Monday, November 7, 2016

🌹Monday's Quote! 🌹

Hello everyone!
The definition of quote is to repeat someone else’s statement, phrases or thoughts.

Here is today’s!

Happy Teaching!
from Fun To Teach ESL - Teaching English as a Second Language

Friday, November 4, 2016

Best Practices in TESOL Leadership: An Interview with Naziha Ali, TESOL Arabia Past President

Past president of TESOL Arabia (2016–2017) Naziha Ali shares her best practices as a leader in TESOL Arabia and discusses the impact of teacher professional development associations on both teachers and employers.

nazihaSherry Blok (SB): Tell us a little bit about TESOL affiliate, TESOL Arabia.

Naziha Ali (NA): TESOL Arabia is a not-for-profit teacher development organisation that is devoted to the professional development of its members. The organisation was first founded in 1993 by a small group of EFL teachers living and working in the United Arab Emirates. The main reason behind founding TESOL Arabia was to establish a network of communication between EFL teachers and to form a venue for exchanging knowledge in the field as well as to support novice teachers in their development in a region where there were many non-Middle Eastern teachers but opportunities for development were either limited or didn’t exist.

Over the years the focus has shifted to including all teachers who used English as a medium of instruction, thereby encompassing a larger community of teachers and academics.

Today, 23 years later, the organisation is well known in the Middle East as well as around the world. As at the time of founding, it is still run by volunteers elected from among its members and financed by the membership subscriptions and proceeds of the Annual Conference and Exhibition. Other sources include the number of publications produced by the organisation.

SB: Naziha, how did you become involved in TESOL Arabia?

NA: I first joined TESOL Arabia when I moved to the United Arab Emirates. A friend was part of the volunteer team and recommended that I come and see what the organisation was doing. That was in 2001 and it was my first year teaching EFL. After being an active member for a year, I was asked if I would like to volunteer and support other teachers by organising chapter events. I hesitated at first but then I agreed, not knowing what exactly I was getting into. Since then, there has been no turning back, and I feel that engaging with TESOL Arabia is the best thing I did for myself in terms of professional development.

SB: What is your day job?

NA: I’m employed as a corporate learning and development specialist at Emirates Airlines where I teach foundation English to UAE nationals who are newly recruited staff. These include airport ground staff, engineering apprentices, cadet pilots, security agents, operational staff and HR staff. I also facilitate business communication courses and workshops for non–UAE-national experienced staff in the organisation.

SB: How does your employer support you in your commitment to TESOL Arabia? How can it be seen as a benefit for the employer to encourage their employees to attend conferences and volunteer their time in associations such as TESOL Arabia?

NA: As TESOL Arabia is the only organisation that is well known in the field of TEFL/TESOL teacher development, most organisations support teachers who would like to engage with TESOL Arabia. Similarly, and because my work within TESOL Arabia is well known, my employer offers to pay for my annual membership and annual conference attendance.

In terms of employer benefits, I’ve always believed that should employers encourage teachers towards taking charge of their own development, the benefits are directly visible in the quality of students that leave their classrooms eventually. This not only raises the confidence of the teacher involved but also establishes customer/stakeholder credibility in the institution based on the exceptional qualities of teachers that are part of the institution. Not to forget that teachers who have some autonomy in managing their own professional development are less prone to burnout as they have a venue for exchanging knowledge and learning in an environment suited to their own level of experience.

SB: What accomplishments are you most proud of from your time serving as president of TESOL Arabia?

NA: My greatest personal achievement was the completion of my doctorate in the manner that I intended to and with the subject that was/is my passion. I researched the professional development of midcareer teachers in the UAE at a time when there was heavy focus on developing novice teachers.

As TESOL Arabia president, my pride lies in establishing and supporting the development of outreach programmes for teacher training and development in countries such as Pakistan. I also personally facilitated the collection and distribution of books through the TESOL Arabia Book Drive to Sudan and Pakistan at a time when the long dedicated book drive volunteers had to step down.

