TEIS Newsletter

TEIS News, Volume 24:1 (May 2009)

by User Not Found | 10/31/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Letter from the Chair
    • Letter from the Editor
    • TEIS Leadership Team 2008-09
  • Articles and Information
    • Using Ethnographies in Literature Circles for an K-12 Methods Course
    • Triumphs and Tribulations of Three Approaches to Technology Integration in a Teacher Education Program
    • Graduate Advising and Mentoring: An Introduction
    • Local college and school district team up to offer on-site ESL endorsement
    • Teaching Critical Reading to In-service EFL Teachers in Singapore
  • About This Member Community
    • Call for Contributions
    • Teacher Education Interest Section

Leadership Updates Letter from the Chair

Hema Ramanathan, hramanat@westga.edu

The months before the convention in Denver were pretty exciting, with nominations for Interest Section leadership positions and organizing e-balloting for the IS elections. Gertrude Tinker-Sachs was elected chair-elect-elect and Hyunsoo Hur TEIS Newsletter editor.

Well, the convention itself was well attended; the TEIS sessions were well presented and well received. The Interest Section business meeting was the only session of TEIS that was not well attended. As members of the IS, we will revisit this issue later, perhaps closer to TESOL 2010.

A key theme of this year’s program was diversity in teacher education, including the interests, areas, and experiences that make up the world of teacher education. Diversity in teacher education refers to different types of teacher education programs (e.g., preservice, in-service, K-12 and graduate levels, undergraduate, nondegree, CELTA/DELTA, CerTESOL, private and public institutions) as well as diverse populations. The articles in this issue of the newsletter and the presentations at TESOL 2009 both address these different but important areas.

Finally, as a bonus, this year marked the first time since 2003 that the TESOL convention and the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC) conferences were scheduled in the same location (Denver) over a two-week period in March. AAAL and LTRC are great research-oriented conferences, and were of particular interest to graduate and postgraduate students.

Attendees of TESOL 2009 were glad to see some of the Denver area and look forward to hearing from you in the coming year!


Letter from the Editor

Joel Hardman, jhardma@siue.edu

This issue of the TEIS Newsletter presents a wide variety of articles addressing the world of TESOL teacher education. We solicited articles that would reflect the diversity of teacher education practices and contexts, particularly those outside the typical activities of classroom-based university programs, and we have certainly achieved that. Tim Micek’s article takes us outside the classroom to describe the role of advising and mentoring in teacher education. Vicky Giouroukakis and Andrea Honigsfeld show how technology can be used in teacher education to expand the boundaries of the classroom’s traditional four walls. Lisa Morgan describes an on-site collaboration between a teacher-education program and a school district. Marilee Coles-Ritchie presents an activity more associated with leisure time – the literature circle – as a mode of teacher education. Finally, Lawrence Jun Zhang discusses a way to help in-service teachers in Singapore adopt a critical-reading orientation in their work.

Finally, I’d like to welcome Hyunsoo Hur (hyunsoohur@gmail.com) as an incoming editor of TEIS News!


TEIS Leadership Team 2008-09

Past Chair: Karen Woodman, Queensland University of Technology, karen.woodman@qut.edu.au

Chair: Hema Ramanathan, University of West Georgia, hramanat@westga.edu

Chair-Elect: Julia Austin, University of Alabama, Birmingham, jaustin@uab.edu

Future Chair-Elect: Gertrude Tinker-Sachs, Georgia State University, gtinkersachs@gsu.edu

Web Manager

Joel Hardman, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, jhardma@siue.edu

Newsletter Editor

Hyunsoo Hur, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, hyunsoohur@gmail.com



Articles and Information Using Ethnographies in Literature Circles for an K-12 Methods Course

Marilee Coles-Ritchie, mcoles65@gmail.com

Introduction and Context

Teaching preservice teachers is challenging because they don’t have a teaching context yet or much experience in a classroom. I want them to get to know their students, their students’ backgrounds, languages, and interests, and then create curriculum based on those funds of knowledge (Gonzalez, Moll, & Amati, 2005). Instead, they usually rely on practicum observation and their own schooling experience. Most the students I teach are middle-class White women. Many attended schools where the majority of the students were White and spoke English as a first language. As an instructor of the ESOL methods course, one of my goals is to have students look beyond methods as “what can I do tomorrow” to how methods are products of particular theories and discourses. I want them to discover how to plan curriculum by using the funds of knowledge their students bring to the classroom, especially in regards to speakers of other languages in the K–12 setting. Because many of my students have little exposure to the lives, struggles, and rich cultural knowledge English language learners (ELLs) bring to the classroom, I find it extremely important for them to better understand the context in which they will teach, since for most of them it will be vastly different from their own schooling experience.

Rationale for Using Ethnographies in Literature Circles

To help students better understand the lives of ELLs, I use ethnographies that focus on the immigrant experience within school settings. By reading these books, students develop an understanding of contexts where they may teach from both student and teacher perspectives. They are able to feel, hear, and understand teachers who have faced the challenges and joys of working with immigrant students and also from immigrant students who attend the schools. By drawing on the experiences related in the texts, preservice teachers recognize teaching language as a historical, social, and political act that is extremely complex and difficult, but also rewarding. Through reading about experiences of immigrant students, they observe how language belongs to students and their communities and how it impacts their daily lives in real and meaningful ways.

Because the students in my classes will teach elementary, middle, and high school students, I have each student choose one book to read that most closely addresses the situation where they will teach. I want them to explore more deeply the stories in these ethnographies by discussing them and presenting them to the class. In addition, I want to model an effective method of developing reading and conversation skills for ELLs. By using the Literature Circles model (Daniels, 2002) within the framework of the university course, students have a forum where they can discuss the context and theories of the book in more detail and help each other understand the intentions of the authors. As a result, they also visualize how they might develop Literature Circles for ELLs in their own classrooms.

Choosing the Books

I begin setting up Literature Circles by choosing 5–6 books for my class. I choose books that are well-respected ethnographic works that address issues of language learning and immigrant life within a school context. These include Subtractive Schooling by Angela Valenzuela (1999), Learning and Not Learning English by Guadalupe Valdes (2001), Made in America by Laurie Olsen (1997; new edition forthcoming), The Inner World of the Immigrant Child by Christina Igoa (1995), and Up Against Whiteness: Race, School and Immigrant Youth by Stacey Lee (2005). Each of these books gives rich contextual data about the students and the schools they attend. Some focus more on the teachers, some on the students, but all illustrate the complexity of teaching English to immigrant students in the United States from various theoretical lenses.

I present the books to the class by describing the content and telling them a bit about the author, and then I pass the books around so they can feel them and browse. Students note their first and second choices on a piece of paper, which I collect and use to arrange Literature Circle groups of 4 to 6 students. Normally, I have about 24 students in the class.

