SLS 660: Sociolinguistics
Note: The following article was written as a project for SLS 660, instructed by Professor Gabriele Kasper of the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Please pardon any errors or omissions. Refer to the References section for additional information on the topic.
Language Policy Proposal
Language Policy Proposal for the English
Language Institute (ELI),
Department of Second Language Studies, University of Hawaii- Manoa
In the following paper, I present a language policy proposal for the English Language Institute (ELI), an intensive English program (IEP) located within the Department of Second Language Studies (SLS) at the University of Hawaii- Manoa (UHM). Through intensive English language instruction, the institute prepares non-native speakers of English for the academic language requirements of the American university system (SLS, 2001). Although many of the ideas found in the language policy proposal come from the ELI mission statement and other program, departmental, and university sources, neither the institute nor the university have explicit language policies. It is hoped that with the adoption of an explicit language policy that addresses current issues in the field of language policy, planning, and research, the philosophy and objectives of the program that relate to language development and use will become more transparent and institutionalized.
I begin this paper by providing a brief look at the background of language policy issues in the ELI and at UHM. In the next section of the paper, I review some of the existing language policies in the U.S. at the national, state, and institutional levels. Afterwards, I discuss language theory and research issues that are relevant to the development of an ELI language policy. I also include a discussion of the ELI mission statement and philosophy. As the main focus of the paper, next I present the language policy proposal for the ELI followed by recommendations for its implementation. I conclude the paper with a reflection on the development of the ELI language policy and hopes for the future.
Some of the historical issues relevant to the discussion of an explicit language policy for the ELI are the implicit language practices of the ELI and of UHM and the effects that these practices have had on students and teachers in the ELI. I briefly consider each of these issues in turn.
Implicit Language Policies
The ELI was established in 1958 by UHM to provide English courses for its growing international population and to train English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers (SLS, 2001). From the time of its inception until 1964, the program was administered by the East-West Center, which then was part of UHM. A reference to an implicit institutional language policy may be found in a description of the East-West Center in the 1961-62 UHM catalog:
The language of the center is English, and an intensive program of the English Language Institute is designed to assist Asian students in acquiring an adequate command of English (ELI, 2001).
This statement implies an English-only policy for the ELI since at this time the institute was under the administration of the East-West Center. It is also interesting to point out the reference to Asian students without mention of other non-native English-speaking students; however, this could be due to the fact that the primary mission of the East-West Center has always been to promote relations between the U.S. and the countries of Asia. Even so, this statement makes for a very interesting historical reference.
In 1964, administration of the ELI was temporarily transferred from the East-West Center to the Department of Linguistics until 1966 when the ELI became an independent program within the College of Arts and Sciences (ELI, 2001). With the establishment of the Department of English as a Second Language in 1968, direction of the ELI became its responsibility and has remained so since then, although the department underwent a name change in 2000 to the Department of Second Language Studies (SLS, 2001).
Over the course of most of its history, the ELI has not had much in terms of a language policy. However, during the 2000-2002 academic years, administrators, lead teachers, and instructors worked together to articulate the goals and philosophies of the individual skill areas, and in the process, they also developed a mission statement for the ELI (ELI, 2001; see Appendices). These documents are a major step towards the creation of an institutional language policy, and I will consider their implications momentarily.
It should also be noted at this point that UHM also does not appear to have any form of language policy. The only implied reference to language use may be found in the universitys statement of non-discrimination, which states that the university does not discriminate on the basis of national or ethnic origin (UH, 2002). Directed at university employees rather than students, this statement complies with Labor Commission guidelines regarding discrimination based on national origin (Crawford, 2002). These guidelines will be further considered in a following section.
