September 2011
TESOL VIdeo News

Leadership Updates


Welcome to the September issue of TESOL Video News. After a year’s break, I come back to my old position, with the latest issue of TESOL Video News. I apologize for your long wait. TESOL 2011 at New Orleans was wonderful: a wonderful city, wonderful weather, and, above all, a wonderful conference with many excellent sessions. This year we did something special in the VDMIS Academic Session: We did a long-distance live presentation on Skype with Johanna Katchen from Taiwan. We really made the digital media work! This is something that we VDMIS members should all be proud of.

This issue starts with words from our VDMIS 2011-2012 Chair Duysevi Karan-Miyar, a passionate and devoted woman, who talks about the VDMIS Academic Session at TESOL 2011, New Orleans, and her work during the past year. Then three scholars from Japan―Keiko Mori, Frank Tuzi, and Ann Junko Young―share their experience using TV commercials in language classroom. We also have a TESOL conference recap from Celeste Scholz on using wikis with research projects and portfolios.

The Video IS is soliciting articles for future issues of TESOL Video News. If you are interested in using movies or creating digital media lessons, you are more than welcome to share your experience with us. Submit articles or announcements to You may also send opinions and suggestions at any time to the leaders (see the end of this issue for contact information) or to the e-list. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kenneth Chi received his TESOL teacher certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and his MA from New York University and is currently teaching at Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for more than 10 years. His interests are incorporating movies and digital media into language lessons, assessment, and grammar teaching.


Dear VDMIS Members:

As I begin my second year as chair, it is a great pleasure to welcome our members and friends in this newsletter and to update you on what’s been happening with our interest section. It has been a busy year, with many new developments and exciting events to report.

For those of us who were able to attend the 2011 TESOL Convention in New Orleans in March, our interest section had a full schedule of sessions. In addition to the regular sessions, we also had one Academic Session called “Step-by-Step . . . Making Movies and Digital Media for Instruction”;the session was organized by the 2010 chair-elect Laura Lau and the other presenters were Lisa Pontoppidan, Nicolas Gromik, Johanna Katchen, Constance Eide, Robert Elliot, and Jennifer Lebedev. Unfortunately, due to funding issues from their institutions, Laura Lau, Constance Eide, and Nicolas Gromik were unable to attend the 2011 convention. Hence, one of our members Kenneth Chyi, also past newsletter editor for VDMIS, stepped in at the last minute to take up Laura Lau’s role and coordinated the session very smoothly. I would like to thank Ken for taking on this responsibility. Not only did Ken coordinate the session, but he also had presenter Johanna Katchen join us live on Skype from Taiwan; this was a great success and we definitely are all going to have more of this in the future! I would also like to thank the other presenters―Robert Elliot, Lisa Pontoppidan, and Jennifer Lebedev―for their contributions to our Academic Session this year.

Our business meeting unfortunately was not very well attended. Some of the topics discussed were as follows: the topics for the Academic Sessions and InterSections for next year’s convention, the need for revising the governing rules, and the need for increasing active membership and participation. The new 2011 VDMIS leadership was introduced: Duysevi Karan-Miyar, 2011 chair; Tony Miyar, 2011 chair-elect; and Kenneth Chyi, 2012 chair-elect and 2011 newsletter editor. Other topics were raised as well, and some of those will be distributed to our membership through our e-mail distribution list.

Social media and networking tools have become an integral part of our lives and help us network more efficiently and socialize as well. Our community benefits from the contributions of its members and we are only as good as the voices of those who contribute. So, please make an effort to increase your involvement with VDMIS, perhaps by contributing to the newsletter, consulting with colleagues through the TESOL communities (this is the replacement for the e-lists), submitting teaching materials to the TESOL resource center and to the VDMIS library, or simply sending me an e-mail with comments or suggestions for how we might continue to grow and improve. I take great pleasure in hearing from you. My e-mail is

In order to enhance networking, we have created a VDMIS group on Facebook that we would like all our members to join. So please click on and join our group. Besides Facebook, as mentioned above, TESOL has created a site at, which will allow us to network as well, so if you have not created your profile yet, please click on the above link and do it now! We look forward to collaborating and sharing a lot of great ideas and tools with you on these sites.

