March 2014

Leadership Updates


Dear EEIS Colleagues and Friends,

Greetings from Florence, Alabama! I hope that you have had a very good year so far and are already making plans to attend the 2014 convention, which will take place March 26–29 in Portland, Oregon! The theme for this year’s TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo is “ELT for the Next Generation.”

If you have never attended a TESOL convention, you should consider putting it on your calendar this year. Attending the convention will enable you to stay abreast of the latest trends in the English language teaching field and to connect with new and old colleagues and friends from around the world. In my experience, the most challenging part of attending the conference is deciding which sessions to attend—there are so many excellent sessions to choose from, many offering practical teaching tips and ideas that you can take straight to your classrooms. Examples of the various activities that you do not want to miss, in addition to the fabulous concurrent sessions, include the K–12 Dream Day on March 25, the Academic and InterSection Sessions sponsored by the EEIS, the EEIS Open Business Meeting (and dinner), as well as the inspiring keynote addresses by invited speakers.

Thanks to everyone who submitted proposals on current and emerging issues impacting English language teaching at the elementary level, ranging from the Common Core Standards, to collaboration, to early childhood education. Hats off to all the dedicated volunteers who read and rated all the proposals over the summer! As a result of all their hard work, we all can look forward to a convention filled with top-notch sessions presented by our peers. This year, we were allotted 23 concurrent sessions, 4 poster sessions, and one 1 roundtable discussion.

Last fall, the EEIS held its annual election. Please join me in congratulating the following individuals who have been elected to join the leadership of the EEIS in 2014–2015: Joy Brown, chair-elect; Karen Nemeth and Teresa Ferguson, Steering Board members; Jessica Burchett, secretary; and Christel Broady, Leslie Kirshner-Morris, Margaret McKenzie, and Kelly Hill, Nominating Committee members. The EEIS is looking forward to a great year under their leadership!

In case you are unable to attend the 2014 convention, remember that you can still participate in TESOL virtual seminars and sessions year-round. It is my pleasure to announce that the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section invited us to sponsor three professional development sessions during January and February: “Using Technology for Content and Language Integrated Learning,” “Developing Mentoring Skills,” and “Teaching English to Young English Learners and Teenagers.” These 6-week-long sessions were open to members and nonmembers alike and were free of charge! I sincerely hope that you take advantage of the wealth of resources offered by TESOL.

I would also like to remind you that you do not have to wait until we see each other at the convention to network with your colleagues. We are only an e-mail, tweet, or message away. Become an active participant on our Listservby posting questions and/or offering advice. Joining a Twitter chat (#ELLCHAT) led by our colleagues Judie Haynes and Karen Nemeth is a great place to start meeting and discussing topics of interest to ESL educators. Subscribe to a good blog. was created by our own Dr. Christel Broady, our past EEIS chair. You can subscribe to her posts and stay abreast of current events affecting English language learners and immigrant students.

As the TESOL convention approaches, make sure that you check your e-mail regularly for updates, reminders, and invitations for you to be involved in other ways as well, including by stopping by the EEIS booth, attending our Open Meeting, and joining us for our annual dinner. Can’t wait to see you in Portland!


Ana Carolina Behel
2013–2014 EEIS Chair


Carol Behel, EEIS chair, announced the results of the EEIS election in December through an email to all EEIS members. The new chair-elect will be Joy L. M. Brown. The new chair will be Theresa Laquerre moving up from chair-elect. Carol Behel will become the past chair at the end of the convention.

Steering board members who will begin serving 3-year terms at the close of the convention are Karen Nemeth and Teresa Ferguson. They will join the four Steering Board members who are currently serving. Each year two Steering Board members’ tenures expire and two new members take their places. Our secretary will continue to be Jessica Burchett.

Next year Carol Behel will help the elected Nominating Committee enlist people to lead our Interest Section. Next year’s Nominating Committee includes Christel Broady, Leslie Kirshner-Morris, Margaret McKenzie, and Kelly Hill. Potential leaders need to be involved in the Interest Section through attendance at the Open Meeting, contributing to the newsletter, leading online discussions in our community, and/or writing proposals and presenting at the conference.

The officers meet twice at the convention and then communicate regularly to each other and our members via the online community and newsletter. For more information about the workings of the officers, read the Interest Section’s guidelines on the EEIS pages of the TESOL website.


In this edition of the EEIS News we have information about the convention and sessions that will be of interest to our members. We have an article on working with preschool-age English language learners and dual language learners by Karen Nemeth. We have an article about reading instruction in EFL settings by Narentuya Ao. I hope you will enjoy reading these articles and consider writing about your experiences for a future edition.

