TEIS Newsletter

TEIS News, Volume 23:2 (2008)

by User Not Found | 10/31/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter From the Chair
    • Letter From the Editors
  • Articles and Information
    • Call for Contributions – Special Issue
    • Critical Thinking in a Mongolian Language Teacher Professional Development Program
    • Training Teachers to Use Corpus Resources
    • Nonnative English-Speaking Students’ Internship and Questions of Equity
    • Negotiating Whiteness in ESOL Teacher Education
    • Create Your Own Language Proficiency Scale
    • Crossing Borders, Creating Contact Zones, and Transculturation

Leadership Updates Letter From the Chair

Greetings TEIS colleagues

As I write this letter from the Chair (from an internet cafe in Rhodes, Greece!), we are half-way through the process of reviewing abstracts for TESOL 2009 in Denver, Colorado. I want to thank the many people who responded to my call for reviewers this year – TEIS had one of the largest numbers of reviewers of any IS this year, showing what an interested and active group we are. I want to also thank all those who have submitted such an incredible diversity of abstracts as well. We hope you will continue your participation in all activities of the IS – this year, for the first time, elections for TEIS leadership positions will involve electronic balloting (e.g., voting by email) in an online format, so that those who can’t attend the TESOL 09 conference can still nominate and/or vote.

TESOL 08 in New York was a great success – a special thanks to Adelaide Parsons for her diligence in ensuring that TEIS was well-represented in terms of IS sponsored sessions in a year in which the new reduced schedule caused some significant ‘challenges’.  TESOL 08 included two sessions exploring diversity in teacher education.  It’s this diversity of interests, areas and experiences which we hope to continue to explore in the coming year.  As you will see, the papers in this issue of the newsletter address quite different, but important areas. Diversity in teacher education will be a focus of the TEIS Academic session at TESOL 09, as well as being the focus of the upcoming call for a special edition of the TEIS newsletter. In our view, diversity in teacher education includes different types of teacher education programs (e.g., pre-service, in-service, K-12 and graduate levels, undergradate, non-degree, CELTA/DELTA, CerTESOL, private and public institutions, etc.), and well as diverse populations. We are particularly interested in hearing from and about teacher education experiences in the global context. TESOL is, of course, an international organization. So we what to hear from the global members: Teacher Education in your country: Who does it? Who are the teachers? What are some of the challenges in different settings (e.g., from teaching in the one-room school to large institutions)? What is the role of technology in teacher education?  How does culture and gender influence pedagogical practices? What are the perceptions and experiences of NNEST teacher educators and/or teacher trainees?
We look forward to hearing from you in the coming year.

Karen Woodman, Chair

Letter From the Editors

Joel Hardman, jhardma@siue.edu, and Janet Chumley, janet.chumley@simmons.edu

We present TEIS Newsletter readers with a number of exciting articles in this larger-than-usual issue. From Mongolia to Japan, the authors discuss a wide range of teacher education issues, and present ideas for improving language teacher education.

In “Critical Thinking in a Mongolian Language Teacher Professional Development Program,” Ray Bennett and Lynne Earls discuss a program for English Language educators and explore the complex power-relations inherent to that project.

Marie Helt and Randi Reppen, in “Training Teachers to use Corpus Resources,” provide us with ideas for how language teachers can use corpus analysis to improve their practice in a variety of ways.

The topic of internship experiences for non-native English-speaking student teachers is examined in Seonhee Cho’s “Non-native English Speaking (NNES) Students’ Internship and Questions of Equity.”

In Tonda Liggett’s “Negotiating Whiteness in ESOL Teacher Education,” she focuses on whiteness and white privilege as important influences on teacher development, and discusses how to have conversations about them in teacher education courses.

Jenelle Reeves, in “Create Your Own Language Proficiency Scale,” presents an exciting activity for helping raise teaching candidates’ language awareness, especially those without extensive second language learning experiences.

Lastly, in “Crossing Borders, Creating Contact Zones and Transculturation,” Chitose Asaoka, Yuka Iijima, Tim Murphey, and Keiko Okada explore their various university teaching experiences in Japan, focusing especially on collaborative ‘transcultural’ learning.


Articles and Information Call for Contributions – Special Issue

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

We are currently planning a special issue in the coming year focusing on Teacher Education in Various Non-traditional Contexts: in-service programs, private sector programs, programs outside universities, intensive diplomas or certificates, and online or distance learning. We invite you to share your expertise and experiences with a variety of teacher education programs around the world.

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

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

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

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

Critical Thinking in a Mongolian Language Teacher Professional Development Program

Ray Bennett, rbennett@yorku.ca, and Lynne Earls, learls@yorku.ca

In the summer of 2006, York University’s English Language Institute hosted two groups of English language educators from Mongolia. Participants took part in an intensive professional development program over approximately 6 weeks. In this article, we discuss elements of this experience, viewing it through a critical lens that sees the classroom as both a reflection of the larger, power-laden social world, and an environment with its own dynamics of power (Pennycook, 2001). The view through such a lens also anticipates that these dynamics may manifest themselves in unexpected and surprising ways.

The Mongolian educators, 31 women and 1 man, came from a variety of situations and positions in their country’s education system: Some were university administrators; others were state university professors whose students were English majors at the graduate or undergraduate level or specializing in non-English languages still others were high school instructors; a couple worked in private institutions.

We team-taught the program; both of us had previous experience in the design and delivery of teacher education and professional development programs to international teachers of English. On the basis of this experience, we opted for a collaborative approach to curriculum design and program delivery—one in which the Westerners-as-experts model was replaced by a bilateral-expertise paradigm. We regarded the Mongolians as experts in their own work situations, culture, language, and local pedagogies; we were experts in our Canadian territory; and the program would center on a kind of cross-pollination of ideas and strategies for English language education.

The dynamics of power in the domestic circumstances of the Mongolian participants reached into the classroom in various ways, one of which showed up in the needs analysis process. At the outset, the group participated in such an analysis, which yielded various categories of interest: curriculum types and corresponding design strategies; language proficiency assessment and testing; application of CALL and technology; methodology, lesson planning, task-based teaching, and skills integration; multilevel classes and classroom management; student motivation; critical thinking for students and instructors; TOEFL instruction strategies; and approaches to professional development for language instructors. However, any needs analysis has a time-bound, snapshot limitation, and as the session progressed, other needs, objectives, and concerns emerged—ones that reflected a more critical view of the world in Mongolia and in our classroom, and participants’ place in each of these. What might be termed the political economy of language education in Mongolia was identified as a barrier participants faced: There was a lack of financial, technological, and material resources as well as limited access to the technologies and materials that were available. In addition, with most language instructors being women, while administrators with the power to get things done tended to be men, a gendered dynamic appeared to exist in the unequal allocation of resources such as computers—an allocation that tended to favor instructors working in technical subject areas. Another hidden dimension of need was participants’ actual, and perceived, view of their own English language proficiency, with the associated anxiety and even embarrassment about this. This latter issue posed multilevel challenges for us as instructors, beyond the typical multilevel issues, and required a keen sensitivity to face-saving.