Students in the ELI
During the early years of the ELI, official UHM documents made reference only to foreign students in its ELI entrance policies and in descriptions of ELI courses without explicit definitions of this classification (ELI, 2001). It appears that UHM and the ELI did not make a distinction between international exchange students and other non-native speakers of English in its use of the term foreign students. According to UHM records, newly admitted foreign students, in addition to students who did not pass an entrance exam, were referred to the director of the ELI to determine their English language abilities, needs and placement. This leads one to question exactly how UHM classified and placed its immigrant and local non-native English-speaking students.
Another interesting fact regarding use of the term foreign students has to do with the titles of the courses offered in the ELI from the time of its establishment until the present time. In the earlier years, the few classes offered by the ELI were titled English as a Second Language courses (ELI, 2001). Interestingly enough, the year after the ELI became incorporated within the newly established Department of ESL, the titles of all of the classes were changed to [Listening, Reading, or Writing] for Foreign Students (ELI, 2001; emphasis added). Since then, the UHM catalog and some ELI and Department of ESL documents have continued to use these course titles. This tradition continued until the spring of 2002, when an instructor in the ELI raised this issue. The instructor pointed out that the term foreign students does not include recent immigrants or naturalized citizens, often referred to in the literature as generation 1.5 students (see Harklau et. al, 1999), who may enter the ELI due to their English language placements and needs. Generation 1.5 students may take offense at being classified as foreign students, thus affecting the motivation and attitudes of these students. ELI administrators agreed and took steps to change the course titles to ones more descriptive of course content rather than students.
Teachers in the ELI
The ELI generally hires its program teachers as graduate assistants from a pool of eligible graduate students in the Department of SLS. Through extrapolation from the 2001 SLS Student Handbook, students are deemed eligible for graduate assistantships if they are
1) U.S. citizens in good academic standing who have had prior teaching experience in ESL, or
2) Non-U.S. citizens in good academic standing who have demonstrated high English proficiency on the TOEFL, who have been in the program for one complete semester, and who have received faculty recommendation.
According to Kate Wolfe-Quintero, before her seven-year term as Director of the ELI from 1994 to 2001, non-native English-speaking graduate students were not eligible to teach in the ELI. She and others within the Department of SLS saw this situation as incongruent to trends in the field of ESL and realities in the field of English as a foreign language; therefore, the restriction against non-native speakers of English teaching in the ELI was lifted.
Non-native English-speaking teachers have become a valuable and indispensable component of the ELI since the change in hiring practices. During the 2001-2002 academic year, the ratio of native English-speaking teachers to non-native English-speaking teachers in the ELI was approximately 1:1. Thus, through its hiring practices, the ELI regularly asserts an element of its implicit language policy.
As an interesting amendment to the previous discussion, the SLS Student Handbook (2001) notes that the ELI also offered graduate-level ESL teacher-training courses in its first few years of existence. Possibly due to its distinction as a program for foreign students, native English-speaking students were not allowed to take the teacher-training courses offered by the ELI; only foreign students were eligible for admission to the ESL teacher-training component until the restriction was lifted in 1962, two years after the component became its own interdepartmental program no longer under the administration of the ELI.
REVIEW OF LANGUAGE POLICIES IN THE U.S.
Having looked at the background of the ELI and some of the issues regarding language policy in the ELI and at UHM, I now turn my attention to a brief overview of language policies in the U.S. Moving from the macro to the micro, I consider national language policy issues, state language policies, and institutional language policies.
At the national level, the U.S. does not have a distinct language policy. All past attempts to make English the official language of the U.S. government, through constitutional amendment or other legal means, have thus far proven unsuccessful (Crawford, 2002). Without an official language or language policy, several U.S. government documents in effect make up an implicit language policy for the country. The first, and most important, of these documents is the Bill of Rights, which in Amendment I safeguards freedom of speech. In addition, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has served to protect linguistic minority rights based on national origin. Another important document, which specifically addresses language in the workplace, is Title 29, Section 1606.7 of the U.S. Labor Commission Code. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing this part of the U.S. Code. The section, entitled Speak-English-only Rules, states in part
A rule requiring employees to speak only English at all times in the workplace is a burdensome term and condition of employment. The primary language of an individual is often an essential national origin characteristic. Prohibiting employees at all times, in the workplace, from speaking their primary language or the language they speak most comfortably, disadvantages an individual's employment opportunities on the basis of national origin. It may also create an atmosphere of inferiority, isolation and intimidation based on national origin which could result in a discriminatory working environment. Therefore, the Commission will presume that such a rule violates Title VII and will closely scrutinize it (U.S. Government, 2000).
