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International Education: Inspiring Students Locally to Succeed Globally Whether its a summer course, a semester immersion, or a degree program, study abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a young persons life. International students enrich classrooms and communities with their ideas, perspectives, and culture. And when they return home, they bring new knowledge, new perspectives, and a deeper understanding of the world. From: Video Message 9 on International Education Week 2011 from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

About the International Visitors Leadership Program About the E-Teacher Program

To listen to the whole message and learn more about International Education Week, please visit
As the new Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Romania, I am pleased to greet the English teachers community. Let me say up front how much Im looking forward to meeting with as many of you as possible during my term. I am impressed, and so are my colleagues, with the level of English young Romanians speak so correctly and confidently, and Im sure this is due to your hard work and desire to learn English. As you know, the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest has supported, and will continue to support, reform of the educational system. We have brought programs here sponsored by the U.S. Department of State; we have designed programs and activities locally for teachers and students of English; we have funded their participation in international programs in the U.S. or elsewhere; and we have encouraged alumni to come back and share. Over the past decade, we annually brought Senior English Language Fellows to conduct in-service training for young teachers within the first five years of their careers, mostly from rural and economically disadvantaged areas. Within 10 years, the program reached almost all Romanian counties; some were visited more than once. We also had a few Junior English Language Fellows at universities who taught courses on English teaching methods for students preparing to go into teaching upon graduation. Many of you have participated in our digital videoconferences with American specialists on teaching democratic principles through English. Others have participated, together with small groups of students, in the Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camps that the Regional English Language Office at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, has been running every summer for six years. Several Regional English Language Officers have participated in the conferences organized by the Romanian Association of Teachers of English (RATE) or its regional branches. We have been happy to sponsor the participation of Romanian EL teachers in TESOL conferences in the United States or in regional professional conferences in Europe. And, over the years, the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), the State Departments flagship exchange program, has included many teachers and inspectors of English from Romania. We also have nominated teachers for participation in the E-Teacher Program every season it has been offered. With so many successful programs, we thought we should put together a publication by and for ELT professionals, and here it is. It was created in celebration of International Education Week 2011, but with your contributions it can continue to appear and carry articles about your experience as participants in professional exchange programs. These can inspire your colleagues to try various models and methods in their own classrooms, adopt or adapt them to the needs of their students and never stop learning and growing professionally. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports for its continued support for our programs. It has been a successful partnership that we value and wish to continue and grow. I congratulate everyone of you for your efforts as educators, and I wish all of you the best in your careers. I invite all of you to use the ELT resources youll find out about in the following pages and I hope to hear more about the successful activities you conduct with your colleagues and students. Edwina Sagitto Cultural Affairs Officer U.S. Embassy, Bucharest

About the English Language Fellow Program About the Study of the U.S. Institutes Program About the Teaching Tolerance through English Camps




The American Corners Program in Romania



Anca-Mariana Pegulescu, PhD ELT Inspector General Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports I took part in the International Visitor Leadership Program from March 27 to April 17, 2008 and such an event was at the same time a challenge and a reality. The project had the theme Teaching English as a Second Language and was administered by the Academy for Educational Development and sponsored by U.S. Department of State. I could observe and understand the organization and methodology of a wide variety of ESL teaching programs and teacher training practice in the United States, including bilingual programs in elementary and secondary schools. The variety of programs incorporated English programs for immigrants, college preparatory programs, computer-assisted language learning, adult basic education, TESOL conference and applied linguistics. The Washington, DC program was the opening moment and it introduced me to the worlds capital with everything that means political life (White House, the Capitol Hill), cultural and educational activities (the Academy for Educational Development, the Smithsonian Institution and the J.F. Kennedy Center) as well as the mission and activities of the American Federation of Teachers. New York City the largest city in the United States, considered to be the countrys leading financial and commercial center, is generally viewed as one of the world centers of finance, theater and fashion, with Wall Street, Broadway, the Fifth Avenue. It also means the symbol of freedom and democracy with the Statue of Liberty, welcoming all the tourists eager to be near it or the immigrants wanting to remain in the city. New York, situated at the joining of the Hudson and East rivers, is a city of islands. Our group, including 24 representatives of 24 countries from all over the world (continents like Europe, Asia, Africa, South America) was located at Hudson Hotel, very near Central Park. We attended the 42d TESOL Convention and Exhibition. The theme of the event was Building Communities of Practice, Inquiry and Creativity. More than 7600 ESL/EFL professionals from 96 countries took part, best in their profession, ranging from pre-k-elementary schools, middle schools, secondary schools, 4year colleges, graduate and postgraduate institutions. I was impressed by the opening plenaries quality (names like Lia Kamhi-Stein, Sandy Briggs or Penny Ur brought topics like Building Classroom Communities Through Teachers Lived Experiences, Creating Independent Language Users or Correctness and Correction) of the sessions referring to mentoring (I attended Angi Malderez workshop on Mentoring as Support for Teacher Learning exploring different ways of thinking about kinds of support a school-based mentor can provide) as well as by the working atmosphere of several workshops I attended (having as a topic successful classroom activities). I could compare with what was happening in the Romanian educational system and retain the domains that have not been so much explored by the Romanian professional associations conferences I usually attend (I am referring to RATE and AsMeRo): computer-assisted language learning, international teaching assistants, teacher education, video and digital media, curriculum/materials development, integrated skills. After New York the group divided into four teams and we traveled to San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. I was assigned San Francisco group, together with the representatives of Angola, Costa Rica, Egypt, the Republic of Tajikistan and Senegal. The main theme was TESOL in the community. We visited schools and observed classes at Newcomer High School. I liked the way support staff members were working collaboratively with teaching staff members and students, serving as liaisons between parents and community agencies to provide social, health and mental health services and promote educational success. Students are here provided with the proper academic grounding for moving to the comprehensive high schools. Our visits included also Intrax International Institute (welcoming more than 8ooo students annually and providing international students with quality English language programs including ESL classes, TOEFL, TOEIC preparation, Business English), American Language Institute, San Francisco State University, Mountain View-Las Altos Adult Education Center. The last mentioned institution assists adults in completing school equivalency as well as pursuing life long learning goals. Among teacher training institutions Transworld Schools from San Francisco, offer internationally recognized teacher training (CTESOL Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and ESL programs to both native and non-native speakers.


The project closing and evaluation were done in Boston that is a major Atlantic seaport and the largest city in New England. Boston holds a unique position in the annals of American history. Boston was the cradle of the citizenrys revolt known as the Boston Tea Party. Here was heard the revolutionary slogan taxation without representation is tyranny. Past into present mingles in the cobblestone streets, bold buildings of government, marketplaces. Here are found the world- renowned Ballet, Opera Company of Boston. The city is also a leading educational center in the United States. We visited The Boston Language Institute, the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs, Northeastern University, Harvard Institute for English Language Programs. I particularly enjoyed the Museum of Fine Arts that houses and preserves preeminent collections and works of arts. It provides information and perspective on art through time and throughout the world. I also visited J. F Kennedy Library and Museum, dedicated to the memory of American Nations thirty-fifth president. This institution aims to advance the study and understanding of President Kennedys life and career and the times in which he lived. For any visitor it is also an opportunity to understand better Americas political and cultural heritage, the process of governing and the importance of public service.

All the other three groups shared what was really important during the visits and we concluded on the following general common aspects: in large classes teachers have difficulties evaluating students and monitoring individual progress; the real danger here is that some students can become passive; higher level students can assist lower level students and teachers should balance their talking time versus students talking time ( concise directions on board); teachers should openly speak about the cultural differences if they do exist in the class; teachers should manage different levels of motivation, reluctance and fear. Back in Romania I presented to my colleagues inspectors the most important aspects of such a life long learning experience and I especially insisted on strategies linked to our students language learning objectives. That is why even today Romanian teachers of English can insist on: changing activities gradually (serious fun serious fun); teaching things that are relevant;

not letting any activity drag too long; spend extra time motivating students; make everybody in the class feel part of a team; mix up different techniques in the same class (visual, audio, oral, written) and accommodate all the learning styles in the class. Such teaching styles are still debated as student teachers education has undergone major changes in Romania. The Romanian educational system is experimenting decentralization that is a common reality in the American educational system. The American education budget is 10% funded by the federal Government, 70% by the state the school belongs to and 20% from the local taxes. Public education is free and goes until 16 years of age, while private education displays religious programs. Detailed comparisons can continue but the conclusion is that teaching English as a second language in Romanian (or as a modern/foreign language) is performed in a great majority by qualified/ trained teachers who continue their professional development through training courses, seminars, conferences, blended learning. The majority of our students displayed good results in their final exams where the evaluation of linguistic competences represents a compulsory test.

International Visitor Leadership Program

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of States premier professional exchange program. Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. These visits reflect the International Visitors professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States. There is no application for this program. International Visitors are selected and nominated annually by American Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Embassies around the world. The International Visitors Leadership Program has recently celebrated its 70th anniversary.


Roxana Marin, George Cobuc National Bilingual College, Bucharest

Few experiences compare in importance to my participation in the International Visitors Program. In 2006 I was invited to apply for the Grassroots Activism stream. My work as a human rights and anticorruption activist has been equally important to my teaching all along my career. Due to my Roma heritage, these two things became obligatorily intertwined from the onset, and thus I have often used my teaching as a platform for activism. In the late 90s it was not a common occurrence to have high school students offer to help with community organizing in Roma slums or, as a result of their participation in anticorruption groups, refuse to use household objects or simply goodies that their parents had received as bribe. Naturally, it was not easy to have students willingly and actively participate in activities of a type that I designed as experiential learning opportunities for
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nitely in the long-lasting, if not lifelong, category. Also, the program exposed us to an incredible variety of communities, projects, institutions and even climates which is not mentioned here only as a joke in fact. The aridity of New Mexico is a key factor to the local politics, and virtually everything is about water rights for New Mexicans. I had not once before thought about the importance of water rights until then. There were many other eyeopening or simply very touching experiences: meeting Libertarians in the flesh, hanging out with Native American chiefs, watching the stream of day-workers coming in and out of the U.S. at the border with Mexico, learning about the ways in which educators in the South are trying to make sure an increasing number of immigrant kids are not deprived of their right to education. I would recommend the IVP program to any educator for at least one of the interactions we had, nevermind their totality. Your approach to teaching can simply not remain the same after youve experienced what you have as an International Visitor. Ah, and I simply love how one must always use caps for these two words. In truth, they are special.

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E them, var iou but sa cti clearly stemming from vit ies my human rights and anticorruption activism. Things changed incredibly after my participation in the International Visitors Program. But before I begin to elaborate on the mechanics of this incredible impact, I would like to bring back a few highlights of my experience during the actual program. The benefits of participating are manifold, and they range from personal to professional in a wide array. I met people from 4 different continents and each difference and similarity we discovered was a wow factor. The friendships established during those incredible four weeks are defi-

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And now to why my IVP experience has had such a huge impact on my career, as well as a good few hundred young people. After I returned I was invited to apply for an IVP Alumni grant. The 3,000 dollars I got allowed me to fulfil an old dream: setting up an alumni-driven centre of extracurricular activities at my school. Many of my Romanian peers said at the time that this was a scenario that was never going to work, it was too much

like what one sees in sappy Hallmark movies but onwards and upwards I went, and now CARE Center for Action and Responsibility in Education is an integral part of the school community, and it has actually recently won the school substantial points with a quality certification body. We are unique because all our activities are alumni-run or at least alumni-supported. The initial grant allowed us to secure the room that the school allows us to use. We secured it by investing the money in equipping the room and putting it at the schools disposal for any type of extracurriculars, not just those we run. In other words, any initiative a teacher or group of students may have, from an arts club to a workshop on project management for teens, there is a homebase that has everything they need. And that is CARE. We operate on a payit-forward sort of principle, whereby alumni provide mentorship and resources for specific activities, either weekly or periodically. Besides running our own clubs public speaking, debate, addiction studies, arts we have also partnered up with a good number of programs and organizations: gender equality and LGBT issues with ACCEPT, H.Arta/Timisoara, ALEG/Sibiu, Roma culture and human rights with Agentia Impreuna, ARDOR and OvidiuRom, icons of communism with Auburn University in the USA, nonformal education with KaebNai in Basque Country. The concept we operate on could not be finalized outside the experience and support provided by my participation in the International Visitors Program. Besides the grant that enabled me to set the Center up, my understanding of how alumni support education in the U.S. was instrumental to clarifying my vision. And the story continues It is a never-ending string of opportunities and challenges, challenges and opportunities Once an International Visitor, always an International Visitor. The words are magic, thats why we spell them with capitals.


Magdalena Man, former ELT Inspector Braov County Inspectorate for Education

languages and teacher education. Besides the professional visits and meetings, I also had the possibility to see representative monuments of American culture and civilization (The Capitol and The SmithMy American experience started sonian Institutes, White House Visitors Centre, in the spring of 2003 with the visit of an Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, English Language Fellow (ELF) in Brasov. At Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC; New that time thirty young teachers of English York by night and by day). Walking in the from Brasov and the county attended training street and shopping, dining out and talking to sessions during the weekends and had team- people were all valuable American experiences teaching sessions with the ELF in their own for me. classes during the week. The program proved Coming back, I transferred to my to be a success, both for us, the School Instudents some of my experiences related to the spectorate in Brasov (teachers, schools and American culture and civilization I witnessed, myself, the language inspector) and for the especially peoples tolerance, their democratic ELF, who underlined the commitment of the behavior and the fact that school is a serious teachers, their enthusiasm and openmatter. mindedness. As an inspector of English in Brasov It was the beginning of an county I tried to offer colleagues another peradventure that developed in the years to spective on education, a training-learning come, covering more and more areas of my process entirely focused on the students and professional life, reflecting positively in the their needs. work with my students and with my fellow The Uncle Sam Events - a successful teachers of English. In the following pages I project will try to give a glimpse of what these exIn July 2005, Doina Teodorovici (a periences were and how they influenced our visitor in the 2004 program) and I applied to lives. the Alumni Grant Program; we dreamt at a The International Visitor Program a project to bridge our American experiences and successful experience students thirst for an American perspective on My long-lasting cooperation with things and life; and we won it. the Public Diplomacy Office started in 2005 The project was meant to support with the invitation to participate in the Inter- the promotion of the American culture and national Visitor Program. The visit to the civilization issues within the optional curricuUnited States was carefully designed and well lum for the bilingual and intensive English balanced so that at its completion I had a classes. It was launched in schools in the fall of clear image of the American teaching2005, the target group being made of 11th and learning system. Visits to different schools, 12th graders, who attended bilingual or intendiscussions with policy makers, officials and sive English classes, and their teachers in teachers in schools, both private and public, schools in Brasov. offered me opportunities to get familiar with The project aims were to promote various aspects of the American school from American culture and civilization issues, to the central decisional level (Washington, DC) encourage teachers involvement in out-of-class through the tertiary and secondary levels activities and net-working, to develop students down to the nursery one. School visits and integrated communication skills (networking, the exchange of opinions and experiences library research, internet, IT literacy, practicwith fellow teachers was probably the most ing language), to develop students presentainteresting part of the visit tour as it gave me tion skills, to refine their writing skills, to an instructive insight of the educational provide schools and teachers with additional system and different approaches to teaching material on American issues.

Research on topics related to literature, arts, education, social life, personalities of American culture and civilization, history has offered students the chance of approaching American society from different perspectives. Both students and teachers benefited from the valuable help of an American consultant, Ms. Jen MacArthur, senior English Language Fellow at US Embassy in Bucharest. The final products of the project were the students papers presented both in front of their peers and publicly and a brochure including the 30 summaries of the papers. The English Language Fellow - a successful training program In the fall of 2006, Cynthia Yoder, Sr. English Language Fellow, landed in Brasov to begin a training program with newly certified teachers. What a luck to have again an American trainer at home, I thought, and so it was. Twenty-four very young teachers met Cynthia and they started their adventure together. The young teachers mastered their subject (language and content its logical organization and evolution, in connection with other subjects and the real world), but had only theoretical knowledge of teaching methodology. They lacked teaching experience, they lacked reflecting skills, they were unaware of the complexity of the curricula and its structure, they were unfamiliar with school environment and organizational culture. All these were challenges young teachers had to face. Thus the training focused on teaching strategies and techniques, the way the teachers should use their knowledge creatively, on class observation and feed-back, on peer observation, on reflective skills, on lesson planning (selecting and offering students specific knowledge taking into account their learning capacity, needs and interests needs analysis), on studentcentered teaching and on class management. Cynthia Yoder not only had training classes with the young teachers but she also visited their schools and worked together with them


Magdalena Man, former ELT Inspector, Braov County Inspectorate for Education on designing and applying effective and attractive teaching strategies related to envisaged aim and content and taking into consideration individual and group age characteristics; urging the students to get involved in the learning process. You can imagine how happy the students were, since most of the young teachers were employed in rural or small town schools. In January 2007, Cynthia Yoder and myself were invited to present the successful experience we had in Brasov, in Budapest, at the annual program meeting Linking English Language Programs with Mission Objectives. Our presentation entitled Working with newly certified teachers was based on the observed teachers professional development during the training period and on their personal more positive feelings towards the teaching profession. The visit was also important for me, for the School Inspectorate in Brasov and for the teachers of English in the county. 2008, spring I traveled to the States on my exchange visit to Wendy Blumes institution, Camden Community College. This visit offered me the chance to get familiar to another level of American education, higher education, its organization and impact on society. Both visits, Ms. Blumes and mine, meant a deep mutual understanding of each others countries, social and educational systems, culture and civilization. In conclusion I can say that the most important things I have learned about the United States and the Americans are tolerance, democracy and equality, respect for the man and its values, for law and regulations.

The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program a successful exchange 2007, fall Ms. Wendy Blume began her exchange visit in Brasov, Romania, as part of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program for administrators. Ms. Blume was, at the time, the dean of Camden Community College, New Jersey. For her, this six-week visit was an opportunity to discover, for the first time, the Romanian system of education. She witnessed the process from the inside, visited schools, observed classes, talked to teachers and students, attended teachers methodological activities and the ELT Across the Curriculum teachers conference in Brasov, visited sites in Brasov and the surroundings and also places in Romania.

Camelia Bojescu, ELT Inspector Vaslui County Inspectorate for Education I was most fortunate to be selected as one of the participants in the International Visitor Program (IVLP) in 2005. The IVLP is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Office of International Visitors (which manages and funds the International Visitor Leadership Program), also by the Local Program Sponsors; my program was coordinated by the Institute of International Education. The aim of the IVLP is to build mutual understanding between the United States and other nations through carefully designed professional visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. The visits reflect the visitors professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the U.S. government. Each year, 4,500 participants from all over the world are selected by U.S. embassies to travel to the U.S. to meet and confer with their professional counterparts. Thus, Camelia Bojescu (right) and Magda Man (left) at TESOL they gain a greater understanding of the cultural and political influences in U.S. society and enjoy their experience of the U.S., of the governmental organizations, the arts, public health, international security, business and trade and other American people and of their culture. Visitors in the program represent government, fields. politics, the media, education, non- My three-week visit to the U.S. took place between 16th of April 7th of May 2005. The program included meetings in Washington D.C., Burlington - VT, San Diego CA, Minneapolis MN, and a cultural weekend in New York NY. To give an idea about the real spiritual and informational dimension of this visit, I have to say that I met the representatives of the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C., who gave my colleague Magdalena Man (former ELT inspector in Brasov), and myself a very warm welcome and informed us about all the details of our visit, together with our interpreter, Ms Irene Vianu, an American citizen of Romanian origin. Also in Washington, D.C. we were informed on the U.S. education system, the U.S. language policy, the EFL Teaching in the U.S. and also on the federal role in education and English language programs by institutions like: the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, Georgetown University, the International Center for Language Studies, the American University (the Department of Language and Foreign Studies, TESOL Program), the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, the TESOL representatives, Rock Creek International School, the Center for Civic Educa-


tion and George Washington University. Besides these very enlightening and fruitful meetings, where we exchanged opinions on the study and teaching of foreign languages, in general, and especially about EFL, we could visit the capital city of this large and important country, we saw important places in its history and culture (the White House, the Capitol Building, the Library of the Congress Building, the Lincoln and the Jefferson memorials, the Washington monument, the National Cathedral, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Arlington National Cemetery in Alexandria). The cultural weekend in New York made us see the glamour of the artists world since we were accommodated in a Broadway hotel and had the flash of the advertisement signs right in front of our eyes. The connection with the artistic life was even closer since the organizers provided us with tickets for one of the bestknown musicals Chicago in the classical theatre atmosphere of the Ambassador Theatre on Broadway Avenue. Of course, we could not miss seeing the famous Central Park, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Guggenheim Museum, former Ground Zero, the Grand Central Terminal and, at a distance, the Statue of Liberty, walking or traveling by bus, metro or train. Our itinerary in the U.S. included visits to two Burlington area universities: the School for International Training and the School of International Studies at Saint Michaels College, where we had appointments and observed four courses in order to see how students are prepared to teach English abroad and in the U.S. and how American culture and democratic values are integrated in the curriculum. Moreover, we had the chance to learn about in-service teacher training programs and how English programs for recent immigrants are designed and applied. Next on our program was a trip to the west coast, in San Diego, close to the Mexican border and on the Pacific Ocean coastline. In San Diego, the weather was splendid, with showers that jammed the traffic, which could not stop us from having

seven meetings - three of them visits to public schools. At San Diego State Universitythe American Language Institute, San Diego Community College DistrictContinuing Education Center, Sweetwater Union High School District, Kit Carson Elementary School, San Diego State UniversityLanguage Acquisition Resource Center and Catholic Charities, we explored language learning and bilingual education at the primary level during visits to local schools; and we also explored the integration of technology and teaching methods to enhance language learning, we found out about evaluation and testing of language programs, about English and foreign language instruction for adults in encounters at San Diego State University, the Community College and the Catholic Charities. We also had the time to visit sights in San Diego (the island of Coronado, the old town San Diego, the Seaport Village). The last stop my colleague and I had in the U.S. was again back north of the country, in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The program in this city was very dense and complex. We had 13 meetings in only three full days, to get information on the state-level policies and standards, on the certification for foreign language teachers, on the secondary school ESOL and foreign language programs, on the participatory teaching and learning styles, on the methods of enhancing the students learning experiences and on community involvement with education and civic education from such institutions as: Minnesota Department of Education in Roseville, World Cultures Magnet School and Adams Spanish Immersion Elementary School in St. Paul, Alliance Franaise, Minnesota International Center, Washburn High School and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. We also had the chance to explore the twin cities in crossing them many times on our way to the appointments we kept and admire the architecture (the new one and the very wellpreserved old one), as well as the public care for the citizens and their welfare.

What kept my attention throughout this visit was the focus of educational factors at all levels to enhance the study of foreign languages, EFL in the case of immigrants and non-native speakers of English, together with a special care for the students own culture, traditions and language background. I was impressed by the bilingual programs offered by elementary schools, high schools and colleges in order to help their students learn a new language while they still develop knowledge and skills in their mother tongue. I think this is a very good illustration of the student-centered approach (moreover, since 2005 was declared by the State Department of Education the Year of Education in the U.S. with the motto No child left behind) as well as a good cultural and democratic lesson with respect to preserving what is characteristic for a cultural group (language, traditions, customs, history). And this is what I told my colleagues when returning home, as well as my students and their parents. This is exactly what I have been trying to do ever since when sensing the needs of my students: I have tried to teach them English, to open their mind on the American culture, comparing it to the Romanian culture, emphasizing the differences between these two cultures, but also the similarities, trying to develop their civic spirit and to build the community spirit the way I had the chance to see when visiting schools, educational institutions in the U.S. I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance of being a beneficiary of the International Visitor Leadership Program, but so do my colleagues and my students, since America the United States of America has always constituted an attraction for people in my country, due to its history, its culture, its greatness and its world political and economic influence. So it was easy for me to get impressed with what I saw during my visit and it was easy for me to impress my colleagues and my students with the aspects from my visit I shared with them. I think I ought to say that the impact of the program was maximum on me as well as on the others I disseminated the information to.