Moreover, if you or a colleague you know would like to attend the 2012 TESOL convention but cannot fund the travel to Philadelphia, consider applying for special travel grants and awards through TESOL. At the 2011 convention leadership meeting, it was announced that the grants and awards were not paid out fully last year because not many participants applied for them. So please do take advantage of this as there is a TESOL award for everyone!

Several people reviewed proposals for the 2011 convention, and I would like to thank them for helping me complete this very important process that can be difficult to manage over the summer months. It is a privilege to serve our interest section and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so. I hope that 2011 has been a good year for all of you as it has been for our interest section. I look forward to communicating with all of you and hearing your ideas on how we can grow and learn from each other. Here’s to another great year!



Keiko Mori
Tokyo Christian University

Frank Tuzi
Tokyo Christian University &
Sophia Junior College

Ann Junko Young
Bunkyo University &
Rikkyo University


TV commercials (TVCs) are fun, persuasive, and memorable communication devices that can not only capture the attention of language learners but also stimulate them to think critically about the linguistic and cultural connotations found in TVCs. This article presents our research findings and experiential reasons for using TVCs in language classrooms and highlights ways to acquire, manipulate, and prepare them, as well as ideas to teach culture/values as well as language.

It has been well documented among educators that short materials are good for second/foreign language learners, especially when they are novice learners. TVCs are ideal short videos for teaching language students. One reason is that learners can watch TVCs as many times as they wish because they are short. In addition, because TVCs are made in English-speaking countries for the purpose of targeting native speakers, they are ripe with authenticity. A third reason is that TVCs are inherently entertaining. TVCs often contain humor or other entertainment value to capture the attention of the audience. Moreover, they provide visual support for learners to understand the message (e.g., nonverbal communication). This is a form of scaffolding for L2 learners. Fifth, researchers such as Davis (1997) and Smith and Rawley (1997) suggest that using TVCs is a stepping stone to viewing the target culture. Learners exposed to TVCs can discuss/develop hypotheses about the culture and improve their critical thinking skills as well (Smith and Rawley, 1997; McGee & Fujita, 2000). Learners can also analyze TVCs and discover cultural elements and values embedded there.


Thanks to the Internet, watching TVCs online is now possible and common. People can download them using Internet browser extensions such as Downloadhelper. This kind of tool allows teachers to download videos―including commercials―from dozens of sites like Very Funny Ads and YouTube; teachers can link to or download from these sites and use them to develop TV-commercial-based materials. However, anyone downloading materials should be aware of the rights of the copyright holder. We encourage the fair use of materials; nowadays, many companies actually offer their TVCs online for people to view free of charge.

After acquiring a suitable TVC, language teachers need to know how to teach the language and culture found in them. In the past, culture was viewed in a more stereotypical way and taught to students through bits and pieces of information about the target culture; however, in recent years, the learning of intercultural skills has been more emphasized in language learning as the view of culture has evolved and become less static. The strong emphasis on intercultural competence translates to greater interaction with the target culture, and using TVCs is one way to offer manageable chunks to acquire insights into the target culture.

One cannot acquire intercultural competence overnight. But teachers can introduce the target culture through a process approach instead of merely teaching facts. An excellent description of this approach includes Seelye’s (1993:31) six instructional goals. These goals should be helpful when creating lessons using TVCs and introducing the culture and values in them.

  1. Goal 1 (Interest): The student shows curiosity about another culture (or another segment or subculture of one’s own culture) and empathy toward its members.
  2. Goal 2 (Who): The student recognizes that role expectations and other social variables such as age, sex, social class, religion, ethnicity, and place of residence affect the way people speak and behave.
  3. Goal 3 (What): The student realizes that effective communication requires discovering the culturally conditioned images that are evoked in the minds of people when they think, act, and react to the world around them.
  4. Goal 4 (Where and when): The student recognizes that situational variables and convention shape behavior in important ways.
  5. Goal 5 (Why): The student understands that people generally act the way they do because they are using options their society allows for satisfying basic physical and psychological needs, and that cultural patterns are interrelated and tend mutually to support need satisfaction.
  6. Goal 6 (Exploration): The student can evaluate a generalization about the target culture in terms of the amount of evidence substantiating it, and has the skills needed to locate and organize information about the target culture from the library, the mass media, people, and personal observation.