Another thing, I’m proud of is having facilitated the process of affiliations with TESOL Arabia in countries such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. The concept was introduced by the president preceding me, and I made efforts to facilitate newer relationships as well as represent TESOL Arabia internationally as president. And finally, I also facilitated the formation of the very first TESOL Arabia Board of Advisors during my term that included veterans in the field of TESOL from all over the world. Among them are Andy Curtis, Thomas N. Robb, Salah Troudi, Jane Hoelker, Mashael AlHamly, Les Kirkham, Zakia Sarwar, Khaldah Al Mansoori, Ali Al Shehadeh, and Christine Coombe.

SB: What leadership skills are key in leading an association such as TESOL Arabia?

NA: Patience, patience and more patience. One also needs to be tolerant of cultures as we are a multicultural body. That apart, leaders in such an association need to be capable of taking quick and smart decisions, engage people in the decision-making process and remain transparent. We live in an environment where distrust stems easily as each leader is from a different culture. Hence, the leadership position is a bit like walking on egg shells which means one needs to be very respectful towards everyone and at the same time a little assertive in facilitating discussions [and] decisions. We are all influenced by the culture in which we live which means discussions can be prolonged (in a healthy manner) and indecisive (out of respect for each other). Hence, leaders in such an association need to be agile and assertive.

SB: In your opinion, how do teacher professional development associations transform a career in TESL?

NA: It really depends on what stage of your career you are at when you start engaging with PD associations. The responsibility is more on the teacher over how she/he makes the best use of what is on offer. From experience, I can recall that it gets overwhelming at first. Once you identify your own area of interest and stay with it for a period of time, that is when being part of an association adds value. And that is when the career transformation takes place. Having lived through that phase, I’ve coached a number of teachers on how to get the best out of teachers associations. This makes me think that perhaps teacher professional development associations should work on educating novice teachers on how career transformation is possible through a relationship with the association.

SB: What is your response to teachers who state they don’t have time for professional development?

NA: I would and do encourage such teachers to reflect on what professional development actually means. It does not mean necessarily associating oneself with a professional development organisation. Any activity that a teachers engage in that makes a conscious/unconscious difference to the way they do things at work or in class is professional development. Anything from a ladies’/men’s room chat to a water cooler chat to studying for a degree to sharing knowledge in front of a large audience at a conference is professional development. So for teachers who state that they don’t have time for professional development, my suggestion is to stop and reflect on what activities they like doing that add any kind of value to their work. Chances are they are probably already engaged in some kind of professional development, even if it means a bright spark occurring when they are watching a TV programme in the evening.

SB: What advice do you have for teachers who would like to get more involved in their local TESOL chapters?

NA: As mentioned earlier, the initial experience can be overwhelming in terms of time and information. The best approach is to take it slow and steady in digestible bits. Teaching associations, once they start, will always be there and will continue to grow so long as teachers exist in any country where the association is.

The most practical approach is to first engage as a member for at least 2–3 years to see what the hype is all about, to understand the activities, frameworks and expectations from leaders and volunteers. Then volunteer, and once you’re part of the team, remember that any activity that you do as a volunteer, even if it means organising an event or writing a review about the event, you are developing professionally. It is all a part of your overall development as a TESOL professional.

To find out more information on TESOL Arabia, please visit the TESOL Arabia website.

from TESOL Blog

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What is a Seal of Biliteracy and How Does it Promote Bilingualism?

According to Education Weeks’ Learning the Language Blog,  22 States and the District of Columbia have recognized high school students who have achieved fluency in two or more languages by affixing a Seal of Biliteracy to their high school diploma and/or transcript. This is a movement that began in California in 2012 and has become more prevalent as the number of Dual Language Programs have increased across the United States.

The Seal of Biliteracy is a special recognition that promotes and validates bilingualism and biliteracy in English and another language. It can be awarded to native English speakers who have become fluent in a foreign language and to English language learners who are biliterate in their home language and in English. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE), the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages (NCSSFL), and TESOL International Association, have officially drafted recommendations for the implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy.  At the heart of the Seal of Biliteracy is the belief in the value of bilingualism.