Camelia Bojescu, Teacher of English, ELT Inspector, Vaslui County Inspectorate for Education


The E-Teacher Scholarship Program offers English teaching professionals living outside of the United States the opportunity to take one of seven innovative, online graduate level classes through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Oregon. The courses explore major areas of the academic specialty of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). The E-Teacher Scholarship Program is open to nonU.S. citizens living outside the United States. Interested English language professionals should contact the Public Affairs section of their local U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information. U.S. Embassies manage the selection and nomination of candidates. The Office of English Language Programs does not accept direct applications. COURSES Building Teaching Skills through the Interactive Web This course is designed to deepen participants understanding of the theory and applied use of computer assisted language learning (CALL) principles in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom. This course strives to accomplish the following goals: -Model innovative online teaching practices -Improve understanding of and actively engage in the analysis and systematic adoption of innovative materials and tools for English Language Teaching (ELT) -Offer opportunities for EFL educators to observe and analyze real-world application of such new materials and practices -Provide educators with support and problem-solving mechanisms as they implement new materials and practices in their teaching -Act as a train-the-trainer model so that participants can move forward with concrete dissemination plans Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL) This course is designed to introduce participants to the theory and practice of teaching young learners in the EFL classroom. The course will investigate approaches for teaching language within a meaningful context as well as the different techniques for making language input more comprehensible and encouraging student participation. We will look at the major principles that govern language teaching based on the four skillslistening, speaking, reading and writing. In addition, we will study both traditional and modern instructional strategies and techniques for teaching EFL and look specifically at the application to young learners, including the classroom language necessary to teach English through English. Through academic reading and writing assignments, individual learner-centered activities, virtual collaborations with a mentor, and online discussions, participants in this course will explore various aspects for teaching EFL to young learners. Critical Thinking in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Curriculum The goal of this course is to deepen participants'

understanding of the theory and applied use of Critical Thinking (CT) principles and practices in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom by engaging in the following activities: -Reading and discussing professional information and articles to develop an understanding of CT theory and practice and its relationship to current topics in language pedagogy -Identifying, evaluating, and applying materials and techniques to enhance CT practices in the classroom -Interacting with colleagues regionally and internationally who share an interest in stimulating CT in their EFL classes -Creating teaching plans that demonstrate understanding of course topics -Adapting and enhancing existing materials and techniques so they are more appropriate and effective CT tools in each participants specific teaching setting English as a Foreign Language Assessment This course is designed to introduce the participants to the theory and practice of foreign language assessment and testing. Participants will explore the following topics: -Differences between assessment and testing and how they can be used to make effective decisions to support teaching and learning -Important concepts to consider when developing assessments and tests, such as validity, reliability, and practicality, as well as different kinds of assessments and tests (formative, summative, diagnostic, proficiency, achievement, product-oriented, process -oriented, alternative assessments) -Test specification writing, item development, analysis, and editing, and the creation of a final assessment instrument that is reliable, valid, and useful -Rubric development to assist with grading and scoring and to make the assessment process transparent to all stakeholders Reading materials, presentations, and online resources will provide the foundation for interactive discussions on practical applications of all issues discussed throughout the course. The assignments will help participants expand their repertoire of EFL assessment strategies and will prepare them to share their findings and conclusions with the local community. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Best Practices The goal of this course is to develop participants' knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward designing, implementing, and evaluating English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses based on best practices in the field. Because the foundation of this course is in best practices, new and experienced ESP practitioners are welcome from all areas. For example, participants may choose to focus on the following courses: -English for Academic Purposes (EAP), which addresses the needs of learners preparing to study in

a specific academic discipline at a university, e.g., business, medicine, or law -Vocational English for Specific Purposes (VESP), which addresses the needs of learners studying at a vocational or technical secondary school -English for Occupational Purposes (EOP), which addresses the needs of individuals already in the workplace who need English as a tool for their job The course will address the need for training in ESP to promote education and economic development at the local and national levels. Methods Course I: Survey of Best Practices in TESOL This course is designed to provide participants with current methodologies associated with teaching English language learners (ELLs) of different ages in various learning contexts. Participants will read, write, discuss, and research a wide variety of strategies and techniques for teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). While exploring best practices for teaching listening, speaking, reading, and writing, including grammar and vocabulary, participants learn how to create an effective and communicative language classroom for ELLs. In addition, participants will examine what best practices mean in the context of teaching English in the 21st century, where English is an international language and the use of English incorporates modern technologies. Through individual learner-centered activities and small group collaboration, participants in this course will put theory to practice using an experiential approach. Methods Course II: Developing EFL Literacy through Project-Based Learning Participants in this course will learn about both the theoretical and practical aspects of projectbased learning (PBL) through a review of current articles and videos on this topic along with participation in class projects and discussions. Topics covered in the readings include theoretical foundations of PBL, learning objectives and course design, alternative assessment, motivation, collaborative and cooperative learning, learner autonomy and learning styles. Video segments include insights on the planning and implementation of PBL in language learning classes, teacher interviews, student testimonials, PBL in action in a classroom setting, and models of assessment for PBL. Participants will have many opportunities for focused and contrastive analysis of classroom practices in the videos, with ongoing guidance in developing appropriate application of observed techniques in their local English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching environments. Video footage will be available through the YouTube-UO website. Participants will be required to complete individual and group projects in order to experience PBL from a student perspective and to gain insights and understanding of the benefits and potential challenges of PBL from an instructional standpoint.


Cosmina Alman, Octavian Goga National College, Sibiu

The teaching profession is never a boring one, but every once in a while we find ourselves trapped in the routine we follow without being aware of it, and if something jolts us out of our complacency, it is worth pursuing and rewarding in the end. For me, that something was the realization that many of my high school students pursue a career in the field of economics and that it would be useful to them if I could try to introduce them to the fascinating world of business and do this in English. A legitimate question might be: Why teach Business English to students who are still completing their general education and who have not opted for an economics school? The answer is quite simple: general education and occupational training are no longer antagonistic, as the formation of citizens and workers are now intertwined. As Enrique Pieck points out, To be prepared to cope with change and accept permanent learning, to adapt oneself to a society built around knowledge and be competent in it have become essential conditions for social interaction, everyday living and [] for employability. (6) Designing an ESP course for my students was a challenge that I welcomed: it gave me the impetus to do research in an area of English language teaching I had not tackled before, but which has gained ground constantly since the 1960s. Education in the 21st century focuses on bringing practical, life education to self directed learners and an ESP course on Business English would fit perfectly into this category of educational efforts. Attempting to teach ESP is therefore a challenge mainly due to the interdisciplinary nature of this enterprise. It requires teachers and students alike

to think outside the box, to breach the barriers of traditional teaching and studying one discipline and to approach it differently, while putting to use the transferrable skills that will equip them for success. I was lucky enough not to be alone on this new path, but to be accompanied by professionals whose ideas, experience and enthusiasm have given me the strength to pursue this project with more confidence. These professionals were my trainers and colleagues from the Spring 2011 online ESP Best Practices course organized by the University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute (UO AEI) in the period April 4 June 10, 2011. My participation in this program was made possible by a tuition scholarship from the U.S. Department of State as part of the E-Teacher Scholarship Program- English Teacher Professional Development Distance Learning Program. The course was meant to give the participants instruction in the most recent English language teaching methods and techniques, while also introducing them to American educational values and it did just that. It was the first time I had used the distance learning technology to interact with U.S. experts and fellow teachers and it was a unique experience. The ESP Best Practice Course was an extraordinary opportunity for me to learn by sharing and by doing, which is a method rarely applied in our country. This is what made it challenging at the beginning, because we were asked to offer constant feedback to the other participants posts, but in the end, exercising critical thinking skills was extremely useful and rewarding. The participants were devoted

professionals from all over the world and their contribution to the course was valuable because it was based on their professional experience. The trainers were also very competent in their role as guides and prompters, as they introduced topics of discussion that everybody benefited from. We all ended up developing our knowledge, skills and attitudes toward designing, implementing and evaluating ESP courses based on best practices in the field. Based on the information from the course, I could approach the task more professionally, following the required steps I had not been familiar with. The way in which the planning of the course must be done was made very clear throughout the course, offering us practice in elaborating a Target Situation Analysis (TSA) (target learners goals, needs, desires), a Present Situation Analysis (PSA) (current level of knowledge, wants in regard to English language teaching) and a Context Analysis (stakeholders, teaching environment, nature of the course, teaching resources). Needs analysis is one of the characteristic activities to be undertaken when teaching an ESP course and its immediate result is that it makes the course focus on specific language, tasks or skills, thus catering for the interests of the course beneficiaries. This analysis is meant to identify the training gap (Frendo 15) which the teacher would need to address through the course design to make the instruction learner-centered. It was useful to find out that "ESP is an approach to language teaching in which all decisions as to content and method are based on the learner's reason for learning" (Hutchinson

Join the associated Ning ( to participate in discussions, view or download video and other materials from the sessions, and access recordings of the webinars.


Cosmina Alman, Octavian Goga National College, Sibiu

and Waters 19). These preliminary stages helped us clarify the course of action to be followed and allowed us to draw a course map based on very clear decisions concerning the learning activities. Another aspect that I particularly appreciated was the hands-on approach: the participants designed and sequenced objectives, planned and shared learning activities, elaborated assessment tools to be used for specific activities. It was made very clear to us that authentic materials are the most valuable, especially in the case of ESP; they are not created for the purpose of language teaching, therefore the language used in such materials reflects the genuine purpose for which the material was created (Ellis and Johnson 157). In attempt to assist us in selecting the most appropriate materials, the trainers provided us with a complex list of resources to be found online. What I found particularly useful was the reference to podcasting sites such as http://, http://, http://, http://, http://
Bibliography: which provide a way for learners to access up-todate, authentic audio and video materials in any content area that interests them. I found a wealth of materials on these and other websites that I put to use successfully with my students. The ESP Best Practice Course has definitely been a fantastic opportunity for me. Professionally, I have improved my knowledge of the language by taking in some specialist vocabulary and I have varied my teaching methods in order to meet the needs of the learners. Bringing a new perspective to the classes the challenges of everyday business life using carefully planned activities and authentic materials added both variety and meaningful communication to the study of English. It has also been beneficial for my school, as a Business English course is now taught by one of my colleagues who developed an interest in this area after finding out more about how to plan an ESP course. I was glad to share my experience and my resources with colleagues from my school and from another local school, who have expressed an interest in developing professionally as well. On a personal level, it also gave me more confidence to try and tackle new situations (and teaching new variations of the language) in the future. As my target learners were high school students who were still considering their options in terms of possible careers, I was glad to notice that taking the Business English course helped them make a

more informed choice. At the end of the course the students felt more confident in their ability to interact with other speakers in simulated business situations, to make presentations, to use appropriate vocabulary to socialize and to react to various business situations. They had been faced with situations in which they needed to find information or make assumptions to solve problems, plan a reasonable approach to a problem, design business strategies. The planned activities not only enriched the students vocabulary and improved their fluency, but also broadened their understanding of business, and gave them valuable lessons for the future. The fast pace of change in the modern society and the shift in approaches to life in general require a change in the way in which we perceive the teaching-learning process and in the aim of our educational efforts. It is generally acknowledged that the task of teachers in the 21st century is becoming more and more difficult. I think Karl Fisch best sums it up in his Did You Know series "We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet." (http:// All we can do therefore is help them acquire the ability to deal with the unforeseen, by being flexible in our teaching approach and moving with the times.

Ellis, Mark, and Christine Johnson. Teaching Business English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994 Frendo, Evan. How to Teach Business English. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited, 2005. Hutchinson, Tom, and Alan Waters. English for Specific Purposes: A Learner-Centered Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987 Pieck, Enrique. Work - oriented education for youths and adults . BULLETIN 50: Santiago, Chile, December 1999

The Voice of America continues to reach out to new audiences in innovative ways, and now VOA is using Facebook to teach English language lessons as part of its popular on-line learning program called The Classroom. Heres how it works. Four times a day, the icon on VOAs Learning English Facebook page changes to indicate a live, on-line class is in session. Students can submit questions and be part of a free, hour-long, interactive language learning experience that uses materials and lessons from The Classroom, which is now averaging more than 180,000 users a month. One of The Classrooms Facebook teachers calls herself The English Doctor. When her class is in-session, users will be learning from Nina Weinstein, the author of dozens of books on teaching English as a foreign language. Another VOA Facebook teacher,The English Traveler, also has classes twice a day, and there are plans to add more instructors to the line-up. You can get to the Facebook class directly from In addition to Facebook lessons, The Classroom also has a new Business Wordbook with hundreds of business terms, pictures and sample dialogues to help users learn American business English. For more about VOA Learning English visit For more about any VOA programs, or for the latest news and information, visit


Camelia Pgil, Acad. Marin Voiculescu School, Giurgiu

Camelia Pgils 2010 - 2011 class blogs

Camelia Pgils 2011 - 2012 class blogs

My one in a lifetime chance was to attend the 10-week online course on Building Teaching Skills through the Interactive Web, offered by University of Oregon, Linguistics/American English Institute , between June , 21st and August , 27th 2010. This course is designed to deepen participants' understanding of the theory and applied use of CALL (computer assisted language learning) principles in the EFL classroom. It strives to (1) model innovative online teaching practices, (2) improve understanding of, and actively engage in, the analysis and systematic adoption of innovative materials and tools for ELT, (3) offer opportunities for EFL educators to observe and analyze real-world application of such new materials and practices, (4) provide educators with support and problemsolving mechanisms as they implement new materials and practices in their teaching, and (5) act as a train-thetrainer model so that participants can move forward with concrete dissemination plans. The course period was one of my busiest periods of learning. A huge variety of cultures gathered online with a common aim: teachers who wanted to learn more, who spent their summer holidays in front of their computers, praying for the Internet connection to last long enough to do their tasks. Overworked, under paid, teachers continued their labour of love against all

odds. The first week was the first fruitful experience. I created a blog on using the instructions in Blogger how-to and shared the URL with the group. Having created the blog on Blogger, I wrote about what I had done and what I had learned in the course until then. The next week I participated in the weekly discussion about web searching. After being fed with amazing articles I laid my hands on different search engines, I analyzed them in terms of use in my own classes and shared their advantages and disadvantages in posts on Nicenet, which included the web page, the search term, and my recommendations about the search engine. Another difficult, at first, task seemed to be the ABCD (Audience, Behaviour, Condition, Degree) model for behavioural objectives. But all things are difficult before they are easy. After reading about the ABCD model, I shared some behavioural objectives for a class on the Nicenet platform and I have been using them so far in all my lesson plans. Even more, with the help of Blooms Taxonomy I found out the appropriate action verbs able to help me align objectives to an observable behaviour and effective in making them clearer for my students. Even better, though, was to think at higher levels of Blooms Taxonomy and how to get my students to analyze a particular cause critically or provide reasons why something occurred. Moving my learning objectives beyond the lowest levels of thinking, I realized how to improve my courses .Another useful thing was learning how to use ,a free and

useful Web 2.0 tools tool ,which was going to help me save and share the sites important to me . Furthermore it helped me find bookmarks from other users on my network. During the course our instructor, Deborah Healey, fed us with a lot of mandatory readings and even extra. I spent hours and hours reading and not in vain. One of the main advantages of this way of studying was that we had to apply what we had learned and discuss on our readings on the Nicenet site. Even more, at the end of each week we had to reflect on what we had read, learned, discovered or created the previous week. For instance in the third week, after reading the webliography, we had to explain how we might use technology to improve our students aural/oral skills in at least one post on Nicenet . I found out that I should try to create authentic environments of learning, which should always have the following features: visibility of the speakers, participation of the listeners, environmental features, and real-life language features. I realized that I should integrate listening with other teaching activities for example some useful practice may be obtained by the use of pair-work or group-work (students take turns to repeat the listening part) and when students listening is improved through repetition to some extent, a roleplaying and imitation are appropriate to them. It is a process where remembering is changed into understanding. This way the oral activities improve students aural abilities. After listening, reading the materials is The Office of English Language Programs promotes quality English teaching by providing academic expertise, consultative assistance, and materials resources for English teachers and learners worldwide.

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improving my teaching with technology I thought more about : t R a my students and I created a _ t c roje _Pagila p n SWOT analysis on them. After having read er tio adua E-Teach r g everything with a fresh and keen eye I _ se cour 200904 s thought all my students needs could have a l / ts gi a Pa projec i l as a common root the fact that I hadnt e er/ Cam pages, their titles, the target stuSee eteach thought to address all their learning styles. du/ e dents, why I thought it would work, and why . n All their weaknesses could exist because of ego I thought it would be useful. I also developed the external threat coming from me that I .uor c b m ABCD objectives to go with those pages. ://u had not taken into consideration their http After being introduced to PBL, our trip of different ways of learning. Their internal also a good opportunity for others discovery was guided toward WebQuest , a strengths and the external opportunities to practice their listening, which at the technology-enhanced cooperative and collabo- made the perfect blend of a great base for same time makes students be accustomed to rative way of putting it into practice . Most or planting technology in diverse ways. So, varied accent. all of the information that students explore the next step, take action! Furthermore, accuracy of pronunciation and evaluate comes from the World Wide Blogs strike the perfect balance of providthrough reading is improved. Then, doing Web, it usually involves group work, and it ing information anytime and anywhere, blank filling and writing down their opinion can be as short as a single class period or as social networking and interaction, and the about listening materials will help students long as a month-long unit. Students have to ability to openly share thoughts and understand them correctly and fully. learn how to learn, and learn how to work achievements. To address all learning Usage of more (than the usual 3 of mine) with each other. The teacher, as a designer, styles in my final project I believed the skill-building sites (already added up in my builds the base of resources which is used by blog enhanced with multi-media was the delicious treasure) helped me create a students to complete the task. WebQuest has solution. Besides engaging students in their wider and more efficient way to capture my been designed to help students develop their learning I can also use it to extend collabostudents interest. Introducing them to the high order thinking skills: critical thinking, ration with classmates from all over the world of web tools is the best way to exproblem solving, analysis skills, and their world. plore and develop their higher order thinkdecision making skills. Anyway, it is a tool This course outlined the development of an ing , more valuable because such skills are that requires a certain level of reading ability interactive, technology-based teaching more likely to be usable in novel situations and it cant be used with beginners. In the strategy using interactive tools. This way I (i.e., situations other than those in which same time it cannot be helpful to teach fachave created my final project, the class the skill was learned). Then we had to tual pieces of information .By using multime- blog, which was put in practice immediappreciate how much some websites could dia, WebQuests also help with multiple intel- ately after graduation. My paper was chohelp involve our students in real-world , ligence work, addressing to all of them. In sen as an exemplary high quality piece of authentic materials with the help of text, the same time I was introduced to rubrics. work and published online to serve as a video, and voice tools. At that point on our Having clear criteria to assess will prevent me work sample for prospective E-Teacher Nicenet discussion about this topic there of evaluating holistically, subjectivity will be educators and as concrete evidence of was a huge amount of information about lower, and my students will have clear objec- participants' success. aural/oral skill-building websites which I tives to go for. Moreover, involving them in had to explore and bookmark on my Delicreating some can definitely help them clarify [Education] cious page.Week 4 made me aware that the their process of thinking and organizing. consists mainly Internet spans an unlimited array of webThe next week were the chance of discoverin what we have sites extremely helpful for enhancing each ing useful materials about learners autonunlearned. of the English skills. The weeks discussion omy, about free tools to create exercises or made us read some articles about how to Mark Twain tests to print or on line and discuss about use computers to enhance ways to teach learning styles and ways of tapping them reading and writing. We had several multiwith technology. The object of skill websites on our list this week and the From week 6 we had to put together our teaching a child is list became even larger after my colleagues to enable him to final project whose first points to think posts. Individually we had to find two or get along without about were Who are the learners? more specific web pages that would work a teacher. and Issue or problem to be addressed for us in our class. I investigated and inElbert Hubbard that technology can help with. Aiming at cluded the specific web address (URL) of the

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Camelia Pgil, Acad. Marin Voiculescu School, Giurgiu


Simona Anca Mazilu, Mihai Viteazul National College, Ploieti

I am more than grateful for having been given the opportunity to apply for the Critical Thinking in the EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Curriculum one of the major areas of the academic specialty of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) - offered through the University of Oregon, Linguistics/ American English Institute, as part of the ETeacher Scholarship Program. The course introduces the most recent English language teaching methods and techniques, offers the opportunity to engage in an innovative distance-learning program that employs the latest developments in modern technology, and provides direct access to U.S. experts with whom participants might not normally have the opportunity to interact. What did I hope to learn? As a teacher trainer I was highly motivated to work with Critical Thinking in the EFL Curriculum, especially on account of my ever-growing interest and continued activity in the field. As a dedicated promoter of educational debate, with emphasis on developing sound reasoning and logical argumentation, as well as powerful advocacy skills and proactive citizenship within students, I trusted all my skills and abilities would be enhanced and taken to a higher level of understanding and expertise. In addition, I hoped my ability to do thorough academic work and my general computer literacy would be enriched and bettered in terms of practicality and efficiency, so as to benefit my students even more. After many years of devoted study and work, not only at my school, but also in other teaching/learning environments, I was confident that, by applying the newly acquired knowledge and innovative teaching techniques in the EFL classrooms and engaging in a multitude of critical thinking activities, I would provide my services as a teacher and colleague in the best way possible.

