Category Archives: Language Education

An Innovating Blackout! The 1st Chinese Innovation Forum

Hand-written Name Tags
The First Chinese Innovation Forum was definitely not an ordinary professional development event being hosted at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS),and co-hosted by Chinese American International School (CAIS).  Planning committee members walked into the McCone building on the morning of the event finding out that electricity was out for the entire city of Monterey.  What better way to start out a forum with the word “innovation” in its title, than to think of a back up plan on the spot and set up a makeshift seating area for the morning keynote presentations without delaying the start of the event!  Luckily, all individuals including Dean Renee Jourdenais, Head of School of CAIS, Dr. Jeff Bissell, the planning members, those from the catering company and even event speakers were supportive of each other and flexible enough to work together to provide a seamless start to what ended up becoming a very exciting forum.
Innovation Sign
The mission of The First Chinese Innovation Forum was to jumpstart and create a sustainable conversation of innovation for the field of Chinese language education, although language teachers from all various language backgrounds were invited to join and take part in the event. Dr. Kathleen Bailey and Dr. Peter Shaw, both widely respected professors at MIIS and world leading experts in their fields of language education, provided insightful keynote presentations.  These talks were followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. John Hedgcock, and included input from active forum participants.
Magic Photo
Major highlights of The First Chinese Innovation Forum came from the afternoon “innovation-swap” tables.  Chinese language educators from all over the country who were previously put together into groups set up trade-fair style tables to showcase innovative language teaching methods, including creative assessment methods, project ideas, useful apps, and clever ways to go about grammar instruction.  Participants spent two hours interacting with each other as they took turns to visit various showcase tables and shared their appreciation during a final reflection period.  By this point in time, electricity had come back to the venue.
The First Chinese Innovation Forum brought together passionate language educators who were excited to share and learn from their peers about the innovative ideas they were actually DOING in their classrooms.  We look forward to turning this forum into an annual event!  (Hopefully, with no more blackouts involved. J)​
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is DOING new things”  – Theodore Levitt 

Spanish Community Interpreting Graduate Certificate

We are excited to announce the launch of a new graduate certificate program in Spanish Community InterpretingThis certificate program is distinguished for its nationally-known faculty, who offer participants a solid foundation in written translation, sight translation, consecutive dialogue interpreting and simultaneous interpreting. Participants will build professional and linguistic knowledge needed for the fields of legal, medical, social service and educational interpreting and will be prepared to take certification exams in the relevant sectors. 

For more information about this new course and how to apply, please visit  


Prof. Holly Mikkelson and Prof. Barry Olsen in INTERSECT e-newsletter

Professor Holly Mikkelson and Professor Barry Olsen were mentioned by Marjory Bancroft in INTERSECT of their translation of From Paris to Nuremberg: The Birth of Conference Interpreting by Jesús Baigorri-Jalón (translated by Holly Mikkelson and Barry Olsen), John Benjamins, 2014.

View the e-newsletter here

MIIS EF Picture

Students and alumni working at EF

A few of our MIIS students and alumni working at English First. The photo was taken in Cambridge, MA at EF headquarters during the annual senior staff training event.

From left to right:

Nate Hammond – Center Manager, Santa Cruz
Michael Hughes – Center Manager, Long Beach and Program Coordinator, West Coast
Cortney Copeland – Activities Manager, Monterey
Nolan Sutker – Senior Academic Manager, East Coast
Leslie Closterman – Student Services Coordinator, Monterey
Jaimee DePompeo – Center Manager, Monterey

MIIS Alum Adnan Al-Hammody published

MIIS Alum Adnan Al-Hammody, MA TESOL 2013, has recently been published. The paper is called When a Facebook Group Makes a Difference: Facebook for Language Learning, and was written during his time as a student at MIIS for Applied Linguistics Research and as part of his portfolio. The paper investigates what Iraqi students gain from interacting in English in a Facebook group in an EFL context.

Adnan’s paper was published by the e-journal English Language Teaching World Online (ELTWO), and can be found at this link:

Congratulations to Adnan!