Here are six cognitive benefits of bilingualism:
• Bilingual children are able to stay on task more easily.
• Bilinguals have an advantage when task-switching .
• Bilingual children are more perceptive and observant.

• Bilingual children have better problem-solving skills; they make more rational decisions.
• People who are bilingual have increased working-memory capacity.
• Bilingualism delays onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy Passed by State Legislature
The awarding of a Seal of Biliteracy to students began in 2012 so this process is fairly new to those of us who live in other states. I urge those of you whose states have not adopted this process to get involved and advocate for bilingualism. As a member of New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/New Jersey Bilingual Educators (NJTESOL/NJBE) I am very proud to belong to an organization that was part of the process when our state legislature passed the New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy in January 2016. Members of NJTESOL/NJBE Advocacy Committee collaborated with the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ) to get this bill passed. NJTESOL/NJBE strongly believes that the Seal of Biliteracy supports our goals of bilingualism not just for English learners but for all students.

The goals of the New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy are to do the following:

  • Encourage students to study languages and participate in Advanced Placement courses
  • Recognize and value foreign language instruction in our schools
  • Acknowledge the biliteracy skills of all students
  • Raise the status of minority languages
  • Certify the attainment of biliteracy, thus giving employers a way of identifying people with these skills
  • Give schools of higher learning a way to identify and give credit to applicants with biliteracy skills
  • Give students a competitive edge in the job market
  • Provide students with crucial 21st century skills
  • Strengthen intergroup relationships and affirm the value of diversity
  • Honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community

Even if your state has adopted a Seal of Biliteracy, your school may not be participating in the program. Advocate for your English learners by informing your school administrators about the benefits of being bilingual.

from TESOL Blog

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

ESP Project Leader Profile: Jie Shi

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In the 24th ESP Project Leader Profile, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Professor Jie Shi.  I first met Jie at the 8th International Conference on ESP in Asia and the 3rd International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Research in ESP in Japan, and I am pleased that she focuses on that event below. Fortunately, we were introduced to each other by former TESOL president, Yilin Sun. Jie is an ESP leader in Japan, as you can see from her bio:

SHI Jie, a professor at the (National) University of Electro-Communications (UEC), Tokyo, Japan, has been an EFL teacher, an action researcher, a curriculum and course designer, and a teacher trainer in several countries such as China, Singapore and Japan during her academic career of over thirty years. Her research areas include ESP (EAP & EST), Curriculum Development, Teaching Methodology, Corpus Linguistics for ESP, Bilingualism and Trilingualism in Sociolinguistics, World Englishes, and Translation Theories. Professor Shi Jie is the founder and the Head of the Research Station for Innovative and Global Tertiary English Education (IGTEE) of UEC Tokyo and has organized several international symposia on ESP in Japan. Currently, she is the Director of the Undergraduate Technical English Management Committee of UEC Tokyo, the Chair of the ESP SIG Kanto Chapter of the Japan Association of College English Teachers (JACET), and a PD (Professional Development) specialist for the Inter-University Seminar House of Japan.

In view of Jie’s impressive background, I look forward to finding ways that TESOL and JACET can collaborate in the area of ESP!


Professor SHI Jie, English Department
University of Electro-Communications (UEC), Tokyo, Japan
Director, Undergraduate Technical English Management Committee, UEC Tokyo

Define leadership in your own words.

Leadership is an innate quality as well as an acquired set of skills of being able to perform the following effectively:

  • Creating visions or new directions for development
  • Setting specific objectives and goals
  • Devising innovative methods for achieving objectives and goals
  • Motivating and inspiring people to work together and build effective teams
  • Addressing the needs and providing necessary support at both individual and team levels
  • Discovering and providing opportunities for people to grow and shine
  • Identifying and solving problems and conflicts
  • Having a strong sense of responsibility for all stakeholders
  • Delivering results and demonstrating outcomes
  • Possessing cultural and cross-cultural understanding and flexibility

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?

