EFLIS Newsletter

EFLIS News, Volume 5:3 (October 2005)

by User Not Found | 11/08/2011


In This Issue...

  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter From the Chair
    • A Word From the Editor
  • Articles and Information
    • Interview With Four Iraqi Students in Qatar
    • Thoughts on Teaching True Beginners
    • The English Explosion in a Multicultural Context
    • Award Winners Share Their Experience
    • Day in the Life: Orlando Rodriguez
    • Classroom Idea Exchange
    • Bulletin Board: Announcements & Information
  • About This Member Community
    • About This Community

Leadership Updates

Letter From the Chair

Ulrich Bliesener, U.Blie@t-online.de

Dear Colleagues,

After the San Antonio TESOL Convention, I spent a fortnight’s holiday in New Orleans. I stayed in a charming hotel in the French Quarter, built in 1865, with four-poster beds, creaking floorboards, and old-fashioned shutters, the kind one finds only in houses dating back to the 19th century. I had a wonderful time there, wandering the historic streets, sitting on the banks of Old Man River, watching the big ships go by, and enjoying the good food. The weather was gorgeous, warm and sunny, just right for the jazz festival in the park. No one among the many visitors and locals could imagine then that anything like the Katrina disaster could happen to this lovely city. Days before the hurricane struck, the weather forecast showed the developing monster over the Gulf of Mexico moving slowly but inexorably and with gathering speed toward the coast. I have seen the pictures of water everywhere, the city flooded, so many houses destroyed and people cast adrift.

I would like to send out my best wishes to all our colleagues in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, hoping that they were able to get to safety in time and that they were spared any damage to their lives and homes.

Next year’s convention has been on our minds for the past 2 months. Those among you who volunteered to read proposals did a wonderful job and delivered on time—a special thanks for that—so that the program committee could begin work. We had a number of excellent proposals and I would like to thank all of those who did not shy from the hard work of putting one together. And hard work it is. Some of the proposals were not so successful—not because the ideas were unattractive or the topic was beyond the expected interests of convention goers but because they were not well presented. The fact is, excellent ideas cannot show their true worth when badly presented. We, as members of the EFLIS, should think about how we can help new potential presenters in composing proposals that stand a better chance of being accepted.

In the meantime, you have received the first edition of the new EFLIS newsletter. The two editors, Brad Baurain and Jane Hoelker, have done an excellent job in giving the newsletter a new face and making it more attractive and interesting to read. I am sure that the EFLIS readership will appreciate their work. We have been a bit disappointed, however, at the initial lack of response to Brad’s call for contributions. Let me remind you that the EFLIS is your home base within TESOL, and that by contributing you create benefits for us all.

What to write about? In my first letter to you, I outlined a number of hot topics that, from my point of view, need discussing. I am sure there are others that are equally important and interesting. All you have to do is sit down, get a pen, and start writing. I know that as a teacher you have a lot to do. But I am also sure there are many wonderful ideas around about how to improve the quality of teaching and make our lessons more interesting and exciting for students. Why not share them with all of us?

As I said: All you have to do is sit down, get a sheet of paper and a pen, and start writing...

With best wishes,


A Word From the Editor

Brad Baurain, bbaurain@elic.org

Global Neighbors. After receiving numerous suggestions via e-mail and the e-list, we have chosen this name for the EFLIS newsletter. “Newsletter of the EFL Interest Section of TESOL Inc.” will be the informative subheader.

Why Global Neighbors? On the e-list, I explained: “I chose this particular variation for the sake of its effective simplicity, but also because it captures or suggests the simultaneously global and local realities of being connected by profession but scattered by geography, culture, educational contexts, etc.” A member in Japan commented: “This is a very good name, as it shows clearly the global nature of our profession. It is also important to keep in mind that [this must be balanced] with knowledge and respect for local culture.” The EFLIS community understands and works inside this “odd couple” of global–local realities more closely than perhaps does any other group within the organization.