Therefore, the combination of these three documents
makes a case for an implicit national language policy that protects and supports
language use and language rights in the various public and private domains within
It should be noted at this point that in a reversal of federal language policy regarding public education, the U.S. Congress repealed Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which provided for bilingual education for the countrys language minority students, in January of 2002 (Crawford, 2002). As a result of the repeal, the Bilingual Education Act was changed to the English Language Acquisition Act, which now emphasizes proficiency in English only with no provisions for native-language education in the nations public schools. Therefore, at the national level, there appears to be somewhat of a contradiction between different federal language policies.
Whereas the U.S. government does not have an official language policy, 29 U.S. states have explicit policies concerning language (Crawford, 2002). Twenty-three states have declared themselves official-English states. In essence, official-English means that the business of the various state governments is conducted primarily in English and that the states promote the use of the English language (Crawford, 2002). However, these policies do not prohibit the use of languages other than English and do not supercede federal language protections.
Of the other six states with language policies, four of them have English-plus policies that encourage the use of languages other than English by affirming the linguistic rights of language minority populations within the states (Crawford, 2002). The remaining two states have bilingual language policies, including Hawaii, which has an official bilingual Hawaiian/ English policy, and Louisiana, which still maintains its bilingual French/ English policies.
A major issue regarding language policy at the state level over the past five years has been bilingual education for children in public schools. Even before the repeal of Title VII, California enacted Proposition 227, a popular referendum aimed at eliminating, or at least severely restricting, bilingual education in the states public schools (Crawford, 2002). Two years later, in 2000, Arizona followed suit with its own anti-bilingual education initiative, Proposition 203. Since then, voters in several other states, including Massachusetts, Colorado, and Oregon, have proposed similar measures.
The state of California also recently adopted into law Senate Bill AB 800, an addition to the Government Code concerned with employment discrimination (CA Gov., 2001). AB 800 contains language almost identical to that found in Title 29 of the U.S. Code mentioned previously. This reduplication of a language policy found at the federal level could be a measure to protect the state against certain forms of litigation in light of the states official-English and anti-bilingual education policies.
Explicit language policies in language institutions seem to be almost non-existent. As mentioned earlier, neither UHM nor its ELI has an official language policy (UH, 2002; ELI, 2001). A thorough review of 21 web sites for university and college IEPs and 18 additional web sites for English language schools across the U.S. (ELI, 2001; Rong-chang, 2002) produced a similar finding. While many IEPs have mission and/or philosophy statements that may actually imply institutional policies regarding language, none of the IEPs reviewed or their host institutions showed signs of an explicit language policy (for examples see HPU, 2000; TransPacific, 2002). The only explicit, written language policy found comes from Shane and Global Village English Centers, a private institution with language schools located in various parts of the world (SGV, 2002). According to its School rules and policy page from its web site
SGV schools have a strict English only policy. Students are asked to speak English while they are at the school. Students who fail to speak English will be asked to leave the school for the day (http://www.globalvil.com/programs/rules/default.htm).
While an explicit language policy such as the
one previously mentioned may seem somewhat extreme, interviews with teachers
from different IEPs in Honolulu confirmed the existence of similar, spoken language
policies at their institutions, without the requirement that students must leave
school for the day. For instance, a former teacher at TransPacific University
informed me that the school has an unwritten English-only policy for classrooms
and common areas. According to the teacher, this policy is in response to student
requests that they be exposed to more English language. Students are strongly
encouraged to speak English everywhere on campus except in the dormitory, but
there are no provisions for punishment if students do not follow this rule.
