USIA English Language Programs

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


Report on Academic Specialist Visit to the
Dominican Republic:
June 6 - 13, 1999

By H. Douglas Brown, San Francisco State University


About the Specialist

H. Douglas Brown is Professor of English at San Francisco State University (SFSU) where he is Director of the American Language Institute. Previously, he taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois. He was the President of TESOL in 1980-81. From 1970-79 he was the Editor of Language Learning. He has lectured across the USA and internationally.

Professor Brown has published many articles and books on second language acquisition and pedagogy. Some of his publications include:

  • Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (Third Edition, 1994)
  • Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (1994)
  • Readings on Second Language Acquisition (co-edited with Susan Gonzo, 1994)
  • Breaking the Language Barrier (1991)
  • A Practical Guide to Language Learning (1989)
  • Strategies for Success: A Practical Guide -- a strategies guide for ES/FL learners (in press, 1999)
  • Vistas -- a multiple level ESL basal series (1992)
  • Voyages -- an extensively modified and adapted new version of the above series (1998)
  • Challenges -- a book on academic reading and writing (co-authored with Deboarah Cohen and Jennifer O'Day, 1991).

Professor Brown's current research interests center on strategies-based instruction, classroom language assessment, and relating second language acquisition research findings to classroom methodology.


Areas of Specialization

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Teacher Training
Teaching Methodology
Second Language Acquisition
Classroom Language Assessment
Strategies-Based Instruction


Trip Report

One of the benefits I always reap in a set of seminars and workshops like these is an opportunity to understand the local concerns and issues of teachers in their specific location. In the Dominican Republic (DR), I was again impressed by the demand for English as witnessed by the thousands of students attending classes at the two centers I visited. I appreciated being able to further comprehend some of the needs for teachers to be offered thorough grounding in their methodology, and to be able to reflect on their own teaching practices. The DR is an ideal country in which to teach English communicatively. There are many opportunities available to students right outside their classroom doors for using English meaningfully. The broadcast and print media offer some opportunities, but there is a cultural awareness of English speaking culture that fosters the use of English conversationally "on the street," and students can avail themselves of those contexts.

I believe the two conferences at the Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano in Santiago (CCDA) and Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano in Santo Domingo (ICDA) were extremely beneficial to teachers. They were able to learn about some current practices in the profession, and to put those practices into immediate action in their classrooms. The audiences were very receptive to the sessions I gave. In particular, the concepts of strategies-based instruction, teacher collaboration, and developing a broad set of principles for classroom practice were useful additions to their repertoires.

I was particularly pleased with the emotional response of teachers to my call for teachers to be socially responsible, to take seriously their responsibility to help students to have a vision of better and more humane world, and through language, to promote international communication for peaceful resolution of conflict.

I am grateful for the professionalism shown especially by the CCDA in Santiago, namely through Don McLean and Augustin Francisco, both of whom are to be congratulated on their fine work. Jesus Cabrera and others at the ICDA in Santo Domingo were warmly welcoming of the specialists. I was particularly grateful to the US Embassy staff, especially Laura Barrera, who was most kind and diligent in seeing to my needs while in the DR.

Further conferences of this kind are well worth the US dollar allocations in order to bring teachers in the DR the opportunity to work with experts from the USA and to enrich their classroom methodology.



Suggested Bibliography

H. Douglas Brown. 1994. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. Prentice Hall Regents.

H. Douglas Brown. 1994. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Third Edition. Prentice Hall Regents.


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