This first issue of the newsletter bearing the new Global Neighbors name also contains first efforts at two new article categories. The first Day in the Life column, designed to introduce us to EFL teachers’ experiences worldwide, features an e-mail interview with Orlando Rodriguez in Uruguay. The first Classroom Idea Exchange column, aiming to provide practical tips for everyday teaching, features two contributions: a greetings warm-up and a list of ideas for how to use pictures in the language classroom. In addition, among a very interesting lineup of articles, Jane Hoelker’s interview with four Iraqi students studying in Qatar stands out by giving us a personal glimpse beyond the headlines.

Finally, the entire EFLIS leadership team encourages you not only to read this issue of the newsletter, but to consider writing something for the next issue. Any publication is only as good as its latest submission, and we urge you to take ownership and help make Global Neighbors even better!

Articles and Information

Interview With Four Iraqi Students in Qatar

Jane Hoelker, jhoelker@qf.org.qa

Nine Iraqi students received scholarships from the Qatar Foundation to study at Education City in Doha, where they successfully completed a 1-year intensive course in the Academic Bridge Program (ABP). This past September they entered Weill Cornell Medical College and Texas A&M University on the Doha campus. Sheikha Mozah, a UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, launched the International Fund for Higher Education in Iraq, which supports this scholarship program as one of its activities. The interviewer taught four of these Iraqi students: Jowad, Khalid, Zaed, and Hayder.

Hoelker: The first step on your road to studying in the Academic Bridge Program here was attending the Baghdad School for Gifted Boys. How did you apply to this special high school?

Jowad: The Ministry of Education gave us an exam. This 5-hour exam was general and specific at the same time. It included, for example, a personality test and tests in math, biology, and physics. Then they tested my imagination. The test had, for example, a page full of circles and I had to draw as many different things as I could, like balls and planets. They also interviewed the applicants.

Hoelker: Who founded the Baghdad School for Gifted Boys?

Khalid: The Ministry of Education started planning the Baghdad School in the 1980s and it was established in 1998. The purpose of the school is to build a new generation for Iraq, the generation that can help Iraq move forward and stand on its own.

Hoelker: What did you have to do to apply to the ABP?

Zaed: We wrote two essays. The first writing prompt was to write about an experience to show what kind of personality we had or explain why we wanted to study medicine. And the second one asked us to write about our talents and explain how we can improve them to meet the challenges of being a doctor.

Hoelker: When did you learn that you had won?

Zaed: One of the students learned from his father. And he spread the news—like wildfire.

Hayder: It was really difficult because the deadline for the application was in May—they told us 1 month before the exams. And we had to concentrate on the exams. But this opportunity to study abroad at an American university really made my family happy.

Zaed: Yeah, we have a saying, “A bird in the hand is better than 10 on the tree.” We were accepted by the best medical college in Iraq. They told us we were accepted and asked us why we had to go abroad. They told us it’s easier to study in Baghdad. But we think it’s better to come to Qatar Foundation.

Hoelker: Did your family think it’s better if you go abroad?

Hayder: That thrilled them! My mother gave me some advice like we hope you do your best and we all trust you. Now you are separated from your family, so depend on yourself.

Hoelker: Who is your role model?

Khalid: My uncle. He’s a talented one. He’s an architect, a musician, and a deacon in the Holy Family Chaldean Catholic Church. He lives in Toronto. He can speak English and French fluently, and some Italian.

Zaed: My father. He made his way in life. He’s a doctor. His specialty is oral surgery.

Jowad: My father, also. He is the principal of a primary school. He encourages me and my brothers to get a good education. He says knowledge is the way to the future and the way to be respected by people in the future.

Hayder: My mother because she is ambitious for me. In spite of the family poverty, she continues her education, also. She is a bank official in the central bank of Iraq. She is 40 years old and she will get her bachelor degree in economics next year. She is also the mother of three children.

Hoelker: Why did you all choose medicine?

Zaed: For me, I am more interested in being a biological scientist. I’d like to be useful and that’s why I’d like to be a doctor. To find new and improved ways to treat humanity.

