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Job Announcement - Teacher Trainers - Raynor Roberts, Managing Project Partner

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Send your note to Robb@ESLminiconf.net

Volcanes Community Education Project - Crowd Funding! (Winter 2014-2015)

The Volcanes Community Education Project is a forward thinking initiative by a group of dedicated educators from Fort Hays State University who are providing and are determined to continue providing highly qualified teachers and teaching materials for the children in the Volcanes community of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Volcanes Community Education Project - FundraisingI hope that in the spirit of the holiday season, ESL MiniConference readers in America and around the world will look at the "Go Fund Me" site that Fort Hays State University students have developed to facilitate this fund-raising drive on behalf of a project that has included a number of Fort Hays professors and cross-cultural advocates over recent years.

You can also like "Envision Volcanes" ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Envision-Volcanes/757270150999612) on FACEBOOK!!

Warm holiday wishes,
Dr. Robert Bruce Scott, Ed.D.
Editor and Founder, ESL MiniConference Online

Announcement - New TESOL Certificate Program Open In Thailand (Winter 2012-2013)
Dear Robb,

Trinity TESOL Thailand in association with St. Stephen’s International School is proud to present the only fully accredited Trinity TESOL course currently available in Thailand. It is our intention to provide the best TESOL Certificate course possible in the most conducive surroundings to promote creative and collaborative teacher education held to the rigorous standards of Trinity College London. We hope you will join us in this exciting endeavor.

The course will be held in the St. Stephen’s International School in the Pak Chong area, just outside the Khao Yai National Park. This is about 150 km from Bangkok. For more information on initial course dates please email cert@trinitysis.com.

Let me know what you think, and like us on facebook! ( http://www.facebook.com/TrinityTESOLThailand)

David Hopkins cert@trinitysis.com
Trinity TESOL Thailand

Thank-you Note from David Hopkins (Summer, 2012)
Dear Friends

How do I say thank you to you and others who have commented on my Festschrift in the ESL MiniConference Online. You are only as good as the company you keep, and I have always been blessed with really good company. It is all about collaboration in context, and I couldn't ask for anything more. Dr Robb has been unerring in his choice of friends to comment as he has heard me talking about all of you over quite a period of time. I see myself as a mediator of good ideas, and you folks represent my most valuable sources.

  • To Tadashi Shiozawa... I am indebted to you for inspiring me to think more about what I was doing in an intercultural context, and teaching me much of what I know about Japan, Japanese culture and good teaching.

  • To Ray Clark... there is just too much to say. I have lived and worked in this business long enough to truly appreciate the creative ideas of my initial mentor from language play to the focus on lexicon. Amazing Ray!

  • To Diane Larsen-Freeman...Wow, I am honored and humbled to have had the chance talk with you over the years, from your advice in getting the Peace Corps language project off the ground, to your fascinating writing on complex adaptive systems. You are simply one of the most amazing minds and gracious persons I have been privileged to know.

  • To Marc Helgesen... my initial encounter with Marc says it all. I went to one of your 50" JALT sessions, and walked away with a dozen new things I could do in my classroom tomorrow. Then, I met you and realized you are also a really nice guy as well as a great teacher. Awesome!

  • To Bruce....kindred spirits for sure. It is seldom in life that we have the opportunity to actually do what we want to do with people who are going in the same direction. You made it all happen Bruce!

  • To Robb...How often do you collaborate with people who make you better, just by being who they are? You have made me better amigo, perhaps better than I ever deserved to be!

  • To Steve...You should give classes, no, courses, in "listening," as one of the rare people who actually listens when someone else is talking or writing. This is a wonderful quality and I will be signing up for the course.

  • Thanks for the chance to resonate with you over the years.

    Thank-you note from Dave Hopkins

    Re: Dave Hopkins Festschrift (Summer, 2012)
    Dear Mr. Scott,

    I apologize for not responding much sooner than this, but I hope you will still have time to add my contribution to Dave's Festchrift.
    Steve Wade
    EAL Teacher

    Editor's Note: Contributions of text for the Dave Hopkins Festschrift will be accepted the rest of the summer and into the early fall season. You may send your article to DrRobbScott@gmail.com. Thanks for joining this great ESL celebration!

    CORRECTION (January 13, 2012)
    In the e-mail newsletter alert that was sent to ESL MiniConference subscribers this morning, January 13th, in a promotional blurb about this year's CATESOL 2012 Conference (April 12-15), readers were warned not to forget either about the annual International TESOL Convention, in the midst of their excitement about the California/Nevada event. ESL MiniConference regrets its error in stating the location of the TESOL convention. TESOL 2012 will be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 28-31. Readers are strongly encouraged to attend both of these important events!

    TESOL 2012, Philadelphia, March 28-31

    Dr. Robb Scott
    Editor, ESL MiniConference Online

    Editor's Note (December 15, 2011)
    In recent editions of the ESL MiniConference Online, I have returned to the original style of our newsletter, of including small banner ads leading to useful information and resources that are related to some of the key issues being examined and discussed in the articles on our site. If you would like to bring to my attention an upcoming event or an important resource that is relevant to current or prospective ESL/EFL and cross-cultural teachers and learners, please contact me at Robb@eslminiconf.net or DrRobbScott@gmail.com.

    I am also very happy and excited to be able to share with the 10,000+ monthly readers of the ESL MiniConference Online the new Kindle edition of our now classic "Transition, Turmoil, and Hope: The ESL Profession After 9-11," which collects the Achievement Profile interviews published on the ESL MiniConference from 2002 to 2004, capturing the essence of trends and changes as the field of ESL/EFL reacted in the aftermath of those attacks on American soil that took global victims and launched a period of fear and uncertainty throughout the international community.

    With this mid-winter edition of the ESL MiniConference, and our re-launch of "Solutions for Teachers" as well as a new advocacy group, "Kansas Council for Equity and Access to Transition Services," and as we celebrate 10 years of online publishing, it is my hope that you will see many signs of "peace on earth" in the year 2012.

    Dr. Robb Scott
    Editor, ESL MiniConference Online

    Editor's Note Re Japan (March 20, 2011)
    The ESL MiniConference Online wishes to express sincere condolences to the families of victims in the recent tsunami and earthquake disasters that hit the nation of Japan.

    Many of our readers are Japanese teachers of English or others who have made Japan their second home as English teachers. Many other teachers have lived and worked in Japan at different times in their lives, and are connected forever to the Japanese people through friendships developed through those experiences.

    With this message goes the sincere hope that the worst of this month's natural disasters is over for the people of Japan. No one can doubt that Japan will successfully rebuild itself into something even better. At the same time, there are people there in hard straits right now, and our readers are encouraged to contact the Red Cross or the Japanese Red Cross at http://www.jrc.or.jp/eq-japan2011/donation/index.html and give what you can to help.

    Robert Bruce Scott
    Editor, ESL MiniConference Online

    Use Your ESL Skills To Help Afghan Women From the Comfort of Your Home! (January 23, 2011)
    ESL/EFL Colleagues,

    The Alliance for International Women’s Rights is seeking volunteer women ESL/EFL professionals who are willing to teach long-distance English classes to Afghan women. The Alliance is a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting women’s rights efforts in developing countries, with a current focus on Afghanistan.

    Our efforts include increasing the English capacity of Afghan women leaders and future women so that they can better reach out to the international community for information, ideas, funding and to share their experiences with the world. The volunteer positions do not involve any travel – the volunteers will teach Afghan women and girls from the comfort of their own homes using Skype and E-mail.

    Volunteer requirements are as follows:

  • Must have a near-native proficiency in English with TESOL certification or teaching experience.

  • Due to the Afghan culture and for the safety of the Afghan women and girls in our program we are only able to work with women teachers for this project.

