael Rost. The session is called "The Listening, Speaking, Pronunciation Survival Kit" and is explained in a brief article later in this newsletter.

InterSection With ESP and ITA Interest Sections

We've organized one InterSection this year with the ESP and ITA interest sections. Read about this informative session, "Designing Content-Specific Pronunciation Materials" in more depth later in this issue.

Electronic Village Online Sessions

This year, SPLIS has sponsored two EV online sessions through TESOL. Nigel Caplan explains one ("Let's put on a play!") in his article about our new e-group, TESOL Drama. Becky Dauer writes below about the other one:

This year, SPLIS sponsored another 6-week online discussion group, "Assessing and Teaching Oral Communication Skills," moderated by Christine Parkhurst and Rebecca Dauer. A detailed description of this group, as well as other pre-TESOL electronic village (EV) online groups/courses, can be found at

This year, like last year, more than 100 participants from all over the world shared their ideas, teaching tips, and frustrations in teaching oral skills to their students/clients in a variety of settings. It's a rewarding experience and gives you a taste of distance learning. I encourage everyone to participate in one of the online groups next year--or consider moderating a group on a topic of interest to you! The people in the CALL interest section run a training group for moderators and are very helpful.

SPLIS Booth/Swap Shop

This year, as in past years, Mary DiStefano-Diaz is coordinating our SPLIS booth at the convention. She has organized an "Ask the Experts" section where passersby will be able to stop and ask questions about speaking, pronunciation, or listening. If you'd like to come and help us out by sitting at the booth for 30 minutes or an hour during the convention, e-mail Mary at Also, this year we are instituting a new practice. We know how everyone treasures handouts at these conventions. We'd like to hold our first annual swap shop and encourage you to bring at least 25-40 handouts of either current or past presentations that you have done (particularly if they are relatively self-explanatory). In the past, we have had articles about pronunciation, but I think that the handout exchange might be an easy and practical method of sharing ideas. So, please pack an extra set of handouts or a teaching idea into your suitcase and drop it off at our booth. Be sure your name is on them and if, you're willing to entertain questions, also your e-mail address. Thanks in advance!

Business Meeting

As usual, we will hold our annual business meeting from 5-7 pm on Wednesday of the convention. Unlike past years, when it was located in the same room as our strand, this year it is in a different location, Long Beach Convention Center, Room 301. This meeting will be your opportunity to put a face with a name and get to know more of the members personally. We will welcome our new chair-elect and talk together about hot issues, topics for future sessions, directions for the IS, and ideas for the newsletter and Web site. Please come join us!

Special Networking Reception for all TESOL Convention Goers

As our special project this year, we were approached by the Intercultural Communication IS to cosponsor a networking session (TESOL provides some food and drink). The other cosponsors are the English as a Foreign Language IS, the Refugee Concerns IS, and the TESOLers for Social Responsibility Caucus. The purpose is to give interest section members an opportunity to meet and discuss issues of common concern with each other. For example, I might want to talk to people from the International Teaching Assistants, Video, Teacher Education, ESL in Higher Education, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, and English for Specific Purposes interest sections because my work incorporates all of those areas. This kind of community-building is also behind the InterSections that TESOL created. Come and network with colleagues who may be doing similar work to yours but who have chosen a different IS as their primary one.

The Networking Reception will be held Wednesday, March 31, 7-8:30 pm, in the Renaissance Hotel, Ballroom 4 & 5. For more information, contact Armeda Reitzel, cochair, Intercultural Communication Interest Section, at or 707-826-3779.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Two significant ways to keep in touch with the interest section is through the SPLIS e-list and the SPLIS Web site. I urge all of you, if you haven't yet done so, to sign up for the e-list right now while you're online by visiting and clicking on "Communities," then on "Manage your E-list subscriptions," where you can fill in the necessary form. Even though the e-list is officially unmoderated at this time, Nancy Hilty has done a great job of overseeing it. Our new Webmaster, Holly Gray, has officially moved the Web site to its current site: Thank you Nancy and Holly for all of your work. Be sure to check out both the e-list and the Website and let us know what you think.

Letter From the Editor

Dear SPLIS members,

I will be the editor for the SPLIS newsletter for the upcoming year. My general goal is to ensure that our membership continues to receive an informative and interesting newsletter building on the successes of previous editors. As we have formally recognized the connection of listening skills to speaking skills, I hope to add articles and information related to the topic of listening as well.

Our IS membership continues to grow. I want to encourage all members, old and new, to submit articles related to our discipline, information on interesting or relevant research, descriptions of classroom teaching or tutoring tips, descriptions of new software or technology, information on testing or evaluation, and any anecdotes of successes and failures that our readers would enjoy. I also welcome all questions, suggestions, comments, and even complaints.