Khalid: Well, since I was 10 years old I’ve wanted to be a doctor because I saw some reports on TV about the brain. And I wanted to understand what that organ is. I love the brain. And I want to specialize in brain surgery.

Hayder: I think it is part of my nature. I cannot stand to see someone suffer from pain. And I have an ambition to be famous in the world.

Jowad: And I like genetics. I like to study how to create new types of organisms and how to find relationships between animals and plants. And I want to help fight these new diseases like SARS.

Hoelker: I heard that Iraqi doctors are considered some of the best in the world. How did they come to be such good doctors?

Zaed: I asked my father this question. They say that Iraqi doctors lack equipment during their studies and so they struggle hard to be the best. So when they have the equipment, they excel. They don’t just depend on books. They like to make their own decisions.

Hoelker: What do you miss the most living overseas?

Jowad: My family and the people of Iraq. And the food there.

Khalid: I miss the weather in Baghdad, especially in winter. We have our roots in the soil of Baghdad so we can’t do without it.

Zaed: The Iraqi weather is the strangest one in the world. In the same day you find that first it’s very hot and then in 2 hours it rains heavily. One time I was walking home and suddenly the sky became black. I saw no one and I asked myself if it was night and if I was dreaming. After about 10 minutes it started to rain heavily and it lasted about 3 hours.

Hayder: I went home by foot. That day the streets were flooded and public transportation stopped. My house is very far from school. I left school at 3:00 and I didn’t get home until 9:00. The water was above my knees. The car engines were flooded.

Jowad: But on an ordinary day the streets of Baghdad are noisy and there are a lot of places to socialize. You will find people everywhere when you walk the streets. The people will help you. And the kids play football in the streets.

Hoelker: How do you find studying at the ABP?

Jowad: Yes, there is a big difference. Here it is very organized—like in minutes. You enter the class at this time and you leave it at that time. In Iraq they may mix three lectures together so that class becomes an hour and a half long—sometimes 3 hours long.

Zaed: Finally, I’d like to thank Sheikha Mozah for her generosity.

Jowad: And I’d like to thank the staff because they treat us like their family or friends. It is wonderful to study here in the Academic Bridge Program at the Qatar Foundation.

For a complete transcript, please contact the interviewer at the e-mail address listed above.

Jane Hoelker is the immediate past chair of the EFLIS and teaches at the Qatar Foundation in Qatar.

Thoughts on Teaching True Beginners

Joep van der Werff, joepvdw@gmail.com

As a teenager in Holland, I felt that some languages seemed easier to learn than others. As a teacher in Mexico, I have worked with beginning students starting at different levels, among whom true beginners (TBs) are beginning learners at the lowest level. In this article I’d like to share some ideas about TBs, based on my experiences as a learner and a teacher. In my opinion, TBs have distinct characteristics that need to be taken into account by teachers, program designers, and textbook writers.

I started learning English as a 12-year-old secondary school student in the Netherlands. At the time, my native country had barely 14 million inhabitants, and because of its borders with Germany, Belgium, and, across the North Sea, Great Britain, we were exposed to several foreign languages. Television programs were broadcast in their original languages with subtitles in Dutch. When we turned on the radio, we heard pop songs sung mostly in English.

As a result, even though my native language was Dutch, it was easy enough for me to produce the sounds of English, for I had been exposed to them all my life. English vocabulary made sense because many words and expressions were used in the pop songs I listened to. And above all, English was a “hip” or “cool” language, popular with teens and young adults.

My experiences were very different with French, another language I studied in secondary school. French seemed very hard to learn, and I think there were several reasons for this. First of all, teens were not exposed to French—there was no French pop music on the radio and virtually no French TV programs on Dutch channels. Probably as a result, France and French were, in Holland and when I was young, simply “un-hip.” In addition, the French sound system is not at all like Dutch, English, or German sounds. And finally, my family never went to France on vacation, so I never actually used the language. Therefore, I was not motivated to learn French.

