PAIS Newsletter

PAIS News, Volume 4:1 (September 2008)

by User Not Found | 10/28/2011
In This Issue ...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter from the Chair
    • Letter From the Coeditors
  • Articles
    • Interview with Margaret Kirkpatrick, principal of Berkeley Adult School in Berkeley, California
    • Review of Kathleen M. Bailey’s “Language Teacher Supervision: A Case-Based Approach”
  • Presentation Summaries
    • Implementing and Assessing Portfolio Projects
  • Announcements and Information
    • PAIS Newsletter Mission Statement
    • PAIS Newsletter Submission Guidelines

Leadership Updates Letter from the Chair

By Magda Hayek, PAIS Chair

Dear PAIS Members,
Welcome to our 2008 PAIS e-newsletter. This newsletter would not have been possible without the time and dedication of the two coeditors Marina Cobb and Allison Pickering. Thank you, Marina and Allison, for the wonderful job done in putting together this newsletter. I also extend my thanks and appreciation to all the contributors to this newsletter.
The purpose of this newsletter is to reach out to as many members as possible and to expand our membership base. Program administration cuts across all levels from K- 12 to Higher Education and covers a variety of EFL and ESL contexts, including adult and refugee education. Despite a broad and diverse audience, PAIS members share similar functions and responsibilities such as strategic planning, budgeting, leadership, staff evaluations, and more.
I hope you enjoy reading our newsletter and that it offers you practical ideas to use in your various contexts. We always need your help, dear members, in making this newsletter happen. I cannot stress enough how much we appreciate your contributions.


Letter From the Coeditors

Marina Cobb,, and Allison Pickering,

Dear PAIS Colleagues,

We welcome you to the first issue of the PAIS Newsletter for 2008-2009!

As seems to have become our tradition since last year’s issue, the current issue opens with the insights gained from an interview with an experienced language program manager. Allison Pickering captures the views on leadership and management of an adult education program expressed by Margaret Kirkpatrick, principal of Berkeley Adult School in Berkeley, California, who has successfully served as a program administrator for over two decades.

Patricia Hoffman and Anne Dahlman examine the challenges facing program evaluators in ensuring that the completed evaluation results in positive and lasting educational change. They provide guidelines for putting together an effective evaluation team, ensuring buy-in from the stakeholders, determining critical sources of data collection, developing an action plan and timeline, and, most important, formulating strategies for ensuring a higher level of implementation.

Marina Cobb offers a review of Kathleen M. Bailey’s Language Teacher Supervision: A Case-Based Approach, a valuable resource for new program administrators. In her book, Bailey advocates for the development of language teachers as reflective practitioners through person-centered and clinical supervision. She provides detailed guidelines for conducting classroom observations, providing mitigated supervisory feedback, and developing teachers through collaborative dialogue and decision making.
John Shannon and Sahie Kang summarize their session titled “Implementing and Assessing Portfolio Projects,” which was presented at TESOL 2008 in New York. The authors share their first-hand experience in implementing student portfolios to help track each student’s individual progress, encourage students to reflect on their language development, and build them into autonomous language learners. 
We encourage our readers to contribute to the next issue of the PAIS Newsletter. You can find our submission guidelines at the end of this issue. We welcome a variety of submissions: articles, book reviews, conference summaries, interviews, supervision tips, and news items. It is our hope to see this newsletter serve as a forum for ongoing professional dialogue among language program administration professionals.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue, and we hope to hear from you!

Articles Interview with Margaret Kirkpatrick, principal of Berkeley Adult School in Berkeley, California

Allison Pickering,

Like most people in adult education, Margaret took a circuitous route to her position as principal of Berkeley Adult School. While keeping up with her military husband, Margaret worked as adjunct faculty at colleges and universities across the south. They first landed in California in 1978 where Margaret taught at Columbia College on base in the Bay Area. The next transfer took them to Merced, California. where she started teaching at the local college and in her first adult education position—night ESL teacher. The first ESL class she had ever seen was the one she taught. There were no professional development opportunities, so she immersed herself in frantically trying to improve her skills. During her precious free time she studied theory and methodology and would then try to implement her new knowledge that evening in class. She soon realized how much she loved teaching adult education students. Their commitment to and appreciation of what the school and their teachers gave them inspired her to pursue a contract. In 1980, Merced Adult School offered Margaret a contract to continue doing what had become a passion. It wasn’t long before she became the night ESL coordinator, then full-time coordinator, then vice principal. When she became principal, she was proud of the fact that she had performed every job she hired people to do. Margaret left Merced Adult School and moved to Berkeley Adult School in 1996 where she has been principal ever since. One of her responsibilities is oversight of the large—2,440 students, 133 teachers—ESL program. Our conversation started at the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) Summer Institute in San Diego, California, in June 2008. We completed it via mobile phone while she waited to catch her plane back to the Bay Area.

Following are the questions I asked Ms. Kirkpatrick and her responses.

