February 28, 2014
TESOL Affiliate News

Leadership Updates

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR

Greetings Everyone!

It has been a busy year for the Affiliate Leadership Council. We have accomplished so much and are still working hard to provide a wonderful program for our affiliates at the TESOL Convention in Portland in March! This year some of the activities have been as follows:

  • partially funded speakers at 16 affiliate conferences
  • provided 90 complimentary memberships to affiliates
  • continued offering one complimentary convention registration to each affiliate
  • welcomed three new affiliates: Tunisia TESOL (April 2013), British Columbia Association of Teachers of English as an Additional Language (BC TEAL; November 2013), Burkina English Teachers’ Association (BETA; October 2013)


We also have Affiliates celebrating their 25th anniversary with us: Uruguay TESOL (URUTESOL), Paraguay TESOL, Federdacion Nacional de Profesores de Ingles de Universidades y Politecnicas del Ecuador (FENAPIUPE), SPELT: Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers

The ALC has also worked with TESOL International Association to offer the TESOL Membership Recruitment and Affiliate Benefit Program. TESOL is introducing a new benefit for members of TESOL affiliates around the world: a TESOL Discounted Membership. The new benefit is a discounted TESOL membership for current members of a TESOL Affiliate who have never been a member of TESOL International Association or have not been a member in the past 3 years. Eligible affiliate members will receive a 25% discount off the full price of a TESOL Professional Membership or a TESOL Global Professional Membership (for affiliates in eligible countries). The discount is good when joining for 1 or 2 years. Not only does this exciting offer benefit the individual receiving it, but the affiliate gains more informed members and TESOL fulfills strategic goals.

Do you know what TESOL International’s strategic goals are? TheTESOL International Strategic Plan was approved by the TESOL Board of Directors March 2011. Briefly: Goal 1: English language learners receive quality education through TESOL International Association's leadership in the field. Goal 2: TESOL International Association members participate in the association to build expertise and are recognized for their involvement and professionalism. Goal 3: Individuals and organizations look to TESOL International Association to inform policy and practice.

As we go to press the ALC is also awaiting news of the winner of the TESOL Virginia French Allen Award for Scholarship and Service. I want to encourage all members of the ALC and their own membership to check out the list of scholarships TESOL International offers individuals. There is a plethora of grants and scholarships available. While it may be too late for the Portland convention, it isn’t for the next one, so be sure to check out the list on the TESOL website and apply! On that note, I want to encourage everyone to come to the TESOL Convention in Portland this March 26–29. We have eight Best of Affiliate Sessions:

  1. Illinois TESOL/BE: “ESL Conversation Activities: A Few of Our Favorite Things!”
  2. Georgia TESOL: “Games for the Common Core”
  3. Maryland TESOL: “Taking Digital Stories to the Next Level: Making Documentaries”
  4. Minnesota TESOL: “Progress Monitoring Made Simple With CBM3D (Curriculum-Based Measures Three Domains)”
  5. ANUPI: “With a Little Help From an Online Site: Reading Exams”
  6. Argentina TESOL: “Democratising Didactic Transposition in Secondary Education”
  7. English Teachers Association of Israel: “HOTS, LOTS, and MOTS—Thinking Skills and English Language Learning”
  8. INGED: “Motivation of the Next Generation Students and Their Teachers”


We also have a full-day ALC Leadership Workshop on Wednesday, a great Colloquium (“Collaboration in a Global World”) Thursday morning, an exciting Editors’ Workshop Thursday afternoon, and our ALC Assembly on Friday morning, March 28. So as you can see there is a lot to do, learn, and see at the upcoming convention. I look forward to seeing you there!

Best wishes,

Janet Pierce, PhD
ALC Chair

MEET ANA MARIA ROCCA, INCOMING ALC MEMBER A!

I have been serving Argentina TESOL (ARTESOL) since 2001. In the course of the years I worked my way up from member of the board to president of the association, serving in this position from March 2006 to May 2010. I currently serve as ARTESOL vice president. During these years I have also worked on the online publication of ARTESOL Newsletter, then on ARTESOLESP E-journal as member of the editorial board.

As a university teacher and researcher, I have been teaching and doing research on ESP at the School of Philosophy and Letters, Universidad de Buenos Aires, for over 20 years and teaching EFL at Programa para Adultos (Special Program for Adults) at the Extension Secretary, Universidad de Buenos Aires. In both positions dealing with biographical diversity has always been one of its main challenges. So completing TESOL Leadership Certificate Program gave me the opportunity of reflecting on matters related to management of diversity, problem solving, and conflict resolution.