  • Volunteers need to have a reliable computer, high-speed internet, Skype software (free software is found at www.skype.com), and a headset.

  • The volunteers will need to be available to teach one student for two sessions a week for a minimum of three months. Each class session generally runs for 45 minutes or one hour, depending on the student’s availability.

  • Although we are still in the process of determining the availability of the Afghan students, we anticipate that many of the classes will occur Saturday through Thursday, between 9:00 a.m. and noon, and 2:00 and 4:00 pm (days and time are in Afghanistan’s time). These times are not yet definite and may change.

  • Interested applicants should determine if they are available during these times by comparing their local time to Afghanistan time on the following website: www.timezoneconverter.com. We ask that applicants please determine their availability during the required hours before applying.
  • We are only able to interview candidates who are available at the requested times. Please consider using your skills to help Afghan women and girls. If you are interested, please contact Vicky Willson at VickyW@aiwr.org.

    Please send a current resume. Additionally, you may want to download and fill in the English program application on the bottom right side of our home page: www.aiwr.org

    V. Wilson
    Volunteer ESL Coordinator
    The Alliance for International Women's Rights

    TEFL International News! (April 25, 2010)
    Hi Robb,

    TEFL International is offering a $500 discount for TESOL Certificate courses at our proprietary centers (Ban Phe, Nepal, Vietnam, Zhuhai, Shanghai, Beijing, etc.) I would appreciate it if you would spread the word to friends and colleagues. See the website www.tefllife.com

    We are also pleased to announce the following university affiliation for all graduates.

    "TEFL International alumni who qualify for admissions at Anaheim University will be granted credit for EDU500: Second Language Teaching and Learning."
    -David Nunan, Dean, Department of Education, Anaheim University."

    Thanks for your help,
    All the best,
    Dave Hopkins

    Director of Academics
    TEFL International

    Achievement Profile Follow-up: Donald Cherry (March 30, 2010)
    Hi Robb,

    Don Cherry here, star interviewee of your late summer ESL miniconference achievement profile page.

    I thought I would let you know that I've been working on a blog for a while about life in Japan that I thought your readers might find funny. You can find it at donaldcherry.com/trombone. Have a look, if you like, and if you think it would be appropriate, feel free to link to it from your site, or to send it to anyone else you think would enjoy it.

    Have a nice spring!
    Donald E. Cherry
    Homepage: donaldcherry.com
    Blog: donaldcherry.com/trombone

    Immigrant Family Scholarships from Western Union (November 12, 2009 - RFP Deadline February 5, 2010)
    Re-posted from FoundationCenter.org

    Western Union Foundation Announces New Scholarship Program for Immigrant Families

    The Western Union Foundation's Family Scholarship Program is a new educational initiative for migrants, immigrants, and their families in the United States.

    The Family Scholarship Program is intended to help two members of the same family move up the economic development ladder through education. Scholarships may be used for tuition for college/university education language acquisition classes, technical/skill training, and/or financial literacy. For example, one family member may request assistance to attend college and the other family member may request assistance to attend English as a Second Language courses.

    All applicants must be 18 or older. The country of origin for at least one of the applicants must be outside the U.S. Applications must include educational providers for primary and secondary award recipients (must be two family members). Scholarships will only be made to nonprofit accredited higher education institutions and nonprofit training/educational providers.

    Recipients are eligible to receive scholarships in amounts of $1,000 to $5,000 per family.

    Recipients are determined in a selection process independently managed by the Institute of International Education, an international nonprofit educational exchange organization.

    Applications for the winter scholarship are due February 5, 2010. Visit the Western Union Foundation Web site for complete program information.

    Contact: Link to Complete RFP:

    Language Experience (November 4, 2009)
    Hi Robb,

    I just read your article about using the language experience approach to teach ESL discussing Marsha Taylor's approach ("Raising Awareness to Form: Ellis Research Implies Changes to Krashen Model", Winter 2008-2009). I am really interested in learning more about this. I work in an ABE program and occasionally have an ESL person enroll. I have little ESL training but a lot of experience with using language experience from previous teaching experiences teaching reading at the elementary level. The setting that an ESL person has when coming into my program is working on their own with materials I have, ( I do have the Cross Roads Cafe texts and videos and have relied on them in the past). Because it's a program where individuals work independently with what I set up for them and have maybe 20-30 minutes to work with them individually, it seems like to get the most out of our time together, I would like to personalize our lessons and use what language they need as a priority. Can you give me any direction on the scope and sequence of grammar that I could be directing our activities and conversation time toward? I would appreciate any suggested resources. The individual I am working with right now is Korean and has very little conversational English though very motivated. He has a job at the local grocery store in the meat department and could advance if he could talk to customers.

    Lisa Rininger
    Learning Resources Department
    Alaska Vocational Technical Center
    Seward, ALASKA 99664
    Editor's note: I responded to Lisa Rininger with a link, www.prolinguaassociates.com/Pages/literacy.html to a page of suggestions for teaching English to "true beginner" adults, from the experts at Pro Lingua Associates in Brattleboro, VERMONT.

    Silent Way Courses in Tokyo (July 24-26, 2009)
    For anyone who might be interested,

    I thought I'd mention here that I will be teaching an intensive Silent Way English course in Tokyo July 24-26, and then 3 subsequent weekends over the course of the next 6 months. If you know anyone who would like to experience this approach, check out http://sites.google.com/site/gaandsw/Home/wsinfo. I apologize in advance for this shameless self-promotion. I just figured it's not often one can see this approach in action.

    Donald Cherry
    Hiroshima, JAPAN

    The JCMU Melville Endowed Scholarship Fund (March 19, 2009)
    Dear Mr. Scott,

    My name is Kate Simon, I am the Program Coordinator for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU). I recently found your tribute to Harold "Mel" Melville on the ESL MiniConference, and I thought you might be interested in the JCMU Melville Endowed Scholarship fund. We have established this endowment to honor and remember the contributions of Harold who touched the lives of hundreds of JCMU students over the last 20 years. The endowment will provided annual need-based scholarships to JCMU students studying Japanese language and culture.

    You can find out more about the JCMU Melville Endowed Scholarship Fund on the JCMU website. I have been trying to reach out to the different people and groups that had connections with Harold over the years. It has been amazing to find out how many things he was involved with, and how many people he touched.

    Kate Simon
    Program Coordinator
    Japan Center for Michigan Universities
    Michigan State University
    East Lansing, MICHIGAN

    Enthusiastic Short-Term Summer Teachers (February 24, 2009)
    Dear Robb,

    I am teaching a large course called "English as an International Language" for undergraduates at the Univ of Central Florida. Several of my students would like to teach overseas this summer in a short- term situation, probably 4-6 weeks.

    These are juniors and seniors who are native speakers. They know more about English grammar from an ESL viewpoint than some of my graduate TESOL students! They are energetic, gung-ho, and ready to go, but I don't know where to send them that I can vouch for.

    A few years ago one of our students went to China for a short-term gig in the summer. He received a decent salary, housing, and a food allowance. I think he had to pay his own airfare over.

    My students are interested in Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Thailand, and many other countries.

    If ANYONE has ANY suggestions -- or if any program is reading this, please post something back to me [see Web link below] and we can talk further.

    Keith Folse, Ph.D.
    Coordinator, MATESOL Program
    University of Central Florida

    Henro Pilgrimage (February 14, 2009)
    Dear colleagues,

    Charles AdamsonOn Valentines Day, I will leave, with a friend, for Shikoku where we will begin walking the Henro Trail. This year we plan to walk for 21 days (the maximum vacation time available to us), continuing next year at about the same time. Briefly, the Henro Pilgrimage consists of going around (walking in our case, although these days the majority of people go by bus tour) Shikoku, stopping at designated temples and chanting the Heart Sutra.