Literature Circle Meetings and Roles

When the groups are arranged, I explain the process of the literature circles and rationale. I explain that Literature Circles are groups that consist of 4 to 6 students who read a piece of literature and discuss it together. Next, I explain how I will structure the Literature Circles for the course. The students in each group have an initial meeting and make a plan for four in-class discussion sessions. They decide how many pages they will need to read for each session and they also assign a role for each member of the group for each session.

Each preservice teacher has a different role for every discussion meeting. I use the following roles for the Literature Circles: (a)Discussion Facilitator. This student is responsible for coming up with the discussion questions for the selection. The Discussion Facilitator uses the questions during the meeting to encourage discussion among the members of the group. These questions are used as stimulators for other issues to be discussed as they arise. This student directs the entire meeting, making sure that everyone has a chance to participate. (b) Literary Luminary. The person who has this job is responsible for choosing a few passages from the reading selection to share with the group. These passages may be chosen because the Literary Luminary finds them relevant to their anticipated context, applicable to a certain idea or method, or notable in some way. The Literary Luminary can share these passages with the group by choosing someone to read them aloud or by reading them aloud to the group. The student explains why he or she chose the passage, and the other students are given the opportunity to make comments or ask questions. (c) The Connector. The Connector shares text-to-self, text-to-world, or text-to-text connections made while reading. After sharing these connections, the rest of the group can share any connections they made as they read the text. (d). The Reporter. This student is responsible for summarizing the selection read. The Reporter has to summarize the main events that happened in the story. After sharing the summary, The Reporter encourages group discussion and clarification if needed. (e) The Scribe. The Scribe collects the written material including the discussion questions, page number of passages, connections made, and the summary. This person also notes key points and questions that resulted from the discussion. These materials are kept in a folder to turn in at the end of the semester. This record also serves as a resource to the students as they develop their presentations for the class.

Presentations

In an ideal world, all the students in the course would be able to read and discuss each of these ethnographies and more. Because of time constraints in this three-credit hour semester methods course, we are not able to do that. One way of encouraging the students to read these books on their own, or at least understand the key implications learned from the books, is to have the groups present what they discovered from the books through the Literature Circle experience. At the end of the semester, each group presents a summary of the book, key portions of the book that were particularly meaningful or insightful, and finally how the content of the book will impact the way they plan for and implement lessons intended for ELLs.

Conclusion

I have had tremendous success with this course project. Through my reflective observations of the groups in progress, their reflective writing about the process and content of the book they are reading, and through the class presentations, these preservice teachers demonstrate a complex understand of language teaching. Their writings and discourse connect with the students and teachers described in these ethnographies and demonstrate how they’ve developed a deeper understanding about what it means to be an “ESL teacher” in a school. They learn how successful teachers interact with students who face tremendous challenges and they learn to respect immigrant students’ knowledge and experiences that are often ignored within the schools. As an added benefit, they are able to see how Literature Circles work in practice. Through the experience of being a student in this process, they are better able to construct, adapt, and implement this method as teachers.

References

Daniels, H. (2002). Literature Circles: Voice and choice in book clubs and reading groups. Maine: Stenhouse.

Igoa, C. (1995). The inner world of the immigrant child. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Gonzalez, N., Moll, L., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowledge: Theorizing practices in households, communites, and classrooms.Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Lee, S. (2005). Up against whiteness: Race, school, and immigrant youth. New York: Teachers College Press.

Olsen, L. (1997). Made in America. New York: The New Press.

Valdés, G. (1996). Con respeto: Bridging the distance between culturally diverse families and schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Valdés, G. (2001). Learning and not learning English: Latino students in American schools. New York: Teachers College Press.

Valenzuela, A. (1999). Subtractive schooling. New York: State University of New York Press.

Author

Marilee Coles-Ritchie, Ph.D.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

mcoles65@gmail.com

Marilee Coles-Ritchie has worked in the field of language acquisition and multicultural education for over 20 years. She has taught English Learners in many diverse settings. She holds a doctorate in linguistic and cultural foundations of education and currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.


Triumphs and Tribulations of Three Approaches to Technology Integration in a Teacher Education Program

Vicky Giouroukakis, vgiouroukakis@molloy.edu, and Andrea Honigsfeld, ahonigsfeld@molloy.edu

Technology integration in a teacher education program is critical. It is most valuable and essential in preparing preservice and in-service teachers to use technology effectively to facilitate content mastery for all learners in their classrooms. At our college, we are dedicated to providing our teachers with the necessary technological knowledge to advance their own professional and academic growth as well as to design learning experiences for their own students to use digital resources. As rewarding as the use of technology in any program can be, it can present some challenges. Despite a familiarity with basic web applications—most people know how to google, for example—some of these applications do not easily become second nature to instructors or students. In this article, we discuss the triumphs and tribulations of three approaches to incorporating technology in a teacher preparation program based on our shared professional experiences. Specifically, we give a brief description of each approach and delineate some of the successes (triumphs) and challenges (tribulations) of trying to integrate it. We conclude each subsection with a word of advice to caution the readers of possible pitfalls.

Three Key Technology Experiences

Hybrid Courses

Description

A hybrid course uses both face-to-face instruction and an online course management system to deliver course content. The ratio of online versus traditional instruction may vary from institution to institution. At Molloy, we decided on dividing the required 30 hours of class time into 16 hours of on-campus, face-to-face learning (four 4-hour sessions) and (a minimum of) 14 hours of off-campus, online class participation and learning activities.

Successes

Because we designed our first hybrid course on a required topic, we reached a larger audience of potential course participants. Those who challenged themselves by signing up to take the course universally agreed that it gave them a chance to be introduced to online learning on a part-time basis, without the intimidation of interacting with the course professor and classmates in person.

Challenges

For a majority of the course participants, taking a hybrid course was an opportunity to get “2 courses for the price of 1.” They not only took a course in multicultural education, but they also learned how to navigate the online environment by acquiring basic skills in using WebCT. This additional challenge, however, was a major obstacle in recruiting enough students for each semester. Many potential participants shied away from trying online learning for reasons ranging from misconceptions about distance learning to fear of learning a new Web-based program.

Final Word of Advice

We recommend starting with a 2-hour hands-on workshop in WebCT, which gives everyone in the course a chance to get online and try out every feature of the course management system while the instructor is available to offer assistance.

Companion Web Sites

Description

Most recently published college textbooks feature some sort of technology component to support and supplement the printed material. Some books enhance the text by extensive use of Web-based references and resources they embed in the text. Others have a CD-ROM or companion Web site that offers additional resources such as chapter summaries, discussion questions, self-assessment opportunities, glossaries, online readings, podcasts, webcasts, PowerPoint presentations, and so forth. Some of the most recent textbooks might even have VangoNotes available for busy students who prefer to download study notes and chapter summaries to their mp3 players (http://www.audible.com).

