TEIS Newsletter

TEIS News, Volume 21:2 (November 2006)

by User Not Found | 10/31/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter From the Chair
    • Letter From the Editors
  • Articles and Information
    • A Model of Professional Development in Senegal
    • What Mainstream Teachers Report About Accommodating English Language Learners
    • Teaching a Content-Based EFL Course in Education
    • Reflections of a Cultural Border-Crosser
    • TESOL 2007
  • About This Member Community
    • Call for Contributions
    • TEIS Leadership Team 2006-07
    • Teacher Education Interest Section

Leadership Updates Letter From the Chair

Judy Sharkey, judy.sharkey@unh.edu

TEIS Colleagues,


The summer was quite busy and I would like to thank the more than 30 reviewers who read and scored the 275 proposals for TESOL '07 that were submitted to TEIS. I would also like to thank Adelaide Parsons for her hard work organizing the Academic Session and overseeing the Discussion Group portion of the program. Renee Kilby-Latimer at the TESOL office does an amazing job coordinating the proposal process and answering every question quickly and patiently. Although the program has not yet been finalized, we should have an exciting variety of topics including a healthy collection of the topics TEIS members identified as "hot topics"(e.g., collaboration, online professional development) at our business meeting in Tampa and on our e-list. Stay tuned for the March newsletter, which will be packed with details regarding our 2007 conference program!

The autumnal equinox has just passed and the fall foliage in my corner of the northeastern United States is a vibrant array of reds, yellows, and greens. As I was driving to work this morning and soaking in the brilliant hues and thinking about my "message from the chair," I couldn't help but imagine the vast range of landscapes, both geographical and sociopolitical, that all of our TEIS colleagues were also pondering on this day. Our contexts, perspectives, and personal/professional challenges may differ greatly but our participation in the professional community of the TEIS brings us together, and this participation creates numerous opportunities for individual and collective learning.

Barbara Rogoff (2003), writing from a sociocultural-historical perspective, defined learning as a transformation of participation in activities of a community. This conceptualization of learning seems particularly apt for TEIS given our dedication to teacher development, or teacher learning, across the career span. I'd like all of us in TEIS to think about the ways that our participation in this shared professional community affects our own learning and how it creates learning opportunities for others. When we invite others—be it prospective or veteran teachers or other teacher educators—to collaborate or present their work in professional venues, we help our colleagues see themselves and their work in new and valuable ways. Encouraging and helping graduate students to submit a proposal to the Graduate Student Forum or convincing a veteran teacher that her work challenges prevailing notions of motivation or "accountability" helps these colleagues to see themselves as active contributors to our profession. In short, when we help them participate in the community in new ways, we facilitate some powerful professional learning. And, we strengthen our community by broadening the perspectives and experiences it encompasses and increasing the membership. Furthermore, there are ways in which we can transform our own participation. For me, going from a proposal reviewer to a member of the TEIS leadership team has broadened my understanding of ESOL teacher education and afforded me invaluable opportunities to meet, network, and collaborate with new colleagues.

Along these lines of "learning as a transformation of participation," I offer the following:

The Fifth International Conference on Language Teacher Education at the University of Minnesota, May 31-June 2, 2007. Proposals are due December 1, 2006. Web site: http://www.carla.umn.edu/conferences

The 2nd CELC Symposium for English Language Teachers, The English Language Teaching and Learning Landscape: Continuity, Innovation and Diversity, hosted by the National University of Singapore, Hilton Hotel, Orchard Road, Singapore, May 30-June 1, 2007. Web site: http://www.nus.edu.sg/celc/symposium/index.htm

Sabanci University School of Languages, Tuning in: Learners of Language, Language of Learners, Sabanci University Campus, Istanbul, Turkey, May 24-26, 2007. Tel: 90-216-483-9139; fax: 90-216-483-9140; e-mail: tuningin@sabanciuniv.edu; Web site:http://www.sabanciuniv.edu/sl/languageconf2007

(Go to TESOL's Calendar of World Events for an extensive list of conferences:

  • Share your impressions of a conference or a presentation on our e-list or submit a piece to our newsletter. I am hoping TEIS members who participated in the October MEXTESOL conference on "Reflecting on our Teaching" will follow up on this invitation!
  • Contribute to our ongoing efforts to strengthen our TEIS membership and interest section. Consider submitting your name when we solicit new members for the leadership team later in the fall/early winter. Join or contribute to another committee on TESOL. The organization is only as strong as its membership.

At this time of the autumnal equinox we are dispersed across the globe and brought together by our electronic threads. Hopefully, the vernal equinox on March 21, 2007, will find many of us together in Seattle for the 41st Annual TESOL Convention.

Happy November,


Letter From the Editors

Joel Hardman, jhardma@siue.edu, and Duff Johnston, duj128@psu.edu

TESOL teacher education can take place in a wide variety of contexts. Some of us in TESOL have perhaps been overly focused on graduate TESOL programs in the United States as a locus of teacher education, but more professional development takes place outside such programs than in. The four articles in this issue of the TEIS newsletter, all presented at the TESOL convention, give voice to some of this diversity.