For those who will be at TESOL's 2004 convention in Long Beach, I hope to see you at our IS meeting Wednesday, March 31, at 5pm in the Long Beach Convention Center, Room 301. For those who will not be able to attend the convention, I look forward to hearing from you throughout the upcoming year.


Paula W. Baird
Coordinator of ESL and Foreign Languages
Tunxis Community College
Farmington, CT USA


By David Mendelsohn,

It was some years ago that a group of us navigated a proposal through the requisite committees of TESOL and created the Speech and Pronunciation Interest Section (SPIS). The creation of this IS filled a serious gap in the foci that TESOL had to that point; it provided a home for people whose special interest is the acquisition and teaching of speaking and pronunciation.

While this was a huge step forward and has made a substantial difference to the visibility and attention afforded speech and pronunciation, the "Cinderella Skill" of listening comprehension remained out in the cold. There were those who argued that if SPIS was dealing with matters of speech and pronunciation, then, ipso facto, they would address matters related to listening as well. I worried that this still made it possible to neglect listening.

As a result, I made a motion at the last TESOL convention that SPIS become SPLIS--Speech, Pronunciation and Listening Interest Section--and this motion passed with a large majority. Thus SPLIS was born. The difference will already be evident at Long Beach, as listening begins to take its rightful place when considering the aural/oral skill in TESOL.

New E-group: TESOL-Drama

By Nigel Caplan, Michigan State University,

TESOL-Drama is a membership e-group community that discusses the use of drama techniques in second/foreign language teaching. From role-plays to improvisation games to full-scale productions, language teachers throughout the world have long recognized the value of drama in all its forms. TESOL-Drama provides a forum for discussing best practice in language through drama, sharing classroom activities, and exploring the theoretical underpinnings of our work. This e-group, formed in August 2003 and sponsored by SPLIS, is open to all current TESOL members. To join, use the form available on TESOL's Web site at For more information about TESOL-Drama, please contact the comoderators, Nigel Caplan ( or Gary Carkin (

As part of this year's Electronic Village online, the members of TESOL-Drama are leading a discussion on how and why to stage drama productions with ESL/EFL students. Workshop members from around the world and across the entire field of our profession are sharing ideas about every form of performance. It has been a very successful online discussion group.

An Overview of the SPLIS Strand: The Importance of Listening in Oral Language Instruction and Assessment

By Janet Goodwin,

In honor of our name change, this year's strand is devoted to listening. As we move through the week, we'll look at the kind of research that informs our teaching, the strategies we strive to promote in our learners, innovative techniques and materials we can use for teaching, and issues of assessment. It promises to be extremely informative. Our strand sessions will be located in the Long Beach Convention Center, Room 202A & B, every morning from 9:30-11:15. Below is an overview of the presentations (why not print this out and bring it with you to the convention?).

Wednesday: Research Studies

Understanding Listening Comprehension Through Conversation Analysis. Anne Wennerstrom discusses a study in which conversation analysis was used to investigate listening comprehension. This allowed for detailed observation of learners' reactions to input in real time, taking into account the dynamic and collaborative nature of conversation. Cues from learners' spontaneous speech illuminated microlevel processing issues.

Helping ESL Students Understand Their University Lectures. David Mendelsohn describes an experiment to help first-year, nonnative-English-speaking economics majors at university to understand their lectures. Both the difficulties they had and an experimental mentoring project devised to help them are described.

Computer Lab Interaction Effects on Listening/Pronunciation. Marsha Chan reports on the effects of computer-mediated oral interaction on students' aural and oral accuracy. Listening and pronunciation scores of students in traditional classes are compared with students in classes using a lab. Procedures, observations, results, and implications are discussed.

Thursday: Promoting Listening and Communication Strategies

Jigsaw With a Listening Twist. Robert Engel and Angel BishopPetty demonstrate an innovative approach that combines jigsaw techniques and the use of authentic language audio recordings to develop interactive communication strategies. Guidelines and ways to adapt ideas to other teaching situations are outlined in a handout.

Increasing Students' Use of Listening Comprehension Strategies. Dawn McCormick, Jeff Johnson, and M. Christine O'Neill report on a project to increase student listening strategy use. The presenters share the how-to of the project, provide examples of student responses, and report on the overall effectiveness of the project.

Linking Listening Strategies to Speaking Strategies. Paula Baird demonstrates how to link listening strategies to comprehension. The audience identifies listening strategies needed to hear native speech with background interference. These strategies are then linked to the organization of speech at the phrase, sentence, and discourse level.

