Report on Academic
Specialist Visit to Taiwan:
June 10-18, 1999
Carol Sisco Cini, Nanjing University
About the Specialist
Carol Sisco Cini is a visiting lecturer at Nanjing University,
Nanjing, P. R. China. She is beginning her third year there as
a member of the Department of Applied Foreign Languages in the
postgraduate College English Teacher Training Program. Prior to
her appointment at Nanjing University, she worked for the United
States Information Agency English Teaching Program as a teacher
trainer in Hungary, Estonia, and Micronesia. Ms. Cini has also
lived and taught in the United States, Germany, and Korea and
has lectured in Thailand, Croatia, Hong Kong, Latvia, and Sweden.
Ms. Cini received her BA in theater and art from the University
of Houston in 1977, and her M.Ed. in ESL/EFL from Sam Houston
State University in 1991.
Carol Sisco Cini
Visiting Lecturer- Teacher Trainer
Nanjing University Department of Applied Foreign Languages
Foreign Experts Building, 305
Nanjing, P. R. China 210093
Telephone: (86-25) 359-3111 ext. 3305
Fax: (86-25) 663-1701
Areas of Specialization
Teacher training, teaching and learning
styles, multiple intelligences, and cooperative learning.
In September of the year 2001, Taiwan
will be introducing English into elementary school grades four
and five. This endeavor involves identifying and training a large
number of new teachers. The Taiwanese Ministry of Education began
the project with a call for prospective teachers and received
an overwhelming response of 49,902 applicants. From these candidates,
3,536 were chosen to receive training this summer. They will be
required to take 120 hours of methodology (teacher education)
classes and 37 percent of them will also receive an additional
240 hours in language development classes. These prospective teachers
will then be required to obtain further education credits for
one year in order to qualify.
Conference and Workshops:
The next step, and the one which
I became involved in, was the Ministry of Education Conference.
The conference was attended by 140 university teachers and administrators
who will be involved in training the new recruits. The purpose
of the conference was to introduce these trainers to methods of
teaching young learners. The trainers of trainers, including myself,
overwhelming advocated communicative, student centered, methods
The trainers were aware that in this
global society students will need to be able to speak and think
in English unlike in the past where emphasis was on grammar, translation,
and reading. They saw that these teaching methods will help them
achieve that goal. Of course no one method is a cure-all for English
language teaching, and the teachers must now face the task of
how to bridge the gap between the methods and techniques that
are advantageous for teaching young learners, with the existing
system of teaching and testing used in the upper grades.
In total, I presented to five groups
of educators with an audience of approximately 295 teachers and
teacher trainers. Besides the Conference, three additional sessions
were held in various geographical areas of Taiwan. While the English
levels and teaching experience of the teachers attending these
workshops varied, the teachers were all open and receptive to
communicative teaching methods. Because the task based approach
was used (teachers participating in the actual classroom activities),
the teachers were able to experience for themselves how communicative,
student centered classes could be implemented. Many trainers and
teachers assured me that they planned to take the methods that
they were exposed to back into their classrooms and training sessions,
thus causing a multiplying effect of my session.
I came away with three impressions,
the first being the Ministry's insight into the fact that teachers
would need to be given specialized training in the skills of teaching
young learners. The second was the large number of applicants
with a desire to work in the field of young learners. And thirdly,
I was impressed with the high level of English of the trainers
as well as the enthusiasm and commitment that they showed while
attending the sessions.
I believe that the Ministry is moving
in the right direction in English language education beginning
with the selection and training of teachers. With this task underway,
the administration will undoubtedly move on to curriculum, textbooks,
and testing decisions.
Barker, M. 1985. Using children's literature to teach ESL to
young learners. English Teaching Forum 33, 1, pp. 12-16.
Dunn, O. Developing English with young learners. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.
Greenwood, J. Activity box. New York: Cambridge University
Halliwell, S. Teaching English in the primary classroom.
New York: Longman Publishing.
Hancock, M. Singing grammar. New York: Cambridge University
Hudelson, S. 1991. EFL teaching and children: A topic based approach.
English Teaching Forum 29, 4.
Kagan, S. 1994. Cooperative learning. San Juan Capistrano,
CA: Kagan Cooperative Learning.
Phillips, S. Young learners. New York: Oxford University
Vale, D., and A. Feunteun. Teaching children English.
New York: Cambridge University Press.
TESLK-12 (a branch of TESL-L) a discussion
network for teachers of English to children in grades K-12. To
join send the following message to LISTSERV@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU
SUBSCRIBE TESL-L yourfirstname yourlastname
Once you are subscribed to TESL-L,
you can subscribe to TESLK-12 in the same way. You must be a subscriber
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