1.  What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

MK: That would have to be two things—finding time to work with teachers and students, and making room for visionary work. My current duties are primarily focused on personnel and budget. It’s very easy to get caught up in meetings and office work, or the immediate problem sitting on my desk, and not touch base with the reason we are here—meeting our students’ needs. Also, I have an obligation to plan for the future and not just maintain the status quo. Adult education often gets short shrift in allocation of funding and resources. Consequently, we become very good at making do; however, we like to implement research-based practices, stay on the cutting edge of program development, and evolve with our communities.

2. What is the most important aspect of your job?

MK: Definitely being an advocate for the program to the district office and community. I need to be that good force in the front of the school who sees that teachers are appreciated, and students serveducation. I am the positive voice who sings the praises of adult education.

3. How is administering an adult program different from administering a K-12 or university program?

MK: University programs have structured bureaucracy. While it is good that via the faculty senate many people have a say in everything, such as curriculum, as a whole K-12 and university programs are not as responsive to the changing needs of the community and society. Adult education is flexible and can respond immediately to changing funding and the changing needs of the community.

4. Do you have a philosophy for managing personnel?

MK: Consistency and fairness works with students and staff. Treat everyone fairly. Good employees need space to do what they can do. I trust that people will do their jobs until I have reason not to. My job is to facilitate, not micro-manage.

5. What inspires you in your job?

MK: Students and the depth of their quality of work, allegiance to families, and respect for teachers and education.

6. What frustrates you?

MK: Bureaucracy. While the layers of bureaucracy are necessary, it can be very frustrating to need something to happen that can’t because of the system.

7. How would you describe the main characteristics of your leadership style?

MK: I hope I’m collaborative and accessible. A true leader doesn’t lead alone. Also, I strive to tap research-based knowledge, be engaged, and maintain an open-door policy. I want to give people the resources they need to do their job.

8. Is there a program manager (or a leader in general) whom you consider to be your role model? What about this person's leadership style impressed you the most? What did you want to emulate?

MK: I pick and choose qualities from a variety of people I have known or read about. Along the way, I have been a great observer of people. Some have shown me ways to be; others, ways not to be.

9. Does supervising faculty from a different (non-Western) culture present additional challenges to you? Do you adjust your leadership and managerial behaviors when the faculty you supervise come from a different (non-Western) culture? How?

MK: I would say I adjust to people, not to cultures. I try not to put people in a box. The greatest differences are not within the same ethnic group, but among individuals.

10. Are there any differences to supervising classified as opposed to certificated personnel?

MK: In some ways it is easier to supervise classified staff, maybe because I see them more often and talk to them more during the course of a day. I’m friendly but don’t develop close friendships with staff; the groups represent different people, so there are different issues.

11. What insights or advice do you have for new or aspiring language program managers (e.g., advice, pitfalls to avoid, observations regarding mistakes new program managers are prone to making)?

MK: People should be aware that they don’t know everything. Listen. Trust staff. Be open and accessible to people. Learn the basics—contracts, education code. A good deal of the respect I think I have comes from the fact that the school staff trust my knowledge of the law.

Over the years I have talked and worked with Ms. Kirkpatrick, been taught by her at the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO) Leadership Institute, and visited her campus. It has been obvious to me that she is well liked and respected by colleagues, staff, and students. We at PAIS appreciate her contribution to our newsletter.

Allison Pickering, assistant principal of Escondido Adult School, has been a passionate advocate for adult education for 38 years. 


By Patricia Hoffman and Anne Dahlman

The importance of periodic evaluation of ESL programs is undisputed; however, most districts rarely have adequate resources to effectively evaluate existing programs. Often programs for English language learners (ELLs) remain in place without periodic, intentional re-examination of stakeholders’ needs. While it has been determined that different ESL program models yield varying levels of success (e.g., Genesee, 1999; Thomas & Collier, 1997, 2002), making decisions about what type of ESL program to adopt, or how to improve an existing ESL program is often a complex undertaking. Some challenges contributing to this difficulty include:

• Lack of understanding or consistency in descriptions of ESL program models
• Specific local factors that hinder the adoption of a certain program model
• Lack of funding for implementing a complete ESL program evaluation

The purpose of conducting a program evaluation can vary and may include any of the following: 1) evaluating and improving the effectiveness of a program, 2) assessing the utility of particular components of a program, and 3) meeting accountability requirements. Although examples of large-scale ESL program evaluations are available (e.g., Lopez & Dubetz, 1999), and descriptions of various ESL program models are available (e.g. Genesee, 1999), few guidelines exist for the process of making decisions about effective instruction for English language learners.

This paper is written with many audiences in mind. We will outline the process of a successful program evaluation that can be used for both large scale and small scale evaluation. To better illustrate the successful approach for ESL program evaluation, we provide examples from program evaluations we have conducted in many districts. These evaluations have ranged from large to small, urban to suburban and rural with varying proportions and backgrounds of ELLs in the districts. Figure 1 lists the key components of a successful ESL program evaluation process.