In "A Model of Professional Development in Senegal," Ibrahima Ba and Julia Frazier describe an in-service professional development program for English teachers conducted by the Ministry of Education. In "What Mainstream Teachers Report About Accommodating English Language Learners," Teresa Dalle and Emily Thrush discuss their efforts to help mainstream teachers in Tennessee work with the English language learners in their classrooms. In "Teaching a Content-Based EFL Course in Education," Robin Rogers describes a content-based English course for undergraduate Taiwanese students focused on helping them learn about the teaching and learning of English. Robin's paper was featured at the Graduate Student Forum at the TESOL convention. Last, in "Reflections of a Cultural Border-Crosser," Rosie Maum tells the story of her crossings from culture to culture, and how those movements have influenced her beliefs as an ESL teacher today. Her reflections exemplify personal ongoing professional development.

From Tennessee, to Taiwan, to Senegal, and border-crossings worldwide, these articles portray the variety of contexts in which teachers grow in their understandings of English teaching and learning.


Articles and Information A Model of Professional Development in Senegal

Ibrahima Ba, poulo9@hotmail.com, and Julia Frazier, julia_frazier2002@yahoo.com

Senegal is a small West African country with a population of about 11,000,000. As a former French colony, Senegal uses French as the official language and the language of instruction in public schools. There is a long history of second language teaching as well. English was taught before the 1960s, during the colonial days, but at that time it was optional, Latin being the second language of the elite. English was made obligatory in secondary schools after independence, and since then it has held an important place in the system.

In-service training also has a long tradition in Senegal. English teachers, however, have not always received the benefits that teachers from other disciplines enjoy. The French continued to support education in the sciences, mathematics, history, and French language and literature to a great extent after independence. English teachers, on the other hand, got only sporadic support from the British Council and the U.S. Embassy, and in recent years, with shrinking budgets, that support has diminished. Teachers used to meet once or twice a year in workshops and seminars run by either expatriates or trainers from the teacher-training school.

In 1984, the Ministry of Education organized a network of teacher advisors and teachers across the country, in every region and major city. This network took over responsibility for coordinating and following through with in-service training for all teachers in the country (see table 1). The network is composed of

  • 1 national teacher advisor called CPN (conseiller pédagogique national), who coordinates the activities of the itinerant teacher advisors (CPIs, or conseillers pédagogiques itinerants)
  • 16 CPIs who work at the regional level
  • 28 CPRs (conseillers pédagogiques résidents), resident teacher advisors who continue to teach, but also support the CPIs at the departmental level

Table 1: Population & Number of Schools, Teachers and Advisors by Region

Region Population Number of Schools Number of Teachers Teacher Advisors
Dakar (5 areas) 2,399,451
City Center 14 68 1
Bourguiba 29 142 3
Kennedy 17 100 3
Pikine 86 260 4
Rufisque 25 94 2
Diourbel 1,144,009 31 109 4
Fatick 643,505 66 151 4
Kaolack 1,114,292 66 166 2
Kolda 893,867 69 172 2
Louga 714,732 30 72 2
Matam 461,836 27 74 1
St. Louis 738,724 50 147 5
Tambacounda 650,399 37 89 3
Thies 1,358,658 79 250 4
Ziguinchor 444,830 69 195 4
Total 10,564,303 695 2089 44

The government maintains offices in each regional capital for the advisors of the region. Each regional office offers access to e-mail, photocopying, and a telephone to facilitate communication with Dakar and with the teachers in the region. In addition, there are pedagogical resources for teachers to use when they come to the office. Advisors from various disciplines share the office space and take turns staffing the office.

Selection Criteria

The selection of good advisors is important, so as to offer the support the teachers need and the administration the Ministry requires. The Office of English considers five criteria when selecting advisors:

  1. Dedication to teaching. An advisor should be someone who loves what he or she is doing and is ready to make sacrifices for the profession.
  2. Dependability. An advisor should be someone who can be relied on to get the job done.
  3. Open-mindedness. An advisor should be able to listen to people, understand their points of views and concerns, and take them into account.
  4. Intellectual generosity. An advisor should be ready to share, formally or informally, any knowledge he or she has acquired.
  5. Competence. An advisor should have a university degree, at least an associate's degree (license in the French system).

Strengths of the Network

As a developing country our main asset is our human resources, so we consider that our foundation. A well-trained, dedicated, and professional team can carry out projects and implement them. Therefore, it is very important to set criteria that will allow selection of good teacher advisors. The professionalism of the team has also contributed to the success of our work. Most of the teacher advisors have benefited from training in either Britain or the United States, or both. They have a university degree. They still participate in refresher programs at home or abroad. They are used to organizing workshops and seminars.

Another strength is the geographical distribution of our network. Travel between the regions can be challenging and expensive because of a lack of infrastructure and long distances over difficult terrain. But teacher advisors are present everywhere in the country. With such a decentralized system it is easy to reach teachers and cater to their needs, and it is easier for the teachers to access their support system and get messages to the Ministry in Dakar if necessary. With decentralization taking the forefront in many development programs, this network successfully supports Senegal's efforts to move the focus from Dakar to the regions.