    I will be blogging the experience at www.henro2009.blogspot.com. A number of times each day I will send photos and text. I hope that you will join us on our pilgrimage.

    Charles Adamson
    Sendai, JAPAN

    Detroit Schoolchildren Welcome President Obama (January 25, 2009)

    I wanted to share this video of our ELL students here in suburban Detroit on Inauguration Day. It was great to see these often-overlooked students get some positive attention!

    Barbara Gottschalk
    Detroit, MICHIGAN

    Note on Gaza Violence: TESOLers for Social Responsibility (January 7, 2008)
    Dear colleagues,

    Greetings from Japan! I hope you all had a good winter break.

    I've just received the following two urgent appeals from peace groups working to stop the fighting in Gaza:

    (1) Avaaz Appeal and On-line Petition (International)

    (2) Committee of Seven Appeal for World Peace (Japan)

    I'm sure many of you have been following the situation on TV and have been shocked by the scenes of destruction, violence and the plight of the victims on all sides. If you, your colleagues or students would like to add your voices to the thousands of others around the world calling for a ceasefire and a peaceful negotiated settlement, check the websites above, read through the appeals below and pass these on to other concerned people.

    I'll be writing separately soon with comments about TSR (TESOLers for Social Responsibility) and our plans to go for an IS(Interest Section) in 2009. For now, let's see what we can do to join together, add our voices to the call for peace and try to stop the bloodshed.


    Kip Cates
    Professor, Faculty of Regional Sciences, Tottori University
    MA Instructor, Teachers College Columbia University, Tokyo
    Chair and Founder, Asian Youth Forum (AYF)
    Editor, JALT Global Issues in Language Education Newsletter
    Kip Cates Web sites:

    The Ideal ESL/EFL Program (December 25, 2008)
    Hi Robb,

    I enjoyed your latest miniconference, especially your own article on ESL programs. You've had quite a varied career! I guess all of us dedicated teachers always try our best; it's unfortunate that personality conflicts among teachers and administrators sometimes get in the way. I always concentrate most on classroom dynamics and 'go with the flow' outside class so as not to waste too much energy. I often find myself asking: "Will this benefit the students and/or my teaching in general?" Have a happy holiday season, you and yours.

    I just want to add, Robb, that I still remember working with you in Riverdale in 2001. I enjoyed it, partly because you were a fine administrator! I could concentrate on teaching.

    David Papier

    Editor's Note: David Papier's letter reminds me that the 2001 experience he refers to--we taught an influx of 200 Italian tourists/students for three weeks--inspired me to develop an ESL programming model of engaging teachers in an ongoing "miniconference" atmosphere and activity. I well remember the intensity of those several weeks in the middle of summer, with classrooms spread all over the Manhattan College campus. Several rooms didn't have air conditioning, and on one very hot day I brought over trays of ice water from the cafeteria to keep students--and teachers--hydrated. It was all a lot of fun, and I described the resulting vision of program administration in a paper presented at NYTESOL's annual conference in October, 2001.
    -Robb Scott, Editor

    Thailand is Not Dangerous (December 4, 2008)
    Hi Robb,

    The international and local press has made it sound as if Thailand is a very dangerous place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Life has proceeded very much as normal. Schools are in session, banks are open, and businesses are operating. With the exception of the airports, the transportation systems are all functioning normally. The Ban Phe-Koh Samet Festival opened on schedule with special events planned for the King's Birthday. There has been no violence directed against foreigners. Thailand is a very safe place, and remains so. The inconvenience and expense to travelers is serious and certainly regrettable, but there has been no intent to threaten the well being of international visitors.

    It is truly unfortunate that at the peak of the crisis in Thailand, the violence in Mumbai occurred. There are no parallels between these events. In Mumbai, there was considerable loss of life, and much of the violence was directed against foreigners. Amazingly enough, in Thailand the police, the military, the protesters and the anti protesters went to extraordinary lengths to avoid violence. All parties respected the right to peaceful demonstration. The fact that there could be a closure of international airports was shocking because in most countries this would have meant a complete breakdown of law and order. None of this was in evidence in Thailand. In Ban Phe, Phuket, Chiang Mai and rest of Thailand, life continues normally. The TEFL International TESOL Certificate course continues to operate peacefully in the pleasant surroundings of Thai culture and society.

    Season's greetings,

    Dave Hopkins
    Director of Academics
    TEFL International

    Re: Winter Tribute to Harold "Mel" Melville (May 1, 2008)

    Dear Mr. Scott,

    I am Mel's wife "Keiko". I have not a chance to read "Tribute to Harold Melville" until tonight.

    I would like to say thank you for putting this tribute on the web. And also, I would like to say to everybody who knows Mel, "Thank you for your friendship with Mel, and He really loved teaching English in Japan. If you have a chance to come to Hikone, please feel free to contact me. I would like to show you the place where Mel liked." His friends will also want to know that I did put one of Mel's cowboy hats in the coffin.

    Lastly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your Kindness.

    Yours truly,

    Keiko Oya Melville
    Hikone, JAPAN

    Re: TESOL 2008 Session on Teaching Grammar! (Feb. 11, 2008)

    Dear Robb,

    Betty Schrampfer AzarFour of us TESOL members -- Keith Folse, Michael Swan, Kent Hill, and me (Betty Azar) -- are getting together on a panel at TESOL in New York on April 5 to talk about "Teaching Grammar in Today's Classroom." For part of the session, we'd like to answer questions emailed to us from other teachers. We'd love to get some questions from our fellow teachers -- questions like:

    --How are ESL and EFL contexts different as regards grammar teaching? Is it a good idea to use mother-tongue explanations in EFL settings?
    --What does recent research tell us about explicit grammar teaching? Is it "in" or "out" these days?
    --I teach an advanced writing class in an intensive program. I occasionally mark grammar errors, but let most of them pass. I myself think I should include grammar instruction, but our curriculum director disagrees. What can I say to convince my director that my students need some grammar instruction?
    --What should teachers do if they find some grammar they don't agree with in a textbook they've been assigned to teach?

    We'd really appreciate getting questions from our fellow TESOL members. Send your questions to betty@azargrammar.com or post them on www.azargrammar.com or on TESL-L.

    It'd be great to hear the kinds of grammar teaching questions we teachers are mulling over these days. We'll make our answers available on the Internet after the conference.

    Betty Azar

    Re: Online Tool Adds Creativity to ESL/EFL Lessons (Jan. 9, 2008)

    Dear Mr. Scott

    Last year, when we first launched our storytelling comic strip generator -- www.MakeBeliefsComix.com -- you were among the first to give us your support and encouragement for providing a useful educational resource for ESOL and literacy students.

    We have just upgraded the site to enable users to also write their comics in Spanish as well as in English -- a request made by many educators -- and we have added more fun characters in response to user suggestions.

    Since the site was launched more 150,000 educators in more than 150 countries are using our free resource to encourage writing, reading, literacy and storytelling. I hope you will try out our new features and share them with your community of colleagues and students.

    All good wishes to you for the new year, and thank you again for your support.

    Bill Zimmerman

    Re: Trinidad Employment Query (July 8, 2007)

    Letter from Bill Bliss (reprinted with his permission from TESL-JB listserv)

    I'm currently teaching in Saudi Arabia and considering a move to Trinidad. Information on English teaching in Trinidad is sketchy and difficult to come by.

    Does anyone have word on pay scales, working conditions, expenses and job opportunities in Trinidad? Is anyone working there now?

    Thanks in advance.