  • Event:

The Joint International Conference of the 8th International Conference on ESP in Asia and the 3rd International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Research in ESP

  • Time and Location:

August 19–21, 2016, the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan

  • Conference Organizers:

Main Organizer:

The Research Station for Innovation and Global Tertiary English Education (IGTEE) of UEC Tokyo, Japan


Supporting organizations:

  • Conference Themes:
  • Curriculum and course design in ESP
  • Materials design and writing in ESP
  • Development and application of ESP theories
  • ESP teaching and learning approaches and methods
  • Innovations in ESP research and instruction
  • ESP teacher development
  • Development of ESP testing and assessment
  • English teaching and learning for academic purposes
  • English teaching and learning for vocational purposes
  • English teaching and research for business purposes
  • English teaching and research for legal purposes
  • Intercultural communication in ESP teaching
  • Corpus linguistics for ESP education
  • Invited plenary speakers:
  • Yilin Sun, South Seattle College, TESOL International Association, USA
  • John Maher, International Christian University, Japan
  • CAI Jigang, Fudan University, China
  • Paul Thompson, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Helen L. Basturkmen, University Auckland, New Zealand
  • Yoshimasa A. Ono, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (CEMS), Japan
  • Laurence Anthony, Waseda University, Japan

Outcome and Key to Success

This conference is a historical event on ESP in Japan, being the very first extensive international conference devoted to ESP education and research in the country. It attracted researchers and educators from various countries in Asia, especially from Mainland China. Approximately 50% of the papers were delivered by the researchers from Mainland China, an unprecedented ratio in any academic conferences on English education and research in Japan. This conference was indeed a bridge for ESP researchers and practitioners from not only Japan and China but also many countries in Asia and the world.

Many factors contributed to the success of this conference. First of all, the leaders of the ESP organizations of the previous Asia ESP conferences strongly believed in creating new and direct communication platforms for ESP professionals from similar cultural and educational contexts in Asia and firmly supported my decision of bringing the conference to Japan. Secondly, I received vigorous support from the hosting university, the organizing committee, and the supporting staff. Hence, I was able to focus on training the staff and building a close team. Thirdly, my multi-cultural background and experiences living and working in several countries enabled me to communicate effectively with the presenters and participants from various countries and to solve cultural differences during the preparation stage as well as at the conference. Finally, implementation of innovative approaches, such as creating Best Paper Awards and Best Young Researcher Awards and inviting EST specialists and trainers from the industries, added new perspectives and practices to the conference and provided incentives to the researchers and practitioners for greater development of ESP in Asia.

As I read Jie’s profile, I was pleased to see that two of the plenary speakers listed above also have ESP Project Leaders Profiles: Yilin Sun and Jigang Cai.  Later this year, the profile of a third plenary speaker, Laurence Anthony, is scheduled to be published.

Jie and I were two of the featured speakers at the conference. Jie’s presentation was listed under the conference theme of  “Curriculum and Course Design in ESP” and titled “Incorporating the Needs of Subject Specialists in Curriculum Design of ESP Programs: The Experience of a Japanese University of Science and Engineering.” I spoke about the ESP Project Leader Profiles under the conference theme of “ESP Teacher Development.” In the near future, you will be able to access the PowerPoint presentations and conference proceedings (i.e., published research papers) on the conference website, which will thereby become a valuable resource for ESPers worldwide (so be sure to share the website with others)!

Do you have any questions or comments for Jie? Do not hesitate to contact her directly or to share your thoughts below.

All the best,




from TESOL Blog

🔵🔵Video Time! The Third Wheel

Hello everyone,

Aren’t idioms fun!Check out this fun video and then read on to make your own interactive idiom bulletin board!

The Third Wheel from Melissa Kumaresan on Vimeo.

This is a picture of an interactive idiom board  for the whole school to participate in.

Idiom Bulletin Board - Step by Step Instructions

This easy, fun and creative bulletin board makes you look like a pro as you develop student vocabulary and language skills. This bulletin board works great in a classroom or hallway for the whole school to be involved with. I wanted a way to involve my school in language development and used this idea. Follow these quick steps and you will be on your way!