The seasons are changing here in middle Mississippi. We have had some unusually cold winter weather, but today it feels like spring. I look forward to the changing seasons in my part of the world. As a general rule I don’t like change, but the change of the seasons keeps life interesting.

On the topic of not liking change, sometimes I stay in one place too long because I feel comfortable where I am. Looking back over my teaching career, both paid and volunteer, I find that I stayed in some places too long. I was enjoying what I was doing but keeping someone else from having a similar, rewarding teaching experience. I am writing all this as prelude to something I dread admitting. It is time to change EEIS News editors.

If you are interested in editing and writing for EEIS News, please let me or one of the EEIS officers know. It is possible for two people to share the job as co-editors. I am willing to advise and occasionally write an article. There is a very helpful training session for newsletter editors at the convention that the new editor(s) can attend. Working with the staff at TESOL has been lovely. They do all the heavy lifting of actual copyediting and formatting the articles for the online edition.

Please consider helping your Interest Section by continuing the work of all of the editors who came before me. You may contact me for more information.

Janice Cate, a National Board Certified Teacher, is Lead Teacher/Co-ordinator of ESL for Jackson Public Schools in Jackson, Mississippi. An ESL teacher since 1990 she is past-president of AMTESOL and past-chair of EEIS. She is President-elect of Mississippi Reading Association.



Last year I wrote an EEIS article about teaching preschool ELLs. At that time I said: “We don’t yet have research to specifically guide ESL teacher practices with preschool children.” Since that time, a wave of research reviews appeared to help teachers chart a course. In this article, I share some of the new information that was published and presented in the past few months. I’ll be talking more about this topic in my presentations at the TESOL conference (“Quality Pre-K for ELLs: Why? What? And How?” March 28, 9:30 am, Room A105; EEIS Academic Session, March 28, 2 pm, room B119).

Big news was announced at a press event in Washington, DC, on May 14, 2013. A major review of the research on early learning for dual language learners was released. (Keep in mind that researchers and policymakers are using the term dual language learner, or DLL, instead of ELL for children under age 6.) The findings were so compelling that the report quickly appeared in articles in Education Week and other major outlets. This first report is from the Center for Early Care and Education Research—Dual Language Learners. It is called “Dual Language Learners: Research Informing Policy” (Castro, García, & Markos, 2013). Since that event, I have seen the presenters share this information at several national conferences and webcasts. One key message that was spoken by Linda Espinosa as a panelist at that press event has been repeated frequently: “Use of home language, in addition to English, is probably THE most important aspect of effective early childhood education settings for DLLs.”

In her report for the Migration Policy Institute, Dr. Espinosa (2013a) reframes the statement in this way: “The instructional features of high-quality programs that have been shown to improve school readiness among this population include responsive language interactions in English as well as the students’ home languages, opportunities for children to learn and practice new skills and vocabulary, frequent assessment, and parental engagement” (p. 5). Incorporating home languages in work with young DLLs is not an entirely new idea for TESOL practitioners. What is new is the sense of urgency that makes home language support more of a necessity than a luxury.

What are some of the ways TESOL members can support these goals when they work in schools that serve young students who are DLLs?

  • Help teachers find resources for home language activities or materials that include both English and the children’s home languages. Public libraries can be a helpful source because many children’s librarians are participating in initiatives to meet the diverse language needs in their communities.
  • Integrate home language connections in the work you do with pre-K and kindergarten students. For example, read a story together in two languages, and point out the connected words and phrases.
  • Work with teachers to create and support family home language literacy activities. Support for the home language doesn’t have to happen only at school.
  • Engage general education, special education, art, music, physical education, media, and other teachers in discussions about how the new recommendations might be implemented at your school across disciplines.
  • Be a role model and advocate for establishing a climate of respect for the home language and cultural assets of every child and family.

I think one of the biggest challenges to meeting these goals is the persistent myth that full immersion in English will help children learn English faster. In another summary of the research, Linda Espinosa (2013b) addresses that myth and helps to move the field forward to meet the distinct language development needs of young children. A similar message also appears in a report on evidence-based preschool practices from the Society for Research in Child Development (Yoshikawa et al., 2013), which contains a section that uses recent findings to support recommendations for teaching DLLs in preschool. One of the key findings is that supporting the home language is critical for effectively teaching young children who speak home languages other than English.