Meanwhile, the classroom in which we worked with the Mongolian instructors manifested its own set of power dynamics, both in our relationship with participants and in their relations with one another. The diversity within the group gave rise to perceived status differential; some conflict emerged as a pecking order was established and tested, while we looked on. Meanwhile, the group as a whole flipped the English proficiency issue around by using Mongolian to communicate with one another in the classroom; there was an ongoing annotation to the proceedings, in Mongolian, to which we were not automatically privy. Not only did some of them wonder what we were saying at times, but we also wondered what they were saying. Another way in which the power issue played out was exemplified when, in response to our assignment that they research the history of language teaching and learning in Mongolia, one of the participants took the floor to deliver an unsolicited, detailed historical analysis on the topicThe Mongolians were taking us at our word when we had earlier announced the bilateral-expertise orientation of the workshop!

The experience of working with our Mongolian colleagues was exhilarating and exhausting. As we bid adieu after 6 weeks of intensive work, we were left with a series of critical questions that we continue to ponder:

• What, and who, is this kind of international language educator professional development workshop for?
• Who speaks for whose interests?
• How can the differences between our two university systems be better accommodated?
• What versions of curriculum are suited to the diversity of participant needs and positions found in such workshops?
• Why is curriculum development for programs such as this one not more widely recognized as requiring a set of highly specialized skills and approaches?


Pennycook, A. (2001). Critical applied linguistics: A critical introduction. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ray Bennett and Lynne Earls are instructors in York University’s English Language Institute in Toronto, Canada.

Training Teachers to Use Corpus Resources

Marie Helt, mhelt@saclink.csus.edu, and Randi Reppen, randi.reppen@nau.edu

In recent years, corpus linguistics has become a popular vehicle for instruction and materials development. Corpus resources have become more readily available, providing greater opportunities for language teachers to increase their knowledge of the structure and lexicon of the language(s) they teach, and providing corpora for language analysis and authentic examples of language in use. However, little has been done in the area of training teachers how to critically and effectively use corpus resources in their EFL/ESL classrooms. In this article, we provide some examples of how we have trained teachers to use corpus-based research, publicly accessible corpus resources, and tools in both “traditional” and computer-lab language classrooms. In conclusion, we list several corpus-based resources that are useful to teachers.

Examples of Teacher Training
In this section we provide examples of activities that we have used in our teacher-training courses. We have attempted to incorporate aspects of corpus linguistics that can be used to inform teaching, across several of our teacher-training courses, including methods courses, grammar courses, and CALL. The activities that we present in our courses and the examples presented later were designed to acquaint teachers with some of the resources and potential for using corpus-based information to inform language teaching decisions and to provide a resource for materials and activities.

Academic Vocabulary and Second Language Reading 
The following example is from a graduate-level MA-TESL course on second language reading and vocabulary development. Students were introduced to the Academic Word List (AWL) by reading Coxhead (2000), who thoroughly described the corpus and methods used to generate the list. The concept of “academic words” is important for both the readability of academic texts and curriculum design in academic-preparation reading courses.  The graduate students then selected a suitable reading that they might use in a community college or university L2 reading course, and highlighted all the words they deemed to be “academic” without looking at the actual AWL. Next, they were given step-by-step directions for inputting their articles into the Vocabulary Profiler (VP) site (see Compleat Lexical Tutor below) and for interpreting the VP output.

Then as an out-of-class assignment, they ran their article through the VP and wrote a short paper comparing the output of the automatically generated AWL list with their predictions, discussing any “surprises.” In addition, students chose one academic word that occurred multiple times in their text and examined all of its contexts to determine to what extent students might successfully use context to guess the meaning of the word.3

Through this assignment, students not only became adept at using the VP, but also became critical consumers of the output, noting for example that computer-related lexical items often appear on the “Off-List Words” list. Students also noted that, although they acknowledged the importance of the AWL words in their texts, they would want to ensure that their students acquired other, equally important vocabulary items as well. Most of the students continued to use the VP for other assignments in the course and for their final projects.

A Corpus Vocabulary Lesson Without a Corpus
Many of the teachers that we are training will be located in areas without Internet access and therefore in places without easy access to corpora. In our methods courses we regularly introduce our teachers-in-training to resources that are corpus-based that can be an asset to them in curriculum planning and also for materials development. This is an example of a vocabulary lesson that does not need a corpus or Internet access.

Using the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written Grammar (Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad, & Finegan, 1999), the teachers identify the 12 most common lexical verbs (say, get, go, know, think, see, make, come, take, want, give, mean [p. 373]) and note that these verbs account for about 50% of the verbs used in conversation.  Because these verbs are so frequent in conversation, it makes sense that these verbs would play an important role in a conversation class. The teachers then use this information to develop activities and materials that introduce and practice these verbs. This is a nice example of creating a lesson based on corpus information that is readily available and that does not significantly add to the teacher’s preparation time. Information from corpus-based research can be used to aid in curriculum development by informing what grammatical structures or lexical items are presented and when.

Register Awareness
Register awareness is an important aspect of teaching language; knowing how to talk or write in certain ways can often determine the difference between a successful communication and an unsuccessful one. The activity described in this section is an example of a way to raise register awareness that has been used to introduce teachers to this concept and also to provide practice with a free Web site that has a user-friendly interface with the British National Corpus (BNC). Using the VIEW Web site (http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/), students look at the use of phrasal verbs in the registers of conversation and academic writing. Because the phrasal verbs are one of the categories that are identified in the corpus, the search is simple. Once students have asked the site to identify the phrasal verbs in these two registers, they become aware that phrasal verbs are much more common in conversation than in academic writing. Students are then asked to think of verbs that can replace the phrasal verbs that they found in conversation; for example, a synonymous verb for get back to would be return, and came out of would be replaced by emerged.

