TESOL = Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
I consider TESOL Conventions / Conferences to be one of the best values in professional development opportunities for ESOL / EFL educators, and consider myself privileged to have attended six TESOL conventions so far [Baltimore, Md; Longbeach, CA; Tampa, FL; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; Boston, MA].
This year’s convention was held in Boston.
It is my intention to post ongoing reflections of my TESOL experiences in this blog.
One of the many opportunities offered at TESOL conventions are guided site visit tours. These do require payment of an additional fee (above the basic convention fee), but have proven to be among my most valued TESOL experiences.
The Framingham Adult ESL program is housed in a beautiful old stone church: a rabbit warren! Here are my notes from the visit — with the disclaimer comment that I hope all of this info is accurate, but that it is what I believe I learned, and it is possible I incorrectly heard some info…
• Students at the center created a pamphlet The Stress of Immigration, Adjusting to Life in America”
In this pamphlet, students researched and shared information and tips:
Find an ESOL class as soon as possible!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Know that your first job may not be what you expected or hoped for.
Be patient with yourself and your family.
Information on changes in food, not having enough money, working very long hours, finding schools for your children, dealing with health issues, and more is included in this pamphlet.
• 3 full-time staff, not teachers: ALL teachers = part-time
• 650+/- learners registered now, 550 on waiting lists!
• Lottery to determine who / how will get into classes
• Classes scheduled mornings and eves (afternoons not reliably full / not convenient time for many)
• Scheduled around bus times, to accommodate students’ needs
• Everyone has a break at the same time = food sold by students for student scholarships = bake sales (Brazilian baked goods while we were there)
• Even two hour classes take breaks = EVERYONE at the same time; fun!
• Used to offer childcare; no longer do ($$, funding grant ran out)
• Pronunciation Power = site license for computer lab use – all classes
• (computer lab not available other times, only set up for supervised use = computer cart with computers
• Pronunciation Power http://www.englishelearning.com/ is the program they are using (and liking very much – students and teachers) – they used a Verizon grant to purchase
• ****TEACHERS paid ONE HOUR of prep time for every two hours taught!!!! (6 hours teaching = 3 hours prep; nice!) PLUS paid 1 ½ hours per week “counseling” time
• But hourly pay = low, no other benefits
• *****Notebooks/binders provided to ALL teachers = include ALL FORMS, due dates, and instructions for the entire 5 month session! “Everything” spelled out there and queries answered with “See page ___ of your book!” – saves a LOT of time over the long run (though obviously intensive preparation to get them ready)
• Same director (I think) since 1984 [not sure this is correct]
• All classes FREE to learners
• Counseling logs = date / question asked / info given / follow-up? notes = used for planning, for intervention, for grant applications
• They bill themselves as a learning and support center (I like this)
• ***BANKS – not just ‘their’ bank, but all banks = their funding champions – find a newsworthy story and use it! Find an ‘in’ then let banks compete against each other to support and sponsor whole classes, individual students, annual book supplies, transportation for field trips, more
• Green slips! (see photo) Outside each classroom door are dreaded “green slips” – any student 5? 10? minutes late to class MUST fill out a green slip and cannot enter class without a completed green slip to give the teacher. 3+ slips (or 4+ or 5+ = you decide) means a student must see the director one-to-one before returning to class. [see Voicethread]
• All students sign a contract
• Their class sizes 19 to 23
• No certification required (yet) in Massachusetts for adult ed
• MAPT (state assessment test used)
• Teacher pay only $23.17 per hour (low) but the mandatory paid prep time helps a bit…
As you read these notes of mine, and review the Voicethread, what questions occur to you? Is there anything here you would like to ask me about (reactions, questions welcomed)?
I love the way these infographics pushed my reflecting about personal and social learning networks — what they mean to me — what they appear to mean to others — how my world has changed because of them.
What are your views about mental health diagnoses?
Have you known friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances who have been diagnosed (that you are aware of)?
Would you be likely to make intentional changes in your relationships with diagnosed co-workers or acquaintances?
What motivates your response to this question?