MIIS French Professor Michel Gueldry keeping busy

MIIS Professor Michel  Gueldry has had, and continues to have, a very busy semester. As a French language studies professor at MIIS, Gueldry specializes in international relations and sustainability studies. Just this year, Gueldry has completed and submitted three articles for publication: a new research paper entitled “Energy and Climate Change: The Emergence of an Overarching Security Nexus,” an essay entitled “Personal Transformation and Worldly Engagement: When Mindfulness Meets the Market,” and a paper entitled “Ecological Economics: An Alternative Grand Narrative for Capitalism and a Blueprint for a Sustainable Economy.”

Besides submitting three papers for publication, Gueldry will participate in Peter Fordos‘ student weekend workshop, “Intercultural Competence for Sustainability,” on March 29. His contribution to this workshop is a segment called “How to Communicate Climate Change for Diverse Audiences: Engaging Stakeholders across Professional Cultures.” On April 8, Gueldry will also co-teach a workshop for students with CACS Advisor Edy Rhodes. The workshop is called “Emotional Intelligence: The Tip of the Iceberg.”

Gueldry’s busy schedule will continue into the summer. He will teach three panels at the University of Leipzig, Germany, in July 2014: one on energy policy, one on narratives of capitalism, and one on personal transformation and professional growth.

Congratulations to Professor Gueldry on all of his accomplishments!

TESOL Professor Jean Turner’s book published


The textbook that MIIS TESOL Professor Jean Turner has been working on since her sabbatical in 2008-9, “Using Statistics in Small-Scale Language Education Research: Focus on Non-Parametric Data,” is now available from Routledge publishing. The book addresses an important concern for people doing small-scale research—how to use the statistical formulas that are appropriate for analyzing data that are skewed and from relatively small numbers of participants, as is the case with much of the statistical research done in language classrooms. She has continued to explore her interest in accent modification and co-taught a class on accent modification for interpreters-in-training with MIIS TESOL graduate, Audrey Gutierrez. The report on the needs assessment they conducted to inform the design of their course was just published in issue 14 of the Special Interest Group publication for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Any MIIS faculty, students or staff wishing to purchase this book can receive 20% off if they order from the Routledge website and enter the code IRK69.

Congratulations to Jean Turner!

MIIS Alumni Mingle at CATESOL Conference

CATESOL 2013 - MIIS Alumni

MIIS Alumni: Back Row: Don Sillings, Larry Lawson, Tammy Wik, Jeff Madison. Middle Row: Gary Sosa, Karen Hamilton, Celeste Coleman, Belinda Braunstein. Front Row: Erin Butler, Chigusa Katoku.

Many MIIS graduates, students, and faculty attended the 44th Annual CATESOL Conference two weeks ago in San Diego. The conference is for TESOL professionals in California, and the theme this year was “Riding the Waves of Success,” which dealt with the challenges and achievements educators and students face when teaching or learning English. The event included pre‑conference institutes, multiple plenaries, featured speakers, level and interest group workshops, poster sessions, an electronic village, and general sessions for every level of ESL. Highlights of the conference were the opening plenary, the Thursday evening reception, the Presidential Luncheon on Friday, and the Saturday Night Sizzle.

CATESOL 2013 (2)

The event was a great opportunity for all TESOL educators and students to come together, especially current and past TESOL educators and students from MIIS. Many MIIS students, graduates, and faculty attended the event, including Tammy Wik, MA TESOL ‘10, who is currently the English Language Fellow Program (ELF) Regional Recruitment Coordinator for MIIS, and Celeste Coleman, also a TESOL graduate and English Language Fellow (see picture, right). All of the MIIS graduates met up and hung out at the Saturday Night Sizzle, which was a fun 2-hour social event on the last night of the conference (see featured picture above, with captions). Considering there were only about 100 total people who attended the social hour, there was a great turn out of MIIS people at the event.

TESOL Alumna Writes Memorial Piece for Dr. Leo van Lier


Caroline Fuchs, an alumna of the MIIS MATESOL program, recently published a memorial piece for the late Dr. Leo van Lier. According to Caroline, “words can’t do justice to the wisdom that Leo encompassed for those who were fortunate enough to have known him. This is my humble attempt at expressing my thoughts.”

If you would like to read the piece in its entirety, you can download it here.