A third strength of the network is the possibility for local problem solving. The teachers in the regions get a feeling of connection by having one of their own represent them in national discussions. By teaching in the same environment as do the teachers, advisors understand better the problems the teachers are facing and are more likely to propose relevant solutions. There is grassroots representation at all meetings, meaning that the teachers' voices are heard at the decision-making level.

A fourth strength of the network is the involvement of the teachers themselves. Professional development is impossible without the willingness of the individual to develop. It is not obligatory to participate in in-service training activities, but, unlike many other teachers, many English teachers participate in all the activities related to professional development.

Finally, there is a financial benefit to using this network. The network allows the Ministry to cut costs of professional development events, of transportation, and of communication. By having representation in all the regions, the Ministry has to contact only one person in each of the 11 regional capitals in order to disseminate information to the thousands of English teachers in the country. Likewise, the Ministry need not travel to each capital, town, and village to carry out professional development. And in turn, the teachers need not travel all the way to Dakar to ask questions and to express concerns.

Activities of the Advisors

The way the network functions is very important. Advisors are required to devote 6 days in the year to in-service training of their pedagogical cell. The plan for the year is negotiated with the teachers, with each year's national theme in mined. The year's plan is based mainly on local needs, but there may be, of course, national needs. For example, because there are national exams, it is necessary to give the same training to all the teachers so that their students have equal chances when passing exams. The teachers themselves usually conduct the workshops; however, given the opportunity, the advisor may invite an outside guest such as an instructor from the teacher-training school or a foreign teacher to make a presentation. The advisors are accountable to the national teacher advisor and to the technical advisor. They send reports of activities and attendance sheets, which allows control and evaluation of the work done. In addition, the advisors participate in development themselves at least once a year in Dakar or in another city.

Advisors visit teachers' classrooms, paying particular attention to new and less-well-trained teachers. The advisors help teachers find appropriate materials and deal with classroom management and administrative challenges. They are a very present support for teachers, especially helping new teachers who may feel lost in a strange region, alone in a classroom for the first time.

Advisors also serve as coordinators for national programs that may be travelling from region to region. For example, if the Ministry is conducting national seminars funded by the African Development Bank, the national advisor will count on the advisor(s) of the region to coordinate all the logistics, from contacting the teachers to finding a venue and arranging for meals.

Outside Collaboration

This network is particularly helpful to outside collaborators. Institutions such as the British Council and the American Center, nongovernmental organizations such as the Academy for Education Development, researchers including Fulbright scholars, and many others approach the Ministry of Education and the Office of English Teaching when they have a program to offer or need assistance with a special project. Our system makes us uniquely able to coordinate such collaboration seamlessly with teachers in absolutely any school in the country. Thus, collaborators are encouraged to continue working with us on future projects and we are able to benefit from many shared endeavors.

The network facilitates collaboration in many ways. Advisors are able to disseminate program and application information to teachers in the regions quickly and efficiently, allowing all teachers the chance to apply for opportunities that may arise. Advisors are well placed to recommend personnel for programs in Dakar and abroad. Though there are too many English teachers in the country for one national advisor to know all their strengths and current projects, regional and local advisors can keep up with what their teachers are doing. When an opportunity for a scholarship comes along, for example, the regional advisors may know of a young teacher displaying promise, working beyond the requirements, who may be an excellent candidate.

When outside groups, especially the British Council and the American Center, would like to offer special workshops and seminars, advisors coordinate regional programming, taking care of all logistical needs in advance. Likewise, advisors facilitate site visits, regional contacts, and translation/interpretation services to assist visiting researchers, consultants, and dignitaries. This approach lends a professionalism to the network that these visitors do not forget.


The pillar of our system is our human resources; therefore, finding the right person to do the job is important. This may be very difficult for various reasons. First, in remote areas it is difficult to find experienced teachers as they usually take the first opportunity they have to move to bigger towns. Second, in urban areas, some experienced teachers are reluctant to become advisors as there are no job perks and they can earn more money translating or teaching in private institutes.

Another challenge is creating institutional memory through a body of written work. Many helpful ideas come up in pedagogical cell workshops, but advisors rarely have the resources to help teachers disseminate that information to a wider audience. A key component to local problem solving and to the development of teacher knowledge is sharing solutions. Creating written documents would be helpful not only to the teachers of the local pedagogical cell, but also to teachers across the country facing similar challenges. Unfortunately, in the regions advisors have limited use of computers and photocopiers, so such "luxuries" take a backseat to the more urgent needs of daily work. Also, many of the advisors are reluctant to share their writing with a wider audience or may not realize that ideas coming out of their pedagogical cell could be helpful to teachers in other regions.