Successes

We encourage our program participants to take advantage of the companion Web sites that publishers make available. Prentice Hall (http://www.prenhall.com/pubguide/ect/education.html ) and Sage (http://www.sagepub.com) have numerous such online resources. We have found that, in addition to supporting text-based learning, the chapter summary and self-assessment features of the texts also help our students prepare for teacher certification tests. Most states use the PRAXIS tests to determine if teachers have mastered content and pedagogical knowledge. New York State is among a few states that do not use the PRAXIS tests. Because limited test preparation resources are available for New York State Content Specialty Tests (CSTs), companion Web sites can be used to review key concepts, to assess classroom scenarios, and to practice responding to essay prompts.

Challenges

Students who are overwhelmed by the volume of reading required in a particular course might go directly to the summary and review features of the companion Web sites and skip reading the assigned chapters. Furthermore, when using companion Web sites for standardized test preparation purposes, teachers must keep in mind that each greatly varies in the types of review questions and self-assessment tools offered. Also, the format of the target assessment is unlikely to parallel the Web site resources so additional test preparation activities are needed.

Final Word of Advice

To ensure successful use of companion Web sites, instructors can give guided practice opportunities or specific guidelines on what aspects of the Web site to explore and how to maximize the use of available resources.

Presentation Media: PowerPoint Presentations, SMART Board Technology, and Desktop Publishing

Description

In all teacher preparation courses, both instructors and students frequently use PowerPoint, SMART Board, and desktop publishing to present either course content or student work. These tools allow for interesting and engaging classroom presentations.

Successes

PowerPoint, SMART Board, and desktop publishing allow students to use the best tools to convey course information to their peers. For example, in a course titled Teaching English Language Learners, students are required to observe and/or interview an ESL teacher or program coordinator and present their findings through multisensory presentations such as PowerPoint, preferably also using SMART Board technology. In other cases, students create their own brochures on the observation or interview by using desktop publishing software. Students have reported that these materials are extremely useful as they learn how various school districts organize and deliver services to English language learners.

Challenges

The lack of proper facilities for the use of PowerPoint, SMART Board, and desktop publishing is always an issue in any education setting. Not every classroom has PowerPoint or SMART Board capabilities and not every computer has desktop publishing software. In addition, program participants may not be trained in using this type of technology. Even if they do have the necessary training in using technology, they may not be able to use their skills with their students, given that many of the school districts that they will be teaching in will likely lack the technological resources.

Final Word of Advice

Students teachers need to know that they always need a back-up plan in case their plans for using PowerPoint, SMART Board, or desktop publishing either in their teacher education program or in a real classroom setting do not work out. They need to be prepared in case such tools are not available, do not work properly, or fail to meet their expectations in the settings in which they plan to use them. Other methods of presentation or instruction may be needed and students need to be quick and flexible to use them.

Conclusion

Where have we been and where are we heading with technology? Teacher educators face the digital divide from multiple perspectives. Millennial students occupy the preK-12 classrooms; technology is a primary medium of communication, a primary source of information, and one of the dominant socializing agents for them. They have also been called digital natives (Hertzog & Klein, 2005), whereas their teachers are digital immigrants who “were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in [their] lives, become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology” (Prensky, 2001, pp. 1-2). Teacher educators are challenged to prepare teachers for the future with the necessary technological skills to enrich and transform learning for their students. They need to embark, in many cases along with their teacher candidates, on a journey of discovery and learning by trial and error about different ways of using technology effectively in the classroom. Incorporating technology in any teacher education program can be challenging, yet teacher educators can overcome the obstacles and turn tribulations into triumphs, if they believe in and experience for themselves the benefits of learning with technology.

References

Hertzog, N., & Klein, M. (2005, June). Beyond gaming: A technology explosion in early childhood. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 28, 24-31.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved July 27, 2008, from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Vicky Giouroukakis, PhD, is assistant professor at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY. She teaches courses in TESOL and English education. Her research interests include technology use in education, assessment, literacy development, and teacher preparation.

Andrea Honigsfeld, EdD, is associate dean and coordinator of the MS TESOL programs at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY. She received several awards including a Fulbright Lecturing Award, Outstanding Dissertation Award, and New York State ESL Educator of the Year Award.


Graduate Advising and Mentoring: An Introduction

Tim Micek, micekt@ohiodominican.edu

Effective advising is an important part of a teacher educator’s job; it may also be a criterion for tenure and promotion. At the graduate level especially, faculty must be prepared to take on a new role—that of the mentor. What is effective advising and what does it involve? What is mentoring and how does it differ from advising? Finally, what resources are available to first-time advisors? This article will address these questions.

There are many resources available for those who want to learn about effective advising and mentoring. A Google search for ‘edu graduate advising “best practices”’ yields 17,800 hits that include “philosophies of award-winning graduate advisors,” guidelines and best practices, and diversity. A Google Scholar search finds over 3,000 articles; searches in other databases reveal still more resources. Some of these resources are discussed in detail below.

The Ohio State University (OSU) has guidelines (“Graduate School,” 2007) with three sections: good practices, assessment, and graduate program commitment. “Good Practices” has four recommendations: invest time in advisor-advisee relationships, communicate consistently and frequently, maintain a structured and predictable environment, and demonstrate interest in developing your advisee; each part has multiple sub-parts. “Assessment” has two recommendations: develop and communicate appropriate expectations, which has four sub-parts, and follow up on evaluations. “Graduate Program Commitment” has only one recommendation, provide adequate external support and incentive, but it makes an important point: if programs want to improve their advising and mentoring practices, they must formally recognize “the time and effort faculty spend on these duties.” Three ideas for doing so are presented, as are a selected bibliography and relevant links.

Methods and styles of communication are important. Advisors should be careful not to rely too much on e-mail to communicate with advisees. Communicate face to face as much as possible, OSU advises, “especially for difficult conversations. For communication between regular meetings or on last-minute issues, e-mail and phone are fine, but there is no substitute for [face-to-face] communication.” Given the choice, advisors should be funny rather than hostile. Wrench and Punyanunt (2004) found that advisee assessment of advisor humor was positively related to advisee affect and perceptions of advisor credibility. Advisor verbal aggression, on the other hand, was negatively related to those variables.

Yahner and Goodstein (2007) discuss various aspects of mentoring, including the origin of the term: Mentor was counselor and surrogate father to Telemachus, whose father, Odysseus, was away. Effective mentoring, they maintain, is essential to successful graduate programs. It takes work, experience, and patience; with its personal nature, it goes beyond advising. While a good advisor helps students with disciplinary knowledge and skills, a mentor does more: s/he is a trusted guide, offers support in difficult times, and socializes the student into the discipline. A good mentor is a good listener, problem-solver, and mentor. Good mentoring can be the difference between recruiting good students and retaining them (as well as making them marketable). In most cases, good mentoring “does not happen overnight”; it takes time. Moreover, mentoring changes over time: advising a first-year master’s student is different from mentoring an ABD doctoral candidate. Becoming a mentor is like making a good investment: it may be costly at first but rewarding in the long run. The relationship may reward both members. Yahner and Goodstein offer steps to take if problems arise and refer mentors to appendices in the graduate bulletin as well as policies and procedures related to faculty-student relationships.

