February 2017
ICIS Newsletter



Dear ICIS Colleagues,

It is hard to believe it, but we are almost upon the next annual convention at TESOL, which will be taking place in Seattle, Washington, USA.

At this year’s convention, in addition to ICIS’s academic session, we also have four InterSection sessions. These sessions were created in partnership with the Bilingual Education Interest Section (IS), International Teaching Assistants IS, English as a Foreign Language IS, Social Responsibility IS, and ILGBT Forum. One of our goals for this year was to work with more ISs and also to collaborate with a forum. We are very happy to have not only reached that goal, but to have exceeded the number of sessions of which we had originally conceived. Each session covers current issues in the field, like antibias training for teachers and the legitimacy of nonnative-English-speaking teachers. You can learn more about these sessions in our current newsletter.

We are also excited to see the sessions that our members will be giving. Intercultural communication–related sessions will be marked with an “IC” in the program booklet in order to make them easier to find. We especially hope to see many of you at the ICIS Open Meeting, which will be in room 611 at the convention center, 22 March from 5 pm–6:30 pm.

At this convention, we are pleased to have Amy Alice Chastain, Roxanna Senyshyn, and Barbara Lapornik join the ICIS leadership. Amy and Roxanna will be joining the team as members-at-large, and Barbara will be the next chair-elect. These three women have been chosen by our members to help further ICIS goals and offer new insights about ways to make ICIS more effective for its membership. I am certainly looking forward to working with them, as I look forward to continuing to hear from you, our membership, about your questions and ideas.

I hope to see many of you at the upcoming convention in Seattle! For those who cannot make it, we will certainly be sure to share highlights in the postconvention newsletter!


Maxi-Ann Campbell

ICIS Chair 2016–2017



Natalia Balyasnikova

Dear ICIS members,

How quickly 2016 has flown by! Very soon, we will assemble for the 51st annual TESOL convention in the beautiful Seattle, Washington, USA to care, share, and network. How exciting! In thinking about our current ICIS newsletter themed Cultural Synegy, we take a moment to remind you of our ICIS vision and share a few of the exciting practices that our members continue to explore.

But first, we must welcome Amy Alice Chastain and Roxanna Senyshyn, who are joining the ICIS leadership as members-at-large, and Barbara Lapornik, who will be the next chair-elect. We are happy to have you on board! Amy, Roxanna, and Barbara are joining us at a time when ICIS Incoming Chair, Ramin Yazdanpanah, has drafted a remarkable vision statement that aligns with TESOL’s core values of “respect for diversity, multilingualism, multiculturalism, and individuals’ language rights” (n.d.) and that attests to the critical role of intercultural exchanges between and among TESOL members in ways that can sustain our interest section’s mission, purpose, and goals.

In keeping with the core values outlined in this vision statement, we interviewed faculty member Dr. Lynne Díaz-Rico, who is an advocate for intercultural communication and the role that English language learning plays in this work. Dr. Díaz-Rico’s interview revealed how critical it is for teachers to understand students’ culturally derived learning styles and strategies and bicultural identities while simultaneously implementing culturally compatible, culturally responsive instruction by using intercultural communication to teach English where culture serves as content. She anticipates that teachers will engage in more self-examination as a means of developing intercultural awareness and that students will benefit from increasing communication between native English speakers and English learners made possible by connections across the globe.

Our vision statement’s focus on intercultural exchanges was made vivid in Jessica Geil’s report about her experience at a forum. Jessica’s willingness to engage in a forum where she had few expectations led her to learn much. She learned about the challenges and successes of professionals like herself; that in the Russian Far East, classes consist of small groups of students (fewer than 20) that stay together for 5 years; and that despite the difficulty of students reaching a 785 score on The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) in Taiwan, lowering the standards was not the solution. Gladys Focho’s report on culturally appropriate testing also extended the importance of being familiar with other cultures. In her article, she shares examples about the ways in which examination questions can sometimes put students’ cultural values to the test, leading to failure and frustration. Gladys is hopeful that she can raise teachers’ awareness about this issue so that they can exercise cultural sensitivity in both teaching and testing. We found such richness and hopefulness in reading Jessica’s and Gladys’s articles! We hope that you will, too.

On a final note, as we make final preparations for the TESOL convention in Seattle, we wish to remind you to take a look at our update from the work we are doing to enhance our presence in the social community. Our new online community platform, myTESOL, our Facebook group, and our YouTube Playlist of Films are all exciting ways to keep in touch with us, increase our networking opportunities, and support our vision for increasing our intercultural exchanges in 2017! Do take a look at our Community Update section as you prepare to join the events hosted by our ICIS. We look forward to seeing you, our fellow ICIS members, at your presentations, and we wish you an enjoyable 2017 TESOL convention!


Patriann and Natalia

ICIS Co-editors 2016–2017


TESOL International Association. (n.d.). Mission and values. Retrieved from https://www.tesol.org/about-tesol/association-governance/mission-and-values

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Natalia @_balyasnikova | Patriann @Patriann_Smith

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Patriann Smith (PhD) is an assistant professor of language, diversity and literacy studies at Texas Tech University who relies on tenets of intercultural communication in her cross-cultural work to better understand how immigrant teachers to the United States address their ideologies about nonstandardized languages and how these ideologies affect literacy instruction. The intersections of Patriann’s research can be better understood by taking a look at her recently released co-edited Handbook of Research on Cross-Cultural Approaches to Language and Literacy Development.

Natalia Balyasnikova is a doctoral candidate in language and literacy education at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Originally from Russia, Natalia moved to Canada in 2013 to pursue her degree in TESL with a focus on intercultural communication. Natalia writes about her life as a graduate student and a newcomer to Canada in her blog.



As the incoming chair, I have the opportunity to prepare the vision statement for the 2017 year. These are dynamic times that we are living in that will surely bring change in global, national, and local contexts. Change is often accompanied by both trepidation of the unknown and motivation to step up and meet the challenges ahead. Each of us has experienced this within our own lives, often coming out stronger and wiser for it. It is clear that our work as intercultural (IC) educators is greatly needed perhaps now more than ever within our professional contexts, TESOL, and larger communities. ICIS will continue to advocate for greater IC awareness and competence within our field and in classrooms globally. 

TESOL presents as one of its core values, “Respect for diversity, multilingualism, multiculturalism, and individuals’ language rights” (n.d.). In order to meet this core value, we must step beyond theoretical discussions of culture and diversity by engaging in actual experiences with individuals of different cultures, identities, and perspectives. Participating in nonjudgmental and synergetic discussions about beliefs and behaviors, as well as connections between culture, teaching, and learning, are effective ways to develop understanding of these complex relationships (Romano & Cushner, 2007). One of our core missions this year will be to play a key role in facilitating intercultural exchanges between TESOL members fulfilling the mission, purpose, and goals of ICIS.

It is also critical for ICIS members to understand that the sustainability of our interest section depends entirely on participation from our members, particularly our leadership positions. As the current Chair Maxi-Ann Campbell discusses in her article, membership within ICIS provides numerous benefits and opportunities for professional growth and networking. I hope this year we can continue to inspire participation and create opportunities toward professional development for our members.

In closing, we must remain optimistic that the values of dialogue, acceptance, and cooperation can bridge divisions between cultures, races, religions, and political views. In the words of one of the world’s greatest teachers, Martin Luther King Jr., “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend” (Washington State University, n.d.).


Romano, R., & Cushner, K. (2007). Reflections on the importance and value of the overseas student-teaching experience. In K. Cushner & S. Brennan (Eds.), Intercultural student teaching: A bridge to global competence (pp. 215–225). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education.

TESOL International Association. (n.d.). Mission and values. Retrieved from https://www.tesol.org/about-tesol/association-governance/mission-and-values

Washington State University. (n.d.). Famous quotes on nonviolence. Retrieved from https://mlk.wsu.edu/about-dr-king/famous-quotes/

Ramin Yazdanpanah is the director of TEFL Program at Florida State University. A visionary with a global perspective, Ramin strives to apply effective and creative methods to learning and teaching, with the goal of developing greater understanding of ourselves and others. Ramin is completing his PhD in international and comparative education, with a focus on intercultural competence training in ESL contexts. You can also catch him playing didgeridoo and cajon in his band the Maharajah Flamenco Trio, as well as at TESOL conventions.


I was nobody in a room of somebodies. I was sitting  outside the “round table” (a rectangle, actually) at the International Forum, located in one of the nautically  inspired areas of the big ship, Granship (Shizuoka Convention and Arts Center, Japan.)
I had no specific purpose at this forum. No definitive  reason to be here. I wasn’t pointedly invited to this discussion, but I took to heart “This is not to be  missed” from the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) 2015: Focus on the Learner  pamphlet summary.

And so I came.
I’ve attended many conferences in my short career, including TESOL, RTESOL, and JALT. I’ve enjoyed them all for the breadth and depth of knowledge and resources provided by an array of speakers, workshops,poster presentations, and so on.
However, the “International Forum: Focus on the Learner” was one of those are scheduled events at a conference that I had absolutely no plan for materials and lesson plan acquisition. This was a forum! And I had never been to a forum.
The forum consisted of representatives that were prepared to exchange critical, regionally related information, and discuss the challenges and approaches concerning, among other issues, “policy considerations and typical teacher/learner attitudes” found in various regions and cultures throughout Asia.
I was drawn to this forum out of a kind of blind curiosity. Who were these panelists that represented JALT’s partners throughout Asia? What were the challenges and approaches found in the various regions represented? I needed to hear about typical teacher/learner attitudes…didn’t I?
I felt I did.
I was very excited to be there. Everything was new, and I had no expectations. I had entered a different culture within the many cultures ensconced in JALT, and I was about to get a glimpse of other cultures outside of my own insulated microculture, nestled within the vast array of Japanese universities. I also had the freedom to be anonymous and listen openly on the outer edges of the rectangle. I didn’t even have to introduce myself! No pressure! I awaited the proceedings eagerly and was prepared to listen closely.

I sat and listened.

I heard about things I had never heard of before in very accessible language from people who had (many!) years of experience, passion, and the drive to improve learning situations in their areas. For example, I heard about how the lost generation in Cambodia affected the school system and that now, this nation can’t build schools fast enough. I heard that in the Russian Far East, classes consist of small groups of students (fewer than 20) that stay together for 5 years. However, a new 4-year system is coming, which will have consequences on the current 5-year system. I heard that in Taiwan, despite the difficulty of students reaching a 785 score on The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), lowering the standards is not the solution. I heard about OPS English (oral proficiency in English for secondary schools) in Malaysia and how kids love it. They love to talk! I heard about the Big Book. I heard that in the Philippines, classrooms become extensions of the home, and in Indonesia, a learner’s primary focus is to pass the national exam.

I heard a lot at the forum. What I heard allowed me a glimpse of the practices, successes, and challenges these professionals are grappling with. I watched how articulately and graciously each representative spoke and interacted with each other. I heard the honesty, earnestness, and urgency in their voices as the speakers shared and discussed topics.

In the end, I wouldn’t say my grasp of the multitude of situations in the represented regions is clear. That would take many years and much effort and experience. However, I can say that it was absolutely enlightening. I witnessed a diverse group of educators combining strengths and skills to make sense of heavy topics. I can say I am now more aware of what different regions of the world may be struggling with in their fights to sustain and improve learner education. I can say I gained a limited, yet better understanding of policies, politics, and teacher/learner dynamics in Asia.

And this is a start.

So, why would I write about a forum where I knew nothing from the onset and left with only a glimpse of the magnitude of current issues? Simply to encourage you, the conference-goer, to go to a place you have never been. Explore an unfamiliar part of the next conference you attend. Attend a meeting (or forum) that you wouldn’t normally seek out or that no one (especially you!) expects to find you. Expose yourself to another cultural aspect of JALT or TESOL or…..

You, too, may witness cultural synergy—in action!!

Maybe you will even introduce yourself…and become part of the synergy!

Jessica Geil is a lecturer of academic literacy and English at Tokyo International University (TIU), located in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. She teaches public speaking to international students pursuing degrees in international relations and business, and reading and writing skills to students within the university’s English major. She is a co-coordinator of the TIU English Plaza Peer English Practice Program, which promotes intercultural communication among TIU’s diverse student population as well as fluency-building and confidence in students’ English production.


Teachers often construct test items without paying attention to the sociocultural background of the students. I would like to share some experiences about test questions that are not culturally objective and the impact they could have on the student.

The first case concerns the testing of vocabulary dealing with places:

Choose the correct word from those in parenthesis to complete the sentence so that it has a logical meaning.

I always go to pray in the ________________. (school, market, church, hospital)

After giving back the scripts and doing the corrections, a student (about 15 years old) came to me to protest that he had written “mosque,” and I marked it wrong. When I told him “mosque” was not on the list, he insisted that he does not pray in a church but in a mosque. I tried to convince him of the importance of following instructions, but he insisted that he would rather fail than say something that was against his Muslim faith.

Another case was that of a similar question in a national examination:

The color of ripe bananas is_________________. (green, red, yellow)

The problem here is that in that part of the country, ripe bananas could be any of those colors. Because of the excess heat, green bananas could become tender or ripe while still green. Additionally, there exists a species of banana that is red in color and remains red even when ripe. Then there is the green banana, some of which turn yellow when ripe.

In another national examination, students were asked to explain the use of a gas cooker. A student responded that it was used to warm food in the evenings when there was no firewood to make fire. Such a student was definitely from a poor or rural area where cooking gas was a luxury and used sparingly. Evidently, she was responding to the question from her own sociocultural experience.

The point, then, is that teachers need to exercise cultural sensitivity not only in teaching but also in testing and evaluation. They need to understand the cultural backgrounds of the different students in their classes and try to avoid cultural issues leading to controversy, stereotyping, and stigmatization, or to outright conflict, emotional stress, and demotivation of students.

Gladys Focho is an English language teacher with more than 25 years of experience as a teacher of EFL and English for academic purposes (EAP). She has been a regional pedagogic inspector for the Promotion of Bilingualism in the West Region of Cameroon. She holds a doctorate in educational administration and planning and is presently an administrator in the University of Bamenda, Cameroon where she teaches courses in education and EAP. She is an executive member of the Cameroon English Language and Literature Teachers Association (CAMELTA). Her research interests include teacher development, global education, EFL, and English and development.



Dr. Díaz-Rico, a founder of ICIS, is professor of education at California State University, San Bernardino, where she coordinates the MA in TESOL program. Her books, Course for Teaching English Learners; The Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Handbook; and Strategies for Teaching English Learners are widely used in teacher education programs to prepare teachers for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. She is a past president of CATESOL and a frequent presenter at CATESOL and TESOL conferences on topics of intercultural education, language development, and innovative teaching methods. Her favorite people are poets and literacy/English-language development specialists.

To begin with, could you tell us about your background and how you got involved in the study of intercultural communication (IC)?

Growing up in western Pennsylvania and attending the University of Pittsburgh as an undergraduate, I was exposed to diversity in a cosmopolitan context, especially when I spent a year totally immersed in learning Mandarin and Chinese culture. After my degree, I earned an elementary teaching certificate by spending 2 years in Des Moines, Iowa—that was not a diverse place, but the Midwest was a new experience for me! Spending 8 years in Puerto Rico, I acquired Spanish as a second language, a skill I use daily in Southern California. Becoming bicultural in that context, I used IC on a daily basis.

Around the year 2000, the IC leaders in CATESOL, our TESOL affiliate, simultaneously founded both the Intercultural Communication Interest Group (ICIG) in CATESOL and the Intercultural Communication Interest Section (ICIS) in TESOL, and in 1 year (2000) the CATESOL-ICIG membership grew from 400 to 1,000 members. We had to scramble to forge a common vocabulary among experts coming from the Silicon Valley business community and those of us whose expertise was in the K–12 schools. Both arenas have IC issues—in the case of my university, with its large teacher education mission, the challenge was to build IC expertise into teacher education so our K–12 educators would become intercultural experts. That’s been a huge goal for us.

What's your personal philosophy on teaching English to speakers of other languages?

ESL/EFL teachers have a special role in the classrooms, as language emissaries and mediators, as agents of introduction to the target culture, and as sources of professional knowledge for their colleagues. Teachers who are aware of students' needs at various stages of their adjustment to the academic demands of schools and the stresses of life can help students to be more successful. Our prospective teachers are expected actively to build personal knowledge about the interdependence of language, culture, and schooling. Teachers need a solid foundation in second-language literacy and language-development techniques, but this has to be embedded within an IC framework. We are especially vigilant to honor the first language(s) of our English learners. This has to be the central pillar of IC work.

Tell us about someone who has influenced your work the most.

Last January, I presented with Michelle Kohler at the CERCLL conference in Tucson. I have enjoyed reading her book Teachers as Mediators in the Foreign Language Classroom. We used some of the ideas from this book to set up IC mentoring in our master’s degree program.

You have published numerous books and handbooks on teaching English language learners. As an expert, how would you define the goals of IC in our work?

The threshold concept is using culture to teach language, whether for communication purposes or for academic success. Culture influences the teaching of English to speakers of other languages in six basic ways. Each can become a component of instruction. First, the learner has learned how to learn by means of native culture patterns, values, and behaviors. Teachers who are acquainted with the norms and patterns of the native culture will better understand how students learn, especially how they learn an L2. This is the component of culturally derived learning styles and strategies.

Second, the intercultural educator accommodates students' culturally derived learning styles and strategies in order to deliver effective instruction. Because cultural patterns are difficult for the individual to analyze or alter, it seems unlikely that a group of learners can or will change their culturally based habits as they learn English. Teachers of English learners make whatever accommodations may be necessary. This is culturally compatible, culturally responsive instruction.

Third, learning a language becomes easier when the whole personality of the learner is engaged. A certain amount of culture acquisition may accompany second-language acquisition. The learner who acquires English takes on a set of patterns, habits, and behaviors suitable to a multilingual lifestyle. Learning to add facets to one's identity rather than suffering identity conflict or loss is an element that might be called assuming a bicultural identity. The intercultural educator helps students to adapt to shifts in identity and values that may occur.

Fourth, the native culture and the target culture each provide a rich content for instruction. Like all languages, English is a vehicle for ideas rather than a set of ideas in itself. However one defines culture—as literature, art, or music, or as the daily life of a people—the ideas that language conveys give English learning meaning and purpose. Whether these ideas come from the native culture or from the traditions embodied within English, culture serves as content.

Fifth, building upon the idea of culture as content, English teaching can incorporate the comparison of cultures, whether the comparison of culturally based learning styles and strategies or the comparison of ideas or behaviors. This shall be called the issue of cross-cultural studies.

The sixth component is using IC to teach English. As an international language, English is often learned by individuals who share no other common language. English in intercultural contexts is most useful in lingua franca situations. This is a huge area of potential growth in IC. So, these six areas are the core of building intercultrual communicative competence (ICC).

You have been an influential member of TESOL and ICIS for many years. Could you share your most memorable experiences as a part of our community?

For the past few years, the ICIS has made “a night” of it, going out as a group after the ICIS meeting [at TESOL conventions]. In Baltimore, we took over one huge table in a restaurant down by the harbor. We had a lot of fun—it’s not to be missed!

How have you seen the field of IC change since you started?

The idea that one cannot teach a foreign language without a cultural component has gradually become accepted, although there are still some governments that mandate that English be taught decontextualized of its target-culture content. We have gradually developed ways that cross-cultural comparison and IC techniques can supplement target-culture content—as well as the use of native cultural content to teach English. For example, the Saudis are convinced that English is an excellent medium for communicating the Islamic customs and values relating to the Hadj, using English as a lingua franca as millions of visitors enter Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. So there is now a wider range of ways to use cultural content to teach English.

We have also seen an increased awareness that schools and other institutions have their own cultures, which can mean that outsiders immersed in these cultures are disadvantaged if they cannot intuit the unspoken and unexplained norms and behaviors. We have been working with teachers for the past 25 years to help them become aware of the extent to which they can accommodate and modify the culture of their schools to make it easier for English learners to succeed. This effort is paying off, at least in California, as we see more minorities achieving success in higher education.

What changes would you like to see in our field in the future?

Technology has been used since the beginning of IC to connect native English speakers and English learners. In the future, this will increasingly be supplemented with nonnative/nonnative contact. I would hope the world becomes increasingly safe as a place for young people to travel, so that study abroad becomes more common for middle- and high-school students around the world. My next-door neighbors are home-stay parents for an 11-year-old boy from Mainland China: what an experience he is having! Such opportunities for young people will do a lot to promote intercultural understanding.