In this paper we have shown how the network of in-service training for teachers of English works. We have discussed the elements and the factors that are at the basis of its efficiency and strength. It is a good model for countries that do not have enough resources to pay for training abroad. However, the support of foreign partners is also necessary to support efforts made by nationals. The network system actually attracts and encourages such international participation because of its grassroots nature and its efficiency. We would encourage other countries to consider such a network in order to facilitate internal communication and professional development. It has given our teachers a sense of empowerment, professionalism, and inclusion that has strengthened not only our teachers, but also our students and our schools.

Note: This article was presented at TESOL Tampa 2006.

Ibrahima Ba is the technical advisor for English at the Ministry of Education in Dakar, Senegal. Julia Frazier was a senior English language fellow at the Office of English and is a doctoral student at Columbia University Teachers College.

What Mainstream Teachers Report About Accommodating English Language Learners

Teresa Dalle, tsdalle@memphis.edu, and Emily Thrush, ethrush@memphis.edu

When the On Track (On Teachers Reaching all Children Knowledgeably) training grant began in 2002, the goal was simple yet ambitious: train mainstream classroom teachers in Memphis City and Shelby County schools in Tennessee to work more effectively with ELLs (English language learners) in the classroom. The teachers would not only become better in their approaches but also become resources for other teachers at their schools. The trainees agreed to share the information they had gathered. In short, they became mentors and consultants for other content teachers.

In the process of helping trained content teachers become consultants, it became evident to us, professors in ESL teacher training, that ESL teachers themselves are often asked to mentor and consult with content teachers in their schools. At recent conferences we have attended, ESL teachers confirm that they are often asked to give workshops, consult with content teachers, and provide general expertise on working with ELLs in regular classrooms. They also state that they sometimes feel uncomfortable in their role as consultants to content teachers.

What helped us in working with the content teachers, and something that may help ESL teachers in their mentoring roles, was becoming aware of what concerns and questions teachers had about accommodating ELLs. In fact, to help in structuring the On Track classes, we asked the content teachers to list three questions they had about working with ESL students. Once they had done this, we categorized their questions and noted that their concerns fell into three areas: teaching techniques, testing and assessment, and culture.

Below are some examples of the questions the content teachers posed and how we responded to their concerns. (A more complete list of questions may be found by going to http://umdrive.memphis.edu/tsdalle/public and clicking on "TESOL 2005 Handout.doc.")

Category One: Questions on teaching techniques and classroom concerns

  1. Is it best to teach the English language before teaching academics?
  2. Where do I start when an ELL student knows absolutely no English and I don't speak his or her native language?
  3. I would like to learn techniques for making the language that I am speaking more understandable so that I can teach grade-level content to these students when I don't speak their language.
  4. We have a large population of ESL students, which equates to as many as nine different languages. Are all strategies for ESL students the same, regardless of native language and English proficiency?

Clearly, content teachers are aware that their pedagogical training may not have prepared them to work with non-English-speaking students. Their questions demonstrate, however, that they assume that effective techniques exist. We responded to this by helping the content teachers become aware of three important principles. These concepts became the "mantra" of the Methods course: increase comprehensibility, increase interaction, and increase thinking skills (Jameson, 1998).

We advised the content teachers to use various techniques to increase comprehensibility, especially through the use of visuals, realia, gestures, pictures, graphic organizers, and effective teacher talk. We suggested that in workshops with other content teachers they illustrate examples of various ways to increase comprehensibility. One such way is to present a lesson in a foreign language without any visual support and then teach it again using appropriate realia and pictures. (A bilingual teacher or friend can help with this if the teacher does not speak another language.) Teachers experience the confusion their students experience, but they soon see the effectiveness of using the supporting materials.

To increase interaction, we advise the use of collaborative groups by means of such techniques as pair/share, numbered heads together, or jigsaw activities. We also distinguish between collaboration, in which each student takes a role in the activity, and traditional cooperative groups, which may leave all the work to one student. We model collaboration in the classes and advise that workshop presenters do the same by introducing activities that require collaboration. Finally, to increase thinking skills, we remind content teachers that students need to develop cognitive skills while learning English and that each lesson should be one that is intellectually stimulating. We look at lessons and, working in groups, devise ways to make the lessons fit the notion of "increasing thinking skills." (See Grognet, Jameson, France, & Derrick-Mescua, 2000, for specific ideas.) Having teachers revise their own lesson plans to fit the three principles is also effective.

Category Two: Questions on assessment, evaluation, and standardized testing

  1. If an ELL student is performing at grade level with some modifications, should that student repeat that grade when the teacher knows that he or she could have acceptable academic performance if the level of language was proficient?
  2. When do I know there may be learning problems in this child aside from the language barrier?
  3. What different types of assessments could I use to assess my ELL students? Is it appropriate to speak to the ELL teacher about concerns that I have regarding my students?
  4. What type of grading and assessment system should be used for an ELL?