The first thing we do is find an article that matches some linguistic and cultural components we want to introduce. For this sample lesson (see Appendix A) we chose to use one of Apple’s “Think Different” commercials entitled “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”. The commercial includes images of world-famous people who changed the world in some way because they were not the status quo.

The script is as follows:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble makers. The round pegs in square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They push the human race forward. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

The class starts with a prelearning activity in which students are asked about being different or standing out in their culture. Next, they watch the TVC several times to comprehend it and review the language and values. After the basics are completed, the teacher helps students analyze the TVC by asking questions in line with Seelye’s approach. For example, we ask students who the intended audience is and what the intended message was. We ask them why the advertiser is presenting the ad. What is the advertiser’s goal? And what beliefs does the advertiser have regarding what is good and what is proper? After linguistic review and TVC analysis, students are encouraged to compare the cultural aspects of its culture with their own through writing and reading activities that may culminate in a paper, discussion, or presentation.

We believe that good teacher-student interaction, rather than the teacher being the authority, would broaden the range of culture and values learning because culture is better under understood via discovery. If identifying values might be challenging to students, the teacher can start with anecdotes or examples relevant to the TVC and give guidelines to find/discuss values (e.g., introducing “life is a gamble” as learning from a lottery TVC). We also provided worksheets with checkpoints and questions to assist them in asking questions such as those suggested by Seelye (1993). In addition, acquiring a knowledge of advertisement development strategies will help create a rich learning environment to help them critically evaluate the cultural values and purposes of TVCs.


TVCs are an excellent short, authentic language content that teachers can use to teach language, culture, values, and critical thinking. They provide rich information about culture and values in one minute as well as give great opportunities to teach language through a variety of different activities. Moreover, incorporating TVCs in a curriculum is a motivating factor for students, especially those who have limited access to the target culture. And because the major obstacle of acquiring them has been eliminated, we recommend that teachers take advantage of these motivating materials in their classes.


Davis, R. (1997). TV commercial messages: An untapped video resource for content-based classes. The Language Teacher, 21(3), 13-15.

McGee, K., & Fujita, T. (2000). Playing the semiotic game: Analyzing and creating TV commercials in an ESL class. The Language Teacher, 24(6), 17-24

Seelye, H. N. (1993). Teaching culture: Strategies for intercultural communication. Chicago: National Textbook Company.

Smith, A., & Rawley, L. A. (1997). Using TV commercials to teach listening and critical thinking. The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching. Vol. 4. Retrieved July 29, 2005, from


Apple – Think Different – The Misfits

Video Activity

Warm up (15 minutes)


Discuss in small groups or as a class the topic of heroes and fitting in. Interview a partner and ask him or her who his or her hero is and why. Then ask whether he or she believes heroes fit in or not and why.

View the TVC (30 minutes)


View the TVC several times to allow students to hear and try to get the gist of the story. While viewing the TVC, perform some linguistic checks for unknown or hard-to-hear words and phrases and unknown spoken grammar.

Discussion #1

After completing the listening for the gist and linguistic checks, discuss the TVC. In particular, ask the students what they perceive the purpose of the TVC is. Have the students discuss who the intended audience is, what the commercial is trying to say, and why (or why not) the TVC was effective.


Using the Internet, find out who the people are in the TVC. Also try to discover why they are famous. Bring a summary list of the people in the TVC and be prepared to discuss them during the following class.

Reading (30 minutes)


View the TVC again, this time with the script in hand. The script can simply be the completed text or the script in the form of a CLOZE.