Brief course description This 10 week-course is designed to deepen and fine-tune participants understanding of the theory and applied use of Critical Thinking principles and practices in the EFL classroom by engaging in the following types of activities: (1) read and discuss professional information and articles to develop a deeper understanding of current topics in language pedagogy as they relate to general critical thinking skills; (2) identify, evaluate, and select web-based materials and tools for use in the classroom; (3) interact with colleagues regionally and internationally who share similar pedagogical interests; (4) create classroom materials and projects that demonstrate an understanding of course topics, and (5) adapt and enhance existing materials so that they are culturally and age appropriate for their schools local curriculum. Course Goals By the end of the course, participants are expected to: Understand and explain critical thinking concepts and patterns; Identify relevant resources for developing and using critical thinking; Identify and analyze teaching techniques and materials to incorporate critical thinking in teaching and learning; Apply critical thinking to classroom teaching and materials development: redesign and implement instructional units and lesson plans with activities that require critical thinking. Course Topics A. Developing Critical Thinking Skills for the Teacher: Understanding critical thinking; Applying critical thinking to teaching; Blooms taxonomy; Socratic questioning;

The elements of thought (reasoning); the universal intellectual standards; the essential intellectual traits (virtues); and strategies B. Lesson and Unit Plan Redesign: Developing critical thinking for students; Redesigning instruction to include critical thinking; Instructional strategies: affective, cognitive; Assessing critical thinking skills; Evaluating teachers critical thinking approach and application of critical thinking tools. C. Developing an Action Plan for Implementation of Critical Thinking: Identifying constraints and finding solutions; Formulating an action plan; Looking critically at critical thinking There is a substantial amount of work in this course. I had to put aside 4-6 hours each week on average to do the readings on current issues from online journals, reports, and guides etc, participate in discussions, and complete the tasks. I had to take time to think about my weekly schedule and to plan so that I could do a little course work each day or every other day instead of waiting until the end of the week. Post-course reflection After nearly ten weeks of intense immersion in a highly challenging and intellectually rewarding course, here I am, pondering which three significant ideas that I have learned from reading, discussing and/or completing the tasks to choose from the oceans of new information, with a view to elaborating on their impact upon my grasp and application of critical thinking. Whichever my choices may be, focusing on solely three feels as relative to me as grossly unfair to the host of other pertinent ideas that I have to leave out. Upon reflection, I will look at the following:


Simona Anca Mazilu, Mihai Viteazul High School, Ploieti 1. The interrelationship between the Elements of Thought/Reasoning, the Intellectual Standards, and the Intellectual Traits, as major components of critical thinking: I have learned that: the elements of thought inform us that all reasoning has a purpose, is an attempt to answer questions or solve problems, is based on assumptions, is framed by a specific viewpoint, is dependent on information, data, and evidence, contains inferences, or interpretations - which lead to conclusions - is expressed through concepts and ideas, and has implications and consequences; the universal intellectual standards clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance, fairness, etc. are used to analyze and assess the quality of reasoning, as a guide to better and more refined thinking ; the universal intellectual traits intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual autonomy, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, confidence/faith in reason fair-mindedness are interdependent and develop best only in concert with each other. The elements of reasoning enable us to analyze our thought, the standards are there for us to assess and evaluate our use of the elements, and the consistent and disciplined application of the standards to the elements leads to the development of intellectual traits in the mind of someone who is steadily turning into a cultivated critical thinker. 2. Designing or re-designing a unit or a lesson activity with the help of Blooms Taxonomy of Learning Domains Original, Revised and Digital Versions: Following the thinking process, Blooms Taxonomy, whatever the version, is a continuum that can guide me, from LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills) to HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills), in writing instructional objectives aware of the difference between goals and objectives and in choosing what Critical Thinking strateIn the EFL classroom: Students had to take an article that had been assigned to read for class, and comgies to explore, while bearing in mind the existence of both affective and cognitive strate- plete a template specially designed for analyzing the logic of a piece of writing. gies, with their macro-abilities and microSpecifically, they had to identify and state skills; the elements of thought/reasoning in it: 3. Constraints on Teaching Critical Thinking: the purpose of the article; Week 8, with its wealth of readings and rethe key question that the author is quired assignments was most enlightening: I addressing; had the chance to learn about the various the main assumption(s) underlying constraints on teaching critical thinking, about the authors thinking; an entire range of obstacles that are holding us the main point(s) of view presented back, sometimes even unbeknownst to us, in the article (What is the author becoming aware of such a multitude of limitalooking at, and how is this seen?); tions with their subtle and complex implicathe most important information tions being critically important at all stages (facts, experiences, data the author is of the instructional process: using to support their conclusions) in Students limitations (Taking Students the article; Limitations into Account, by Richard the key concept(s) and idea(s) readPaul & Linda Elder) and their cognitive ers need to understand; development, especially dualism and the main inferences/conclusions in multiplicity, with its epistemological the article; nihilism so typical of sophomores, and the main implications and consehow I can design and organize instrucquences tion with such valuable insights in mind As follow-up and follow- through activities, (Perry on Cognitive Development); students participated in: The climates of constraint law and order; the conservative climate; the a peer assessment session (group climate of pathology and pessimism; the work), in which they had to analyze and competitive climate that are sure to critique a classmates project, by following discourage teaching for meaningful the same template for analyzing the logic learning and critical thinking (Climates of an article; of Constraint/Restraint of Teachers and self-assessment individual work, in Teaching, by Catherine Cornbleth); which they applied the same checklist for Teaching for the test (Whats Wrong reasoning (see the eight elements above) to with Teaching for the Test?, by Jack a piece of their own creation. Kaufhold) - I elaborated on it in my Some other mind-opening activities for my experience-sharing piece; students were related to: The relationship between incompetence applying the universal intellectual stanand lack of awareness of incompetence dards clarity, accuracy, precision, releanother possible constraint to have in vance, depth, breadth, logic, significance, mind when designing critical thinking fairness to thinking, in order to ensure its lessons (Incompetent People Really Have quality, the ultimate goal being for these No Clue, by Erica Goode) standards to become part of their inner Integrating critical thinking skills into voice, guiding them to reason better. Specifically, students had to give a speech on a the EFL/ELT context prepared topic, while their peers in the Aiming at sharing my understanding of the audience had to assess their oral performtheory and the applied use of Critical Thinking ance based on the standards as marking principles and practices, I engaged in the criteria; following types of activities:


Simona Anca Mazilu, Mihai Viteazul High School, Ploieti identifying the essential intellectual traits or virtues intellectual humility vs. intellectual arrogance; intellectual courage vs. intellectual cowardice; intellectual empathy vs. intellectual narrowmindedness; intellectual autonomy vs. intellectual conformity; intellectual integrity vs. intellectual hypocrisy; intellectual perseverance vs. intellectual laziness; confidence in reason vs. distrust of reason and evidence; fair-mindedness vs. intellectual unfairness while listening to sample speeches in point; for example, Steve Jobs famous Commencement Address delivered to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. yet fully rewarding 10-week course has impacted my understanding and application of critical thinking in that it has provided me as At ELT Conferences: an educator with transformative methods to The 18th TESOL Macedonia-Thrace, Northern engage, enlighten, and empower my students Greece Convention: Theme: Education: light to reach their full potential, with invaluable my fire!, 19-21 March 2011, where I contools and tips to foster a positive learning ducted a Critical Thinking workshop entitled: environment, as I journey on the road of Quality of Education: Teaching through effective and successful teaching. Thinking. At the Teacher-Training Center (CCD) in Ploi- Imparting all this incredible and novel experience to my students and fellow profesesti, my home town, where I held a workshop on the principles and practices of Criti- sionals is not only a moral duty for me, but it has also become a passion. Why? Because a cal Thinking for my fellow teachers. rich intellectual environment is possible only Final remarks with critical thinking at the foundation of All things considered, the highly demanding education.

Cristina Stoica, Ion Ghica Economic College, Bacu A Romanian teacher was given the opportunity to take the online course English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Best Practices through the University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute (UO AEI) during Spring Term 2010 (April 05 - June 11, 2010). I was one tiny voice among the many others from all over the world: Portugal, Colombia, Namibia, RSA, Vietnam, Rusia, Sudan, Peru, Taiwan, Malaysia, Senegal. The course was designed to develop participants' knowledge, skills and attitudes toward designing, implementing and evaluating ESP (English for Specific Purposes) courses based on best practices in the field. Teachers could address the needs of preexperience learners (preparing to enter a specific discourse community) who need English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) at universities, or who need Vocational English for Specific Purposes (VESP) at vocational and technical secondary schools. Other teachers/trainers at private language schools or in university ESP departments might target English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) courses in the business sector, intended for experienced learners already in the workplace who need English as a tool for their made. I consider this is one of the most interesting lessons because admitting you have made a mistake, you have already started correcting it. The HOW was made of the tools we used, which were specific to an online course: it used a forum like page where the participants had to post their opinions on different topics or on our mates ideas which were outlined after studying and researching online articles and books. The IT tools helped the participants highlight the permanent connection between theoretical elements and our personal teaching context. All these elements found their natural place in my activity. Being a teacher in a Commercial High School where there are no Business English classes, all I learnt during this online course helped me design an optional course provided in the Inventing the Business club in my school. My students had only positive reactions because for the first time they came across topics, they developed Business English communication skills they could use in their present and future real life. In this way, the chain which started with identifying a more or less theoretical target learner finished at a superior level with providing the course we designed to our real students who developed real life skills to be used in real contexts. All I have mentioned until now may seem

job. The course addressed the need for training in English for Specific Purposes to promote education and economic development at the local and national levels. What I found interesting during this course can go under two headlines: WHAT and HOW. The WHAT consisted of a very well organized content, meant to help the participant understand and use it to design a course. First of all we discovered how to choose who our ESP target learner would be. The identification of the target group was followed by a needs assessment, by formulating goals and objectives for our course. We developed a course outline and we found out how to sequence topics and tasks. These were not only empty, theoretical elements, created on an artificial basis. There was a special part meant to develop participants skills of selecting authentic materials, evaluating the current ones and create instructional activities to accompany an ESP text. We came across methods and strategies of implementing the course. Another important part was to have an insight into the authentic assessment methods and also into our own teaching approach, as we were supposed to classify "The Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes" we had ever

Cristina Stoica, Ion Ghica Economic College, Bacu complicated, making our minds going to and fro and asking the big question: who is the ESP teacher who should find the right way through this intricate network? English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Best Practices provided by the University of Oregon made me answer like that: the ESP teacher is a General English teacher used to dealing with books, chalk, tape recorders but who deep inside is a kind of Don Quixote ready to jump into the deep, turbid waters of English used in the real context of everyday life and tilt at analyze/ synthesize authentic information connected to this profession. The ESP teacher has to easily and quickly adapt to the field he/ she is teaching. He has to bring his Rocinante - the tools, methods, strategies and principles to help him get to the end of his journey among authentic, up-to-date and relevant content provided by experts in the field. But unlike Don Quixote, our ESP teacher will hopefully not get back to the harsh reality of being just a plain English teacher, but will continue his quest for as long as he wants or is able to.


the windmills called specific purposes to protect his Dulcinea (his students) against the dangers of being deceived by the harsh reality. He is always helped by his Sancho Panza (ESP teaching methodology) who is always ready to take control over Don Quixotes imagination. Just like Don Quixote, our ESP teacher starts the journey of his life when he tries to mix their subject which is English with profession in English. He always knows less about the profession than his students, but he has to teach his students give/ receive/

Gabriela Puclu, Calistrat Hoga National College, Piatra Neam

We live in a time of challenges and new experiences, a time in which the teaching activity is no longer limited to the space of the classroom. The internet is the key to international communication and cooperation and it helps us go beyond the boundaries of everyday life. I had the chance to be selected in a group of highly enthusiastic teachers and, under the guidance of a great course instructor, Jennifer Rice, we faced the challenges of a new and exciting adventure in the world of ESP. I was accepted into the Summer 2011 online teacher training course with the University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute (UO AEI): English for Specific Purposes. The course was 10 weeks in length: June 20-August 26, 2011 and my participation in the course was made possible by a tuition scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. Since 1977, the American English Institute at the University of Oregon has provided high-quality English language training to international students and educators. For ten weeks, as a group of 23 people, we worked, studied, did our homework, met on the course platform, and shared thoughts and ideas, analyzed and offered suggestions, agreed or disagreed, everything under the vigilant eye of our instructor. It was an opportunity for participants to practise their English and establish new relationships with people from different teaching environments, each with his/her way of approaching the teaching profession and eager to share and acquire knowledge. By the end of the course, participants were expected to: differentiate between ESP and English for General Purposes (EGP); evaluate the effectiveness of their current materials and methods; adapt authentic texts and select teaching points for their learners; create a personalized "ESP Toolkit"; communicate more effectively in English by having participated in course activities; gain support and inspiration from a collaborative network of ESP practitioners through new friendships and stronger professional relationships. We were asked to think of the role of ESP in our educational systems, both at national and local levels. The picture we got was a very interesting one as the course participants came from different countries and areas in the world: Mauritius, Republic of Moldova, Burma, Brazil, Turkmenistan, Iraq, India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Portugal and Romania. Its such a small world, after all We were

brought together and, besides the rich cultural diversity among us, there was also a wide range of backgrounds and experiences in teaching English. The topics we discussed in our online meetings were: the role of ESP, Needs Assessment, Curriculum Design, Genre Analysis, Materials Development and Implementation. I started thinking about the benefits of ESP training in our context: improved skills for work and increased work opportunities. Training in using Business English can give employees the ability to establish solid connections with global trade companies and facilitate communication by passing language barriers. The skills developed in ESP courses such as discussions in pairs, working with others, expressing opinions can be directly transferred to society. The personal benefits concern the ability to understand/make yourself understood and act properly in a specific language environment. Thinking about my own teaching context, I realized that the teacher has an important role as she/he has to adapt to the oncoming situations. In this context, being grammatically correct is less important than making oneself understood. Students need to understand language and do so with accuracy and at a certain speed. They have to be able to express their ideas, act properly and respond to the linguistic demands generated by the contemporary world. We, the teachers, can offer students a friendly perspective to unfamiliar pathways, the possibility to develop skills in comprehension, which are absolutely necessary if they wish to succeed in their future careers. The ten weeks of the course passed so quickly that we hardly noticed we had got to the end of it. It was by all means useful because it made us think, ask questions, look for answers and communicate. We felt very close to people we had never seen and we had only met inside the virtual world. When it was over, I started missing homework and getting on the course platform to meet my colleagues from the wide world. I have been to the University of Oregon only virtually, but I think the words of Richard Lariviere, President of the University, best express what I feel now: If you haven't already, I invite you to visit the University of Oregon. Walk the sidewalks, explore our buildings, sit under our trees, and talk with our faculty members and students. This place will inspire you to grow, to learn, and to succeed.


Monica-Catia Giuchici, Traian Lalescu High School, Reia

As the rapidly changing global environment requires ever new entrepreneurial skills and abilities to become performing individuals, the present article challenges all methodological and professional developmental approaches by presenting an American teacher-training experience at personal, cognitive, meta-cognitive, and social levels, all wrapped into using technology in the EFL classroom. It was a short hot summer professional course that the author undertook within the time span of July 24-August 14, 2010, as the result of a first rewarding experience acquired along a former three-month online course Methodology II: Developing EFL Literacy through Project-Based Learning, developed by the University of Oregon (AEI-American English Institute), only to be further expanded within a face-to face course organized by the UMBC-UO Consortium under the patronage of US Department of State, Washington, DC and bearing the title E-Teacher Professional Workshop. And it proved to be a professional feast indeed. Teachers, teacher-trainers, representatives of regional and national boards of English out of twenty-six countries sprinkled over four continents joined the e-alumni UMBCUO team that fed us from the Grail and the Chalice with a vast array of topics: Strategies for teaching and reading, Critical Thinking, Learning styles and strategies, Intercultural communication, CBI (Content-Based Instruction), or Teaching methods, all interwoven by the collaborative-constructivist approach and 2.o Pedagogy. As a result, we have been friendly and empathically included into an English carousel, involving strategies for teaching, training and evaluating.

Yet the most relevant out of the complex array of processes has proved to be, at least from my perspective, the strategies meant at scaffolding alternative assessment scales along a process of transfer of power as well as transparency within the teachinglearning-evaluating paradigm. As such, I have experienced a multilayered assessment algorithm including personal selfand peer-assessment grids, in terms of research and personal development, assuming responsibility or team-playing spirit, on a collaborative basis. This was meant to be only a starting point for my realm of interest as, from this point on, I have become engaged in materials writing for national exams and competitions (proposing exam items and schemata of assessment at county and national levels, writing articles for several magazines and reviews, Managing Change, Personal Paideiaor RATE Issues, the latter being the Romanian Association of the Teachers of English online magazine). All the information gathered along the course has been creatively integrated within a thirty-six hour course A TwoFold E-Teacher Professional Development Kit for twenty-five teachers of English and teacher-trainers of Caras-Severin County held between October 16-November13, 2010. Moreover, the course organically integrated a multiple assessment strategy approach, starting with everyday feedback sessions (terminology game/exit ticket), only to finally be double-checked through a mini-conference organized on November 13, 2010, based on the trainees online projects. Which is more, the author delivered a workshop on October 22, 2010, within the International Didactics Seminar, an educational joint venture between Caras-

House of Caras-Severin County, and The School Department of Graz, Austria, under the title, An E-Teacher Professional Transatlantic Experience. Being an example of good practice, the course has been disseminated through the local and regional media, i.e., Banat TV, Radio Resita Dragostea Mea, and the local newspapers. Due to its positive impact, both Caras-Severin School Inspectorate and The Teachers House of Caras-Severin County have included the event in their offer for the teachers of other subjects. And yet I consider the above-mentioned experience a never-ending journey of personal and professional development within the well-known adage Think globally, act locally, as our former twenty-six member UMBC-UO team has been enriched by a new group of other twenty-six e-alumni that we have joined online, starting with the fall of 2011, due to our great UMBC teachers. As such, Walt Whitmans famous line /We/ are large, we contain multitudes, can become the new millennium philosophy for any endeavor as the one I have witnessed, participated in, and so much treasured.

Key words: professional development cognitive/meta-cognitive assessment strategies scaffolding team-player spirit


Rodica Rogoz, EL Teacher & Head of Languages Department Dr. Ioan Meot National College, Braov It might seem curious that a teacher with over 30 years of experience in teaching English to high school students like myself, tens of methodology courses attended over the years and even a textbook written in collaboration would jump at the opportunity of participating in a methodology course offered by the United States Embassy through its cultural programs, but this is exactly what I did last year when I applied and was accepted for the E-Teacher Program that I am about to describe. What spiked my curiosity was not only my life-long interest for learning new things, teaching methods in particular, but also the opportunity of learning things differently. The course held by the Linguistics Department of the Oregon University was to be an online course and the participants a select group of 25 teachers of English from all over the world. Little did I know that at the end of the intense ten weeks of reading, debating and working that stretched from April till June 2010, I would feel an acute sense of loss at parting with my newly found online colleagues and with our instructors, Char Heitman and Robert Elliott. Since I myself had chosen to participate in the course called "Developing EFL Literacy through Project-Based Learning" out of the several courses on offer, I knew what to expect: a thorough revision of the basic principles involved in using this teaching method, as well as the application of the theory to my class situation. What I had not expected was the intensity of the experience and the amount of serious work it involved. Like true university students, we were given weekly reading assignments or videos to watch and after studying them, we were expected to make comments, while at the same time getting engaged in conversations with our online colleagues thanks to a wonderful software called "the blackboard" which allowed everybody in the group to visualise everybody else's postings and to comment on them at any time. Soon, what started as an obligation imposed by the course instructors (who bers, up to the final moment of presenting our work results in front of our virtual class and instructors. What made this experience remarkable was the fact that, just like in a real classroom situation, we too faced the burden of indecision when it came to choosing the topic or selecting the relevant ideas and materials for our project and finally doing the needed work while having other personal and professional commitments in our lives. Also like in real life, we too faced the disappointment of being let down by a group member or of being overworked because some peer chose to do less than his/her best. Last but not least, when the final deadline for submitting the project came, we too felt the excitement and anxiety of the project validation by the others, because each project was not only graded but also verbally evaluated by everybody. It was an experience hard to forget! Apart from this practical activity that we all went through, another practical application of the concepts and methods learned in the course came at its very end, when each teacher "student" had to create a project fit for classroom use. It could be either a real project done with our students, or one done on paper, a lesson plan which respected all the principles of PBL. Personally, I chose the former, involving my students in a project whose end coincided with the deadline for my course assignment. Although I had used PBL before and in fact even knew quite a lot about it theoretically, what I had learned or rediscovered about this teaching method during the online course proved a real inspiration. More exactly, what made this project different from all the ones I had previously done with my students was not only its greater complexity, but the greater care to details and the greater stress on objectivity in assessing it. For example, analysing all the possible group formation techniques (such as linguistic strength, abilities, location, alphabetical order) I chose to group mine according to friendship ties, knowing that

also moderated the discussions), turned into an exciting exchange of ideas during which teachers from around the globe shared their views and expressed their teaching frustrations, often coming to similar conclusions: that we all faced problems like overcrowded classrooms, lack of sufficient time or materials, curricular restraints, but trying out new things or using alternative methods of teaching, like the project-based learning, we could overcome some of the difficulties. We agreed that enthusiasm helped, but what mattered most was expertise and this course offered us exactly this kind of opportunity: to enrich our methodological and pedagogical knowledge. Another fascinating thing about the course and its "blackboard" was the fact that any query one had could be answered almost in real time by colleagues or instructors, either directly or in the course of a winding debate filled with personal examples or quotes from the literature. In fact, apart from the officially designated articles to study for the course, we were at all times encouraged to search for and come up with our own sources of information, which we shared with the others, thus obtaining many more ideas than originally intended. A third attraction of the course rested in its practical approach to the studied topic. By week six we had to present a group project on a methodological topic, any topic chosen by us, but beyond its theoretical value, this assignment placed us in the rare position of students. For once, we had to act as our students would and do a practical project, from A to Z. We had to form our groups, negotiate the topic, research, devise activities and divide tasks among group mem-


Rodica Rogoz, EL Teacher & Head of Languages Department Dr. Ioan Meot National College, Braov they would have to work both within and beyond the classroom walls. The next step was the brainstorming for ideas, so that we could break the general topic into subtopics, each group choosing one. I allowed them time to research and organize an outline of ideas, while at the same time encouraging them to divide their work and assume roles within their groups. A new thing for me was the extra care with which I monitored their activity and the way in which I graded or assessed their work and attitude towards the project, based on clear rubrics, an aspect the course inspired me to do. The use of questionnaires, self and peer assessment was another quite new aspect, but the most revolutionary was the way presentations were made. Having read or discussed in the online course about possibilities of presenting the final product, I encouraged my students to be creative, so that each group chose the medium they felt most comfortable with: power point presentation, play whose script they had prepared, poster, handbook of advice (as the project topic was a health-related issue) or even short videos shot by the students with them as actors. The fun of some of these presentations was unimaginable, and equally impressive was the linguistic performance and the wealth of ideas put forward by each group. Last but not least, the graphic creativity behind the presentations was amazing too. Better prepared to grade my students' work than at any other time before, I steered them towards the final stage helping them asses each other and themselves based on carefully created rubrics. In fact, the discussion on rubrics and the subtleties of evaluating PBL was for me one of the highlights of the course. Still, if I were to choose but one of the strengths of this course it would be really difficult. What set it apart from all the other courses I attended was its flexibility, convenience and practical character. In ten weeks, it offered us a dense and inspirational insight into a valuable teaching tool, the PBL, but we could participate at it from the comfort of our homes. Moreover, although taking place from the distance, it was surprisingly warm and emotional, which increased its educational impact, making it memorable. In addition, it turned out to be an efficient international forum for professional debate. My only regret so far is that I have insufficiently imparted the knowledge I have gained within the course with my peers from my home town, other than my immediate colleagues from the school where I teach, but that is a situation I plan to rectify. In the end, thanks are in order, my gratitude going first and foremost to the University of Oregon and its capable instructors for conducting such a course, and secondly to the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest for facilitating the access of teachers like myself to such valuable and inspirational information sharing events.

Anca Rafiroiu, ELT Inspector, Bacu County School Inspectorate

One of the most relevant professional experiences I have had in my life was to have been nominated to be a participant in the E-Teacher Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State ECA/A/L. The E-Teacher Scholarship Program , which gives scholarships to English teaching professionals around the world to take online teacher training courses at prestigious U.S. universities. Through this program, I have been given the opportunity to take Methods I: Survey of Best Practices in TESOL through the English Language Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) for Spring Term 2010 (April 8 June 23, 2010). The English Language Center at UMBC is well known for its English teacher training programs around the world.

The programme was composed of 10 courses, which covered all the problems a teacher may be confronted with in his/her activity in the classroom, such as: Teaching English as an International Language (TEIL) in the 21st Century The purpose of that unit was to introduce participants to the course and to the field of TESOL and to consider the notion that English is rapidly assuming the role of an International Language. Since in teaching language we also teach culture, the question of which culture to teach and how to teach it raises several important issues to be considered in the design of EIL activities and materials. Second Language Teaching Methods The purpose of this unit is to introduce participants to the various approaches and

methods used to teach English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) throughout time. Instructional Strategies for Teaching Listening and Speaking In this unit we looked at some basic principles behind the teaching of listening and speaking and explored the natural relationships between them. We discussed effective instructional strategies for teaching aural and oral skills as well as aspects of pronunciation work and error correction while building communicative abilities of students. Increasing Classroom Interaction This unit involved increasing classroom interaction. Collaborative and cooperative learning techniques encourage student pair work and group work while activating creative and critical thinking skills.