Serving as member A of the Affiliate Leadership Council, my goal is to commit to the activities the position requires and to work on guiding affiliates to consider their mission and vision as TESOL Affiliates, in this way reaffirming the liaison between TESOL and TESOL Affiliates with a clear focus on service and ability to meet objectives.

Articles

IN MEMORY OF KEVIN CLEARY

My own memories of Kevin and working with him go back for 3 or more years. As long as I have been with the ALC Kevin has been there, a willing worker, always willing to help, always willing to learn, always willing to be supportive of ideas needed for the ALC. He has helped with presentations, workshops and colloquiums. He was a great team player and led quietly, humbly and intelligently. He was someone I knew I could count on, someone who was very competent and very trustworthy. I will miss his quiet, eager and willing spirit at our ALC activities. He was an inspiration in his own quiet way.
-Janet  Pierce


Janet Pierce (third from the right) with Kevin Cleary (second from left) after TESOL Colloquium 2013


  Debbie, Maria and Kevin at the TESOL ALC Assembly 2013, Dallas, TX 

TESOL International would like to pay tribute to Kevin Cleary, president of our sister association in Japan, JALT, who sadly passed away in January. As TESOL France president, I (Debbie) would describe Kevin as a true professional. Kevin was a dear friend of many in TESOL and IATEFL. Together with Maria Trapero of TESOL Mexico, Kevin and I spent the last 3 years lobbying TESOL International with the aim of increasing benefits for all its affiliates. Despite our cultural ELT differences—JALT, MexTESOL, and TESOL France—the three of us formed a unique professional and personal bond.
-Debbie West
and 
Maria Trapero


Kevin Cleary and Debbie West


Kevin Cleary and Maria Trapero

 With Kevin, we made efforts that have since borne fruit, with entry to the Annual Convention, for example, now free to all affiliate members. We all recognise the significant contribution Kevin made to the ELT community as a whole, helping to bring together trainers from across the world to share and grow as one. Maria and I miss him so much, as probably many others do. He was also our friend and his departure has saddened us.
-Debbie West and Maria Trapero

 
Kevin, Maria and Debbie at the TESOL ALC Assembly 2012, Philadelphia, PA

Find Kevin Cleary’s obituary here.

MAKING A MISSION STATEMENT

Recently JALT did something that we had never done in our 39 years of existence—we adopted a formal mission statement. To be precise, thanks to a unanimous vote at our June 2013 Executive Board meeting (EBM), we now have the following statement of our mission:

“JALT promotes excellence in language learning, teaching, and research by providing opportunities for those involved in language education to meet, share, and collaborate.”

At its core our mission statement asserts that we promote excellence in language learning, teaching, and research. That is a fairly safe statement to make, isn't it? It would be a bit strange to promote "adequacy" in these facets of language education, or even "competence." However, if we strive for excellence in all that we do, then we can surprise ourselves with what we can accomplish as we never stop trying to do our best.

Although the JALT Executive Board might well have quickly approved the core version of the mission statement as the entire one, the committee that worked on the statement wanted it to include a human element. Therefore, the closing clause "by providing opportunities for educators to meet, share, and collaborate" made its way into the version of the statement that we were to put up for a vote. We were of two minds about this wording. "Educators" is clear and concrete, and thus brings an image to mind, but, on the other hand, it seems a bit limiting. For example, ELT publishers, who are very important members of the JALT community, are not what one normally thinks of as "educators," although they certainly provide educational materials and are thus, functionally speaking, educators. In the end, at the committee level, we felt that the use of "educators" was the best wording, despite its limitations.

However, after we brought it to the EBM, a motion to amend the statement by striking "educators" and inserting "those involved in language education" was proposed and passed, and the final draft was then approved unanimously. The members who proposed this change brought up the example of publishers, and also members of boards of education or others who are in a community we serve but are not, strictly speaking, educators. Those of us on the Mission Statement Committee were completely on board with the proposed change. Although the new wording softened the statement, it made the statement more inclusive and allowed all the members of our community to see that they were included in our community and in the mission statement. We were reminded of the importance of having fresh eyes on any document and were moved by the careful consideration that the Executive Board gave to the mission statement.

This overview may make it sound like the mission statement was made in a short burst of concentrated activity and with relative ease. In fact, the idea of adopting a mission statement was first brought up in November 2011, but was not approved until June 2013. We spent a fair amount of time over four full-weekend EBMs (in February and June of both 2012 and 2013) to discuss the mission statement, so it ended up taking 2 full years, administratively speaking, to get the mission statement into a form that would be acceptable to the Executive Board. Furthermore, between those EBMs, the Mission Statement Committee spent a lot of time discussing and drafting versions of the statement. Some of the mission statement drafts we came up with in our internal discussions were very brief, others were similar in length to our final one, and still others were in the classic three-sentence style, which turned out to be much longer than anything that the Executive Board wished to adopt. As you can see, after all was said and done, JALT ended up with a very simple and clear statement. So was all this effort worth it?