The University of California at Berkeley defines mentors as advisors, supporters, tutors, masters (“in the sense of employers to whom one is apprenticed”), sponsors, and “models of identity, of the kind of person one should be to be an academic” (“Best Practices,” 2006). Effective mentoring is built on a “commitment to providing every student with individual access to professional, collegial, and supportive guidance through their enrollment.” In general, good mentoring involves “treating students respectfully and fairly, providing reliable guidance, and serving as a role model for upholding the highest ethical standards.” More specifically, faculty should guide students in three broad areas: degree requirements, thesis or dissertation research, and professional development. In addition, the mentor must understand, and communicate with, each student as a unique individual. As partners in the mentoring relationship, graduate students also have responsibilities, six of which are listed. Finally, both mentors and students should follow some common sense guidelines; eleven are listed.

Students interested in developing good mentor relationships might consult Johnson and Huwe’s (2003) Getting Mentored in Graduate School. Part I, “About Mentoring,” defines what mentoring is, what a mentor can do for a graduate student, and “who gets mentored and why.” Part II discusses how to find a mentor and Part III how to manage the mentor relationship. Faculty interested in improving advising and mentoring at their schools might consult two other sources: “Improving the Advisor-Advisee Relationship at MIT” (n.d.) and the home page of the Graduate Center for Research and Retention at Western Michigan University (Graduate Center, n.d.).

MIT sought to improve graduate mentoring and advising by promoting best practices in all departments and exploring new ways to use existing resources (“Improving,” n.d.). In 2004, it conducted a web survey, and held focus group discussions, on mentoring, advising, and student life issues. As a result of these efforts, MIT prepared a handout for new faculty on the importance of graduate advising, prepared a handout for new graduate students on finding an advisor, obtained and presented data from the survey, and prepared a summary of current advising practices.

Western Michigan University (WMU) offers an advising/mentoring center, which it describes as an “innovative one-of-a-kind center that provides sustained one-on-one mentoring, guidance, and advising support to graduate students in all fields” (“The Graduate Center,” n.d.). With an integrated approach to retention, the Center conducts research on “time to degree, participates in national research initiatives . . . that ensure best practices, and [intervenes] to enhance opportunities for graduate degree completion for all students,” especially those from underrepresented groups.” The center director is a “conflict resolution strategist” who serves the needs of graduate students and faculty at WMU.

Although the literature on advising and mentoring is concerned with current students, directors must often advise prospective students or applicants. As such, they must be prepared to answer questions ranging from “What is TESOL?” to “What can a do with a TESOL degree or license?” Directors should be aware of demographics and employment trends in the field; the NCELA website (http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/) provides relevant statistics. Directors of MA programs should also be aware of doctoral programs that would serve graduates interested in further education. One may “find a teacher ed program,” of course, on TESOL’s website,http://www.tesol.org.

Effective advising is critical to the success of a graduate TESOL program, and there are many resources for those who wish to learn more about it. Many institutions have advising guidelines, some of which highlight the importance of effective communication. Mentoring goes beyond advising and requires the faculty member to play many roles. Finally, although the literature addresses many aspects of advising, directors must be ready to answer questions of prospective as well as current students.

Author Note

Tim Micek directs the MATESOL program at Ohio Dominican University. He would like to acknowledge ODU librarian Mary Ellen George, who did the searches upon which this article is based.

References

Best Practices for Faculty Mentoring of Graduate Students. (2006). Retrieved February 22, 2008, from http://academic-senate.berkeley.edu/committees/pdf_docs_consolidate/ mentoring%20gdelines-FINAL.pdf

Graduate School Guidelines. (2007). Retrieved February 22, 2008, from http://www.gradsch.ohio-state.edu/Depo/PDF/ProfessionalDevelopment/ MAbestpractices.pdf

Improving the Advisor/Advisee Relationship at MIT. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2008, fromhttp://web.mit.edu/gsc/www/programs/advising/index.shtml

Johnson, W. B., & Huwe, J. W. (2003). Getting mentored in graduate school. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

The Graduate Center for Research and Retention. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2008, from http://www.wmich.edu/grad/Graduate%20Center%20for%20Research%20and%20Retention.html

Wrench, J. S., & Punyanunt, N. M. (2005). “Advisor-advisee communication two: The influence of verbal aggression and humor assessment on advisee perceptions of advisor credibility and affective learning.” Communication Research Reports, 22, 303-313.

Yahner, R., & Goodstein, L. (2007). “Graduate Student Mentoring: Be More Than an Advisor.” Retrieved February 22, 2008, fromhttp://www.gradsch.psu.edu/facstaff/practices/ mentoring.html


Local college and school district team up to offer on-site ESL endorsement

Lisa Morgan, morgalis@aquinas.edu

In early fall of 2007, Aquinas College, a private liberal arts college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, entered into talks with administrators of a large local urban school district about how to best educate their K-12 teachers to work with the ever-increasing number of English language learners who were arriving in their schools. This school district is located in a city with a population of over 70,000 that lies adjacent to Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan. Much like the rest of the state, where in the past 10 years the English language learner population has grown by 36.5%, southwest Michigan cities are also showing a significant demographic shift in population. In this particular southwestern city school district English language learners, who speak 21 languages other than English as their home languages, now comprise 15% of the student population. Although services for English language learners are available in the district’s schools, the growing number of English language learners has resulted in district administration and mainstream teachers recognizing the need for a more systematic and widespread staff development scheme for successfully working with these learners.

In the months that followed, members of the school district administration and Aquinas College joined forces to approve a modified version of Aquinas College’s Michigan Department of Education K-12 ESL endorsement program currently offered on campus. During this time, the district was able to secure a Title IIa Professional Development Grant, a federal grant to increase student academic achievement by improving qualifications for teachers. Because classes would be held onsite, instead of in classrooms on campus, Aquinas College was able to provide a further reduction in tuition and fees, a feature that greatly attracted potential program participants.