Anca Rafiroiu, ELT Inspector, Bacu County School Inspectorate

Students, guided by clear objectives, engage in activities and language learning strategies that lead toward a studentcentered learning environment. Studentcentered learning environments allow for inquiry-based learning which affords a way to construct student understanding and knowledge of the world. Through use and development of effective classroom interaction techniques, students will be able to question themselves (their prior knowledge and ideas), support/debate their ideas, hypothesize, real-world problem solve, and reflect on their experiences in the context of a safe, well designed learning environment. Instructional Strategies for Teaching Reading and Writing This unit looked at some basic principles of teaching reading and writing. It explored ways of developing reading comprehension skills, and then writing skills and the connection between the two. Extensive and intensive reading strategies were examined as well as interactive reading processes to arrive at comprehension. Like reading, writing is an active process of meaning construction between reading and writer requiring the writer to create context and grammatically complete sentences with clear messages through the language itself. Instructional Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary and Grammar The focus of this unit was on effective instructional strategies for Vocabulary and Grammar acquisition. The role of vocabulary development for L2 learning has grown in recent years with research investigating how L2 learners acquire lexical competence. At the center of this discussion is whether vocabulary learning should focus on implicit or explicit learning. Similarly, a major topic addressed in teaching grammar centers on implicit and explicit learning. Theoretical frameworks regarding focus on grammatical forms and

focus on use were analyzed and discussed in their relation to Communicative Language Teaching. Lesson Planning within a Communicative Curriculum The purpose of this unit was to provide participants with an overview of the basic principles of lesson planning. It l focussed on the daily decisions a teacher makes for the successful outcome of a lesson with practical suggestions of how to plan a lesson. What to teach, how to teach, who are my learners, and how will I assess their learning will be examined. Learning Styles and Strategies The purpose of this unit was to understand that language learners bring different learning style preferences to the language classroom. Learning Styles are individually based and often culturally influenced. Different EFL learning activities may be approached in different ways, allowing for the use of more than one learning style for a given task. Learning Strategies are specific means that learners use to learn. Classroom Management for Different Classroom Settings This unit focused on the pedagogical techniques for teaching EFL in large classes and the deliberate teacher behaviors that maximize learning. Classroom learning systems that have clear routines, expectations, and organized physical settings enable students to know what is expected of them. A discipline management system is a classroom management practice that is consistent, fair, clearly outlines teacher expectations and provides negative consequences for negative behavior. Managing a large class depends more on classroom management practices and pedagogical planning than a particular method or approach to teaching. The end of the course was dedicated to reflection on what was learned during the whole course and how this would affect our future beyond the course. One way of doing this was through reflective teaching, which helped us to become more

aware of how we teach, the kinds of decisions we make as we teach, and the value and consequences of particular instructional decisions we make. Not only must we think about what happens in the classroom, both in terms of the teaching itself, and the learner response, we must also try to improve it. To bring us full circle from the first unit in the course is the peer observation we conducted. This provided us with an opportunity to be exposed to different teaching styles, as well as an opportunity to gain insights into ones own teaching. We shared our differentiated lesson plans and our training/action plans with each other. The course Survey of Best Practices in TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of other Languages) helped me to get deeper, more profound knowledge about all the problems mentioned above and it was also an opportunity to improve my language skills after having performed in a multi-lingual environment where all the interaction is English. Taking these into account, when I found out about this opportunity of developing my teaching skills and knowledge by learning the best practices in TESOL, I thought I might have the chance to be one of the chosen persons to attend this online course, which combines all my points of interest. I shared my experience with other teachers of English to whom I presented everything I had learned at this course. This course helped me to become more confident and enabled me to continue my professional and my personal development. As an inspector of English at Bacau County Inspectorate, I often have the possibility to present all the materials on the best practices in TESOL to the teachers of English, especially during training courses with young teachers. I consider that opportunity one of the most fruitful and productive I have ever had in my life.


Profira Cristina Tudor, EL Teacher, Alexandru cel Bun College, Gura Humorului

Talking about projects in the classroom makes me think of the inspiring words of a well-known American teacher, Jacquie McTaggart, whose reflections on teaching have become an emblematic educational philosophy. Quotes like: If they don't learn the way you teach, teach the way they learn or Your child will be better prepared to tackle the bumps on the road of life if he has been given the gift of guided independence sum up the essence of project based learning and emphasize some basic principles that gave birth to this type of activity: the learners interest and motivation to involve and his/her independence to choose to be an active part of the whole. I chose this course not because the theme would bring to attention a topic that was completely new to me, but because familiar knowledge needs, at least once in a while, to be brushed up and refreshed, because by nature I am a curious person and would like to experiment new things and challenges. Here I was and, to be honest, I have never regretted and can warmly recommend it to enthusiastic teachers eager to live an intercultural exchange and learn from new experiences. Course Presentation: The Project Based Learning Course is a fully online ten-week training program sponsored by the US Department of State and the University of Oregon and addressed to English teaching professionals. As part of the group selected for the period January, 3- March, 11, 2011, I had the chance to meet and work with an interesting variety of participants selected from different parts of the world, such as China, Venezuela, Indonezia, Romania, Brazil, Morrocco, Sri Lanca and Azerbajian, to mention only a part of them. In this

way, the course had not only virtually brought together teachers with similar interests and dedication for the same career, but combined different personalities from different cultures with their experience and ingenuity in an original cultural melting pot. The purpose of the course was to enhance participants understanding of TESOL methodology related to using project in the classroom. For that, the trainees were given assignments and were expected to participate on the forum discussions every day and have at least two contributions to the topic posted each week. Course Curriculum: Weeks 1, 2 and 3: For a start, we were expected to identify the principles of project -based learning and the ways to incorporate this method in the classroom. We also swapped ideas about planning and formulating correct objectives for a lesson, based on Blooms taxonomy. Reading articles and having a personal response to the information encountered in them was part of our weekly tasks. In addition, we commented on every aspect related to teaching methods, bringing to attention our own experience and strategies. It was extremely useful to find out that sometimes the input of a lesson may differ from a country to another, being in accordance with each national curriculum, however, the approach and the way we motivate learning may be similar. There was a consensus that we all establish clear and unambiguous objectives and give realistic and achievable aims. We all ask ourselves: What is it that students should be able to do by the end of the lesson that they couldnt do at the beginning? and distinguish between what our teaching objectives and our learning objectives are and the fact that these two types of

objectives would finally have a common result: efficient instructional strategies to motivate students participation, help them become active learners and value the result of their team work: the projects products, whichever they are. Weeks 4, 5 and 6 dealt with assessment and alternative assessment and referred to the importance of using rubrics to be able to give a fair feedback and evaluate students correctly applying clear standards. In addition, we had inflamed discussions on the forum related to motivation and how each of us would enhance motivation in our class. We each found an answer for the reason why our students study English and, based on questionnaires applied in class, I felt very proud to find that there is still motivation to study English. The great majority of our students have extrinsec motivation: they want good grades and would like to have their parents happy. This is their main preoccupation. Alternatively, they discover that English can be interesting and challenging and they can develop linguistic abilities out of curiosity, and in this way they discover their intrinsec curiosity and decide to prepare for a language certificate (Cambridge, ECL, IELTS or TOEFL) and develop authentic skills in using English. Teaching large classes and collaborative/cooperative learning was another topic of interest for our group. In this respect, we distinguished between cooperation and collaboration both giving the students the chance to build communication skills, to develop critical thinking and to experience self-esteem. The teacher is just the task presenter, the one who sets the rules of the game and than becomes the observer who monitors the learning process.


Profira Cristina Tudor, EL Teacher, Alexandru cel Bun College, Gura Humorului

Weeks 8 and 9 were about creative and critical thinking in the classroom, as a way to become proficient in a language and how to focus on multiple intelligences, treating students in a differentiate way, taking into consideration the different learning styles. Projects: Weeks 7 and 10 were deadlines for our own projects. The first one was the result of the collaboration and cooperation of four members of the team to complete an assignment, the Midterm project. For doing this, each group had a communicative channel opened on the site, the Blackboard, so that all the members of the team could discuss, argue or debate on what they would like to do. Specialists from the University of Oregon monitored our discussions and came in with constructive suggestions on how to make a project viable. That was, in my view the best part of this

course. Apart from enthusiasm and ideas, you needed the persuasiveness to convince the other members, your study buddies, of your creative and applicable solutions. Special bonds were created with the people we were working and we learned to listen to each other, we followed the steps to implement the project and found a way to communicate and work effectively. The Action Plan or the final project was a lesson plan to be implemented in our own class following the guidance of a detailed assignment handout. It was a personal enterprise using the entire experience you acquired within the course period, exchanging valuable information with your study buddies or the other course participants who all proved to be priceless. Like any finis coronat opus, the final project had to be seasoned with everything

studied during the course. Thus our projects combined all the principles of project based learning, creative, critical thinking, peer feedback and collaboration, multiple skills and freedom of choice in presenting the final product. Conclusions: Why use projects in your classroom? Because it is a way that makes your students learn. It can be fun, although engaging, it can be rewarding, though it keeps students busy and deeply dipped into new researches. Scientific studies indicate that students are more likely to retain information acquired through this approach, far easier than by means of a traditional grammar based or textbook centred learning experience. What is more, students feel independent to make their own decisions about their learning and pluck up more courage and confidence and become independent learners.

Nadina C. Nicolici, Lorin Slgean Technical College, Drobeta Turnu Severin aural skill-building websites and bookmarks with Delicious, about reading/writing websites and technology-enhanced lesson plans; we learnt to create our own WebQuests, and rubrics, then we were given more information about the student-centered large classes and interactive PowerPoint, about learner autonomy and the one-computer classroom. Moreover, we found out about many teacher resources online and learning styles with technology connections. Before attending this course, especially after graduating the Cambridge CELTA, I used interactive methods in my teaching, but none of them was related to technology. I used to exploit at the maximum the textbooks and the boards, as the classrooms in my school are not equipped with technology. But, thanks to this course, I learned how I can do great things with little effort, how to involve my students more and how to prove them that teachers and school are not dusty they are up to date. I consider I have learned many good things during this course, and I shared everything with my colleagues, trying to involve them more and use technology in their classes. Among the things I shared with them, I can mention: Searching the internet not using only the ever-present Google. If I need something more specific, a certain topic or theme, or material, I know now I can access Noodle Tools ( and everything is there. Then, I learned how not to lose all my work and bookmarks in seconds thanks to a wonderful tool which helps me have everything I need with

In 2010, from April to June, I attended the online course Building Teaching Skills through the Interactive Web, offered by the University of Oregon Linguistics Department. The program, generally called E-Teacher Scholarship Program, gave me the chance to learn and to experience lots of interesting things in this quite new field Web 2.0. The program was structured in many sections, during 10 weeks. Together with my fellow teachers from all the other parts of the world, we could learn about the ABCD learning objectives framework and effective web searches, the oral/


Nadina C. Nicolici, Lorin Slgean Technical College, Drobeta Turnu Severin alternative for one of the textbooks I use, I decided to continue this idea and all the textbooks will have such an alternative. I consider wikis a good idea as there I can post all the additional materials/ resources I want my students to use. All these statements are based on my students reactions and responses when I used technology for the first time in class. I noticed their interest is greater now and this can only bring positive results, enhancing their learning autonomy, as they are able to study individually, when they want, not only in the formal context of their classroom. During the course and while implementing the technology based project (a blog for my students -, I shared all the knowledge and results with my colleagues, teachers of different subjects, not only English. I tried to make them understand that the role of technology in the teaching / learning / assessing process is of highest importance, as first of all it is an effective tool which promotes motivation for learning. I would like to make everyone understand that technology is extremely important from many points of view: It is good as a tool for alternative assessment. Instead of giving our students the same tests on paper, we can create very easily and in a very short period of time an online exercise, using for instance Hot Potatoes or Easy Test Maker, to name only two of the many tools. This way we can personalize and adapt our assessment tasks to our students levels and needs. It is good for enhancing our students learning autonomy I consider learning is an individual and lifelong process, which does not end when the last bell rings. Having the Internet with them all the time, our students can learn and communicate when they want, when they have time. We can use blogs, wikis, we can even design websites for our classes the entire virtual world is there, waiting for us to access and use it. Its good for finding the materials we need for our classes sometimes its easier to have a picture or a video, instead of speaking, trying to make ourselves understood. By its help, we, the teachers, can promote interactivity instead of coming in front of our students to present them the information we want them to learn, we make them discover by themselves, we make them understand, instead of asking them to learn by heart things they are likely to forget the next day. A good example is provided by the interactive power-point presentations easy to make, great to watch and to interact with. Its also good for recording our own videos, for instance, using a Flipcam a quite normal digital camera which connects directly to the computer and allows you to download the video within seconds. Videos are great for our students and teachers, as they give us the chance of meeting online, talking to each other, and for teachers, sharing experience and best practices. We can post them online, on our blogs / wikis / sites and our students will be more than delighted to make them and watch them. Last but not least, technology is good and it doesnt apply only to English. I would recommend all the teachers to attend a course or a training session based on integrating the new technology in lessons. Technology engages students, and thats far better than simply teaching them: the days our students had to accept because I said so are long gone. We should not forget we are teaching the Why generation. Technology helps us reduce the teachers talking time, allowing students to speak more eventually, our final aim. From the very first week we were invited to create our own blogs where we had to share our entire experience. It was quite an easy step, as we got lot of help from our tutors.

me, no matter where I may go, as long as I have a computer and internet access. Creating educational reflective blogs which are very useful and can be addressed both students and teachers Creating interactive power-point presentations, not lecture notes. I have created two jeopardy presentations for my students, based on grammar. I presented them to my colleagues, I explained them the steps they have to take in order to make an interactive presentation, and as a result, one of my colleagues, a teacher of French, created one presentation on Europe a short history of the European Union. Students were more than delighted to work on it. The best lesson plans I have ever created are the technology related lesson plans I learned about them during this course too. They can be adapted to my needs, but the rubrics they present are really useful, and finally I could convince some other teachers that the lesson plans are a good guide, not a chore. During this course I learned how to integrate technology in every single lesson. After having noticed my students interests and positive reactions, I decided to integrate technology in all my teaching, as it is really helpful. By its help, I can better address my students learning styles. For instance, I have created some interactive power-point presentations for every lesson, which I can use for different classes. By including pictures, I address my visual students, for the auditory ones I included listening materials, and for the kinesthetic ones videos which they can act out. Moreover, technology helps me find authentic materials for my classes, and in this way I avoid using the artificial materials (especially for listening) which our textbooks provide. As I created my fist Wiki ( as an

Easy Test Maker Hot Potatoes


Adela Barz, Barbu tirbei National College, Clrai The E-Teacher 10-week online Critical Thinking in the EFL Curriculum course with the American English Institute in the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon came as a modern and thoughtprovoking challenge for me, but also as a remarkably valuable source of information. The course began on April 5th with an intense pace of work on the University of Oregon version of the Blackboard course management system. Once logged on to Blackboard and familiarized with the sites features, there are other areas of the site which just require a click: Announcements, Course Information, Contacts, Course Documents, Assignments, Articles and Websites, and Discussion Board, turning the e-platform into an efficient tool. Each week provided generous readings and every author is worth being mentioned. Nevertheless, top of my list includes: Questioning: An effective Teaching Method (Ramsey, Imogene, Gabbard, Carol, Clearing House, 00098655, May 90, Vol. 63, Issue 9, Academic Search Premier) stands for a refreshing shift in approaching teaching. Setting the right questions undoubtedly leads you to having your objectives fulfilled. Although questioning has been consistent part of my teaching process, the readings on this issue empowered the concept of question as a tool in the instructional process. Strategy List: 35 Dimensions of Critical Thought: the list of the 35 dimensions of Critical Thinking has clearly open perspectives upon classroom teaching and material development. The cognitive -micro or macro skills- and affective skills activities are targeted at and the instructional strategies they require. These are certainly essential elements in planning a lesson activity and a determining factor of its success. They become useful in redesigning and implementing lesson plans with CT activities. Another essential issue was self-assessment. Ideas about self assessment and reflection are widespread in the teaching instruction. These terms are often used starting from the premises that they are necessarily worthing is not about learning by heart or repeating what others say, it is about turning into independent thinkers and learners, which it is a skill I want to develop in my students so that they can become independent thinkers at the academic level, at the professional level, and at the personal level. From Teaching and Learning with the Net Generation I embraced the idea exposed by Ben McNeely (2005) that `relationships are a driving force in the learning process`, therefore learning through social interaction is extremely important, even if the terms and the background of interactive learning have changed. As teachers, we have to explore this technological aspect they love so much nowadays and adapt it so it leads to positive outcomes in our teaching process. Unfortunately, there are and there will always be teachers reacting reluctantly to introducing technology into the teaching process, as they either cant perceive the benefits, or they do not feel confident in using it or related to reaching goals. As students have to reshape their learning style (unconsciously, of course) according to the everyday pressure they are exposed to through media, teachers have to find a balanced way to introduce technology into the classroom. Balance is a very important word as, on one side, you can captivate students with video clips or cartoons, but on the other one, you may face the risk of students losing self confidence in expressing their own opinions, losing ability to pause and reflect on a matter. I will conclude by mentioning that teaching based on CT criteria allows students to discuss, pose questions, have opinionated answers; it encourages them to explore their own creativity as well. Unfortunately, they have a goal - oriented way of learning, most of them practicing learning for tests only, as required in other subjects, thus having only the short-term memory activated. It can be difficult, but challenging as well, to reshape students and teachers` perspectives upon learning and teaching. Passion and permanent upgrading of both knowledge and teaching skills and methods should run through every language teachers veins.

while additions to the curriculum. There are so many relevant questions to be asked during the whole teaching process (ranging from preliminary design to adjusting everything or parts of the teaching plan once you have feedback from students and reactions to selfassessment). Questions are raised about how our instruction process can respond to the challenges of context, and how the professionalism of teaching and learning in schools can be enhanced by means of self- assessment. Although self assessment( if used sporadically) may trigger reluctance in reconsidering your instruction process, I am fully confident that, once used permanently, it will generate benefits on long term, as you become more accurate in interpreting statements, evidence, questions, in identifying arguments, in analyzing and evaluating major alternative points, reaching conclusions, explaining teaching procedures, assumptions or reasons and the list could continue. While before much of personal assessment as a teacher was more a mental exercise, just jumping in and asking myself questions, now I plan to be thoughtful in a structured way with clear and precise questions. The article provided a compilation of checklists for that process and well researched, significant questions for teacher reflection which I will certainly make use of. The reading Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom by Catherine Garrison provided a generous insight on the topic. Even though assessment is an extensive topic, this article explains it in a very accurate way, and it even shows strategies linked to the type of assessment we can use in class. The simple explanation that summative is merely associated with standardized tests, which are the common instruments used in class, however, I learned through the reading and posts that there is a wide range of efficient instruments that can be used to assess the learning of our students. These three ideas have helped me understand the importance and usefulness of using Critical Thinking in class because learn-


The EL Fellow Program fosters mutual understanding, promotes English language learning and enhances English teaching capacity abroad. Through proenglishteaching/el-fellow.html jects sponsored by U.S. embassies, Through the English Language Fellow EL Fellows share their professional Program (EL Fellow) highly qualified expertise, hone their skills, gain internaU.S. educators in the field of Teaching tional experience and learn about other English to Speakers of Other Lancultures. EL Fellows model and demonguages (TESOL) participate in 10strate TESOL classroom practices that month-long fellowships at academic help foster thoughtful and responsible institutions throughout the world. behavior in students and teachers of

English. More than 1,000 EL Fellows have conducted projects in more than 80 countries. Examples of past EL Fellow projects include: Classroom Teaching, Teacher Training, In-Service and PreService Training, Curriculum Development, Workshop and Seminar Design, Program Evaluation, Needs Assessment, Testing, and English for Specific Purposes (ESP).

County visited by a Sr. English Language Fellow between 2001 - 2010, as part of the County visited by a Jr. English Language Fellow, based at a university to conduct pre-service teacher training, as part of the County included in the English Language Specialist Program, 2009: digital video-conference series on Teaching Democratic Concepts through English


interactive approaches to using multicultural (ethnic) literature from the United States to teach English ; academicexchanges/scholars.html 3) Increase teachers repertoire of strateThe Institute for Secondary School Educagies for teaching language and content *This includes teachers, teacher trainers, tors provides two multinational groups of textbook writers, curriculum developers and together, including: 30 experienced and highly-motivated i) Community-building strategies (e.g. education ministry officials. secondary school educators* with a Index-Card life history, My Favorite deeper understanding of U.S. society and People & Things, Uncommon CommonalTTE culture, past and present in order to ities, Group Identification activities, enhance the scope and depth of the parGroundrules) ticipants own secondary school courses. ii) Cooperative learning strategies (e.g. The Institute examines political, ecoPair-Share, Numbered Heads Together, The Teaching Tolerance though English nomic, and cultural issues in America as summer camp has been held, since 2006, in Lineups, Four Corners, Group Decisionwell as current trends in secondary edu- Balatonelle, Hungary. 60 students (ages 11- Making) cation. Participants also have the opportu- 13) and 12 English as a Foreign Language iii) Strategies for supporting learning nity to visit sites relevant to U.S. history teachers from Hungary and other countries into, through, and beyond a reading and prominent Americans they are teach- in the region come to Balatonlelle to partici- selection (e.g. Vocabulary Development, ing about in their home countries. During pate in a variety of athletic, theatrical, artis- Reciprocal Teaching, Question-Answerthe Institute, each participant will use Response, Jigsaw, Visual Representation, tic and educational activities designed to their experiences to develop new lesson further their understanding of and tolerance Preview-Review); plans, training materials, or academic 4) Provide teachers with approaches to towards one anothers cultures while enarticles. using multi-cultural (ethnic) literature hancing their English language skills. Candidates should be mid-career, typically The educational programs are facilitated by to teach tolerance and inter-cultural between the ages of 30-50, highlyunderstanding; two American teacher trainers, Drs. Mary motivated and experienced secondary Lou McCloskey and Lydia Stack, both of 5) Develop understanding of what culschool educators. whom are well respected textbook writers, ture is, and how cultures develop and The ideal candidate will be a secondary teacher educators and teachers. They use come into conflict ; teacher, teacher trainer, curriculum deAmerican as well as regional literature, 6) Develop and demonstrate strategies veloper, textbook writer, ministry of songs, skits, games and language teaching for responding to hate and bigotry; education official, or other related profes- strategies throughout the program. 7) Develop and demonstrate strategies sional with responsibility for secondary The athletic and artistic program is facilifor dealing with conflict; education who is seeking to introduce or tated by an experienced camp director from 8) Introduce teachers and students to enhance aspects of U.S. studies into his/ the U.S., and nine camp counselors. After mediation tools; her curricula. the two-week camp, students and teachers 9) Give teachers opportunities to apply The ideal candidate will also be an experi- continue to work on joint projects via e-mail these approaches with a multi-ethnic enced professional with little or no prior and exchange visits. group of students from the region; experience in the United States, whose The program is fully sponsored by the Re10) Give teachers and students opportuhome institution is seeking to introduce gional English Language Office of the Ameri- nities to learn English and learn about aspects of U.S. studies into its curricula, can Embassy in Budapest, and other U.S. one anothers respective cultures, to enhance and update existing courses embassies from countries in the region. that include information about the United The teacher development component thereby enhancing inter-ethnic communication and understanding; States, or to offer specialized seminars/ of the program includes the following goals: 11) Increase students and teachers workshops for education professionals in 1) To bring teachers from Central and English language proficiency; U.S. studies or related fields. In this Southeastern Europe together to interact, 12) Increase students and teachers respect, while the nominee's professional forge links and share ideas; credentials are an important considera2) Provide teachers with hands-on, engaging tolerance of differences in culture, nationality, and ethnic origin . tion, an equally important factor is how

participation in the institute will enhance teachings and courses about the United States at the nominee's home institution, community, or country.


We had the opportunity to be part of the professional development program for teachers of English, titled Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English in January - February, 2009. The program consisted of 24 hours of training workshops, observation and critique of classroom performances. This is how we met Jeffrey Wetterman. He taught us that teaching can be fun. We were at the beginning of our teaching career and this program helped us a lot. First of all, we met our colleagues from other schools. Due to the time we spent together, we got to know each other better and we became friends. Jeff Wetterman came to class with a lot of interesting and fun activities. We played, had fun and learnt how to make our classes more enjoyable. Children love interactive activities. They see them as games and they learn a lot without even noticing, because they are more concerned about playing by the rules and winning. We found out that songs can be used as a listening activity to teach vocabulary or grammar. For example, we can choose a song, we take a few words from the lyrics and we let the students fill in the missing words while listening to the song. Of course, you have to be very careful about the song you choose. We tried with artists such as: Celine Dion (My heart will go on, Because you loved me), Backstreet Boys (As long as you love me) or Sarah Connor (Music is the key). The False and the True Wall is a fun activity you can use with the true / false exercises. The students stand up, close their eyes and listen to the teacher. The teacher then reads / utters a sentence. If the sentence is true, they should face the true wall, if it is false, they should face the false wall. After choosing a wall, the students open their eyes. Those who are facing the wrong wall sit down and the others go on until the exercise is over. Those that are still standing by the end of the exercise are the winners.

