TSR Newsletter

TESOLers for Social Responsibility E-Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 5

by User Not Found | 11/01/2011
In This Issue...

Letter From the Caucus Chair
Global Issues, Personal Values
Journal of Peace Education
Rhetoricians for Peace Takes the Floor
Linguapax Organizes Dialogue on Language Diversity, Sustainability, and Peace
TESOL Makes Further Strides Toward Reducing Paper Use
About This Member Community

Letter From the Caucus Chair

Dear TSR Members,

A new year has dawned, a year which hopefully will bring positive change to people all over the world--no war, no threat of nuclear attacks, a cure for AIDS, peace, a living wage, and equality for all. It is with those thoughts in mind that we turn toward TESOL's 2004 convention and the role we can all play in it.

First of all, to those members who have had proposals accepted, whether as individuals or as groups, or if you are part of a colloquium that will deal with TSR issues, please e-mail the following to me at kllnt@aol.com by February 20, 2004:

  • your name
  • the title of the workshop, colloquium, or paper
  • the date, time, and room of your presentation

Second, the TSR caucus booth will be open from Wednesday, March 31, to Saturday, April 3. Volunteers are needed to help set up the booth on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 30, and to help staff the booth from Wednesday to Saturday. (See below for the hours during which the booth needs to be staffed.) Last year, the booth did not have coverage each and every hour. I would like to see that change this year. Please e-mail me by February 20 about which of the hours you can volunteer for--please feel free to volunteer for as many hours as you feel you can reasonably handle! After all, this booth is part of all of us. In this case, all of us means the 1,304 members in the TSR caucus (as of December 2003)--the largest caucus within TESOL!

Wednesday, March 31
9 am-5 pm

Thursday, April 1
9 am-5 pm

Friday, April 2
9 am-5 pm

Saturday, April 3
9 am-noon (pack up)

Third, if any of you have materials that you would like to display at the booth, please let me know. You will need to send me by February 20, 2004, a sample copy of any and all materials you would like to have displayed. TESOL must approve any non-TSR/TESOL materials. Please send your sample to

Elise Klein
58 Pine Street
New Canaan, CT 06840

Last but not least, here is a list of TSR events at TESOL's 2004 convention:

  1. TSR's colloquium, Fostering Student Awareness of a Multitude of Perspectives, will be held Thursday, April 1, 2-3:45 pm. We have tried hard to ensure that there is something for everyone, from kindergarten through university and adult education programs. Please show your support by attending. In return, we promise to give you materials that you will be able to hit the ground and run with!
  2. TSR's caucus open meeting will be held Thursday, April 1, 6-8 pm. If you will be attending the conference, please plan to be at the caucus open meeting and make your voice heard. This is the only time during the year that the caucus meets face-to-face to discuss issues of concern to members. If there is something you would like to see included on the agenda, please e-mail me by February 20, 2004.
  3. At the open caucus meeting, we will elect a new chair-elect whose term will run from TESOL's 2005 convention through the 2006convention. If you are interested in playing a bigger role within TESOL and are interested in running for this position, please e-mail me your bio and the reasons why you would like to be caucus chair by February 20, 2004. I will post the nominees online so that those of you who are unable to attend the conference in Long Beach can also be a part of this process.
  4. TSR and the Caucus on Part-Time Employment Conditions (COPTEC) will cohost the all-caucus social scheduled for Friday, April 2, 6:30-8 pm. We are presently in the planning stage, but please write this on your calendars and please try to attend.

In conclusion, let me say that it has been an honor to be your caucus leader. At the caucus open meeting, I will officially turn over the leadership of our caucus to the very capable Tom Schroeder of Utah State University. I hope to continue my relationship with the caucus and will be available to Tom as he proceeds.

I look forward to hearing from many of you prior to the convention and to seeing and/or meeting members in Long Beach!

