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TESOL Italy Newsletter: Summer 2011

TESOL Italy Newsletter: Summer 2011

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Read about TESOL's Electronic Village Online (EVO).
Read about TESOL's Electronic Village Online (EVO).

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Published by: Sandra Annette Rogers on Aug 02, 2011
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Vol. XXI, No. 3, June-July 2011
(continued on p.10)
by Stefano MochiTESOL-Italy President
In the concluding remarks to his seminalwork,
Foundations of Language
(2003), R.Jackendoff rejects the idea that linguisticentities are instantiated in the brain assymbols or representations. He looks at them,instead, as structures which are ‘built up of discrete combinatorial units’ (p.422) of various kinds: phonological, syntactic,semantic and so on. What Jackendoff proposes is a view of language consisting of a series of independent componentshierarchically aligned to each other and tiedtogether by interface systems (e.g. the pointsat which these independent componentsinteract among each other).Borrowing a metaphor from house-building,the architecture of language sketchily illus-trated above appears as a hierarchical con-figuration which the speaker sets up ‘brick by brick’, bricks forming walls, walls provid-ing the pillars on which the upper floors restand so on up to the roof. The metaphor fromhouse-building must not be misleading sinceJackendoff himself calls his work ‘Founda-tions of language’ and the chapter in whichhe presents it as a set of units ‘ParallelArchitecture’.Let’s see, then, in what way language acqui-sition - in particular second language acqui-sition - and house building may share com-mon properties.Different countries have unique ways of building houses but whatever country wethink of, we expect houses to have founda-tions, pillars, floors, roofs and so on. Let’sconsider the latter to be the ‘properties’ of the house, not easily detectable from theoutside. What we certainly know, however,is that various operations are needed toassemble all these elements into place, fromthe foundations to the roof.We also expect houses to have spaces inwhich to sleep, to eat, to rest, to wash, bethey straw huts in the savannah, igloos inthe North Pole or skyscrapers in New York.However, what these houses differ in, is theIt is my pleasure to share our excitementabout TESOL-Italy’s upcoming NationalAnnual Convention. As you already knowit will be held in November on Friday the18
and Saturday the 19
in Rome.After a lengthy investigation of variouscentrally located sites, we opted to holdour convention at the same location aslast year, the SGM conference center inRome. This center is able to comfortablyaccommodate this event including all theplenary sessions, the numerous concur-rent sessions, the social events and thebook exhibition.The title of this year’s convention,
Words& Worlds
, highlights the dynamic rela-tionship of “words” through languageand communication, and “worlds” of di-verse people all living and learning to-gether. All language teachers know whatthis entails; in fact they are experts in connecting worlds through the use of language. The language classroom, a special culturally and socially diverseenvironment, is a place where words, their meanings and messages are investigat-ed, challenged, understood, and shared.The four subtitles, or subthemes cover different aspects of the world of languageteaching that have been at the forefront of much recent discussion.
Content through language
, our first subtitle, looks at the trend in language teaching andlearning towards more than just language. Many language courses also involvelearning other things such as science, history, or art.
 Identity and Diversity
, thesecond subtitle examines the human element to our profession: multiculturalclassrooms, intercultural communication, respect for community and individual-ity.
 Primary Language Education
, our third subtitle looks at how initial languagelearning experiences pave the way to successful language acquisition. Languagepolicies in Italy and throughout Europe are part of this scene as they affect theoutcome.
 Motivation in Language Learning
, our fourth subtitle, is linked to theother three in that motivation to learn must be continuously sustained anddeveloped at all times in everyone and everywhere.Now for a little preview of our plenary speakers.We are pleased to announce that
Prof Deborah Short, Ph.D
, a senior researchassociate at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington DC will be address-ing the first and the third subtitle with a talk on recent research for teachers on howbest to integrate language and content instruction from primary on up.