A good case could be made, and was made, that JALT did not really need a mission statement because we had survived quite well without one for 39 years. However, if we had explicitly identified our mission much earlier, it is possible that we could have operated more efficiently and effectively over those years. At the least, we now have a touchstone against which to measure every proposed: "Does this proposal fit our mission to promote excellence in language education?" If we can't answer that positively, then we should probably find another way to use our precious time and energy. With more and more demands being made on our time, if the mission statement can help us concentrate our efforts into useful areas, all the better.

One reason that the process of drafting a mission statement took so long, while never testing our patience, was that the various drafts that came before the EBM for feedback were each found in turn to be too short, too long, too vague, or too detailed. Although those judgments sound contradictory, they were in fact all correct. Each EBM also had quite a few different members in the assembly, as Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) often send new representatives to the EBM to give their officers some experience with "national" management. Thus, each time a draft mission statement came up for review, several people who had no background on the project or the previous discussions gave valuable insight.

In any case, for the June 2013 EBM we had finally arrived at a draft that we felt was ready to be brought up for a vote instead of as a matter for discussion. If our final version, which happened to be quite similar to the very first one we proposed nearly 2 years before, had not passed then I'm sure we would have been given sufficient feedback to make one that would be acceptable. Fortunately, with the one small but important tweak to "those involved in language education," we ended up with an improved, approved, and useful statement of our mission.

How will the mission statement be used? As mentioned above, our mission statement gives us a continual push to accept nothing less than the pursuit of excellence. The documents that we use, the publications that we create, the conferences that we organize—everything we do should reflect our ambition to excel. We have already applied the mission statement to a few projects, and it has helped us improve the image we give to potential members. Soon, I trust it will help us improve our fundamental work and that done by Chapters and SIGs.

To get a more tangible feel for the mission statement, I urge you to visit jalt.org and view the mission statement in context with photos from our international conference and testimonials from JALT members. Seeing smiling JALT members at a conference as they meet, share, and no doubt make plans to collaborate brings home how the statement encapsulates and expresses JALT’s mission to bring people together for the purpose of improving language education. The testimonials on jalt.org also make clear that many of our members are members of JALT so that they can improve themselves and help others improve. It is our privilege to be in a position to help these dedicated educators in their quest for professional development.

Furthermore, it's encouraging and heartening to know, and be able to articulate, that our purpose is to serve learners through the support of teachers and language education research. That is, our efforts to support educators and their research efforts ultimately bear fruit only when learners benefit. If we don't keep this ultimate purpose in mind, then our activities will be literally self-centered, as they will serve our egos more than learners or the larger society we live in. Thus, by holding ourselves to the high standard of promoting excellence, and by constantly reminding ourselves of that standard and why it exists, I'm sure we'll be even more successful in serving educators and learners in our next 39 years.

In closing, if your affiliate doesn't yet have a mission statement, I urge you to go through the extremely beneficial process of identifying and adopting one. In addition to the discussion above, I believe the TESOL mission statement would be useful as you start your mission statement drafting journey:

"TESOL International Association’s mission is to advance professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide."

I think this mission statement helps us see how we can, individually and in concert, help TESOL achieve its worthy mission. Good luck in your efforts to advance professional expertise in English language teaching and learning, and to create a better world through your activities as a TESOL affiliate!


Kevin Cleary moved to Japan from the United States in 1991 and was the associate professor of English in the International Exchange Center of Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU). At TMDU he taught ESP classes, primarily to graduate students, and supported the school's international outreach efforts. He has written 14 ESL textbooks, mostly on science-related topics, with various Japanese publishers. Before becoming JALT president in 2010, he served as treasurer and membership chair at the chapter level and as the JALT director of treasury (2008–2010). This was Kevin's last article as he passed away earlier this year. His Obituary can be found here

News From the Affiliates

MATE TESOL HAITI IN ACTION

The 9th Annual Affiliate MATE TESOL Conference for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language was held August 22–23, 2013, at Robsi Hotel, in Miragoane. The conference was held with the full support of the Office of Public Diplomacy of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and hosted about 80 participants from throughout the country. The conference theme was “Teaching English as a Global Language: Constraints and Successes.” Its principal objective was to focus on promoting and understanding of the impact of the English language in an era of changing global economy and technological development.