    Bill Bliss

    Re: Blowback at TESOL, Inc. (June 28, 2007)

    Editor's Note:

    The ESL MiniConference has obtained a galley sheet of the "From the Editor" page which was cut from the June 2007 edition of Essential Teacher. Galley
sheet pulled from June 2007 Essential TeacherTwo sentences near the top of this page address the conflict between ET staff and TESOL leadership over a reduced publication calendar, and, according to an anonymous source, it was this galley sheet which prompted the firing of Tim Stewart, Essential Teacher editor.

    "On a discouraging note, the ET team was told that Essential Teacher may be cut from four to three issues per year. We are opposed to this change and encourage you to e-mail us your thoughts about it (et@tesol.org)."

    It is not known how many of the individuals who signed the Tim Stewart online petition were aware of or had seen previously this galley sheet. While the direct appeal to ET readers seems wonderfully transparent, at the same time it may represent the crossing of a line as far as internal organizational communications is concerned.

    Clearly, Tim Stewart and his ET team were at desperate straits to have attempted to get their appeal into print. TESOL should not have named Stewart to the post of editor without notifying him they were contemplating such a significant change in the publication calendar. Any editor can imagine how it must have felt to learn of such plans barely a year into the job.

    At the most recent TESOL Board of Directors meeting, in late June, an effort by board members to discuss procedural and possibly ethical problems with the way in which Timothy Stewart was fired was stifled by new TESOL President Sandy Briggs, using Robert's Rules of Order.

    This likely marks the end of the matter as far as TESOL action is concerned. ESL MiniConference Online will gladly publish any letters or opinions from readers representing any point of view regarding this recent controversy at the Essential Teacher, one of TESOL's most popular magazines.


    Robb Scott
    Manhattan, KANSAS

    Re: Dictionaries (June 20, 2007)

    Letter from Charles Adamson (reprinted with permission from JALTTALK listserv)

    I have two questions about dictionaries.
    [1] Does anyone know of any bilingual dictionaries (E/J and/or J/E) that actually define the words rather than giving a list of possible translations? What I am thinking about is something like the following:

    for E/J, starting with any of the advanced learners dictionaries, the definitions would be the same but translated into Japanese. Ideally, the new dictionary would contain both the original English definition and the Japanese translation of it.

    My reason for asking about this is that the students almost never understand the real meaning of the English word, but seem to think that it is an alternate way of saying a Japanese word. The students who are at an advanced enough level to use the advanced learners dictionaries are very surprised when they start looking at the actual meanings of many of the words, even ones they learned in junior high school.

    [2] Does anyone know of a spelling checker that allows the user to turn off, or remove, the basic list of words? Preferably this would be a spell checker that would work inside MS Word, but even one that could check a .doc file would be suitable. I would even settle for one that only worked on .htm, .rtf, or .txt files that had to be checked separately.

    My reason for asking is that I would be able to control the vocabulary in materials that I make for the students. If it were possible to turn off the main list, I could build lists that included only the words that I expected the students to know. Any other words could be easily changed or glossed during a spell check.

    Thanks in advance,

    Charles Adamson
    Sendai, JAPAN

    More Re: TESL-L Complaints (March 1, 2007)

    To the Editor:

    I came across your site during a web search on another topic. I stayed and browsed a bit and was surprised to find some things that were not entirely public but that I had intimate knowledge of.


    In fact, I was the person who launched the complaint about posting lengths. As it turned out, other people had other gripes that they wanted to share. My only gripe was the length of posts.

    I received personal messages from some of the 10-15 people who were being CC'd those messages about their frustration with the person who is responsible for that list saying how difficult it was to change things. Also, the problem was with the system which could not accommodate longer posts.

    Nonetheless, as you know, TESL-L recently made some major changes with it's I.T. system and now long posts are possible. I'm not sure how long as I haven't pushed it.

    The complaint I launched was a matter whose time had come. It was time to upgrade and improve things so that is what happened. My complaint only triggered changes that had to happen anyway and eventually.

    I was also surprised to see the post on the Coursebook Debate.

    www.eslminiconf.net/summer06/spellerispecial.html www.eslminiconf.net/summer06/whitesonspecial.html www.eslminiconf.net/summer06/saidspecial.html

    Unfortunately, the author of that post tried to claim that we were advocating that beginning teachers should be making their own coursebooks. That kind of skews the entire discussion and makes opposition to the discussion a no-brainer. Doesn't it? This disallows the real debate which I framed as whether or not experienced teachers with an MA or equivalent training feel that they could or even should develop customized material for their students.

    It also overlooks the important and valid concern of 'de-skilling' teachers.

    Like the previous discussion on post lengths, this is a matter whose time has come. It doesn't matter how they skew and skewer the subject, customizing coursebooks must happen. Not only that, every teacher will be doing it as soon as the big publishers figure out how to make money on it.

    Dave Kees


    More Re: Dictionary Debate on TESL-L (December 27, 2006)

    David PapierYou know, there are some other thoughts about dictionaries, Robb. The richness of a word comes not from its definition, but from the context in which it is used. Some words are restricted semantically: for example, the word elderly. Of course it means 'old', but only people can be elderly, not houses or even beloved pets. Some words are restricted grammatically: you can prevent either a NOUN (prevent an accident) or a PERSON + FROM + -ING ('I prevented Mary from falling.'). An example of both kinds of restriction combined would be the verb budge, which is used only in the negative. A simple little dictionary, especially a bilingual one, often won't tell a student these things. I maintain firmly that it's the job of the ESL teacher to provide this context; by steering away from definitions or translations, the teacher is giving depth to the word, showing the students how to use the word, and also increasing the chances that the students will remember the word. I believe that research confirms this latter assertion.


    David Papier

    Re: Dictionary Debate on TESL-L (December 24, 2006)

    Hi again Robb,

    I enjoyed the latest MiniConference, especially the article about the use of dictionaries in class. I wouldn't stomp on them, but I do come down pretty heavily against their use. Here in Asia, at least, most students have electronic dictionaries, and it's very distracting to me to try to teach while people are fiddling with them. (Some of them also have games on them, and with younger students you don't even know if they're looking up a word or playing.) I always explain to students, young or old, that it's my job as an ESL teacher to explain words to them, and I think I can do it well. If there are too many new words, then the material is too hard. And if students constantly stop to look up new words while reading, they may end up knowing all the words but not understaning the overall meaning of the text. The summer before I taught with you in Riverdale, I taught Taiwanese teenagers at a school on Long Island; I had a basket at the door of the classroom into which everyone had to deposit electronic dictionaries. The other teachers who didn't do that constantly complained about them.

    That's my 2 cents' worth.


    David Papier

    Call for Proposals, TALGS 2007 (Letter received November 22, 2006)

    I hope this won’t be too much trouble. I was wondering if you could add the line (in color) to our conference announcement. We have received few proposals so far and are trying to see if this emphasis will make any difference. Thanks a lot and happy Thanksgiving!

    Lida Cope
    Associate Professor, Department of English
    East Carolina University
    Greenville, NORTH CAROLINA
    Read the report from last year's TALGS event!

    Call for Proposals: TALGS 2007

    Proposals invited from ESL teachers and Applied Linguistics graduate students!

    DEADLINE: January 5, 2007!!!

    TALGS (TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students) is a small, student-run conference aimed at helping ESL/Language teachers in the community connect with language/TESL students and university faculty. TALGS is committed to bettering the educational experience of language learners by providing a comfortable environment for interaction between theory, practice, researchers and teachers.


    $10 for ECU students, faculty / $15 all others


    Keynote Speaker: Dr. Donna Christian
    View a full description of Dr. Christian's keynotes! (pdf)
    President of the Center for Applied Linguistics
    "Bilingualism for All Students through Two-Way Immersion"
    Hosted by East Carolina University (Greenville, N.C.)
    Pre-Conference Talk: Feb. 9, 2007
    All-Day TALGS Conference: Feb. 10, 2007

    More Audiovisual Material from Neil Young (November 2, 2006)

    This letter is printed at the request of the Warner Brothers Record Company. The ESL MiniConference published an article, Heavy Ammunition for Content-Based ESL/EFL: Sixties Elder Rips It Up with New Protest Album, in our spring edition, about new music from Neil Young.