Read and follow along:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules…. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things.… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the _____ , the troublemakers, the round pegs in the _____ holes…the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of _____…. You can quote them, _____ with them, glorify or vilify _____, but the only thing you _____do is ignore them because they change things…. They push the _____ race forward, and while some _____ see them as the crazy ones, we see _____, because the ones who are crazy enough to _____ that they can change the world, are the ones _____ do.”

Focus on Form Exercises (25 minutes)

l Vocabulary practice

l Grammar practice: noun and adverb clauses

Discussion Activities (40 minutes)

Discussion #2

Begin a discussion on the cultural components found in the commercial. Have the students work in groups to discuss issues like group and individual think, leadership and gender, and peer pressure. Encourage the students to think about the cultural differences between their culture and the commercial’s culture of origin

Production (30-60 minutes)

Option 1

This is a good commercial. But, can you make it better? What would you change to make this a better commercial? Who would you add or remove? Modify this commercial. Then in small groups, share your modified commercial and discuss why you made the changes you made.

Option 2

Create your own top 10 list of the people that you respect. Make your list and rank them. Then in small groups, share your modified commercial and discuss why you made the changes you made.

Option 3

Make your own commercial. Using presentation software or a video recorder and audiovisual software, work with a team of students to make your own commercial. You can present the commercial as a live session commercial or record it and produce it.

Ann Junko Young graduated from the University of Sao Paulo with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese and Portuguese and a master’s degree in TESOL from Biola University. Her research interests include inter cultural education, second language reading, and writing.

Keiko Mori graduated from Biola University with a master’s in TESOL and now teaches ESL and TESL at Tokyo Christian University. Her interests include learner motivation, autonomy in language learning, and ESP for Christian-based programs.

Dr. Frank Tuzi, associate professor and director of e-learning at Tokyo Christian Institute, teaches ESL, TESL, English composition, and computers. His research interests include SLA, e-learning, and program development. More of his presentations are available at


This article documents a presentation at the 2008 TESOL Convention in New York City on April 3, 2008. Find the PowerPoint abstract, slides and handout here.

The World Wide Web has available applications and services that allow users to easily post original content. Many call this trend Web 2.0 or the read-write Web. To get an idea of just how extensive this trend is, click on this link to view a trend map. Looking at the lower left corner, you will see Wikipedia, the largest and most well-known wiki, an encyclopedia that allows users to edit its content.

Wiki is the short form of the Hawaiian phrase “wiki wiki,” which means “fast.” A wiki is a Web site made of wiki pages, or Web pages. A wiki is a powerful, free Internet tool that allows users to quickly create Web pages organized into Web sites without special training. The Web page editing screen has recognizable formatting tools as shown below from, a large educational wiki provider.

Although the tools are limited, wikis have a number of exceptional capabilities that enhance Web page creation for educational use both individually and collaboratively. This article focuses first on the features of wikis and second on their use with student-created research projects and portfolios. Four features commonly available from Internet wiki providers are the discussion tab, the history tab, privacy choices, and uploaded media files.


Each Web page in a wiki or Web site has a discussion tab that allows readers and creators to have a running dialog about the corresponding Web page. This takes the appearance of a discussion forum where replies are posted under the comments preserving the original threads. In the screenshot below, you can see that the threads are listed with the most recent on top.

When a user clicks on one of the links under Subject, the screen looks like the one below, showing the username, user’s profile photo, date, and time in addition to the main text of the comment.

The comments are useful for peer and self-evaluations as well as those of teachers and parents. This and these two examples are from the K12 Online 2006 Conference wiki competition.


The history tab attached to each Web page records the name, time, and date each time a user saves:

Each saved page has a link to that version represented by the date and time. When the link is clicked, the deletions are highlighted in red and the additions in green as seen below. A “revert to this version” button on the page also allows a user to resave the Web page in a previous version. Participants easily track the changes and avoid losing anyone’s work, invaluable during distance collaboration. Classroom teachers can also tell who contributed to the Web page if it is assigned for work outside of class.