MATE TESOL Conference 2013

In the opening remarks, Yvenie Massolas greeted everybody and announced Mr. Jean Frantzy Italien, the founding father of MATE TESOL Haiti, who kindly welcomed the participants through a wonderful speech, highlighting the importance of English teaching in Haiti. Mr. Italien reminded the teachers of English of their responsibilities to the future generation.

We had the privilege to have among us Dr. Rosa Aronson, the executive director of TESOL International Association. In her presentation, Dr. Aronson discussed the topic “Global Trends in English Teaching” by focusing on five aspects of global change and how these mega trends affect the English language teachers and their classroom experiences. She shared her practical experience on the essential strategies to overcome challenges in the classroom.


Dr. Rosa Aronson, Executive Director of TESOL International Association, and Jean Frantzy Italien, President of MATE TESOL, at the MATE TESOL Conference 2013

Immediately, Mrs. Rose-Lourdes Elysee, professor at Quisqueya University, one of the most prestigious universities in Haiti, addressed a problem: working with large classes. She took a very high-level look at the challenges that Haitian teachers and students are confronted with: inappropriate infrastructure, insufficient learning materials, limited support, and overcrowded classrooms. She suggested a few strategies in order to reach learning objectives.

Mr. Hervé Francois Alcindor, the president advisor, engaged participants in pronunciation and phonology activities, during which he shared practical ideas for teaching pronunciation effectively in class. He also pointed out that pronunciation is important for successful English language speaking.

On Friday the 23rd, Dr. Aronson concluded her next topic, “Teaching Against the Odds,” and she raised some pertinent questions. She showed her interest to see the future of MATE. She was very happy to thank the dignitaries, leaders of MATE TESOL Haiti, Jean Frantzy Italien and Jean Francois Vilmenay. In Dr. Aronson’s first time visiting Haiti, she promptly saw the challenges of MATE members. She left the audience with a quote from Malala Yousafzai (July 12th speech at the United Nations): “One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

Finally, Dr. Renaldy Fabien, professor at Inlingua Institute in Florida, presented “Global English and Community Advancement.” From that theme, he developed a topic to show the participants the importance of a good teacher and advocated that a teacher is a good leader. Dr. Fabien took an example from the Haitian story where he talked about Bookman as a teacher and a leader who lead the Haitian slaves to get their freedom.

In conclusion, President Italien announced next year’s MATE TESOL Conference in late June and the 2014 TESOL Annual Convention and Exhibit in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. He gratefully acknowledged the support of MATE members, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, TESOL International, IATEFL, Monrovia Foundation for Haiti, Belinda Braunstein, CATESOL, and also thanked all the participants. The delegates reported that the conference was a great success.

TESOL ARABIA

 

At the recent TESOL Arabia International conference, and as part of the presidential line plenary, I was asked to give a short speech about the future of TESOL Arabia and our vision for the next few years. Answering such a question for any organization requires strategic planning and the ability to read into the changes around us. This task has become quite a challenge due to the rapid changes in educational settings in the Middle East in general and the Gulf region in particular. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, English has become the medium of instruction in many public schools, so one of our goals for the future is to cater to the needs of CLIL(content and language integrated learning) in the region.

Another noticeable change is the amount of technology that has been introduced with 1:1 tablet programs and other technological initiatives at both tertiary and K–12 levels. For this reason, one of the goals of the TESOL Arabia retreat this year will be to consider the growing need for professional development related to technology integration.

It gives me pleasure to report that TESOL Arabia has been as dynamic as ever under the leadership of the past president, James McDonald. We have had over 40 Chapter and Special Interest Group local events this year. We have an increased interest in hands-on and practical professional development activities, as opposed to research-based presentations. This could be a result of the growing membership from K–12 schools.

The online presence of the organization has grown substantially this year through social media with over 2,300 Facebook fans, 2,255 Twitter followers, and 1,255 members of the TA group on LinkedIn. We post all the news related to upcoming PD activities by TESOL Arabia as well as PD opportunities by other institutions on our social media pages, so like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to hear about interesting sessions all year long. We hope to see TESOL Arabia flourish online in order to extend professional development beyond geographical boundaries and to cultivate the benefits of reaching a wider audience.

A successful 19th International Conference, co-chaired by Les Kirkham and Sandra Oddy, attracted over 1,600 attendees this year. The conference was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dubai from March 14-16, 2013. The conference co-chairs are organizing the upcoming 20th TESOL Arabia International Conference. More information about the theme of the conference and the proposals submission deadline will be announced soon.