Another former teacher in the New Intensive Courses in English (NICE) at UHM informed me that the school also has an unwritten English-only policy for its classrooms and tries to extend the policy to the common areas around its classroom complex; however, she admits that the latter attempt is not very successful. In fact, a Chinese student in the program who I used to tutor complained to me that Japanese students spoke too much Japanese in class during group work. It seems that the unofficial speak-English-only policy at NICE is not very successful.
In my own experience as a teachers assistant in the English for Speakers of other Languages program at Kapiolani Community College, the teachers and assistants are instructed to encourage and remind students to speak English at all times while in the classroom. Students overheard speaking languages other than English while in class are immediately reminded that they are in an English language program and are asked to please speak English. This strategy seems to make students more conscious of their language use, although students need frequent reminders to continue speaking in English only. In addition, this kind of approach may produce negative effects such as low production, poor attitudes, and decreased motivation resulting from being reprimanded in front of their peers.
The only explicit language policy from an educational institution that I was able to locate comes from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). In response to a lawsuit filed by the EEOC in 1989 on behalf of several Mexican-American employees who charged the university with language discrimination, UCSF implemented its Policy on Non-Discrimination Regarding Language Spoken in the Workplace (Krevans, 1989). The institutional language policy states its commitment to EEOC guidelines spelled out under Title 29 of the U.S. Code and states that any existing policy, practice or custom, whether formal or informal, requiring employees to speak to their co-workers in English shall be terminated (http://www.aaeo.ucsf.edu/language.html). Although this policy seems somewhat positive, due to the nature of its creation, it reads more like a defensive statement rather than a sincere affirmation of the universitys philosophy of linguistic rights.
In addition to the now-positive language policy in place at UCSF, I discovered evidence of an illegal, unwritten, English-only language policy that existed at a private university in San Antonio, Texas, until 2001 (U.S. EEOC, 2001). Eighteen Hispanic workers at the University of the Incarnate Word filed a lawsuit that stated that for more than 10 years the university had subjected them to an English-only policy, and that employees who failed to comply with the English-only policy were subjected to repeated verbal and physical abuse, as well as ethnic slurs (http://www.eeoc.gov/press/4-20-01.html). In an out-of-court settlement with the EEOC, the university agreed to pay $2.44 million dollars in damages and offered each of the 18 defendants four-year tuition waivers to attend the university. This case provides an extreme example of a misguided and poor institutional language policy.
Through a review of language policies found within the national, state, and institutional domains, it can be seen that a variety of implicit and explicit policies affect language use positively and negatively in the public and private sectors and at the macro and micro levels of U.S. society. In proposing a language policy for the ELI, I strive to stress the explicit, the positive, the public, and the micro.
ISSUES RELEVANT TO AN ELI LANGUAGE POLICY
Before presenting my proposal for an official language policy for the ELI, I briefly highlight a number of issues related to language theory and research that are relevant to the development of such a policy. Then I provide an overview of language position statements from several professional linguistic-oriented organizations. Afterwards, I consider the integration of the ELI mission and philosophy statements into an ELI language policy.
Language Theory and Research Issues
Student centered learning as proposed by Nunan (1988) is a dominant current that runs throughout ESL curriculum theory. In this approach to teaching language, individual student needs, experiences and abilities are the primary focus of the curriculum. The teacher is no longer the center of attention as the transmitter of knowledge. The focus is more on the transformation of the student in the process of learning. This process may take the form of a social constructivist approach to education as presented by McComiskey (2000), whereby teachers and students engage in the activity of transforming the individual in society through the contextual examination of their environment.
Two theories somewhat related to social constructivism are critical pedagogy and discourse theory. Wink (2000) describes critical pedagogy as a way of teaching that concerns itself with freeing the student from the social power structures that construct knowledge and meaning and control progress. Similarly, discourse theory (Gee, 1996; Delpit, 1998) is primarily concerned with providing minority students with strategies to acquire the dominant discourse of power so that they may more successfully compete in society.