Dr. Love is a good way to teach students how to give advice. The students work in groups of four or five. Each group writes a letter about a problem they have. After each group writes a letter, they pass it to the next team. They read the letters they receive and try to give the best advice using the second conditional clause or the modal verb should. This is an activity that the students in the 8th grade enjoyed a lot. These are only a few methods we were presented during the program. There are a lot more. These activities are interesting and enjoyable, but they also create chaos. The students have to change places, they talk at the same time, but it is worth using them at least from time to time. Jeff Wetterman also wanted to see how we applied the methods he presented us. He visited us at our schools. He observed us while we were working with our students. He talked to the students and he worked with them, too. In February 2009, Jeff visited Constantin Parfene School in Vaslui. The students in the 3rd grade were very excited to meet a real American. The children learnt about rooms in the house and present progressive. The teacher taught the students and wrote on the blackboard the rooms in the house, the activities that can be done in each room and the form of the present progressive. After teaching the new information, the teacher used an interactive method learned in the program: children worked in pairs. A student in each pair receives a card on which the name of a room is written; the other student has to guess the room by asking his mate What

are you doing? The first student answers the question using the present progressive and an activity he can do in the room written on the card. The students did a very good job. Jeff liked the children and he wanted to work with them, too. He mimed some actions and asked the children to guess what he was doing, then he asked them to mime some actions and say what they were doing at the same time. Jeff praised the children and the teacher. It was a great experience. Jeff also visited Stefan cel Mare School in Vaslui. As I had spoken a lot about him at school, everybody was anxious to meet him, to meet him and talk to him. Kids were the most anxious of all. He visited the 4th grade, where he observed a reading class, the focus being on children. He was pleased by the way children could pronounce the words,

the attention and interest they gave to the English class. During the class, the teacher, the students and Jeff, too, repeated loudly the numbers from 1 to 20. All the time, the children were really impressed by the way he talked to them, and I could tell they were excited that an American was sitting next to them (a situation that rarely happened in our school). We shared the information we learned in this program with other colleagues who did not have the privilege to work with Jeff Wetterman, both at teachers meetings and in informal get-togethers. Elena-Georgiana Arsenie Petronela-Iuliana ahn EL Teachers, Vaslui


We all know how boring and tiring some courses can be, and in the rush of our days that is not something we need. I was always holding back when it came to taking formation courses because of various reasons like: the cost of the course, the schedule, the teacher, the place where the course was supposed to take place. But something happened, something that made me change my way of seeing these courses. We were announced that an English course was going to take place. Of course, my first questions were: how much, for how long and who was going to run the course. And surprise! The course was free, the schedule was quite good and as a course instructor someone from America, whose name I didnt catch at first. The name of the program was Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English and it consisted of 20 hours of training workshops and observation and critique of classroom performance.

The classes were great. I couldnt believe myself that I wasnt checking the time, yawning or who knows what else. Jeff (I call him Jeff because the teacher -student relationship was a friendly one, if I may say so), proved to be the ideal teacher. He treated us as his equals and made us feel relaxed and at ease. Each activity was interesting, funny and appropriate to different levels of study. All the participants were involved in the activities and there was no time to get bored. The activities were well prepared, sustained by many auxiliary materials: group work, pairwork and individual work, were all used. I learnt a lot of interesting things and after each course I couldnt wait to apply, what I had learned, to my classes. Children loved it. What they liked most was a game used for checking the understanding of a text: the pupils are standing and they have to keep their eyes closed. The teacher reads sentences about the text under study, some of the sentences are true some of them are false. The students listen carefully and if they think that the sentence is correct they turn towards the window and if they think

the sentence is false they turn towards the wall. Those who turn in the wrong direction are out of the game. He also taught us a lot of interesting ways for teaching or checking grammar. One of the methods that my students really liked was the exercise called Guess the false sentence. Each student writes six sentences about himself using the new grammar structure. Three sentences are true and three are false. He/She reads the sentences and the others have to guess which sentences are true and which are false. Of course that there were a lot of other interesting methods concerning all four skills and I can assure you that I have used most of them successfully. Along the training course all the participants had to have Jeff as a guest to one of our classes. He really liked the lesson I invited him to and he appreciated the fact that I was already using some of his ideas. Thank you for all the things you taught us, Jeffrey S. Wetterman!
Elena Bia School 2, Piatra-Neam

When using the right approach, teaching English can be fun and fulfilling and students turn out to be quite enthusiastic learners! The obsolete, traditional methods seem not to do the trick anymore and we certainly do not want our students to be yawning or snoring during the English classes, do we? We, the English teachers, are supposed to be modern and easy to work with but in order to keep up with the expectations, we need to permanently improve our skills and refresh our views. Attending professional development programs is one of the best means of keeping oneself up-to-date and hence my interest in joining this precise course.

Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English was exactly what I needed for a fresh touch and those twenty hours of training workshops and observed teaching proved really useful. Not to mention that our trainer, Jeff Wetterman, Senior English Language Fellow and highly qualified professional, had the exact formula for a successful activity. I have never had so much fun in a course and it was exactly what I expected my students to appreciate in a class, as well. If I, the teacher, have enjoyed all those games, riddles, role-play and teamwork activities, my students will certainly find them appealing and they will be eager to learn even more I thought right away.... And I was right: all the tricks, all the new methods and teaching techniques acquired during the course have proved useful to my work and I could soon notice my students

rising interest in improving their skills and surpassing their limits. The observed teaching classes came as a confirmation that the new methods really worked: students showed no signs of being under stress and they interacted freely, which was somehow unexpected. Fact is that the new approach meant a boost of self-confidence and selfmotivation both for me and my students. All in all, this course was the kind of experience that is well worth repeating and the very proof that in order to be successful, a teacher needs to be creative, imaginative and ready for exploration. It is no use in being well-trained if you cannot pass the information to others and if you cannot arouse your students interest and curiosity.
Andreea Racariu Bodesti School, Neam


SOME THOUGHTS As Harry Brooks Adams was saying: A teacher effects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops. This is the first thought that comes to mind about my great experience with the English Language Fellow program that I had the pleasure to attend in 2009. I have always considered that our job as teachers is one that implies learning our entire life. You can never say that what you know and what you achieved is enough. Teaching means taking in your hands the destinies of your students and trying to make them achieve the highest goals. The Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English training held in 2009 by Jeffrey Wetterman, Sr. English Language Fellow, was a the light that showed me the right direction to follow. I can say from the bottom of my heart that the things I learned during the 20 hours of training were innovating to me. It was a necessity and also a desire to learn as many methods as possible so that at the end I would be able to apply them in the classroom. We live in a world where the access to information is one of the most important factors in our life. The generations are changing and new and interactive methods of teaching and learning are essential. Creativity can be developed and innovation benefits both students and teachers.

driver will have to write it on the blackboard. THE AUCTION, THE BUS The game continues until the last student AND THE PUZZLE Creativity is the word that best describes the arrives on the drivers seat. training. Jeff Wetterman succeeded in making At the end the teacher will correct the words written on the board and will anus realise how easy and fun teaching and learning English can be. He introduced us to nounce the winner. THE PUZZLE was a method that captivated a magic world where learning and teaching me and also my students. Even if it is a English is an interactive method through which students can receive and achieve infor- simple game it is very efficient in many situations. I usually prepare small pieces mation in a more pleasant way. of paper on which the students find differOne of the methods was THE AUCTION. This game is probably the reason why my revision ent words. The task is to arrange the lessons and not only, are now enjoyed by my words so that they form correct sentences. students. INSTEAD OF CONCLUSIONS The method implies a number of sentences The Interactive Methods and Best Practices regarding the topic you want to discuss. for Teaching and Learning English training First the teacher divides the students into course had as purpose the idea of encoursmall groups and gives them a fictional aging and expecting learners to particiamount of money that they will use later on pate, to stimulate discussion, to use teachduring the auction. Secondly, the teacher has to mix correct and ing aids to gain and retain attention. wrong sentences from which the students will All together stimulated individual input, made learners obtain feedback from multithen buy trying to chose as many correct ple perspectives and also allowed us as sentences as possible. In the same time they have to be careful and not spend much money teachers to evaluate their learning. John Lubbock was saying that the imporjust for one or two sentences. The auction takes place like a real one and at the end the tant thing is not so much that every child winning team will be the one who bought the should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. highest number of correct sentences. This wish was given to us by Jeff WetterBeside this technique, we all found out that man and through us to our students that teaching and learning vocabulary is not so are now richer and more experienced. hard especially when you play a game. The The English Language Fellow program game was called THE BUS. succeeded in leading out what already was The teacher has to divide the students into in our soul - the necessity of applying groups. Each student will sit behind each other exactly like the seats from the bus. The modern and interactive methods. teacher will then tell a word to the last stuAndreea Horga dent from each group. Those students have to Orthodox Theological Seminary, transmit the word to his team and the bus Piatra-Neamt

English Teaching Forum online is a quarterly journal published by the U.S. Department of State for teachers of English as a foreign or second language. Over 82,000 copies of the magazine are distributed in more than 125 countries. This site contains articles from issues of English Teaching Forum dating back to 1993. To find a particular article or issue, visit past issues to find a particular article or issue. We welcome submissions from English language teachers around the world. Most of the authors published in English Teaching Forum are classroom teachers.

2011: Volume 49, Number 2


Teaching English has always been my calling, I realized this ever since I was in primary school and I believe I owe this to all may great teachers that over the years have been an inspiration to me. But being a teacher in my country has proven to be a challenge, because teachers are poorly paid and they are not given too many opportunities to learn more about this profession before actually being in front of your students. Also a big problem we are faced with nowadays is the lack motivation of our students as they easily get bored in class. This is often caused by the deadening predictability of much classroom time. Students frequently know what is going to happen in class and they know because it will be the same as what happened in the last class and a whole string of classes before that. Nevertheless the need for surprise and variety within a fifty-minute lesson is also overwhelming for both teacher and students. For me learning English has always been a fun process and this is what I would like to teach my students. But sometimes you can ran out of ideas, so when I was given the chance to participate in a course on Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English organized by the Embassy of the United States of America in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth, I was really happy and eager to participate and learn new things about how to improve my teaching skills. The program was conducted by Mr. Jeffrey S. Wetterman, Senior English Language Fellow and it consisted of 20 hours of training workshops and observation and critique of classroom performance. For four Saturdays starting with the 28th of February 2009 till the 21st of March 2011, we had 5 hours sessions and at the end of the program we received a certificate. For me as a teacher, this was a

breakthrough experience. I can truly say that I learnt then more than I had leant in my 4 years of university preparation. My teachers taught me very well but it was all too formal, all done by the rules, maybe because it was how the educational system worked in Romania, but now it is time for a new approach. Jeffery told us that a golden rule in foreign language teaching is to plan to do in class what cannot be done elsewhere. By setting up simulated real-life situations, giving social meaning to the rules and forms that learners need to master, and acting-out in real circumstances, the teacher needs to bring slices of life into the classroom; this way students will develop confidence and fluency in their English. There is always a challenge when teaching English or any foreign language because students may feel awkward initially using a foreign language with each other when they can communicate more effectively in their mother tongue. It is the teacher who sets the tone by using English always; this creates an atmosphere in which all learners make every effort to use English as well. The first workshop started with a lot of questions that we had to prepare for Jeff, this way getting to know each other, a step that maybe as teachers when entering a new class we skip and start with revising grammar. Because some students may be shy and dont communicate or interact easily, he used a Mickey Mouse game. This was a toy (not too small, big enough to see and hold) that we had to toss around the class and to talk about ourselves. A warmup activity of 5 to 15 minutes we can all use in our classes at different levels and on different topics, even for revising grammar. I used this method in my classes with a Minnie Mouse version of Jeffs Mickey Mouse and my students were really involved, especially the middle years (6th and 7th grades), and this way students that were distracted or not very confident started to interact in class so they could hold Minnie for a few seconds.

Writing is probably one of the most difficult tasks to do in class, especially when it is a free practice activity. But Jeff taught us that it is all about the context you set in the class, if you do it the traditional way with a short input and expect them to produce a piece of writing, the most experienced will do it but the others are going to fail. So he used Mickey once again and the topic was write about any problem you have. This activity can be done in pairs or groups and maybe as a follow up activity you can ask them to change the problems amongst them and come up with solutions. Learning vocabulary can be boring and at the same time thorny, especially when you have false friends. Another game that Jeff used was very useful and my students still ask me to use this game when they have long words they cannot learn how to spell or to pronounce. It is fun and it involves the whole class and there is competition between them. Write some sentences using the vocabulary you want to revise or to teach and place them on the blackboard. Divide the students into groups of up to 7 students. Each group has a leader (they get to choose the leader) that will have the write the sentences that the other members read one by one, in silence, by coming in front of the classroom. The readers will have to read the sentence, pay attention to spelling, punctuation and grammar and then dictate it to the leader, and all this as fast as they can. There is a lot of movement and noise but it is all worth it because they pay more attention to words and structures than they do in a regular class. The most important lesson I have learnt is that imagination plays a very important part in class and as Albert Schweitzer said, There are many ways to teach, buy only one works - by example, I hope I can make English fun and easy to learn for my students.
Raluca Ciocan IT High School, Piatra-Neam


Olivia Rusu, EL Teacher, Iai

Besides their schoolbag if there is any students come to English classes with a personal pack of real life problems related mostly to friendship, love relationships, family or school. Blaming, judging them for thinking about these or telling them to bag it does not improve their English skills and abilities. It is the English teachers task to motivate them, to make them remember how well they felt during the classes of English, briefly, to trick them into the knowledge of the language. [If you take care of your students, the language will take care of itself](1), meaning that fostering students states of mind, stimulating them into performing realistic, jovial and notable activities will lead them to a better understanding and practice of English language formulae. Accordingly, the concept of making learning enjoyable and memorable best describes the main objective of the 40-hour professional development program for teachers of English Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English held at the TeacherTraining Center (Casa Corpului Didactic) in Iasi, sponsored by the Embassy of the United States of America in the autumn of 2008. This course, consistent with the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth continuing education program for academic year 2008-2009, was designed by Jeffrey Wetterman, Sr. English Language Fellow to help bridge the gap between education theory and practice. Furthermore, during the course, emphasis was placed especially on what teachers can do in their classrooms to create an optimum environment for language learning to take place.

Subsequently, on the one hand, organizing and planning the English class is as important as the content of the lesson. Thus, an English teacher must always take into consideration concepts of classroom management, teacher and student roles, materials to be used, contextualizing language, group and pair work, learning styles and personality factors, lesson planning and timing (including notions of STT and TTT)(2), multiple intelligences. The notions listed above were trained during the course in a cohesive, holistic approach. The practical applications and the simulations of actual classroom practices enabled the participants to become more self-assured and effective teachers, following a successful learning by doing process. On the other hand, the content of each meeting included manifold hands-on and interactive warmers, elicitations, and presentations, examples of controlled and free practice, of coolers and of obtaining feedback. Whatever the theme of the lesson (related to Grammar, Reading and Vocabulary, Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation or Writing), the procedures of the training meetings followed the structure and stages of an English class, strengthening thus the trainees understanding on the lesson devolvement: Warmers(3) are short activities primary used at the beginning of an ESL lesson to stir students blood, to get them talking and ready to learn. The elicitation stage leads the students into the topic. A picked-up photo, a short story, a stuffed toy (whose name is chosen by the students) or even the content of the teachers purse may create a safe atmosphere and hook everybody so that all students think about one topic. The presentation proper activates the schema, representing the formula that is to be taught. It should not exceed 25% of the lesson time. For the students to remember

the structure the teacher should create mnemonic devices or allow students to extract themselves the rule. The resources of the controlled practice lesson stage are brought by the teacher. Thus, controlled practice represents an artificial step that allows students to repeat the taught structure, under teachers supervision. It should not exceed 25% of the lesson time. An inciting example of controlled practice is holding Sentence Auctions. It is a fun way to help students review key points in grammar. Divided in small groups students are given money with which to bid on various sentences. These sentences include correct and incorrect sentences. The group that buys the most correct sentences wins the game. One of my students who carelessly spent all the money on incorrect sentences wanted to give his watch in order to buy a correct sentence. The free practice phase has to last most of the lesson time, from 35% to 60%. During this phase students create authentic language and the teachers role is minimized. It is important in a foreign language class to create a social link. Consequently, group work during free practice connects classmates, releases task stress and puts students in real life situations that enhance social interaction. Coolers are meant to calm overenthusiastic students who may be asked to put on their thinking caps(4) and solve a mystery. For instance, the one with Romeo and Juliet: Romeo and Juliet are lying on the floor in a room. The ground is wet and there are pieces of splintered glass lying all around them. A cat looks at them licking its lips. How did they get there and what will happen next?(5) Needless to mention the impact these activities had on my students or the


cerebral fun we had. Transferring Jeff Wettermans catching enthusiasm into my English classes was in my opinion a clear exemplification of what ESL teachers mean by :I hear and I forget/ I see and I remember/ I do and I understand. Thank you!
(1) Leather, Sue, Sue Leather Associates, Steps to Success A starter pack for newly qualified teachers, regional project run by the British Council, partial quote from Module A, Unit 2, Classroom Skills and Competencies,

Managing your classroom and your students, pp 7-16; (2) teaching-methodology/esl-the-silentway-99-stt-67.htm, (reference from Nov.-9, 2011); (3) Examples of warmers practiced during Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English: The chant Ive Got the Joy please visit: watch? v=Z29h7HUcJus&feature=related; A chant that may be used to stress either reduced speech or pronunciation of [] and [t]: Gonna shop, gonna shop, gonna shop at the store / I dont like to shop its really a chore / but I need some chips and pork

chops today / and maybe Ill buy a choice Chardonnay. / How much, how much for those sheets? / Theyre cheap, theyre cheap, theyre really cheap sheets, / but youd better show me all your cash / because I dont take cards. Theyre just like trash. / cha-cha-cha-cha -cha sha-na-na. please contact the author for the rhythm; (4) Opp-Beckman, Leslie, Klinghammer, Sarah, Shaping the Way We Teach English: Successful Practices Around the World, Instructors Manual, Office of ELP, University of Oregon Eugene, p. 12; (5) Romeo and Juliet are pet fish (Goldfish) and the cat knocked over their bowl prior to eating them.

Olivia Rusu, EL Teacher, Iai

Jeff Wetterman (back) and his class at the graduation ceremony, Iasi ELT Inspector Constantin Paidos (left) also attended (November 2008)

I attended Jeffrey Wetterman's teachertraining course on Interactive Methods and Best Practices for Teaching and Learning English, organized by the Embassy of the United States in Iasi, between October 8 and November 12, 2008. The purpose of the course was to offer support to newly qualified teachers from all sectors of education as well as a fresh perspective on EFL teaching. In my opinion, the course was highly successful as it offered a solid

base for my teacher formation and helped me increase students motivation for learning English. The training course consisted of ten workshops designed to immerse us, teachers, in engaging classroom activities, enthusiastically orchestrated by Mr. Wetterman. Therefore, far from presenting dull theoretical information, this course employed a handson approach, that was more learner oriented. Each meeting usually concluded with a Q&A session in which we summarized the activities conducted, their objectives and different ways of adapting them for less or more proficient students. Relevant issues that were tackled included teaching grammar and functional language in a communicative manner by increasing Student Talking Time to 90%. Moreover, the course offered valuable insight into lesson planning and classroom management. The training course was innovative in the

sense that, at the conclusion of the workshops, Mr. Wetterman visited our schools and observed two of our classes, providing us with the opportunity to apply what we had learnt and offering on-the-spot feedback. It is also worth mentioning the enthusiasm and joy that Mr. Wetterman put into devising and presenting the activities, which contributed to the overall success of the training and to making learning an easy and enjoyable task. The information and knowledge acquired throughout this course was later disseminated at teachers meetings and at the 2008 MATE Conference. The positive feedback received as a result of these activities can only emphasize this creditable initiative and the demand for reiterating this program. Thus, I strongly believe that this course provided immense aid to newly qualified teachers and organizing such programs on a rolling basis would be extremely beneficial.
Mihaela Plimariu, EL Teacher Iai


had never seen before. Then I continued the lesson with the next steps I had planned, which of course included some other techniques learned during the course. I rememIve been teaching English for ber one lesson which was about Past Simple 10 years now. In OctoberNovember, -regular verbs. I prepared slips of paper 2007, I attended a professional developwith various sentences with Past Simment program for teachers of English ple (e.g. I watched television last night; conducted by Ms. Cynthia Yoder, I washed my hair yesterday; I studied which was titled Practical Techniques for a test last night, etc.). I organized for English Language Teaching. The pupils in groups of four and gave them overall goal of the course was to 10 slips of paper, which they had to facilitate our professional development take turns to read, while the others as English language teachers in our were listening. They had to show their first few years of teaching. This has thumbs up or down according to the been the most inspiring course I have information they heard. This is just an ever attended up to this point in my example of a successful activity I used teaching career, mainly because I in my class. The pupils really enjoyed The question thats also the solution learned new language teaching tech- Which do you think is more important: gramthemselves while learning English. I niques in the classroom, I had the mar explanations or grammar practice? remember that she always told us that chance to reflect on my teaching it was up to us, teachers, to make a practices, exchange ideas and, most importeaching and were asked to keep a diary lesson pleasant and motivate our students to tantly, to use these in class and receive about our thoughts related to the classes we learn. I could give hundreds of other examfeedback on my had. I had never done that before and alples of how this course helped me improve teaching. though I had sometimes reflected on some my teaching techniques, how my pupils Ms. Yoder attended of the successes and failures of some of the improved their English, how they were some of my classes techniques I used, I had never written them eager to start a new English lesson This twice during the down. I still have that first diary and its course made me realize what an important period of the very useful to look through it from time to and difficult job we have as teachers and course, which time. This idea of keeping a diary was new how we can do it right. really helped me to us as teachers and we all admitted to the I have always mentioned Cynthia because I had the fact that it was a useful tool in our on-going Yoder and this wonderful course whenever I chance to apply professional development. Other topics I had the chance, whenever there was a situasome of the techfound interesting were learning styles, tion which required some advice, some niques learned, to multiple intelligences, behavior issues and assistance, some fresh ideas and they have ), observe her teachYoder (left ia th n y C motivation. I had been facing them in my always been welcomed and appreciated. No h Wit ate ing and to get the certific g in iv e c classes and was struggling to find a solution matter how many years will pass, I will re feedback on my teaching as well. for them and this part of the course shed always consider new what she taught us. One of the reasons this course some light and gave me some answers. She taught us to continually grow as perhas remained in my mind is that I actually I have used most of the techsons and as teachers. The following quote learned something about methodology by niques, teaching materials, classroom best describes what she was to us, what she applying it in practical situations, which I interaction strategies, etc. learned during helped us become: had never done before. The course included that course in my teaching and the first Ideal teachers are those who use themvarious topics, week I started applying them will always be selves as bridges over which they invite such as refleca happy memory. How can I remember ? My their students to cross, then, having facilitive teaching, pupils told me they liked the lessons, that tated their crossing, joyfully collapse, enlesson planthey wanted more such activities. I started couraging them to create bridges of their ning, classby using warmers and energizers at the own. (Nikos Kazantzakis) room managebeginning of every lesson and the fact that ment, classthey were allowed to stand up and leave Ghionul Gogoa-Gelal room interactheir desks and move around trying to Ion Borcea School, Agigea tions, warmers complete a task activated them in a way I and energizwork

ers, language skills and systems practice, assessment to student learning, giving feedback to students, etc., all of which helped me develop and better my teaching. I remember that what I found enlightening was the part when we had to reflect on our


In November 2009, I attended the teacher training program named Building Our EFL Resources at Miercurea Ciuc, Harghita county, course that was taught by Sr. EL Fellow Heather McKay and was made possible by ISJ Harghita, C.C.D Harghita in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy. The program of the course was quite flexible allowing teachers from across the county to attend it on weekends. During the course we learned many interactive teaching methods that had the purpose of improving our receptive and productive skills ( listening , reading , writing and speaking) Other teaching activities: Developing listening skills : Session Outline Interactive dictation Inferencing Chanel conversation and personalized response Text reconstruction and story telling Teaching reading Reading strategies