At the time, I couldn’t figure out why French was so hard to learn. Now, almost 30 years later, and with a great deal of language learning and teaching experience under my belt, I can see why I never learned to speak French as well as I did English. Though in English class I was a motivated false beginner, in French class I was an uninterested TB.

To help TBs become more effective learners, teachers should recognize their characteristics. Of course these will differ among individuals, but are likely to include the following:

The foreign language and the TB’s L1 have different alphabets or writing systems.

The sound system of the foreign language is very different from the sounds of the TB’s L1.

The TB has had very little or no previous exposure to the foreign language.

The TB does not have access to foreign language speakers or materials, such as movies, TV programs, music, magazines, Internet pages, and so on.

The TB’s motivation for learning the foreign language is questionable.

Once a teacher has identified the TBs in class, he or she can opt to choose or adapt a textbook for the learners. There is no universal textbook for TBs, because TB English learners in one geographical region have different needs than do TB English learners in another region. For example, TBs in China need to learn the alphabet, whereas English learners in Brazil do not. For this reason, good TB textbooks should be designed for local markets, or at least for learners who speak the same L1 (e.g., a book for Spanish speakers).

If no appropriate textbooks are available, the teacher has at least two options. She can herself personalize or localize a textbook to fit TB students’ needs. Strategies might include the following:

Be patient. Try to empathize with the TBs. Remember your own frustrating language-learning experiences.

Be aware of learners’ L1. Try to find out as much as you can about the learners’ mother tongue. Identify similarities and differences between the L1 and the target language. Use cognates during classes, and teach the differences carefully and gradually.

Simplify vocabulary learning. Use cognates as much as possible, act out actions and objects, and use visuals and realia. Limit the number of new words.

Practice the sound system. Introduce difficult sounds gradually. Have learners identify the new sounds in minimal pairs, contrasted with a similar sound from their L1.

Focus on easier skills first. Maybe do listening and TPR for a while. When learners gain more confidence, start with the alphabet.

Get feedback from the learners. Ask them what you should continue doing, stop doing, or start doing. Ask learners what they have liked about your classes.

TBs exist in many countries, more in some regions than others. They are often mixed in with other students in the same group. Identifying TBs in a group of learners and giving them special attention will make them more successful learners.

Joep van der Werff teaches at Interlingua in Mexico City. The strategies listed are based on a presentation given at the 2000 TESOL Convention in Vancouver.

The English Explosion in a Multicultural Context

Report on the EFL Interest Section Academic Session from TESOL 2005 in San Antonio

Jane Hoelker, jhoelker@qf.org.qa

“The English Explosion in a Multicultural Context” was the title of the Academic Session presented by the English as a Foreign Language Interest Section at the 39th Annual TESOL Inc. Convention in San Antonio, TX. The panelists explored the question of how EIL educators reconcile the concerns of language ecologists, who are uneasy about the number of languages fast becoming endangered species, with the rise of English as a common language for global communication and the competitive benefits of labor force capabilities in English.

Jane Hoelker, EFLIS chair, introduced the Academic Session by giving examples of how English usage in vocabulary, structure, register, accent, reading, and writing has developed in the countries where she has taught. For instance, in Al Ain in the U.A.E., a “nonstop” shop means a store that is open throughout the day, that is, one that does not close for an afternoon siesta. Hoelker also noted that Kramsh states that maintaining a bit of an accent can help NNSs retain a sense of origin and guard against losing a sense of self or identity. In light of the current varieties of English, Hoelker then asked a panel of experts which “world English” she and her colleagues should teach their students.