John Hird
is a teacher, teacher trainer and author based in Oxford, UK who is being sponsoredby Oxford University Press. His talk will also address the first subtitle, Contentthrough Language, by exploring words and grammar used in the real world.
Geraldine Mark
, an experienced teacher and author based in the UK is sponsoredby Cambridge University Press. She will be addressing the second subtitle,Identity and Diversity, by looking at profiling grammatical competence through
(continued on p.6)
by Beth Ann BoyleTESOL – Italy Vice President
 Foreign Language Learninglike moving to a new house?
In This Issue:
Foreign Language Learning p. 1Words & Worlds p. 1From the Editor p. 2Food for Thought p. 3Buzz-Words p. 4Spell Event p. 5Webwatch p. 6Translation in Love p. 7IWB p. 8The EVO p. 9Unification p.11TESOL-Italy Groups p.12
TESOL-Italy Newsletter 
June-July 2011
TESOL Italy Newsletter
è unbollettino informativo a circo-lazione interna dell’associa- zione TESOL-Italy. Non è invendita, ma viene distribuitogratuitamente ai membri del-l’associazione.Supplemento a Perspectives,Fall 2008
Via Boncompagni, 200187 Roma.Tel 06 4674 2432fax 06 4674 2478e-mail: tesolitaly@gmail.comweb page: www.tesolitaly.org
TESOL-Italy membership dues for the year 2011:1) ordinary members:
• 25,00
;2) students under 30 and SSISstudents:• 15,00;3) supportes, schools, univer-sities, agencies:• 60,00(including subscription to
En-glishTeaching Forum).Subscription to English Tea-ching Forum
(4 yearly issues):• 15,00.
TESOL Italy Newsletter
 Daniela Cuccurullo.
Editorial board:
 Beth AnnBoyle, Lucilla Lopriore, Mary BethFlynn, Marina Morbiducci, Stefa-no Mochi, Franca Ricci Stephen-son, Romina Noce, Anna Rosa Iraldo.
TESOL-Italy’s mission is todevelop the expertise of thoseinvolved in teaching English tospeakers of other languages, andto foster professional growth andactive participation in languageteaching. Its mission includespromoting communityunderstanding of the role of language in a progressivelychanging environment whilerespecting individuals’ languagerights.To achieve this TESOL-Italy
encourages access to andstandards for English languageinstruction, professionalpreparation, continuing educationand student programs;
links groups to enhancecommunication among languagespecialists;
produces high quality programs,services and products
promotes advocacy to furtherthe profession.
DTP Claudio Giacinti
From the Editor's Table
TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Italy
TESOL-Italy, an affiliate of TESOL International, founded by Mary Finocchiaro, is a non-profitorganization of teachers of English in Italy. Its purposes are to stimulate professionaldevelopment, to disseminate information about research, books and other materials related toEnglish, and strengthen instruction and research.TESOL-Italy organizes a national convention every year .Members receive
TESOL-Italy Newsletter 
the academic journal of theassociation.
Stefano Mochi
; Beth Ann Boyle
Vice President 
; Lina Vellucci
Second Vice President 
; Raffaele Sanzo (MIUR)
 Honorary President 
; Patrizia Petruccetti
Office Assistant 
(currently Romina Noce).
Ex officio members:
 David Mees
, Cultural Attaché, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy,Rome;
 Maria Paola Pierini
, Cultural Affairs Assistant, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy,Rome.