One of the new benefits for TESOL Arabia members is the possibility to get one of the seven complimentary 1-year TESOL International Association memberships. This year seven TA members who renewed or joined the organization between November 15, 2012, and January 15, 2013, qualified for a draw and won a membership worth $95. The criteria to grant these complimentary memberships to TA members will vary from year to year, so we will make an announcement about this soon after the retreat.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all TESOL Arabia volunteers who devote hundreds of hours serving the organization. Special thanks go to three TESOL Arabia Executive Council members who have relinquished their leadership positions: Peter Davidson, publications coordinator; Sandra Oddy, member-at-large (who continues to be the 2014 conference co-chair); and Sandra Zaher, SIG coordinator. All three have supported TA for years, and we would like to wish them all the best. We would also like to congratulate the reelected TESOL Arabia Executive Council members: Sally McQuinn, Eastern Region Chapter representative; Ian Taylor, Al Ain Chapter representative; and Sufian Abu Rmailah, executive treasurer. And welcome to new members: Cynthia Weston, executive secretary; Peter McLaren, publications coordinator; and Daniel Stebbins, acting SIG coordinator.

We would like to wish you all a great summer break and hope to hear more about other affiliates’ news in the coming year.
Twitter: @tesolarabia | #TESOLArabia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tesolarabia
Linked In Group: TESOL Arabia


TESOL Arabia Volunteers

 


Rehab Rajab has been involved in professional development activities for teachers in the UAE through her work with TESOL Arabia since 2007. Currently She is the President of the organization. She worked as an ESL teacher for 12 years in Egypt and the UAE before becoming Instructional Technology Supervisor and Teacher Trainer at The Institute of Applied Technology in 2012 where she designs Educational Technology professional development courses for 600 teachers. Rehab is passionate about sharing innovative teaching ideas and developing online learning communities. She holds an MA in Educational Technology from Michigan State University; she’s also an Apple Distinguished Educator and an Authorized Apple Professional Development Trainer.

TESOL TOASTMASTERS: WHO'D HAVE THOUGHT?

 

Due to popular demand TESOL Kuwait, a new affiliate of TESOL International, has just opened its second interest section for local educators with an interest in ESL and public speaking: TESOL Toastmasters. This new idea, combining these two international nonprofit organizations, for a common goal is the first ever of its kind. The new IS will take the form of a Toastmasters club only for TESOL Kuwait members who seek to up-skill in public speaking and leadership skills through the Toastmasters program and will follow the constitution and by-laws of TESOL Kuwait as well as the rules of Toastmasters. The club will be chartered in autumn 2013 and will elect officers at that time.

How did it come about? The TESOL Kuwait affiliate has been operating only since November 2012 and grew to over 400 members in less than 8 months. Last December, TESOL Kuwait president Yvonne Johnson invited her former colleague, Don Prades, Distinguished Toastmaster and senior instructor at the American University of Kuwait, to present a workshop on impromptu speaking at the inaugural meeting at the Gulf University of Science and Technology in Kuwait. Very soon members were keen to learn more about public speaking, and a demo meeting was offered at the TESOL Kuwait May open meeting (alongside eight other professional development workshops) with a hugely positive response from members. Mr. Prades was later invited to the TESOL Kuwait board meeting to speak about the novel collaboration, after which TK board members voted unanimously for the motion to form this new interest section.

TESOL Kuwait board member and enthusiastic Toastmaster Camille Bondi will organize the new Toastmasters club with support from her fellow Toastmasters in Kuwait, Distinguished Toastmaster Don Prades, Toastmaster Bobbie Hoxit, and Toastmaster Wafaa Salman, and in Dubai, Christine Coombe, a former president of TESOL International and Distinguished Toastmaster herself. Watch this space!


Toastmasters demonstration speech


Don Prades gives impromptu workshops

FROM TESOL EDITORS' WORKSHOP 2013

ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES FOR AN ONLINE TESOL NEWSLETTER

Our Audience


Sarah Barnhardt


Chester Gates

As newsletter editors, it is our responsibility to ensure that our newsletters are accessible to all people. By its very nature, professionals in the field of TESOL are diverse. Therefore, as we create and publish online newsletters, we must remain aware that our audience comprises people of different ages, abilities, and English proficiency levels.

Universal Design

Universal design is an approach to create materials and instruction that are accessible to all people (Barnhardt & Turner, 2014; Eberle & Childress, 2007). Its principles translate well to the publication of an online newsletter. The three components of universal design conducive to a newsletter are as follows:

  • a variety of ways to represent information
  • different ways to express information
  • the use of “global English” or simple language


Representing information using different modalities such as pictorial, graphic, text, and even audio can make the newsletter more accessible for people with visual differences and even mental processing differences. Another advantage is that it creates a more appealing newsletter for everyone. Graphs may be easier to understand than a long textual passage.