For assessment, the trainees became acquainted with the distinction between assessing and evaluating and between authentic assessment and standardized testing. Beyond the demands of state-mandated tests and standardized tests is the teachers' need to know where students are in their acquisition of English and whether they are making progress. For that, trainees learned of various techniques that fall under "authentic assessment," that is, the kinds of activities normally done in class to assess how well the students are progressing. Examples of authentic assessment include portfolios, checklists, rubrics, self-assessment, and other helpful measures. The participants needed to see examples of each of these. Fortunately, the text for the class, Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners (O'Malley & Valdez Pierce, 1996), provides many good examples.

Category Three: Questions on culture and cultural practices

  1. How do I get the parents of my ELL students to be more involved in the class/school community?
  2. Where can you go to learn more about child-rearing habits and customs of various cultures?
  3. How can you distinguish an English language difference as cultural and not an academic deficiency?
  4. One of my ELL students in my reading class always nods her head and smiles when I talk to her like she understands. Yet, sometimes I get the feeling she doesn't really comprehend anything I've said. How can I tell without cornering her?

An awareness of cultural issues helped the trainees to understand the importance of such classroom phenomena as wait time, eye contact, cross-cultural misunderstandings, and ways of recognizing and valuing the students' cultures (see Manning & Baruth, 2004, for more information). Trainees learned how the lack of culturally based background knowledge, or schema, could interfere with students' comprehension of classroom materials by doing role-plays or reading cross-cultural scenarios. In consulting with other teachers, we recommended that the participants share information on culture and sensitize other content teachers to the effects of culture on learning and behavior.

ESL teachers and ESL-trained content teachers can help regular classroom teachers by focusing on three issues: techniques, assessment/testing, and culture. Understanding the concerns of content teachers, the teacher-consultants respond to genuine concerns, and the job does not seem so overwhelming.


Grognet, A., Jameson, J., France, L., & Derrick-Mescua, M. (2000). Enhancing English language learning in elementary classrooms. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. 

Jameson, J. (1998). Three principles for success: English language learners in mainstream content classes. Center for Applied Linguistics.  Region XIV Comprehensive Center. Retrieved January 18, 2002, from http://www.cal.org/cc14/ttp6.htm

Manning, M., & Baruth, L. (2004). Multicultural education of children and adolescents. 4th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson Publications.
O'Malley, J. M., & Valdez Pierce, L. (1996). Authentic assessment for English language learners: Practical approaches for teachers. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Teresa Dalle, an associate professor in the English department at the University of Memphis, teaches ESL/TESL courses and coordinates the applied linguistics concentration. She is the author of PACE Yourself: A Handbook for ESL Tutors.

Emily Thrush, a professor in the English department at the University of Memphis, teaches in both the applied linguistics and professional writing programs. She is the author of Interactions I and II Multi-Skills Books.


Teaching a Content-Based EFL Course in Education

Robin E. Rogers, rogerr1@spu.edu

Teaching students how to be teachers and leaders is an important and necessary part of EFL programs. In this article, a course designed for Taiwanese college students in an EFL setting (Shengte Christian College, Jhongli, Taiwan) is introduced along with descriptions of units and lessons taught. This course was designed and implemented to introduce the basic skills needed to teach children while introducing vocabulary and different strategies for teaching, building vocabulary, challenging gifted students, and building confidence. Theories such as the multiple intelligence theory by Howard Gardner can help students understand different learning styles and skills. Students taking this course gained a broader understanding of education as well as improved English ability.

The students enrolled in this course were high intermediate to advanced and in most cases close to graduation. The course was designed to provide them with skills for whatever they chose to do after college, whether that be teaching in one of the numerous after-school English programs around the island or going overseas to study for a master's degree. Many other courses in the curriculum were designed primarily to improve their English skills for studying abroad, but Dr. Wayne Mayo, head of the Foreign Language Department at Shengte Christian College, observed that many of the alumni had not gone overseas. Instead, they had taken jobs teaching around Taiwan or had gone into the business field. In order to meet the needs of students, Dr. Mayo suggested that two courses be created to take the place of the numerous conversational courses students were then taking: Introduction to Business and Introduction to Education, which is the subject of this paper. Content-based EFL courses in education and business have proven instrumental in giving students a hiring advantage. Several students at the college have used their content-based courses to build their resume as well as their confidence and knowledge of the material in the classroom.


Taiwanese teaching styles are very different from American teaching styles. Walking by a classroom, one would see the students sitting in the very back of the classroom, sometimes talking, and sometimes listening, while at the front of the classroom the teacher/speaker talks while looking at a paper or writing on the chalkboard without much eye contact. The Taiwanese student is a passive recipient working almost always in a group. In an effort to introduce students to different teaching styles, a wide array of activities were used with the students, ranging from lectures and note-taking to role-playing and implementation of a lesson plan. These activities provided the students with a larger base to use in their classrooms as teachers.

Interview of Native English Speakers and Survey of People's Opinions About Education

Generating ideas about education and getting students actively using English at the beginning of the course was crucial. Students were assigned to survey 5 to 10 people including at least one native English speaker. They had to think about quantifiers, such asstrongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree, which were introduced in previous courses and reinforced in this course. They had to tally the answers for each response in the boxes below (Wragg & Wood, 1984). A discussion of the topics and results of the survey got students thinking about what they expect or don't expect as a student and what they should or should not expect as a teacher.

Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree
It is important for a teacher to 
dress nicely.

A good teacher makes the lessons 
fun for each student.

A good teacher knows each
student's name.
A good teacher uses corporal
It is important for the teacher to 
do what the students want to do.

Observe a Classroom Teacher
In class students learned about organization and the roles of a teacher. So they could apply what they had learned to a specific classroom and make it come alive for them, the students were asked to observe a teacher teaching a lesson. Observing a teacher in a different setting gave the students a model and helped them to begin thinking how they would teach and organize a lesson. They had to contact a teacher themselves to arrange the classroom observation, get the teacher's signature during the visit, and answer several questions based on their experience and observation.

Questions for Classroom Observation
1. How many students are in the class?
2. How much does the teacher move around the classroom? Where to?
3. How does the teacher address the students? (By pointing/by name/some other way)
4. How does the teacher get the students' attention?
5. How does the teacher end the class?

Classroom Management/Role-Play

Opportunities to observe classrooms sometimes brought other ideas to light such as classroom arrangement, atmosphere, and discipline. Different cultural approaches to issues such as cheating, appropriate punishment, and appropriate classroom behavior were discussed. Students were given an outline to follow and take notes on. After introducing the three Rs of discipline-rules, routine, and reinforcement-the teacher asked the students to come up with their own classroom rules. They brainstormed in class with a partner and came up with some common expectations for any class in Taiwan. To help avoid problems, it was important for students to think about the three Rs before they got into a classroom and began teaching. Students also role-played how they would deal with students in a number of different situations. The teacher also wanted them to think about whether or not the behavior needed to be punished.

The Role-Play Situations
 Situation 1: Maggie likes to talk to her friend while you are talking.
 Situation 2: Brenda and Mana like to sit together but they sometimes fight.
 Situation 3: Tammi always comes to school late and then falls asleep in class.
 Situation 4: Peter doesn't get good grades.
 Situation 5: Joshua always says the answer to every question loudly.
 Situation 6: You catch Donald copying another student's paper. As far as you know, this is the first time he has done  this.  

A key to good classroom management is to have simple rules with practical consequences when they are broken.

Teach a Lesson

Throughout the course three basic functions of a teacher (planning, implementing, and evaluation) were taught and reinforced. In this activity, students learn to plan, implement, and evaluate their own lesson, which included observable objectives. Then they teach the lesson to their classmates who pretend to be children. Through this interactive process the teacher helps the students by checking their work and allowing them to discuss and ask questions along the way. After having done the classroom observation activity and thinking about what is important by means of a self-evaluation, students as teachers should be able to put those ideas into practice.

1. Create your own lesson plan with observable objectives, materials, introduction (attention getter), activity, and conclusion.
2. Prepare all materials and be ready at your assigned time.
3. Bring the typed lesson plan to class with you for the teacher.
4. Use the entire time you have (10 minutes).
5. Wear appropriate clothing and dress nicely.

Multiple Intelligence Theory / Read Outlines and Take Notes

Just as teachers have different teaching styles, there are also many different learning styles among individuals in the classroom. This concept opens up a whole new world to those who have thought of themselves as a part of a group and not very often as an individual in the learning process. Howard Gardner believes people can be intelligent in many ways. His theory of eight intelligences is a powerful tool for building the confidence of students stuck in a system in which the test alone measures how intelligent individuals are. 
In this course, his theory was presented to the students in the form of a lecture with an outline. The students had the task of following along while the teacher introduced the different intelligences by telling stories and talking about what kind of skills are considered a part of each intelligence. Students drew one picture or symbol to help them to remember each of the different intelligences on their outline. An intelligence rap by Shawna Munson was also introduced to help students remember the different intelligences (Armstrong, 2000, p. 227).

Eight Intelligences:
Linguistic: Word Smart
Logical/Mathematical: Number Smart
Spatial: Picture Smart
Musical: Music Smart
Bodily/Kinesthetic: Body Smart
Interpersonal: People Smart
Intrapersonal: Self Smart
Naturalistic: Nature Smart

Wayside School Project

Students were assigned to read one of 30 chapters in Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Sachar, 1978). When reading they were to try to understand the content of the story and then take it a step further by analyzing how the teacher helped the student to deal with a problem and then think about how he or she would do things differently. Students then did an oral presentation on that chapter. They had to think about how the student is unique. This project helped them to use many different skills and usually ended with students taking responsibility for their own learning. This activity was a long-term project done while students were studying the multiple intelligences and classroom management. It was interesting to see how the students applied the theory to the individual student in the chapter they were given.

1. Read one chapter on your own outside of class.
2. Be able to understand what the chapter is saying and do a 10-minute oral presentation answering the following items:

a. Who is the student?
b. What does he/she look like?
c. What is special about this student? 
d. Which intelligence does he/she have?
e. Does this student have a problem?
f. Does the teacher help this student? How?
g. How would you help this student if he/she were in your class?