Example :Communicative grammar activities

At these activities, we were the students and we had to resolve different tasks given, either individually or in groups. The activities were based on multilevel teaching and demonstrated that all students may contribute to completing the given task using their own knowledge at different levels. After browsing all the activities and learning how to develop the skills we needed at an interactive level, we had to implement them during our courses at school and report the results. The feedback was positive, the pupils being very interested in new activities that were based on practice, on face to face interaction rather than normal teaching. It is true, it takes a lot of work to prepare postcards, handouts, stories and other class materials but the results are better than solving an exercise from the book after the teaching the theoretical part. Pupils tend to express their opinions to show that they are capable of solving different types of exercises based on communication, role play or team work (in pairs or groups) and lots of them are very competitive. Although the feedback was positive some older colleagues tend to reject the interactive teaching methods given the fact that they take a lot of time to be prepared, that we do not have a proper education system to allow us many activities, that teachers usually have to make tons of paperwork rather than actual teaching. On the other hand, other younger colleagues use this kind of class activities during the process of teaching but rarely, the motives being the same. Things that I liked: During this program I had the chance to interact with other teachers from the county, talk and exchange ideas about different teaching methods, partnership programs or class activities. I also befriended with many of them. At the beginning of the program I was rather skeptic given the fact that our education system has many flaws, is very different, the curriculum is overcrowded and cannot be compared with the occidental one, but later I came to realize that it all depends on the person that teaches and many lessons can be adapted using the diverse multilevel teaching methods and activities. I truly believe that many of such projects should be made and be supported by headmasters and the Inspectorate more often, because trough them and with teachers like Mrs. Heather McKay we can improve and change language teaching and evaluation techniques globally.
Mihai Calinovici O.C.Tsluanu Gymnasium, Bilbor


Even today, I remember with pleasure the continuing educational program, at which we took part as fresh teachers. When schools received the notification about a new course proposed by the ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport, all we knew about was that is highly recommended to teachers who have little experience in teaching. Later we found out that the program was coordinated by the U.S. Department of State through the Embassy of the United States of America in Bucharest. At the beginning we were skeptical, mostly because after an entire week of work we had to stay four weekends far away from home, since this program gathered teachers from Harghita County. At the school masters proposal I finally applied, knowing that there will be a selection for a limited group who will actually participate (this I think depended on the numbers of persons who expressed they will to be there). Finally I received the notification that me and two other colleagues from the same town will participate at a professional development program for teachers of English called Building Our EFL Resources, during November 20 and December 19, 2009. The course started by meeting our coordinator Dr. Heather McKay, Senior

English Language Fellow, whit whom we attended 30 hours of workshop and participating in observations of her teaching, also critique of classroom performance. From the first moment we discovered a dear person who treated us as teacher to teacher, presenting us her own experience in teaching and demonstrations on new ways of teaching efficiently. During our training, we exercised and developed activities which easy witting, listening, speaking and grammar skills, useful for English teaching and learning for different level of students. Among these activities were messenger and scribe using cards, sentence reduction and development, personalized dictation, poetry, report card role play, snakes and ladders, free writing, text reconstruction, quantifying sentences and other game. We tried out all these playful learning tasks, and we also learned useful methods, which were tried later in classroom teaching. During these activities which were fun, we had the opportunity to meet each other, between teachers, since we came from different parts of the county, to make friends and to change experience. This programs best part was the opportunity to have Dr. Heather McKay present in our classes, when we teach to the children, as an observer. She proposed this chance to be present

if we wanted and give us advice. The children were overwhelmed by the news that they will have the chance to talk to a native English person, which is a rare occasion for them. At the end she gave us suggestions how to be more efficient. Two yeas passed since this program and all that I learned during these 30 hours was very helpful in teaching activities. From this program I received a solid start as a young teacher on which to build more experience, to become a better and more efficient teacher. Even if we were all teachers, we came from different communities; we shared the same experience helping each other by advices not by changing our personalities. Bilingual education doesnt necessarily mean that individuals lost their ethnical individualism. Those who talk more languages may live as well their own identity, individually or as member of an ethnical group and to be proud for the country they live in. World wide the use of English opens new chances and possibilities to cooperate, to resolve conflicts to build citizenship, to take responsibilities on different level on development of the education. As a conclusion I can say that this kind of programs is efficient for both teachers and students.
Dolores Anna Nagy, EL Teacher, Harghita

Materials for Teaching and Learning English The U.S. Department of State offers a range of resources and materials that support high-quality English language instruction worldwide. These resources are aimed at supporting teachers of English outside of the U.S. Celebrate: Holidays in the U.S.A.! discusses the ten federally-recognized holidays in the United States, as well as many celebratory days, such as Valentines Day and Mothers Day, and recognition months, such as Black History Month and Women's History month, that are commonly celebrated. E-Journals contain ready-to-use lesson plans and are suitable for students at the intermediate level. Language and Civil Society E-Journals cover aspects of building and maintaining civil society in order to help students improve their critical thinking and analytical skills in addition to learning English. Chapters include: Civic Education (PDF), Environmental Education (PDF), Peace Education (PDF), Business Ethics (PDF) Language and Life Sciences E-Journals serve as a springboard for a meaningful discussion in English about issues that confront all of us as science and technology evolve. English Teaching Forum is a quarterly journal published by the U.S. Department of State for teachers of English as a foreign or second language. Most of the authors of the articles are classroom teachers. Essential Bibliography is an annotated list of key commercial references and teaching resources related to the professional development of teachers of English as a foreign language. The titles included in the bibliography were selected by the author of the document and do not constitute an endorsement by the Department of State. Teaching Pragmatics explores the teaching of pragmatics, which is the ability of language users to match to find socially appropriate language for the situations that they encounter.


As teachers we always need to find motivation, to be motivated and also motivate our students. As beginners you are not prepared for what teaching really means. No one tells you how to handle disruptive classes, no one tells which methods and approaches to use when your students do not understand what you say and the list may continue. Luckily there are people out there who can lead you the right way, people with experience, people who find motivation even when the others say that there is no possible way for things to happen. Dr. Heather McKay is a very good example of such a person, who is able to help you find your way and become a better teacher. She is a perpetual source of inspiration, with tons of innovative ideas in her back pocket, always ready to share her life and professional experience. Personally (A.F.), I consider this as a follow up of my previous experience from high school, when I also had the possibility to learn from native speakers of American English Peace Corps volunteers. So that 2009 was our chance, as teachers of English from Harghita County, to meet this extraordinary person, who managed to change our perspective regarding ELT. Among other five counties in Transylvania (Mures, Cluj, Maramures, BistritaNasaud, Satu-Mare) our county had the privilege to be selected for hosting training workshops on different topics for English teachers. The Embassy of the United States of America, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport, chose Dr. McKay, Sr. English Language Fellow to conduct the training. The young teachers who attended the training were selected according to the criteria of having less than 5 years of teaching experience. Around 25 teachers attended the 30-hour development program, called Building Our EFL Resources and took place November 20 December 19, 2009. CCD Harghita hosted the course in a wellequipped room with an interactive whiteboard.

The presence and work of Dr. Heather McKay was not a usual one. Being a very experienced teacher, she came very well prepared with a lot of materials and ideas in order to help us make the most of our lessons. What was very interesting and useful was that she took the trouble to participate in observations, and she visited each of us to assist during the lessons, regardless of the distance and harsh weather conditions. Sometimes this duty caused difficulties, as the distances were long and travel options limited. However, I (Zs.C.) consider this activity not an ordinary one, as it is not a common event that an American teacher comes to your class with the intention of giving you extra ideas about how to use the time you have for teaching as effectively as possible and have a chat with your students. Besides the teaching observation, each lesson was followed by a friendly discussion, sometimes in front of the headmasters, while Dr. Heather McKay was giving advice on how to create lessons that interest and engage students in the learning process. She tried to point out mainly the positive aspects of the lessons. For me (A.F.) it was a real pleasure, and I can say honor, to have her in my class and benefit from her advice and ideas regarding the way in which I can improve my teaching style and how I can become better. She also helped me to better understand some of my students who did not really care much about learning English. My students were also pleased to be able to talk to a native speaker and share impressions and ideas, getting answers to some of their questions. It was an experience that will not be forgotten. And what was also very exciting for them, was to be able to interact and use American English, which we know that is preferred by young learners of English. The workshops with the English teachers were held during the weekends, mainly on Friday afternoons and Saturdays, but this was not something that made us fell uncomfortable or tired. It also gave us the possibility to socialize and change experiences with fellow teachers around the county. Focus was given to the four main sections: Teaching Reading, Writing Activities,

Communicative Grammar Activities and Developing Listening Skills. Each section had a certain number of hours, during which we had to work with the received printed materials. The materials were chosen from very famous resource books by authors like: John Morgan, Mario Rinvolucri, Penny Ur, Gnther Gerngross, Herbert Puchta, etc. Each section was very well structured, with many interactive means and methods for learning using lego bricks, pieces of papers, drawings, cards for role playing. There were also free discussions on certain topics related to difficulties faced during classes with possible solutions. As a gift, the trainees received printed materials like the Focus magazine, books on American Culture and Civilization and a set of three DVDs by Diane LarsenFreeman on Language Teaching Methods, Learning Teaching Jim Scrivener. Having the possibility to receive authentic materials and to use them was something which helped us achieve our activities goals and also make sure that we can use the information properly when dealing with our students in class. She tried to provide a large variety of activities for students of all ages, even for adults. After the end of the course, I (A.F.) tried to use most of the activities in my classes. It was a pleasant surprise to see that most of them were very well perceived by my students, they were interested and also motivated. This is what I was hoping to achieve, and thanks to Dr. McKays methods I can say that I can now motivate my students more than I used to when I was just a beginner. We, as teachers, need to learn every day, we need to improve ourselves as teachers and as human beings because we are responsible for what our students know and become after graduating school. In our area it is pretty difficult for a teacher of foreign language to develop and to improve, because the lack of materials, and the material impossibility of participating in trainings, and not having access to authentic materials gives us few improving possibilities. I consider that having the possibility to take part in this course and having the pleasure of knowing Dr. McKay was a unique experience from which everyone had


more cooperative and willing to improve their English knowledge. Besides the many printed and online sent materials, after participating in this something to learn. teacher training course, I (Zs.C.) learnt that As mentioned before, Dr. the most important thing in teaching a foreign McKay is a person who can change you as language is to make students speak as much a teacher and as a person too, we all have as possible, and to use the time very effia lot to learn from her experience and ciently giving as many assignments as possifrom her way of seeing things and acting ble. I consider this training a unique opportuin different situations. I became more nity in our country, as the majority of such confident and some of my students become courses are held by foreign speakers. In the

future, there should be more focus on these activities, as indeed, there is a great need for such things, in order to improve ourselves and to be able to improve our students knowledge.
Alina Florea, Sf. Nicolae High School, Gheorgheni, Harghita Zsuzsanna Cseke, Joannes Kajoni Economic High School, Miercurea Ciuc, Harghita

trying to hammer in as much theory as possible, we have rarely had the chance to analyze the teaching process in depth. Thus, Despite the usual complaints of when thinking about some assumptions rebeing overloaded and fatigued, teachers garding the nature of reading, and having to showed up in large numbers at Ms Heather decide upon what makes reading be effective, McKay's courses: from the younger, less we gained a deeper understanding of the experienced ones, to the mid-career, acprocess our students go through which, in complished pundits. Was it because they turn, helped us re-think our approach to the are highly motivated professionals, was it teaching of this skill. because they were given a certificate of We have discovered new ways of attendance, or simply because they had a approaching teaching techniques, both for free afternoon? Personally, I am inclined receptive and productive skills. Teaching with to believe that they had heard a rumor audio visual materials proved to be a real help about Ms McKay's courses and they wanted to both experienced and beginner teachers. to see for themselves whether the praises Students always appreciate teachers who are were genuine and, if so, benefit from her creative and who dare to bring in the class expertise. fresh materials, thus making the learning We participated in two of Ms process more competitive, more attractive, Heather McKay courses: the first one was and less repetitive. held at Gheorghe Sincai National College in The cue cards activities, the droodBaia Mare, the second one in the American les, and the lexical chunks presented in the Corner of the Petre Dulfu County Library. course as means of creating a more relaxed In addition to the varied activities and and confident learning atmosphere were practical advice regarding the usage of highly appreciated by our students. Their different materials during EFL classes, we imagination and their appetite to speak had the opportunity to think about theowere stirred by the warmer and lead in retical approaches to teaching skills such activities based on reversed pictures which as reading for instance, and the cognitive were ready to reveal their meaning as the processes it involves. Apart from our uni- students came closer to the correct answers. versity years when, in the absence of The less confident students got involved in the hands-on teaching experience, we were learning process easily by using the describe

and arrange pictures, find the difference pictures or the broken sentences activities. The activities were thus provoking and easy to remember by both visual and kinesthetic learners who were impressed and did a real good job in achieving the new language items by the observation, conducting an experiment, and prediction based activities. We rediscovered that a little bit of imagination, the correct choice of materials, and their appropriate usage can bring a positive attitude towards teaching English and can make the learner move to a higher level in gaining and developing learning skills. All in all, we think it's been a valuable experience. Moreover, since a couple of quite experienced and not unappreciated teachers like us still had so much to learn from Ms McKay's first course that we hurried to put down our names on the list for the second one, we would highly recommend it to all teachers of EFL who are headed towards achieving the best possible results in their careers, regardless of their age, experience, and the level of students they are teaching.
Rodica Szentes, Gh. incai National College, Baia Mare Monika Bandi, Al. I. Cuza School, Baia Mare


room interaction. If I were to say, the highlights of this particular course are communicating with ones students, applying your own personal I shall start by saying that experiences when teaching English and incorattending any form of professional develporating students personal ideas and opinions opment programs for Romanian teachers within the teaching process. The materials it of English has always been considered one suggests for an effective teaching process are of the most interesting methods to both various and within easy reach, not very diffiembark upon and continue our profescult to find, use and adapt, such as flashcards, sional development, especially for the pictures from magazines or textbooks, songs younger ones who are in search of their so which immediately grow on students, or even -called calling. chants, and last but not least, the textbook, The program that I have in which can be adapted to suit the students mind is Cynthia Yoders Practical tech- needs. All these prompt the student to comniques for English Language Teach- municate and get involved into the learning ing, which took place in December 2007, process, by talking about oneself and ones as part of a continuing education program, feelings; they also help the student convey the consistent with the Ministry of Education, message more efficiently, as they all boost Research and Youths reform goals. their language awareness, improve their lanThis particular program wanted to make guage skills and enrich their vocabulary. the professional development of the young This practice of language is based English teachers easier, and put great on various games, some of which I have found emphasis on the reflective kind of teaching really interesting, such as guessing games, and journaling, on the thorough observa- spelling games, memory games or making tions of self and of others, as well as any associations and relationships. Therefore, the other human resources, such as colleagues productive skills of speaking and writing are or Yahoo groups; it also mentioned and also to be mentioned here, which all encourbrought forth, once again, the most inter- age telling stories about oneself, embarking esting teachers associations and conferupon free speaking activities and playing ences, such as RATE and other meetings different roles or solving real life problems. for teachers of English. Another interesting aspect of this Some of its objectives were to program is that teaching reading is made easy, explore our beliefs about language, learn- by means of reading in real life, which equals ing and teaching, to strengthen the conlistening and enjoying, thus understanding nection between these beliefs and our the overall meaning of the text. classroom teaching, as well as to reflect on But the most fascinating aspect of our teaching practices. All the participants this program is that all these ideas, to a cerwere expected to do all these in earnest tain extent, can be applied in class, as they and to try these new activities in the class- have the power to blend listening, speaking room, as reflective teaching and classroom and writing skills, to stress the importance of management are closely related to class-

meaning, to give the student the freedom to practice ones English, in a controlled and guided, but free at the same time, environment. This method of getting involved helps the teacher give feedback on the students work, help them share writing pieces or direct ideas, but they also help the students accept, spot and correct their own mistakes, as these are only a natural part of the learning process. Personally, I have used some of the ideas that I was presented with during this course, and I have found the results extremely rewarding, for they have indeed had the expected results. As cases in point, I would like to mention jigsaw reading and information transfer and jumbled texts, in as far as teaching reading is concerned, guessing games and chain stories when teaching speaking and writing, memory and matching games when teaching vocabulary. In all honesty, even if the class seems to become noisier, these teaching strategies have all proven to be efficient and their result has indeed been the desired one (the students got really involved in the process of learning, they enjoyed talking about themselves and learning new things about others, and they felt they were playing a game at the same time, without feeling pressured or stressed in any way). To sum up, one may say that the main target of this course, which is, in my opinion, interacting with ones class and teaching learning, has been achieved, as the role of the teacher as a moderator has been brought forth, the students interest has been increased and a good practice activity has been performed.
Gabriela Lupea Sf. Maria High School, Galai

Vocabulary teaching

Between October 3 November 28, 2006, a group of about twentyfour young teachers of English had the great opportunity of attending the course Practi-

cal Techniques for English Language Teaching designed and taught by Cynthia Yoder, an excellent Sr. English Language Fellow. In those chilly days, the course succeeded to lit a warmth atmosphere and wise thrill of discussion among the young teachers.

The discussions in this training program helped me develop my knowledge and attitude as a teacher. The course of a lifetime That course was by far the most complex and practical language teaching course I have ever attended. It was perfectly structured to


profoundly reach every necessary element that is part of the language teaching process. We have discussed principles, beliefs, styles of both students and teachers considering practical techniques as lesson planning, classroom management and interaction, teacher and student roles, feedback, language skills and systems, assessment of student learning, exciting and motivating activities. The complexity and diversity of the materials, with a fascinating variety of presentations, perfect planning and feedback of each lesson were real ingredients of the course which together with our mentor become almost an ideal representation, a model of how a teacher should plan, work and behave in class. Cynthia, our mentor, was a mixture of a formal and open-minded person, very calm, always creating a relaxing atmosphere. She had always completely planned her lessons, come up with engaging resources, variety of activities and permanent feedback. Not only had we a teacher, but a great model. What I consider to Teaching countries and nationalities be a plus for this course is that we all were twice observed during our classes by our mentor, each one of us having the chance to discuss one to one teaching challenges and ideas. At the end of our training everyone had to share an already experienced activity in their classroom. The first step Every lesson succeeded to arise an effective awareness, approaching each topic in a relevant sequence. The head step was to bring in the idea of that representative figure, character that has the real power to influence human destinies the teacher. We were asked to record in our journals the instant memory of a teacher that we remember from school. That moment had the capacity to

make us thoughtfully consider the modeling role that we have as teachers. The intention was clearly to make us become aware of our great mission and responsibility of being teachers. For really accomplishing the mission we, teachers, must thoughtfully and deeply establish our beliefs and principles as the fundament of our professional practices in the classroom. I myself realized that my own beliefs must be the real propulsion of my entire teaching activity. The first step set up our sensitivity to the real effective principles and methods. Beliefs Cynthias way of discussing things made me reflect upon my reasons and methods of teaching and I recognized not without sorrow, that I missed the main purpose of language learning which is c o m m u n i c a t i o n, realizing instantly that teachers goal and students goal are the same: communication. Here are some of my beliefs that I myself clarified during and after this wonderful course: the main purpose of language learning is communication; teaching does not equal learning and we should worry less about teaching and concern more about learning; give 5% input and 95 % practice. Without naming the beliefs, having a vision and understanding the goal of our mission no one can really succeed or develop as a teacher. Teaching practices highlighted by our teaching visions Debating upon methods, approaching motivation, planning, activities, classroom management or error correction we discovered we return instinctively to the purpose of communication in language learning. We understood that student practice time is the best time spent and the teacher talking time must be reduced to the minimum necessary. Sometimes, or too often, we forget our beliefs or objectives and exaggerate teaching or correcting the learners. For instance we shouldnt mix accuracy and fluency aims in one activity. We expect our students to be fluent in English, but we harshly interrupt them correcting all the time. Also we discovered that group work or pair work favors a lot the interaction among students and this makes communication possible for a greater number of learners.

One of the great activities was to involve our students in letter writing exchange and it seemed to be a great impulse for using English, both for reading and writing their letters. Some time in December we gathered our students to meet each others pen pal at a high school in Brasov. Debating and discussing were the main methods we used to learn teaching and I think they can become our main method during language classes. We can give them the start asking inciting questions or giving specific information on a subject that learners adore. Practical things I tried to apply - speak more English or only English in my classes. It worked very well; it created a real English atmosphere and we enjoy it. - use my fingers for teaching long/short forms of the verbs. My students understood the difference easily. - use more pictures than before to present vocabulary or practice structures. They were efficient. Show pictures and speak English, so Romanian isnt needed. - give my students the possibility to practice more what they have learned. The students answers got better, because they had really practiced English. It also improved their ability of doing their homework better. - use more pair work; that is in connection with more practice. - wait for a student to answer more than 6 seconds. (I really count silently). The students answer!!! - when doing an activity, always check if students know what they have to do. Ask: What are we going to do now? - extend the practice time in class. The final meeting On November 30 we met for celebrating Thanksgiving Day and receiving our certificates. We spent the day with Cynthia and her husband eating the traditional Thanksgiving meal together. We all contributed with turkey, vegetables homemade cakes, drinks and bread. Everyone was chatting, laughing and playing games till late at night. It was a memorable day when we felt to be part of a great family sharing the same culture.
Iulia Robu, EL Teacher, Recea Secondary School, Braov County


I would start my article with two words: GREAT EXPERIENCE. Looking back upon the period that I spent with the English Language Fellow Program, many pleasant memories come to my mind and I realize this was an extremely valuable time. This contributed to my professional development greatly. My best memories of this course are of a wide variety of activities that stimulated meaningful discussions of the issues related to language teaching and learning, finding solutions to so many problems. Looking back I think that one of the most important aspects that this program offered us was the chance to interact in so many ways (from language to culture) with a native English speaker. I understood then, that the English Language Fellow Program is not an ordinary course, but it promotes English language learning around the world and fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries.

I found out that teaching English doesnt mean only the words, or the language of a foreign country but a lot more. To talk a little about the things that I personally learnt from our trainer is that good teachers have to keep on sharpening their teaching skills and methods, using as many creative ways as they can in order to reach their goals and objectives. We found out that we can make beautiful lessons by teaching English through colors or arts. I have also learnt that we can use our creativity in teaching a foreign language by using technology too. We discovered that a way to encourage students to explore real world use of English written for native speakers is create an activity that requires research on the Internet as a means of exploring a topic or answering a series of questions. They often take the form of a list of questions to be answered by conducting a simple web search on Wikipedia, for example, and can be followed by an evaluation of the information found. This kind of activity is useful for students with limited English proficiency or classes with different proficiency levels because students are allowed to

work at their own pace and do not need to understand all the text they are asked to scan. This is an activity that I tried at my class and with excellent results. The students are using English creatively to evaluate and analyze information, solve problems and create authentic texts for publication. The topic might be one that is of interest and importance to them. So, in such activities, language is contextualized, skills are integrated and materials are authentic. Educators have to recognize the value and importance of this method and encourage contribution to increasing its necessity. I wish such trainings were conducted more frequently and all the teachers of English were encouraged to attend this kind of programs in case they dare. `` They who dare to teach must never cease to learn``. Let us try not to forget these words.
Otilia Crcea School 3 Drobeta Turnu Severin

Last spring, I had the opportunity to take part in the teacher-training course Incorporating New Technologies in English Language Teaching Methodology offered by the U.S. Embassy and conducted in my county by Ms. Jyoti Paintel, Sr. English Language Fellow. I found the course very wellstructured and presented by a talented and dedicated instructor. For me, this was a very constructive experience. Not only was the course full of useful ideas of how to enliven my classes and attract students to learning, but it also offered a new approach on employing technology in class.