4-5 idioms and simple definitions
Computer/word processor
Images to represent the idioms and the definitions
Construction paper
Scissors/paper cutter

Step 1:

Decorate the Bulletin Board with colored Butcher paper of your choice as a background. Use a contrasting borders that complements the color you chose.

Step 2:

Choose a theme for the idioms you will use. Some popular themes include:
Bees, horses, weather, dogs, tired.

Step 3:

Choose 4 idioms. Take care in choosing the idioms. Idioms for intermediate language level students should be idioms that give a hint to the meaning. An example of this is “it’s raining cats and dogs”. The word “raining” is a clue to the meaning. Early advanced language learners can work with idioms such as, “you’re pulling my leg” which doesn’t give the learner any clues to the meaning. Choose which language level you want the students to work with.

Step 4:

Collect 1 picture per idiom that displays what the words say and another picture that shows what the idiom means. Use your own classroom images for this or do a quick Google search for “idiom images”.

Step 5:

Type up and print the idioms. Glue the typed idioms and the images onto colored construction paper. Cut to size.

Step 6:

Place the 4 idiom images that display what the words “say” at regular intervals across the top of the bulletin board.

Place the text under each picture.

At the bottom of the bulletin board place the image of what the idioms “mean” in random order.

Step 7:

Staple a piece of yarn under the text of each idiom long enough to reach to the image that shows the true meaning of the idiom. Tie a loop in the end of the piece of yarn so children can attach the yarn to the correct meaning.

Step 8:

Stick a pushpin into the bulletin board above the random images that shows the true meaning.

You now have an interactive bulletin board where students can match up the idiom to the image of its meaning by attaching the looped yarn to the push pin above the image of the true idiom meaning! Watch your students have fun and learn about idioms!

Happy Teaching!

Article Source: [—Step-by-Step-Instructions&id=6816061] Idiom Bulletin Board - Step by Step Instructions. By []Lori Wolfe

Happy Teaching!

from Fun To Teach ESL - Teaching English as a Second Language

Monday, October 31, 2016

🌹Monday's Quote! 🌹

 Hello everyone!
The definition of quote is to repeat someone else’s statement, phrases or thoughts.

Here is today’s!

Happy Teaching!

from Fun To Teach ESL - Teaching English as a Second Language

Friday, October 28, 2016

Writing a Dissertation: Tips From Former PhD Students (Part 1)

Thinking back to the beginning of my doctoral studies, I remember having an enormous fear of writing a dissertation. Everything appeared to be intimidating: choosing a topic, collecting data, analyzing and interpreting results, writing chapters, and, of course, defending the complete project. I remember asking my fellow graduate students who were ahead of me in the process about tips and suggestions for writing a dissertation.

I know that I am not alone in my fear and uncertainty, as I often hear graduate students asking the same questions that I once had. So in my next two blogs I’d like to feature six young scholars—second language writers—who have recently graduated with their doctoral degrees from Purdue University and who are now working in various educational contexts both in the United States and abroad. I asked each of them to share their experience in writing a dissertation and provide a piece of advice to current students pursuing their doctoral degrees in the language teaching field. The suggestions from three of them are below, and the other three will be introduced in my next blog.

Aleksandra Kasztalska (Linguistics)

“Even though I was happy with the finished product, I couldn’t wait to put it down and ‘move on’!”

  • Current position: Assistant Professor of English; Southern Arkansas University
  • Year of graduation: 2015
  • E-mail:

My professors always told me that “a good dissertation is a done dissertation,” and I think that single sentence is one of the most important pieces of advice I received while in grad school. When working on research, I—like many other graduate students, no doubt—tended to set unrealistically high standards for myself, which meant that I was always a little too ambitious about what I could accomplish in the time I was given. Above all, I always felt that there was so much more literature “out there” that I needed to familiarize myself with and as a result I had a hard time putting away all those articles and actually starting on my own papers.