Executive Committee:
Elisabetta Burchietti, Letizia Cinganotto, Paolo Coppari(
President 2000-2002)
, Letizia Corbucci, Daniela Cuccurullo, Gabriella D’Amico, RosannaFiorentinoMorozzo
(President 1998-2000)
, Mary Beth Flynn
(President 2006-2008)
, MariaPia Foresta, EnricoGrazzi
(President 2002-04)
, Annarosa Iraldo Invernizzi
(President 1994-96)
Ritana Leo, LucillaLopriore
(President 1996-98)
, Maria Grazia Maglione, Rosella Manni,Paola Mirti, Marina Morbiducci(
President 2008-2010),
Carroll Mortera
(President 2004-2006),
Franca Ricci Stephenson
(President 1992-94)
, Simonetta Romano, Cosma Siani
(President 1990-92)
National Committee:
Executive Committee members and:
 Anna Maria Basiricò,
Gary Belayef 
, Perugia;
 Daniela Calzoni
, Arezzo;
 Daniela Cuccurullo,
 Maria Irene Davì,
 Maria Donata Fragassi
, Foggia;
 Maurizio Giacalone
, Marsala, TP;
 Annavaleria Guazzieri,
 Esterina La Torre
, Mondragone, CE;
 Anna Mazzeo
 Anna Maria Nanni,
 Maria Antonietta Ortenzi,
Viviana Padovano,
 Ninfa Pagano,
 Luisa Pantaleoni
, Bologna;
 Erricoberto Pepicelli
, Beltiglio,BN;
 Anna Franca Plastina
, Rende, CS;
Giovanna Saggio
, Caltanissetta;
Paola Vettorel,
In vacant or in pensive mood”
by Anna Rosa Iraldo Invernizzi
Which is the best word to use when we want to wish somebody a restful and happy periodfar from everyday worries? Browsing Wikipedia or a paper or online dictionary we find‘holiday’:“the word
comes from the Old English word
. The word originallyreferred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest orrelaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school” (Wikipedia).Or we look up the word ‘vacation’ in the Oxford Dictionary and we find:“(US)any of theintervals between terms in universities and law courts; the long vacation (in the summer)”.But the full meaning of what this period should be is conveyed by the Italian “vacanza: da
, dal verbo
, latino vacãre, esser vuoto”(Wikipedia).It is this idea of ‘essere vuoto’ that I find most appealing.If we are ‘vuoti’/void/empty, we can make room for the ‘new’ and get ready to start anotherschool year with a renewed, refreshed attitude.We can get ready for the November conventionas Boyle suggests in her article or, as Stephenson says in her ‘Food 4 thought’, look at newsarticles from the perspective of a teacher who wants to start a
 process [which] may disrupt the normative patterns of society and open up spaces for new voices to be heard;
in this waywe can keep motivation high as Lopriore’s ‘Buzz Word’ recommends.Plenty of suggestions and materials can be found and critically read in this first newslettercompletely under the responsibility of the new editor, ranging from the reflections of TESOL-Italy president’s article to the prompts for teachers of Corbucci’s ‘Webwatch’, and from theteachers’ manifold experiences with students – see the ‘Creative Writing Contest’ by Ortenziand Maglione, the ‘Spellevent Report’ by Vellucci or Morbiducci’s ‘Parallel Stories’ - to theupdating on technology by Ciaffaroni and by the EVO group.All this needs new room in our minds. So, buone vacanze!