A disadvantaged minority group of college students that is receiving a great deal of research attention is the generation 1.5 students (Harklau et al., 1999). These students are often disadvantaged in the educational system due to their incongruent language development and their lack of expertise with academic discourses. As a possible approach to address the linguistic needs of these students, Rivera (1999) suggests programs promoting bilingualism and biliteracy through education in English in addition to encouraging the use of students own native languages to facilitate learning.
Regarding more purely pedagogical issues, some of the dominant theories practiced in ESL classrooms are Schmidts noticing hypothesis (Schmidt & Frota, 1986) Longs (1988, as cited in Crookes & Chaudron, 1991) notion of focus-on-form, and Doughtys (1991) findings that support explicit instruction. When these ESL theories are combined with the foregoing language theories and issues, a fairly strong pedagogical foundation can be established in the proposed language policy.
Language Position Statements from Professional Language Organizations
One of the earliest language position statements from a professional language organization in the U.S. that I was able to locate comes from TESOL. In 1987, TESOL drafted their Resolution on Language Rights in response to the official-English movement in the U.S. (TESOL, 1996). The National Council of Teachers of English followed suit in 1988 with their National Language Policy, which promotes English literacy for non-native speakers in addition to encouraging native languages and dialects and the teaching of non-English languages (NCTE). Concerned with the protection of basic linguistic rights, the Linguistic Society of America ratified its Statement on Language Rights in 1996 (LSA). And here in Hawaii, SLS Department entities the Center for Second Language Research (CSLR, 1997) and Da Pidgin Coup (1999) drafted separate position papers on language planning for Hawaiis public education system.
ELI Mission Statement and Philosophy
As mentioned in a previous section of this paper, during the 2000-02 academic years, members of the ELI have worked diligently to produce the first ever ELI mission statement in addition to philosophy statements for each of the three skill areas of reading, writing, and listening/ speaking (see Appendices). The mission statement addresses the people affiliated with the ELI, the physical domain of the ELI, the services provided by the ELI and how those services are delivered, and key beliefs and values of the ELI (ELI, 2001). The philosophy statements present the main theoretical viewpoints that are central to the teaching in each of the three skill areas (ELI, 2001). Among these theoretical views are social constructivism, found in the writing skill area, and the strategic approach to listening, found in the listening skill area.
PROPOSED ELI LANGUAGE POLICY
In consideration of the previously discussed language issues, theories, and policies, as well as the background of the ELI, I present my ELI language policy proposal:
Language Policy of the English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Hawaii- Manoa
Introduction and Purpose
The following language policy is an attempt to make transparent to our constituency the philosophies and practices of the ELI concerning language teaching, access, use, rights, and learning within the institution. To achieve this goal, the ELI Language Policy addresses the following issues:
Statement of Primary Mission
Whereas the ELI was established by the University of Hawaii at Manoa for the purpose of providing English language instruction for fully matriculated students whose native language is not English, this language policy affirms the ELIs commitment to providing quality English instruction while concurrently supporting the linguistic rights of its constituency through application of the most current pedagogy, research and theory from the field of second language studies.
Statement of Curriculum
Whereas the teaching of English as a second language is the primary mission of the ELI, the ELI strives to empower its students with English language listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills that provide them greater access to the dominant discourses2 of power, thereby enabling them to compete more successfully in a target social domain.
Statement of Linguistic Rights
Whereas English is the predominant language of the ELI due to the nature of its mission and purpose, the acquisition of English should not take precedence over the use and maintenance of other languages. When applied in a pedagogically justifiable manner to promote language learning, the use of languages other than English in ELI classrooms is encouraged. Furthermore, the right of any constituent to use any language of choice outside of ELI classrooms shall not be infringed by the ELI. In principle, the ELI supports the development of bilingualism3 in English and other languages for its constituency.