Ulrich Bliesener of the German teachers’ association FMF pointed out that multilingualism is agreed upon by most as the path to follow in Europe. Yet, the search is still on for feasible suggestions as to how multilingualism can be translated into practical rules of procedure for present work conditions. He pointed to some of the cultural problems arising from the policy of one-language-for-all. For example: How can it be achieved that all nations and cultures contribute to the development of a common European society if Danish, Dutch, Finnish, or German is excluded from the general discourse in spite of their rich cultural traditions? Who will be the censors of what is acceptable English and what is not—the minority of native speakers or the great majority of nonnative users of English? To be more concrete: How can different legal concepts (Roman Law in France, Italy, Germany, and so on versus Germanic Law in Britain) be reconciled? All final decisions of the European High Court are in French in order to guarantee continuity and avoid ambiguity. There are more problems, but these suffice to convey an inkling of what difficulties lie ahead if the one-language-for-all policy is made obligatory. These problems exist not just within Europe, though there they have a fundamental importance because of the ultimate goal of a political (not only economic) union.

Lise-Lotte Hjulmand of the Copenhagen Business School said that broken English might become the English spoken in Europe unless attention is paid to some emerging issues. Though many Europeans study English beginning in primary school, many still need training in speaking English at a professional level. Hjulmand noted several examples of the washback effect of English on Danish. Some Danes now form the genitive of nouns by adding apostrophe-s instead of Danish-s and use du as a generic pronoun (corresponding to English you or French on) instead of Danish man. The influence of English is particularly clear in vocabulary, including direct loans such as airbag and hybrids such as haarspray (haar is Danish for hair). Hjulmand concluded by supporting a policy that strengthens Danish—but does not weaken English—and that also promotes other foreign languages.

Anne Lomperis of Language Training Designs in Maryland and one of the authors of the TESOL publication Effective Practices in Workplace English Trainingspecializes in the context of English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) or Workplace English. The context of EOP is the language of job performance, serving both internal and external customers. A defining characteristic of EOP is assessing needs to tailor language training to job performance. Inasmuch as a great deal of job performance involves customer interaction, workplace language training generally focuses on whichever varieties of world English are used by one’s customers. Though customers may need to become more flexible about interacting with speakers of different varieties of world English, it is also true that customer satisfaction ratings tend to guide the varieties of world English targeted in workplace language training programs. In the current global marketplace, it may be more a question of which English, rather than whether English or another language, will be used. However, as the economies of other countries, such as China, grow on the world stage, true multilingualism may become more strategic and competitive than multiple Englishes. This broadened perspective may lead to more recognition of the value of multilingualism, including support for preserving mother tongues.

The World Atlas of Language Structures, by Haspelmath et al. (a group of German linguists), to be released on October 30, 2005, by Oxford University Press, is the world’s first atlas of the composition of languages—of which more than 7,000 exist today, according to The Guardian (August 2, 2005). Perhaps its release will help protect the world’s rich linguistic diversity as globalization furthers its economic and financial goals.

This taped session is available on cassette or CD through TESOL’s Web site, www.tesol.org.

Jane Hoelker is the immediate past chair of the EFLIS and teaches at the Qatar Foundation in Qatar.

Award Winners Share Their Experience

Isabela Villas Boas and Lucia Santos of Brasilia, Brazil, first heard about TESOL’s Awards and Grants Program through a flyer they received, but dismissed the award as being “not for [them]” because of the number of successful professionals in the field of EFL. In fact, when they received the letter congratulating them on winning the TOEFL Board Award for International Participation at TESOL, they did not even remember having applied. While submitting their proposal for a session entitled “Action Research: Changing Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Corrective Feedback” online, all they had done was check the “yes” box that asked if they were eligible for the award. Now Isabela and Lucia are actively encouraging their colleagues to apply for TESOL awards and grants by giving a presentation on tips for writing TESOL proposals and on how to become a recipient of a TESOL grant or award. From their experience, they now assert that any teacher can frame his or her focus of expertise into an acceptable proposal and receive recognition for it.

Looking back on their experience, Isabela and Lucia feel honored to have been recognized by a respected international organization, and they agree that the pride their coworkers felt in having their colleagues receive such an award was an award in itself. They also were proud to be able to represent their country and their language institute, Casa Thomas Jefferson, by having their proposal accepted and presented as a discussion group.