Privacy settings determined by the teacher or organizer include public, protected, and private. Protected allows anyone to view Web pages but only members can edit the pages whereas private permits only members to view and edit. When the material is sensitive, password protection at the private level gives everyone peace of mind.


You can upload documents (.doc), images (.jpg), and voice recordings (.mp3) to your wiki by clicking on the tree icon on the toolbar. Images show directly on your Web page and documents and voice recordings show as hyperlinks that the reader clicks. You can also link to videos (e.g., YouTube) and slideshows (e.g., SlideShare) published by others. To do this, click the TV icon on the toolbar and follow the instructions for the correct media.


In September 2007, several high school classes from Cairo American College contributed to a wiki dedicated to Peace Day activities. In Web design class, students chose a related topic either individually or in pairs and developed a Web page based on their own ideas formulated through research. A rubric guided the students’ efforts.

Examine Saad’s exemplary work. You can see that he created an interesting, well-thought-out Web page that includes a video and the required citation of resources. His ideas are in his own words and easy to follow, through his use of subheadings to get the reader’s attention.


In Yearbook class at the end of quarter 3, when all the yearbook spreads were completed and at the publishers, the students were asked to reflect on their yearbook work on their Web page of the CAC Yearbook wiki.

The reflection included a thumbnail image of each spread and the answers to five questions:

  1. For which deadline was the spread?
  2. What do you like best about this spread?
  3. What did you learn doing this spread?
  4. What risks did you take?
  5. How would improve this spread knowing what you know now?

The rubric below guided the students’ efforts. Find the complete rubric at our wiki.

Students were able to look at examples of student reflections from Yearbook 07, the previous class. Adriana’s reflections met the criteria at the A level, because she detailed her journey over the previous three quarters in a thoughtful way, highlighting her risk-taking and progress. The thumbnails help the reader visualize descriptive comments.

After their reflections were complete, students commented on their classmates’ reflections by using the discussion feature of the wiki. The rubric below shows that thoughtful comments are required about one spread, including an understanding of the classmates’ reflection as the writer was required to agree or disagree with the classmate’s statement. Find the complete rubric at here.

Again, the students used the exemplary work of the previous year to inspire them. Tienjen’s comment on Adriana’s Spirit Week spread is one such example. She is thoughtful in commenting on three aspects of the spread and agreeing with Adriana’s own reflection on color.


A quick review of the Cairo American College Peace Day and Yearbook wikis shows that wikis have strong potential as course management systems, like Blackboard. Teachers can post assignments, attach handouts, and list links to resources. This article looks beyond those capabilities at two ways students can contribute to wikis by creating Web pages on a research topic or portfolio reflections. Student contributions are made easier through powerful wiki features including discussion and history tabs, privacy settings, and use of sound and video media. Students create these Web pages quickly and share them with their class or larger community. With free wiki providers for K-12 education like, teachers can experiment with wikis at no cost and harness the potential of Web 2.0 for their own classrooms.


Bellizzi, Dominick. 100,000 Wikis in the Classroom [ wiki]. Tangient.

Davis, Vicki. (2006, Oct. 30). Student Data Storage - Needs & Methods [k12wiki]. K12 Online Conference. Retrieved from

Davis, Vicki. Wiki Grading Rubric. K12 Online Conference 2007. Retrieved from

Popinchalk, Jocelyn. (2007, Oct. 27). [CAC Peace Day wiki] Cairo American College. Retrieved from

Scholz, Celeste. (2007, Sept. 30). HS Web Design [CAC Peace Day wiki]. Cairo American College. Retrieved from

Scholz, Celeste. (2007, Nov. 26). Reflections 07 [CAC Yearbook wiki]. Cairo American College. Retrieved from

Celeste Scholz, currently consulting for World Bank, has been a language teaching specialist for many years. She has presented at regional and international conferences since 1992, while working in Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, and Egypt. She has served as on-the-job course developer, technology integration specialist, head of department, and team leader, and taught technology, ESL, language arts, and publications.


Highlights from TESOL 2011 at New Orleans

VDMIS Chair and TEOL board member


VDMIS academic session