Create a Strong Evaluation Team: Access, Communication, and Shared Expertise

While a program evaluation could be conducted by one or more outside evaluators, we have found that it is more effective to assemble a team of outsiders who can be objective and maintain confidentiality and insiders who can assist with access to information and contribute to understanding the context of the program. Open communication, trust, clear role responsibilities, and clear expectations must be developed from the outset. Additionally, we know from research (e.g., Kaztenbach and Smith, 2005; MacGregor, 2006) that effective teams demonstrate the following qualities:

• the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed 
• there is a great deal of equal-status discussion, in which everyone participates
• members are free to express their beliefs 
• no one person dominates the group 
• each individual has strengths that contribute to accomplishing the work

Choosing a team that is able to create this kind of atmosphere and team spirit is essential for a group to effectively focus on the task at hand. Initial time spent in building trust and establishing clear expectations will save time in the long run.

Successful program evaluation teams also seem to consist of members who each make unique contributions to the overall project. Roles should be clearly defined as well as aligned with individuals’ areas of expertise and strengths for a well-functioning, efficient team.

Key individuals who are critical for a team along with their functions are now described. The active, motivated, and equal status participation of districtadministrators is essential to send a message to staff that the ESL program is a high priority in the school, that all voices will be heard, that resources will be allocated for implementation, and that recommendations from the program evaluation will be taken seriously. Furthermore, the administrator can provide information about funding, professional development training schedules and other district initiatives so that final program recommendations align with other district goals and initiatives, are realistic, feasible, and easily implemented.

The second person should be an experienced staff member from the ESL department who understands the specific concerns associated with ELLs. This could be an ELL teacher or district coordinator, cultural liason or paraprofessional. This person also serves as the link between the school, parents, and community in gathering feedback and disseminating information about the program.

The team should also include a mainstream teacher who has longevity in the district, who is highly respected by colleagues and who genuinely cares about the success of ELLs. By including a mainstream teacher, the evaluation team will gain access to the knowledge, views, and experiences of the classroom teachers who are working with ELLs. The mainstream teacher can function as the spokesperson for the evaluation team and solicit support from other mainstream teachers. Because gaining trust and respect can be difficult for outsiders, inclusion of a mainstream teacher capitalizes on existing trust. We know from research and practice that districts that are successful in serving ELLs have placed ELL issues as a school- or district-wide priority that is tackled by all stakeholders, rather than solely by the ESL professionals.

Another person to include is the guidance counselor. At the high school level, guidance counselors have extensive knowledge of each student’s academic performance, schedules, and goals, and can provide insight into scheduling, graduation requirements, and access to post-secondary education options. Many also are knowledgeable about family and community issues, programs and resources and can serve as advocates.

The final team member should have expertise in program evaluation and best practices. Typically this would be the outside evaluator wh

  • may be from higher education. This person can gather sensitive data and provide objective information about program models, principles of second-language acquisition, and knowledge of ESL best practices. The external perspective that this team member brings to the group is helpful in encouraging the team to challenge certain philosophies or practices as well as uncover assumptions and biases that may be unseen by the insiders.

    Identify Stakeholders and Determine Critical Sources for Data Collection

    The second important component of a successful ESL program evaluation is identifying and soliciting input from stakeholders. While not all stakeholders can be part of the evaluation team or assume the responsibility for the evaluation process, it is essential that all stakeholder groups are consulted. Figure 2 summarizes the types of individuals that serve as possible key stakeholders.

    To identify the key stakeholders one should ask, “Who are the individuals most affected by the ESL program in our district?” It is important to look beyond the school to include families and the community. It may not be realistic or even necessary to interview representatives from every group, but the process of identifying persons linked to ELLs will be enlightening and informative. Where stakeholders have routinely been excluded from the decision-making process, it is wise to encourage honest, open feedback. Diversity of opinion will only strengthen the outcomes of the evaluation (Shulha & Cousins, 1997; Patton, 1997). To accomplish this goal evaluators should:

    • locate a powerful user (or stakeholder)
    • identify questions of interest to the user(s) 
    • focus on things that the user has sufficient control over to change 
    • discuss exactly what changes the user(s) would make given different kinds of answers that might result from the evaluation 
    • provide interim findings at points when they might be useful and incorporate these finding into future discussions
    • consider reporting results in both traditional and nontraditional formats
    • provide brief executive summaries of results 
    • have continued personal contact after the evaluation ends 
    • lend support to subsequent efforts to foster the use of evaluation results

    After stakeholders have been identified, it is important to determine their level of involvement. More thorough data should be gathered early on from persons with high-stakes involvement in the program or those who have power to affect the outcome of the evaluation. This will vary by district but likely would include:

    • English language learners 
    • ESL teachers
    • Classroom teachers
    • Adult ESL program staff
    • Paraprofessionals
    • Parents 
    • Building administrators working with ELLs

    Stakeholders who are less involved with the program but who may have decision-making power should also be consulted. Individuals in this second group would likely include the superintendent, other principals, the curriculum director, the staff development coordinator, school board, Title I teachers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, regular education students, and special education staff.