    There have been very few songs in recent history with the flashpoint reaction of Neil Young's "Let's Impeach The President." Included on his recent album Living With War, the song was immediately pinpointed by both sides of the political spectrum for it's direct indictment of the presidency of George W. Bush. Young has made videos for every song on the Living With War album, and is releasing the video for "Let's Impeach the President" today.

    Streaming URL:
    Streaming URL:


    Jeff Watson
    Director of New Media
    Warner Brothers Records
    Editor's Note: This music video would be an excellent way to introduce an ESL unit on U.S. politics, or how American democracy works, especially in a class that focused on building oral communication skills. The ESL MiniConference thanks Jeff Watson, Neil Young, and Warner Brothers Records for sharing these relevant links to help teachers in content-based ESL/EFL settings.

    TESLJB-L Shutting Down, New Job List Opening

    As some of you may know, an old employment email list, TESLJB-L, will be closed down in the next few weeks due to changes at CUNY. (There have been unexpected problems which have slowed this closing for the time being.)

    Some of us have begun a new employment list, TESLJOB@yahoogroups.com [TESLJOB@yahoogroups.com] This list has both job posts and discussions on a wide range of employment issues. To give you an idea...in the past, in addition to the job posts, we have discussed topics as specific or general such as:

    (1) working/hiring conditions in specific countries, regions or cities
    (2) how hard is it to get hired in the EU if you don't have an EU passport
    (3) discrimination in hiring NNSs of English
    (4) what a living wage would be in China/Japan/ Mexico etc
    (5) how to structure a resume/CV for various cultures
    (6) how to submit personal documents for jobs in other countries
    (7) how to meet the requirements for K-12 teaching credentials in the US
    (8) which is better for getting hired, a certificate or an MA
    (9) the quality/viability of certificates or other credentials earned exclusively online
    (10) the clash between freedom of speech/academic freedom and job retention
    ...and lots more...

    If you are interested in helping us build a good new employment-focused list, please consider joining TESLJOB.

    You can do this

    (1) by sending a blank email to TESLJOB-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
    (2) going to the website and following the JOIN THIS GROUP procedures there
    (3) contacting Karen Stanley directly and asking her to subscribe you to the list -
    - or -


    Karen Stanley
    Charlotte, NORTH CAROLINA
    Note: Karens's message was originally posted on the Carolina TESOL listserv, October 14, 2006.

    The Second Affiliate Regional MATE Conference (Letter received September 22, 2006)

    Reprinted from TESOL Affiliates Listserv with permission of the author

    The second regional affiliate annual Miragoane Association of Teachers of English (MATE) conference for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL), held June 29, 2006 at Robsi Hotel, Miragoane with the full support of Dr. Michael Rudder, the Regional English Language Officer (RELO) for Central America, based at the U.S. Embassy, San Jose, Costa, Rica, hosted about 38 participants from throughout the southern part of the country. The conference, for which the theme was "Meeting the Challenges of Teachers of English as a Global Language," offered a variety of workshops and presentations on topics highly relevant to teachers of English here in Haiti.

    RELO Michael Rudder, who could not come to Haiti to participate in person in the program, had generously sent us (2) two-part DVD presentations on "Some Misconceptions Regarding ELT and Learning" and "Motivation the Key to Success," a package of handouts and some excellent ELT materials. The participants were all satisfied with his presentations. We are all grateful to him for his generous contributions and especially for the handouts since language teaching resource materials are very scarce in the southern part of the country.

    The keynote address was delivered by Jean Frantzy Italien, President; workshops on speaking activities were conducted by J. François Vilmenay, MATE Representative and Jean René Guerrier, Public Relations Coordinator. They actually covered a variety of topics highlighting the importance of listening and speaking skills in the process of learning English as a foreign language, these topics are those which form part of everybody’s daily lives, for example families, homes and leisure activities. The second affiliate regional annual MATE conference for teachers of English as a foreign language was a great success.

    Jean Frantzy Italien
    President of MATE
    Jean François Vilmenay
    Representative and Program Coordinator, MATE
    TESOL Affiliate- Haiti & USA
    Miragoane, HAITI

    New Video from Neil Young (August 16, 2006)

    This letter is printed at the request of the Warner Brothers Record Company. The ESL MiniConference published an article, Heavy Ammunition for Content-Based ESL/EFL: Sixties Elder Rips It Up with New Protest Album, in our spring edition, about new music from Neil Young.

    Hello. Neil Young has made a new video for 'After The Garden' from his album Living With War and we'd like you to promote it on your site. The video is a powerful indictment of Bush's eco-policy and makes a bold statement. More videos coming soon! If you post it, please drop me a note and let me know.

    Streaming URL:
    Streaming URL:
    Streaming URL:

    Streaming URL:
    http://streamos.wbr.com/qtime/wbr/neilyoung/072606/nyoung_after-garden-bumper_220.mov Streaming URL:
    Streaming URL:

    Spread the word for Neil!

    Jeff Watson
    Director of New Media
    Warner Brothers Records

    Call for Advocacy from North Carolina (April 20, 2006)

    Reprinted from Carolina TESOL listserv with permission of the author

    I am new to this forum and didn't want to start this way but I feel it's something my fellow professionals should read.

    I am angry and just wanted you all to know why in case you would like to do something too.

    In reading my resources for the immigration issue I came across an article in the Winston-Salem Journal referencing the hearing entitled "Gangs, Fraud and Sexual Predators: Struggling with the Consequences of Illegal Immigration"

    North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is quoted as saying "North Carolina should declare English the state's official language and refuse to pay for English as a Second Language in schools." The rest of the acticle is even more maddening.

    She is attributing gangs and crime and all our other social problems to illegal immigrants - Mexicans. This woman needs a serious education and soon. (Maybe someone should send her there to live as the common person.)

    Please write her and educate her to the wonderful students we have and the horrible things they live through to have a better life.

    I'll step down (off my soap box) now but I'm not done.

    Cris Flay
    ESL K-8 Teacher

    Re: Using ODEO in ESL/EFL Teaching

    Sorry about my belated answer, but classes have just started here in Argentina and I wanted to make sure my students would get involved in this project, for which I'm using ODEO. I've invited them to go to http://odeo.com/profile/RitaZ, and I'm still struggling to get them record a message. Only one has done so, so far, but he hasn't posted it to "my channel ", so it's not online (another feature to comment on). If you (or anybody else on this list) would like your students to leave us an audio message, you are very welcome. Maybe it could be a starting point for a future common project ;-)

    Best wishes,

    Rita Zeinstejer
    See Rita Zeinstejer's Achievement Profile!
    Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
    Note: Rita's message was originally posted on the NETEACH-L listserv, March 22, 2006.

    Editor's Note
    Thanks to Rita Zeinstejer for her timely note about Odeo. The ESL MiniConference Online now has an Odeo channel, at odeo.com/channel/87472/view. If you have iTunes, you can add these podcasts, and automatically those posted over the next days, weeks, and months, by subscribing to http://www.odeo.com/channel/87472/rss, the RSS feed. I hope that teachers interested in ESL MiniConference content will enjoy being able to download podcasts to iPods and other mobile devices to listen to at your convenience. Let's keep that conference spirit going and growing all year long! Best of luck to ESL MiniConference readers with your current projects.
    Robb Scott
    Editor, ESL MiniConference Online

    Greetings from Budapest


    Greetings from Budapest. Always glad to receive the latest news from you. Quick update: I've been working here with the Hungarian Ministry of Education since September of 2004. One focus of my work is to get Hungary's English teachers using the Internet in their teaching. So I give workshops, consult, develop resources, and so on.