Corpus Grammar
In a graduate-level Pedagogical Grammar class, where the students had little or no prior knowledge of corpus linguistics, a more in-depth approach to corpus grammar was taken. The syllabus included an entire unit on corpus grammar, which served as both a theoretical introduction to corpus linguistics and a practical tool for teachers’ future use. We began by reading general introductions to corpus linguistics (Biber, Conrad & Reppen, 1998), learner corpora (Granger, 2003), and data-driven grammar learning (Tribble & Jones, 1997). Students also familiarized themselves with resources and published materials (see below), particularly with the VIEW and MICASE sites for searching the BNC and MICASE, from which they created their own lessons and activities. These early attempts received peer feedback during in-class workshops and, after revisions, from the instructor. Students were also required to base at least one tutoring session on corpus findings, develop one set of concordance-based activities, and conduct more in-depth reading in one area of corpus grammar. Finally, corpus grammar requirements were infused in all three options for the final project in the course.3 Even with this very strong emphasis on corpus grammar, students unanimously expressed their intent to continue exploring corpus-based resources and materials in their future teaching positions.4

We hope these examples have shown that methods or curriculum courses in teacher-training programs are ideal venues for activities such as these, and do not always require having a corpus available. Training students to use available corpus resources, some of which are presented in the next section, can be a tremendous resource for teachers in training and help to make instruction more effective.

Corpus-Based Resources
Below are a number of resources that we have used and found to be especially useful for teachers. These resources range from textbooks that are based on corpus findings to Web sites that provide information and activities for students to interact with corpus-based information.


Vocabulary in Use Series (McCarthy & Odell, 1997)
Focus on Vocabulary: Mastering the Academic Word List (Schmitt & Schmitt, 2005)
Essential Academic Vocabulary: Mastering the Complete Academic Word List (Huntley, 2005)
Touchstone Levels 1-4 (McCarthy, McCarten, & Sandford, 2005-2006)
College English Series (Byrd, Reid, & Schuermann, 2006)

Web Resources

AntConc: http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/software.html
A free concordancing program that creates word lists, keywords in context, keywords, and collocates.

Compleat Lexical Tutor: http://www.lextutor.ca/ 
A tremendous resource for vocabulary teaching that also analyzes texts for vocabulary.

The Academic Word list: http://www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/research/awl/
Information about the Academic Word List and lists from the Academic Word List

VIEW: http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/
A nice interface for searching the British National Corpus (BNC) by register.

MICASE: http://www.lsa.umich.edu/eli/micase/index.htm
Transcripts and audio from a searchable corpus of academic spoken language

UGRU UAEU: http://www.ugru.uaeu.ac.ae/concordance/ 
Vocabulary learning based on the Academic Word List featuring concordance activities.

Reference Resources


Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 
Cambridge Dictionary of American English
 (Landau, 2001)


Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English
Cambridge Grammar of English 
(Carter & McCarthy, 2006)

 This brief overview has shown some of the ways that we have trained teachers to use corpora and to create corpus-based materials for language teaching. However, challenges remain. One challenge is that resources are still limited; for example, teachers wanting to focus on specific aspects of language often need to create small specialized corpora. Another possible caveat is that teachers-in-training are sometimes overly exuberant fans of corpus linguistics and rush to design activities for their students that go beyond their capabilities or that would require more detailed knowledge of the computer-based tools of corpus analysis. But we welcome the enthusiasm, of course, and look forward to the development of more effective corpus-based teacher-training materials.

1 A corpus is a representative, principled collection of language (spoken and/or written) that is stored electronically and can be analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively using computer programs. 
2 For an excellent and critical discussion of the AWL, see Hyland & Tse (2007).
3 E-mail Marie if you would like a copy of this complete assignment.
4 Source: An anonymous, online survey conducted at the end of the semester.


Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Reppen, R. (1998). Corpus linguistics: Investigating language structure and use. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow, England: Longman.

Byrd, P., Reid, J., & Schuermann, C. (Eds.). (2006). College English series (Vols. 1–3). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Carter, R., & McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge grammar of English. Cambridge, England: University Press.

Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 213-238.

Granger, S. (2003). The International Corpus of Learner English: A new resource for foreign language learning and teaching and second language acquisition research. TESOL Quarterly, 37, 538-546.

Huntley, H. (2005). Essential academic vocabulary: Mastering the complete academic word list. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2007). Is there an “Academic Vocabulary”? TESOL Quarterly, 41, 235-253.

Landau, S. (Ed.). (2001). Cambridge dictionary of American English. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Longman Publishing. (2000]). Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (4th ed.). Harlow, England: Author.

McCarthy, M., McCarten, J., & Sandford, H. (2005-2006). Touchstone 1-4. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press.

McCarthy, M., & Odell, F. (1997). Vocabulary in use: Upper intermediate. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Schmitt, D., & Schmitt, N. (2005). Focus on vocabulary: Mastering the Academic Word List. Harlow, England: Longman.

Tribble, C., & Jones, G. (1997). Concordances in the classroom: A resource book for teachers. Houston, TX: Athelstan. 

Marie Helt is an associate professor of applied linguistics and TESOL at California State University, Sacramento. She was a co-investigator on the TOEFL 2000 Spoken and Written Academic Language corpus project for ETS, and has more recently conducted corpus-based analyses of gender differences in the language of professional basketball broadcasts.

Randi Reppen is an associate professor of TESL and applied linguistics in the English Department at Northern Arizona University. She is also the director of the Program of Intensive English. Randi has a keen interest in how corpora and corpus linguistics can be used in language-teaching classrooms. 

Nonnative English-Speaking Students’ Internship and Questions of Equity

Seonhee Cho, scho@vcu.edu

Internships (I use the term internship to indicate student teaching in a general sense although some programs may call it a practicum) are oftentimes an integral part of TESOL education curricula. According to Ramanathan, Davis, and Schleppegrell’s study (2001) of MA TESOL programs, a range of internship opportunities occur in different locations depending on community needs, departmental focus and history, faculty interests, and funding sources. Typical settings include university English language programs, refugee centers, K-12 schools, community colleges, and overseas programs. Though a critical dialogue in the North American context has begun to challenge social bias against nonnative English teachers’ nonstandard English, ethnicity, and skin color (see Braine, 1999), there is a paucity of research on nonnative English-speaking (NNES) student internships in TESOL education programs. To begin addressing this vital topic, I conducted a series of individual case studies on the internship experiences of five NNES students at two TESOL master’s programs. What follows is a brief overview of some key findings from this work.