Statement of Constituency
Whereas the ELI is an educational enterprise, its constituency comprises the people who traditionally make up such an entity: the programs students, teachers, and staff members.
Regarding students, the ELI is composed of students from a variety of cultures with diverse linguistic backgrounds. Furthermore, the ELI recognizes the existence of different categories of students with associated experiences and needs who constitute the program:
In recognizing such categories of students,
the ELI strives to utilize student experiences and address student needs in
manners most beneficial and meaningful to individual students as well as to
the entire student population.
Regarding teachers, the ELI hires primarily from an experienced pool of students enrolled in graduate programs within the Department of Second Language Studies. The ELI relies on native speakers of English and non-native speakers alike to fill its teaching positions and values the different strengths and experiences that these groups of teachers bring with them to the classroom. The ELI also maintains a system of apprenticeship that orients new teachers to the program and familiarizes them with core ELI philosophy and theoretical approaches, in addition to providing an ongoing mentoring process for all of the teachers in the program.
Regarding the staff of the ELI, the Director is a tenured faculty member of the Department of Second Language Studies selected by colleagues to administer the program, and the Assistant Director and Junior Specialist are faculty members hired through established university selection procedures.
Statement of Pedagogy
Whereas the ELI is directed to provide a diverse student population with instruction in English as a second language, which allows them to compete successfully in the academic setting and in the greater society, the pedagogical practices of the institution should reflect such a charge. Through graduate studies and ELI apprenticeship, teachers should be trained in the most current, accepted pedagogical practices from the fields of education and English as a Second Language throughout their terms in the ELI, and ELI students should receive the benefits of this training.
Statement of Future Goals
Through the implementation of this language policy, the ELI seeks to make our core philosophies and practices regarding language transparent to our constituency and to the greater community. In doing so, it is hoped that the ELI serves as a model institution that consciously promotes linguistic rights while concurrently providing quality instruction in English as a Second Language to the highest degree possible.
Given this proposal of an official language policy for the ELI, I would like to make the following suggestions to the ELI and SLS Department administrators:
Initially, I suggest that the ELI and SLS Department
administrators consider the adoption and implementation of this language policy
proposal as is. If this proposal is deemed inadequate, then I suggest that the
language policy be adapted to meet the desired needs of the ELI. This approach
would be more expeditious than developing a language policy from scratch since
much of the groundwork for an ELI language policy has been laid in this paper.
After implementation of the ELI language policy, I suggest that provisions be made to preserve the original spirit and intent of the policy. This would be achieved through the established ELI teacher handbook, orientations, training sessions, and skill area meetings in addition to recommended readings provided by ELI administrators.
As a critical component of the policy process (Rist, 2000), I also suggest that provisions be made to assess the implementation of the language policy from the viewpoints of those potentially affected by it: the students, teachers, and administrators of the ELI. A thorough assessment of this nature should combine both qualitative and quantitative methods, and should address impacts and outcomes as well as possible alterations (Brown, 1995). Additionally, given the worldwide status of the SLS Department in the fields of ESL and applied linguistics, it would be interesting to see if other IEPs follow the lead of the ELI and implement similar, explicit language policies. This information would also be part of a thorough policy assessment.
As an instructor in the ELI during the creation of its mission statement and the articulation of philosophy statements for each of its skill areas, I am in an advantageous position at an opportune time for development of the institutions language policy. Much of my work on this paper was facilitated by the efforts of many dedicated individuals, both past and present, within the ELI who laid the foundation for an official institutional language policy of this kind. It is my hope that this language policy proposal is seriously considered for adoption or adaptation by the SLS Department. With the implementation of such a policy, the ELI would make transparent its philosophy and objectives to the greater ESL community and would position itself at the forefront of leading IEPs in terms of articulating a commitment to language theory, research, and rights.
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The ELI mission statement
The structure of this statement reflects the following
(1) The ELI works with matriculated ESL students
(including international and immigrant students) at UH Manoa. As part of the
Dept of SLS it contributes to the instructional, research, and service mission
of the Department.