If you were in a gathering, and became aware that one of the members of the gathering was acting in a manner that bespoke mental instability, what actions would you consider taking? Why? (What in your upbringing, your prior experiences, your media-fed knowledge bank, whatever feeds that likely choice of action)?
Why is there such a stigma surrounding the diagnosis of a mental health issue? Why is recovery considered impossible (to some, many? people)? What does it take to change these probable misconceptions?
These questions, and many more, were raised in my mind last night.
Several women and men shared bits of their stories, their “non-linear” walks through the fire to better places, their hopes (and what keeps them able to cling to those hopes).
The evening was powerful.
This is a book I hope to see in doctors’ offices upon future visits, in hospital waiting rooms, in women resource centers, as well as on the bookshelves and coffee tables in homes and other places I visit.
It is a book I will read, ponder, share, learn from.
A very special evening, a very special experience…
Well, hopefully you’ll be reading more blogposts here, more regularly, from today onward!
Please forgive a little boasting: I did it! I successfully completed my master’s in Adult Education and Training! Done!
It has been so nice to have a few more hours each week to try and catch up on other things, to “take time to smell the flowers,” visit with friends, clean the house, complete some to-do list items, and so on!
Posting on my blogblossoms blog is another item on my ongoing to-do list.
Flowers brighten my world and get me through difficult days. I’d like to share some photos with you:
Mom saw a photo and copied the idea of stacking terra cotta pots of different sizes and planting them with portulaca — they’ve been so beautiful on mom and dad’s deck this summer. And the window hummingbird feeder has been delightful to watch (suction cup attachment to window pane).
Just this past week, many leaves have turned orange, red, yellow — summer is fading… glorious autumn will soon be here!
Here’s hoping that you’ll find time, make the time, to enjoy at least a few special moments admiring nature, sharing smiles with friends and/or family, feeding your spirit…
Below is a VoiceThread presentation of my Action Research Proposal — the culminating project of my Master’s in Adult Education and Training research. “Implementing Worthwhile and Effective Online Learning Opportunities for Adult ESOL Learners”
The original PowerPoint is much ‘cleaner’ and I am happy to share it with you upon request.
The VoiceThread has the PowerPoint slides uploaded with short audio clips inserted on several slides. You may leave your comments directly on the VoiceThread or post a comment here.
I’m hoping to be posting much more frequently to this blog again in coming weeks, months, years.
I welcome and look forward to your reactions, questions, suggestions, comments,
I am busy. I am feeling overwhelmed. This will not be an extremely substantive post.
But I do want to share a few important-to-me updates:
* Our daughter is busy job hunting, has had several telephone interviews! [She is in San Diego now, but applying all over the States]. She’ll fly to Tallahasee this Thursday for a follow-up face-to-face interview. She’ll fly here to VA in a few weeks, and from here will drive to more face-to-face follow-up interviews; exciting times for a newly graduated (Master’s!) young adult. I am extremely proud of her!
* My parents recently relocated to live near us; a very traumatic move. After living lifelong in NJ, they are now VA residents, having moved into a much smaller home located approximately 14 minutes’ drive from our home. This move has significantly impacted weekly routines and planning.
* I have begun work as a consultant for EnglishCafe [http://EnglishCafe.com]. Here’s a link to
* My Master’s in Adult Education and Training should be completed this August (one more class to go!)
* Twitter (my Twitter ID = hollydilatush) continues to be an important part of my professional development and PLN (personal learning network). The NIFL listservs have had very rich discussions recently as well. This July I will attend the NOVA VAILL Conference in Fairfax, VA.
* Warren (my wonderful husband) and I claim 29 years of marriage as of June 21, 2009. He’s been incredibly supportive–cooking, shopping, encouraging–throughout these recent trying months… and they haven’t been easy months for him, either. His late April – early January employer of the past eight years (Warren’s also a tax consultant, and quite busy completing others’ tax returns late January through mid-April each year) is closing their doors at the end of June. This means no more health insurance benefits for us, a disturbing, challenging, economic burden soon to descend upon us.
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