Friday: Techniques and Materials

How Listening Dictation and PowerPoint Click. Steve Cunningham and Richard Sansone demonstrate how to use Microsoft PowerPoint to create listening dictation practice exercises that students can use for self-correction. They demonstrate PowerPoint dictation and lead participants through the creation of a slide with an audio voice recording and graphics.

Sounds and Spelling for Community College ESL. Language learners need practice relating speech to print, but little instructional material is available for adults. Cristin Carpenter shows us how integrating listening, pronunciation, and phonics techniques in short texts helps community college students develop strategies for connecting English sounds to spelling patterns.

The Listening-Speaking Path to Regional Acculturation. Listening/speaking students require skill-based instruction containing meaningful cultural content. Cynthia Lennox and Jeannette Clement use videos on topics of regional interest to teach communication skills and cultural understanding of the host region. They discuss video selection, lesson planning, and assessment.

Saturday: Assessment and Wrap-Up

Developing Oral Assessment Tools for Advanced Learners. Becky Dauer and Christine Parkhurst discuss the general considerations involved in designing an oral assessment tool for advanced learners and give detailed examples of specific assessment tools for health care professionals and workplace training, including how to involve stakeholders in the assessment process.

Hearing the Difference, Diagnosing Speech Perception. Accurately diagnosing problems in speech perception has long been a difficult task, with many traditional instruments providing inadequate diagnosis. Justin Shewell looks at a recently developed pronunciation perception diagnostic tool that provides a clearer picture of speech perception problems.

Wrap-Up Session. Come together with strand speakers to talk about the week's topics and to summarize for ourselves what we can take away from this convention to inform our own teaching and research. Please come and share ideas!

TESOL Spotlight Session: The Teacher's Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation "Survival Kit"

By David Mendelsohn,

Thursday, April 1, 2004, 3-4:45
Long Beach Convention Center, Seaside Ballroom A

Presenters: William Acton,; John Murphy,; Michael Rost,

Many teachers who go overseas set off without a clear picture of what the level, ability, or indeed the needs of their prospective students are. A dilemma of this kind is posed to four experts in the filed of listening, speaking, and pronunciation:

"You have landed a job teaching English in another country. All that you know about the job is that you will be teaching the aural/oral skills to adults. What 10 items/materials/books/courses/other resources would you take with you?"

The session will begin with a brief introductory presentation about the teaching of the aural/oral skills, with special focus on the fact that the setting is EFL. This will be followed by presentations by three experts in the fields of listening comprehension, speaking, and pronunciation respectively. Each presenter will talk about what they would take with them as a survival kit and why. This may include teacher resources, classroom textbooks, recorded materials, or any other resources they feel are needed for their survival overseas.

All those present will be given an annotated survival kit listing all the items discussed. This will be a very valuable resource for all teachers of these skills.

InterSection: Designing Content-Specific Pronunciation Materials

By Janet Goodwin,

Thursday, April 1, 3-4:45 pm
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 201A

Have you ever felt you needed something more specific than the general pronunciation materials we regularly use? Do your learners share a field or profession but you lack materials that target the typical language of that field? Educators from the Speech, Pronunciation and Listening, International Teaching Assistant, and English for Specific Purposes interest sections pool their expertise in an InterSection on designing content-specific pronunciation materials.

Presenters will show us examples from four fields:

  • Physics: Colleen Meyers and Jeff Lindgren developed materials for international teaching assistants

  • Law: Anne Wennerstrom created a course for court interpreters

  • Medicine/Health Care: Christine Parkhurst teaches learners to pronounce prescriptions, conduct patient counseling, make phone calls to doctor's offices, and so forth.

  • Business: Laura Hahn and Ruth Yontz designed a course on oral communication for business.

In addition to the examples, the presenters offer guidelines and an overview of the process for designing such materials for any setting. They also open the discussion of critical issues such as syllabus design, diagnostics, selecting good models, authenticity, and collaboration.

Ways of Using Video: A Report From TESOL's 2003 Convention

By Rebecca M. Dauer,

Video has been used in English language teaching for at least 25 years. The two traditional activities have been videotaping students doing role-plays or oral presentations for feedback and watching videotapes (with and without sound) for listening comprehension. At the 2003 TESOL convention, I was happy to see that teachers are exploiting video to teach speaking, particularly prosody and nonverbal communication, in more focused and interactive ways.