Warm regards and thank you,

Elise Klein
TSR Caucus chair

Global Issues, Personal Values

By Kristin Johannsen, JohannsenKL@cs.com

One concern commonly voiced about teaching global issues involves cultural imperialism. Teachers have been accused of pushing their own agendas and opinions on a captive audience of students from a different cultural background.

Teachers inevitably bring their own concerns and opinions into the classroom. And in a cross-cultural setting, students may have concerns and opinions that differ from the teacher's. For example, students in a developing country may not be as concerned about environmental problems as their teacher thinks they should be. And a class of Muslim women students may have a different conception of women's issues than their Western teacher.

How can we deal with this? An approach I've found useful is values clarification. Sydney B. Simon and his colleagues developed this method in the 1970s. The method requires that the teacher not support any particular point of view but act as a facilitator for students to clarify their own beliefs. In the ESL/EFL context, this means helping students access information and then guiding them in exploring various points of view.

As a teacher and materials writer, I have used values clarification to design activities that help students examine controversial issues and draw their own conclusions. The following activities can be adapted for many different topics and language levels.

Visual Presentations

Teach a brief lesson on the ways that information is presented visually (e.g., bar graphs, bullet points), and draw or otherwise show examples. Then provide sources such as newspaper articles or pages from a book. Each student or group of students chooses a different piece of information and prepares a visual (e.g., "How our country spends its money"). Students choose facts that they find interesting (such as comparison of the amounts of money spent for health versus defense) and decide how to present the facts visually.

Students take turns presenting their visuals to the class and explaining why they chose particular information, and then the class discusses what was learned and what the most surprising facts were.

Group Poster Presentations

An activity that helps students gather and share background information on an important issue is the group poster presentation. This long-term project can be used with students advanced enough to be able to read independently. It can also extend the visual presentation activity, allowing students to put their new skills to use.

In pairs or larger groups, students research their topic and prepare a poster, on a very large sheet of paper, with visual information on their topic. Their assignment is to teach their classmates about their topic.

Some options for group poster presentations include countries in the news, world religions (e.g., Islam, Buddhism, Christianity), pollution problems, and minorities in English-speaking countries (e.g., Maori, Inuit, Australian Aborigines, Native Americans). Allow groups to choose their own specific topic or assign topics to them. Some groups incorporate music and costumes into their presentations. You can provide readings and information for groups of lower level students, or you can give assistance in library and Internet research for more advanced learners.

On presentation day, you have two options. Your first option is to have the groups take turns displaying their posters and explaining them to the class. (Ordinarily, each group member should be responsible for a certain length of time). Your second option is to hang all posters on the classroom walls at the same time. Half the students stand by their posters explaining them, while the other half walk around reading and listening. Then, they switch roles. This simultaneous presentation method can be less stressful for the students. It also provides for more intensive and meaningful language practice. In the role of explainers, students give their explanations repeatedly, interacting with a number of people; as learners, they are free to spend more time listening and asking questions.

A possible follow-up activity is to have students take notes on the presentations. After they are finished, dictate questions you have written as a quiz and have the students answer the questions by using their notes.

Spread of Opinions Exercise

This exercise helps students consider a range of opinions and examine the reasons why people hold a particular opinion.

A question I usually use to start this exercise is, "What should be done with students who cheat on an important exam?" First, I draw a long vertical line on the board. At one end, I write, "They should go to jail." Then elicit suggestions for the opposite extreme (e.g., Nothing should be done). Along with the students, I brainstorm possibilities in the middle (e.g., They should get to take the exam again, They should get an F on the exam, They should be expelled) and rank these responses between the extremes. I point out that there are arguments for every one of those positions, even the extremes (e.g., Nothing should be done, because the school didn't do its job in preventing cheating). Then we discuss arguments for all the other positions.