During this same period, Aquinas College’s director of the teaching ESL program (and the author of this article) submitted several different program formats to the district for selection. Although the onsite program would consist of the same eight courses regularly taught in the on-campus program, the program structure and delivery changed considerably. The modified format that won the district’s approval was one in which all eight courses would be taught over a period of four academic semesters, with two courses offered in sequence each semester. Each course would be intensive in nature, lasting 5 weeks, with meetings once a week after school from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. In addition, a 2-week completion period was added to each course period to give participants time to concentrate on final projects. The onsite program contrasted with the on-campus program in which courses are offered in one of three distinctly different formats: 8-week quad format,in which classes meet once a week in the evening for 4 hours, 8 weeks in succession; directed-study format, in which classes meet for 3½ hours five times over the course of a semester, on a Friday evening, a Saturday morning, or a Saturday afternoon; or Web-based format, in which classes meet two times face-to-face for 3 hours, with the remaining class time online.

In order to satisfy the college requirement of 45 hours of seat-time for one three-credit course, a three-strand program design would be implemented. Fifteen hours of onsite academic sessionswould consist of the face-to-face delivery of content through mini-lectures, case studies, discussions, role play, problem solving, study circles, workshops, instructor-student conferences, oral presentations, and pair/group work. In the second strand, there would be 15 hours of online learningusing Aquinas College’s online course management system, Moodle. By using Moodle’s Aquinas College Course Connect program, participants would stay linked to the instructor and other participants between onsite academic sessions through online discussions, submission of assignments, wiki, and other collaborative projects. The third strand, also 15 hours, would consist of fieldwork,which would require participants to explore and research various aspects of English language learning and teaching through fieldwork projects and action research in their classrooms and in their communities. In January 2008 an informational meeting of the planned program was announced to the teachers of the districts’ seven elementary, two middle, and two high schools. More than 45 interested teachers attended. What we originally thought would be one small group of teachers quickly grew. In early February the program was launched, consisting of two cohorts with a total of 36 participants, all elementary and middle/high school mainstream content-area teachers.

After 1 year, at the halfway mark of the program’s implementation, several features of the onsite program’s curriculum, content, and instruction were analyzed for future improvement. For example, early on it became apparent that in some of the courses fieldwork assignments could be more closely aligned with participants’ (especially secondary teachers’) disciplines, their students, and their classrooms. Even though fieldwork hours are required in all Aquinas College on-campus courses, the intensity and brevity of the onsite courses severely squeezed participants’ available time to plan, carry out, and report on their fieldwork experiences. Having fieldwork assignments that more directly engage their own students would alleviate this pressure and provide more authentic experiences. Another area that needed tweaking is the use of participant time in the face-to-face onsite academic sessions. Again, because of the intense nature of a 5-week course, participants, in both informal and formal feedback, have requested more group-oriented assignments and in-class time to plan for and prepare them. Such activities provide sustained engagement and keep weary teachers happy and learning. A third feature of the program that needs to be carefully reviewed is the amount of time it takes to effectively complete online assignments. This had not been carefully thought out beforehand, and has created uneven amounts of required time online from course to course. As any instructor knows, it is impossible to predict the exact time required to plan and complete any assignment, offline or online. However, in all fairness to course participants, especially when they are pressed for time, this facet of the program needs to be examined more carefully and adjustments made.

The above-mentioned challenges of onsite collaborative program are but a few of the many such an experimental program encounters. As we move forward into the second half of this program, doubtless there will be more that will be revealed and, hopefully, remedied. Despite these areas of concern, the collaboration not only between the School of Education at Aquinas College and the local school district but also between course participants and instructors and among course participants has been an interesting and educational experience, one that we hope will benefit the many English language learners in our local schools.

Lisa Morgan directs the TESOL program at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Currently her research interest is in the development of the role of teacher advocacy in ESL teacher education programs.


Teaching Critical Reading to In-service EFL Teachers in Singapore

Lawrence Jun Zhang, lawrence.zhang@nie.edu.sg

Let me make my point explicit from the very onset of this article: We ESL/EFL teachers and teacher educators need a critical pedagogy regardless of how minute details about the definition of a critical reading pedagogy can vary from context to context. I argue that, although there is a tendency to neglect it in many ESL/EFL programs, teaching critical reading pedagogy to EFL teachers should be an important part of teacher professional development programs, where teachers-in-training should be given chances to exercise agency in the process, because, upon completion of the training, they are to be agents for change in classrooms (Crookes & Lehner, n.d., 1998; Norton, 2000; Wallace, 1999, 2005). Various reasons are given for such neglect, with the major one being that EFL learners need to develop decoding and vocabulary skills in order to read better. Because of this commonly held view, it is most often the case that the pedagogy of reading is reductionist in orientation, and the possibility that language proficiency can be taught simultaneously with teaching critical reading and thinking skills is not considered. With a sociocultural turn in teacher education in recent years (Block, 2003; Canagarajah, 1999; Clark, 2008; Johnson, 2006; Norton & Toohey, 2004), I also argue that the time when they are in the training program is an opportune one because reflexivity, reciprocity, and responsibility are crucial to their making further progress in their professional lives toward becoming critical practitioners in and out of language classrooms (Zhang, 2004). I emphasize the importance of the critical pedagogy advocated in this article against a sociocultural context where reverence for knowledge and lack of inclination to challenge printed texts are commonplace, but no studies have been reported about how Chinese EFL teachers would respond to such a pedagogy given the sociocultural and socioeconomic change the People’s Republic of China has been experiencing since its opening to the outside world in the early 1980s (Zhang, 2001). I conclude the article by discussing some wider implications of such pedagogy for other similar classrooms in Asia.

The Study

Context of the Study

The study was conducted in Singapore, a typical multilingual/multicultural society, where four major ethnic groups, Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasian, live in harmony using the medium of English as the common lingua franca. This is the linguistic situation in which the participants in this study lived and studied (Zhang, Gu, & Hu, 2008).

What motivated this action research were the observed conundrums or problems in EFL reading classes in Asia. I felt that the teaching of reading could be more interactive if a critical pedagogy were adopted in teacher professional development courses. Wallace (2005) has observed that in EFL reading classes students usually do not have the opportunity to perform higher order thinking tasks (e.g., applying, hypothesizing, analyzing, synthesizing, comparing, and evaluating what they read). Consequently, they do not learn to read critically, nor do they reach evaluative understanding of the text and develop their thinking ability. Oftentimes, students get frustrated and lose motivation for independent reading because they are used to listening to teachers’ explanations. Again, as Wallace has stated, students have developed only one strong “reading strategy” over the years: that of listening to the teacher explaining the text word by word, sentence by sentence. Because reading classrooms lack class interaction, students are not actively engaged in the meaning-making process or, at best, the process involves readers’ decoding of text. Therefore, the existing knowledge of students is not effectively drawn out for the benefit of the whole class. There is a lack of richness and diversity in classroom activity. Overwhelmed by the pedagogical goal of comprehending the text, the reading teacher tends to isolate knowledge expansion and development of other language skills (Wallace, 2005). Consequently, weak classroom dynamics is often the result.