Because there is no one English in the world, the use of simple language bridges the gap between world Englishes. In other words, avoid colloquialisms and idiomatic terms that may not be universally understandable. Remember, an online newsletter makes the product accessible to people around the world. Print versions may be limited to a specific geographic area, but the Internet has made this option obsolete.

In addition to thinking about how to make content accessible, we also have to address the functionalities of an online newsletter.

Navigation

The newsletter should be easy to navigate, making it easy to find articles, so that the newsletter is user-friendly. For example, hypertext links make navigation simple and easy.

Sequence

Be sure that information is sequenced logically and intuitively. One way to do this is to chunk information in small parts for easier reading.

Graphic Design

Although most of us are not professional graphic designers, we can follow a few guidelines to make a pleasing and accessible design.

  • Background color is light and foreground and text is dark to provide high contrast for easier reading.
  • Use a simple, consistent layout that is uncluttered. Blank space is okay because it allows readers to easily locate information.
  • Use easily readable fonts such as those that are sans serif. Avoid unusual fonts. Use an appropriate size font.
  • Use multiple ways to represent information. For example, use visual and written formats. Have formats accessible for people with different physical abilities.
  • Avoid flickering and flashing elements.
  • Provide captions and alternative text.
  • Use link text with key words (e.g., young language learners vs. language learners at a young age).
  • Provide text descriptors for images and pictures.
  • Provide captions for video.


In sum, just as we try to make our lessons and instructional materials accessible for students, we should try to ensure that our professional materials such as newsletters are accessible for all of our colleagues.

References

Barnhardt, S., & Turner, E. . (2013). Creating sustainable, culturally accessible e-learning programmes on a global scale. Progressio, 35(2), 1–18.

Eberle, J., & Childress, M. (2007). Universal design for culturally-diverse online learning. In A. Edmunson(Eds.), Globalized e-learning cultural challenges (pp. 239–254). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

CHALLENGES ON HOW TO CREATE A USEFUL NEWSLETTER

Challenges in creating a useful newsletter center on two parts of the editing process. First, there is the challenge of getting enough useful material to create a newsletter. After enough material has been gathered, the problem becomes one of dissemination.

Getting enough material together to create a useful newsletter is often a problem faced by the volunteer staff of TESOL affiliates. Without a staff of paid writers, editors have to rely on members to provide content for the newsletter or find content from other sources. In the past, we have talked about having a newsletter exchange that would serve as a source of material that we could all draw upon. It would mean adopting a standard (Creative Commons Attribution might work well) for the distribution of material. We would also need to have a means whereby we could store and disseminate materials in an organized fashion.


Sarah Barnhardt presenting at the TESOL ALC Editors’ Workshop, TESOL 2013 in Dallas, Texas


Chester Gates presenting at the TESOL ALC Editors’ Workshop, TESOL 2013 in Dallas, Texas

After the editors gather content for the newsletter, dissemination becomes the second challenge. At MDTESOL, we hire a professional to take articles, pictures, and announcements and turn them into a newsletter, while other affiliates use their own skills to create a newsletter. The form that a newsletter takes varies as well. An electronic newsletter can be posted on the affiliate’s website or sent via email to the members. A simple paper newsletter can be reproduced in house and mailed out, while a more complex newsletter may need to be sent to a publisher who then prints and mails the newsletter for a fee.

The choices that an affiliate makes to provide the membership with timely and useful information will vary according to the needs and resources of the affiliate. There does not seem to be one universal solution to the challenge. It is a hopeful sign that we are meeting at TESOL International conventions to exchange information and build bridges. This exchange can only bolster the resources available to each editorial team as it creates the best newsletter possible.

TEXELT: TEXAS ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING ISSN 2325-2979: A PEER-REVIEWED ONLINE JOURNAL

Dr. Rita Deyoe-Chiullán is the publications coordinator for TexTESOL V, our local affiliate of TexTESOL and of TESOL International. A few years ago, she advanced the suggestion that our organization could offer members a service by publishing a yearly issue of an online journal, affording those whose professional roles require publication in peer-reviewed journals another avenue to share their work and offering members in school settings current research information without the high costs of traditional professional journal subscriptions. To date, we have published Volume 1, Issue 1 (September 2012), available on our website.