TESOL-Italy Newsletter 
June-July 2011
 Food for thought
 From TESOL publications
 by Franca Ricci Stephenson
Throughout the years TESOL Italy has indicated teachers the importance of exposing students to meaningful activities withthe aim of developing their language competence. We have focussed on the nature of reading and the process it entails,we have insisted on the importance of reading strategies in our training courses, we have repeatedly suggested integratinglistening, speaking and writing with reading. Therefore, we are not totally surprised by the article published in the latestissue of TESOL Journal dated March 2011,
Using News Articles to Build a Critical Literacy Classroom in an EFL Setting
”,by Yujong Park 
, about developing reading strategies and critical thinking. What I found worth considering is exactly thefact that it links reading strategies and critical thinking. Not a new concept, but one teachers should not forget or neglect.As we wrote in February’s Newsletter, quoting John Beautmont on TESOL Journal of December 2010, “
critical thinkingis not a fad or trend and needs to be studied and developed, as it represents a real challenge to teachers
”.In her article Ms Park reports on a research carried in an EFL reading class in which students “read and respond” to articlesfrom The New Yorker. The research shows that “
when taught to be critical readers of the text, the EFL participants wereable to actively use linguistic resources from the article as well as their own cultural and personal experience to support their ideas and raise questions
.” Magazine articles supply the linguistic material to develop both the linguistic competenceand the students’ culture and personal experience. EFL readers, therefore, far from being passive readers, can be stimulatedto express their opinions through debates and response papers. Appropriate reading strategies may lead students not onlyto read a text, but also to respond to its challenges through writing or discussion.The research was carried out in South Korea, with the assumption that teaching reading should involve meaningful practice.Newspapers and magazines were chosen as they offer interesting topics which can be discussed in critical conversationsin class, with the possibility of developing various cultural and personal interpretations.In South Korea English is apparently the most important tool for dealing with global communication, and one of the issuesthe research investigated was
how including critical literacy pedagogy in the EFL classroom through a variety of textual practices, including reading news articles, interacting with peers, and writing reaction papers, may help createawareness of normative patterns of society [....] In fact, when teachers share critical texts with students and talk withthem about the issues raised in the readings, the process may disrupt the normative patterns of society and open up spaces for new voices to be heard.”
The research analyses the steps taken in the EFL critical literacy reading classroom, the way the students engaged in criticalthinking through the processes of interaction and writing about the article, and draws conclusions about the benefits andchallenges of building a critical literacy curriculum.The articles selected contained several critical topics, but the report was limited to the discussion about the very delicateissue of “brain-enhancing” drugs. The students were asked to read articles about this topic, where different opinions werevoiced: supporters of brain-enhancing drugs argue that these drugs allow people to reach their full potential, while criticswarn that the drugs have not been tested for off-label uses and that some may be addictive or harmful.The research followed the format of action research, as “
action research refers to the type of teacher-initiated researchin which teachers look critically at their classrooms for the purpose of improving their own teaching and enhancing thequality of student learning
”. The critical issue presented in the article raised wide and active discussions, guided byquestions prepared by the “discussion leaders” in collaboration with the teacher. “
Unlike simple comprehension questions,these questions
required students to be critically responsive to the issues presented in the article. Not only did studentshave to understand the article, they also had to apply what they read to their own situational contexts. In answering thesequestions, for example, students had to think about the differences and similarities between Korean and U.S. societies. In the process, they also became aware of the competitive Korean educational context.”
The action research shows also that the students improved their use of the language in supporting their views; for example,they learned how to distance themselves from opinions through the use of conditionals and adverbs and included culturaland personal experience to support their main claim, while recycling lexical items from the article.With her report Ms. Park strongly reinforces our belief that newspaper and magazine articles can be useful pedagogical toolsfor promoting critical thinking in the EFL reading classroom.I would like to close quoting from the article a few lines I strongly agree with:
“As society continues to evolve into a more globalized world, teaching higher order skills to students will be required  for the workforce of the future. Because it is so important that students be able to think and process at the levels of analysis,synthesis, evaluation, and interpretation, developing these skills must not be lost in the broader context of simplecomprehension. In this sense, this article provides a meaningful contribution to future directions for teaching literacy
More About Critical Thinking:Reading Strategies to Build a Critical Literacy Classroom
(continued on p.6)

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Well developed TESOL Newsletter
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Sandra Annette Rogers added this note
Dear Moderators of #2012evo, you can read p.9 for a summary of EVO 2011
Sandra Annette Rogers added this note
Sandra Rogers co-authored an article about TESOL's Electronic Village Online (EVO) with her colleagues who provided the free professional development sessions in January and February of 2011. (See page 9.) Read about the various ways these educators are integrating technology into the classroom via Web 2.0 tools and social media. Topics included SL, PLNs, multiliteracies & digital storytelling.
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