    One thing I thought your readers might be interested in is my newsletter, the Quick Resource Sheet. Because some teachers in this part of the world are relatively new to using the Internet, and/or because they have limited time to surf the web, or very limited computer access, I started writing a more-or-less weekly newsletter devoted to a different theme of interest to teachers with each issue. For each theme I recommend three to five websites, include the links, and provide brief descriptions of the sites.

    Because it's fast to read and easy to use, it seems to have become popular. I started with twenty subscribers last October, and now I'm pushing 3,000. But I'm always happy to add new subscribers. (Anyone who's interested should send a blank e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the Subject line to gabriel.skop@om.hu - NOT to my hotmail account.)

    If you think it's worth sharing this with others feel free.

    Take care.

    Best regards,

    Gabriel Skop
    Budapest, HUNGARY

    Re: Third Annual TALGS Conference

    I would submit an announcement for an upcoming TESOL/Applied Linguistics conference at East Carolina University. If you require any additional information, please let me know.

    3rd Annual TALGS Conference
    East Carolina University
    Greenville, NC
    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    TALGS (TESOL/Applied Linguistics Grad Students) is a small, graduate-run conference that serves to connect teachers in the community with researchers at the university. The conference will focus on ideas that benefit language/ESL teachers and language/TESL students. Graduate students and teachers will be presenting their papers, and presentation proposals are now being accepted online. For more information you can visit our website http://core.ecu.edu/engl/talgs or email us at talgs@mail.ecu.edu.

    Mary Jones
    Graduate Assistant, MA TESOL Program
    East Carolina University
    Greenville, NORTH CAROLINA

    Re: Position Opening at Johnson County Community College

    Dear colleagues,

    I am an associate professor of English here at Johnson County Community College. I would like to let you know that our college recently approved a position for a full-time EAP professorship. I am not in charge of the supervision of the posting, but because I am familiar with your organization, I am hoping that you will somehow be able to spread the word about the opening. Our dept. is now forming a search committee and probably will have the job description ready by early Oct. Quite possibly the hiring will be completed by November, but no closing dates have been set at this time.

    Because I would like for our college to recruit the most qualified candidates, I am contacting you in advance. I would be grateful if you could somehow let the members of your professional organization know about the new position. I will be happy to send you more specific information as soon as it is made public here regarding the application opening and closing dates.

    Thank you very much for any assistance is publicizing this new opening and helping us recruit a qualified roster of candidates.

    Mary Grace Foret
    Associate Professor of English
    Johnson County Community College
    Overland Park, KANSAS

    Re: Nebraska Comes Together (October 12, 2005)

    please publish this brief announcement and/or forward to an organization, your church or anyone who can help get the word out.

    Nebraska Comes Together on October 12 is a day to demonstrate strong, mainstream demand for positive immigration reform! Poll after poll shows widespread support for comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system. Across Nebraska, people agree that local families need help reuniting, that family breadwinners need clear legal status while they are working, living, and paying taxes in our area, and that we should provide a pathway to citizenship for our newest neighbors. Join us on October 12 for a day of action, including a community training (9-11am), public rally (noon), and conversation with elected officials (1-4pm). Location: the Women's Club, 407 S. 14th Street, in Lincoln.

    For more information, to register, or to add your organization or business' endorsement to the day, contact Ed Leahy at 402-689-4249, eleahy@neappleseed.org, or visit www.irnin.org


    Ed Leahy
    Immigrant Rights Network of Iowa-Nebraska

    Re: Voices By the Sea (September 22-25, 2005)
    This note was forwarded by Wendy Sherwood King:

    Hi all!

    Pat Majors, President of Carolina TESOL, has asked us to forward these questions and information on the Southeast Regional TESOL Conference to NC's school districts. The Conference will be in Myrtle Beach September 22-25, 2005.

    Featured speakers are James J. Asher: Creator of the Total Physical Response (TPR)
    Elsa Auerbach: Theorist on critical literacy and participatory education
    Judy Gilbert: Expert in teaching pronunciation, author of Clear Speech
    Dave Sperling: Proprietor of the Internet's Dave's ESL Café
    Walt Wolfram: Honored author, sociolinguist, and dialectician

    While the registration deadline for the SE Regional is August 15th, it would be very helpful to the Conference Committee if they had an idea of how many educators to expect. Pat would appreciate recipients of this e-mail to e-mail her pmajors@bellsouth.net with the following information:

    Name of school district
    Number of teachers attending the Saturday strand only
    Number of teachers attending the conference

    Carolina TESOL realizes that registrations for many districts are "in progress," and that many will be received just prior to the deadline.

    Pat also reports, "The good news is that in addition to the excellent plenary speakers (who will all be giving workshops), we have received a fantastic response to the Call for Presentations. This conference is shaping up to be a premier professional development experience. We have proposals from people as far away as the Midwest and the West Coast!

    For more information on the SE Regional Conference see Carolina TESOL's website, http://www.carolinatesol.org/

    Remember to reply to Pat Majors at her e-mail address above. If you hit reply, the information will come to me at DPI.

    Enjoy the rest of July,


    Joanne Marino
    ESL Consultant / Title III
    NC Department of Public Instruction
    Raleigh, NC

    Re: Peace as a Global Language (November 11-13, 2005)
    Hello Robb,

    I am writing to thank you for helping to publicize the Peace as a Global Language Conference in Kyoto last year. The conference was very successful and we had a large number of presenters and participants. We will be holding another conference in Kyoto this year, and we are seeking presenters for the 2005 conference, to be held this November 11-13. I wonder if you would be able to help us firstly, with our call for papers (due at the end of April - but a small extension may be possible) and then in letting your readers know about the conference itself.

    Thank you very much for your help,


    Albie Sharpe
    PGL2005 Organizing Committee
    Call for Proposals--DEADLINE April 30th!
    Call for Proposals--Japanese Language Version
    Information on Accommodations
    Sightseeing Opportunities in Kyoto!
    Kyoto, JAPAN

    Re: Report from San Antonio TESOL 2005 (April 2005)
    Dear Robb,

    Thanks for your message, and for the link to your report. Just as a note of follow-up, TESOL has begun working with a new legislative consultant as of last fall: Ellin Nolan of Washington Partners, LLC. One of the associates there, Ellen Fern, presented a Washington update during the convention. If you would like, you can include this in your report.


    John Segota
    Advocacy and Communications Manager
    Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.
    Alexandria, VIRGINIA

    Re: Report from San Antonio TESOL 2005 (April 2005)
    Hi Robb,

    Thanks for the early report. I remain proud that I am a small part of that TESOL thing, but maintain that the time has come for a larger collaboration of the players in English for International Communication, as I said in my short article. The cooperation with NAFSA is a good thing, but the point remains that the English teachers out here in the world are unrepresented and unentitled, but do the most under the worst circumstances. The world is dying to learn English as it is the language of commerce, communication and entertainment. As an example of the latter, Thailand has its first international singing star in Tata Young simply because she sings in English. Attempts to join the internet generation are so tied to English that most language schools are combined language and computer centers. It's not just airline pilots that must learn English, but all international shipping and handling - air, sea and land - is done in English by international convention. Just a few examples.

    This last week I was doing teaching practice four hours a day in the Thailand Petroleum Authority Vocational School in Rayong where 80 students turned up during the hottest part of the summer break to take free English lessons taught by TEFL International trainees. Almost all boys age 18-20 who would normally be hanging out with their friends and motorcycles, came to four hours of English lessons for four days in hot, unairconditioned classrooms (95degrees+). This is not unnusual and most impresive are the non-native speaking English teachers who put in brutal 50 hour plus weeks teaching these kids in K-12 and technical colleges throughout the year. Who represents these guys?