We are looking for articles based on recent research and with recent sources to meet the contemporary educational settings of our membership. Submitting authors may expect to work with our editors and peer reviewers, who have an interest in mentoring educational practitioners through the process of revisions to shape their work for the requirements of publishing in an online peer-reviewed journal.

Our online peer-refereed journal is free on our website! Texas English Language Teaching (TexELT)Volume 1, Issue 1, September 2012.Please read below for the detailed description of TexELT:

Mission Statement

The mission of TexTESOL V is to provide information, direction, and support to its membership in promoting excellence in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages.

Purposes

  1. Work cooperatively toward the improvement of instruction in all programs that seek to provide learners with an opportunity to acquire English language skills and proficiency.
  2. Provide opportunities for study and research.
  3. Encourage professional development, participation, and leadership at the local and state levels.
  4. Promote intercultural understanding and effective cross-cultural communication.
  5. Cooperate in appropriate ways with other groups having similar concerns.


Call for Papers

The publications officers are now accepting submissions for an online journal, a publication of Texas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages-Region V (TexTESOL V).

This is a peer-reviewed electronic publication which will be posted on the TexTESOL V website and will be available free of charge to members through an email newsletter link and to the general public through the public access portions of the TexTESOL V website. Submissions are due March 15. It is anticipated that manuscripts selected for consideration will be sent to members of the peer jury of readers by March 25, 2013, and returned to the publications officers with Level One Protocol advice by April 20, 2013. Online publication is tentatively scheduled for September 2014. All submissions should be sent electronically to ritadeyoe@yahoo.com. If you do not receive a return email confirming receipt within 3 days, please send a follow-up email.

Editorial Process

Manuscripts that meet the specifications listed will be reviewed by the publications coordinator and at least one other member of the TexTESOL V Board and/or other qualified readers, who will be selected for relevant background and interest in the topic.

If approved by both first readers, the manuscript will be assigned to a peer jury reviewer for general editing advice and review.

If approved by only one person, it will be submitted to an additional reader and the majority decision will be final.

If neither of the first readers supports further development of the manuscript for this publication, the author will be notified accordingly.

If only minor editing is needed, the publications officers will make minor corrections. If substantial changes are needed or missing information is required, the author will be given the option to revise as requested or to withdraw the manuscript from consideration.

Publication Priorities

Action Research Reports

These are brief reports on action research where the writer developed a plan to do something in a particular way to try to improve student outcomes and gives some evidence of having compared that approach with previous or simultaneous alternative approaches, evaluates the outcomes, and critically examines both implementation issues and outcomes. This does not need to be at the level of an experimental or quasi-experimental design, but ought to present evidence of thorough planning of details and be based on a review of relevant available literature.

Critical Reviews of Textbooks, Teaching Materials, and Teacher Preparation Texts and Resources

These are brief critical reviews of new textbooks and materials for teaching English or preparing teachers of English as a second language at any of the levels (elementary, secondary, adult, and higher education), pointing out personal experiences in using the text or materials—positive and negative—and/or detailing benefits and defects, as perceived by the reviewer, for the sorts of student populations our membership serves, within the North Texas context. TexTESOL V members work in both urban schools and colleges with extensive bilingual, newcomer, and ESL programs and in rural districts with limited programs and few ESL-qualified professionals. The reviewer should state clearly his or her own context and experience and the settings for which the text or materials reviewed were considered.

Research Syntheses for Application

Well-structured syntheses of the best practices for our regional needs or the needs of a particular type of situation that exists in our region, according to research from a wide variety of sources, but with critical attention to "applicability," and the perceived quality of the research cited, whether qualitative or quantitative.

Criteria for Consideration

  1. The research topic should be of fairly general interest to practicing ESL teachers at one or more of the levels addressed by our Interest Sections: elementary, secondary, adult and/or parent education, higher education. This includes postsecondary ESL students and bilingual/ESL teacher preparation.
  2. The manuscript should be in Times New Roman 12-pt font and should follow APA 6th edition format for citing all sources. You may request information on this format from the publications coordinator.
  3. The manuscript should be sufficiently edited with regard to errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, idiomatic usage, and document format to resolve all errors identified by Spell Check.
  4. All sources should be cited properly and completely so that the reader can easily consult the original source or access it electronically if it is available online.
  5. All authors are solely responsible for ensuring that no plagiarism occurs in their submissions, and authors whose work is selected for publication will need to sign a statement to that effect. At their option, the editors may submit papers to an anti-plagiarism service for originality comparisons.

TESOL FRANCE: TEACHING TIMES

Our History
TESOL France took a dramatic turn in 2008. Together with Sab Will, the newsletter was totally revamped, and overnight The News became the Teaching Times. The new style and format was an instant success, and when I took over as editor in 2009, I decided to continue in the same vein. It turned out to be the right decision.