3. Students should bring a visual aid (e.g., a drawing of the student, a coat, a picture) to help them to explain these things to their classmates.

Writing Assignment: Reflection

One of the last assignments was for the students to think about and discuss the topics taught throughout the course and apply them to their own experience. They were to refer to the ideas they had before taking the course and explain how they had changed or if they had changed. Small-group discussions were part of a final oral project. Many students talked about positive experiences they had with one or more teachers and how those teachers influenced them in wanting to teach others. This assignment helped them to tie all their ideas together and summarize what they had learned.

Sample Questions
How has your view of education changed after taking this course?
What is your opinion of the education system in Taiwan?
What would you change and what would you keep the same?
Use personal experiences to explain your reasons.


Content-based EFL courses can help students successfully use the language in different ways. Skills needed to be successful can be achieved through a variety of activities geared toward students with different intelligences. They also gain a sense of value in themselves as well as in those around them. Identifying the basic functions of a teacher and helping them to go through those steps made it easier for the students to get jobs and to find satisfaction in being themselves after they graduated. Varying the activities while keeping a structure can teach students how to survive in different settings overseas as well.

Armstrong, T. (2000). In their own way: Discovering and encouraging your child's multiple intelligences. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Sachar, L. (1978). Sideways stories from wayside school. New York: Morrow Junior Books.

Wragg, E. C., & Wood, E. K. (1984). Pupils appraisals of teaching. In E. C. Wragg (Eds.), Classroom teaching skills: The research findings of teacher education project. London: Routledge.

Robin Rogers, currently an instructor at the University of Oregon's American English Institute, graduated in March 2006 from Seattle Pacific University with an MA TESOL degree. She previously taught English as a foreign language for 3 years at Shengte Christian College in Taiwan.

Reflections of a Cultural Border-Crosser

Rosie Maum, rosiefiume@aol.com

I have often wondered about my decision to move away from the field of foreign (world) languages and turn to ESL. Through immersion I have learned to speak six different languages while living in several countries, and the exposure to various cultures, modes of thinking, religions, cuisines, customs, and traditions has certainly influenced the choices I have made about my professional career. At a colloquium in which I participated during the 2006 TESOL Convention, I learned that my experiences make me what some call a "cultural border-crosser." According to Chang (1999), cultural borderland refers to

a marginal space for cultural hybrids—those who have adopted "foreign," distinctly different, cultural traits—who therefore do not fit the homogeneous prototypes of their original cultures. . . . In this borderland individuals decide how much they want to identify with their cultures of origin or of adoption.

Each time I entered a new cultural borderland, I had to make decisions that profoundly affected my identity on both a personal and professional level. In this article, I would like to share my reflections as a cultural border-crosser in the hope that you will find some value in what you read and be inspired to reflect on your own practice. Bullough and Pinnegar (2001) and Cole and Knowles (1995) have claimed that self-studies must present value to the intended audience, and the issues addressed in such studies should contribute to the body of knowledge in teacher education. In the next few paragraphs, I will look at the personal and professional identity issues I encountered, analyze how these influenced my teaching, and conclude with some recommendations for the ESL profession.

When I was young, my family and I moved from one culture to several others and had to learn several additional languages. As a result I came to realize the value of one's native language as it helped us preserve our sense of identity. Being members of a "linguistic and cultural minority" (as the host countries labeled us) subjected us to various degrees of discrimination, but, by maintaining the use of our mother tongue, we were able to overcome those challenges and keep a sense of linguistic and cultural pride and identity. This experience influenced my beliefs about teaching ESL, which are characterized by a profound sensitivity and support of the students' native language. Students should not be discouraged from using their native language as they begin to learn English because that is a useful strategy for negotiating the meaning of a new language. Furthermore, encouraging students to maintain their native language, that is, continue to be bi(multi)lingual, supports the linguistic and communicative skills that are so vital for being able to function successfully in today's global and diverse society.  

When I came to the United States and entered college to study foreign language education, language became my vehicle for negotiating a sense of self in the profession and for accessing professional opportunities. I found my niche in becoming a foreign language teacher because having an accent and being a native speaker of a language other than English are qualities that are respected and even preferred in this particular field. Accent is valued because people assume you have bilingual or multilingual skills, and research has shown that competence in more than one language and culture enables you to "act with greater awareness of self, of other cultures, and (your) own relationship to those cultures" (ACTFL, 2006).

Pinnegar, Lay, Bingham, and Dulude (2005) stated that "studies of life experiences . . . help [one] better understand life as a teacher" (p. 56). That is, teachers are the sum of their lived experiences and choices. Looking back and reflecting on my practice, I realize that my professional life has been shaped by the intersection of different cultural and linguistic experiences, and that transitioning from the foreign language to the ESL classroom was a natural next step and evolution in my professional career. Though my role as a world language teacher had been to "open up the world" to U.S. students and impart an appreciation for other languages and cultures, I found that, once in the ESL classroom, my personal experience with language and identity allowed me to connect with my ESL students in a more profound and meaningful way.