    There are other stakeholders who likely won’t be interviewed initially, but who should be consulted prior to making final recommendations. An example would be discussing bussing issues with the transportation coordinator if a newcomer center is being developed requiring realignment of bus routes. Other examples include:

    • Community members and employers
    • Secretaries
    • Bus drivers
    • Area institutions of higher education

    Initial feedback from a select group of teachers and other stakeholders will allow the evaluation team to better understand the big picture of the school or district and be able to identify the main successes and challenges. This sort of formative evaluation has been determined to be especially useful for creating an initial needs assessment that examines the feasibility of proposed activities and how they may be received by recipients. This feedback will guide the process of data gathering to ensure optimal participation and success (Scheirer, 1994).

    A common mistake that we have witnessed in many districts is not to elicit feedback from families and community members but to rely on assumptions held by the school personnel about various aspects of school-family connections. Sample questions to ask include:

    • What communication exists between school and family?
    • How and to what extent are parents of ELLs actively involved in their child’s education?
    • How and to what extent are ELLs included in school activities?
    • How do school administrators support ELL families?
    • What are the connections with other support programs?

    Foster Personal Investment in Stakeholders
     Establish Explicit Rules of Respectful and Constructive Communication

    All stakeholders must be seen as valued participants with knowledge and skills that contribute to an overall understanding of what is most effective for ELLs. This requires equal status, open communication, and time and effort invested to build trust. With mistrust or lack of commitment, stakeholders may withhold or provide incomplete information, delay responses, refuse to follow through with recommendations, or sabotage the results of the program evaluation.

    For trust to develop, the following conditions are required (Covey, 2006):

    • Discussions should be mutual and interactive: no one voice dominates
    • All stakeholders’ needs and concerns are valued and addressed
    • Team members are respectful of differences of opinion: people should agree to disagree if necessary
    • A non-confrontational process should be developed for dealing with conflict. Rather than argue, if there is disagreement stakeholders should seek to understand what might explain the difference of opinion
    • Discussions should be focused on what CAN be done rather than focusing on the negative
    • The interests and strengths of the team members should be identified

    Develop an Action Plan and Timeline

    To ensure high levels of implementation it is essential that the evaluation team create an action plan with target dates and responsible personnel clearly identified. This timeline will serve as a road map for carrying out the program evaluation. It should be co-created by the evaluation team members with input from other stakeholders. Figure 3 shows a sample timeline developed for the evaluation of one of the districts where we worked. This evaluation involved the local university faculty as well as teacher candidates preparing for the TESL field. 

    Define and Redefine the Evaluation Focus

    Successful program evaluations are iterative including a continuous feedback loop. While evaluators begin with a general list of components to be evaluated, such as curriculum, assessment, and professional development, it is very important to clearly identify unique priorities for their own context. Frequently the most important issues are only uncovered after the evaluation has begun. These priorities emerge from various interactions during the program evaluation, e.g., from evaluators, from conversations with school personnel, from analysis of data collected from stakeholders, or through evaluation team correspondence.

    The first and most important things to address in any evaluation are the program philosophy, mission, and design. Disagreements during the program evaluation process often arise from unshared, differing beliefs and values in regard to the program philosophy and mission. An ESL program cannot be evaluated separately from other departments and units in the school. The ESL program philosophy must stem from the school philosophy and mission.
    Other elements that should be addressed in a program evaluation will not be discussed here, but would include the following:

    • Context
    • Staff
    • Initial identification and placement of students
    • Other assessment
    • Staff development
    • Curriculum and materials
    • Instructional strategies
    • Documentation and record keeping
    • Communication
    • Family and community involvement
    • Governance and ongoing evaluation
    • Resources
    • Barriers

    A method for gathering data should be determined and questions for evaluation should be developed for each of these areas. However, we will not address this process as it is not within the scope of this article. Once the data have been gathered and analyzed, it is time to make recommendations and develop a plan for their implementation.

    Useful Strategies for Ensuring High Level of Implementation

    Prioritize and Negotiate

    Not all recommendations from a program evaluation can be implemented quickly. Too often, urgent but unimportant tasks end up taking priority over long-term, systemic changes. Care must be taken to ensure that all valid recommendations are included in an improvement plan (Canfield, Hansen, & Hewitt, 2000). To maximize results, it is essential to prioritize.

    Change should begin with recommendations that have few risks and optimal benefits as well as make use of existing resources. It is important to remember that even if there are no obvious resources, existing resources may be realigned in a more efficient manner. If barriers exist, but there is an overall consensus that certain change is needed, it is usually possible to creatively find a way around the barrier. Too often, unnamed barriers will end up derailing an otherwise good plan for improvement.

    While it is important to begin where there are few barriers, we encourage program evaluation teams to go beyond considering the obvious, surface-level and often short-term benefits and risks toward a long-term approach to educational change and improvement.

