Report on Academic Specialist Visit to
Malaysia: December 5-19, 1998
J. Anderson, Brigham Young University
About the Specialist
Neil J. Anderson is an associate professor at Brigham Young
University in Provo, Utah. He has been at BYU for 1 year as a member of the Department of
Linguistics in the MA TESOL Program. Prior to his appointment at BYU he taught in the MA
TESL program at Ohio University. Dr. Anderson received his BA degree in Spanish from
Brigham Young University in 1979 and his MA in Teaching English as a Second Language in
1981. He received his Ph.D. in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University
of Texas at Austin in 1989. Dr. Anderson has travel and lectured in Brazil, Costa Rica,
Honduras, Indonesia, Morocco, Namibia, Panama, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand,
and the United States. He has authored an intermediate reading text in the Tapestry
series entitled, Real Contexts. He also has a new teacher training text that is
part of the TeacherSource series entitled, Exploring Second Language Reading:
Issues and Strategies.
here to visit Neil Anderson's homepage.
Areas of Specialization
Second language reading, teaching and learning styles,
language learning strategies, multiple intelligences, and second language evaluation and
I presented to 8 groups of educators with an audience of
approximately 325 second language scholars. From these many sessions I came away with six
impressions. First, I was extremely impressed with the level of English language skills of
the teachers and teacher trainers. The high quality of teachers places Malaysia in a
strong position to continue moving forward with English language education.
Second, I was also impressed with the sincere desire of the
teachers and teacher trainers to improve the reading skills of the Malaysian students at
all levels of education. In particular the sessions on improvement of reading rate were
well received. The Dean at the University of Malaysia had just participated in a major
study of the reading habits of Malaysia school children. With the release of that report
there is expected to be a major focus on reading skills within the Malaysia education
A third impression I came away with the potential for a
true multiplier effect. Many of the teachers and teacher trainers who attended the
sessions indicated that they would be sharing the information presented in the seminars
and would contact me with further questions and comments and the ideas on second language
reading were implemented into the classrooms.
Fourth, a major focus of the sessions was the appropriate
use of the USIA publications of American Literary Classics. This series of short stories
was used at each of the sites. I believe that there will be an increased request for these
materials. Teachers have some activities that they can actually use with these short
I participated in two interviews with the press: one in
Kuala Lumpur with a reporter from The Star and a second with a reporter from The Daily
Express in Kota Kinabalu. I believe that these articles will give a favorable impression
of the United States and the teaching of reading to second language learners.
Finally, I was invited to return to Malaysia by two groups.
The University Putra Malaysia hosts a biannual conference for English language educators.
They have invited me to return in May 2000 to speak at their conference. Also, the Dean at
UNITAR, the new cyber-university in Kuala Lumpur asked about my availability in June 1999
to speak at a conference that they will host. Either return visit will reflect positively
on the United States Information Agency.
Anderson, N. J. 1996. Real contexts. Boston, MA:
Heinle & Heinle.
Anderson, N. J. 1999. Exploring second language reading:
Issues and strategies. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.
Bamford, J., & R. R. Day. (1998). "Teaching
reading". Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 124-141.
Beach, R., & S. Hyunds. (1996). "Research on
response to literature". In Handbook of Reading Research, edited by R. Barr,
M. L. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, & P. D. Pearson. Pp. 453-489. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Chen, H. C., & M. F. Graves. (1995). "Effects of
previewing and providing background knowledge on Taiwanese college students' somprehension
of American short stories". TESOL Quarterly, 29, 4, pp. 663-686.
Hudson, T. (1998). "Theoretical perspectives on
reading". Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 43-60.
Perkins, K. (1998). "Assessing reading". Annual
Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 208-218.
Shanahan, T. (1997). "Reading-writing relationships,
thematic units, inquiry learning . . . In pursuit of effective integrated literacy
instruction". The Reading Teacher, 51, 1, pp. 12-19.
Neil Anderson's homepage
Syllabus: New Directions in Education Technology
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