For this exercise, divide the class in groups, and present a question (e.g., Should this country accept refugees? Should children be allowed to work?). Each group draws a chart on an overhead transparency. First, they draw a long vertical line, to represent the whole range of opinions on this question. Then, each member takes one opinion (not necessarily the one s/he agrees with) and writes a paragraph giving the reasons a person would hold such an opinion. The group members listen to the paragraphs, discuss reactions, make their own decisions, and write their names next to the view they support.

When all students have finished, groups take turns putting their transparencies on the overhead projector and explaining the decisions of their group members and the reasoning behind these decisions.

Wrapping up a Global Issues Unit

In teaching an extended unit on a global issue, it is good to give students time to consolidate what they have learned and to express their views.

Below are three very short activities that are useful in wrapping up a unit on a controversial issue. All are adapted from the seminal book Values Clarification (Simon, Howe, & Kirschenbaum, 1995). The activities involve students affirming their beliefs to their classmates and allowing for differences of opinion.

I Learned. Write on the board a series of open-ended statements (e.g., I learned ___, I noticed ____, I'm surprised ____, I wonder ____). Give students time to reflect and complete the sentences individually.

Then, in groups, students share their answers by going around in a circle, with each student reading their first sentence (I learned____). Other group members only listen--they do not respond--so that quiet students have equal time. Students can say pass if they do not want to read a sentence. They have the option of discussing the first sentence as a group before moving on to work with the other sentences in the same way.

Take-a-Stand. Hang signs saying YES and NO at opposite ends of the room (or write them at opposite ends of the blackboard). Prepare a list of six to eight opinion questions related to the theme (e.g., "Is it okay to eat meat?"). Read the questions to the class. After each question, students move to the side of the room representing their opinion and spend 1-2 minutes talking to other students about why they chose that position. This is when I usually admit to my real opinion, after students have clarified their own opinions by working through a number of activities.

Voting. Prepare a list of six to eight opinion questions relating to a particular theme. Ask the first question and give a minute for students to think about it. After the minute is up, count to three and have students simultaneously give their opinion by voting thumbs up (yes), thumbs down (no), or arms folded (undecided) You may choose to vote along with the students.

By using these activities and ones like them, teachers and students can learn from each other and help each other realize the variety of opinions and beliefs held by people around the world.


Simon, S. B., Howe, L. W., & Kirschenbaum, H. (1995). Values clarification. New York: Warner Books.

Journal of Peace Education

The Peace Education Commission (PEC) of the International Peace Research Association is proud to announce a new professional journal, the Journal of Peace Education (JPE), published by Taylor and Francis. The inaugural issue is due out in spring 2004.

The Journal of Peace Education is multidisciplinary and intercultural. It aims to link theory and research to educational practice and is committed to furthering original research on peace education, theory, curriculum and pedagogy. The journal recognizes peace education as education for the achievement of a nonviolent, ecologically sustainable, just, and participatory society.

Forthcoming articles include the following:

"Peace Education Theory"
By Ian M. Harris

"Peace Education: An Islamic Approach"
By Mustafa Köylü

"Target: Disarmament Education"
By Magnus Haavelsrud

"Educating for Peace in the Midst of Violence: A South African Experience"
By Anne-Marie Maxwell, Penny Enslin, and Tudor Maxwell

"The 'Old Europe' and the New Tasks for Peace Education"
By Werner Wintersteiner

The following books will be reviewed:

Just, Ecological Integrity: The Ethics of Maintaining Planetary Life
Peter Miller & Laura Westra (Eds), 2002

Searching for Peace: The Road to Transcend (2nd ed.)
Johan Galtung, Carl G. Jacobson, & Kai Frithjof Brand-Jacobson, 2002

Learning to Abolish War: Teaching Toward a Culture of Peace
Alicia Cabezudo & Betty Reardon, 2002

Spirit of the Nation: Reflections on South Africa's Educational Ethos
Kader Asmal & Wilmot James (Eds.), 2002

For further information on the Journal of Peace Education and notes for contributors please visit http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/17400201.asp andhttp://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/offer/cjpe.asp

Anita Wenden, Interim Journal Convenor

Rhetoricians for Peace Takes the Floor

Editor's Note: Thanks to Francisco Gomes de Matos for passing this along.