When I adopted a critical reading pedagogy as a way of helping EFL teachers to become aware of reading as a social process in addition to improving their language proficiency and methodological richness, I focused on how this pedagogycould have been explored by referring to how critical reading is defined. To make things simpler, in addition to asking my students to define the term, I took critical reading to mean that reading is a social process by following scholars in the field (Fariclough, 1992; Luke & Freebody, 1997; Wallace,1995), where the social context; social role of the author, the text, and the reader; identities of L2 readers; the different schemata that readers and writers bring into the reading event; and the way the text is responded, interpreted, and analyzed all have important roles to play in helping the readers understand the text.

Participants

Thirty-five EFL in-service teachers taking a 1-year teacher professional development course leading to the award of the postgraduate diploma in ELT were invited to participate in this research. They had a minimum of 2 years of EFL teaching experience and a gender imbalance was prominent, with 30 women and 5 men. They came from universities and colleges across China, and half of them held an MA degree in either translations studies, ESP, or English or American literature. Their proficiency in English was benchmarked against 600 on the TOEFL or 7 on the IELTS or higher. They were generally quite motivated in-service teachers.

In reporting on this group of EFL in-service teachers, I make an effort to interpret and frame their response to some of the basic principles of critical pedagogy. I also examine their nascent awareness of the significance of approaching texts critically as both readers themselves and reading teachers. I also analyze the process of their negotiating identities, repositionings, and other related issues. Focusing on a pedagogy grounded in a sociocultural learning theory and critical discourse analysis (Canagarajah, 1999; Fairclough, 1991, 1992; Pennycook, 1994, 2000; Wallace, 1999, 2005) using “community texts” (Luke & Freebody, 1997; Luke, “O’Brien, & Comber, 2001), I take as my objectives the raising of awareness among teachers as well as bringing ashore challenges facing critical pedagogy for ESL/EFL reading teachers in Asian classrooms. I would like to find out if critical reading pedagogy is feasible as part of a teacher professional development program for Asian EFL teachers. Specifically, I address the following research questions.

Research Questions

(1) What is the Chinese EFL teachers’ response to a critical reading pedagogy?

(2) Are they aware of the utility of this critical reading pedagogy in EFL reading?

Pedagogical Procedures

Following Wallace’s (1995, 1999, 2005) recommendation, I tried to encourage the in-service teachers to take a stance in the spirit of resistance rather than opposition. The two influential schools of thought—reproduction theories and resistance theories—undergirded my pedagogical procedures, as did Wallace’s ideas (2005). Reproduction theories critically examine how schooling makes it natural and legitimate for the dominant ideologies to be readily accepted (Canagarajah, 1999, p. 24). Resistance theories seek possibilities for social change (e.g., Pennycook, 1990), emphasizing the way in which “agency accommodates, mediates but also resists dominating social practices” (Giroux, 1978, p. 275). Basing her argument on Canagarajah (1999), Giroux (1981), and Said (1978), among others, Wallace (2005) explained that

“the two models offer different dimensions to a critical pedagogy; the first, providing a language of critique to deconstruct dominant schooling processes (one could add too to deconstruct discourses and the texts they form parts of), the second, as Canagarajah (1999) puts it, offering a language of possibility, to promote social change.” (p. 59)

Thirty-five EFL teachers from China participated in this action research. These teachers had teaching experiences ranging from 3 to 5 years in their home institutions but had seldom talked about critical reading, let alone a critical reading pedagogy. The course was a weekly 3-hour module that lasted for 12 weeks. Crookes and Lehner’s (1998) work on teacher education, which advocates a critical lens in classroom practice, and Wallace’s work (1995, 1999, 2005) on critical reading are both directly relevant to the present study. Wallace has made an effort to classify the orientations to critical pedagogy into three main strands: (a) emancipatory (empowerment), (b) difference-oriented (distance oneself from text), and (c) oppositional (resistance from the margins).

Collecting and Classifying Texts

The tools for text analysis in my study (as well as lesson procedures) included systemic functional grammar and critical theory, as was the case in Wallace’s (2005). Preparation and delivery of such a pedagogy included classifying the collected texts according to (a) audience, (b) purpose, (c) context, and (d) culture, and then discussion followed in this framework, as explained below. About 10 texts of various sorts were collected. These texts included articles published in The Straits Times, Today, Channel News Asia, and The New Paper, all of which are produced by Singapore-based publishers or media businesses in English. Almost all the texts were of general interest or specifically relevant to this group of EFL teachers from China. One text of general interest, for example, was a newspaper report on the rapidly aging societies we will have to face in 50 years’ time; another text titled “Who Is a Singaporean?” discussed sports talents such as Ms. Jing Junhong and Ms. Li Jiawei from China, who, after being granted Singaporean citizenships, played for Singapore in international competitions and did Singapore proud but were the subject of a debate by some Singapore-born readers on whether or not they were Singaporeans. In other words, such a government policy was contested in the report, and identity and nationality in relation to patriotism were redefined.

Implementing Critical Reading Pedagogy

My teaching of reading essentially centered on the following categories of critical reading questions, as adapted from the Critical Reading Pedagogy Questions (Tasmania Department of Education, Tasmania, Australia).

(1) Textual purpose(s): What does the writer want us to know?

(2) Textual structures and features: What kind of structures and features does the text display?

(3) Construction of characters: How are the people constructed/described in the text?

(4) Gaps and silences: Who are silenced or missing? What is silenced or missing?

(5) Power and interest: Who are privileged and who are excluded?

(6) Whose view and whose reality are represented: What social realities are represented by the text?

(7) Interrogating the writer: Is the text fair? Why does the writer write the text this way?

(8) Negotiating multiple meanings: What other interpretations of the text can readers make?

In organizing the reading lessons, I followed Wallace’s (1999) practice by “spontaneously eliciting responses” from students, organizing think-pair-share activities and group discussions, prompting brainstorming and debates, or assigning a written essay in which they were expected to reflect on their own EFL professional practice.

Results and Discussion

I present the results by answering the two research questions raised earlier, which I repeat here:

(1) What is the Chinese EFL teachers’ response to a critical reading pedagogy?

(2) Are Chinese EFL teachers aware of the utility of this critical reading pedagogy in EFL reading?

Results show that the in-service teachers’ definitions of critical reading were shallow and simple at best. Ninety-eight percent of the participants responded that critical reading means to read critically. But when asked for a clearer definition such as “looking at reading materials in light of the ideological impact”, most were not able to offer one. Those who were able to offer a definition said that critical reading was to read between lines to make inferences and generalizations because sometimes meaning was not obvious. In other words, the definition was still about reading that focused on looking at texts as neutral products that carry semantic meanings and texts are just objects from which readers attempt to derive their semantic meanings.