I feel like I approached my dissertation in a similar manner. My original goals and scope were rather broad, and my dissertation committee immediately asked me to narrow down what I wanted to research and write about. Although a little uneasy at first (I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS!), I quickly realized just how right my committee members were. As I started reading the literature and then collecting and analyzing my own data, I found that several months had passed like a blur and that there was still so much more to get done before the defense date! Clearly, my professors were right: This was taking me much longer than I had expected. Sure, I’d done research before, but the dissertation was a whole new ballgame because there were more steps to follow, more unexpected problems to figure out, and because there was a lot more at stake than just a class grade. I was thus extremely relieved that I had narrowed my scope because it allowed me to deal with a more manageable data set and gave me more time to actually write up my findings and make all the necessary revisions without pulling all of my hair out.

Was my dissertation perfect? Of course not. But I gave it my best and I was proud of my work. And, above all, I was able to graduate on time. Which was probably for the best, because, even though I was happy with the finished product, I couldn’t wait to put it down and “move on”!

Ksenia Kirillova (Hospitality & Tourism Management)

“If I have something interesting and new to think about, then I have something to write!”

  • Current position: Assistant Professor, School of Hotel and Tourism Management; The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Year of graduation: 2015
  • E-mail address:

From the start, I have been a good writer in my native language, Russian. Somehow I always knew what to write and how to write it. Continuing my education in the USA, however, proved that my writing skills were not very relevant in the U.S. academic discourse. Particularly, I struggled with the organization of a logically coherent argument and sentence structure. Although I had improved my writing by the beginning of the PhD program, I had also developed tremendous anxiety about the very act of writing in English. When I inquired with one of my PhD teachers, for whom English is also not a native language, I received an unhelpful piece of advice: “Just keep writing, and it will get better,” ultimately leaving me (and many others) in a swim-or-sink situation.

In this context, writing a dissertation seemed a formidable endeavor. Yet, somewhere in the process I learned a couple of useful lessons. First, no matter how much I dislike writing, I had better get it on with and do it. I made it a personal goal to write at least 500 words a day, and I did not allow myself to go to bed until this objective was fully achieved. Second, writing is thinking: If I have something interesting and new to think about, then I have something to write! I also carefully studied my advisor’s (who is a successful second-language writer herself) published work in attempts to imitate her writing style.

I personally have never been able to benefit from free writing or many other techniques normally suggested by writing teachers. Choosing a dissertation topic that inspired my thinking and fueled the passion was the best writing technique for me.

Masakazu Mishima (Second Language Studies/ESL)

“Are you committed enough to break through all the obstacles to achieve your objective?”

  • Current position: Adjunct Instructor, Language Center; Rikkyo University
  • Year of Graduation: 2015
  • Email:

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” This is a well-known quote from an established American business professional and prominent writer, Paul J. Meyer. As I now look back, all the struggle and joy of writing my dissertation as a second language (L2) writer, his words precisely encompass the particular mindset that I maintained throughout the process of dissertation writing.

Writing a PhD dissertation in the language that is not your own sounds daunting, but I have never really paid attention to the fact that I am an L2 writer. In fact, I have never felt that I am at a disadvantage by any measure. Having been in the field long enough and read many scholarly works, the most obvious fact to me is that quality work is never really about your language status. Look around you! How many of the now-established scholars in our field are L1/L2 writers? And who really cares about their language status? I never really hear people asking at a conference, “Your recent publication was phenomenal. You are not an L2 writer, are you?”

What we (should) care about is whether or not your work contributes to the field and whether or not it demonstrates your in-depth knowledge with keen insight that thrusts into and fills “the gap” in the field. Of course, the quality of writing matters, too. But writing a quality piece for any purpose is a challenging task, and this challenge applies to anyone regardless of his or her language status. That is why it boils down to the question: Are you committed enough to break through all the obstacles to achieve your objective? There are a number of practical tips that I can offer as a former PhD student, but they are all subsumed by the single word—commitment. From finding resources to concocting ways to deal with obstacles of any kind, it is all within you waiting to be discovered.

from TESOL Blog