As for the convention itself, although both had participated in previous conventions, attending the San Antonio convention as award winners added to the experience. By interacting heavily with the other winners, Isabela and Lucia learned more about other awards offered by TESOL, as well as shared experiences with other teachers from all over the world.

A favorite memory from the convention for the pair occurred while volunteering to sell raffle tickets to benefit the awards and grants program. Having the opportunity to interact with so many people, Isabela and Lucia found that they learned much about American culture as well as increasing the depth of their English skills (specifically, by learning several ways of refusing or accepting offers!).

Overall for Isabela and Lucia, attending the convention as recipients of an award encouraged them in their teaching profession. Specifically, a plenary session they attended encouraged them as EFL teachers to “use the English language for communication and teach [their] students that the target norm should not be that of the native speaker of English but that of the expert user of English as a lingua franca.”

This article was provided by the TESOL Inc. main office.

Day in the Life: Orlando Rodriguez

Orlando Rodriguez, orlandor@adinet.com.uy, is the EFLIS e-list manager and teaches in Uruguay. Newsletter editor Brad Baurain, bbaurain@elic.org, recently conducted this e-mail interview with him, which has been slightly edited and abridged for publication.

How did you get started in teaching EFL?

I got started in teaching EFL back in 1979 at age 24. An institution in our capital city advertised their need for a qualified teacher to open a branch. I applied for the position and was hired. I worked for them for 10 years, then set off on my own. I founded New English Teaching School, a private EFL institution, in the 1990s. I’ve been in the profession for 27 years now and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I take pride in saying I’m deeply in love with my profession. Despite some drawbacks, I consider EFL teaching as one of the most challenging, demanding, yet fulfilling professions.

On the basis of your experiences, what advice would you give to young teachers just entering the profession?

From my humble position in the TESOL profession here in Uruguay, I do not consider myself entitled to give advice. I’d honestly say that it was not until I became a TESOL member 10 years ago that I felt myself to be a real EFL professional. Looking back, I’d say I knew almost nothing, or at least very little, about the job before becoming involved and committed to both TESOL and our local affiliate URU-TESOL. TESOL let me realize a couple of crucial things. The first, to value and love my profession. It taught me to take pride in my role as an educator and to understand the essential contribution I can make to my society. Our mother institution also taught me that through hard work, anything can be achieved, that your job is worthy no matter where you’re teaching.

So, my advice to young teachers entering the profession is to become involved with TESOL ASAP. They will surely make a place for you, to the extent you become committed to yourself and the profession you’ve embraced. Although I’m not a worthy example, take my case: I’d have never dreamed, here in tiny Uruguay, to have been asked so many times to give my Interest Section a helping hand—as a contributor to publications, proposal reviewer for the convention, and EFLIS list manager for 2004-2006. If I was able to find a place in the TESOL worldwide community, anyone can do it. Go for it! The sky’s the limit.

What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of teaching over the years for you?

The most rewarding: The satisfaction that comes from seeing our graduate students making their own way, the feeling you were able to pass on your knowledge to them, in both the language and life—satisfaction to see them slowly become successful in their lives and careers, as they adapt that knowledge to their needs.

The most difficult aspect was to gradually accept that because of age, financial reasons, and the fact that Uruguay has no formal degree in foreign language education, I wouldn’t be able to get even a TEFL degree, let alone a BA or PhD in education in English. It was at that point that I decided to become the best self-made EFL teacher possible.

Can you summarize your personal philosophy of teaching? How has it changed or developed over the years?

My personal philosophy of teaching is best represented by English writer, sociologist, and philanthropist John Ruskin: “Education does not (always) mean teaching people what they do not know. It means teaching them to behave as they do not behave. . . . It is a painful, continual, and difficult work to be done with kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept, and by praise, but above all—by example.”

For many years, I believed my role was just that of passing on to my students my experience and knowledge of the language by using applicable techniques and approaches. At the 1995 Long Beach TESOL Convention, however, I learned a motto at a booth selling pins, “To teach is to touch a life forever,” which became my guiding star. I also strongly favor integrating language teaching with social responsibility.

