Tag Archives: work

Faculty Publications: Professor Leo van Lier

Too often, the needs of English language learners are met with simplified curriculum and lowered expectations. What would happen if instead classrooms were organized to honor the promise of these students by increasing rather than decreasing the intellectual challenge of instruction, by increasing the support such challenge requires, and by increasing students’ active engagement with their own learning?


This book is the result of a decade-long effort in school districts to implement challenging instruction that is designed for classrooms that include English learners and that raises the bar and increases engagement for all learners.

Classroom vignettes, transcripts of student interactions, and detailed examples of intellectually engaging middle school and high school lessons provide a concrete picture of the instructional approach developed by coauthor Aída Walqui, founder and director of WestEd s Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) initiative.

Underlying the QTEL approach and giving it coherence and power are three strands of instructional theory – cognitive psychology, sociolinguistics, and sociocultural learning theory. Coauthor Leo van Lier, internationally recognized author, linguist, and sociocultural theorist, lays out through clear and frequently wry examples just what these theories have to offer the classroom teacher, in particular the teacher of English learners.

Professor John Balcom wins 2010 Northern California Book Award

John Balcom‘s translation of Cao Naiqian’s “There’s Nothing I Can Do When I Think of You Late at Night” won the 2010 Northern California Book Award in the category of translated fiction.

translated by john balcom

Cao’s novel (actually a series of inter-locking short stories) deals with the lives of poor Shanxi villagers who can scarcely rise above the level of necessity. The work is set in the early 1970s. The book was published in Taiwan in 2005 and in China in 2007, where it was rated one of the top-ten books of the year in one poll. Michael Duke said, “The best thing about these stories, aside from the realistic depiction of a world none of wants to visit and few of us can imagine, is their almost lyrical presentation of human poverty, depravity, and occasional comradeship and mutual warmth. An excellent novel; the image of these disposable lives stays with one long after reading.”

Cao Naiqian (b. 1949) works for the Public Security Bureau of Datong City. He began writing in 1986. Swedish Nobel academician Goeran Malmqvist wrote that Cao Naiqian is one of three Chinese authors who deserved the Nobel Prize.

Professor Balcom’s award-winning translation has made this novel accessible to English readers around the world.

Windows Localization – Language for Worldwide and Local Audiences

Who: Ulrike Irmler, Microsoft

When: Monday, April 5, 2010 from 2-4pm

Where: Irvine Auditorium, MIIS

Microsoft Windows covers a breadth of audiences from consumer, to IT professionals to developers. With more than 1 billion customers worldwide and 100 target languages, translation and localization activities span from user interface localization to digital marketing, developer kits, licensing agreements, and many other text and domain types.

Ulrike Irmler, who manages Window’s localization team,  will give an overview of the Windows business by presenting several end-to-end localization scenarios (user interface, web content, developer and consumer). She will focus on market-strategy, translation challenges, standards and linguistic quality. Ulrike will also discuss the latest translation paradigms such as machine translation and crowd sourcing in the context of large-scale enterprise localization.

Shirley Brice Heath Visit: Friday, March 19 @ 2

Who: All Students
What: Visiting scholar, Shirley Brice Heath, shares her recent research
When: Friday, March 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Where: MG 100, Monterey Institute of International Studies

Moving the human eye and mind: Visual, musical and literary arts in grounding cognition

Shriley Brice Heath

Shirley Brice Heath

Economically advanced nations currently reflect a curious twist in reasoning. In spite of strong historical support for parallel economic and aesthetic development in the history of modern Western nations, education systems in many nations today are reducing art, music, and literature in their curricula. Teachers of the humanities and arts hold less prestige than their counterparts in the sciences and mathematics. The inextricable links between the development of science and advances in aesthetic creativity go unnoticed in current arguments for denying opportunities to learn creativity, work across media and modes, and develop expertise in visual perception and renderings of imagination in sketches, drawings, and models. Technological advances make imperative the “reading,” embodying, and creating of images to such an extent that neuroscientists now see these ways of learning as grounding cognition. This lecture considers these research findings in terms of implications for human learning across the life span.

Faculty member honored for teaching excellence

Pablo Oliva was honored by the December 2009 Monterey Institute graduates for excellence in teaching.  Against the dramatic backdrop of the historic Golden State Theater, Oliva reflected on the path that led him to the Institute:

In the short time I have taught at MIIS, I can say that my teaching philosophy has changed profoundly.

Graduation at the Golden State Theatre

Graduation at the Golden State Theatre

I had returned to live in my native Argentina after having lived in North Carolina for a number of years. In 2006 I decided to come back to the US on very short notice to teach Spanish as part of the Summer Intensive Language Program at the Monterey Institute.

After just three days of teaching, I realized that the Institute was like few other places I had taught before and that I was facing a new kind of challenge. My students wanted to know from me how to run a business in Argentina; they asked me questions about arcane grammar rules in Spanish – what exactly is the future subjunctive and how do I use it? They wanted to not just learn the Spanish terms for the different stages a bill has to pass through before coming legislation: they wanted me to explain the process to them in Spanish. My students asked me about my views on the impact of the economic and financial crisis on the Argentina banking system and wanted to discuss in Spanish the US involvement in causing the crisis and finding global solutions!

He also credited the impact that his students have had on him, both personally and professionally:

Pablo Oliva (Spanish), Excellence in Teaching award

Pablo Oliva (Spanish), Excellence in Teaching award

I saw right away that my students’ needs and interests ranged far beyond what I had anticipated and knew I needed to rethink my pedagogical approach. I had brought from Argentina suitcases full of authentic materials which I had thought I could use to teach. However, after my first meetings with my students, I decided not even to open the suitcase. Instead, I emailed my family and professional contacts and asked them to send me new materials which I could use to meet the challenge.

Your curiosity, your probing questions and your healthy skepticism has made an impact on my life. Your research queries have taken me to different NGO’s in Argentina and other countries and opened unexpected new doors. They have allowed me to cultivate friendships and make discoveries even in my own family: one of those discoveries involved learning that a member of my own family was “disappeared” during the years under the military regime in my country.

Staying connected:

Though you leave this beautiful town, you will always be connected to the MIIS community and to the friends you have made along the way who are heading for different parts of the world. You are taking with you the tools you came here to acquire; and are now equipped to bring about change yourselves.We will miss you but we will look for you in our email boxes, Twitter, Facebook, and so on!

Interested in GSTILE updates?  Follow the @gstile and @miis twitter accounts, as well as the rest of the growing MIIS community on twitter.

Interested in staying connected to what people on campus are doing, thinking, proposing, debating?  Check out the rest of our blogging community and watch it grow:  http://sites.miis.edu.    Students and alumni are also encouraged to continue commenting on and contributing to existing blogs, or to create a blog of their own!  For further information, contact the Digital Media Commons (dmc@miis.edu).