    International TESOL and its affiliates could make a major contribution to the future and welfare of literally millions of students throughout the world who will be depending upon English to make it in their future, if only they cared, if only they could see beyond the university gates. I know that this is a cruel and in many respects, undeserved indictment of a lot of wonderful people, but it's a cruel and undeserving world. It would be nice if 'we' could do something....si se puede!

    Dave Hopkins
    Director of Academics
    TEFL International

    Electronic Village Online: TESOL 2005 (January 2005)
    Dear Robb,

    Please find below the information about the EVOnline sessions starting in January 2005. This year we will be delivering 14 different sessions. We would be very happy if you could publish this information as you did for the 2004 sessions.

    The CALL Interest Section of TESOL is pleased to announce the Electronic Village Online (EVO) for 2005. Registration for these FREE 6-week Internet-based sessions begins January 3.

    You may explore this year's offerings at http://www.geocities.com/ehansonsmi/evo2005/announce.html

    Sessions run January 17 to February 27. You DO NOT need to be a TESOL member to participate in EVO.

    Sponsoring TESOL groups include:

    Higher Education
    International Teaching Assistants
    English for Special Purposes
    Video & Digital Media
    Teacher Education
    Drama E-Group
    TESOLers for Social Responsibility
    Intensive English Programs
    Computer-Assisted Language Learning

    Best regards,

    Dafne González on behalf of the EVOnline Coordination Team

    Re: Labor Day Message (September 2004)
    Hi, Robb,

    You may have given many teachers the impression that ERIC is no longer available. Actually, it is being re-organized. Would you mind sending information to your list that there are links available to the Eric Documents. For more information see:


    Thank you,

    Debbie Mitchell
    USF, Tampa, FLORIDA

    Re: Labor Day Message (September 2004)
    Dear Robert,

    You have been missed! Many thanks for all your work. And I couldn't agree with you more as to the political situation. Unfortunately, as a Canadian, I am not enfranchised for Nov.2! But I feel that the present forces in the White House affect me and all other world citizens as much as they do Americans. Please keep up your good work.


    Gordon Martin
    Montreal, Quebec, CANADA

    Dear Robb,

    Thank you for sharing your eloquent endorsement of Kerry and sharp-eyed view of what is happening politically in the United States. I admire your sending this to the list as an editorial comment. This election is clearly of deep and crucial importance to all of us involved in ESL -- especially the students.

    If you want to read a really scary book, try "America Alone," which details the neo-conservative takeover of American foreign policy -- long in the planning and aggressively opportunistic after 9/11. I try not to despair for the country (and the world) that the neo-conservatives, with their abhorrent political views, are in power. Bizarre --yes, you are right. Their philosophy and actions are indeed bizarre -- and ruthless.

    Betty Azar
    Seattle, WASHINGTON

    Note from Tom Sloan, Kansas House of Representatives (May 2004)
    Re: In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students
    Mr. Scott:

    Some time ago you sent me an exceedingly nice letter regarding my votes and stand on principle for granting undocumented children in-state tuition status. Thank you.

    As you might expect, that has not been a particularly popular stance among many Kansans, particularly conservative Republicans. One of those persons is running against me this year and others have or will file against moderates of both political parties who have the vision to see the potential in these students.

    This note is to thank you for your supportive comments and encourage you and your colleagues from across the state to become involved in this year's elections. Write letters to the editor, work in campaigns, make financial contributions, etc. or next year's Legislature will not only reverse our gains, but most likely try to become more punitive.

    Tom Sloan
    45th District Representative
    Lawrence, KANSAS

    Cornell and University of Georgia Closing following ELP Berkeley's Closure? (May 2004)
    Reprinted with permission of Dave Winet

    ...message from Judy Snoke of the intensive English program at Virginia Tech:

    "I have just gotten word that the English Language Institute at Cornell will close at the end of this coming summer. I understand that the ALP [American Language Program] at the University of Georgia has also closed."

    Can we do anything more about these closures than to "have a moment of silence"? Who will be next? How can we leverage a policy shift that will recreate a more conducive atmosphere for IEPs and international students in the US generally?

    Please share your perspectives and any initiatives that you know about.

    Dave Winet
    Berkeley, CALIFORNIA
    Originally posted on the NETEACH Listserv

    Remembering Virginia Prichard (May 12, 2004)
    (Reprinted with Author's Permission)

    Dear people,

    Many of you remember Virginia Prichard, one of the three co-founders of what became Carolina TESOL. It is with deep sadness I need to tell you of the death of this, one of the closest of friends.

    Virginia was hired back in the depths of history to direct the fledgling Summer Institute in English at NC State. While there, in the late 70's, she and two other ESL people in Raleigh managed to gather the 25 signatures needed to form a North Carolina affiliate of TESOL. Not very long thereafter she was elected President of the affiliate, but before she could assume office, ill health forced her to resign. Eventually, undiagnosed Guillaume Barre Syndrome forced her to take early retirement (in 1994?) at an age of 62 (Guillaume Barre is a disease--Andy Griffith has it--in which the body's own immune system attacks the body; when it has an intense onset, the patient generally recovers in 6 months or so--but that wasn't Virginia's fate). Moving around became difficult, especially a problem as it affected her ability to use her hands, such as to write.

    Her health and physical mobility wasn't great for many years, but it began to decline sharply when in 2002, after 6 months of trying to identify the problem, a small cancer in her throat was diagnosed (those of us who saw the effects of the radiation therapy were appalled)--Virginia had been a smoker for years. Last summer another cancer was found, this time on her vocal chords.

    Those of us who knew and loved Virginia especially prized her great gift of storytelling. The wry, self-deprecatory humor in her soft, patrician voice was a treasure. The October operation to remove the chords (she was expecting to go home in eleven days) led to a second operation, with a five-month hospital/nursing home stay. In March she finally got to go home and, although she was largely bedridden, life was better; she began to be able to move around a little.

    But the week before last she began having trouble keeping food down, and she returned to the hospital. To some extent, for someone whose voice--both spoken and written--had been her life, the end of Virginia's life quietly on Tuesday last week was something of a blessing. A memorial service was held at the Episcopal church she had long attended near her home last Thursday.

    I cannot remember, with the pain so fresh, any of the many, many wonderful anecdotes she used to tell; those will return with distance. In the meantime, I just wanted to let everyone know of the loss of this unrivalled friend, much beloved by generations of friends and students.

    Bill Isler
    Carolina TESOL Listserv

    New York City Region ODMAC (April 17, 2004)
    Dear Robb,

    I would like to announce that a New York State TESOL (NYS TESOL) New York City Region ODMAC will be held again this spring at the Pace University campus in Downtown Manhattan on Saturday, April 17, 2004. The theme of this year's ODMAC is "Bridging Cultures and Crossing Borders". Registration and breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m. A full day of activities has been planned, including 24 different presentations, a Plenary Speech by Dr. Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, a Resume Workshop, a New York City trivia contest, publishers exhibits, a delicious hot lunch, and continuous coffee service. A pre-registration form can be downloaded and printed out by going to the NYS TESOL website at http://www.nystesol.org/region/nyc.html . The deadline is Friday, April 2.

    For more information contact:
    Brian Hickey (bhickey@pace.edu)
    Marcie Williams (mwilliams3@pace.edu)
    Lisa Kraft (lkraft@pace.edu)
    Kristen di Gennaro (kdigennaro@pace.edu)

    January 2004 Edition (January 2004)
    Hi Robb,

    David Papier I enjoyed the latest miniconference, particularly the euglogy of Michael Two Horses and the protest song by Willie Nelson. I've not heard the song since I'm in China, but we all know what a useful teaching tool music can be.