In a nutshell, I’d say I have come to realize that a successful teacher is one who exemplifies good values, is aware of his or her role as an educator and skill developer, and who is capable of creating an appropriate learning environment in which resiliency, tolerance, and respect for each others’ opinions and capacities foster learning.

Which people, books, movies, etc. have had the most powerful influence on your teaching? Why?

My former department head strongly influenced my teaching. He set the standards for what an English teacher is and the respect teachers should first give students in order to expect respect in return, as well as for careful planning and memorable lessons.

In 1998 I met Ron Schwartz, codirector of the ESOL/bilingual MA program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Ron honors me as “his Uruguayan friend.” He also encourages me not to give up my struggle to get my knowledge credentialed. As I consider Ron a living icon because of the influence he has played in my life and that of many others, I’d like him to be my tutor in the hypothetical event that I could study for a master’s degree abroad.

I would identify three books that have had a great influence on my teaching:

  • Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, by Diane Larsen-Freeman
  • Making It Happen: From Theory to Practice, by Patricia A. Richard-Amato
  • How Languages Are Learned, by Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada

    These books guided and helped me, at the very beginning, scratch the surface of how learning takes place.

    Dead Poets’ Society has also inspired my teaching—a movie I suggest every educator watch.

    What are your current professional interests and pursuits (courses, research projects, conferences, publications, etc.)?

    At present I have several key goals. In order of importance: (1) To explore the possibility of getting my knowledge and experience credentialed abroad. (2) As the deep and complex role of the EFL teacher in the classroom amazes me, I’d very much like to lead or attend a convention group discussion or lecture on this topic. (3) As I feel my approach to the teaching profession has so far proved to be quite efficient, writing a short book or article on my viewpoints on this subject is a challenging idea.

    Classroom Idea Exchange

    Greetings Warm-Up

    Kate Newman, Mukogawa Women’s University, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan, newkaten@yahoo.com

    I use this fun and effective warmer for most of my weekly conversation classes. It takes virtually no preparation or materials and is easily adapted to students’ abilities and interests. While students are trickling into class, I write a short, colloquial, guided dialogue on the board. A typical one might look like this:

    Hi. How’s it going?

    Pretty good. How about you?

    So, how was your summer vacation?

    Well, I’ve got to go now. Nice talking to you! Bye!

    As a class, we practice repeating the dialogue with particular emphasis on reductions, stress, and intonation. I keep this lighthearted and fastpaced. When I’m satisfied with their pronunciation, we make “conversation lines”—two long lines facing each other. The person each student is facing is his or her conversation partner. They use the dialogue as a basis for their conversation, but they are free to talk about anything, as long as it is in English. After a few minutes I give a signal, such as flashing the lights or clapping my hands, and the students do the closing. The student at the front of one line moves to the end, everyone else in that line moves up one person, then we repeat the process with new partners. This activity can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on how many times we change partners. I love it because the students are always enthusiastic about learning real greetings and closings, and the conversation lines allow them lots of paired practice for fluency.

    19 Ideas for Using Pictures

    Brad Baurain, College of Foreign Languages, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam, bbaurain@elic.org

    At a recent training session for volunteer expatriate teachers, I suggested 19 ways in which pictures or photos might be used in the language classroom. I hope this list is useful to you as well. (And if you scroll all the way down, you’ll find two pictures with language-learning prompts for your immediate classroom use!)

    1. For listen-and-point receptive practice for beginners.

    2. As flashcards for vocabulary.

    3. For learning vocabulary clusters (as in most picture dictionaries).

    4. To practice position words (above, behind, beside, etc.).

    5. For personal background (e.g., to introduce family).

    6. For oral or written description (remind students to use all five senses).

    7. For creating a story (good practice with who-what-where-when-how-why).

    8. For comparing and contrasting (e.g., two pictures with differences partners must identify through speaking).

    9. Pictionary©—a popular game in which words must be drawn and guessed.

    10. To spice up role-play activities (e.g., a shopping activity with pictures of items to buy).

    11. For humor (e.g., writing a caption for a cartoon or photo).

    12. For situational conversations—ask students to imagine a conversation between people in a photo.

    13. To illustrate holidays.

    14. For cultural background (e.g., advertisements or movie posters).

    15. For giving directions (maps).

    16. To illustrate reading assignments, especially poems or how-to processes. This task could be followed up with an “art exhibition.”