Before I present these findings, however, I feel it is important to identify myself as a researcher in order to make my approach to this issue more transparent. Quite simply, I am currently a teacher educator in a graduate ESL education program in the United States and a former international graduate student. I believe this hybrid perspective allows me to view these issues in a more balanced way. In general, my experiences as a teacher educator have often led me to challenge the common stereotype of NNES students as weak student teachers compared with their native English-speaking (NES) counterparts. To my surprise, for example, the students who received the lowest peer evaluations three times in a row on teaching demonstrations in my Methods of Teaching ESL course were NES students. More to the point, I have found equal proportions of strong and weak students among both NNES and NES groups in their teaching skills. The main reason for the lower peer evaluation of students has tended to be disorganized or unprepared instruction, not language skills. Interestingly, my personal experience as a teacher educator of NNES students resonates with the findings of Nemtchinova’s (2005) study on mentoring teachers’ evaluation of NNES teacher-trainees during internship. The mentoring teachers who participated in the study identified NNES students’ strengths as being their standing as role models for ESL students, their sympathy for learners, their better explanatory skills, and their better prepared instruction. Most important, the mentoring teachers also reported very little frustration surrounding NNES student teachers’ English proficiency. Despite these positive assessments, the findings of the present study (paper in progress) reveal that NNES students may quite often be unequally treated in their internship experiences.

Location of NNES Students in TESOL Graduate Programs
As I explore issues related to NNES students’ internship experiences, I realize that these students are uniquely located in North American TESOL graduate programs. Their position is different from that of their NES counterparts and even from that of NNES professionals (e.g., teachers, teacher educators). Of course, one of the major differences between NNES students and NNES professionals is that NNES students are still in preservice training. Despite this obvious dissimilarity, NNES students in my study had to deal with the same kind of bias and unequal opportunities as many NNES teachers may experience. I discuss this issue more extensively later in this article. An additional point of difference between NNES students and other groups is that the NNES student population in TESOL education programs displays more diversity than do their NES counterparts in terms of previous teaching experiences, career goals upon graduation, English language proficiency, and the variety of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds. For instance, many NNES students had full-time teaching jobs and sometimes many years of teaching experience before they joined a graduate TESOL program. Therefore, the situations that these students experience require not only cultural and linguistic adjustment but also an adjustment to professional identity. NNES student goals upon graduation are also varied: Some go back to their previous teaching position in their home countries, some continue with further graduate study, and some seek employment in the North American ESL context. Depending on their goals, their expectations from their TESOL education programs and their levels of involvement in their academic communities may be dissimilar. NNES students’ English proficiency is also varied, ranging from novice to near-native-like fluency. Yet, despite all this diversity among NNES students, they are often simply categorized under the umbrella term of “nonnative speaker.” This nonnative speaker status may become a major source of bias in their internship and may challenge their already-precarious situation, as the following case studies indicate.

The Case Studies
My case studies were largely based on in-depth interviews with NNES students, as my research aim was to hear NNES students’ voices. The two TESOL graduate programs where my research participants were enrolled were located in the southern United States at Greenfield University and Brickwood University (these and other institutional names used in this paper are pseudonyms). The Greenfield University TESOL program was offered in the English Department, while the Brickwood University program was in the College of Education. Both programs offered a K-12 state licensure track with an internship requirement. Although it technically was a student’s individual choice to seek K-12 ESL licensure or not, students were virtually mandated to complete an internship to obtain a master’s degree in TESOL as no other courses were offered as substitutes. Thus, all the NNES students in this study either had completed their internship or were in the middle of doing an internship when the interviews occurred. Through a basic content analysis of the resulting interview data, several themes—limited opportunities, teaching in isolation, and unwelcome NNES students—were discovered.

Greenfield University: Limited Opportunities and Teaching in Isolation
The NNES students’ internship experiences at Greenfield University were markedly different from their NES counterparts’, because NNES students had limited access to internship sites and experienced different working conditions. The three NNES students who participated in this study informed me that technically three internship sites were available to all MA students—K-12 public schools, the university intensive language institute, and a community class. The research participants also reported that most NNES students in the program do their internships in informal, voluntary-based, and open-to-anyone settings, whereas their NES counterparts enjoy their internships in the university’s intensive language institute. The following excerpt from a NNES student shows conflicts between his wishes and institutional reality:

I want to teach class which has many ESL students because it will be more helpful for me. In the community class, there are not many, like, a few [students]. Some students sleep and some students quit. So there’s no consistency. It’s not the best to reflect our teaching.

Another student who participated in the study perceived her English as being fairly fluent and even expressed that she felt more comfortable with English than with her first language, yet she was rejected when she applied for an internship at the university intensive language institute. Furthermore, a student who completed his internship at a local middle school experienced teaching in isolation. First, he had difficulty finding an internship even though he had many years of English teaching experience in his home country. He viewed his nonnative status as one main reason for this: “It was not easy for me to find an internship. If I were a native speaker, it wouldn’t be a problem though.” Finally his professor found him an internship at a local middle school. His experience there, however, was not at all what he had hoped it would be. He ended up singling out a newly arrived ESL student from the same country and providing this student with individualized instruction using their shared first language. Without much interaction with other actors or the institution where he completed his internship, this NNES student perceived his experience as tutoring rather than real teaching. Overall, whether because of placement difficulties or professional isolation while teaching, all the NNES students reported considerable dissatisfaction with their internships.  

Brickwood University: Unwelcome NNES Student Teachers
Unlike the internship at the Greenfield University TESOL program, where students technically had a choice of internship sites, the Brickwood University program required all the students to complete their internships in K-12 public school settings. The two research participants at Brickwood University reported another set of difficulties with their internships. Most significant, the Garden County School District where Brickwood University is located accepted NES internship students but simply refused to accept NNES student teachers. Prior to the year that my research participants did their practice teaching, all master’s students regardless of first language status had completed their internships in Garden County. The decision not to accept NNES student teachers was a sudden, unilateral change made by the school district and announced to the university. Although there were speculations and rumors among students regarding this decision, there was no further official discussion at the university TESOL program. The program supervisor even failed to discuss what had led to this discriminatory practice. As a research participant put it, “She [the university supervisor] said that the Crown County [a neighboring school district] had good mentor teachers who would take care of interns.” Therefore, NNES students had to commute one and a half hours to Crown County to complete their internships while their NES counterparts met their requirements much closer to home. The following statement from another NNES student divulges her desire for justice on this matter:

I was very upset about the way the Garden County treated international students. We are students and want to learn more how to teach in the authentic classrooms. To me, it seems like this [Garden] county expects us to teach some part of ESL class as an ESL teacher. . . . People should know what is going on in term of human rights.

Sadly, however, no one officially raised a question about this unfair practice.