    Once recommendations are agreed upon, a second action plan is created. Changes will only be made if there is a detailed plan for implementation, including a timeline and persons responsible. For this process to be successful, the evaluation team needs to be very selective when outlining their recommendations for implementation. Only those items and actions that meet the following criteria should be included in the short-range plan:

    • There is a high level of buy-in from the constituents who will be most directly affected by the suggested change or activity
    • There is a high level of buy-in from the individuals in a position of power toward the suggested change or activity 
    • The activity has been identified as a high-priority item 
    • If possible, the activity will yield a large amount of positive change with relatively little amount of structural change
    • The activity is in alliance with other high priorities or current educational initiatives or foci of the school or district
    • Other considerations voiced by stakeholders

    Figure 4 shows an example of a timeline created by the evaluation team in one of our collaborating districts.


    The most effective program evaluations will be collaborative team efforts that take into account the diverse perspectives of all stakeholders. Take time to establish trust and communication from the outset, as well as plan how to deal with disagreements or differences in a respectful manner.

    Gather data from all stakeholder groups, whether or not the suggestions point in a clear direction. Needed changes should be identified, negotiated, and prioritized so that all stakeholders see some of their concerns addressed. 
    Negotiate outcomes that reflect the values of diverse stakeholders. The negotiation process itself can foster personal involvement and respectful dialog that will provide better, more efficient results. Negotiation and consensus building is an ongoing process and takes time.

    Finally, when an action plan is created to implement the suggestions of the program evaluation team, it should be ambitious but realistic. The stakeholders who are responsible for the implementation of the action plan should have input into its creation. Knowing who will be responsible for needed actions by what date will create a positive accountability. The results will be improved ESL programs and improved student achievement.

    Canfield, J., Hansen, M., & Hewitt, L. (2000). The power of focus. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications. 
    Covey, S. (2006). The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything. New York: Free Press.
    Genesee, F. (Ed.). (1999). Program alternatives for linguistically diverse students (Educational Practice Rep. No. 1). Santa Cruz, CA and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.
    Kaztenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (2005). Wisdom of teams. McGraw-Hill.
    Lopez, R., & Dubetz, N. (1999). Improving instruction for English language learners through systemic reform: The Community School District Ten model. US Department of Education, National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.
    MacGregor, D. (2006). The human side of enterprise. New York: McGraw Hill. 
    Office of Civil Rights. Department of Education. Available online at
    Patton, M. Q. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 
    Scheirer, M. A. (1994). Designing and using process evaluation. In J. S. Wholey, H. P. Hatry, & N. E. Newcomer (Eds.), Handbook of practical program evaluation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Shulha, L. M., & Cousins, J. B. (1997). Evaluation use: Theory, research and practice since 1986. Evaluation Practice, 18, 195–208.
    Thomas, W., & Collier, V. (1997). School effectiveness for language minority students (NCBE Resource Collection Series No. 9). Washington, DC: US Department of Education, National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.
    Thomas, W., & Collier, V. (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students' long-term academic achievement. Santa Cruz, CA and Washington, DC: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence. Retrieved April 15, 2008, from

    Review of Kathleen M. Bailey’s “Language Teacher Supervision: A Case-Based Approach”

    Marina Cobb,

    Bailey, Kathleen M. (2006). Language Teacher Supervision: A Case-Based Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pages: xvi + 384. ISBN: 0-521-54745-8.

    In her book Language Teacher Supervision: A Case-Based Approach, Kathleen M. Bailey examines supervision in language programs as a profession drawing on research and practice in a wide range of fields, including business and industry, social work and psychotherapy, general education, and applied linguistics. She integrates her own vast experience in second and foreign language teacher education, teacher development, and teacher supervision.

    Bailey points out that skills required in teacher supervision are not very well-defined. Experienced teachers are frequently asked to take on supervisory responsibilities because they either are good at what they do or have gained the respect of their colleagues or management as a result of some personal traits. Fortunately, the past decade has seen a marked trend toward defining teacher supervision. Nevertheless, the focus has been mostly on the role of teacher supervision, and not enough attention has been given to identifying the skills needed to perform teacher supervision. Consequently, the profession is lacking a theoretical foundation for setting up formal preparation of people entrusted with supervising faculty. Hence the need for Bailey’s book, which helps lay down such a foundation.

    The book combines a traditional literature review with analysis of numerous case studies. Bailey presents her rationale for choosing the case study approach: cases present contextualized topics for discussion and provide safe contexts for working out potential solutions, thus training future supervisors for situated decision making on time-sensitive issues. Other highly useful features of the book are tasks and discussion questions as well as the annotated bibliography, that is, suggestions for further reading, that follow every chapter. All these features make the book potentially very useful as a text for a language teacher supervision course as well as a resource for independent readers.

    Chapters 1, 2, and 3 present the theoretical background for understanding the nature of teacher supervision. Chapter 1 is an introduction to supervision as a profession, supervisor’s skills and roles, and different models and approaches to supervision, such as the prescriptive approach versus the collaborative approach. Because an important component of the supervisor’s work is classroom observation, Bailey presents Freeman’s (1982) options for supervisory observations: directive (i.e., the observer states what the teacher needs to do), non-directive, (i.e., the observer leads the teacher to self-reflection), and the so-called alternatives option (i.e., the observer suggests two to four alternatives to the teacher’s actions without implying that the teacher has done anything wrong).