The activities were attractive, as well as diverse. We were taught how to use the new technologies in order to make the process of English language teaching as efficient as possible. The presenter also suggested to us some interesting Internet sites that provide educational materials and lots of advice on how to use them most effectively. The course was a highly interactive one. The trainees had the chance to play the roles of students, but also of teachers, thus experiencing the efficiency of the learning/ teaching activities. A lot of new ideas were conveyed by the trainer, and also by the trainees. We would propose various teaching activi-

ties, then analyzing them with our colleagues. Furthermore, I appreciated the fact that all the activities were uploaded to the internet and, in this way, a database was created for me and my colleagues to consult whenever we need to. All in all, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed being one of the teacher trainees. I consider it to be a firm step in the development of my career.
Emanuela Nistor St. Odobleja Pedagogical H.S. Drobeta Turnu Severin


First of all, I would like to thank the American Embassy for the opportunity to work with such a well prepared, patient, creative, fun-loving and hard-working English Language Fellow as Ms. Jyoti Paintel. There were two productive weeks, in which our workshops were greatly anticipated and looked forward to. Unfortunately, it was over too soon, in a blink of an eye. It was wonderful for me to be able to meet my colleagues in a context like that, where we put together our thoughts, beliefs, strengths and knowledge, supervised and nudged (just as much as necessary and when necessary) by an experienced English teacher, in order to create a learning friendly atmosphere. Furthermore, there were so many useful things that we were introduced to and they were so well received by us teachers, that it feels like we had so much to gain from these activities. In our turn, we could pass them on to our pupils, enriching their chances to receive information and knowledge in an as pleasant and

effective manner as possible. Not only have the results of our work been of great benefit to the pupils, but students also had the chance to meet a native language speaker face to face, which was very exciting to them. To cut a long story short, at the end of this course we had enhanced our skills, methods and procedures to such an extent that we realized the process of teaching and learning neednt necessarily be boring, teacher-centered or drills-based. Actually, the theory had been out there before, but we were reluctant to using it in class, for fear that it might not work. We were encouraged to feel confident when assigning homework or project work that needed computer usage from the pupils part, and I must confess that the research activity seemed the most interesting for my students and gave them satisfaction when completed. Moreover, we were taught that it would be a good idea to bring students emotions to class, that is, to turn to their feelings and their senses. For instance, the best way to teach the descriptive essay, is to ask them to close their eyes and remember a day they

spent, for example, in the countryside, and recall what their senses perceived (hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste). At the end of this experiment the pupils came up with long lists of recollections from their own their own past: birds, hills, trees, hay, fresh milk and so on... From this point on, it was very easy to make a rich, authentic and inspiring description. As a result, by bringing their own experience into the process of learning, I made the class more appealing and they gained more confidence about sharing feelings with their peers. The most important thing about this course is that the suggested methods were immediately applicable to class and they really created an enhancement in the quality of the teaching process. All in all, it was a great experience for me and Im sure all my colleagues would agree on the fact that these workshops have developed both our awareness to, and interest for, interactive, creative and effective ESL teaching.
Geanina Vlad School 5 Drobeta Turnu Severin

The course on Incorporating New Technologies in English Language Teaching Methodology was designed for English teachers of secondary level (students aged 10-19). Participants had the opportunity to gain a huge variety of new teaching ideas and motivating materials ready to use in the classroom. This course was conducted by Jyoti Paintel an expert teacher-trainer, brought by the Embassy of the U.S.A., with a wealth of exciting ideas to impart. The workshops I attended explored a wide range of teaching ideas and activities designed to motivate my students and make language lessons more enjoyable and worthwhile. Some or all of the following are included: a variety of motivating activities which engage students imagination and creativity - innovative role play and drama activities, use of media, poetry and stories ; learner styles and learner training - different strategies for differentiation; increasing motivation and inclusivity in the classroom; motivating mixed ability classes; creative activities for large classes;

cross-curricular language teaching; developing learner autonomy; all four skills - particularly integrated tasks; stimulating ideas for exploiting textbooks; creative writing activities; correction and feedback strategies; evaluation and assessment; using authentic materials; grammar activities; teaching vocabulary; content based learning (CBL method) All the teachers were encouraged to share their own ideas and experiences and we all participated in practical activities suitable for secondary students. Jyoti helped all of us to share a Yahoo group and on it we posted our articles, lesson projects and all the activities during this period. This program also consisted of observation and critique of classroom performance. In my opinion this was one of the best part of this course because Jyoti advised me how to make my classes more attractive to my students, underlining the strengths and weaknesses she observed. Another important thing was that during her visit to my classes, students came in contact with an

American native speaker which was an exciting experience for all of them. At the end of the class, they had the opportunity to talk, ask questions and receive a positive feedback. An interesting method which I have learned from this course was Content-based method and I have applied it successfully to the classroom. Due to this method I tried to use more and more the video projector and all the other auxiliary materials, such as maps and documentary books that raise my students attention. This method is meant to engage and to focus the students to one specific task or theme (music, art, fashion, famous films), which includes mostly all four skills. For example, when I taught a lesson about art, I showed some famous paintings and a ppt presentation of Worlds Famous Museums. That turned to be a successful lesson because I managed to deal with classroom management by creating a positive atmosphere and capture their whole attention during an hour.
Mirela Balaci Ptulele School Mehedini


To quote myself, if you think SUSI is a misspelling of some type of oriental food, you are wrong.(1) SUSI is the acronym for Study of the United States Institute for Secondary Educators, an intensive six-week program for teachers who want to know more and better understand the culture and society of the United States. Formerly known as the Fulbright American Studies Institute, the program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. I was one of the lucky few (more exactly one of the 30 teachers from 25 countries around the world) selected to attend the Institute in the summer of 2006 at the University of Illinois, Chicago. That year, the theme given to us as food for thought, and which we were going to explore and debate for more than two hundred hours of graduate instruction, was Negotiating America, Local, National and Global: A Multidisciplinary Investigation. Thus, from June 13th to July 29th I was to live the American Dream in America, learning and experiencing facts about the American language, art, literature, law, political systems, education, music, culture and society in general. More than that, I was to go on field trips along with the Institute faculty and guest lecturers, travel through the United States, and be in two weeks in more states than many Americans have been in their entire lives: Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Apart from having the chance to travel and live in the other half of the world, meet new people, teachers just like me, exchange opinions and share facts about our countries and customs, I also had the incredible opportunity of making the acquaintance of some very important American professors, politicians or writers who managed to teach me things about the American culture that no professor had managed to do back home, as a university student. Once more, the proverb that one is never too old to learn proved to be as valid as ever. Although it is difficult to choose one or the other of the aspects that impressed me during this American experi-

ence, I should say that three things were of major consequence to me upon return. The first one is my personal understanding of a key element related to the U.S.A.: the fact that the United States is one, that even though there are fifty states in the United States of America, there is some sort of glue that keeps them all together, and this glue is represented by the American myths that underlie the basis of this civilization. Owing to UIC professors brilliant insight into the society and culture of their own country, I understood that approaching the study of the U.S. from the perspective of the myths is probably the best method to grasp the history and the realities of the Unites States. The second thing I managed to accomplish was devising a course on American civilization for my high school students. Nowadays in Romania all teachers are potential curriculum developers, a fact made possible by the advent of the CDS (curriculum decided by the school), which allows them the liberty of conceiving virtually any course of interest for their students, according to their preferences and domain of study. The classes on the culture and civilization of America are among the ones the most appreciated by students, as America has always been a fascinating dream for them all. Since I work in a college that provides the Romanian-English bilingual specialization for pupils, the study of the culture of Anglo-American peoples is a must. I am therefore very proud to be able to teach American Civilization and actually be confident when I am in front of the class, not dabble in the subject. Finally, a third result of my summer course scholarship is developing projects and partnerships with the other participants from time to time. I have had two such attempts up to now, both of them school partnerships between my college and a college in Ecuador. The purpose was to involve 15-yearold students from both schools into an exchange of traditional letters and e-mails in an attempt to make them understand the role of communication throughout time, the advances of technology and the advantages and disadvantages that these bring, as well as the importance of letter writing rules. It also meant that both parts benefitted from the cultural exchange that these letters unavoidably car-

ried, so, at the end of term, the students and their coordinators had acquired new valuable information, which they were able to disseminate in their schools to whoever was interested in the topic of the project. The objectives were scientific, cultural and social at the same time, and the most important events of the process were a postcard exhibition in my school and a teleconference. The partnership was so successful in the first year, that my colleague from Ecuador and I decided to continue it the following year. Not only did we meet the goals we had set, but the project had a new outcome that we could not foresee at the beginning, namely that the students took it upon themselves to do some videos of their daily school life, which they sent to each other via mail. Their letters and short movies, awkward and unprofessional though they may be, constitute the unfailing proof that teenagers all over the world are eager to know and explore, imaginative and enthusiastic when it comes to opening up to other cultures. Probably there are many other things that could be mentioned with respect to the impact this SUSI experience has had on my life and my work, but the strongest conviction is the one that I formed while in the U.S.A. about the American people: that they have set it out to believe that they are unique and exceptional, and they have the manifest destiny to start the world all over again; that they have been free to do so and they have had it in their power to do so; that is why throughout time so many have been willing to sacrifice their own ethnic identity in order to gain an American one. Because it is such a powerful, appealing and influential civilization, the American civilization is definitely worth studying. Because it presents us with such a strong example of hard work and survival, because it is so full of hope and promise, the American Dream is definitely worth dreaming. They truly are a city upon a hill.(2)
(1) (2) See authors comment on the 2006 SUSI blog,; See John Winthrops Arbella Sermon Nicoleta Andronachi Petru Rare National College Suceava


for Occupational Purposes) while, at the same time, differentiating between ESP and EGP in all teacher and learner oriented respects. The SUSI Course had a totally different goal. The 30 participants from 30 different countries present there benefitted from a complete immersion into the U.S. education system, both at university and preuniversity levels while, along with this, lectures on immigration, lobbying, cultural diversity, administration and service learning to name only the highlights came to both explain and detail upon the afore-named topics. Lectures were combined with site visits at numerous schools in the State of California, and later on with site visits to education linked locations in four more states, and with meetings with decision makers at California, Illinois and the Federal Departments of Education. The participants were also asked to complete and present a Cristina Lerch (2nd row, 2nd from left) with her class thoroughly researched project based on personal or group interests on any of the given topics as well as explain the relevance of the chosen topic to their activity and further professional development. As a participant in both courses, I feel bound to say that the perfect combination of the two has therefore met the around the world. It was clear from the needs of any professional in all respects: the very beginning that the course was supteacher was trained to teach by means of new, posed to enforce a learning by doing revolutionary methods involving the use of approach while participants, considered pre-experts, were introduced to ESP best Critical Thinking and of the 7 Best Practice Principles of ESP; the teacher-trainer was practices. The on-line course literally trained the trainer to address the grow- instructed to train teachers in the creative use ing demand for training in ESP in order to of authentic material, in curricular design and implementation as well as in material developpromote both education and economic ment; the school principal came to know of development at the local and national levels. Moreover, the course was designed new ways to address financial and administrative issues of school, of team work, of SWOT in such a way as to respond to various professional demands under the larger ESP analysis, of management and leadership; decision factors in national education systems umbrella, such as EAP (English for Academic Purposes), VESP (Vocational English got introduced to the diversity of approaches to education available in the U.S., to their pros for Specific Purposes) and EOP ( English and cons, strengths and limitations. In few

There is nothing above or beyond professional development for a committed teacher or any other genuinely devoted professional; and when such endeavor offers one the opportunity of relishing in both the highly specialized knowledge and the culture of a nation the teaching of whose native language is the ultimate goal, the experience itself turns into a dream come true. Such is my own experience as for the past two summers I have taken part in two wonderful experiences, both opportunities being offered by the U.S. Department of State: the E-Teacher Course, with focus on ESP, with the University of Oregon, in the summer of 2010, and the Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI), with Chico State University of California, in 2011. The E-Teacher Course aimed to promote ESP worldwide and thus disseminate valuable expertise to professionals

words, these two fabulous courses put it all on one plate. Were I to detail upon the best findings and results of each course, I would say the challenge comes in excess of the number of words allowed here. Yet, at a glance, I will always keep in mind the simple though highly demanding style through which we, participants from 57 countries in total in both, were introduced to the course and to its requirements: simple sets of rules and regulations, clear requests, crystal clear goals and perfect timing per activity. From the very beginning each of the courses set a certain way to go so that, irrespective of culture, religion, nationality or ethnicity (please read here: set ways of being, perception of time, deadline constraints and resistance to the new) all participants agreed to follow a mutually consented set of rules of conduct in order to make the course proceeds smooth and headache-free. Moreover, once the group established, everyone belonging to it was supposed to react, interact, contribute and offer feedback. All in all, the establishment of the perfect work environment was the very first lesson each and every one of us was taught. Now, going in details, what I have personally taken away and apply from the E-Teacher on-line course will always be connected to the Vegan Doughnut task we got. Based on a piece of text, actually an article by Randi Bjornstad, which appeared in The Register Guard on February 15th, 2010, by its full name: Vegan Doughnut/New Shop Gives the Decadent Old Treat a More Healthful Twist, the task required some of us to apply the principles of ESP teaching and devise a lesson plan starting from the text. It has not been the first time I was asked to do such a thing, yet it was the very first time I had finally had 25 different ways of approaching a piece of text from a teachers point of view. The diversity of approaches and variety of activities suggested was both outstanding and overwhelming as 25 different ways to teach one thing equals diversity, flexibility, avoidance of routine and personal commitment. I have since used this approach every time one of my colleagues comes and asks: What can I do to make this more interesting, challenging or motivating to my


students? and with good results. As for the SUSI course, well, there are many things I would really like to mention here; professionally, all of the above, for sure. Then there comes the fact that I have seen and experienced real school autonomy. Yet, above all, there remains the idea launched at the very beginning of the course: the education, as perceived since Ian Amos Comenius, i.e. a source of qualified work force, is obsolete in todays society. To put it bluntly: Shall we, educators and decision makers, be able to ever find new ways and alternative methods to educate our youth? Are we going to be able to really see how fundamentally misplaced our traditional strive

is? Are we really willing and able to propose and design a new system, adapted to the real needs of our young generation and to the needs of generations to come? This surely is a set of questions to consider in todays world where absenteeism is common place, drop-out rates are on constant increase and the mutually shared feeling is that of buzz off, adult!. We, education experts, are definitely unaware of the lingering danger of losing our pupils one by one, because of incontrollable issues or because of our sheer blindness. What I have learned during the SUSI experience is that the American system is both willing and able to experiment. From traditional schools to Montessori, charter and magnet schools, there is hardly any gap, yet

huge distance. Add to these other experimental forms of education, like the Free School, the experimented started in Albany, NY, and still the whole picture is far from being complete. The American education system is willing to reform itself. While the goals are clear, the means are still to be discovered. Nevertheless they do not refuse any potentially successful experiment. This is exactly what places them ahead of the rest of the world today; the fact that they know it and they want it. It only remains to be seen if their endeavors will lead them to be first again or not.
Cristina Lerch ELTeacher and Principal Mircea Eliade High School Reia

Being situated at the crossroads of history, as we so much like to say and believe, Romania has got used to thinking that its role has always been that of corner stone: it stopped (or hindered) the ascent of Mongolian tribes or the Ottoman Empire, it preserved elements unique to the Latin language and Roman civilization and it still is one of the hearths of Christianity. We have used all these elements as both excuses and reasons for pride. True though everything is, it does not account for the critical situation we are in. We hoped (and some of us still do) that communism, along with its mentalities and practices, would disappear overnight. Instead, it is part of the genetic structure of the nation, and it keeps reproducing itself at an alarming pace. The situation in schools and hospitals is getting worse while only a very thin layer of the political intelligentsia and their accomplices are getting better. And better. That is why, in the last decades, emigration has become a mass phenomenon, with different faces and branches, young students being one of them. It is no wonder I literally jumped at the opportunity offered by the SUSI grant. SUSI stands for the Studies of the United States Institute, which offers

American Identity (Rick Lopez, Dept. of History, Amherst College), The Women's Rights Movement in the 20th Censtudents and teachers all over the world an intensive approach to major issues concerning tury (Martha Saxton, Dept. of History), Jazz An American Treasure (Frederick Tillis, American history, culture and civilization. It was called the 10,000 $ program, so there was Retired, Dept. of Music, and Former Director hardly any chance that I would ever be able to of Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts ), Understanding U.S. Presidential Elecfly over the ocean by my own means- and tions (Frank Couvares, Bruce Laurie), Morvisit hundreds of iconic places in the States monism (Kathryn MacKay), Literature of the and talk to figures of reference in the AmeriAmerican West (Jean Cheney, Instructor of can educational, political, cultural systems. I English, Westminster College), The Image of called it pure luck, as I was the only Romathe American Cowboy and The History of the nian teacher selected for the program; in a National Parks Services (David Stanley, Deway, I felt I was, for the first time in my life, partment of English, Westminster College. an ambassador of my country. The 2008 Institute for Training and What I found very interesting was the direct Development (ITD) group was composed of 29 way in which the two planes were linked; as far as it was possible, most lectures were teachers (mostly English teachers) from 27 supported by field trips, and everything was countries, most of us for the first time in the very carefully planned to the extent that the U.S. The various themes explored in the 6visual material we were going to see was week study cycle were on two planes: acasustained by lectures given in advance (the demic and non-academic. We were able to attend lectures on American Democracy (Prof. visit to Emily Dickinsons memorial house in the afternoon, preceded by Prof. Dobsons Frank Couvares), Free Speech and National lecture in the morning; the trip to Memorial Security (Christopler Pyle), Islam in America Hall Museum in Deerfield, prepared by a (Prof. Anne Broadbridge), Education in Conpresentation of contemporary experiences of temporary America (Rosetta Cohen), Selected Native Americans, not to mention the great American Poets: Longfellow, Whitman, and journey to the West, meant to exemplify the Frost (Joanne Dobson, Professor Emerita), Contemporary Experiences of Native Americans great diversity of space and culture the ( Jean Forward, Department of Anthropology, United States enjoys.) I would like to appreUniversity of Massachusetts), Creating a Latino- ciate the high degree of professionalism all


the ITD academic directors, staff and guests displayed, so that our questions concerning more or less formal issues were immediately answered. It was all very new to me to us all; with very few exceptions, all the 29 participants were in the U.S. for the first time in their lives. Most of us if not all admitted to being used to thinking in stereotypes. But America and its people cannot be reduced to the hundreds of (low/high quality) American movies that we see in a lifetime or the books we read or even the way the news about this country are presented in the media. With this in mind, we discovered that we applied similar stereotypes to other cultures, for instance, the Muslim one; on the other hand, the Muslim participants confessed to using the same mechanisms when referring to American or European people. I think what made us aware of it was Prof. Broadbridges lecture Islam in America, that presented practically the way in which American students are confronted with the main misconceptions about the Muslim world (Jihad, the 5 pillars, terrorism, womens rights) and how they are encouraged to think critically. The 5 Muslim colleagues in the group could provide very useful support for the validity of the concepts used. It was really a TRAINING process, of adjusting attitudes, of modifying behaviors, of broadening understanding. And this is never an easy thing. In addition to that, the program was designed to be very intensive. The classes began at 8.30 and ended at 12, with a half an hour break, then we had another lecture/visit/panel of discussion in the afternoon, followed by a film or concert in the evening. Even during our trips to the West, we had lectures on the bus from Prof. Stanley or Prof. MacKay. It was not very easy to cope with such an amount of information, but I think all of us were aware that we were students and not tourists. The practical way in which everything we had gathered was put to good use

was the projects we had to present at the end of the six weeks, for which each of us chose a topic of personal interest. I, for instance, decided to speak about religious tolerance in the USA, because religion, in all its forms and manifestations, has been a pivotal point in my existence. My colleagues discussed topics such as pollution, immigration, teaching literature (Emily Dickinsons poetry), oil-related problems, Superman, etc. All our projects were gathered in a collective CD by ITD staff and distributed to all of us at our last reunion and festive lunch. Another question arises: where was the social element? How did people interact? There were two types of events: formal ones - academic lectures, panels of discussion (with members of mainstream religious communities or women leaders), discussions with American teachers, weekly research appointments (with project coordinators) and less formal ones - visits to museums, concerts, liaison committees (when groups of designated participants informed the ITD staff about the groups problems), barbecues (in Northampton and in the West), informal dinners organized by the participants having the ITD staff and their families as guests. On all these occasions, the 29 participants from 27 different countries worked as a group, sharing their ideas and experience with their colleagues, so they had the opportunity of a direct, hands-on perspective on America and its cultural background but also what it is like living in each one of the 27 countries. In our own unique ways, we were all ambassadors of our countries, so we could speak about our history, customs and traditions, make comparisons between languages of the world (Dutch and Afrikaans; Romanian, Italian and French; Polish, Russian and Bulgarian; the numerous varieties of Spanish spoken in Spain, Ecuador or El Salvador). It was a vast cultural experience with complex cultural consequences. We have created a website on Picasa and are still writing to each other (as part of a group, not individually) as often as we can, share lesson plans and exchange ideas and impressions. And finally, what is the end-

product of it all? Attending the 10-year reunion (which was taking place that very year), I had the opportunity to see how the ITD students in the previous years benefited from the program and what their practical results were. I was also impressed by the strong human and professional bonds created (some of them have been meeting every year since 1998, every year in another European city, visiting each other, hosting the American professors coming to Europe on visiting tours) and I was very happy and eager to join this amazing network. I remember Marina from Russia speaking about her project regarding Russian adopted children and Noriko from Japan reporting on the improved quality of English teaching classes in Japan as a result of the exchanges created between the Japanese and the American teachers. In a world haunted by unrest, teachers have a very important role to play, because it is up to them to help hone in their students this invaluable tool which is critical thinking. Without seeing the beauty, goodness and truth on the other side of the wall, the world can be (and unfortunately is) a very poor and mean place to live. During my visit to the States, I discovered, through so many lectures and discussions, that there can be hope, that people, by continually fighting for their fundamental rights and respecting the others rights, will finally find a way to co-exist peacefully. I came home with a heavy burden, because, in a way, experience is like a disease. You keep speaking about it until it becomes who you are. Apart from the information acquired, I was able to read between the lines and realize things about Romania and the Romanians which I had been unable to see before. We tend to be what other people tell us we are. And that is very dangerous. Because we MUST cross the fence and see if the grass is greener on the other side. And then decide for ourselves. The very process will keep us awake from any kind of dream.
Gabriela Laslu, EL Teacher Ferdinand I National College Bacu


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

Daniela Petrescu, Ion Creang School, Bacu When I was selected to take part in the international summer camp Teaching Tolerance through English, I didnt know how lucky I was. This international camp, organized August 4 - 19, 2007 in the Hungarian resort of Balatonlelle, by the Regional English Language Office (RELO) at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, and the Foundation for Democratic Youth (DIA) brought together 16 teachers and 80 students from 6 East European countries: Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Kosovo. The camp had a complex program. In the morning, while the students were taken care of by local counselors (students recruited from Hungarian universities) and involved in various workshops, the teachers were trained by two American teacher-trainers to integrate interactive methods in the English teaching in order to promote the idea of tolerance, understanding and respect for human rights, while providing quality English teaching. In the afternoon, teachers, in pairs, worked with multi-ethnic groups of students - mixed in such a way that no teacher was supposed to work with his own students - and practiced the methods, procedures and strategies acquired in the morning session. In the evening, teachers and students together took part in various cultural and leisure activities, that put them together and set a close relationship among the participants, breaking down the cultural barriers. It was only after the first days of activities that I realized I was part of a wonderful experience that would leave a trace on my professional development, a landmark that would influence my career from that point ahead. After two weeks of having learnt more than 50 new strategies of teaching vocabulary and grammar, of having been trained how to approach controversial issues like tolerance, bigotry, human rights or conflicts inside the classroom, or how to use the literary text in order to improve students behavior and communicative skills, I understood that teaching English can be an effective instrument in fighting stereotypes. At the end of this program I became more aware of the fact that, in their enthusiasm and eagerness to teach their students as much knowledge as possible, teachers might be too often tempted to emphasize what students dont know, or cant do, instead of making them aware of their progress and, thus, get them involved in their own personal development. My favorite part of this program was conflict management during the English class. Even if the topic was not totally new to me, I was really impressed to find out so many interesting and unexpected ways of dealing with the hot moments in the classroom, that, after my returning home, at school, I tried all of them with my problem students, so as to find out which of them is the most efficient. I even studied several books about conflict management and wrote an article about it in a teachers newsletter. Out of the 57 new methods of teaching I applied with my students, in the frame of an elective I conceived and taught for one school year, I have noticed that they prefer two: the index history life card and the sunshine outline. The first one is seen as an original way of introducing each other, while the other is better used for literary texts. My colleagues in school, whom I also presented some of the strategies acquired from the camp training, in various school meetings, expressed their preference for the sunshine outline, which they consider appropriate for revision lessons in all school subjects. Right after my return from the camp, I was invited to present upon the activities there at the national annual meeting of English inspectors, which was held in Bacau. It was a great opportunity for me to talk about a professional experience that impressed me so much that I was able to describe it for hours, from various points of view (training program, foreign teachers opinion, camp accommodation, trips, gifts, evaluation, leisure activities, entertainment etc.). The inspectors having agreed with me that, despite the small inconveniences in the camp, all the effort was worth it, I put into practice one my many ideas that emerged during the summer camp. Since I considered my time spent there an extraordinary experience, which was hardly possible to repeat for most of the teachers in my town, I felt that I needed to do something to offer my colleagues the chance to work with the same wonderful trainers that I met in Hungary: Drs. Mary Lou McCloskey, Georgia State University, Atlanta, U.S.A. and Lydia Stack, consultant ESL/EFL, San Francisco Unified School District. A great opportunity to talk about the Balatonlelle camp was offered to me by the American Embassy in Bucharest: I was awarded a substantial grant that allowed me to participate to the TESOL Conference in New York, in April 2008. There, together with Santha Gerg Assistant RELO for Central and Southeastern Europe, one of the organizers, Mary Lou McCloskey, Lydia Stack and two colleagues from the camp, I had a short presentation about the influence the camp had had on me and my future plans of devising a similar program in Romania. I was very pleased with the interest of teachers from several countries who attended our common presentation, and especially a colleague from Burma, who asked me a lot of questions both during the presentation and after it, declaring that she was inspired by me to do the same thing in her country. From October 2007, encouraged by the director of the Grigore Tabacaru Teacher-Training Center, Mr. Gabriel Stan, who had been very open to my initiative from the very beginning, permanently supported and assisted by Cornelia Vlaicu, Cultural Affairs Assistant at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, and inspired by the two American trainers who kindly accepted my invitation to come to Bacau, I designed a teacher training program that was accredited and implemented the very next year. The program, created for Romanian EL teachers, consisted of several modules aiming to enrich the repertoire of didactic strategies of teaching English and civic education at the same time,


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

using some contents that familiarize students with complex multicultural issues. It emerged from the idea that promoting the principles of tolerance should be taken into account from the early age, with increased attention during school period, when development in students mentality is in full swing. The program was a success. It made quite a stir in the city, a lot of newspapers presenting the activities developed at the American Corner Bacau that is hosted by the Teacher -Training Center from various perspectives: teachers, American trainers, Romanian trainers. The American trainers appreciated our teachers resourcefulness, creativity and desire to learn, while participating teachers valued the originality of the course and the special relationship created by the two

trainers during the intensive work sessions. At the end of the course the teachers became able to create and implement an elective course based on the idea of promoting tolerance in school within the English classes. The success was so great that the number of teachers who wanted to participate grew from 31 in 2008 to 125 in 2010 (which is one third of the teachers in the county of Bacau) and, thus, a selection had to be done by the Teacher-Training Center in order to create a target group that would be able to apply effectively the new knowledge and competences in the classroom. The 2010 session benefited by the presence of another two great American trainers: Kathy S. Froelich, Assistant Professor in Middle and Secondary Education, Florida State University and Erin K. Crowe Program Director, Florida Law Related Education Association. Their contribution lead to an overall improvement

of English teaching, in the respect of approaching new ideas and concepts meant to eliminate stereotypes, modify aggressive attitudes and fight any form of discrimination. I have learnt a lot from the TTTE Camp. I have learnt that being tolerant does not meant tolerating everything, that racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and discrimination of any kind can be fought in every class, via any school subject. Besides, I understood that teaching English can be a tool of teaching respect for human rights and, most of all, that any conflict in the classroom can be approached as a basis for further discussion and a means of fostering progress. So, my advice is: when you find out about a TTTE Camp or something similar organized or supported by the U.S. Embassy, apply for participation. Youll definitely enjoy it!

