Archive for May, 2009

Sandanona Conference Spring 2009

May 21, 2009

Sandanona frontIn an exciting development, the entire program of SIT’s Spring 2009 Sandanona Conference on the Teaching and Learning of Language is available online.

Part of the Donald B. Watt Library’s continuing expansions, the digital collection now includes MAT student presentations with abstracts, presenters, locations, and times.  Additionally, selected session hand-outs will be available online following the conference.

Offered on a theme of reflection (if you didn’t guess from the program covers), conference sessions are configured into workshops, demonstrations or papers by the 37 presenters as a culmination of their classes which conclude this week.

To register for the conference, which is Monday, May 25, through Wednesday, May 27, please send your email request to  Please state which sessions you would like to attend.  There is no charge to attend the conference, but space is strictly limited.

See you here!Sandanona back


Decoding and Comprehension

May 20, 2009
Jim Cummins
Jim Cummins

Responding to an article by Jim Cummins, Stephanie Wilton Kumagai bases her insights on experience teaching in Japan and Costa Rica as well as her SIT learning.  Her final presentation for the academic year MAT, “She Said What?!,” is a demonstration of the teaching skills required to turn miscommunication in intercultural classrooms into productive learning.

In his article “The Challenge of Learning Academic English,” Jim Cummins examines how English and academic subject teachers can support English language learners and other students who struggle with reading.  As the academic level becomes more challenging in the middle years of elementary school, these students often fall behind their classmates and find it difficult to catch up.

Cummins suggests there are two primary ways in which students fall behind (more…)

Campus Views: May

May 14, 2009

Not much has changed on the campus in the past two years since these views of SIT were filmed in May 2007.  With happy thanks to Erin Erickson.

Colleen: To Teach Reading

May 11, 2009

Colleen GarrettWorking toward SIT’s MA in Teaching English as a Second Language in US Public Schools and a Vermont teacher’s license, Colleen responds to a challenge from her professor in a class on literacy.

She identifies what she wants to remember.  It is a personal statement and one that all teachers must answer for themselves.  Doing so, Colleen demonstrates her beliefs about teaching and learning, about others, and about herself.

Written in the winter of 2009, Colleen was braiding her SIT learning, her previous teaching experience in Taiwan, and her observations of English learners in US public schools.

The Five Most Important Lessons for Teaching Reading

Literacy, the ability to read, is an essential tool for anyone who wants to participate fully in society. However, it is an unnatural act. (more…)

Anna: Politics of English

May 8, 2009

Anna RozzoMAT student Anna Rozzo has experience teaching in the U.S. and Morocco.  Anna took the new Politics of TESOL elective course this spring, and shares her thoughts, reactions, and key learnings regarding the class below.

This course covered many topics that are essential to my professional development as an ESOL teacher.  I am now better informed about terminology and have a deepened understanding of Kachru’s circles. Besides examining professional terminology and reviewing the various types of ESOL models popular in the world today, taking a serious look at such issues as globalization, linguistic imperialism, language “development”, and sustainable teaching was an important part of this class for me.   (more…)

New Elective: Politics of English

May 4, 2009

phot_burkettThis spring the MAT program introduced a new elective.  Taught by visiting faculty member Beverly Burkett, the course has proven popular.  Here, Bev talks about the experience of developing the course, its content, and what she is learning through teaching it.

The new course, The Politics of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages came about partly as a result of a discussion at the end of our Approaches class in the Fall. My students asked me how teaching has been a political act for me; how, particularly in my experience in South Africa, teaching has created change. (more…)