    One of the highlights of this chapter is the 10 features of effective supervision in language programs formulated by Murdoch (1998): The supervisor encourages the teacher to identify the focus for the observation in the course of a collaborative preobservation discussion, analyzes the data collected for this focus together with the teacher in a “shoulder-to-shoulder” discussion, allows the teacher to try out his or her own teaching techniques, uses the lesson as a text for engaging the teacher in a dialogue to explore classroom teaching options together, and so on.

    Chapter 2 focuses on awareness and attitude, which are important concepts in both teacher development and supervisor development. A basic underlying idea is that awareness of one’s behavior is key to changing it. To be able to bring about a desirable change in a teacher’s external behaviors, the supervisor may have to tap into the teacher’s attitude, which is defined as a stance toward oneself, the activity, and others (Freeman, 1989). In contrast to the obsolete knowledge-transmission model, which views teacher development only as a result of acquiring knowledge and skills, Freeman emphasizes attitude and awareness as equally important constituents of teaching and, perhaps, any professional work.

    In light of the sociocultural theory, human cognitive processes are grounded in the historical, cultural, and institutional situations in which they occur. One of the principles of development is engaging participants through dialogue and instructional conversation where coconstruction of new understanding takes place through a “clash” (in a good sense) between the supervisor’s and teacher’s beliefs, expectations, cognitive styles, and so on.

    Bailey examines teacher supervision through the prism of Leontiev’s activity theory, which posits that all activity (whether in the classroom, work, or home setting) is motivated by either a biological need or a culturally constructed need. She also reviews van Lier’s principles of scaffolding (i.e., collaborative support from the supervisor and peers) and his notion of affordances (i.e., opportunities that the supervisor creates for development to happen). One of van Lier’s (1996) arguments is that actions that are externally controlled initially can become beneficial to the individual only if he or she becomes intrinsically motivated to carry them out. Bailey discusses this notion in the context of interaction between supervisors and teachers: If the supervisor’s instructions do not make sense to the teacher, and the teacher is not intrinsically motivated to implement them, carrying them out will not be likely to produce a desired positive result.

    Chapter 3 looks into the dynamic tension that exists between the teachers’ autonomy and the supervisor’s authority, and between the teachers’ self-directedness and institutional norms or guidelines. Because professional teachers are not “assembly-line workers” and are faced with the challenges of making numerous informed decisions in the classroom every day, they cannot be supervised by being issued a set of instructions or steps to follow at all times. Just as classroom teachers strive to develop autonomous language learners, supervisors support and develop teachers’ professional autonomy, empowering them for personal decision making. However, the development of teacher’s autonomy should be grounded in the understanding of their sphere of influence and of academic freedom within institutional guidelines and constraints. 

    Bailey discusses the concepts of input, intake, and uptake, which are frequently discussed in second language acquisition, in the context of teacher development. As pointed out by Pennington (1996), supervisory input on classroom teaching for which teachers have low awareness, low understanding, or unfavorable attitudes is inaccessible input, that is, input that will not be processed and converted to intake and uptake.  In other words, anything that is outside the teacher’s zone of proximal development is not yet available for this teacher’s learning.

    In Chapter 3, Bailey also discusses Freeman’s (1989) distinction between teacher training, which primarily addresses teachers’ knowledge and skills, and teacher development, which aims to bring about positive shifts in awareness and attitude, which affect everything the teachers choose to do in the classroom. She also points out that directive (vs. collaborative) supervisory behaviors may be justifiable in only some specific situations such as perhaps those involving unskilled novice teachers, other teachers functioning at very low developmental levels, or teachers whose attitude has become a serious problem. The key to successful teacher supervision is development of reflective practitioners following an asset, rather than a deficit, model, which asserts that teachers bring to the process a host of skills and experiences on which they can draw and that they are active agents of their own development.

    Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are devoted to classroom observation processes and techniques, including manual and electronic data collection procedures. Classroom observations are known to cause a certain degree of turmoil for both the teacher and the supervisor involved. Therefore, disambiguation of the process of classroom observation, that is, making it as clear and transparent as possible, is an important goal for a teacher supervisor. Bailey discusses the factors that influence the supervisor’s decision whether or not to observe and whether or not to record data as well as nonthreatening ways of obtaining entry into teachers’ classrooms, conducting “surprise” versus announced observations, conducting so-called “unseen” observations, and so on.  Some key issues in capturing observation data are being able to differentiate between observation, inference, and opinion on the one hand, and working out clear and consistent coding systems, or rather a variety of observation instruments and charts that can be used to collect data for different foci of observation efficiently, on the other hand.

    Chapters 7 and 8 are both dedicated to conducting effective postobservation feedback conferences. Chapter 8 specifically focuses on discourse analysis of interaction that may happen in these conferences and emphasizes the need for mitigation in supervisory discourse, that is, linguistic hedging and avoiding face-threatening acts because one is mindful of the power imbalance that exists between the teacher and the supervisor and trying to offset this imbalance.  Bailey provides useful guidance and activities to help the supervisor adopt the most effective mitigation style in order to be able to both ensure that the message does not get lost or unduly minimized by “hypermitigation” and modify the unpleasant effects of the message at the same time.