(2) The ELI provides instruction to those students concerning English for Academic Purposes, effective study strategies, and skills and perspectives they will need to assert their position and educational rights at UHM.
In doing this, the ELI acts from the position that English is a means for international communication across cultural boundaries (rather than solely for use within English-speaking countries) and thus is not the possession of native speakers.
Second language learning is a long-term process. Accordingly, the ELI curriculum should not only aid students' immediate development of EAP and related skills, it should also help ESL students become more skilful language learners, and assist them in becoming long-term learners of English. It aims at the development of autonomous, self-directed, second language learners.
The ELI works to foster our students' integration into (3) the UHM academic community, and facilitates their academic studies in (and potentially throughout) their career at UHM. Being in the ELI is intended to make the difference, for our students, between mere survival and actual success at UHM.
(4) To these ends, we have dedicated and well-qualified teachers, a quality curriculum which is regularly revised; we also draw on the broad educational resources of UH Manoa in support of our aims.
(5) The ELI has professional responsibilities to (a) our students,(b) to our teachers, and (c) to other parts of the UHM (and the wider community).
(a) The program serves as an advocate for all ESL students at UH Manoa. On their behalf, we work with the university community and when necessary educate it concerning the needs and perspective of ESL students at UH Manoa. We respect students' L1s/home cultures & customs.
(b) Our teachers are drawn from the world community of ESL teachers. The ELI is committed to supporting the comprehensive professional development of its teachers. Many are pursuing graduate studies while teaching in the ELI, and the ELI strives to assist them both as teachers and as teacher-researchers.
The administration policies and procedures of the ELI should be transparent to all ELI personnel.
Our administration, our curriculum, and our instructional practices should be professional. They reflect (and should ideally inform) current thinking and research.
In supporting principled approaches to professional practice, theoretically driven and empirically defensible, we highly value the contributions of teachers to the success and development of the ELI curriculum, through their delivery of instruction, support of students, collegial interprofessional relations, and their developmental work on the curriculum and the ELI itself. Relatedly, we encourage our teachers to conduct research based on our research agenda and the perceived needs of the ELI.
(c) The ELI functions as a site for responsible second-language research in the context of an ongoing teaching program, and it gives DSLS faculty and graduate students opportunities for curriculum development and research.
Similarly, it provides professional development opportunities for DSLS graduate students, both with respect to classroom teaching and program administration, while at the same time providing them with essential employment support.
We strive to be aware of our position in the
wider community and respond to it.
instituted Spring 2001
APPENDIX # 2
ELI writing curriculum philosophy
ELI writing curricula draw strongly (but not
exclusively) from social constructionist, process approaches to composition
(e.g Bizzell, 1982; Harris, 1997). The ELI helps to prepare students to write
by utilizing pre-writing, drafting, and revising techniques in the writing process,
and also by providing students with the opportunities to investigate the varied
contexts in which they compose. Students are asked to examine the audiences
they address, the purposes for which they write, genres, and discourse conventions
in order to develop a repertoire of skills with which they can approach the
writing task and successfully complete it. The ELI is not interested in promoting
or enacting "composition as colonization" (Land & Whitley, 1998),
whereby the discourses of the academy are reified and imposed on students. Primary
among the goals of the ELI is to facilitate the apprenticeship of students to
particular discourses so that they may enter, acquire, and/or appropriate them
(or not) on their own terms (cf. Zamel, 1998).
Bizzell, P. (1982). Cognition, convention, and certainty: what we need to know about writing. Pre/Text, 3(3). 213-243.