Quarterman and Boatwright (Session 3425, "Helping Pronunciation Students Become Independent Learners") have students in a university pronunciation course track an actor as part of their out-of-class practice. Their instructions are "try to repeat word-for-word what a character on a television program or movie is saying, speaking just one or two words behind the character. Try to use similar intonation patterns, stress, and rhythm" (based on Grant, L. 2001, Well Said. p.155). This is an updated version of what had been called shadowing of audio materials.

Goodwin (Session 612, "Importance of Body Language in Communication") shows her students in a university course a short video clip, such as a scene from a television show, first silently. Then they mark a script, trying to predict pausing and intonation, listen and correct the script, practice it, and finally are videotaped acting out the same scene, trying to replicate as closely as possible the emotions and gestures they had seen as well as the words. This works especially well if the video is digitized: if a clip is repeated enough times, the words fade and the intonation stands out.

Meyers and Holt (Session 2477, Targeting Effective Presentation Skills) use a similar approach to help international teaching assistants (ITAs) develop enthusiastic intonation patterns, create audience rapport through eye contact, improve the content of their presentations, and so forth. Video clips are shown of successful nonnative and native speakers. Students watch the video, notice particular features in each clip (answer written questions), and then try to practice that feature in their own speech using their own material. The video and workbook they use, Success With Presentations, is available from Aspen Productions,

Monk, Lindgren, and Meyers (Session 828, The Mirroring Technique in Prosodic Acquisition) described a 3-week in-class and out-of-class project for community college classes and above. Here are their instructions for mirroring a native English speaker:

  1. Choose someone whose spoken English you admire and would like to sound like. You might choose a television personality (e.g., newscaster, character on a show, movie star) or a famous political personality (e.g., Martin Luther King, Malcolm X). Obtain a video recording of this person speaking. It can be an advertisement, an interview, a news report, a situation comedy, a movie, or a documentary. You can work by yourself of with another student in the class.

  2. Choose a 30-60 second segment from the person's speech and mirror it as closely as you can. Imitate their gestures, facial expressions, and body language. In addition, transcribe the speech exactly by writing in pauses, stress, and intonation marks.

  3. When you have gotten as close to the person's speech as possible, record yourself on videotape during class, saying the same words as much like the original speaker as possible. If possible, try to memorize the short speech.

Students reflect on each stage of the project on written worksheets (e.g., Why did you choose this person? What's his or her style of speech, tone of voice, emotion, gestures, facial expressions?). They mark pauses, stress, and intonation on their transcriptions; rehearse in class; complete peer evaluations; and answer take-home self-evaluation questions. Their final reenactment of the scene can be done either live (after showing the original videotaped segment) or videotaped and is then graded. This type of complete cycle appeals to different learning styles and abilities, uses authentic language, allows students to choose their own models, and involves critical thinking and all aspects of English. Although the primary goal was to help students improve their prosody, students also reported that it stimulated their interest in learning English again (good for fossilized learners) and helped listening comprehension.

It's unclear how much of what students learn from doing these activities is generalized (alas, as in so much of our field!), but certainly their awareness and observation skills will improve, and the knowledge that they can do it should spur them on. The concepts of stress, length, intonation, gesture, and how they all reinforce each other in communication certainly come alive in this approach and can be directly experienced, not just talked or read about. It should be added that, in all cases, students had previously been introduced to these concepts in class, and this was an opportunity to apply the principles they'd learned to a particular situation.

Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening IS Steering Committee, 2003-2004

Chair, 2005: Janet Goodwin,
Immediate Past Chair, 2004: Rebecca Dauer,
Chair-Elect, 2006: John Levis,
Secretary, 2005: Marsha Chan,

Members at Large (serve 2 year terms)
Laura Hahn, (2004)
Sue Miller, (2004)
Betty Pow, (2004)
Carole Mawson, (2005)
Karen Taylor, (2005)
Bill Crawford, (2005)

Booth Coordinator, 2004: Mary Diaz,
Historian, 2005: Judy Gilbert,
Newsletter Editor: Paula Baird,
Webmaster: Holly Gray,

About This Member Community Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening Interest Section (SPLIS)

Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening provides an exchange of ideas, information and expertise on teaching techniques and research in pronunciation, speaking, and listening comprehension as well as the integration of these skills with other areas of oral/aural language use and non-verbal communication; develops awareness in the TESOL community of the importance of spoken English and its relationship to overall language development.

SPLIS Leaders, 2003-2004 Chair:

Janet Goodwin,
Chair-Elect: John Levis,
Newsletter Editor: Paula Baird,

Discussion e-list: Visit to sign up for SPLIS-L, the discussion list for members of this community, or visit if already a subscriber.

Web site: