July 2022
MWIS Newsletter



Taylor Sapp, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette, Portland, OR USA

Hello to the MWIS Community,

Greetings from The Pacific Northwest! It is a pleasure and honor to spend the next year as chair of the MWIS and work with so many talented educators and professionals.

In the past year, as incoming chair, I led an academic panel session, Developing English Language Teaching Materials with an International Audience in Mind. Thanks to all of the excellent collaborators all over the world for sharing their unique perspectives and their flexibility in adapting from in-person to online.

As I mentioned in the last few years, online teaching has taken on a new precedence. Increasingly, online and now evolving hybrid models have been accelerating and continuing in all sorts of productive ways, and it's interesting to see how these digital methods continue to represent advances and creative new approaches to education.

In the coming year one of the growing initiatives has been in the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) movement, and it is one of my and our goals at MWIS to greater integrate these concepts into our works and presentations. For example, after attending the British Council’s ELTons online this past year, it was interesting to see they’ve added a diversity certification for their finalists which is emblematic of the ongoing awareness of DEI in education of all forms.

Speaking of diversity, that also means a time of great opportunity for fresh ideas, new approaches, and new perspectives. If you haven’t been involved before, now is the perfect time to contribute, to plan your own academic sessions, we’re all in need of as many great new ideas as possible!

Before I close, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to MWIS, shared ideas, and made suggestions. If you have an idea for a webinar and would be willing to present it, please let anyone on the MWIS leadership team know.

Best regards,


Taylor Sapp has spent over 15 years as an educator of ESL students at universities and schools in Japan and the USA. He is also the author of several award-winning creative education resources including Stories Without End (a 2019 ELTons finalist) and his first collaboration, History’s Mysteries - Research, Discuss and Solve Some of History's Biggest Puzzles. You can find out more information at www.taylorsapp.com


Beatrix Burghardt, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Hanaa Khamis, Alexandria University, Cairo, Egypt

Beatrix Burghardt

Hanaa Khamis

Greetings MWIS Community Members,

We hope you enjoyed attending TESOL 2022 either virtually or in person in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Moreover, we are greatly looking forward to meeting you (again) in Portland, Oregon in 2023! As we assume our new roles as incoming MWIS co-chairs, first we would like to introduce ourselves.

Beatrix Burghardt holds a Ph.D. in TESOL and Applied Linguistics from Indiana University (2015) and has extensive experience teaching ESL/EFL and in teacher training both in her native Hungary and the US. Currently, she is lecturer in the Department of Second Language Studies at Indiana University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in various areas of second language learning and teaching. She also oversees the English Language Instructional Program that serves matriculated students. In addition, she is responsible for mentoring, curriculum development and course design, with a focus on academic listening and speaking. Beatrix regularly presents her research at conferences, actively works with textbook material developers, and serves as Quality Matters online course reviewer.

Her first adventure in material design combined her dual training as a teacher of Physics and EFL. For her master's thesis, she developed a unit on teaching geometrical optics for Hungarian-English bilingual high-schools. Supported by an Information Literacy grant awarded to Beatrix by IU, currently she is developing materials that integrate information literacy into the academic speaking curriculum. During the pandemic, she and her husband took up woodpecker watching in the woods of Bloomington, Indiana. Since then, their hobby has found its way into her newly designed undergraduate Academic Speaking course.

Hanaa Khamis is a TESOL Practitioner and Teacher Trainer with an MA in TESOL. Her research/training interests include pedagogy, technology, and assessment. She was NileTESOL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group (LTSIG) co-coordinator (2006-2019) and Professional Development (PD) committee chair (2019-2020). Now she is TESOL Gulf BOD member (Jan 2021-Now), Japanese Association for Language Teaching Computer-assisted Language Learning (JALTCALL) SIG program co-chair (Jun 2021-Now), and TESOL International Affiliate Network Professional Council (ANPC) member (Nov 2021-Now). Now she is the incoming co-chair for TESOL MWIS.

In preparation for TESOL 2023, we are planning two panel sessions. The intersection session, a collaborative effort between MWIS and SPLIS (Speech, Pronunciation, and Listening Interest Section), will bring together invited panelists with expertise in both areas. The academic session will focus on the use of digital authoring tools that promote interactive material design.

We are very excited to serve the MWIS community under the leadership of Taylor Sapp. We would also like to hear from you. Please reach out to us with any ideas or questions.

Best wishes,

Beatrix and Hanaa


Katie Edwards, Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland, USA

Welcome to the July 2022 issue of the MWIS Newsletter!

I am excited to introduce you to a great set of thought-provoking articles and reports from the field on how MWIS members are impacting the larger TESOL community.

In this issue, you’ll hear from our current chair and incoming co-chairs as they discuss past events, upcoming panel sessions, as well as the ways in which MWIS is tackling diversity issues.

In this newsletter, you’ll read an article from Linh Phung, who describes the conception and development of a bilingual picture book that comes from her own experience as a Vietnamese American mother of a Black child in the United States. She discusses the importance of representation and provides a peek behind the material writer scenes.

In Why is that student not on task yet?, Alexandra Burke reminds us of how small choices like font and background color impact students’ abilities to learn. She gives us some practical strategies and encourages us to all be better materials designers.

Vien Cao provides a helpful review of the newly published 101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students, a book packed with activities that she states “are not only for university students; they can also be easily adapted to fit younger students or adults.”

A newly recurring feature of the newsletter is MWIS on the Move, where we highlight members’ contributions to the greater TESOL community. In this issue, we get to focus on a colleague and mentor of mine, Dr. Tamara Jones. Not only does Tamara serve as MWIS’s liaison from the TESOL board of directors, she is a firm believer in the mission of MWIS. If you are currently serving TESOL in any capacity we’d love to highlight your work. Please send an email to tesol.mwis@gmail.com and tell us about your service.

To help augment that MWIS mission, editor Lisa Horvath and I are happy to introduce another member of our newsletter team - Kathleen Stucky. Kathleen has been engaged in ELT for over 20 years. She earned her MA in TESOL at Central Michigan University and began teaching in the Central Michigan area. During that time, she joined a publishing project authoring seven readers in a thirty-book series for a Korean after-school publisher. Later, during her eight years as an educator in China, she was able to expand her materials development experience through various English language publishing projects, partnering with translators, authors, and editors. Kathleen has already been an integral part of developing the newsletter. Welcome and thanks for joining the team, Kathleen!

We greatly appreciate each and every submission to the newsletter and are grateful for each person who is involved in this community. Also, we would love to hear from you! Please consider submitting an article, book review, or snapshot for future newsletters.

Thanks for reading!


Katie Edwards

MWIS Newsletter Assistant Editor

Katie Edwards is the Grant Program Coordinator at Howard Community College’s English Language Center. She is passionate about providing adult English learners with excellent English instruction.In her role as coordinator, Katie has worked with instructors to develop rigorous and dynamic English curriculum, especially focusing on workplace skills and vocabulary for fields like healthcare, information technology, and skilled trades.



Dr. Linh Phung, Eduling International, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Books are mirrors so that children see themselves represented and feel they are valued in society. Books are windows through which children see the diverse world and their place in it. Books are also sliding glass doors inviting children to open and, through their imagination, step into a different space created by the author. (These metaphors come from Bishop (1990) when discussing diversity in children’s books). In the US context where I live, children’s books still lack the diversity in races, cultures, and languages spoken so minority children may not see themselves reflected and have a harder time developing confidence in who they are. Therefore, as a Vietnamese American mom raising a Black daughter in the U.S., I decided to publish Tug of Words: Trò chơi kéo co ngôn ngữ (English-Vietnamese bilingual version) and Tug of Words (English-only version) to tell a story about our family and contribute to the diversity of children’s literature.

In addition, I also wanted to contribute one more book in Vietnamese to the pool of resources in the U.S. to help my daughter and children like her learn and speak Vietnamese as a heritage language. When it comes to heritage language maintenance and development, it has been well documented that families commonly express difficulties in accessing printed materials in monolingual settings like the U.S. or Canada (Ahooja et al., 2022; Zhang & Slaughter-Defoe, 2009). With these motivations and support from family, friends, and colleagues, I finally brought the idea of a bilingual picture book into fruition in early 2022. This article shares my self-publication process with teachers and materials writers who are considering this venture.

From Ideas to Words: I Write for Love and to Tell a Story

Since I had my daughter Hallie, who is now nearly four years old, I started to write for her. The first poem that I wrote was based on the famous poem “Where I Am From” by George Ella Lyon. Then, I wrote another one mixing English and Vietnamese to document the emergence of Hallies’ first words: from mẹ (mommy) to hoa (flowers) to tắc kè (chameleon), wawa (water), and moon. Before Hallie turned three, I wanted to write something featuring differences in our family and the push and pull of our interactions. The idea turned into a poem that I first titled “The Opposite Games” in English. I shared the poem, and one of my writer friends encouraged me to publish it as a picture book. I followed the suggestion and decided to start the process of self-publishing the book.

Translation and Wordsmithing

From the English poem, I started the English-Vietnamese translation, trying to maintain a similar meaning, rhyme scheme, and rhythm in both languages. This requires multiple rounds of revisions in both directions, including changing words and even removing lines and stanzas. At one point, I enlisted the help of a Vietnamese professor and poet, who gave me valuable suggestions in the last two stanzas of the Vietnamese poem. For a language teacher and writer, choosing words or wordsmithing can be an enjoyable process, but asking friends and colleagues to read and give feedback will certainly help to make the wording stronger.

In the end, I think the two versions maintain the purity of love and joy that I intended to convey and the many stories embedded in each line of both poems. There’s a story about my multiracial family, a story about my daughter’s curly hair and caramel skin, which sounds trivial, but may have great implications for her future, and a story of Hallie’s unprompted and unexpected claim of being a daughter and friend to me, her adoptive mom, making it one of my most cherished moments of motherhood. It also features the presence of Vietnamese culture in a tug game of my childhood. The process and product of this project are both enjoyable, which may be an important consideration for writers contemplating a similar project.

Illustrations Bring Colors and Life

I was introduced to an illustrator from San Diego, Sylvie Pham, thanks to my volunteer work with Stories of Vietnam, an organization with the mission to support Vietnamese children in the US to learn about the Vietnamese language culture by printing and shipping free Vietnamese-English books nationwide. I shared the manuscript in both English and Vietnamese to her and we worked closely together, picture by picture, to illustrate the book. It took her more than three months to deliver 29 pages of vivid, colorful, and loving illustrations, which fit the sentiment of the book perfectly and expand on the meaning of my written words. Overall, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of quality illustration for a picture book. It is also usually the biggest cost, apart from offset printing, for a project like this. As a tip, apart from relying on referrals, authors may look for freelance illustrators through such websites as Behance and Fiverr, but careful consideration needs to be made.

Worthwhile Endeavor

One may say that what I did was merely a passion project, but to me, it was a worthwhile project. The book is like a grain of sand, adding to the diversity of children’s books and the pool of English-Vietnamese materials for children like Hallie and others.


Ahooja A., Brouillard, M., Quirk, E., Ballinger, S., Polka, L., Byers-Heinlein, K. & Kircher, R. (2022) Family language policy among Québec-based parents raising multilingual infants and toddlers: A study of resources as a form of language management. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.

Bishop, R. S. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3).

Zhang, D. & Slaughter-Defoe, D. T. (2009). Language attitudes and heritage language maintenance among Chinese immigrant families in the USA. Language and Curriculum, 22(2), 77-93.

Dr. Linh Phungis an experienced ESL teacher, researcher, published author, and creator. As the founder of Eduling International, she recently released an app called Eduling Speak, which connects learners from any location in the world to talk in pairs during the performance of tasks on the app. She’s also the author of a picture book for ages 0-6 titled Tug of Words: Trò chơi kéo co ngôn ngữ available on Amazon. Her publications and research have been focusing on task engagement, international student experience, gamification in language teaching, and other SLA topics. She can be reached at ltp252@gmail.com.


Alexandra Burke, University of Shiga Prefecture, Hikone City, Japan

Until you experience it for yourself, you will never understand the difference that a font or background color could make to your ability to learn. Some of our most challenging students go through this, but are we part of their barrier? A barrier that we, and even they, do not realize is there? It is easy to assume motivation is at play, because if other students can do the work, why do these students only do parts of it?

I am a teacher, but also one of the small number of people with dyslexia, who are affected by how information is presented. In teaching, I noticed that colored paper or highlighters made students work faster, neater, or even spontaneously write for the first time without external motivation. The color was student specific.

When people went online, I raised awareness, through presentations, of the importance of the font size and background color used in teaching and learning materials. Although I was advocating for these changes for the purpose of inclusion, I immediately got private messages from teachers saying “I find a different font or a different background much easier or faster to read, too. Does this mean I am dyslexic?” The short answer is probably no, but it did create a landmark shift in the practice of those teachers.

They shifted from white pages and serifed fonts, to dark or off-white backgrounds, switched to larger, universal design fonts, and replaced italics and underlining with bold fonts. Many of them commented on how these changes reduced the stress on their own eyes, sometimes reducing headaches. But more importantly, they found students responded better and faster. The switch to online teaching incidentally gave us the ability to customize the appearance of learning materials at the individual level for the first time and put everyone in the front row.

Depending on your browser, you may be able to try this yourself, by clicking on the URL bar you are viewing this from. Look for Reader View (which is an icon of a page with text and may have 2 capital ‘A’s next to it). Reader View will offer you options to change the font, and the background color. If you use Microsoft Word, you can customize your page via the design tab > page background > select color. On Google Docs, the steps are File > Page Setup > Page Color > choose a color and set default.

Photo caption: Reader View

Microsoft's Immersive Reader, which is embedded free into Flip on all hand-held devices (and available by subscription on desktops), allows full customization of appearance, can demonstrate syllable breaks, has read aloud options, and provides a contextual picture or text dictionary. Flip also transcribes voice to text. It is liberating for students with dyslexia or other visual challenges who often spend decades thinking they are stupid or lazy. Your students do not have the positional power to change your materials. But you can be the change by offering, modeling, and affirming choices that support reading for all learners.

Alexandra Burke has taught (and been a parent) at all levels of the Japanese public school system and currently teaches at university. She has won three Michelle Steele Best of JALT Awards (Japan Association for Language Teaching) on the topic of inclusive teaching methods and is the Publications Chair of the JALT Accessibility in Language Learning Special Interest Group. She loves listening to audiobooks while gardening, technology, and how the camera lens brings the lives of family and friends around the world together.



Vien Cao, Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios, San Salvador, El Salvador

At the beginning of May 2022, I got back to my brick-and-mortar classroom after two years teaching online. I was reluctant to stick to my usual online teaching tricks and was eager to try new activities with my university students. When I learned about 101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students by Hall Houston, I could not wait to dig into the book.

101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students is a resource for EFL teachers based on the author´s many years of experience teaching university classes. It provides numerous activities and tips to teach English to college students for different stages of the semester.

The book consists of three chapters corresponding to the three main stages of a semester: the beginning, the mid-period, and the end.

Chapter 1, ‘Getting off to a good start’ offers an assortment of activities for learning names, getting to know the teacher, learning about other students, becoming more familiar with the university campus, and understanding more about the course and the syllabus.

Chapter 2, ‘Maintaining motivation and interest in the interim weeks’ is aimed at keeping the course enjoyable and students motivated. The chapter contains fun and meaningful listening, reading, music, and video activities. Some activities in this chapter incorporate an element of surprise and encourage students to talk about their life as a student. The chapter also includes activities that allow students to review previously seen language and enable teachers to collect formative feedback.

Chapter 3, ‘Ending the semester gracefully’ is intended for the last few weeks of the semester, featuring activities for reviewing the entire course, reflecting on the semester, looking forward, and ending the semester in an enjoyable way.

Each activity has a catchy but informative name and comes with helpful and precise information such as the activity rationale/purpose, time, skills, preparation, procedure, and variations. Some activities come with a photocopiable handout to save preparation time, though even more would be appreciated. Each chapter ends with Teacher Development Tips, containing short and doable exercises designed to help EFL teachers reflect on their own college student teaching for improvement. Some tips are not new and seem obvious, for example, sharing lesson plans with a colleague. However, it can be worth revisiting those tips once in a while to stay motivated. I particularly enjoyed reading the acknowledgement which comes with some activities and recommended readings at the end of the book. These sections shed light on where the author got the inspiration for his activities, and teachers can explore those resources if they are interested.

Some activities can be classified as common icebreakers and fillers, such as Activity 2, Saying names in a circle and Activity 18, Beach ball icebreakers. However, many activities will lighten students´ mood and simultaneously promote active learning and reflection. They allow students to review languages they have learned in fun ways (Activity 73, a dictation race; Activity 78, a mini-book; Activity 79, an interview; Activity 85, a story; Activity 92, a talk show) and to reflect on how they have grown (Activity 86, Memories board games and Activity 101, Postcards). Carrying out certain activities will help teachers get feedback on how their course has been going (Activity 74, Three things we like, one suggestion, Activity 76, Sentence starters for feedback, and Activity 98, Letter to next year students).

Don´t let the book title fool you. The activities are not only for university students; they can also be easily adapted to fit younger students or adults. The activities can also be used in other subjects since they do not merely cover English language skills, but also deal with the social and psychological aspects of life: getting to know each other, staying motivated, and obtaining constructive feedback.

