Category Archives: TESOL

Returned Peace Corps volunteer shares his story

Returned Peace Corps volunteer Adam Garnica recently shared highlights of his two years as an English teacher in Mongolia through the Institute’s Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program.

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“Summarizing my Peace Corps experience is difficult. I spent two years maintaining my own blog (http://www.2secondstreet.wordpress.com/) to help disseminate my experience, and even then, I find that the stories told there only scratch the surface. My favorite posts include my one on the history of Mongolian script, the story of me getting my first deel, and the list and description of traditional Mongolian dairy treats.

I spent two years teaching at a collection of schools, working with 25 teachers and over 2,000 students to help improve English teaching and language ability. I met a variety of fascinating characters who ended up being teachers: Munkhtuya, a nurse who joined the democracy rallies in Sukhbaatar Square back when the country switched from their communist model, Nergui, who ran a small business and observed the illegal fur trade, and Bujidmaa, a young woman born after the revolution who sees new hope for her country. The students were diverse and unique, full of optimism, anxiety, warmth, and promise for the future.

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There were wonderful projects where I met unique people. I traveled to the taiga on the border with Russia, in the middle of a national park, to do health and English workshops with the Tsaatan, or Reindeer People. I participated in the English Language Teacher’s Association of Mongolia’s (ELTAM) annual seminar with one of my co-teachers, presenting a poster on a simulation we did on civilizations. I climbed a mountain with several men to watch the sun rise during the lunar new year. I cut a young girl’s hair to signal the end of her infancy. Along the way there were miners, students, business owners, herders, restauranteurs, and welcoming strangers.

Mongolia is going through unique growing pains, and for two years, I saw the effects. Inflation hurt everyone I saw as the value of money spiraled downward. Alcoholism wandered the streets in broad daylight, or sat motionless by the school’s gates. Wealth flowed into the city, but only to select pockets. Skinheads, businessmen, young families, and environmental protestors in traditional garb flooded the streets of the capital, hoping to shape their nation’s future.

The country is so much more than the conquests of Chinggis Khaan, and I’m glad I got to learn and experience a bit of their culture as they work through this important time in their nation’s history. It helped give me a new perspective on the developing world, politics, nature, and education, and how no matter where you go, people want safe, secure, and meaningful lives.

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I’m also happy to be back at MIIS, where I know the students and faculty understand the value of what I was able to experience. It’s also nice to not be cold all the time, but that’s another story for another time!”

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: http://blog.nus.edu.sg/eltwo/2014/04/22/when-a-facebook-group-makes-a-difference-facebook-for-language-learning/.

Congratulations to Adnan!

TESOL Professor Jean Turner’s book published

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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.

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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

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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.

Pym to Present on Translation and Language Teaching

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Anthony Pym, visiting researcher at GSTILE, is in Brussels on October 25 to present the results of a one-year research project on Translation and Language Teaching.

The presentation will be part of the DGT’s Translation Studies Days, to be webcast live: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/publications/studies/.

The research has been carried out for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation. Professor Pym is the lead investigator, with input from the European Society for Translation Studies, the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and over 100 experts contacted worldwide.

The research shows that there is no strong empirical evidence that the creative use of translation has a negative effect on the learning of a foreign language.

The Executive Summary can be downloaded here.

The final report can be downloaded here.

While in Europe, Professor Pym will be in Tarragona on October 24 for the public defenses of two doctoral dissertations that he has supervised: Postediting Machine Translation Output and its Revision: Professional Translators versus Subject-Matter Experts, by Özlem Temizöz, and Training for the Translation Market in Turkey: an Analysis of Curricula and Stakeholders, by Volga Tilmaz-Gümüs.