    Chapters 9 and 10 deal with teacher evaluation including such issues as defining criteria for effective teaching and, consequently, criteria for evaluating teacher effectiveness or performance standards. Subsequent chapters discuss additional aspects specific to supervision of pre- and inservice teachers, teaching assistants, and nonnative speakers of the language being taught. 

    Chapter 15, which serves the purpose of tying together many of the previously discussed concepts, examines the issue of professionalism in teacher supervision and emphasizes clinical supervision grounded in the situated reality of the daily life in a particular language program rather than in some ideal generic setting. Bailey quotes Gaies and Bowers (1990), who articulate such principles of clinical supervision as finding a balance between theory and practice, personal sensitivity in teacher counseling, feasibility of expectations for change, and providing teachers with specific and measurable goals aimed at bringing about moderate, rather than drastic, changes in their teaching behaviors. Chapter 15 also points out three alternatives to traditional hierarchy-based supervision: action research, mentoring, and coaching.

    In conclusion, I would like to emphasize some of the characteristics of a humanistic supervisor spelled out by Abrell (1974) and reaffirmed by Bailey: willingness to question others’ and one’s own assumptions and beliefs, a commitment and ability to make others feel important and appreciated, and an ability and desire to draw on the experience and strengths of others. I share Bailey’s hope that, for new language program administrators, gaining knowledge and developing skills as a teacher supervisor will be “more purposeful and straightforward” than the “largely haphazard endeavor” that it has been for her and many of her peers.

    Abrell, R. (1974). The humanistic supervisor enhances growth and improves instruction. Educational Leadership, 32, 212-216.
    Freeman, D. (1982). Observing teachers: Three approaches to in-service training and development. TESOL Quarterly, 16, 21-28.
    Freeman, D. (1989). Teacher training, development and decision-making: A model of teaching and related strategies for language teacher education.TESOL Quarterly, 23, 27-45.
    Gaies, S., & Bowers, R. (1990). Clinical supervision of language teaching: The supervisor as trainer and educator (pp. 167-181). In J. C. Richards & D. Nunan (Eds.), Second language teacher education. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Murdoch, G. (1998). A progressive teacher evaluation system. The English Teaching Forum, 36, 2-11. 
    Pennington, M. (1996). When input becomes intake. In D. Freeman & J. C. Richards (Eds.), Teacher learning in language teaching (pp. 320-348). New York: Cambridge University Press.
    van Lier, L. (1996). Interaction in the language curriculum: Awareness, autonomy, and authenticity. London: Longman.

    Marina Cobb is an associate professor and academic specialist at Middle-East School III at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA. 

    Presentation Summaries Implementing and Assessing Portfolio Projects

    By Sahie Kang,, and John Shannon,

    Traditional testing in language classes is intended to measure student progress and performance as objectively as possible. Nonetheless, it often measures their ability at one time, fails to capture their range of language abilities, and does not cover their actual performance skills. In addition, traditional tests can generate anxiety leading to inaccurate results, especially for those students with poor test-taking skills. Traditional tests can also be unpleasant and stressful for language teachers both to grade and to use as the basis for feedback to their students.

    The use of portfolios provides an alternative form of assessment that can measure longitudinal performance and progress independently. The portfolio approach is embedded in instruction, makes students aware of assessment criteria, and captures many facets of language-learning performance. It involves students in their own and in peer assessment, and it accumulates many different performance pieces that students can refer to and reflect upon during the language-learning process. In other words, it helps students be more autonomous language learners.

    At the 2008 TESOL Convention, we (Sahie Kang and John Shannon) shared our experiences in designing, implementing, and analyzing the effectiveness of a variety of portfolio assessment tools. We emphasized that these practical tools were put in use not to replace traditional testing measures but rather to work in conjunction with them to provide a more comprehensive picture of students’ language-learning achievement and their development of proficiency over time.

    Designing and implementing portfolio assessment tools alongside traditional testing procedures that measure students’ longitudinal performance and progress is a daunting task, so we offered insights into how they managed the process in a previous collaboration together. We described the development and use of scoring rubrics for the evaluation of homework, speaking performances, writing assignments, pleasure reading, and debates and provided a summary of findings based on data from student coursework. We found that students attained higher overall levels of proficiency as measured on a standardized proficiency test than did others in classrooms using traditional tests only; thus, portfolio assessment had a positive washback effect in the language classroom. 
    In addition, we elaborated upon the challenges of using portfolio activities and concerns about their reliability, validity, process, and evaluation. We highlighted the centrality of teacher beliefs and attitudes toward alternative assessment and discussed the importance of faculty training, especially as it relates to planning portfolio activities and eliciting feedback on their effectiveness, and to student awareness of how scoring of assignments would be done.