Resistance to such a critical reading pedagogy was daunting at the start of the course. The inservice EFL teachers felt a bit uncertain when I started teaching reading using critical pedagogy, a method with which they were not very familiar. Their understanding was that all texts were intended to convey meaning objectively and the act of deriving meaning from printed texts entailed reading. Nothing was mentioned regarding how readers were positioned by writers, and subjectivity and identity were all intertwined in readers’ interpreting of texts (see, e.g., Luke & Freebody, 1997). However, as the lessons progressed, some of the main principles of critical pedagogy gradually sank in. They learned that critical reading entailed going beyond textual meaning to search, contextualize, compare/contrast, explain, and evaluate the hidden grammar, including the author’s purpose, values, and attitudes (see, e.g., Wallace, 2005). They also realized that they needed to put the text in its historical and cultural contexts; taking a stance during reading was essential as they became aware that no texts were neutral. By comparing and contrasting their own values and beliefs with those represented in the text and evaluating the logic and strength of arguments they were able to draw an analogy between what they had read and the real-life world around them. Instead of resisting the critical pedagogy I adopted, they showed more interest in the diversity of methodological options available for teaching EFL reading. I present the following excerpts of episodes of critical reading pedagogy-oriented lessons to illustrate the process.

Excerpt 1

Text: Two Billion Senior Citizens in the World By 2050

LZ: What comes to your mind when you see “senior citizens”?

ST: Grey hair, physical disability to move around for food, inability to survive on their own, cannot contribute to society because of old age.

LZ: Do you believe this is really the case? Why do you think the report is written in such a way? What is the purpose of the writer to do so?

ST: I believe so. The writer wants to warn the general public of issues caused by the aging population.

LZ: Do you believe that the severity is really that much?

ST: Yes, because that’s how the text says it.

ST: What kind of value systems do you think the writer has when you read this piece of writing?

ST: I am not sure.

LZ: Think of Chinese culture and how the aged are taken care of and how they contribute to society in some other ways, for example, taking care of their grandchildren so that the working mums and dads can keep working and earning income to support the family. Don’t you think this is also one way of showing the value of being a senior citizen?

ST: Yes. But somehow I did not realize this point when I was reading it.

LZ: Look at the use of figures/statistics: “Two billion senior citizens in the world by 2050.” What effect does the use of figures/stats have on you?

ST: Striking, amazingly fast-aging society we are in. We will have to face various challenges such as shortage of workforce.

LZ: Do you see any social equity in the text when senior citizens are described as a burden and a challenge for society?

ST: At the start I didn’t, but I now realize that expressions such as “developing nations fear” give readers a strong impression that developing nations will have to face even worse problems. In a way, it is an unfair statement on the social issue. . . .

As is evident from the limited data presented here, students’ views of society also changed because the critical reading pedagogy I had adopted addressed social and political issues and the pedagogywas committed to the pursuit of social justice, as in the case of Wallace (1999, 2005). The students’ views of pedagogy changed because critical reading pedagogy was interventional and it was a dialogic process in classroom procedure, where interactivity dominated classroom teaching. This gave the teacher ample opportunity to make the reading lesson come alive (see, e.g., Zhang, 2008). Their views of text changed because they realized that (a) all texts were ideationally biased; (b) texts arose out of social relationships, particularly relationships based on power; (c) texts related to each other intertextually; and (d) texts had a history as did the discourses embedded within them (see Wallace, 2005, for detailed discussion).

Students’ views of reading changed as well. Reading was no longer regarded purely as a cognitive process. The social nature of the learning act became prominent. Reading is doing (Wallace, 2005). They realized that, as a social process, in which meaning negotiation involves other social issues and interpretations, reading did not occur in a vacuum (Luke & Freebody, 1997); rather, meaning was negotiated within “communities of practice” (Lave & Wenger, 1991), and knowledge construction occurred in a context-specific manner. Learning appeared to be “a process of participation in communities of practice, participation that is at first legitimately peripheral but that increases gradually in engagement and complexity” (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p. 89). This is evidenced by the way the lesson was conducted and the teacher-student interaction took place in the classroom, as shown below.

Excerpt 2

Text: Who Is a Singaporean?

LZ: We can see the inherent power relations in the text—everything is manipulated by the writer to serve his/her purpose—either to sensationalize the phenomenon, to promote the sale of the newspaper, to disadvantage a certain group of people in order to put another group at an advantageous position.

ST: So, readers are repositioned by the writer, and the aging senior citizens are “Othered” by the writer.

LZ: You are right. We need to realize that our feelings, attitudes, and values are all manipulated by language and its use in various textual and cultural contexts. We are able to become agents of social change in order to remove inequalities and injustice.

ST: But is this still reading that we are talking about?

LZ: What do you think? What’s your definition of reading?

ST: Reading to learn new words.

LZ: Yes, you are right, but if we only focus on this level, our critical ability will never develop.

ST: Ok. Let’s think about this in our future teaching.

LZ: Where are you and where are your identities in the text? Who are you in your reading of the text? What kind of schematic knowledge came to your mind when words such as “developed” and “developing countries” surfaced in the text?

ST: Poor, shabby-looking houses, dirty streets, and high-rising skyscrapers.

LZ: Well, you see, we all have stereotypical ideas. These are used by the writers for their own purposes.

ST: I did not know that the text had so much for us to look at. We thought in reading a text as long as words’ meanings became clear and that if syntactical difficulties were solved, textual meaning would become clear as well.

LZ: In fact, when we read, and particularly when we teach EFL, we have to help students understand the text by asking three types of questions: literal, interpretive/inferential, and evaluative. . . . Critical reading looks at how readers interpret and evaluate the text, which is imbued with ideological positionings of particular groups of readers—favoring some and short-changing others.

ST: Ok. This means, in fact, we as readers were manipulated and positioned by the writer.

LZ: You got it. That’s really what we have been trying to analyze in these lessons. . . .

As can be seen from what the in-service teachers commented and reflected on regarding the critical reading lessons I conducted within the critical pedagogical framework reported above, the issue of teaching critical reading to Asian EFL students or practitioners alike is an important one. Any thinking about Asian learners, especially Chinese learners, based on old mental frameworks of them being like Confucius, could be misleading. This is because societies have been changing rapidly and the ideological change comes along with the socioeconomic change taking place in any given society. The same applies to in-service EFL teachers from China, or possibly in any place in Asia. Just as Said (1978) argued, “when one uses categories like Oriental and Western as both the starting point and end point of analysis, research, public policy . . . the result is usually to polarize distinction—the Oriental becomes more oriental and Western more western—and limit the human encounter between different cultures, tradition, and societies” (pp. 45-46). In relation to research on Chinese learners, Clark and Gieve (2006, p. 69) concluded, on the basis of the research findings, that “research devoted to understanding learners from China, especially in study abroad contexts, would do well to get away from explanations and understandings based on reified, abstracted and frozen conceptions of culture” (see also Zhang, 2003). The key point to strike home is the importance of introducing themto the ideas of developing critical reading abilities and teaching reading critically in classroom practice. Once the students and in-service teachers understand that a particular approach benefits their EFL learning and/or teaching, they are ready to take up the challenge.