The theme of our newsletter—Cultural Synergy—came from a general meeting at TESOL 2016, which you attended. How do you understand this theme? What does it mean for you as a researcher and practitioner?

When we speak of cultural synergy, again we are aware of the cultural contexts of schools and other organizations. When these organizations are open to the values and behaviors of diverse participants, people from a variety of cultures feel freer to add their input and creativity. Then the whole truly becomes more than the sum of its parts. We are seeing these efforts grow in U.S. corporations and institutions that have embraced diversity; conversely, we are seeing the tensions in other communities where some constituents still feel neglected and unappreciated. IC is central to these efforts, whether it is called “cultural synergy,” “cultural competence,” or some other term. It’s the most vital competence of this century.

Tell us about a project you are most proud of. Why did you decide to undertake it? What have you learned as the result of implementing it?

In the master’s degree program at my university, we have become increasingly aware that not all graduate students are as open to IC as others; in fact, there is great diversity in this regard. We embarked on a long-term project of using the Kozai Group’s Intercultural Effectiveness Survey (IES) to encourage master’s candidates to examine their own intercultural profile, and to work with a peer coach to develop the competencies they need to move forward as an intercultural educator. It’s been an area of rich learning for all of us, as we work with partners and mentors to further our ICC skills.

What suggestions would you give to those teachers of English who want to gain intercultural awareness?

I strongly advocate self-examination. There is simply no substitute for being able to profile one’s own strengths and challenges in this regard. And then to have a mentor to work with who shares the vocabulary of necessary skills and competencies—that’s a strong recipe for growth; it’s really showing gains for participants in our research in this area.

Natalia Balyasnikova is a doctoral candidate in language and literacy education at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Originally from Russia, Natalia moved to Canada in 2013 to pursue her degree in TESL with a focus on intercultural communication.


Don't miss these events at this year's Convention. The TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo will be held 21-24 March, 2017 in Washington State Convention Center (705 Pike Street Seattle, WA) and Sheraton Seattle.

How to Manage, Facilitate, and Teach About Culturally Sensitive Issues

Thursday, 23 March, 9:30 am, Room 618

This panel discussion addresses the need to manage, facilitate, and teach about culturally sensitive issues. Panelists representing the ITA, IC, and ILGBTF Interest Sections examine topics ranging from respecting students' own cultural beliefs and perspectives to outlining strategies used to orient learners to diversity-related issues.

NNESTS Negotiating Identity and Securing Legitimacy: Personal Accounts

Wednesday, 22 March, 1 pm, Room 204

The session explores professional experiences of NNESTs and how intercultural communication intersects with negotiating identity. Panel members a) describe challenges and b) how these were addressed institutionally, and c) examine how successful examples of identity negotiation may be transferred to other contexts for the language classroom and in preservice/in-service training.

The Role of Explicit Anti-Bias Training in Teacher Education

Thursday, 23 March, 2 pm, Room 303

Recent incidents of police brutality have highlighted the need for anti-bias training not only in the police force but all institutions. This session discusses the impact of bias on our students and demonstrate specific ways to conduct anti-bias training in teacher education courses.

Developing Our Intercultural Skills When Interacting With Students and Colleagues

Thursday, 23 March, 3 pm, Room 303

As teachers, we often concern ourselves with developing the intercultural competence of our students, but we also need to continuously practice our own intercultural skills. This panel discusses methods for being more critically responsive when teaching, culturally competent in our relationships with colleagues, and globally minded in our pedagogy.

Culture and Context Matter: Intercultural Education for the EFL Classroom

Friday, 24 March, 1 pm, Room 618

This session explores the following topics around ICC in EFL contexts: a) conceptualization of ICC in Ecuador, b) ICC education in Hungary, c) U.S. State Department global teacher training, d) ICC with ELLs in Japan, e) TEFL through local folk tales in Mozambique, and f) ICC communication courses in China.



The biggest update to the ICIS and all other interest sections in TESOL is the opening of a new online community platform, myTESOL. This platform is replacing the old listserv we have been using for the first part of this academic year. TESOL and each interest section are currently working on reorganizing the roles and responsibilities of interest section leaders.