    Furthermore, we discussed the results of a student questionnaire concerning the use of portfolios. The students reported that the portfolio approach led them to learn through self-assessment and reflection and that it required them to be responsible for their own learning. The students also noted that they cooperated well with their peers on portfolio projects and that they had ample opportunities to use the productive skills of writing and speaking. In brief, they enjoyed the portfolio approach to assessment more than traditional tests and ultimately attained higher proficiency results in the process.

    John Shannon is an academic dean who has been involved in second language education for 20 years, including 7 years directing a large IEP.

    Sahie Kang is a professor and a dean who has been involved in second language education and research for 20 years in the United States and Korea.

    Announcements and Information PAIS Newsletter Mission Statement

    The goal of the PAIS Newsletter is to present information to program administrators from a variety of settings. It provides articles, columns, and review sections that keep the membership abreast of current administrative issues, new materials, and current trends in the fields of language teaching and administrative practice.

    The PAIS Newsletter is oriented to program administrators from a variety of ESL and EFL contexts, including higher education (IEP, community college, university, etc.), adult and refugee education, and K-12 settings. Each of these arenas has administrators with varied experience and expertise, making for a broad and diverse readership.

    1. The PAIS Newsletter is essentially a forum for administrative concerns where the membership can express their viewpoints.
    2. The PAIS Newsletter is a source of information where the membership can learn about new program models for program management, student services, and curriculum design.
    3. The PAIS Newsletter provides articles about administrative practices such as program evaluation, teaching effectiveness, budgeting, strategic planning, and programming for student services.
    4. The contents are immediately accessible and practical. Published articles are professional in style and written in a clear and understandable way.
    5. The newsletter will balance items from the constituent audiences.


    PAIS Newsletter Submission Guidelines

    The Editorial Board is expecting to publish two issues of PAIS Newsletter in 2008/2009. The fall issue will come out in September / October 2008 and the spring issue in February / March 2009. We are soliciting submissions for publication from TESOL members and non-members that inform ESOL program administrators and support the PAIS mission.

    The requirements for submission outlined below are general guidelines and are subject to editorial discretion, e.g., authors may be granted reasonable leeway in regards to word limits for quality submissions that are found beneficial to the PAIS Newsletter readership.
    • Author information

  • Name and place of employment must be included in your submission.
  • Reliable contact information (telephone and e-mail) must be available to the editor, though it need not be listed in the newsletter if that is your preference.
  • • Formatting

  • All submissions should be e-mailed as attached Word documents. Please name your document as follows: 
    surname type PAIS NL issue.doc (e.g., Johnson tip PAIS NL Sept 2007.doc)
  • Please follow APA style in your submissions.
  • Formatting in the newsletter is static. Any special formatting you use in your submission may be altered or deleted to fit standard formatting. Please understand that this is not editorial preference but is a TESOL imposed standard.
  • Please include headings in your submission and format as follows:

    Second Level Heading
    Third Level Heading

  • Photos, tables and charts must be submitted in JPEG format in separate files.

    • Submission types and word limits

  • Article (2,000 words)—Share your personal research results or literature review impacting language program administration.
  • Tip (500)—Describe a specific language program administration "best practice" that you have used or learned about.
  • Book/Article/Web Site Review (500)—Share your thoughts on current literature in the field that addresses language program administration issues.
  • Presentation Summary & Conference Report (500)—Submit summaries of your recent relevant conference presentations. We also welcome reports from conference attendees. The conferences are not limited to those sponsored by TESOL and the affiliates but should be relevant to the interests of PAIS members and our mission.
  • Current Events (200)—Submit information about what is happening in the field that language program administrators need to know about (events, conferences, language policy notices, political situations and changes that affect the field, etc.)
  • Interview (700)—Send us a record of an interview with a program administrator who has knowledge and skill to share that contributes to the field of TESOL.
    • Abstract and author bio: You must include an abstract (max 50 words—not included in the word limits above) with each article, tip, review, presentation summary, or interview. You may also include an author bio of up to 25 words. Please place these items in the same document as your submission, between the title and the text.
    • Works cited: Any sources cited in your text must also be referenced at the end of your piece, using APA style.  
    • Deadlines: All submissions, regardless of type, are due for the September newsletter by July 15 and for the February/March newsletter by January 1. Deadline extensions will be announced via e-mail and will also eventually be posted on the PAIS Web site (currently under construction). Please state the newsletter issue for which you are submitting. Some accepted submissions may be published in future issues.
    • References to political entities, events, or situations must not be in opposition to official policy statements made by TESOL. 
    • Submissions should be respectful and professional in tone.
    • Copyright
  • Authors retain copyright to the material published in the PAIS Newsletter.
  • It is not permitted to lift content (including photos) from Web sites (including TESOL sites), even with attribution.
  • Please follow fair use copyright law.

    Unless otherwise noted in the call for submissions, please send all submissions to Marina Cobb at or Allison Pickering In the subject line, write PAIS e-NL submission; in the body of your e-mail, please note the month and year of the issue you are submitting for, the submission type, and the word count (not including title, abstract, and author bio).