    17. To practice verb tenses (e.g., retelling a comic strip story).

    18. To help with an information gap activity.

    19. Drawing dictations.

    Drawing by Brian Fisher

  • What is happening in this picture? Create a story to explain what you see.
  • What do you think the elderly lady is going to do with the money? Imagine various possibilities aloud with a friend.
  • If the police catch this woman, should she be punished leniently or harshly? Debate this question in a small group.

    Photo by Brad Baurain

  • What do turtles symbolize in your cultural tradition? Discuss with a partner.
  • Translate a folktale that includes a turtle or tortoise and retell it orally to a friend.
  • Imagine and write your own creative story about how the turtle got its shell.

    Bulletin Board: Announcements & Information

    Submissions to this newsletter are always welcomed. Guidelines are available on the EFLIS Web site or by contacting the editor, Brad Baurain, atbbaurain@elic.org.

    The new Writing Interest Section mentioned in this space in our previous newsletter has been approved. To find out more, go to www.tesol.org and click on Interest Sections.

    Do you want to discuss TESOL Quarterly articles online? Visit communities.tesol.org/~tq/login and make your voice heard.

    The online discussion on ELT in Resource-Challenged Contexts, organized by TESOL Education Programs, has been extended until the end of this year. To participate, go to communities.tesol.org/~onlinediscussions and log in.

    The latest information about the TESOL Convention 2006 can be found at www.tesol.org —click on Convention.

    The 3rd Asia TEFL Convention will be held in Beijing, China, November 4-6, 2005. For details, visit http://www.asiatefl.org.

    The 26th Thailand TESOL Conference will be held in Chiangmai, Thailand, January 19-21, 2006. For details, please visit http://www.thaitesol.org.

    Two EFL Web site resource lists are available to EFLIS members upon request. Contact the editor, Brad Baurain, at bbaurain@elic.org.

    Any information you would like to announce on this Bulletin Board should be submitted to the editor, Brad Baurain, at bbaurain@elic.org. The deadline for inclusion in the next issue is December 1.

    About This Member Community

    About This Community

    TESOL’s English as a Foreign Language Interest Section facilitates idea exchanges on global and specific EFL/ESL issues; brings together professionals who have had or intend to have EFL/ESL experiences in different countries; provides an international network for teaching positions and professional interests worldwide; and encourages standing committees and other ISs to address relevant international concerns.

    The EFL Interest Section Web site is under construction. To see how it’s going and for related resources, please visit http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/seccss.asp?CID=301&DID=1806.

    The EFL Interest Section e-list, EFLIS-L, may be joined by signing up at http://www.tesol.org/getconnected. Message archives may be read by subscribers athttp://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=eflis-1.

    The purpose of the EFLIS Newsletter is to keep EFLIS members in touch with the EFLIS leadership and to share ideas, experiences, opinions, and information of mutual professional and practical interest through articles, columns, and brief announcements. The primary audience for the newsletter is teachers and teacher educators outside North America at all levels: K-12, 2- and 4-year institutions of higher learning, adult education, English for specific purposes courses, and foreign language centers.

    Contact information for EFLIS leaders:

    Chair: Ulrich Bliesener, U.Blie@t-online.de

    Immediate Past Chair and Newsletter Coeditor: Jane Hoelker, jhoelker@qf.org.qa

    Chair-Elect: Deanna Kelley, dkkelley@hotmail.com

    Webmaster: Gabriela Kleckova, gabriela_kleckova@yahoo.com

    E-list Manager: Orlando Rodriguez, orlandor@adinet.com.uy

    Newsletter Editor: Brad Baurain, bbaurain@elic.org