Because of this new platform, I have stopped working on our website using Wordpress. However, our Facebook page and Facebook group continue to thrive. Although not very active lately, our numbers continue to grow. In October, I reported that our Facebook page had 951 likes. Now it has 1,059 likes. I’m not a big fan of this page because it’s not interactive. It serves as a platform where we can make announcements to all who follow and like our Facebook page. This is a way to reach nonmembers of TESOL, so one way we could use this page is to recruit more members.

Our Facebook group is interactive, and we have increased our membership here from 55 in October to 60 in January. However, we haven’t been actively posting anything for the last month. When we post things on our group, we get around 20 views per post but not many comments. There are multiple possibilities why this is so. I believe one contributor is the new myTESOL platform, which I believe should be the primary means of engagement.

TESOL ICIS YouTube Playlists of Films

Don’t forget about our lists of films for cross-cultural and intercultural communication, which we created last summer. There are 92 feature film trailers to view and 24 documentary trailers to view.

If you’d like to add more feature films or documentaries to this list, please send them through the myTESOL platform and/or the Facebook group.

Jeremy D. Slagoski, PhD
Community Manager of TESOL ICIS
Curriculum Coordinator of CESL
Southern Illinois University
Twitter: @jdslagoski


The mission of the Intercultural Communication Interest Section is to promote among teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) intercultural awareness and a respect for all cultures and co-cultures.

Intercultural Communication Interest Section Mission Statement

The mission of the Intercultural Communication Interest Section (ICIS) is to promote among teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) intercultural awareness and a respect for all cultures and co-cultures.

To this end, ICIS will provide a clearly defined forum to bring together educators and scholars whose interests lie in the area of intercultural communication, particularly in the context of English language classes.

The purpose of ICIS is as follows: To promote intercultural understanding in particular environments such as education and business, to support research in intercultural communication, to recommend specific methodology(s) for teaching intercultural communication, and to promote cross-cultural classes/courses in curricula.

To accomplish this purpose, the ICIS shall

  • promote interest in the study of intercultural communication;

  • encourage research and the development of ESOL materials in intercultural communication;

  • advocate course work in intercultural communication and cross-cultural understanding in teacher training programs, including graduate level courses in TESOL and related fields;

  • advocate the offering of a class/course in intercultural communication and cross- cultural understanding at secondary and college levels of education;

  • encourage TESOL members to prepare and deliver presentations on issues pertaining to intercultural communication at national, regional, and local professional conferences;

  • establish and maintain an ICIS newsletter; and

  • establish a training consultancy to disseminate information regarding intercultural communication to TESOL members and the larger community.

More information here


We are looking for submissions!

We're looking for:

  • Feature articles (up to 1,750 words). Share your research projects, classroom practices, professional development, etc.

  • Anecdotes and stories (up to 1,000 words). Have you observed something interesting or unique? Do you want to share your thoughts and reflections on something that happened in your practice? There is space for that in our newsletter!

  • Compilation and evaluation of useful resources (up to 700 words).Share a bibliography or a list of references that always comes in handy.

  • Reports and reviews (up to 700 words).Write about a great book or an article that you read, or talk about a conference that you attended.

There are copies of past newsletters on our TESOL webpage if you want to check for some references and inspiration.

This call closes on 15 August 2017

General Submission Quick Guide

Articles should

  • have the title in ALL CAPS;

  • list a byline (author’s name with hyperlinked email, affiliation, city, country, and an author photo);

  • include a 2- to 3-sentence (or fewer) teaser for the newsletter homepage;

  • be no longer than 1,750 words (includes bylines, teasers, main text, tables, and author bios);

  • contain no more than five citations;

  • include a 2- to 3-sentence author biography at the end of the article;

  • follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (APA style); and

  • be in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt format.

All figures, graphs, and other images should be sent in separate jpg files.

If the author includes a photo, it must be:

  • a head and shoulder shot

  • a jpg

  • width = 90px, height = 120px

  • clear, clean, professional, appropriate to the article

InterCom is a great venue to showcase your work and share your ideas with our community. We look forward to seeing your submissions! Please send your articles to Natalia Balyasnikova at natbal@mail.ubc.ca with the subject line “ICIS Newsletter Submission”.