Crookes and Lehner (1998) recommended that the simultaneous development of English communicative abilities together with the ability to apply them be taken as joint goals in EFL/ESL critical pedagogy in order to develop a critical awareness of the world and the ability to act on it to improve matters. Just like one of my in-service teachers said after the critical reading lesson—“most often, EFL reading teachers have no awareness of the social issues in teaching foreign language reading skills. The default thinking is that learning to read in EFL is only a matter of linguistic issue”—so most teachers focus on developing EFL preservice teachers/students’ language skills only, including word recognition, skimming, scanning, and so on (see Zhang et al., 2008, for discussion). The way that reading is taught in this critical reading course offers a way of motivating EFL in-service teachers/students to (a) read more actively as a way of expanding their professional expertise knowledge, (b) understand society, (c) do their own share to make the world a better place to live in, and (d) meanwhile increase their linguistic competence. Through EFL reading they also learn about the world they live in and the various social issues that confront them.

Conclusion

Crookes and Lehner (1998) suggested that “critical pedagogy should be seen as a social and educational process, rather than as a pedagogical method” (p. 326) because it is more concerned with how language can effect personal and social change than it is with how to teach language more effectively. Though I agree with what they say, the way I conducted reading lessons within a critical pedagogy framework further suggests that any intent to include elements of critical reading in ELF reading lessons did enhance the dynamics of the reading class as well as students’ active participation in the dialogic and constructivist reading processes (see also Zhang, 2008). The in-service EFL teachers enjoyed it. This suggests that it is possible to teach critical reading and develop a critical pedagogy in Chinese in-service teachers, and Chinese EFL in-service teachers are open to pedagogical innovations that would potentially benefit them.

I concur with Wallace that the most common practice in reading instruction has much to do with how teachers understand the teaching of reading and reading itself. If the teacher and students alike are not confined to the “hermetic bounds of the text, they will not take whatever they read as true” (Wallace, 1999, p. 109). Instead, they should be encouraged to exploit the text as a means to developing integrated language skills and critical thinking. To this end, critical reading can be introduced not only as a new dimension in reading instruction but also as a potential and possible solution to the above problems often mentioned by EFL/ESL reading teachers as conundrums. Though the critical pedagogy reported in this article was conducted in Singapore, a foreign land for Chinese EFL in-service teachers for professional development purposes, I would like to recommend that teachers in Asian EFL classrooms try this pedagogy in the hope of diversifying their teaching methods and enhancing classroom dynamics and interactivity for optimal instructional outcomes.

References

Block, D. (2003). The social turn in second language acquisition. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press.

Canagarajah, S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism in English teaching. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Clarke, M. (2008). Language teacher identities: Co-constructing discourse and community. Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters.

Clark, R., & Gieve, S. (2006). On the discursive construction of “the Chinese learner”. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 19, 54-73.

Crookes, G., & Lehner, A. (1998).Aspects of process in an ESL critical teacher education course. TESOL Quarterly, 32, 319-328.

Crookes, G., & Lehner, A. (n.d.). Reflections on an ESL critical pedagogy teacher education course. Retrieved April 19, 2006, fromhttp://www.hawaii.edu/sls/crookes/crit_ped.html

Fairclough, N. (2001). Language and power (2nd ed.). London: Longman.

Fairclough, N. (1992). Critical language awareness. London: Longman.

Giroux, H. (1981). Theory of reproduction and resistance in the new sociology of education. Harvard Education Review, 53, 257-293

Giroux, H. (1987). Literacy and the pedagogy of empowerment. In P. Freire, & D. Macedo (Eds.), Literacy: Reading the word and the world (pp. 1-29). London: Routledge & Kegan Press.

Johnson, K. (2006). The sociocultural turn and its challenges for second language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 235-257.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Luke, A., & Freebody, P. (1997). Shaping the social practices of reading. In S. Muspratt, A. Luke, & P. Freebody (Eds.),Constructing critical literacies(pp. 185-225). St. Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Luke, A., O’Brien, J., & Comber, B. (2001). Making community texts objects of study. In H. Fehring, & P. Green (Eds.), Critical literacy: A collection of articles from the Australian literacy educators’ association. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. London: Pearson/Longman.

Norton, B., & Toohey, K. (Eds.). (2004). Critical pedagogies and language learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Pennycook, A. (1990). Critical pedagogy and second language education. System, 18, 303-314.

Pennycook, A. (1994). The cultural politics of English as an international language. London: Longman.

Pennycook, A. (2000). Critical applied linguistics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. London: Penguin Books.

Wallace, C. (1995). Reading with a suspicious eye: Critical reading in the foreign language classroom. In G. Cook, & B. Seidholfer (Eds.), Principles and practice in applied linguistics (pp. 335-348). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Wallace, C. (1999). Critical language awareness: Key principles for a course in critical reading. Language Awareness, 8, 98-110. Retrieved 20 November 2007 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658419908667121

Wallace, C. (2005). Critical reading in language education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zhang, L. J. (2001). Awareness in reading: EFL students’ metacognitive knowledge of reading strategies in an acquisition-poor environment. Language Awareness, 10, 268-288. Retrieved 20 November 2007 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658410108667039

Zhang, L. J. (2003). Research into Chinese EFL learner strategies: Methods, findings and instructional issues. RELC Journal, 34, 284-322. Retrieved 28 June 2007fromhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1177/003368820303400303

Zhang, L. J. (2004). Reforming a teacher education programme for PRC EFL teachers in Singapore: Sociocultural considerations and curriculum evolution. International Journal of Educational Reform, 13, 223-252.

Zhang, L. J. (2008). Constructivist pedagogy in strategic reading instruction: Exploring pathways to learner development in the English as a second language (ESL) classroom. Instructional Science, 36, 89-116. Retrieved 30 Feburary fromhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-007-9025-6

Zhang, L. J., Gu, Y., & Hu, G. (2008). A cognitive perspective on Singaporean bilingual children’s use of reading strategies in learning to read in English. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78, 245-271.Retrieved 21 February 2008 fromhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000709907X218179

Author

Lawrence Jun Zhang, PhD, is associate professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His research interests include psycholinguistics, SLA, reading pedagogy, and teacher education. He has published extensively in these areas. He is an editorial board member for TESOL Quarterly, Metacognition and Learning, Linguistics Journal, and Journal of Asia TEFL. He is also an invited referee for international journals Language Learning, Language Teaching, Journal of Applied Linguistics, Reading in a Foreign Language, System, and Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, among others.

He is on the Web at http://zhang.myplace.nie.edu.sg and http://larry.jzhang.googlepages.com/home.



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.

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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 visit http://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=teis-l if already a subscriber.