In summary, although the Brickwood and Greenfield internship programs had different characteristics and the NNES students’ experiences were different, there was one significant commonality: The NNES students were not treated the same as were their NES counterparts in terms of their internship opportunities and experiences.

Thoughts and Suggestions
These findings from my study shed light on issues of unequal internship opportunities, the likelihood of their further impact on NNES students’ employment and teaching practices, and lack of TESOL program involvement. First of all, NNES students’ poor internship experiences can result in poorly prepared teachers upon graduation. If NNES students complete their internships in less formal, less structured instructional settings with smaller numbers of students, it is not unreasonable to predict that it will affect their real employment opportunities and further teaching practice in a negative way. If universities can coordinate or intervene to preclude these and similarly unfair practices, they could take a more active role by informing or educating people and institutions accommodating student teachers. Keeping silent about unfair practices or blaming individual students’ lack of English skills or fundamental flaws in the system beyond the university’s control is a type of neglect. I would argue that when students, whether NNES or NES, are fully admitted into a TESOL education program, they are entitled to have equal opportunities for internships. International students are a good source of income to universities, so shouldn’t these universities be more responsible for providing equal opportunities for such students? However, my intention is not to assign blame; rather, it is to bring attention to issues of inequality in the hope of creating more democratic and transparent internship practices in TESOL education.

On a practical and realistic note, it seems to me that there should also be some kind of criteria or clearly defined expectations in terms of language proficiency before students are admitted to TESOL education programs. These clearly defined criteria will also help universities to encourage potential internship sites to take NNES students. Likewise, NNES students should be informed about their internship options upon admission, especially if any unequal opportunities may occur. Although there is an assumption that students’ language skills should be sufficient to complete their graduate coursework and requirements, if their language skills fall short, these students should be encouraged or required to take courses to improve their language skills before their internship. NNES students’ language skills should not serve as a hidden landmine at the end of their graduate studies as they approach their internship. Thus, a basic yet pivotal approach to TESOL teacher education should be to equip students to become prepared and qualified teachers through equal opportunities for growth and experience. 

Braine, G. (Ed.). (1999). Non-native educators in English language teaching. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nemtchinova, E. (2005). Host teachers’ evaluations of nonnative-English-speaking teacher trainees: A perspective from the classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 39, 235-262. 
Ramanathan, V., Davies , C. E., & Schleppegrell, M. J. (2001). A naturalistic inquiry into the cultures of two divergent MA-TESOL programs: Implications for TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 35, 279-305.

Dr. Seonhee Cho is an assistant professor in FL/ESL education at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, and is a former international student. She taught English for a number of years in South Korea. Her research focuses on teacher education and academic socialization issues among international students. 

Negotiating Whiteness in ESOL Teacher Education

Tonda Liggett, liggett@vancouver.wsu.edu

The core element in determinations of English proficiency has shifted from discrete, decontextualized linguistic knowledge to communicative competence (Koda, 2005). No longer is the focus of reading comprehension activities limited to responses to multiple choice or true/false questions. Showing competence includes making connections to the text from personal experiences, thus drawing on background knowledge to illustrate ability to compare, contrast, and interrelate information. With this shift, comes an expansion in the role that English language teachers have in facilitating discussion and understanding connections that students try to make to comprehend their reading.  

In my experience teaching in masters degree programs for ELTs (English Language Teachers), teaching candidates are very adept at drawing on the cultural aspects that relate to students’ lives and creatively integrate those aspects into their curricula. They research students’ cultures and ask questions about the customs and traditions that influence their students’ lives, which enables these candidates to feel confident in their cultural knowledge base as they enter their own classrooms or tutor situations. Much of their graduate coursework focuses on the integration of culture into curriculum design. However, lacking from this developing sense of cultural awareness is an awareness of race and the distinct ways that it informs one’s sense of self and how one envisions future possibilities. For white ELT’s, this lack of racial awareness can be problematic in two ways.  First, when teacher racial identity remains unnoticed, the impact that it has on the assessment of student work is impossible to remedy. Second, when race is a primary factor in identity construction, the forefronting of race as ELL’s (English Language Learners) make connections to their reading and academic work may seem exaggerated or irrelevant to the teacher. With little or no background in issues of race or racial identity, ELT’s enter their new profession not fully understanding the extent to which race informs their students’ perspectives and approaches to learning, nor the influence of their own whiteness on their interpretations and evaluations of students’ work.

In my research on in-service white ELTs, race was an unnoticed factor in their identity construction and aspects of race were seen as peripheral to their personal teaching practices and curriculum design (Liggett, 2005). In particular, these white teachers didn’t recognize the importance that race had in the lives of their students and the ways that racial membership informed responses to coursework. When students referenced aspects of race in their responses to reading activities or to the racial membership of characters in a story, the teacher was surprised, confused, or unsure of whether the student had understood the question. The students’ responses didn’t seem to make sense to the teacher.

White racial identity is one aspect of teacher identity that is largely unscrutinized.  As such, white racial identity can go unnoticed as an influential factor in assessments of student language proficiency. As an unnoticed aspect of identity construction, white racial membership can play out in negative evaluations of ELLs. With an emphasis on communicative competence in determining language proficiency, a corresponding emphasis in ELT education needs to be addressed, so that teachers’ can better understand the influences that racial identity has on their own perspectives as well as those that their students share and bring to their learning. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2003-04, (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_067.asp), 84.7% of all elementary and secondary teachers were White, 7.1% Black, 5.4% Hispanic, 1.3% Asian, 0.2%Pacific Islander, 0.6% American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.7% identified as “more than one race.”. In stark contrast to the overwhelming lack of racial diversity in the teaching force, the increase in the number of students of color represents approximately 42.8% of the total K-12 public school population (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_040.asp, 2005). With such a racial and cultural divide between teachers and students, a specific focus on race and white racial identity in teacher education is necessary for teachers to better understand alternative perspectives that develop from one’s racial and cultural positionality as well as to feel comfortable talking about race as it arises in classroom discussions.

In my experience teaching both pre-service and in-service ELT candidates, inquiry into whiteness and white racial identity is often met with skepticism and defensiveness. I have found that by highlighting the differences between individual acts of racism, cultural aspects that influence racist behavior, and institutional constructs that maintain racial hierarchy, teacher candidates are more aware of differentiating the varying contexts that influence racial discourse. By making a distinction between the individual, cultural, and institutional realms, the scope, purpose, and power located at each level becomes visible because the relationship between the formation of personal beliefs can be linked to cultural values, which in turn are connected to and influenced by institutional systems of governance (Liggett, in press).

