USIA English Language Programs

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


Report on Academic Specialist Visit to Indonesia
June 28 - July 20, 1999

By Mary Ann Christison, University of Utah


About the Specialist

Mary Ann Christison is a professor in the Linguistics Department at University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. She teaches courses in the graduate programs and coordinates the K-12 teacher education programs for ESL certification and endorsement. Before joining the full-time faculty at the University of Utah, Christison was a Professor ESL and Director or the International Center at Snow College in Utah. Dr. Christison received her BA degree in Theater and Spanish at Utah State University and two MA degrees--one in Communication and one in TESL, from that same institution. Her Ph.D. is in English/Linguistics from the University of Utah. Dr. Christison has traveled and lectured to EFL teachers in over 20 countries, including Morocco, France, Canada, Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Thailand, Malaysia, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, and Germany. She consults for many public school districts within the United States on designing curricula for ESL students and L2 teacher educators. She has authored over 85 articles and 15 books and serves on several editorial advisory boards. She served as TESOL 1995 Convention Chair in Long Beach, California, USA and as TESOL President 1997-98. Christison is also on the Board of Trustees of the TESOL International Research Foundation (TIRF).


Areas of Specialization

Second language acquisition, learning styles, multiple intelligences, applications of brain-based research to second language teaching and learning, teaching second languages to young children, L2 curriculum design, content-based instruction.


Trip Report

During the three-week stay in Indonesia Adrian Palmer, Kenneth Michael Jenson, and I spoke to and interacted with over 1000 EFL teachers on Java and Bali. In Jakarta, We all spoke at the LIA (binational center) Conference which attracted about 750 teachers. LIA Jakarta and its branches throughout Java teach English to about 90,000 students. They employ about 1,250 English teachers. At the conference in Jakarta, I delivered two plenary addresses on "Applications of Brain-based Research" and "Applying Multiple Intelligences Theory" and two half-day workshops to smaller groups of teachers on "Content-based Instruction" and "Brain-based Research". After the conference, Adrian Palmer and I spent three days consulting with LIA on their magazine for EFL students, their professional journal for their teachers, their teacher education program, their undergraduate curriculum in English, their editorial staff, their curriculum staff, and their testing department. The consultations were extremely helpful and valuable for long-term cooperation and networking.

Palmer, Jenson, and I also did a two-day conference in Yogyakarta in Central Java. I did three plenary addresses and two half-day workshops. The conference attracted about 100 teachers at IKIP (teacher training institution) Yogyakarta. In Bali, Palmer and Christison presented at a one-day conference jointly sponsored by USIS, IALF (Indonesia Australia Language Foundation), and Udayana University in Den Pasar. This conference was a groundbreaker for USIS in this area and the conference created many networking opportunities for USIS in the future. The conference attracted over 100 teachers from all over Bali. Palmer and Christison also did all day workshops at IALF the following day for about 40 teachers. The teachers came from IALF and other language centers in and around Den Pasar.

Responses to the Indonesian Program:

a. I was very impressed with entire LIA organization and, in particular, LIA, Jakarta. The quality and commitment of the teachers and professional staff are unsurpassed. They are committed to excellence in TEFL.

b. I was also impressed with the sincere desire the EFL teachers, at all of the sites, had to improve their teaching skills. They were very interested not only in the newest teaching techniques and strategies but in the latest in L2 research as well.

c. The program was meticulously planned and executed. I thank RELO Kenneth Michael Jenson for his flawless organizational skills. Each event spoke well for USIS and the role the United States plays in supporting English language teaching worldwide.

d. It also seems that there were opportunities for the establishment of long-term programs between LIA and the University of Utah. Some of the teachers are interested in joining our graduate programs in the next few years. In conjunction with the review of LIA's undergraduate programs, we also talked about the possibility of establishing a joint graduate degree program in TEFL with LIA in the future.

e. The program was important pedagogically because it offered a quality teacher education venue. It was important politically because it brought together many different arms of English language teaching in Indonesia and presented the United States' role in furthering ELT worldwide in a positive light.



Suggested Bibliography

Armstrong, T. (1994). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Campbell, L., Campbell, B. & Dickinson, D. (1996). Teaching and learning through multiple intelligences. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Christison, M.A. (1996a). Teaching and learning languages through multiple intelligences. TESOL Journal, 6, (1), 10-14.

Christison, M.A. (1999a). Applications of Research for Second Language Teaching and Learning, Part I. TESOL Matters. Vol. 9. No. 3, pgs. 1-3.

Christison, M.A. (1999a). Applications of Research for Second Language Teaching and Learning, Part II. TESOL Matters. Vol. 9. No. 3, pg. 9.

Christison, M.A. (1999). Applying Multiple Intelligences Theory in ESL/EFL Classroom. Burlingame, CA: Alta Book Center Publishers

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The Theory of Practice. New York: Basic Books.



Recommended Links

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

University of Utah


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