Harris, J. (1997). A teaching subject: composition since 1966. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Land, J., R. E., & Whitley, C. (1998). Evaluating second language essays in regular composition classes: Toward a pluralistic U.S. rhetoric. In V. Zamel & R. Spack (Eds.), Negotiating academic literacies: Teaching and learning across languages and cultures (pp. 135-144). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Zamel, V. (1998). Questioning academic discourse. In V. Zamel & R. Spack (Eds.), Negotiating academic literacies: Teaching and learning across languages and cultures (pp. 187-197). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
ELI Writing Lead Teacher
ELI listening/speaking curriculum philosophy
The ELI listening/speaking curriculum area draws from several approaches, including the following:
Listening Strategy Approach
A dominant approach in the curriculum area of EAP conceptualizes listening in terms of "strategies". Many researchers have made recommendations for teaching listening by way of teaching the learners strategies they can use. These include: find out what strategies your students are already using and select a few strategies that appear underused (Chamot, 1995; Mendelsohn, 1995); model how to use the strategies (Chamot, 1995); give students choices in strategy use (O'Malley et al., 1989; Rubin, 1994); label and explain strategies in terms of why and when these strategies would be useful (Chamot, 1995; Rubin, 1994); provide time and practice to develop strategy use (i.e., in order to move from controlled to automatic) (Chamot, 1995; Rubin, 1994); continually encourage students to try strategies with new tasks (Chamot, 1995). In terms of materials choice, Mendelsohn (1995, p.137) suggests that they should: be 'natural', 'real' spoken English; chosen to activate strategy use; not be too difficult or complicated; and should teach students how to tackle listening.
Interactional Strategies and Small Group Work
Similarly, the speaking aspect of the ELI 70/80 area is conceptualized in terms of strategies that speakers use to aid communication and facilitate learning. "Interactional strategies" such as appeals for assistance are particularly worthwhile. If learners can put these strategies to use as a way to negotiate meaning, then, as studies indicate, not only will learners comprehension improve, but also this will allow them to learn more new words and will provide learners with the opportunity to talk in the L2. (Strong support exists for the beneficial effect of interactionally modified input on comprehension and acquisition through negotiation of meaning see Doughty, 2000; Ellis, 1994; Larsen-Freeman & Long, 1991; Mitchell & Myles, 1998, for reviews.) Dörnyei and Thurrell (1991) suggest several ways to teach strategic competence. In addition, some SLA research has shown that L2 learners can enhance their comprehension by learning to interact and negotiate with TL speakers, and presumably by learning appropriate interactive patterns for TL classrooms and lectures, they can improve overall academic functioning (Lynch, 1995).
Although part of the discourse of TESOL since the 1970s, an emphasis on autonomy in learning has only recently come to the fore. Autonomous learning seeks to equip learners with tools that will best serve them once they are on their own and to facilitate their self-directed learning outside the classroom. (Little,1991). In second language learning, Crabbe (1993) distinguishes between the public domain (i.e., classroom activities) and the private domain (i.e., private learning activity). He suggests that it is the teachers responsibility, through certain instructional practices, to think carefully about how to guide students in learning. This is accomplished by bridging these two domains in order to support autonomy.
Situations that encourage independence are beneficial because they lead to learning, achievement and accomplishment (Benson & Voller, 1997). Dickinson (1995) asserts that learning situations that foster autonomy are also valuable because they enhance motivation, which in turn leads to more effective learning.
An underlying assumption of the research on learner autonomy is that in order to equip the learner with the tools to eventually become autonomous, training must necessarily take place (see Benson & Voller 1997; Wenden 1991). In self-directed learning, the teacher acts more as a facilitator who provides the students with the tools to become autonomous through opportunities to learn and strategy instruction.
The ELI encourages learner autonomy of students through strategy instruction and other assignments in and outside the classroom. For example in listening/speaking classes, students may be asked to investigate their own academic speaking and listening needs, focusing on the contexts in which they, as individuals will have to be successful communicators in the university academic environment. As well, students are asked to analyze and critique their own speaking and listening strengths and weaknesses.
ELI Lead Teacher, Listening/Speaking
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contents (c) 2002 Shawn Ford/ Webb-Ed Press