I have found that videos/DVDs such as Race: The Power of Illusion (2003) or The Eye of the Storm (1970) enable teacher candidates to identify links between all levels of racialized discourse discussed above. In addition, readings from critical race theorists help reveal the power behind institutional structures to influence individuals. Material from scholars such as Jane Bolgatz (2005), Ruth Frankenberg (1997), Gary Howard (1999), Julie Kailin (2002), Gloria Ladson-Billings (2001), Peggy McIntosh (2002), Paula Rothenburg (2002), Christine Sleeter (1996), and many others. Particularly, these works challenge definitions of racism located in individual acts and view racism as a system of privileged discourses and discriminatory institutionalized practices that act upon individual perceptions of reality (Greene & Abt-Perkins, 2003). Readings that I have found to assist in initiating conversations about racial identity include: A Hope in the Unseen by Ronald Suskind, Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum, and Uprooting racism: How white people can work for racial justice by Paul Kivel.

It is important for white ELTs with students from various racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to be exposed to material in ELT programs that problematize the influence that white racial membership has on teaching and pedagogy. This entails including curricular materials that reflect a critical multicultural and antiracist perspective as well as an activist component that connects curriculum to lived experience. Addressing avoidance behaviors in discourse about white privilege enables ELTs to be more aware of their own avoidance tendencies in the classroom when discussing perspectives that run counter to their dominant cultural beliefs. When ELLs talk about their belief systems, ELTs may be more apt to explore these beliefs so that students can more easily understand connections between home culture and dominant culture.

References and additional materials:
Bolgatz, J. (2005). Talking race in the classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College
California Newsreel. (2003). Race: The power of an illusion. [videorecording] San
Francisco, CA: Independent Television Service.  
Christensen, Linda. (2000). Reading, writing, and rising up: Teaching about social justice and the power of the written word. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd.
Frankenberg, R. (Ed.). (1997). Displacing whiteness: Essays in social and cultural criticism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.  
Greene, S. & Abt-Perkins, D. (2003). Making race visible: Literacy research for cultural understanding. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Howard, G. (1999). We can't teach what we don't know: White teachers, multiracial schools. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Kailin, J. (2002). Antiracist education. Lanham, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Kivel, P. (1995). Uprooting racism: How white people can work for racial justice.  Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.
Koda, K. (2005). Insights into second language reading: A cross-linguistic approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Liggett, T. (2005). Visualizing the invisible: The role of white racial identity in the teaching and pedagogy of new ESOL teachers.Unpublished dissertation.
Liggett, T. (2007). The alchemy of identity: The role of white racial identity in the teaching and pedagogy of new ESOL teachers. In M. Mantero (Ed.), Identity and second language learning: Culture, inquiry, and dialogic activity in educational contexts. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Liggett, T. (in press). Unpacking white racial identity in English language teacher education. In R. Kubota & A. Lin (Eds.), Race. culture, and identities in second language education.
McIntosh, P. (2002). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In P. Rothenberg (Ed.), White privilege: Essential readings on the other side of racism (pp. 97-102). New York: Worth Publishers.
McIntyre, A. (1997). Making meaning of whiteness. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Peters, William. (1991). The eye of the storm. [videorecording]. ABC News. ABC Media
Rethinking Schools Publication. (2004). The new teacher book: Finding purpose, balance, and hope during your first years in the classroom.Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd. 
Rothenberg, P., (Ed.). (2002). White privilege: Essential readings on the other side of racism. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Schniedewind, N. & Davidson, E. (2006). Open minds to equality: A sourcebook of learning activities to affirm diversity and promote equity, third edition. Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, Ltd.
Sleeter, Christine. (2001). Culture, power, and difference. New York City: Cambridge University Press.
Suskind, Ron. (1998). A hope in the unseen: An American odyssey from the inner city to
the Ivy League.
 New York, NY: Broadway Books. 
Tatum, Beverly Daniel. (1997). Why are all the black kids sitting together in the
 New York: Basic Books.

Tonda Liggett is an Assistant Professor in Literacy/ESL at the College of Education, Washington State University, Vancouver. 

Create Your Own Language Proficiency Scale

Jenelle R Reeves, jreeves2@unlnotes.unl.edu

In my five-year tenure as an ESOL teacher educator in the U.S., I have worked with a large number of ESOL teacher candidates who have little or no experience learning a second language, perhaps as many as a quarter of the prospective teachers in each of my courses.  Certainly, the great majority of these teacher candidates have the potential to become excellent ESOL teachers, but their limited language learning experience poses a challenge in their ESOL teacher preparation program.  L1 English speakers with little second language teaching or learning experience are fully proficient in English, but they do not necessarily have a depth of knowledge about the language that they can translate into their ESOL teaching.   Borg (2003) found linkage between language teachers’ personal experiences as L2 learners and their subsequent teachers’ knowledge.  “[T]eachers’ prior language learning experiences establish cognitions about learning and language learning which form the basis of their initial conceptualisations of L2 teaching during teacher education, and which may continue to be influential throughout their professional lives” (p. 88).  Without L2 learning experiences, one avenue for building ESOL teaching knowledge is closed to monolingual ESOL teachers. 

As monolinguals, novice ESOL teachers’ knowledge about English is likely to be an everyday knowledge, the rules and workings of which they find difficult to articulate (Lantolf & Johnson, 2007).  For example, although first language (L1) English speakers generally have little trouble identifying errors in ELLs’ language, novice L1 ESOL teachers often have trouble explaining why an error is incorrect (e.g. why “I am interesting in baseball” is incorrect while “I am interested in baseball” is acceptable).  Further, although proficient in English, pre-service L1 ESOL teachers, particularly those with little second language experience, may have little conception of the breadth and scope of language proficiency, and in my own experience I find it not uncommon for teacher candidates to be surprised to learn that language has four modalities (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) or that language skills are commonly categorized as either receptive (reading and listening) or productive (speaking and writing).

ESOL teacher education for L1 English speakers with little second language experience, then, should aim to strengthen teacher language awareness (TLA), which is not only teachers’ knowledge of language (proficiency) but also their knowledge about language (analytical, conscious awareness) (Andrews, 2003).  Although not the only ingredient for successful ESOL instruction, TLA is an important resource for teachers as they make sense of their learners’ needs, the subject matter of ESOL instruction, and their practice as ESOL teachers.  Avenues for building TLA include L2 learning experiences, the study of English for ESOL teaching, and even ESOL teaching itself.   The focus in this report is on an activity for building TLA through the study of English for ESOL teaching within a teacher education program.