For a vast majority of activities, the preparation and procedure steps explained are aimed at face-to-face classes. However, you can modify the activities to fit your online classes easily. Instead of bringing colorful stationery to class, create a digital template and have your students work digitally in breakout rooms. Instead of asking students to prepare an end-of-semester one-pager (Activity 83), have them use any presentation tool to make an e-poster.

Even though the activities can get you hooked, I would not recommend reading many activities in one sitting. There are way too many activities to remember, for example, there are nine activities in the Learning Names section of Chapter 1, ‘Getting off to a good start’. Instead, depending on the stage of your semester and the purpose of the activities (learning about the teacher or looking toward the future, for instance), select a few activities you want to try. Next time, when you grow tired of pulling the same old tricks in all courses, take out this book and you will find an activity that interests you.

101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students by Hall Houston, published by iTDi TESOL, is available on Amazon.com as an ebook for 7.95 or in paperback for $14.95.


Houston, H. (2022). 101 EFL Activities for Teaching University Students. iTDi TESOL.

Vien earned her Ph.D. in learning systems design and technology and an M.A. in TESOL from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Vien is currently a professor of English as well as the coordinator for the English Program at Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios, a private university in El Salvador. Vien is also a co-founder and the president of the Fulbright Alumni Research Group, an organization devoted to research, training, evaluation, and coaching.



Tamara Jones, Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland, USA

Tamara Jones is delighted to return as the Board Liaison for MWIS for a second year in a row. Elected to the Board of Directors in 2021, Tamara has called TESOL her professional home for decades. She has a soft spot for interest sections and is well aware of the important role they play in meeting members’ needs. In fact, it was at an IS open meeting way back in 2001 that Tamara first expressed interest in volunteering for TESOL. Tamara views MWIS as a wonderful support for experienced and new materials writers in our field, and she is, herself, a TESOL author and editor. Tamara edited Pronunciation in the Classroom: The Overlooked Essential and co-edited the recently released Listening in the Classroom: Teaching Students How to Listen. But, Tamara also subscribes to the MWIS mission, which states that we do not need to be published authors to benefit from membership in MWIS. All teachers are materials developers; we create warm up activities, make review games, develop practice worksheets, and write assessments for our classes and our schools. We are a creative, thoughtful, and resourceful bunch, and MWIS provides a comfortable and productive space for us.

Tamara Jones is the Associate Director of the ELC at Howard Community College and holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Sheffield in the UK. She is also currently a member of the TESOL Board of Directors.


TESOL MIWS is pleased to introduce you to our new social media manager, Suzanne Rajkumar who has now joined our team. She has extensive experience in TESOL, materials development, and social media management. We are lucky to have her as a part of the MWIS team.

Suzanne Rajkumar has a masters degree in Applied Linguistics & TESOL. She is one of the 2019 TESOL International Ambassadors, local assistant coordinator ACTION TESOL Caribbean - Trinidad & Tobago, ex-president Honduras TESOL, innovator of the CBC Codebreaker ESL game & approach to learning a second language, a blogger, podcaster, Duolingo host, Screefriending for Educators host, and dual immersion advocate with +29,000 teaching hours using a student-centered approach focused on transformational and meaningful learning.


The TESOL MWIS newsletter is currently accepting submissions. We are looking for articles, snap shots, and book reviews. Please assure your submission is relevant to ELT materials development.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Articles
    • have the title in ALL CAPS
    • list a byline: author's name with embedded email, affiliation, city, and country
    • include a 50-word teaser for the Newsletter Homepage
    • be no longer than 1,750 words (including tables)
    • contain no more than five citations
    • include a 2-to-3 sentence author biography and author photo
    • follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (APA style)
    • be in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt format
    • All figures, graphs, and other images should be labeled and sent as separate jpg files.
  • Snap Shots
    • have the title in ALL CAPS
    • list a byline: author's name with embedded email, affiliation, city, and country
    • include a 50-word teaser for the Newsletter Homepage
    • be between 300 – 500 words
    • include a 2-to-3 sentence author biography and author photo
    • follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (APA style)
    • be in .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .txt format
  • Book Reviews should be 650-1000 words in length
    • include a 50-word teaser for the Newsletter Homepage
    • include a 2-3 sentence reviewer biography and reviewer photo
    • follow the style guidelines in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (APA Style)
    • be .doc or .docx, .rtf, or .txt format
    • All figures, graphs, and other images should be labeled and sent as separate jpg files.

Please send submissions to tesol.mwis@gmail.com.