    Best wishes for a good start to 2004.

    David Papier

    Use of Protest Songs Unrealistic (January 2004)

    I enjoyed this month's mini-conference but have a question for you since you are the author of the article on using protest songs. My question, in all seriousness, is this: How does a teacher get away with it?

    While it is true that in most mixed adult ESL classes in the US you would be hard pressed to find someone who supports war in general, there are those who support specific "struggles" at different times around the world. I've had Africans who supported hostilities against other Africans; I've taught plenty of Russians, Latvians, Chechens, Bosnians, Serbs and others who brought their ethnic issues to the classroom. During the time of the worst fighting in Kosovo and environs, for me to bring in a protest song would have caused a riot in my class because of those nationals who wanted American military help and those nationals who wanted to kill the ones who wanted American help! I've even been in odd situations where there were older Vietnamese students who strongly supported the Vietnam war, while their American teacher was voicing her negative opinion on the topic.

    The point is, isn't "anti-war" such a loaded topic that someone is bound to feel trod upon in class? Even if all the students agreed wholeheartedly, (and I suspect we can never know what is REALLY in some people's hearts vs. what they feel they can safely reveal), what about when other faculty and staff get wind? Some are bound to hold an opposing opinion and wonder why someone is expounding political views in the class.

    I need to also bring up the ethical side. Now personally, I am very opinionated, so I’ve always had to make a strong effort not to impose my views on my students. I have tried to maintain neutrality in class discussions. I therefore think that no matter what kind of song a teacher presents, an anti-war song, or a anti-dictator song, he or she is presenting only one side of a controversial or even inflammatory issue, but that seems OK because that is the side the teacher believes is right. Let's say that you were vehemently anti-Bush and found out a colleague was presenting carefully controlled pro-Bush propaganda (like maybe watching a certain newscast or talk show in class). Wouldn't you be concerned that the students were hearing only one side of the story- in your opinion, the wrong side?

    So what are we to do? Avoid all controversy in the class? Always present both sides to the argument? And how do we decide what is “fair” controversy, (for example, should we go to war or not, or pro- or anti- capital punishment), and what is just beyond the pale and not open to discussion. But then again, what you and I think is beyond the pale is probably something a few of our students, not to mention some of our countrymen, would find open to debate.

    I just find the whole area of expressing political or personal beliefs in the classroom hard to deal with, as you can see. It's one of my personal ethical "gray areas". And it's also such a charged topic that it is even hard to address rationally among colleagues.

    Maria Spelleri
    Sarasota, FLORIDA

    Follow-Up on Situation at Westchester (December 2003)

    It has been a while. You have my perpetual thanks in getting our plane off the ground.

    Things have really heated up at WCC. We have our website at www.loopsy.com/wccabusesteachers. The latest incident involves the news editor who was forced off the college paper for her coverage of the story.

    Phillip Fayon
    New York City, NEW YORK

    Re: ELL Workshops in Plymouth, MINNESOTA (Spring 2004)
    Hi, I'm a new member and an ELL services VISTA for Intermediate District 287 in Plymouth, Minnesota. This district serves the west Minneapolis schools. I wanted to get the word out about our upcoming workshops in 2004, the first one scheduled for Tuesday, February 24th, 8a.m. to 4 p.m. Here is what it is to be about:

    In this workshop you will be informed of the needs of ELLs in your schools. Learn new teaching strategies on how to integrate newcomers in your classroom, how to incorporate cultural information, how to teach reading and writing in content courses, and how to collaborate with all staff in your schools. Get ready to use ideas to implement in your classrooms right away, ideas that will benefit ALL your students, not just your ELLs. This workshop is intended for K-12 content-area, but other staff who wish to learn new strategies and techniques for reaching ELLs are welcome to attend. We will offer separate sessions for elementary and secondary levels, based upon enrollment.

    Cost is $200 for each participant - this includes materials, lunch and snacks.

    Payment Method: P.O.'s accepted or by mail make checks payable to - Intermediate District 287

    Register online at www.prepcenter.org

    If you have questions or difficulty with online registration, contact the PREP Center at (763) 550 - 7272

    Located at:
    Intermediate District 287 Service Center
    1820 Xenium Lane North
    Plymouth, MN 55441

    Tova Eggerstedt
    Plymouth, MINNESOTA

    What is the Difference? ESL vs. EFL (November 2003)
    Hi Robb,

    I usually follow your online magazine and always find useful material and topics. Lately, I got very busy , just like most teachers in the world, therefore, I have just read your response on EFL vs ESL. I would like to add my comments on this issue, and I hope that they are not too late.

    During my MS program, I took a course called Bilingualism that focused on the differences between EFL and ESL environments. The following is my view / remarks on the topic.

    The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learner is someone who is learning English Language in a country where English is not the official or the dominant language used by everybody. For example Kuwait, France, Japan, are considered (EFL) environments. It is a very well known fact that it is hard to learn any language in its foreign environment. It is harder, for example, to learn English in Kuwait than in UK or US. In Kuwait the learner is less exposed to the target language (English) than in North America or England. Therefore, the EFL learner is expected to exert extra efforts than the English as a second Language (ESL) leaner. The (ESL) learner is someone who is learning English in a country or area where English is the official or dominant language. ESL learners have the opportunity of higher exposure to the target language, than EFL learners. They can benefit from English language instructions inside the classroom by using them immediately outside the classroom. English is used everywhere and by the various media of the target language country. This situation enforces the different language skills of the learner and facilitates the use of authentic language quickly. Nevertheless, the EFL environment is not, currently, as hard as it used to be few decades ago. Results of numerous research studies on language learning and acquisition support and encourage the use of different learning techniques and strategies in language learning. Moreover, the recent technological revolution made i t even easier and faster for people to learn English.

    This is all I wanted to add.

    Buthaina Al Othman
    EFL Instructor, ELU/Science College
    Kuwait University

    Re: SPELTA Conference in St. Petersburg (November 2003)

    I'm pleased to still be receiving the miniconf and keep up with things. Quick update on my situation: I got a fellowship from the State Dept and came to Saratov, Russia in September to do a year's worth of teacher training here at a huge range of institutions. So I teach grad courses, give seminars and workshops, and present at conferences, etc.

    Anyway, it's a bit late for your list, and I doubt many on your list would be able to attend, but SPELTA (St. Petersburg English Language Teachers Association) is having its major annual conference Nov 15-16, and I'll be presenting. In case you're curious, here the summary of my presentation:

    Presentation proposal - SPELTA conference, 15-16 November 2003

    Presenter: Gabriel Skop - English Language Fellow, Saratov

    Presentation type: Workshop

    Time: Two hours

    Equipment Needed: Cassette player, whiteboard or flip chart

    Title: Re-Viewing Sinatra/Ol? Blue Eyes as Culture Emissary and Lexical Theme Builder

    Summary: Teachers of English frequently use music to enhance language learning, but they often fail to use it to its fullest potential. In this workshop with an experiential focus, participants will be led through a series of exercises designed to place the song lyric alongside the grammar text and the integrated reader as a basic tool of instruction. Through active involvement with the exercises, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and connections experienced by their own students as they engage with the material in a variety of ways, intended to help learners strengthen their skills in all four skill areas: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

    Time will be allotted for discussion of how the material may be incorporated into existing syllabi and adapted for a variety of contexts. Though the music of Frank Sinatra will be the primary text for this presentation, more recent music of other genres will be introduced if time permits. Handouts will be provided.

    So that's the news from Russia. Hope all's well with you.

    Best regards,
    Gabriel Skop
    English Language Fellow, Saratov
    Saratov, Russia

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