Archive for the ‘Student Voices’ Category

English as Lingua Franca, 2

January 25, 2010

In the first part of this series, student Ginna Allison reflects on the prevalence of English in the world.  In this second part, she considers various models of English as a lingua franca.  Currently, she is in Mexico for the winter where she is an interning teacher — checking her perceptions — at the ABC School of English in Pachuca.

The Status of Variations on the Lingua Franca

It is important to note that not all manifestations of English are equal in the eyes of the world. (more…)


English as Lingua Franca, 1

January 7, 2010

Do you know the term “lingua franca“?  Ginna Allison, a current student, reflects here on the subject of her teaching degree, English, and its prevalence in the world.  Undoubtedly, she will apply this learning during her teaching internship.  Note that she had one intention, but in the process of writing discovered her learning needed to shift direction.

While her statement was originally written for an academic purpose, her topic and admirable depth of research and reflection have applicability to all of us who use English as our everyday medium of communication.  This post is the first of two parts.

It has often been said that language is inextricably linked with culture. But what can one say about a single language — in this case, English — spoken natively or secondarily by people from scores of different cultures? In such a situation, there is no one culture that embodies the expression of the language. With so many cultures speaking English as a lingua franca, the idea of culture as an integral part of language becomes convoluted. (more…)

ESL Certification: Intern’s View

December 17, 2009

Colleen Garrett

The Fall 2009 intern at Brattleboro Union High School, Colleen Garrett, describes the value of her education.  Like magic, the transformation that takes place during supervised teaching requires insight, practice, and close attention.  Unlike magic, transformative learning changes the changer.  Note how Colleen is different as a result of her experience.

PART TWO – The Intern’s View

The Value of the Internship

Working with such experienced and knowledgeable cooperating teachers as Ana Rawson and Jenn Course has been an amazing tool for developing my understanding of ESL teachers and learners in the US. I already have several years of EFL and museum teaching experience, so my SIT learning (more…)

ESL Certification: Cooperating Teacher’s View

December 10, 2009

Ana Rawson

Ana Rawson, MAT 19 (1988), is interviewed here by Colleen Garrett, MAT 40 (2008), whose previous posts have been quite popular.  Directing her school district’s teaching of English to speakers of other languages, Ana also holds several other distinctions, including representing the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union to the WIDA Consortium. Besides her own ESOL teaching, Ana teaches SIT’s ESL Certification course, Advocacy in US Public Education.

In addition to being her teacher in the Advocacy course, Ana works with Colleen daily during the internship as an on-site peer and resource.  This critical and special role of Ana’s is called that of a “cooperating teacher.”

PART ONE – A Cooperating Teacher’s View

  • What were the most valuable parts of your MA in Teaching from SIT?

Colleen Garrett

One of the most valuable parts of my experience at SIT was the opportunity for reflection on my own cultural background, and learning to see this as a strength in my teaching. (more…)

Returning to a Place We Know

June 25, 2009

daylilyIn addition to the new students who began their first summer courses on Monday, Tuesday was the initial day for the 16 students returning to SIT for their second summer.  Returning to a place we know can show us how we are different.

Asked by Program Chair Susan Barduhn to reflect on the past year developing their teaching practices, students were quite insightful in their comments.  Posted in writing below, the original quiet sense of deep listening and demonstrable respect in the classroom is absent.  However, these statements are just as true today in print as they were yesterday when spoken.  They show how thoughtful, serious, and careful teachers can be as they consider how to improve their effectiveness.

Wouldn’t you love to be a student in one of these teachers’ classes? (more…)

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…)

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…)

English Language Education in US Public Schools

April 16, 2009

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase of English Language Learners (ELLs) in US public schools.  The debate about how to best serve the needs of immigrant populations continues.  The March 14 New York Times, story “Where Education and Assimilation Collide,” part of the “Remade in America” series, examines one school outside of Washington, D.C., which runs an insulated ELL program.  It was a wonderful article for generating discussion and I encourage anyone interested in this issue to read it.

For me, the article provokes more questions than it provides answers.  Below, I share my questions after reading the article.  I welcome your ideas, questions, and discussion. (more…)

Kevin: My Photo Exhibition

April 13, 2009

gokukuji-1An American, a Korean, and an Omani walk into a bar…  It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it was a typical Friday evening in Brattleboro. (more…)