Rhetoricians for Peace (RFP), a progressive organization for teachers and students of rhetoric, was founded in the Spring of 2002 and currently has more than 140 members. Writers and teachers are in positions to exert real influence on efforts to work for peace and justice. You are invited to join in RFP's efforts to raise the level of political discussion through exposing manipulations of language and supporting serious rhetorical engagement with questions about the future.

The organization's mission statement is as follows:

Rhetoricians for Peace is a grassroots network of global citizens who advocate the open exchange of accurate information and responsible analysis in order to promote social justice and the peaceful resolutions of conflict.

To achieve this end, RFP will examine public communications and their contexts in the following ways:

  • analyzing public discourses and the rhetorical situations in which those discourses occur
  • countering manipulative rhetoric, lies, dishonest representations of facts, and appeals to the power of force over reason and empathy for others
  • networking with organizations dedicated to open inquiry, particularly organizations that promote peace, environmental responsibility, and social justice

RFP's current projects include

  • rhetorical analysis of public statements, including policy and media sources, and circulation of analyses to the public and to political activists through the organization's Web site and other media
  • promotion of dialogue dedicated to open inquiry of public discourses in communities and educational venues, including schools and academic publications
  • liaising with other groups, in academia and elsewhere, who advocate goals similar to those of RFP, with the ultimate goal of creating a virtual think tank addressing issues of politics and language
  • public recognition, through an annual award, of rhetors who have contributed to sane and courageous discussion of U.S. foreign policy
  • creation of a network of individuals willing to speak on these matters in public forums

To join the group, please visit https://mail.lsit.ucsb.edu/mailman/listinfo.cgi/rfp.

Seth Kahn
Assistant Professor of English
West Chester University
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383
610-436-2915 (office)
610-696-3057 (home)

Linguapax Organizes Dialogue on Language Diversity, Sustainability, and Peace

The Universal Forum of Cultures Barcelona 2004 will provide the framework of the Dialogue on Language Diversity, Sustainability, and Peace, coordinated by the Linguapax Institute. The meeting will take place May 20-23, 2004, at the new Barcelona International Convention Centre, where it will coincide with the great exhibition, Voices. For details, please visit http://www.linguapax.org/ and http://www.barcelona2004.org/.

TESOL Makes Further Strides Toward Reducing Paper Use

Nowadays, we hear about the paperless office and predictions are made about how electronic communication will save huge forests' worth of trees by replacing the need for printers, photocopiers, and even hard copies of books. However, statistics seem to suggest otherwise, showing growth in paper use. Thus, everybody could stand to rethink their use of paper. Of all the large professional organizations I work with, TESOL is the best in terms of reducing the quantity of paper that it sends to members. And TESOL keeps getting better. New initiatives include online voting for TESOL officers, online membership renewal, online versions of TESOL Quarterly, and special online-only publications, such as TESOL Connections.

Keep up the good work, TESOL!


George Jacobs
TSR Newsletter editor

About This Member Community

TESOLers for Social Responsibility Caucus

TESOLers for Social Responsibility (TSR) comprises TESOL members who are actively engaged in integrating language teaching with social responsibility, world citizenship and an awareness of global issues such as peace, human rights and the environment. The caucus aims to promote social responsibility within the TESOL profession and to advance social equity, respect for differences, and multicultural understanding through education.

Community Leaders, 2003-2004
Chair: Elise Klein, tsr@tesol.org
Chair-Elect: Thomas Schroeder
Editor: George Jacobs

Web site: http://www2.tesol.org/communities/tsr/
Member discussion e-list: Visit http://www.tesol.org/getconnected/ to join the optional discussion list TSR-L, or http://lists.tesol.org/read/?forum=tsr-l if you are already a subscriber.