With the rapidly increasing linguistic diversity in many schools, supporting each home language can be a tall order. Families can be the best partners in this endeavor to ensure success in preschool and kindergarten and beyond. It is surely worth the effort. As Linda Espinosa said in her May 2013 presentation, “The educational success of our nation depends on the educational success of our young DLLs."


Castro, D., García, E., & Markos, A. (2013). Dual language learners: Research informing policy. Retrieved from

Espinosa, L. (2013a). Early education for dual language learners: Promoting school readiness and early school success. Retrieved from

Espinosa, L (2013b). PreK-3rd: Challenging common myths about dual language learners: An update to the seminal 2008 Report. Retrieved from

Yoshikawa, H., Weiland, C., Brooks-Gunn, J., Burchinal, M., Espinosa, L., Gormley, W., . . . Zaslow, M. (2013). Investing in our future: Evidence base on preschool education. Retrieved from

Karen Nemeth is an author, consultant, and advocate on improving early childhood education for ELLs. She is the founder of Language Castle LLC. She serves as a steering board member for EEIS, a consulting editor for NAEYC and is on the board of NJTESOL/NJBE.


Developing children’s reading literacy is advocated internationally. However, there is not much instructional guidance in EFL reading literacy instruction for elementary EFL teachers to follow. Chinese university researchers have recently attempted to resolve this problem by undertaking school-university collaborative action research, where elementary EFL teachers actively reflect on their reading instruction and carry out plans and solutions accordingly to deal with problems they identify through scrutiny in teaching, with systematic and scientific research procedures, assisted by university researchers tutoring their research. It turns out to be fruitful, with school teachers developing a set of scientific methods in reading instruction, which greatly promotes students’ reading literacy development in turn. This article introduces how the collaborative action research is conducted.


School teachers are recommended by local educational sectors and engage in the research voluntarily. They are usually expert teachers or potential expert teachers from different regions of a city who are willing to change and enthusiastic about education. They come with questions about reading instruction and conduct classroom research in their own reading classes. The university researchers usually come from a research group including professors and graduate students whose research interests involve EFL reading instruction and teacher education. They work as research tutors, providing school teachers research support. Officers in local educational sectors work as coordinators. A common collaborative action research group consists of 30–40 school teachers, 10–15 university researchers, and several officers in local educational sectors.


The research usually lasts for four semesters (2 years). In the first semester, university researchers help school teachers learn about action research and the related methodology with lectures, group discussion, and one-to-one mentoring. School teachers then reflect on their reading instruction and identify problem or questions, conduct preliminary diagnoses, collect data, and do action planning. In this process, university researchers give lectures and tutoring on reading literacy assessment methods, data collection methods, and provide help in action planning. In the second semester, school teachers implement their actions, reflect on them with systematic data collection and do necessary revising to the actions. In the third semester, school teachers proceed with their revised actions with frequent reflections and continued data collection. In these two semesters, university researchers give lectures on ways of developing EFL reading literacy, including story book instruction, sustained silent reading, and reading circle, and give feedback on school teachers’ actions. In the last semester, school teachers analyze the data collected and write action research reports, with university researchers providing detailed suggestions.

Resources for Further Reading

Qiang, W., & Hong, Z. (Eds.). (2012). Exploration in school-university collaborative action research: Research in action and developing research. Shanghai, China: Shanghai Education Press.

Narentuya Ao is a PhD student at the Center for Foreign Language Education and Teacher Education, Beijing Normal University. She is also a student researcher at the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include ESL/EFL literacy education, action research, and teacher education.



The Elementary Education Interest Section arranges some special sessions of interest to our members at the annual convention. This year Theresa Laquerre as chair-elect organized an Academic Session and some InterSection sessions. She shared the titles, times, and room numbers, and they are listed below so our members can make plans to attend them.

The EEIS Academic Session will be “Quality Pre-K for ELLs: Why? What? And How?” presented on March 28, at 9:30 am, in room A105. Speakers are Betty Smallwood, Karen Nemeth, and Theresa Laquerre.

There will be a discussion session to follow the Academic Session titled “Quality Pre-K for ELLs: A Practical Discussion of Key Issues” on March 28 at 11:30 am.

EEIS and the Bilingual Education Interest Section will present “Explore Common Core, Sustain Successful Strategies, Renew Academic Literacy” on March 27 at 10:30 am in room E144. Speakers include Judie Haynes, Sandra Mercuri, and Aida Nevarez-LaTorre.