Ros Wright


Debbie West

The magazine appears three times a year in conjunction with the key ELT-related events in France: Nouvel An (Expolangues, France’s annual language trade fair), Printemps(TESOL France Spring Day), and la Rentrée or Back to School issue (TESOL France Annual Colloquium).

In recent years the magazine has become so popular that we now offer a magazine-only subscription.

Our Philosophy
We like to think of the Teaching Times as midway between an associative newsletter and a pedagogical magazine with a slight nod to the more academic side of our field. Aware that for some readers the Teaching Times represents their main source of continued professional development and their main link to the greater world of ELT, we like to offer a balance between the practical and the theoretical. The magazine also aims to facilitate ongoing interaction between members and provides a forum for the sharing of ideas and experiences.

We also understand the power of the magazine as a promotional tool. The Teaching Times is frequently distributed during non–TESOL France events throughout the year as a means of showcasing the association to potential new members.

Our Editorial Team

Our team is relatively small and consists of an editor, two proofreaders who also contribute articles and help source writers, and someone in charge of advertising. The editor takes the magazine from the initial conception stage—sourcing articles, interviews, and reviews—through to the layout and proofreading stages to ensure it is print-ready. The magazine is then printed in print runs of 600–800 copies by a local printer in Paris.

Our Readership

Teaching Times is aimed primarily at teachers working in the various educational sectors of France, from young learners through the university sector to continuing adult education. It is a bonus that others in the field—training managers, editors, and publishing representatives—are also able to benefit from its content. As our association has grown and become more international, mainly as a result of our highly successful Annual Colloquiums, so our readership has also evolved. We are proud to say that our readership now extends across Europe, into the United States, and as far as la Réunion in the Indian Ocean!

Our Contributors
We like to make use of our major events to source potential contributors for our magazine.

Plenary Speakers
Our plenary speakers offer the most obvious choice for our interview spot, for example, but we also encourage them to submit articles on their particular specialty.

Conference Speakers
Speakers at our events, whether they be well established or new to the conference circuit, are also encouraged to contribute articles, commentaries, or activities. Our visibility has increased and as a result, we now receive unsolicited articles for print. We prefer articles to appeal to as wide an audience as possible; research-based articles, for example, must therefore offer application to the classroom, learner, or trainer.

Commercial Entities
Publishers and test preparation organizations are also welcome to submit items—indeed this is a mutually beneficial means of promoting a new title or test. We simply ask that there is significant pedagogical content to avoid a purely commercial text.

Reviews
Local publishing reps often send us materials for review, but we also welcome spontaneous reviews from members. Increasingly, we review online materials, many of which are produced independently. We like our reviews to be relatively short, punchy, and positive—just enough to inspire readers to go do their own research into the title.

Our Regular Features
Regular features of the Teaching Times include some of the “usual suspects”: a message from the president, materials reviews, and a calendar of upcoming events. Some of our more original features include the following:

An Interview With . . .
These constitute interviews with renowned experts from the field of ELT, which to date have included Jeremy Harmer, Michael Swan, rising ELT star Chia Suan Song, past TESOL president Bock Brady, and last but very definitely not least, Professor David Crystal, OBE.

Meet the Pros
This style of interview is aimed at local professionals based in France. Examples include a recent retiree with 30 years’ ELT experience in France, CEO of France’s largest foreign language bookshop, director of studies of a language school, and the Paris-based representative of a well-known ELT publisher.

Dear Bethany
The Teaching Times boasts its very own Agony Aunt (herself qualified to master’s level and director of her own language training company in France) who responds to questions related to ELT as well as (certain) economic and legal issues that might be of concern to trainers in France.

Have Your Say
We invite members of TESOL France to share their particular experience with the readership: a spell volunteering in a school in India, a promotion, a particular perspective on ELT and its learners, and so on.

Regions Page
Dedicated to our Regional Branches, this page offers our Regional Branch coordinators the chance to showcase and promote their own local activities.

Our Future
The future for the Teaching Times is definitely a secure one. Despite the arrival of social media—the TESOL France blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages—I am delighted to say that our magazine remains the main voice for our association and its members.

Having edited the magazine for the last 4 years, this spring I am stepping down to make way for Colleen Brown, who not only has a degree in journalism, but also possesses a real flair for the written word. I am safe in the knowledge that my—sorry—OUR Teaching Times is in excellent hands!

Contacts
For anyone interested in further discussion of the Teaching Times, please don’t hesitate to contact me at ros_wright@hotmail.com