Teacher language awareness activities are not new to ESOL teacher education (Wright & Bolitho, 1993; Borg, 2005), and monolinguals are not the only candidates who may benefit from experiences that enrich their understanding of English.  Even those teacher candidates who come to us with strong second language learning backgrounds and solid coursework in linguistics, for example, may run into learner errors or language oddities they are unable to explain with ease.  The language awareness activity described below, therefore, is relevant to ESOL teacher candidates of varied backgrounds. 
The TLA activities documented in recent scholarship have largely focused on identifying and explaining grammatical points that English learners find particularly problematic (Murray, 2002; Wright & Bolitho, 1993).  TLA activities, I argue, should also attend to teacher candidates’ macro level understandings of language.  An example of this big-picture perspective on language is an understanding of what comprises language proficiency.  To assist ESOL teacher candidates in developing this big-picture perspective on  language awareness, an approach akin to reverse engineering, in which a finished product is taken apart by engineers to discover how it works, may be helpful.  In the activity presented below, I asked students to reverse engineer their English proficiency and examine proficiency’s elemental parts by creating their own language proficiency scales.

A number of language proficiency scales are available from professional organizations (e.g. The American Council on the Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL), 1999, 2001L) and in conjunction with language standards (e.g. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), 1997, 2006).  Alternately, proficiency scales also often accompany assessment instruments such as the TOEFL or Language Assessment Scales (LAS).  My goal for this assignment was not for students to peruse these scales to discover what experts believe makes up language proficiency but rather for students to take a more organic approach in which they analyzed the components of language proficiency.  Ultimately, the aim of the activity was to have students recognize the complexity of language and attempt to account for the breadth and scope of language proficiency. 

I routinely assign this activity the first day of my ESL assessment course.   For some, this course is early in their ESOL preparation program, for others it is later.  In the course, therefore, there is a range of second language teaching and learning experience as well as a range of experience in their ESOL teacher preparation programs.  Following are the assignment guidelines.

Create Your Own Language Proficiency Scale

A number of scales are used to designate learners’ second language proficiency.  For this assignment, you will create your own scale of language proficiency.  You may consult professional scales, but please do not copy or thinly-veil a copy of these scales.  Scales must label at least four levels of language proficiency.  Each level should contain a minimum of three indicators.  Indicators may include tasks, abilities, and/or explicit descriptions of language acts.  Your language proficiency scale should span the spectrum of learners with little or no proficiency to learners with native-like proficiency. The language of choice may be English or any other language you are familiar with.  
 The objective of this assignment is for you to begin to examine the components and complexity of second language proficiency, not for you to produce a professional language proficiency scale.  You may choose to use a format similar to the example provided below, or you may choose to devise your own format.  Creativity is encouraged.

Example Format

Teacher Candidates’ proficiency scales run the gamut in their detail and attention to language components. The scales, in my view, should not be graded for against one another or against professional scales because, as noted in the guidelines, the objective of the activity is for candidates to analyze language proficiency, and with each candidate starting from her/his own understanding of proficiency, scales will vary widely.  This activity is a start for many teacher candidates in building a big-picture awareness of language, and scales that appear to lack detail or critical elements may actually represent a major breakthrough for the authors.  For example, in Appendix A below (created by a pre-service ESOL teacher candidate), description of learner progress from novice speaker to proficient speaker is uneven and non-specific (e.g. “can ask questions”).  However, in producing the scale the author came to recognize the multimodalities in language proficiency, a fresh concept for this teacher candidate. 

For others, this activity is an avenue to strengthen emerging awareness, as in Table 2n Appendix B in which the author is already a veteran ESOL teacher. 

To help all teacher candidates see their progress in gaining knowledge about language, this activity can be conducted again at the end of the course or the end of candidates’ programs.  
Having ESOL teacher candidates create their own language proficiency scales invites candidates to dive into their own understanding of language, notice gaps in their awareness of language proficiency, and sets them on the road toward ESOL teaching expertise.
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  (1999).  ACTFL proficiency guidelines speaking.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.actfl.org on May 1, 2008.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  (2001).  ACTFL proficiency guidelines writing.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.actfl.org on May 1, 2008.

Andrews, S.  (2003).  Teacher language awareness and the professional knowledge base of the L2 teacher, Language Awareness, 12, 81-95.

Borg, S.  (2003).  Teacher cognition in language teaching:  A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do.  Language Teacher, 36, 81-109.

Borg, S.  (2005).  Experience, knowledge about language and classroom practice in teaching grammar.  In N. Bartels (Ed.), Applied linguistics and language teacher education (pp. 325-340).  New York:  Springer.

Lantolf, J. P. & Johson, K.E.  (2007).  Extending Firth and Wagner’s (1997) ontological perspective to L2 classroom praxis and teacher education.  The Modern Language Journal, 91, 877-892.

Murray, H.  (2002).  Developing language awareness and error detection:  What can we expect of novice trainees?  In H. Trappes-Lomax & G. Ferguson (Eds.), Language in language teacher education (pp. 187-198).  Philadelphia, PA:  John Benjamins.

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).  (1997).  ESL standards for pre-k-12 students.  Alexandria, VA:  TESOL.

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).  (2006).Pre-k-12 English language proficiency standards.  Alexandria, VA:  TESOL.

Wright, T. & Bolitho, R.  (1993).  Language awareness:  A missing link in language teacher education?  ELT Journal, 47, 292-304.

Jenelle Reeves is an Assistant Professor in ESL Education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Crossing Borders, Creating Contact Zones, and Transculturation

Chitose Asaoka casaoka@dokkyo.ac.jp 
Yuka Iijima 
Tim Murphey 
Keiko Okada okada2003@dokkyo.ac.jp

We are looking for the pedagogical arts of the contact zone. These will include, we are sure, exercises in storytelling and in identifying with the ideas, interests, histoires, and attitudes of others; experiments in transculturation and collaborative work and in the arts of critique, parody, and comparison (including unseemly comparisons between elite and vernacular cultural forms); the redemption of the oral; ways for people to engage with suppressed aspects of history (including their own histories) (Pratt 1991)

Pratt (1991) uses the term transculturation to describe the exchange of cultural elements between groups and the positive effects of hybridizing (i.e. mixing) in what she calls the “contact zone.” Simonton (2003) cites many advantages of cultures, nations, and civilizations thriving creatively with diversity and often stagnating in more conservative homogeneity. We are using the term transcultural here in the same positive sense, working specifically on how we might get different groups, in and out of universities, to mix more, educate each other, and benefit from closer collaboration.