The Second Language Writing Interest Section asked EEIS to help with the presentation of “Shaping the Learning Experiences of L2 Writers Across K–16 Contexts” on March 28 at 1 pm in room E141. Speakers will be Todd Ruecker, Theresa Laquerre, Luciana de Oliviera, Ditlev Larsen, Jill Jeffery, and Mary Soto.

The Teacher Education, Secondary Education, and Elementary Education Interest Sections will come together to present “On the Same Page: Teacher Education for K–12 Content Area Colleagues” on March 27 at 9:30 am. Carol Behel and Jenelle Reeves are the speakers.

Other EEIS members are presenting sessions before and during the convention, too. The following sessions were sent to the editor when she called for session promos.

Judith B. O’Loughlin and Brenda Custodio will be presenting two sessions on working with newcomers at the Portland convention. One will be a four hour Preconvention Institute (PCI) on Tuesday, March 25, from 5 to 9 pm (room TBA). The PCI will be interactive, offering participants an opportunity to develop new ways of working with newcomers. PCIs require separate registration fees in addition to general conference registration fees.

Their second session is titled “Best Practices for Newly Arrived Secondary Immigrants” and will be at 1 pm on Thursday, March 27, in room A109. Newcomer programs are specially designed programs for new arrivals with little or no English. The presenters will share practical suggestions for developing a Newcomer Center, and participants will learn how to select materials and adapt curriculum to create access to the Common Core State Standards and other content standards for students with limited English skills. Participants with little to extensive experience with newcomers and newcomer programs are encouraged to attend.

Linda New Levine, Laura Lukens, and Betty Ansin Smallwood will present two practical sessions for K-12 teachers of ELLS that focus on instructional resources that can be used to scaffold instruction.

As part of the K-12 Dream Day (Wednesday, March 26), they will present “The GO TO Strategies: Scaffolding Options for Teachers of ELLs” from 3:00-4:15 pm in Galleria III at the Hilton Hotel.

On Thursday, March 27, they will deliver a workshop where participants will work with resources and discover how they can be applied in different instructional settings with students of various proficiency levels. The workshop’s title is “Strategies to Scaffold Rigor and Create Relevance for ELLs” and will take place from 9:30-11:15 am in PB252. Participants will receive copies of all resources shared and will be able to download the resources after the convention.

If you are attending the convention for the first time, you may want to use the convention planner tool on the convention website. It is easy to find EEIS sessions each day and make plans to attend the ones that fit your needs.


EEIS News is soliciting articles on research and classroom methods, materials, and practices related to English as a second or foreign language in any elementary education classroom setting.

EEIS News welcomes articles that apply to classroom situations and that focus on ESL/EFL classroom practices/instruction, second language acquisition, language assessment, advocacy, administration, parent/public concerns, and other related topics. In light of the newsletter's electronic format, authors are encouraged to include hyperlinks and digital object identifiers.


Articles should

  • include a title, author, and author's email address
  • include a 50-word teaser
  • be no longer than 1,200 words
  • contain no more than five citations
  • follow APA style guidelines, except only one space after periods
  • be sent as .doc files

Photos should

  • be sent in .jpg format
  • have all persons identified
  • have permission to publish using the TESOL permission form

Please direct your submissions and questions to Janice Cate.


15 August: Submissions due to EEIS News editor
25 September: Compiled EEIS News submitted to TESOL for editing
10 October: Newsletter distributed to EEIS members

7 January: Submissions due to EEIS News editor
15 February: Compiled EEIS News submitted to TESOL for editing
5 March: Newsletter distributed to EEIS members



Chair, Ana Carolina Behel
Incoming Chair, Theresa Laquerre
Past Chair, Amy King
Secretary, Jessica Burchett
Newsletter Editor, Janice Cate

Steering Board Members

(Year listed is the year the term ends)

Sadia Shaw
Mitch Bobrick


Joy Brown
Ede Thompson


Judie Haynes
Debbie Zacarian
2016 (begin serving at end of 2014 convention)

Karen Nemeth
Teresa Ferguson

Nominating (2013–2014)

Amy King
Janice Cate
Christel Broady
Leslie Kirshner-Morris
Margaret McKenzie

Nominating (2014–2015)
Carol Behel
Christel Broady
Leslie Kirshner-Morris
Margaret McKenzie
Kelly Hill

International Concerns
Keiko Abe-Ford
Tokiko Tanaka

Judie Haynes
Linda New Levine
Janice Cate

Deborah Sams
Ayanna Cooper

Special Education
Leslie Kirschner-Morris

Community Manager
Judy O'Loughlin