Author Archives: Vanessa Hoffman

MATESOL+LPA Graduate David Chiesa in Mongolia

2015_english-language-specialist-traning-teachersMIIS Alum David Chiesa, who is currently working on a doctorate at Georgia State University, was recently featured in an article published on the website of the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He was recognized as the first English Language Specialist to be hosted by Mongolia as he led a month-long TESOL training for Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs). You can read the full story here.

MIIS Team EFL in Haiti

All the teachers pose with Ruth and Vanessa on the last day of training

All the teachers pose with Ruth and Vanessa on the last day of training.

In July, recent MATESOL graduate Ruth Castillo and current MATESOL student Vanessa Hoffman traveled to Hinche, Haiti to conduct an English Teacher-Training Workshop! Since 2013, MATESOL/MATFL students at MIIS have been collaborating with St. Andre’s Episcopal School in Hinche to develop English curriculum for primary-level students, as well as provide professional development, as part of their work in the Curriculum Design course. This recent trip was the third of hopefully many more to come!

Ruth looks on as students talk about their strenths and weaknesses as teachers in pairs

Ruth looks on as the teachers talk about their strengths and weaknesses as language teachers in pairs.

The training took place at St. Andre’s over 6 days and covered topics like communicative language teaching, assessment, and lesson planning. The pupils were English teachers from Hinche and the surrounding region. Many of the teachers traveled from other towns to attend the training – some came as far as two hours away by motorcycle – and a few even had to take time off from other jobs. In spite of the heat and long hours, the teachers were eager to learn, participate, collaborate, and brainstorm ways to incorporate what Ruth and Vanessa taught into their own practice as language teachers.

Teachers worked in small groups almost every day to brainstorm new ways to incorporate the new concepts into tangible teaching strategies

Teachers worked in small groups almost every day to brainstorm new ways to incorporate the concepts into practical teaching strategies.


Much of the way the workshop was run served as a model of how to make language classes more communicative. The teachers learned ice-breaker activities at the start of every class, did a lot of group work to create activities, discussed ideas in pairs, teams, and as a class, and reviewed materials through projects and games. Much of Haitian educational practice still focuses on copying notes from the board and memorizing them, so it was very exciting to see the teachers coming up with new and creative activities and lessons that were relevant to the Haitian context.


On the last day, students formed an inside-outside circle to talk about the thing they were most excited to use from the training.

On the last day, the teachers formed an inside-outside circle to talk about the thing they were most excited to use from the training.

This training is not the end, however, because as participants in the workshop the teachers are now going to train other teachers in the region. The overall mission of the project is to empower the teachers and give them the tools to teach critical pedagogy to many language teaching professionals throughout the Central Plateau region. You can read along as the teachers blog about their training experiences here.



Professor Flerov to speak at 2015 ATA Conference


ataProfessor Cyril Flerov will speak at the annual conference of the American Translators Association in Miami, FL this upcoming November. The announced topic is: “Remote Interpreting Options and Standards.”


The ATA Conference site is:

The preliminary PDF schedule for the conference can be seen at:

MIIS Faculty Minhua Liu Published!

Minhua LiuProfessor Minhua Liu co-edited a book that was just published called Aptitude for Interpreting. Here is a description of the book:

“First published as a Special Issue of Interpreting (issue 10:1, 2011) and complemented with two articles published in Interpreting issue 16:1, 2014, this volume provides a
comprehensive view of the challenge of identifying and measuring aptitude for interpreting. Following a broad review of the existing literature, the array of eight empirical papers
captures the multiple dimensions of aptitude, from personality traits and soft skills such as motivation, anxiety and learning styles to aspects of cognitive performance. The
populations studied, with experimental as well as survey research designs, include students and professionals of sign language interpreting as well as spoken-language interpreting, and valuable synergies emerge. While pointing to the need for much further work, the papers brought together in this volume clearly represent the cutting edge of research into aptitude for interpreting, and should prove a milestone on the way toward supplying educators with reliable methods for testing applicants to interpreter training programs.”

Congratulations Professor Liu!