The four authors first got together to apply for a grant at our university grant which allowed us to organize a Professional and Organizational Development Symposium on November 6, 2006 and invite Bonny Norton (imagined communities), Donald Freeman (communities of explanation and practice), and 70 other interested participants from around Japan and overseas. The symposium was itself a wonderful contact zone for diverse groups to learn from one another and discuss ways to go from isolated compartmentalization to beneficial learning across borders.

For the remainder of this short piece, we would like to briefly provide some of our own examples of crossing borders in our university experiences for increased learning for ourselves, our colleagues, and our students.

Case 1 Chitose Asaoka: University Students Teaching English in Primary Schools

Our Soka city council, university, and local primary school have worked together the past few years to allow elementary students to benefit from English lessons given by university students. In this program, English-major students in the teaching certificate program for secondary education are asked to serve as volunteer English teachers at the primary school. They team teach English with the homeroom teachers from the third to sixth grades every other week for 45 minutes over a year. Homeroom teachers, who are not confident in English teaching, are able to get professional support for their English activities. Simultaneously, the volunteer student teachers can get extensive pre-service classroom training before their formal teaching practicum in the following year. The university faculty group serves as coordinators, trainers, and advisers while we have been enjoying invaluable chances to learn from homeroom teachers about their perspectives regarding English teaching at a primary-school level.

The volunteer student teachers have benefited not only from the teaching experience alone but through the team-teaching experience with their peers and homeroom teachers as well as graduate students as their “near-peer role models” (Murphey & Arao, 2001). Rather than learning only from distant role models (e.g. university professors) they have easy access to peers performing in similar situations.  The homeroom teachers have gradually gained interests and confidence in their management of the English activities. Volunteer student teachers often have become the homeroom teachers’ “near-peer role models” as well.

It is exciting to think of how participants might carry this model of open education with them as they move to new positions and jobs.

Case 2 Yuka Iijima: Crossing Borders with Class Email Exchanges

The email exchange project between English and Japanese language classes I have been involved with crosses borders of not only languages but also countries, i.e. Japan and the US. It provides multiple opportunities for participants to experience other groups and ways of being in the world in their virtual contact zone.

The project started in 2002 between an elementary Japanese class at a private university in North Carolina and my content-based English class at a university in Japan. The topic of my class was on introductory sociolinguistics and the email exchange between the two classes lasted two years. The project continued when I moved to Dokkyo, involving an intermediate reading class for non-English majors and a seminar class for English majors on foreign language learning and teaching. Students in Japan and the US are assigned to exchange emails several times during a semester in the two languages, Japanese and English.

Regarding the management of this collaborative project, there are several guidelines that I think have helped us maintain the adequate project quality and also continue the project for five consecutive years. There are three essential points that may be applied to any context of collaborative transcultural E-projects: keep the project simple and manageable, know (or find out) the other party’s expectations of the project, and most importantly, communicate quickly, regularly, and efficiently with your collaborators. What seems to encourage students’ active participation in transcultural collaboration is the joy of learning through such real communicative experiences.

Case 3 Keiko Okada: Crossing Borders and Assessing Collaboration

Collaboration is not something that automatically materializes when more than one party works together. Assessing “collaborativeness” is also important to give the program a long-lasting stability. A good program, after all, will not be borne out of unilateral ideas and interests.

I am one of the coordinators of Dokkyo University’s large EFL program, with over 250 courses, serving about 7,000 students. In order to run and teach in such a large program, coordinators and instructors need to work collaboratively. In order to do so, we need to identify barriers to collaboration and possible ways to solve the problems. Here I would like to emphasize that collaborative work is borne out of our passion and determination to run the program well together.

My three major concerns are:

• Over 80% of the courses we offer are taught by part-time teachers, ; 
• School administrators tend to be generous about building high-tech classrooms but not in investing in people;,
•  We are called the Interdepartmental English Program and this program itself does not belong to any department, and thus, politically are precariously balanced in everyone’s program, but belonging to no one.

Four activities that seem to have borne some fruit and that I recommend are:

• Set up a small committee to discuss your program, curriculum and other practical issues with members from the diverse departments and sections. 
• Apply for a budget to be used for the Faculty Development (FD), especially for our part-time teachers. 
• Hold faculty development events like the Symposium mentioned in the introduction. 
• Keep a check-list at hand and asssess collaboration on a regular basis.

Case 4 Tim Murphey: Architecture, Publishing, Curriculum

I wish to look quickly at three examples of transculturation and the opening of contact zones through architecture, publishing, and curriculum. Architecture: The main administration building of Dokkyo University has a huge ground floor staff room with mail boxes and photo copy machines for all teachers at the university (the different departments are housed on different floors above). While perhaps not initially planned as a contact zone, it is a very important center of teacher interaction as teachers cross paths on a daily basis and contrasts greatly with the compartmentalization found in most schools.

Publishing: We started an unofficial semesterly newsletter that became an outlet for many different types of voices at Dokkyo. It now has a web version that can be accessed online. After seven editions (semesters) statistics show that students make up  33% of the contributors, part-timers 33% and full timers  16% . This publication is a scaffolding access publication (Murphey et al 2003), inviting newcomers to begin publishing in small ways and  allowing many people to enter a contact zone.

Curriculum: In 2006, we began a first-year Content Based Instruction curriculum in which students have four different teachers over the year. These LectureWorkshops are a hybrid between lectures and workshops and we also attempt to cross borders between the content and language teaching. At the same time the full and part time teachers teaching these classes are crossing borders and opening up new contact zones by introducing new courses like Asian Englishes.

One major concern at present, as we near the end of our two-year grant period, is the establishment of sustained structures that continually invite transculturation and the opening up of contact zones for more intensive learning among diverse partners. While we feel we have established a few of these structures in our descriptions above, we feel we wish to invite more.

Murphey, T. & Arao, H. (2001). Changing Reported Beliefs through Near Peer Role Modeling. TESL-EJ. 5(3)1-15.
Murphey, T., Connolly, M. Churchill, E., McLaughlin, J., Schwartz, & S., Krajka, J. (2003) Creating publishing communities. In T. Murphey, (ed.) pp. 105-118 Extending Professional Contributions. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
Pratt, Mary Louise (1999). Arts of the Contact Zone. In Ways of Reading, 5th edition, ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petroksky. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's Press. 
Simonton, D. K.(2003). Creative cultures, nations, and civilizations: Strategies and results. In In P. Paulus & B. Nijstad (Eds.) Group creativity: Innovation through collaboration. (pp. 304-325) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chitose Asaoka, Yuka Iijima, and Keiko Okada all teach at Dokkyo University in Japan. Tim Murphey currently teaches at Kanda University of International Studies.