Cristiana-Roxana Neacu, EL Teacher, Kemal Ataturk National College, Medgidia

The purpose of the present article is to present the summer camp to which I had the opportunity to participate as a teacher of English as a foreign language. The camp took place in the lakeside town of Balatonlelle, Hungary from August 1-15, 2009, and the participants were students (ages 11-14) and EFL teachers from Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania and Slovakia. While schools and principals struggle to make up a climate deeply perceptive to all types of differences and similarities, to all types of diversity, be it race, social level, culture, language, gender, religion and ability level, it has become clear to me (due to this TTTE camp) that a more comprehensive idea of tolerance must play a key role in this process. Unfortunately, the harmful results of what usually occurs in the ab-

sence of tolerance are more then obvious. On the one hand, for many students variety appears as a source of pride, meanwhile, on the other hand, for others, being different results in shame and anxiety. TTTE in brief I believe that the above mentioned concerns contributed to the birth of the TTTE camp concept. Fortunately, the concept was implemented and due to wonderful administrators and counselors, teachers and children, NGOs and Embassies, it turned into reality. From my point of view, there are several main goals the camps programs envisage: -To bring teachers and children from different countries together to interact and share ideas of bullying and tolerance; -To provide teachers with hands-on, engaging interactive approaches to using multicultural (ethnic) stories and literature from

the United States and around the world to teach English; -To diversify teachers strategies for teaching language by creating a safe environment for diversity and thus promoting tolerance through students; -To develop strategies for solving conflicts. Activities and teaching strategies We had the opportunity to participate to many activities, the main goal being that of promoting tolerance through literature by using several teaching strategies, among which Id mention Exit Ticket: 3-2-1 Summarizer, Story Map, Role Play, Carrousel Review, Point of View. One thing that became obvious at that point for me, was that teaching tolerance, through English literature especially, increased the teacher's responsibility to guide students to important conclusions and observations. I must


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

I must confess that lessons plans were really full of substance, fun and attractive. From the very beginning, students' interest was captured. Often, students were engaged with questions, observations, and analysis that used to draw their attention to issues of tolerance and other relevant themes such as: bullying, conflict solving, etc. We had been provided with a set of strategies and guidelines for English teachers on promoting tolerance through literature. First, teachers needed to define and, if necessary, redefine important terms and vocabulary related to tolerance. Second, they also had to point out how important it is to draw students' attention to "universal patterns" of intolerance and discrimination and, most importantly, to relate these patterns to events in the present day, in their daily school activities and not only. The third, and perhaps the most important, component of teaching tolerance through English is allowing students ample time and opportunities for sharing oral and written situations and reflections. Also, another thing of great value in the teaching methods consisted of the fact that students wrote and performed dramatic adaptations of stories.

Appling activities and teaching strategies in class What children seemed to enjoy a lot were dramatic adaptations of stories. This was the main reason why I chose to teach them to be tolerant through plays. Another reason why I decided to use this teaching strategy was the advantages of drama, which include learning about topics like tolerance and diversity, and practicing social skills such as collaboration, teamwork, and confidence. Others, however, warn against attempting to teach tolerance through "simulations" which try to recreate events that are, in reality, too traumatic and complex to capture. Thus, I became aware that role-playing might serve as a valuable exercise in relation with a piece of literature. In the same time, allowing students to act out various endings to a scene from a book might serve as a starting point for a conversation on the consequences of various actions. Therefore, achieving empathy through role-play, when used to provide students a new avenue into a story, or inspiration for deeper thought, can become a powerful instructional tool. When a student commented, Roma people are weird, it gave focus to our book discussions and gave me confidence that the book I had

selected about Roma was a necessary choice. This experience highlighted the critical importance of a teachers role in selecting books that challenge students pre-existing notions. Dissemination of information This information was disseminated through a project called Teaching tolerance through English Literature for EFL teachers were present. Observations of class activities from the assisting teachers showed many favorable results of the project. This, along with the students involvement, showed that at the conclusion of the study students did have at least a basic understanding of what tolerance means. It became really impossible measuring whether or not students were able to apply what they learned into their daily interactions. Even if the sad truth is that inappropriate behaviors continued throughout and after the project development, I am sure that this does not necessarily mean that it didnt work or that students didnt learn. Thus, when a negative comment or behavior surfaced during the intervention, I didnt take it as evidence of failure, but rather saw these things as opportunities for growth.

Mona Moldoveanu, EL Teacher, Dumitru Dumitrescu High School, Buftea Last summer was a real turning point in my career, as I had the great opportunity to discover a new perspective on being a teacher of English and I found out that there are things to which we do not always pay attention when teaching our children a foreign language. It all began in March 2010, when I found out about the Teaching Tolerance Through English summer camp that the U.S. Embassy organizes in Balatonlelle, Hungary every summer (since 2006) between July 30August 15. I decided to give it a try, hoping to

be one of the selected teachers. And I was. When I found out that I and 5 of my students were going to spend 2 weeks in Hungary, I was thrilled. I couldnt believe how lucky we were. The students couldnt wait to meet children from other countries and to experience something as special as a multicultural international camp. I had no idea at the beginning, but that camp was going to be more interesting and helpful than I

would have ever expected. It gathered people from 7 Central and Southeastern Europe countries - 9 teachers, each of them with 5 students aged 9 and 13 years old, two world renowned American educators, Mary Lou McCloskey and Lydia Stack, an American camp director, Molly Staeheli and eight camp counselors. Besides them, we also had the honor of having among us two great people who made this camp


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

possible and offered us the possibility to make new friends from other countries: Lisa Harshbarger, Regional English Language Officer (RELO) and Gergo Santha, RELO Assistant.

only that, this time, the brown-eyed students were the superior ones. After the experiment, the children realized how unfair it is to be treated differently and considered inferior to others based on your eyes/ skin color. The feelings that they had experienced during this exercise were hard to forget for my students and all of them the camp counselors, go to the beach to swim changed a lot. They became more tolerant and relax before dinner. and understanding and they began fighting The day ends with a special activity, such as: for what is right and fair. karaoke, cultural night, circus, film watching, Many of my colleagues noticed show talent night, camp fire, etc. the change of behavior in those students and This multicultural summer This camp was a good occasion not started to ask me questions in order to find camp consisted of a variety of very attrac- only to learn from our American educators, out more about these kinds of activities, tive and interesting activities, both for our but also from each other new ways of teaching because they wanted to apply them with students and for us, teachers. The artistic, and approaching the educational process. their students. Seeing their interest in this athletic, theatrical and educational activi- What I particularly enjoyed was the fact that topic, I decided to organize a gathering with ties were aimed at developing our underwe learned how to deal with conflicts, bullystanding and tolerance towards each othing, how to teach our students what to do ers cultures while enhancing our English when they see bullying, how to respond to language skills. such behavior. We also found out how to use literature, songs, games and other materials in our classes, in order to make learning more fun and attractive for students. Acting was another way of teaching our students some important things, such as: empathy, social discrimination, etc. all my colleagues from the school and share Since I discovered these new ways the techniques and strategies I learned in the of teaching, I have tried to apply them in my camp. They were very impressed and deterA typical day in the camp classes with the students who were not able to mined to use these things in class. I also begins with breakfast with all the stuparticipate in the camp. I was happy to see talked to my ELT county inspector about this dents, teachers, educators, director and that tolerance, helping each other, fighting camp and, as a result, I was invited to talk counselors. The students choose from a list discrimination and being compassionate were about it at the English teachers county of activities what they are going to do for things that aroused their interest and made conference. There were many teachers interthe day. They have many options, such as: them change the way they see each other. ested in finding out details about how to dance classes, sports, handcrafts, races, In order to make them understand better what apply for the camp and asked questions on etc. discrimination means, I did Jane Elliotts how to do this. After breakfast, the teachers gather in one famous experiment blue- eyed/ brownThis camp was an experience I of the houses together with the two Ameri- eyed. I divided a group of students in two, will never forget and I want to thank all the can educators, in order to learn new half of them with blue eyes and the other half people who made it possible and offered me strategies of teaching. During our classes, with brown eyes. I told them that one day the a fresh perspective on my profession as a the students do activities with the camp blue-eyed students were considered superior teacher. counselors. to the brown- eyed ones, and that they had the At noon, everybody meets for lunch and right to do whatever they pleased, even to after that, the teachers take their groups of treat the brown-eyed students in an unfair children in one of the houses and start way. The brown-eyed students did not have their lessons, teaching the students what the same rights, they were supposed to be they learned during the morning. quiet and not question any unfair treatment Around 4, the classes are over and its they received from the blue-eyed children. beach time. The children, together with The next day, we repeated the same exercise,


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

Mdlina Lina, EL Teacher, George rnea High School, Bbeni, Vlcea The summer vacation is a special time for teachers to recharge their batteries after a successful or extended school year. This summer vacation was out of routine for me. I was given the chance to take part in the Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp in Balatonlelle, Hungary, offered by the RELO Office, part of the U.S. Embassy in Hungary. This year the happy event happened July 29 - August 13 and I am pleased to say that my participation was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Romania. The camp, this year at the 6th edition, was situated in a quaint town along the shores of Balaton Lake. Before the trip, I was very nervous. It was the first time I had left Romania and I was taking 5 students under the age of 14. The 16-hour bus ride from Southern Romania concluded in the tranquil atmosphere of Balatonlelle. This town was one of the most relaxing places I have ever been to and influenced the tone of the camp. The camp itself was very welcoming. Each area in the facility was separated and designated for a purpose. This stood in stark contrast to other educational activities I had participated in. The first day of the camp composed of multiple ice-breaking activities. At the camp, teachers were introduced to new teaching techniques, such as Carrousel ,Jigsaw or Think/Pair/Share, during our morning teaching training. It was presented by two successful American textbook writers: Lydia Stack and Mary Lou McCloskey. In the afternoon we got a chance to practice these techniques with our international students. Many of the methods were highly interactive. The teacher-trainers made me feel more confident in sharing my experiences because they had a unique way of making everyone accepted. They facilitated a community atmosphere. By the end the second week I had a strong feeling that I belonged to an international community. It time because there was something new every night: Talent Show, Disco Night, Treasure Hunt, Cultural Night, Movie Night, Camp fire or Karaoke. My students enjoyed this diversity of activities and said it gave them the chance to use English to socialize. Furthermore it was very rewarding for me to know that they keep contact with students from other countries using the internet. This has become a fun and entertaining way to practice their English long after the camp. Besides it is very satisfying to see that the students have developed leadership skills as well. They are more motivated to study English since they now see its relevance for communication. It also has instilled in them a greater confidence to follow their own moral compass. As for implementing some of this great experience on the work ground, I found it very entertaining and engaging for my students to practice Readers theater. This particular approach allowed them to be creative and to express their own emotions by being a character in the play we chose . They also responded surprisingly well to Index Life History. I assessed this activity to produce language with no written words, to incorporate visual representation and to showcase other students talents. I completed it in a full classroom of beginner or elementary students. Students worked in groups of two at the beginning and then switched to three. At the end I got motivated and occupied students. Materials needed: a piece of paper and a pen. Write your name in the center of the paper DRAW! -Upper left: Where you come from -Upper right: Your Family -Lower left: Your Interests, Hobbies, Talents -Lower right: Goals for the future. -By your name, draw something related to your name Now share...

was inspiring to see others from other nations working towards the same goals. Teachers had great respect for each others nationality and traditions. I felt accepted for who I was as a teacher coming from a small town in Romania. During the entire time I felt confident and I was able excel in practicing the methods I had been introduced to. The five students that I brought to the camp belong to different ethic groups in my community. Some of the participants are members of Roma communities in my area. The ethnic communities are often selfsegregated in my town. The marginalization of the Roma communities in Romania has become a concern in recent years since Romania entered the wider European community. I see the effects on the children of southern Romanian when they separate at school. This camp was the first time my students were forced to use the English they had learned in the classroom. The exposure to other students that only had English in common required my students to use English to communicate. The camp was also about accepting ourselves, sharing our cultures and introducing the ideas

of tolerance. The kids really saw what they had to achieve by being tolerant. Although this might sound fairy normal it is not something that is commonly taught or promoted in Romania. The camp also introduced American culture, history, and sports. This helped to engage the children in their English language education. When it comes to my students experience, the evenings were their favorite


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

Therefore I think my Romanian colleagues could benefit from what I have learned at the camp. Historically Romania has been a country that is very regional focused and things like learning about tolerance can go along here. This fall I presented the Project at the National English Teachers Conference, in Timisoara. The project will be presented at the Biannual Teachers Meeting so that other teachers in my area can gain from new teaching methods. I am very grateful for having had a great opportunity to be part of the community of teachers that have benefited over the course of six editions by their presence at the camp. There is an old

proverb that says: It doesnt cost anything for ing. This is one of the great experiences a candle to lighten another candle. The spirit shared at the camp that made the training of community could not have been accomvaluable and exceptional. plished at the camp without cooperative learn-

Adriana Naicu, EL Teacher, Izvoarele, Olt and Bullying, Conflict Resolution and other topics as interesting and challenging as the ones mentioned above. Besides these pedagogical themes that we learnt through speaking English only, since there was no other language known by everybody, there were plenty of games, either at the camp or at the Balaton lake, and special unforgettable nights such as Cultural night, Casino night, Treasure Hunt night, Movie night, Disco night and so on. However, what I liked best were the infinite icebreaker activities (toilet paper roll, two truths and one lie, line-up, prejudice etc.) and all the other activities at the English Club (carrousel, exit ticket, jigsaw, readers theatre, using picture books, I havewho has?, four corners, sunshine outline, index card life history, etc.) meant to involve each and every student, regardless of his/her proficiency level, which helped me immeasurably at school when I got back home. You will be surprised to hear that at school I actually started a new career in teaching because I am now using playful methods every time I get the

You may expect me to explain why I chose this title for my article and, in order to do that, I merely need to mention the Teaching Tolerance through English Camp which has been taking place for six years, since 2006, from July 30 to August 13, in Balatonlelle, Hungary, where I have also participated as a EFL teacher, with a five-student group from the school I teach in. We came from Romania and were extremely enthusiastic to be part of such an extraordinary and useful program. To be honest, we could not have ever imagined how busy we would be at the camp and

how much we would learn, even though we had been given information about this from the very beginning. Let me just mention that we all had to be present for breakfast time at 8 oclock in the morning, and, until 10 oclock in the evening, when we could go back to our rooms, we were all engaged in various energetic, attractive and interactive activities. It was not bad at all for we did not have time to think of anything else but what we were doing there; there was no time for missing home or families because it was all fun and learning without even being aware of it. I would also like to mention some of the topics we dealt with, guided by the two great, friendly American educators, Drs. Mary Lou McCloskey and Lydia Stack: Community Development (who are we?), Human Rights (respecting self, respecting others), Rosa Parks (civil rights heroine), Speaking Up against Bigotry, Stop the Hate


Teaching Tolerance through English Summer Camp

responsible and respond in a positive way to my giving them the chance to be teachers themselves. Another thing that I did was to provide them reading materials that is easy to understand and unbelievably attractive through colorful images and actual topics and realities. They practically enter a world where no tasks are to be done; they just read chance without being ashamed that a world literature in English and this is more teacher also knows or likes to play. Imag- than enough to make them feel proud and self ine me bringing toilet paper roll in the -confident classroom to use it for teaching purposes! At the same time, I I would say my students were simply presented materials to other startled aback when I asked them to act teachers of English and not only out something, to explain something with- and helped them with materials out paying attention to their grammar whenever they needed. I actually mistakes, to talk to each other more than have a drawer in teachers room usually and move around just to use Eng- where I put most of my new lish and do their task. The first activity materials to be used by the other that I did was Index Card Life History teachers whenever they like. More where I showed them how to draw their than that I asked some of my life story as to provide them a model. It English teaching friends to do proved very funny for them when I drew some plays on Resolving Conflicts with our my family because I am really bad at draw- students and present them at the end of the ing. So, this made them feel free to make semester as a Christmas present for everybody. mistakes of any kind and opened them to This idea crossed my mind after having acted discussion and debate. Moreover, I learned myself back at the camp with the other teachto rely on my good students and asked ers, which impressed me a lot and made me them to help the other students with exenjoy that inspiring activity. My colleagues planations, support them in and outside were really impressed by my experience and class. This way they seem to be more appreciated my offer to them. We have been

working from time to time to prepare those plays and see beautiful results before Christmas. To draw up a conclusion, I would say that I have never experienced such a wonderful time in my whole life and this may be a way to thank again of the people who believed in me and chose me and my group of students, though I am such a young teacher with little experience, to be part of their extremely useful teaching activities

which not only overwhelmed me but also helped me afterwards at school. The Teaching Tolerance through English Camp gave a teacher like me, who gets no support whatsoever, an impulse that this career can be great, pleasant and satisfactory with a little care and tolerance that must start with ourselves.

Welcome to the State Alumni website! State Alumni is your global community: a dynamic and interactive networking experience for all past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. Stay connected with your exchange experience and explore the various opportunities available to you from State Alumni. Find fellow alumni in your country and in all regions of the world. Share your ideas, learn from your fellow alumni and find out about alumni activities being implemented in communities the world over. Focus on your professional development by searching for job and grant opportunities, and post your rsum or academic articles. Prepare your research through State Alumnis Online Resource Center, and access over 20,000 U.S. and international pe riodicals, newspapers, and more! Grow, stay connected, and expand upon your exchange experience. Join Now! Become a fan of StateAlumni on Facebook


The American Corners Program seeks to promote understanding and cooperation between the United States of America and Romania, by providing accurate and diverse information about the United States on a variety of topics, that will help expand communication and exchange between our two countries.

American Corners are rooms set aside in their historical evolution and as part of regional libraries in nine counties for collec- contemporary American society. tions of American materials and programming. American Corners are interested in interacting directly with the public by using its American Corners offer collections of resources in conducting programs, including materials on topics covering English teach- student advising, art exhibits and profesing, U.S. culture, lifestyle, and values both in sional development training.

American Corner Bacau - Casa Corpului Didactic Grigore Tabacaru, St. Oituz 24, Bacau American Corner Baia Mare - Biblioteca Judeteana Petre Dulfu, Bd. Independentei 4B, Baia Mare American Corner Bucuresti Biblioteca Nationala Pedagogica, St. Zalomit 2, Bucuresti American Corner Cluj Napoca - Biblioteca Judeteana Octavian Goga, Calea Dorobantilor 104, Cluj-Napoca American Corner Constanta - Universitatea Ovidius, Facultatea de Litere, Aleea Universitatii 1, Constanta American Corner Craiova - Biblioteca Judeteana Alexandru si Aristia Aman, St. M. Kogalniceanu 9, Craiova American Corner Iasi - Biblioteca Judeteana Gh. Asachi, Piata Palat 1, Iasi American Corner Timisoara - Biblioteca Judeteana Timis, Piata Libertatii 3, Timisoara American Corner Targu Mures - Biblioteca Judeteana Mures, St. George Enescu 2, Targu Mures English Language Programs For non-U.S. Participants E-Teacher Scholarship Program International English teaching professionals take one of seven online graduate level classes through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Oregon. English Access Microscholarship Program English language skills provided to talented 1418 year-old students from disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive summer sessions. Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program Provides opportunities for young English teachers from overseas to refine their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of American culture while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at colleges and universities in the United States. Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program International secondary school teachers participate in a six-week professional development program.

Shaping the Way We Teach English is a teacher-training course consisting of fourteen video-based modules with a supporting training manual and supplementary resources. Each module is a ten to fifteen minute video segment with examples from classrooms and educators around the world. Each module also has corresponding readings and support materials that can be printed and copied. Some of these examples are from primary level classes, while others are from secondary and post-secondary level classes. Introduction (PDF, Video) Module 1: Contextualizing Language (PDF, Video) Module 2: Building Language Awareness (PDF, Video) Module 3: Integrating Skills (PDF, Video) Module 4: Pairwork/Groupwork (PDF, Video) Module 5: Learner Feedback (PDF, Video) Module 6: Managing Large Classes (PDF, Video) Module 7: Learning Strategies (PDF, Video) Module 8: Authentic Materials (PDF, Video) Module 9: Critical & Creative Thinking (PDF, Video) Module 10: Alternative Assessment (PDF, Video) Module 11: Individual Learner Differences (PDF, Video) Module 12: Younger Learners, K-5 (PDF, Video) Module 13: Peer Observations (PDF, Video) Module 14: Reflective Teaching (PDF, Video) Appendix, Additional Handouts (PDF)

Classroom Management Idea Book

A manual and idea book on how to manage classrooms, produced by the Peace Corps (PDF).

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

We encourage the participation of all individuals and institutions interested in international education and exchange activities, including schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, associations, and community organizations.