As a nonnative English-speaking teacher (NNEST), I was able to relate to my students' experiences on a very personal level because we shared the experience of being cultural border-crossers. Just like them, I too had to learn English and experienced various phases of culture shock while adjusting to the United States. This connection influenced the way I approached my teaching and even inspired me to write my doctoral dissertation on the same topic (Maum, 2003). For the past 5 years, TESOL and other leading organizations have published a slew of studies that have shown the advantages of being an NNEST in the ESL profession. As a consequence, my role as an ESL teacher includes being a strong advocate for my students. Specifically, ESL students should learn not only to appreciate the English language and U.S. culture, but they should also be taught how to value their own language and culture in order to adjust to the United States in a positive and constructive manner.

I would like to conclude by offering a couple of recommendations. First, just like my students, I have been a border-crosser and, as such, have come to realize the value and advantage of validating the student's cultural and linguistic background. Our ESL students need to have a sense of identity and of belonging as they go through the difficult phases of cultural adjustment. We can help them build that confidence by making them feel good about who they were and where they came from. Second, who our students will become depends in part on how much we, as ESL professionals, will be able to help them live through their cultural border-crossing. We can do that by becoming more aware of and familiar with the cultural border experience. A colleague of mine who is a teacher educator and also an NNEST pointed out that teachers of language minority students who are not border-crossers or bilingual need exposure to the complexity of the cultural border-crossing experiences of their students. She asserts that

for those who leave their original homeland for good, second language teachers and teacher educators with life experiences as border crossers are credible examples of how to develop evolving, multifaceted identities as bicultural individuals while navigating the space between two or more cultures and homelands. Furthermore, the border crossing experience should be made explicit to both language minorities and monolingual, monocultural teachers whose background leads them to identify only with the practices of the dominant culture. (Major, 2006)

I invite you to begin (or continue) talking to colleagues who are cultural border-crossers and exchange ideas and thoughts so you can learn from each other, grow professionally, and ultimately work for the benefit of all our students.


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). 2006. Looking to the Standards. Retrieved fromhttp://www.discoverlanguages.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3652 on May 4, 2006

Bullough, R. V. J., & Pinnegar, S. (2001). Guidelines for quality in autobiographical forms of self-study research. Educational Researcher30(3): 13-21.

Chang, H. (1999). Re-examining the rhetoric of the "cultural border." Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education 1(1). Retrieved August 10, 2006, from http://www.eastern.edu/publications/emme/1999winter/chang.html

Cole, A. L., & Knowles, J. G. (1995). A life history approach to self-study: Methods and issues. In T. Russel & F. Korthagen (Eds.),Teachers who teach teachers: Reflections on teacher education (pp. 130-154). London: Falmer Press.

Major, E. (2006, March). Cultural border crossing of NNES teacher educators. Paper presented at the TESOL Convention, Tampa, FL.

Maum, R. (2003). A comparison of native- and nonnative-English-speaking teachers' beliefs about teaching English as a second language to adult English language learners. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Louisville, 2003). Dissertation Abstracts International 64 (05), A1494.

Pinnegar, S., Lay, C. D., Bingham, S., & Dulude, C. (2005). Teaching as highlighted by mothering: A narrative inquiry. Studying Teacher Education 1(1), 55-67.

Rosie Maum has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction and a master's in foreign language education. Her professional career includes teaching at the elementary through college level, coordinating world languages and ESL programs, and offering professional development for ESL instructors. Rosie has served as chair of TESOL's Adult Education Interest Section and is the current president of Kentucky TESOL. Her research interests include NNESTs' identities as language learners and immigrants, and using online materials for teaching and learning ESL.

TESOL 2007 Click to view the article. [PDF]

About This Member Community Call for Contributions

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

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

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

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

All manuscripts should follow APA style (5th ed.). We publish three times a year: February, May, and November. Please send your contributions to Joel Hardman at jhardma@siue.edu before January 1 for the February issue, April 1 for the May issue, and October 1 for the November issue.

TEIS Leadership Team 2006-07

Past Chair: Paula Golombek, Penn State University, pxg2@psu.edu
Chair: Judy Sharkey, University of New Hampshire, judy.sharkey@unh.edu
Chair-Elect: Adelaide Parsons, Southeast Missouri State University, ahparsons@semo.edu
Future Chair-Elect: Karen Goodman, karencwoodman@hotmail.com

IS Council Representatives

Rachel Grant, Penn State University, rag022@aol.com
Elza Major, University of Nevada, Reno, emajor@unr.edu
Julia Austin, University of Alabama, Birmingham, jaustin@uab.edu

Web Manager

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

Electronic Mailing List Manager

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

Newsletter Coeditors

Duff Johnston, Penn State University, duj128@psu.edu
Joel Hardman, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, jhardma@siue.edu

Teacher Education Interest Section

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

Discussion E-List: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected to subscribe to TEIS-L, the discussion list for TEIS members, or visithttp://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=teis-l if already a subscriber.